Warsaw 1920: Lenin’s Failed Conquest of Europe

Tue 22 Sep

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

6.00pm - 7.00pm

Talk | Online Only

Warsaw 1920: Lenin’s Failed Conquest of Europe

Join historian Adam Zamoyski as he tells the dramatic and little-known story of how Lenin came within a hair’s breadth of shattering the Treaty of Versailles peace settlement and spreading Bolshevism into western Europe.

This event has finished, but you can watch it again online at any time until Sunday, 11 October 2020.

Price: FREE
Polish lancers setting off for the front line, May 1920


At the end of the First World War, after the collapse of the German Eastern Front, Bolshevik Russia extended her power westwards. Her forces soon came up against those of a newly independent Poland.

Poland had only just recovered her independence after more than a century of foreign oppression. But it was economically and militarily weak, and its misguided offensive to liberate Ukraine in the spring of 1920 left it open to attack.

Everything that Great Britain and France had fought for over four years now seemed at risk. By the middle of August, the Russians were only a few kilometres from Warsaw, and Berlin was less than a week's march away. Then occurred the 'Miracle of the Vistula': the Polish army led by Jozef Pilsudski regrouped and achieved one of the most decisive victories in military history.

In this online talk, Adam Zamoyski will explore how the Versailles peace settlement survived and how the battle for Warsaw bought Europe nearly two decades of peace.

Adam Zamoyski is a British historian of Polish origin. He is the author of the bestselling 1812: Napoleon’s Fatal March on Moscow and its sequel, Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna, as well as several other acclaimed works on key figures and aspects of European history. His comprehensive history of Poland, The Polish Way, not only featured in the bestseller lists for several weeks when it came out in 1987, but has never been out of print since.

This event is sponsored by the Polish Cultural Institute.

A copy of Adam Zamoyski's book Warsaw 1920: Lenin's Failed Conquest of Europe can be purchased as part of a book and ticket offer for this event. Alternatively, copies will be available for purchase via a link on the virtual event page on the day of the event.

Polish Cultural Institute logo

Date & time

Tuesday, 22 September 2020
6.00pm - 7.00pm


Online Only


Online: FREE

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