A number of years ago my wife and I and some other Americans visited Poland on a mission’s trip. We were in the Krakow area and made side trips into the Czech Republic and Slovokia.
While in Poland my wife came across a monument commemorating a battle against the Mongols!
I was teaching somewhere else and never did get to see the monument for myself . (sad face here because I love stuff like that!)
I surmised that the battle being commemorated was The Battle of Liegnitz (German Silesia then, Legnica, Poland now). The Krakow area is south-east of Legnica so it’s possible the monument is for some other battle against the Mongols but I doubt it.
The Battle of Liegnitz was a rather big deal in that area of Europe. The Mongols were just about unstoppable. The link to the left and the quote below will illustrate the point.
“The Mongols attacked the Latin world (meaning areas that were Roman Catholic) only after the sack of Kiev (December 1240). While Batu himself and three separate armies entered Hungary, two divisions protected his flank by ravaging Poland, where they crushed Duke Henry II of Silesia and his allies near Liegnitz (mod. Legnica, Poland) on 9 April 1241.”
As you can see from the quote Duke Henry II of Silesia and his allies (that included Germans, Teutonic Knights, Poles, and Czechs) were defeated. The Mongols as per their habit ravaged Silesia and the surrounding areas while the main army moved on to Hungary where the west suffered another crushing defeat.
The Battle of Liegnitz was one of the rare occasions when the so-called “Latin West” put aside their differences to try to stop a common foe.
I suspect the monument my wife saw was a monument to the attempt to stop the Mongols at Liegnitz.
Whenever I come across something like this I am forced to remember that Europe consists of many old countries with much history. We in America are relative new comers when it comes to stuff like that.
Poland and Germany and other European countries have had a historical fear of what may come out of the east. The Mongols are a big reason.