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Saturday, 18 May 2019

President: Monte Cassino Battle a lesson for Europe, the world


"The Battle of Monte Cassino was for Europe and the entire world a great lesson, owing to which the European Union was established," Polish President Andrzej Duda said during observances marking the 75th anniversary of the battle.


President Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda paid a visit to Italy to take part in events marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino on Saturday.


The main observances of the battle's anniversary started at 5 p.m. with a Holy Mass at the Polish War Cemetery at Monte Cassino. The events were also attended by the President of Italy Sergio Mattarella and his daughter.


According to President Duda, also thanks to the Battle of Monte Cassino Poland was today a free, independent and sovereign country, an EU member and part of the western, free and democratic world - a world without wars, where various nations and states cooperate with each other and want to build together prosperity and happiness, a world, which those soldiers were dreaming about at the time of the battle.


The Polish head of state stressed that blood shed by Polish soldiers and their heroism as well as songs about the battle which accompanied stories about Monte Cassino made the following generation of Poles want a free, sovereign and independent Poland. "And the generation of their children regained such a Poland," Duda underlined, adding that "owing to this, we are today part of the EU and part of the North Atlantic Alliance."


"That war and that battle, which was victorious for us Poles, but paid for in blood, was for Europe and the world a great lesson: no more war, no more human tragedy caused by someone's cruelty, someone's drive for power. Let the world be based on mutual cooperation and mutual respect," President Duda said, emphasising that "we want to build such a world today."


He also expressed his gratitude to veterans present at the observances "for being proof of great heroism and unlimited love for their homeland."


The Italian president stressed that Monte Cassino and all other sites marked by struggle for freedom have been and always will be a source of remembrance and inspiration for building peace and prosperity for the future.


President Mattarella added that Monte Cassino "is the temple of remembrance of our nations - the Polish and Italian people."


He also remarked that the people, who were fighting and died to free Italy from Nazism and Fascism, did this to make it possible for a new Europe to be established, and (...) for our nations to become close to each other, just like the situation looks today in a Europe, which is finally free of violence, conflicts and the pressure of dictatorships.


The Battle of Monte Cassino, also known as the Battle for Rome, lasted from January 1 7till May 19, 1944 and comprised four battles between allied forces and the German army in the region around the monastery on the summit of Monte Cassino. The battle is considered one of the fiercest of World War II. As well as the Polish II Corps under the leadership of General Anders, American, British, New Zealanders, Indian and French troops all fought at Monte Cassino.


On May 18, 1944, after ferocious fighting, Polish troops of the II Corps took the summit of Monte Cassino and captured the monastery. In the fighting 923 Polish soldiers lost their lives, 2,931 were wounded and 345 were listed as missing in action. A few days after the victory at Monte Cassino, allied troops broke through the Gustav Line along its entire length. On 14 June 1944, American troops entered Rome. (PAP)

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