Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 2 Oct 2020
Full Title: Frantic 7: The American Effort to Aid the Warsaw Uprising and the Origins of the Cold War, 1944
In Sep 1944, the seventh Allied "Operation Frantic" mission had B-17 heavy bombers fly from the United Kingdom to drop badly-needed supplies to resistance fighters during the Warsaw Uprising, land in Soviet bases in the Ukraine for rearming and refueling, and take off again to strike a rail marshalling yard in Hungary before returning to Allied bases in Italy. The bomber "I'll be Seeing You" was one of the many bombers that participated in this mission, and this aircraft, along with its crew, was the focus of Frantic 7.
Originally published in Poland by Jerzy SzczeĹ›niak under the title of Frantic 7: AmerykaĹ„ska wyprauva lotnicza z pomocÄ… dla Powstania Warszawskiego, the book was translated to English by Pawel Styrna and then supplemented by WW2DB contributor John Radzilowski. The research on "I'll be Seeing You" and its doomed flight was exhaustive across official American, German, and Soviet archives. The great deal of first-hand accounts from those who had witnessed the aircraft's downing, though potentially subject to opinion and faulty memory, completed the 360-degree view to the event. As for the Warsaw Uprising as a whole, the book analyzed in detail what the mission had achieved and had what it failed to achieve. Finally, it demonstrated that the mistrust between the Americans and the Soviets and each of their post-war ambitions played a part in the eventual failure of the uprising, and furthermore, wrote some of the opening chapters of the Cold War era.
A book centered on the fate of one American bomber and its crew, on a mission over Poland, with initiative taken by a Polish author and later supplemented by an American historian, Frantic 7 provided a rather unique cross-national narrative on the Warsaw Uprising and the political climate over Europe. John Radzilowski is a colleague of mine and I would be the first to admit that our working relationship might have generated some bias, so if you have interest in Warsaw Uprising, I invite you to give this book a read and see if you will validate, or otherwise, my favorable reception of this book.
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939