Heroes of a Forgotten War

(documentary film project)

The proposed documentary will present the contribution of 17 American volunteer pilots to the defense of Poland and the whole free world during the Bolsheviks invasion in 1919, which become one of the most decisive campaigns in military history. In fact, the very Polish – Bolshevik war of 1919-1920, in essence the only military defeat of the Red Army in its entire history, was a forbidden subject.

Goal:

To create a documentary for a television broadcast in the US and all over the world, film festivals and public showings. The main idea is to emphasize that it was Poland that stopped the spread of communist revolution with a dramatic and meaningful help of American volunteer pilots.

Objectives:

  • To emphasize the achievements of a person who deserves a status as an American hero: Merian C. Cooper
  • To illustrate the accomplishment of American pilots in helping Poland to fight Bolshevism.
  • What was the goals of these idealists who arrived at the very edges of Europe?
  • To provide a sympathetic but factual viewpoint on this important but little known historical fact.
  • Could an aversion to communism be so fully developed as to face down the armies set upon Europe by Lenin and Trotsky?
  • Was the debt of honor owed to Poland for the services of General KoĹ›ciuszko and General Pulaski, enough to risk one's life.
  • Could the presence of around dozen pilots on the Polish front have an effect on the outcome of the war?
  • What was their knowledge about the political imbroglio of the Polish – Bolshevik conflict, or about the farsighted goals of the war against Bolshevizm?
  • To show the changes in military strategy by the introduction of the airplane to the traditional age-old elements of battle: infantry, cavalry and artillery.
  • To show that it was a common Polish – Ukrainian defense against the Bolsheviks.
  • To show the final result of the story, a free Poland.

Techniques:

  • Narration based on a screenplay by Eugene Starky, based on a book: “Kosciuszko, We are Here”, by Janusz Cisek.
  • Filming on location and historical sites.
  • Use of archival materials: photos, films and writings.
  • Interviews with noted historians, politicians and family members.

HEROES OF A FORGOTTEN WAR (synopsis)

A 60 min. documentary film about a fighting unit comprised of American fliers who voluntarily formed the “Kosciuszko Squadron” in order to defend Poland from the Bolshevik invasion in 1919, in effect preventing the worldwide communist revolution.

In the history of the United States, it is not difficult to list military missions the nation has entered into outside its own borders in the defense of democratic ideals or the safety of American allies. However, some missions, entered into almost single-handedly, are glossed over in the larger historical overview.

The film “Heroes of a Forgotten War” aims to show this hardly known, and at the same time extraordinary, odyssey of Homeric proportions to the world public. The American pilots fought with great bravery, courage and sacrifice in one of the most decisive campaigns in military history. Adventuresome and idealistic, the young airmen-a majority of whom were veterans of the American Expeditionary Force-volunteered for the defense of another nation’s freedom, and this heroic story is the result of their commitment.

Further, it was difficult for them to count on receiving honors, fame or financial rewards for this action. Instead, what awaited them on the Polish-Bolshevic front lines were dangers unknown in Western Europe. Their equipment was in poor condition; there were a severe shortage of medical services; and when captured by the Bolshevic forces, these pilots faced the prospect of  immediate execution.

The gallant ensemble of American flayers became heroes in Poland. The film will explore why this group of Americans decided to fight for freedom of another country, their captivating experience, achievements and significance of their deeds.

Most Western politicians and military leaders, as well as most of the public, underestimated the military significance of the Polish-Bolshevic war and shoved no comprehension of its political importance. Few wanted to subscribe to the opinion that Western civilization was being defended near Warsaw and that the war was in fact a prelude to Russians plans to occupy central Europe, if not the whole continent. It was only possible to appreciate these farsighted fighter pilots from abroad after War War II.

After the Polish campaign, Major Merian C. Cooper, won the greatest fame, becoming a Hollywood producer, perhaps most famous for the classic version of the movie King Kong. That is how the reality of the last century crossed paths with Hollywood culture.

Aiming for the highest artistic standards, we believe that our work will have a great relevance to present and future generations. To achieve this goal we plan to show this film on television, at film festivals, and via theatrical presentation all over the world. In order to fulfill all of this objectives the proposed film will be an American – Polish co production.