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Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stalin?

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Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stalin?

Postby michael mills on 18 Dec 2010 04:13

I have come across another very interesting historical fact in the book by Marian Wojciechowski about German-Polish relations 1933-38.

On 11 December 1933, the new National Socialist President of the Danzig Senate, Hermann Rauschning, arrived in Warsaw as Hitler's emissary, for the purpose of conducting negotiations leading to the later German-Polish Declaration of Non-Aggression, and on the same day had an audience with Pilsudski.

According to Wojciechowski, the content of the conversation between Pilsudski and Rauschning is know from three preserved sources:

1. The earliest is the record made by the Polish Commissioner-General in Danzig, Papee, who was present at the meeting; it is preserved in the Archives of the Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs.

2. The next is the account published by Rauschning in his anti-Hitler book of 1939, "Die Revolution des Nihilismus".

3. The last is the account written by Rauschning in 1951 for the German historian Richard Breyer, who published it in his book "Das Deutsche Reich und Polen 1932-1937".

It is this third account that is most interesting, and most revelatory of Pilsudki's plans. Wojciechowski, on pages 84-85 of his book, reproduces these words of Rauschning written in 1951:

Ich hatte eine lange persoenliche Unterredung mit Pilsudski, die geheim, persoenlichen Charakters war und nicht protokolliert wurde. In ihr machte der Marschall Ausfuehrungen, die mir klar darauf hinzuziehen schienen, dass er einen Krieg mit Sowjetrussland fuer unvermeidbar helt, sowohl einen Konflikt Polens mit Russland wie einen solchen Deutschlands mit Russland. Es war ein deutlicher Fuehler nach einem Militaerbuendnis und einer etwa moeglichen gemeinsamen Aktion, die eine ganz neue Lage fuer die Bereinigung der eigentlichen deutsch-polnischen Streitfragen, vor allem der Grenzfrage, geschaffen haette.

My translation:

I had a long personal conversation with Pilsudski which was of a secret, personal nature and was not minuted. In it the Marshal made statements that seemed to me to be clearly indicating that he considered a war with Soviet Russia to be unavoidable, both a conflict of Poland with Russia and of Germany with Russia. It was a clear feeler for a military alliance and perhaps a possible joint action, which would have created a completely new basis for the sttlement of the present German-Polish conflicts, in particular of the border issue.


Wojciechowski points out that neither the record made by Papee, nor the earlier account given by Rauschning in 1939, contain the above statements attributed to Pilsudski. He attributes that fact to the following circumstances:

1. In 1939, Rauschning had become a staunch opponent of Hitler, and was writing an anti-Hitler book in the context of the acute Polish-German conflict that was soon to lead to war; accordingly, he a motive to conceal any previous Poish-German collusion.

2. In December 1933, when Papee wrote his record of the meeting after Rauschning had left Warsaw, Polish-Soviet relations were still very correct, so Papee would have had a motive to omit any anti-Soviet statements by Pilsudski from his record, lest they later fall into Soviet hands and cause embarrassment for Poland. (However, Wojciechowski also writes that Papee, in a letter to him of 1965, had denied omitting such an important matter from his record on the meeting).

So what is the truth? Did Pilsudski, at his meeting with Rauschning on 11 December 1933, hint at a desire for an alliance with Germany for the purpose of a milkitary confrontation with the Soviet Union, as claimed by Rauschning in 1951?

The official record made by Papee contains no such words by Pilsudski, and in 1965 Papee denied having omitted them from the record.

On the other hand, Papee may well have had a motive not to besmirch Pilsudski's reputation by admitting that in 1933 he had considered making an alliance with Hitler against the Soviet Union, which later had been one of the Allies which defeated Hitler.

It was certainly consistent with Pilsudski's proven strong anti-Russian and mildly pro-German outlook for him to have considered an alliance with Hitler against the Soviet Union. It is a documented fact that Pilsudski shared Hitler's anti-Bolshevism, and that he considered Hitler, as an Austrian, to be not an enemy of Poland but a potential ally. It is also a documented fact that Pilsudski always desired an eastward expansion of Poland at the expense of the Soviet Union, which provided a common interest with Hitler.

It appears that Wojciechowski considers that, on the balance of probabilities, Pilsudski did in 1933 desire an alliance with Germany against the Soviet Union, and made hints to Rauschning to that end.
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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby Led125 on 23 Dec 2010 02:43

This is interesting but far, far from conclusive. Perhaps a more telling indicator of what was said would be if Pilsudski took any positive measures towards effective this alliance or joint action against the USSR. Otherwise his alleged statements are also consistent with the policy of equidistant relations between the USSR and Germany. I'm sure Polish diplomats said similar things to Soviet diplomats about Germany, but this is mere speculation.
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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby michael mills on 23 Dec 2010 03:29

I'm sure Polish diplomats said similar things to Soviet diplomats about Germany, but this is mere speculation.


Your assuredness is indeed based on ignorance of Polish political history (which I also shared at one time).

As long as Pilsudski was alive, he strenuously opposed attempts by Britain and France to draw Poland into an "Eastern Locarno" including the Soviet Union. He recognised that to do so would negate the good relations with Germany, and be contrary to "the spirit of 26 January" (the date of the German-Polish Declaration of Non-Aggression in 1934).

He also recognised that if Poland joined the proposed Eastern Pact without Germany (and Germany was definitely not going to join), then Poland might one day find itself drawn into a war of the pact members against Germany and required to allow the passage of the Red Army advancing to the West against that country, a situation that he knew would spell the end of Polish independence. Even after his death, his disciple Beck continued to oppose any alignment with the Soviet Union against Germany.

Almost the last words uttered by Pilsudski on his deathbed, on 10 May 1935, two days before his death, and recorded by his doctor, were that Laval was a fool for going to Moscow to tie up the new Franco-Soviet treaty, and said that it would end badly for France. (Laval had dropped by in Warsaw on his way to Moscow, in the hope of a meeting with Pilsudski, but was denied it due to the latter's being at death's door). That shows Pilsudski's intransigent attitude toward the Soviet Union. Another fact gleaned from the book by Wojciechowski (on page 194).

All these things are made clear by Wojciechowski in the book referred to by me. If you read German it is worth consulting; I am discovering many facts that I did not know before, and which support many of the views I had already formed concerning the development of Polish-German relations between 1933 and 1939. I do not know if there is also an English translation.

One of the things demonstrated by Wojciechowski is that the claimed policy of "equidistant relations" between Germany and the Soviet Union is largely a myth. He shows that both Pilsudski and Beck preferred to align with Germany against the Soviet Union. He also shows that both Britian and France were well aware of that fact, and from 1934 onward were doing everything in their power to disrupt the German-Polish de facto entente.
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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby Led125 on 23 Dec 2010 12:36

All these things are made clear by Wojciechowski in the book referred to by me. If you read German it is worth consulting; I am discovering many facts that I did not know before, and which support many of the views I had already formed concerning the development of Polish-German relations between 1933 and 1939. I do not know if there is also an English translation.

One of the things demonstrated by Wojciechowski is that the claimed policy of "equidistant relations" between Germany and the Soviet Union is largely a myth. He shows that both Pilsudski and Beck preferred to align with Germany against the Soviet Union. He also shows that both Britian and France were well aware of that fact, and from 1934 onward were doing everything in their power to disrupt the German-Polish de facto entente.


Then please post some of it, because what you've provided at the moment is paper thin: comments that do not appear in the primary documents, yet Rauschning recalled years after the event, although they are contested by someone else. Please provide us with something more concrete.

If it is true, then it does show how stupid Germany was to alienate Poland by demanding the return of Danzig.

Here is a review of the book I located on Jstor that appeared in The American Historical Review, Vol. 79, No. 1 (Feb., 1974), pp. 139-140

MARIAN WVOJCIECHOWSKI. Die polnisch-deutschen Beziehungen, 1933-1938. (Studien zur Geschichte Osteuropas, 12.) Leiden: E. J. Brill. 1971. Pp. viii, 583. 175 gls.
German-Polislh relations between the two world wars have long been the subject of sharp debate among historians. Marian Wojciechow- ski's competent and carefully researched work, based on Polish and German sources, adds still another chapter to this debate. He takes issue with A. J. P. Taylor's opinion that Hitler was a lazy (drifter who took advantage of opportunities as they turned up and that the Nonagression Pact of 1934 was a revolutionary change because it jettisoned Germany's traditionally hostile policy toward Poland. He maintains that Hitler had his aims clearly set, with the subjugation of Poland being a step toward the conquest of Lebensraum in the East. Hitler feared 1934-35 as the critical point in his rea mament program, and since he felt vulnerable in the West he needed Poland in the East. But he never considered sharing his future empire in the East with a partner and cast Poland in the role of a satellite of the Reich. Thus, Wojciechowski's interpretation of German-Polish relations is similar to Gerhard Weinberg's position in Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany (1970). After World War I, Jozef Pilsudski tried to find a new basis for the existence of the Polish state, but his scheme for a federation of eastern borderlands collapsed; France moved toward a revision of Germany's eastern frontier. The rise of Hitler had seemed to Pilsudski to present an opportunity for a new alignment for Poland. In 1933 he spread rumors of a Polish preven- tive war against Germany in order to avert the possibility of a four-power agreement of France, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain that would satisfy German revisionist demands at Poland's expense. Prevention of a rapprochement of the West- ern powers with Germany remained one of two pillars of Polish foreign policy between the two world wars; the other was the exclusion of Russia from European affairs, for Poland feared that any collective security involving Russia against Germany would inevitably bring Russian troops into Poland. Convinced that Russia, not Germany, was the chief threat, Pilsudski and his successor Jozef Beck closed all but the German option. The Polish leaders were also driven by internal political pressures to maintain Poland's posture as a great power, a status repeatedly denied to them by the West- ern powers and one that they hoped to achieve by parity with Germany. To maintain friendly relations with Hitler's Germany they sacrificed the Jews of Danzig, political control of the city, and even the Polish minority in the Reich. The Polish ambassador to Berlin, Jozef Lipski, was so mesmerized by the image of Hitler as a revolutionary, free of the Prussian heritage, defying the German Foreign Office and the army in his friendship for Poland, that he could not see Hitler's obvious aims. The Munich Agreement marked the demise of Polish German policy: the Four-Power Pact that Polancl had tried to prevent since 1933 became a reality at Munich; although it was Czechoslovakia that paid the territorial price, Poland's position was fatefully undermined. She was excluded from participation in the rearrangement of Eastern Europe by her two former allies, Germany and France. In vaini did Poland seek to regain her position as Ger- many's equal, first by seizing the long coveted Teschen area from Czechoslovakia and then by attempting a common boundary with Hungary. After Munich Hitler was certain that the Western powers would not oppose his expansion in the East. He felt the time was ripe to reduce Poland to the status of a hapless satellite revolving around the Berlin-Tokyo-Rome axis. As a first step he demanded Danzig. The ultimate irony was that while the Poles misunderstood the true nature of nazism, Hitler miscalculated the reactions of the isolated Poles. In October 1938 (the point at which the book ends) he was convinced that they would acquiesce without war. In 1934, when asked by Karel Radek, editor of the Izvestiya, what Poland would do if faced by a German ultimatum and the threat of a su- perior German force, the Polish leaders had replied: "Poland will oppose force without weighing the chances of victory or the relativ- ity of forces" (p. 52). In 1939 Poland had no other choice.


It appears that the author also coheres with a great deal that I believed about Polish and German relations in the 1930's.

No author I am familiar with has written anything about British attempts to frustrate German-Polish relations at any point. Please do elaborate.
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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby JELEŃ on 23 Dec 2010 15:52

Thus far, your most elaborate and ridiculous claims about Pilsudski have come from the same source. M. Wojciechowski. If you want to build a stronger case of this revisionist history, at least attempt to find another source to prove your case, other than perhaps D. Irving.
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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby Slavomir on 27 Dec 2010 11:02

Interesting revelation. Once again we can find that someone said what the other one had said. While at the same time two other people denied that. If they denied it's again proof that they wanted someone to hide. If there is no documents to support such claim means that documents must have been destroyed in order to... hide something :D

Michael once again do not see the Polish - German Non-Aggression Pact in wider perspective. For him the agreement is a proof that policy of equal distance from both Berlin and Moscow is a myth. Forgetting that in 1932 Poland signed similar agreement with Soviets, the same agreement that was reassured in 1934. Forgetting about Four powers Pact of 1933 and so on and so on... :roll:

Even if we assume, and let me stress we assume, not saying that it was true, that Michael was right in his coclusions, Pilsudski must have kept it for himself and himself only. Even on the meeting with the top level of Polish generals he was still asking about which country (Soviets or Germany) was more dangerous for Poland and moreover which one would become a threat sooner. (for ex. AAN, Akta Instytucji Wojskowych, 296/III, t. 21 Odpowiedzi generałów i wyższych oficerów WP na ankietę 'Rosja czy Niemcy' (skąd grozi Polsce niebezpieczeństwo) - that particular one 12 April 1934. Interesting date in light of Michael's revelations, isn't it? Pilsudski planning an alliance with Germany at the same time not issuing orders for preparations for such alliance, no preparations for invasion on Soviets, no... asking which country was dangerous sooner...

Pilsudski opposing any agreement involving Soviets entering Polish territory was just forgetting his reasoning and would let Germans enter Poland for joint action, forgetting about German grievances about Pommerania and Silesia... interesting.

Michael, I do not deny your right to draw your own conclusions. But when you do so, please do not conceal it as documented facts.

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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby michael mills on 30 Dec 2010 07:05

Michael once again do not see the Polish - German Non-Aggression Pact in wider perspective. For him the agreement is a proof that policy of equal distance from both Berlin and Moscow is a myth. Forgetting that in 1932 Poland signed similar agreement with Soviets, the same agreement that was reassured in 1934. Forgetting about Four powers Pact of 1933 and so on and so on...


Slawomir,

Wojciechowski states repeatedly that Pilsudski and Beck resolutely opposed the Four-Power Pact, since it opened the way for revision of the Versailles Treaty in favour of Germany. In particular, Pilsudski feared that Britain would be prepared to agree to the revision of the German-Polish border in return for Germany joining the Four-Power Pact; that would mean the return of Danzig and Pomerelia to Germany, and of some of East Upper Silesia.

According to Wojciechowski, Pilsudski's overrding goal was tp prevent germany's joining the Four-Power Pact, and it was for that purpose that he was prepared to enter into negotiations with Germany, leading to the Declaration of Non-Aggression of 26 January 1934. The "line of January 1934" was therefore for Poland an alternative to the Four-Power Pact with Germany as a member, and to achieve it Pilsudski was prepared to forgo the relationship with France that had been established in the Franco-Polish Treaty of 1921.

Wojciechowski also claims that Pilsudski never took the Polish-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1932 very seriously, and was prepared to abandon it in favour of a close relationship with Germany, since his main ambition was to extend Poland to the East.

These are all Wojciechowski's interpretations.
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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby Slavomir on 30 Dec 2010 11:01

Hello Michael,
michael mills wrote:According to Wojciechowski, Pilsudski's overrding goal was tp prevent germany's joining the Four-Power Pact, and it was for that purpose that he was prepared to enter into negotiations with Germany, leading to the Declaration of Non-Aggression of 26 January 1934. The "line of January 1934" was therefore for Poland an alternative to the Four-Power Pact with Germany as a member, and to achieve it Pilsudski was prepared to forgo the relationship with France that had been established in the Franco-Polish Treaty of 1921.

Maybe not to forgo completely but to show France that Poland being junior partner in that treaty could act as an equal partner with Germany and to conduct its own foreign policy. In my opinion in coming Hitler to power Pilsudski saw opportunity that German - Soviet cooperation resulted from Rapallo agreement would diminish (which in fact happened). And to strenghten that trend was one of the reasons he entered into negotiations with Germany.

michael mills wrote:Wojciechowski also claims that Pilsudski never took the Polish-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1932 very seriously, and was prepared to abandon it in favour of a close relationship with Germany, since his main ambition was to extend Poland to the East.

I would treat Wojciechowski's revelations with caution. We should remember when the book was written. During 70's and 80's Pilsudski was the main black character for the communist regime. Moreover stating such claims "communist historiography" desperately looked for justification of Soviet aggression of 17.09.1939. I have read some books which came even farter claiming that Pilsudski wanted to give away Pomerania and Silesia to Germany in order to gain their support for his imaginary crusade against peaceful USSR :D
Wojciechowski's statement about Pilsudski's desire to expand to the east seems also vague. I do not dare to claim that I know what was in Pilsudski's mind, but assuming it was true, why there was no military preparations for such aggression? When you look closer, you would find that up to early 1939 main Polish effort was put on fortifications on eastern border. If we would talk about aggressive preparations, why bother to spend such sums on bunkers and so on?

In my opinion, agreement with Germany was not a step towards formal alliance, but rather an opportunity to reassure weakening of German - Soviet ties, Polish intelligence was well aware of. In Pilsudski's words, Polish independence could be assured only if there was no German - Soviet cooperation. As the Ribbentrop - Molotov pact showed, in that case he was right.

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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby michael mills on 02 Jan 2011 06:00

hello Slavomir,

I actually agree with a lot of what you wrote in relation to the bias of Wojciechowski.

Another Polish Forum member has informed us that Wojciechowski was a member of the Polish United Workers' party, the post-war version of the Communist Party in Poland. It was also obvious t omethat Wojciechowski was writing from a pro-Soviet and anti-Pilsudski viewpoint; indeed, at the end of the book under discussion he provides a defence of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, on the grounds that Poland, Britain and France had all refused to cooperate with the Soviet Union in creating a united front opposing Hitler, thereby leaving the Soviet Union with no choice other than to seek its own accommodation with Germany.

The thesis running right through Wojciechowski's book is that the policy pursued by Pilsudski and later by Beck of aligning Poland with Germany against the Soviet Union was a big mistake, and the prime cause of the disaster that befell Poland in 1939. That of course was the official historiographical line imposed by the post-war Communist Government in Poland.

But the question here is not whether Wojciechowski's underlying thesis is correct, but rather whether this particular claim made by him has substance. That is, is it a fact that in December 1933 Pilsudski sent out a feeler to Hitler via rauschning that he was prepared to enter into an alliance with him aimed against the Soviet Union? Wojciechowski does make a reasonable case for that claim, even if not an absolutely conclusive one.

Slavomir, you have asked why, if Pilsudski really did intend to invade the Soviet Union, there were no concrete military preparations for that purpose.

You need to realise that there is often a long time-span between the enunciation of an idea and the beginning of preparations to achieve it. For example, how long did it take Hitler to get around to making plans for an invasion of the Soviet Union?

He came to power in 1933, and in the following years often made noises about a war against the Soviet Union (and made a number of proposals to Poland for a joint war), but did not actually issue any orders to prepare for an invasion until July 1940, some seven years later.

Pilsudski may have intended to give the concept of a joint German-Polish war against the Soviet Union time to mature in the ruling circles of both germany and Poland, but in the meantime he died in May 1935, only some 16 months after sending out his feeler to Rauschning.

Wojciechowski points out that there always strong opposition to Pilsudski's pro-German stance from parts of the Polish political Establishment, and after Pilsudski's death those anti-German forces gained in strength. Even though Beck tried to continue with Pilsudski's pro-German policy, the opposition proved too strong, including opposition from elements of the Army which had fought with france against Germany in the First World War.

Wojciechowski shows that after Pilsudski's death, the anti-German elements within the Polish military gained control, and began to prepare plans for a war against Germany in alliance with France, for the purpose of destroying Germany. Those plans were based on an attack from the east by the Polish army coinciding with an attack from the west by the French army.

The fortifications on the Polish eastern border that you refer to, Slavomir, were probably to prevent the Red Army intervening in support of Germany after the joint Polish-French attack.

I doubt that Wojciechowski would have invented the Polish military planning for a war on Germany, since from his Communist point of view Germany was the main enemy of Poland, and accordingly it was the right thing to do to prepare for war against it.
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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby Musashi on 03 Jan 2011 01:49

michael mills wrote:

The fortifications on the Polish eastern border that you refer to, Slavomir, were probably to prevent the Red Army intervening in support of Germany after the joint Polish-French attack.


The decision about bulding fortifications on the Polish eastern border was made in 1928, a long time before Hitler came to power. There were not any plans of any joint Polish-French attack at that time as Germany was not considered a dangerous enough country. At the end of 20s it become extremely evident the USSR was massively expanding its armed forces and was becoming more and more powerful every year. As a contrast the Reichswehr was very small at that time and it was not allowed to have tanks or planes. Therefore it could not have been a big threat for the Polish Army at the end of 20s.

So, as it happens quite often on this forum, you post your "probable" imaginary theories that cannot be logically justified.
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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby michael mills on 03 Jan 2011 04:45

Hello Slavomir,

You wrote:

I have read some books which came even farther claiming that Pilsudski wanted to give away Pomerania and Silesia to Germany in order to gain their support for his imaginary crusade against peaceful USSR


Such claims were made not only by the Communist rulers of post-war Poland.

In fact, those originated in the inter-war period, and were made by the opponents of Pilsudski when he was in power, in particular by Endecja.

Do you not think it a strange thing that Polish Communists should have adopted the views of Endecja, which was a right-wing, anti-Communist political movement? But it is a fact, as some historians have noted, that the official view of Polish history propagated by the post-war Communist rulers exactly replicated that of Endecja, which had been anti-German and pro-Russian (even if anti-Communist).

In order to legitimate itself, the post-war Communist regime adopted the "Piast" version of Polish nationalism that had been preached by Endecja, and portrayed itself as having achieved the "Piast" goal of expanding to the west by pushing back Germany, so as to regain the 10th-Century Polish border on or to the west of the Oder River. Pilsudski was condemned as a supporter of the rival "Jagiellonian" version of Polish nationalism, which called for expansion to the East by pushing back Russia.

But what truth was there in the accusations made by Endecja against Pilsudski?

The fact is that during and immediately after the First World War, Pilsudski had no ambition of annexing any German territory to a new independent Polish state. He envisaged that state as consisting of the former Russian Poland, which had been declared an independent kingdom by the Central Powers which had occupied it, plus territory to be taken from the disintegrating Russian and Austrian Empires. Since he envisaged that the new Polish state would include Russian terriotry on the Baltic, its access to the sea would be achieved to the east of Germany, through Lithuania.

Shortly after the armistice between Germany and the Allies came into force on 11 November 1918, and after Pilsudski was appointed Provisional Head of State of the new Polish Republic, the new Republican Government of Germany sent an emissary, Count Harry Kessler, to Warsaw to negotiate with Pilsudski on a German-Polish border agreement. Kessler suggested to Pilsudski that a Polish outlet to the sea, one of President Wilson's 14 points that Germany had accepted as the basis for a peace settlement, could be achieved without any major transfer of German territory to Poland, by granting Poland a free port in Danzig connected to Polish territory by an extra-territorial highway and railway, and/or through Memel (on the assumption that Poland would expand to incorporate Lithuania).

The available evidence suggests that Pilsudski was receptive to Kessler's suggestions, and did not want to annex German territory, since his ambitions were entirely directed toward the east. However, anti-German elements in Warsaw, associated with Endecja, began a violent agitation against Kessler's presence, and eventually Pilsudski was compelled by that pressure to ask Kessler to return to Germany without any agreement having been reached.

In December 1918, the return of Paderewski, head of the Polish Council in France, triggered the uprising in the Posen Province which was the first Polish attempt to seize parts of the territory of the German Reich. That spelled the end of Pilsudski's attempt to reach a settlement with Germany without major cessions of German territory.

Furthermore, the Polish delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, at which the future German-Polish border was determined, was dominated by Dmowski, who demanded Polish expansion to the west and north by the annexation of German territory. Although not all of Dmowski's demands were granted by the Allied and Associated Powers, the creation of the so-called Corridor through transfer of West Prussia to Poland was not something that Pilsudski supported, since he considered that it would be a source of future conflict with Germany, which would inhibit his goal of Polish expansion to the east.

Since Dmowski and Endecja knew very well that Pilsudski had been prepared at the end of 1918 to make a deal with Germany, and that he had not supported Polish annexation of German territory, they suspected that if he ever returned to power he might agree to a revision of the German-Polish border in order to wean Germany away from its "Rapallo policy" of alignment with the Soviet Union. Thus, when Pilsudski seized power in 1926, Endecja elements in the Poznan area considered seceding from Poland and forming a separate state, for fear that Pilsudski would return the former Posen province to Germany.

As it was, between 1926 and 1933, German hostility toward Poland and its continued pro-Soviet stance, coupled with anti-German feeling among the Polish population, particularly in the west of the country, made it impossible for Pilsudski to make any moves along that line, even if he had wanted to, which is uncertain.

Hitler himself believed that Pilsudski might be willing to make concessions over the Corridor and Danzig in return for German acquiescence in a Polish annexation of Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine. He and other senior German officials believed, however, that the strong internal opposition to the Sanaja regime, which was led by Endecja and was intensely anti-German in sentiment, prevented Pilsudski and his successors from making those concessions, and on that point Hitler and his followers were undoubtedly correct.
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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby michael mills on 03 Jan 2011 05:15

So, as it happens quite often on this forum, you post your "probable" imaginary theories that cannot be logically justified.


The issue here is whether a decision made by the Polish Government in 1928, ie after Pilsudski had returned to power, to build fortifications along the Polish eastern border, was incompatible with his long-term aim of Polish expansion to the East by absorbing territory that was formelrly part to build fortifications ofof the Russian Empire and now part of the Soviet Union.

An analysis of Pilsudski's actions, made against the background of the objective situation facing him, shows that it was not incompatible.

Pilsudski had started the eastward advance of the Polish armed forces in 1919, pushing back the Bolshevik forces, such that by May 1920 the Polish Army had occupied Kyiv. However, then the Red Army pushed the Polish forces all the way back to Warsaw. After the successful defence of Warsaw in August, Pilsudski led another advance of Polish forces deep into Belarus. Pilsudski had wanted to advance much further, to conquer all of Belarus and Ukraine, but the Endecja elements in the Polish Government were opposed to the eastern advance, and finally brought about a border agreement with the Soviet regime that fell considerably short of the border that Pilsudski wanted to reach (and could have reached if he had been allowed to continue his advance).

Thus, the 1921 Treaty of Riga left Pilsudski deeply frustrated, with his ambition for an eastern advance largely thwarted, factors which constributed to his decision to retire from politics in 1922.

When Pilsudski returned to power in 1926, the strategic situation had changed. Bolshevik rule in the former Russian Empire had stabilised and become firmly entrenched, and the Soviet Union was well on the way to achieving its full potential military power, which was far greater than Poland's. Furthermore, Weimar Germany was hostile to Poland and aligned with the Soviet Union, thereby denying Poland rear support. Accordingly, Pilsudski was forced to adopt a defensive posture toward the Soviet Union; that would explain the 1928 decision to fortify Poland's eastern border.

However, the decision to adopt a defensive posture does not mean that Pilsudski had entirely abandoned his ambitions for eastward expansion. Hitler's accession to power reversed the strategic situation, since Germany was now ruled by a man who shared Pilsudski's anti-Soviet views, and had ended German military cooperation with the Soviet Union.

Accordingly, the way was now open for Pilsudski to abandon the defensive posture, and resurrect his ambition for eastward expansion, in alliance with a Germany that was now intensely anti-Soviet rather than anti-Polish. That would explain Pilsudski's broad hint to Rauschning in December 1933 about the possibility of a German-Polish alliance against the Soviet Union.

As for the plans for a joint Polish-French attack on Germany, they date from the 1930s, after the death of Pilsudski, at a time when Rydz-Smigly, as the supreme head of the POlish armed forces, was moving away from the pro-German line begun by Pilsudski and continued by Beck, toward the anti-German, pro-French line expoused by Endecja and that part of the Polish officer corps derived from the former Blue Army of General Haller.
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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby henryk on 03 Jan 2011 21:17

michael mills wrote:The fact is that during and immediately after the First World War, Pilsudski had no ambition of annexing any German territory to a new independent Polish state. He envisaged that state as consisting of the former Russian Poland, which had been declared an independent kingdom by the Central Powers which had occupied it, plus territory to be taken from the disintegrating Russian and Austrian Empires. Since he envisaged that the new Polish state would include Russian terriotry on the Baltic, its access to the sea would be achieved to the east of Germany, through Lithuania.

Shortly after the armistice between Germany and the Allies came into force on 11 November 1918, and after Pilsudski was appointed Provisional Head of State of the new Polish Republic, the new Republican Government of Germany sent an emissary, Count Harry Kessler, to Warsaw to negotiate with Pilsudski on a German-Polish border agreement. Kessler suggested to Pilsudski that a Polish outlet to the sea, one of President Wilson's 14 points that Germany had accepted as the basis for a peace settlement, could be achieved without any major transfer of German territory to Poland, by granting Poland a free port in Danzig connected to Polish territory by an extra-territorial highway and railway, and/or through Memel (on the assumption that Poland would expand to incorporate Lithuania).

The available evidence suggests that Pilsudski was receptive to Kessler's suggestions, and did not want to annex German territory, since his ambitions were entirely directed toward the east. However, anti-German elements in Warsaw, associated with Endecja, began a violent agitation against Kessler's presence, and eventually Pilsudski was compelled by that pressure to ask Kessler to return to Germany without any agreement having been reached.

In December 1918, the return of Paderewski, head of the Polish Council in France, triggered the uprising in the Posen Province which was the first Polish attempt to seize parts of the territory of the German Reich. That spelled the end of Pilsudski's attempt to reach a settlement with Germany without major cessions of German territory.

Furthermore, the Polish delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, at which the future German-Polish border was determined, was dominated by Dmowski, who demanded Polish expansion to the west and north by the annexation of German territory. Although not all of Dmowski's demands were granted by the Allied and Associated Powers, the creation of the so-called Corridor through transfer of West Prussia to Poland was not something that Pilsudski supported, since he considered that it would be a source of future conflict with Germany, which would inhibit his goal of Polish expansion to the east.

Since Dmowski and Endecja knew very well that Pilsudski had been prepared at the end of 1918 to make a deal with Germany, and that he had not supported Polish annexation of German territory, they suspected that if he ever returned to power he might agree to a revision of the German-Polish border in order to wean Germany away from its "Rapallo policy" of alignment with the Soviet Union. Thus, when Pilsudski seized power in 1926, Endecja elements in the Poznan area considered seceding from Poland and forming a separate state, for fear that Pilsudski would return the former Posen province to Germany.

Do you seriously expect us to believe that Pilsudski would not demand the majority Polish populated areas of defeated Germany, particularly Poznan, the cradle of Poland?
Joseph Pilsudski: From Socialist to Autocrat
Victor Chernov
Foreign Affairs
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Oct., 1935), pp. 146-155
(article consists of 10 pages)
Published by: Council on Foreign Relations
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20030709

Named as Provisional Leader of Poland, by the Regency Council, one of his four objectives was:
to war with Germany for Poznan, Silesia, and the mouth of the Vistula River.
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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby chanakya on 03 Jan 2011 23:44

Well 1930s word of the street was that Piłsudski wanted to ally with Hitler, and the fact that Germans later put honorary watch at his tomb for entire war, tells us something about this behind-the-veil schemes. Also the opinion of many Piłsudski's supporters is, that he would have avoid catastrophe of 1939.

Had Poland joined axis, WWII could have similar outcome to WWI: with additional 55 polish divisions Third Reich would certainly knock out Russia, but would be too exhausted to withstand western allies. Poland would play role similar of Austria-Hungary in previous war. Thus war end with some new Versailles instead of Yalta? Hitler would end like Kaiser, and both Germans and Poles are happy to keep their historical cities with them, avoiding mongol fate Stalin prepared for Lwów and Breslau.
Last edited by chanakya on 04 Jan 2011 00:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Did Pilsudski plan an alliance with Hitler against Stali

Postby michael mills on 03 Jan 2011 23:53

Do you seriously expect us to believe that Pilsudski would not demand the majority Polish populated areas of defeated Germany, particularly Poznan, the cradle of Poland?


Yes.

The Poznan area was the stronghold of Endecja, Pilsudski's bitterest enemy. I am sure that he would have preferred it not to be part of the new Polish state.

For Pilsudski, the centre of the Polish state was to be the area east of the Vistula, in particular the historical Lithuania, ie the territory that Adam Mickiewicz saw as his homeland. Expanding eastward from the core of Congress Poland, which had been declared an autonomous kingdom by the central Powers, and incorporating the territories of the former Polish Commonwealth in Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus and Ukraine was for him far more important than regaining former Polish territories in the west.

And the historical fact is that Pilsudski was quite prepared to forgo any claims on German territory, in order to maintain good relations with Germany. His negotiations in late 1918 with the German envoy, Count Harry Kessler, demonstrate that. It was the Polish National Committee in France, dominated by Endecja and headed by Dmowski and Paderewski, that insisted on the annexation of German territory.
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