Plebiscites were ordered to be held in East Prussia and Upper Silesia to determine their respective national allegiances. East Prussia voted in 1920 to remain German.
The Mazurs - unlike native Prussians - did not undergo Germanization (vast majority of native Prussians were Germanized until the end of 17th century) and retained their Polish language and customs. But they did not retain Catholic religion - vast majority of all Mazurs were Lutherans in 19th century. Due to progressing German pressure and persecution of Poles in East Prussia in 19th century - especially during the times of Bismarck and his "Kulturkampf" - Mazurzy tried to defend and protect their distinguishing characteristic - at first as regional community, later also as part of the Polish nation. Since 1842 Polish newspapers were being published in East Prussia - like for example "Przyjaciel Ludu Łecki" or "Mazur". At the end of 19th century Polish political activists concentrated mainly around "Gazeta Ludowa" newspaper and Mazurska Partia Ludowa (MPL) political party. In 1910 Mazurski Bank Ludowy bank was founded. After the First World War Mazurski Komitet Plebiscytowy and Mazurski Związek Ludowy were managing the action of incorporating Mazury (so southern part of East Prussia) to the state of Poland.
In the interwar era many Polish organizations existed in Mazury. For example between 1923 and 1928 - Zjednoczenie Mazurskie (The Mazurian Federation) with head office in the town of Szczytno. Many Mazurian activists were members of the Związek Polaków w Prusach Wschodnich (Association of Poles in East Prussia) and together with members of this association joined the Związek Polaków w Niemczech (Association of Poles in Germany) in 1922.
Persecutions of Polish activists intensified in years 1928 - 1932 and after Hitler came to power. During the Second World War many Mazurians were imprisoned or murdered by the Nazis in prisons or concentration camps.
Mazury were captured by the Red Army in January and February of 1945 and incorporated by Joseph Stalin to the People's Republic of Poland. But new communist authorities were treating Mazurians almost as bad as Germans and Volksdeutche, and as the result of this policy many of them departed from Polish national identity and Polish customs, or decided to emigrate / escape to the United States of America.
By the way, building a connection that Masowien and Masuren are simply the same is really funny
However, it is historically questionable to claim that the Masurian peasants settled in the lands now ruled by the Teutonic Order of the Knights of the Cross were a part of a Polish nation, since at that time a Polish nation did not exist;
That fact is reflected in nomenclature; the name "Polska" was traditionally applied to what is now Western Poland (Wielkopolska) centred on Poznan, and to current Southern Poland (Malopolska) centred on Krakow, but current North-eastern Poland, centred on Warsaw, was traditionally called "Mazowsze".
was traditionally called "Mazowsze", indicating a separate entity from "Polska".
They came from Mazovia, a land that at that time was not part of the Polish state, but later was absorbed by it.
Domen123 wrote:Political history of Poland during the 13th century:
13th century was one of the most difficult times in Polish history. The century beginned with a bloody period of internal combats for inheritance of died - or poisoned, circumstances of his death aren't fully clear - on 5th of May 1194 princeps and commonly acknowledged supreme ruler of Poland, Casimir Sprawiedliwy. Only after the death of Sprawiedliwy order of excercising power in Poland established by the testimony of Boleslav Krzywousty - although there had been some spins before - entered the first period of deep crisis. After the death of Casimir his juvenile son - Leszek Bialy - was chosen for the ruler of Poland. Uncle of Leszek, Mieszko Stary, didn't like this fact. Mieszko, who once had been forced to obey the princeps yet by Casimir Sprawiedliwy, decided to seize power once again. Rules of juvenile Leszek - de facto his mother, princess Helen - didn't take fancy of supporters of senioral duke's strong rules over the country, such as power exercised by Casimir until his death. On 13th of September 1195 the bloody, fratricidal battle of Mozgawa took place. Forces of Leszek, commanded by Cracow's voivode Mikolaj Gryfita and supported by reinforcements of Casimir's protege, duke of Halych Roman - faced the army of Mieszko and his followers. The battle - in spite of being inconclusive - shattered Mieszko's hopes for becoming the ruler, which doesn't mean, however, that it ended the civil war. In 1198 mother of Leszek concluded an agreement with Mieszko, on the strength of which he was to take over regency power in Cracow on behalf of juvenile Leszek. But in 1199, when Leszek reached a grown-up age, Mieszko didn't even consider giving back power. Simultaneously Leszek was involved in helping his faithful ally - Roman - in Halych-Wolhynia, so he couldn't counteract against impudence of his uncle. In Anno Domini 1200 the agreement was prolonged in return for some territorial concessions made by Meszko to Leszek and his mother. Fortunately for Leszek, in 1202 Mieszko Stary, at the age of 81, died. Soon after that Leszek, despite animosity of some part of magnatery, managed to capture Krakow - partially by force and partially thanks to support of influential bishop Pelka. It didn't bring internal conflicts to an end, however - some part of dukes, led by Wladyslaw Laskonogi, duke of Greater Poland, didn't recognize the position of Leszek as the senioral duke. Laskonogi even managed to sway the most faithful of Leszek's allies - Roman, duke of Halych-Wolhynia. But Roman was defeated and lost his live in the battle of Zawichost in 1205. Dispute between Leszek and Wladyslaw lasted until 1218, when old and still childless Wladyslaw entered into an alliance with Leszek and concluded an agreement for survival with him, which in fact meant acknowledging Leszek's supreme authority. In 1218 Leszek, having papal support, started to address himself "Dux Polonie". His supreme rule over the whole country was finally accepted - during the convention in Dankowo - by all other dukes. Crisis of power in Poland was averted. Also in 1218 Leszek established his own governor - Swietopelk - in Pomerelia. In years 1222 - 1223 Leszek organized and led Polish crusades against pagan Prussians - without any major successes. In 1225 - induced by fiasco of Leszek's forces in Prussia - Henryk Brodaty, duke of Silesia, dared to rebel against him. Soon his forces were encircled by Leszek's army near the river Dlubnia and Henryk once again acknowledged domination of Leszek. It still wanted an agreement of two dukes - Wladyslaw Odonic and his uncle, Wladyslaw Laskonogi - to achieve a full harmony in the country. Leszek decided to settle their argument, that's why he called all the Polish dukes together to Gasawa in 1227. Unfortunately - during this meeting Leszek was brutally murdered by followers of Odonic and governor of Pomerelia, Swietopelk, who had started to conspire against Leszek jointly with Odonic. They also tried to murder Henryk, but he managed to escape.
After the death of Leszek everyone agreed that it was his son - Boleslaw - who should come into power in the country. However, Boleslaw was still a child, that's why he couldn't exercise power by himself. And so arguments for who should adopt Boleslaw and thereby seize factual power in the state started. Two dukes demanded taking care of Leszek's son. Wladyslaw Laskonogi - who had concluded an agreement for survival with Leszek before - and Leszek's brother, Konrad Mazowiecki - duke of Mazovia. Another civil war started. Wladyslaw Laskonogi was supported by Silesian duke, Henryk Brodaty. It was him whom Wladyslaw entrusted with regency in Cracow, when he was pursuing combats against already weakening followers of Odonic in Greater Poland. Konrad Mazowiecki struck towards Cracow in the Summer of 1228, but he suffered a painful defeat in the battle of Skala. Yet during the following year Konrad took revenge, capturing part of Laskonogi's lands. Laskonogi died in 1231, before his death passing on power in all of his lands to Henryk Brodaty. At the same time Brodaty was exercising protective power over juvenile Leszek's son Boleslaw, who was for the moment residing in Sandomir. The war of lonely Brodaty against Konrad was still in progress. In 1232 Henryk managed to regain most of lands conquered by Konrad in 1229. Hostility lasted still, however - even though the fact that Henryk managed to subordinate almost the whole Poland to himself, with exception of Pomerelia ruled by Swietopelk and lands controlled by Konrad. In 1238 Henryk Brodaty died, and his son - Henryk Pobozny - came into power in Poland. Pobozny during his short rules managed to finally appease any remaining internal conflicts in Poland and yet in 1239 he even entered into an alliance with Konrad Mazowiacki. But all of those efforts laid in ruins after the Mongols invaded Poland in 1241, killing Henryk and crushing his army during the famous battle of Legnica on 9th of April 1241.
After the death of prince Henryk Pobozny senioral duke's position in Poland completely collapsed. Konrad Mazowiecki once again tried to gain power and managed to capture Cracow. As early as in 1243 Boleslaw V - Leszek's son - recaptured the city, but he didn't manage to restore such an importance and such a position of the senioral duke in Poland like Kazimierz Sprawiedliwy, Leszek Bialy during the final years of his rules, or even Henryk Pobozny had. Bolesław was not only conflicted with Konrad Mazowiecki, but also with the duke of Opole. Ties of some provinces of Poland with the others loosened considerably after 1241. Pomerelia came away already in 1227, when Swietopelk rebelled, murdered his superior in Gasawa and declared himself as an independent duke, thereby disconnecting Pomerelia from the rest of Poland. Silesian dukes were still formally subordinated to the rule of senioral duke in Cracow, but his influence there was in fact delusive considering the deepening fragmentation of Silesia and the increasing number of duchies. Not to mention that Boleslaw was conflicted with one of these dukes - duke of Opole. At the same time, however, Boleslaw V had got several allies - the best and the strongest of them was Przemysl I, duke of Greater Poland. Political fragmentation had undermined country's defense capabilities. In 1259 Mongols together with Ruthenians once again invaded Poland - this time only Lesser Poland fell victim to their attack - Lublin, Sandomir and Cracow were captured and plundered. Boleslaw took refuge in the duchy of his ally, duke of Sieradz - Leszek Czarny - and returned to Lesser Poland one year later, in 1260. In the period 1265 - 1265 Boleslaw V was at war with Ruthenians supported by Lithuanians, who were carrying out invasions of his lands. It ended with Boleslaw's victory in the battle of Wrota in 1266. In 1273 and in 1278 once again Lithuanian invasions of Lubelszczyzna took place - they were finally defeated during the battle of Lukow in 1278, which terminated their attacks. After the death of Boleslaw in 1279, Leszek Czarny became the ruler of Lesser Poland. His rule was filled up with victorious but dearly payed border wars with Halych-Wolhynia supported by Mongols, Lithuanians and Yotvingians. These invaders were consecutively defeated in the series of battles near Gozlice, Lopienniki, at the river Narew and near Rowiny. In years 1287 - 1288 Mongols once again organized a huge invasion of Poland, but this time they didn't manage to capture any significant city or castle. Leszek filled castles and cities with strong garrisons and avoided an open-field confrontation. Finally Mongols had to retreat. Leszek Czarny died on 30th of September 1288, leaving no descendants. Once again bloody struggles for the throne of Cracow were unleashed, this time by dukes of Mazovia and Cuiavia on one side and dukes of Silesia led by Henryk IV Prawy on the opposite side. Silesian dukes suffered a devastating military defeat during the battle of Siewierz on 26th of February 1289. Then the duke of Cuiavia, Wladyslaw Lokietek, hammered Henryk's forces two more times, near Skala and near Swiecice. But despite all those lost battles, it was ruler of the duchy of Wroclaw - Henryk - who turned out to be the victor of that war. Yet in 1289 Henryk captured Cracow, but he didn't manage to chase out Lokietek from Sandomir. Being so close to achieving the goal of his life, Henryk IV Probus died in 1290, still being childless.
In his testimony Henryk IV Prawy transferred control over Lesser Poland to Przemysl II, duke of Greater Poland. Simultaneously in mid and late 80s Przemysl concluded two agreements for survival and a trilateral alliance against every enemy with Pomerelian duke Msciwoj II and Pomeranian duke Boguslaw IV. At the same time Bohemian king, Waclaw II, entered the rivalry for Polish crown. Soon after declaring his candidature, Waclaw was widely supported by Lesser Poland elites and also by inhabitants of towns and cities. Waclaw, benefitting from support of inhabitants of Cracow and the presence of Przemysl in Greater Poland, quickly entered Cracow with his forces. Przemysl decided to give away Lesser Poland without combat. He resolved to realize his coronation plans in Greater Poland. In the meantime Przemysl considerably strengthened his position among other dukes - he entered into an alliance with Henryk III Glogowski, ruler of the majority of Silesia and in 1294 - after the death of Msciwoj II - according to the agreement for survival he became the ruler of Pomerelia. Przemysl found himself strong enough to become the factual restaurateur of the old, united Kingdom of Poland. On Sunday of 26th of June 1295 - after 219 years since the previous coronation of Polish ruler - coronation of Przemysl II of Greater Poland for the king of Poland and his wife - Malgorzata - for the queen of Poland took place in the cathedral in Gniezno. Ceremony was conducted, with papal consent, by archbishop Jakub Swinka. However Bohemians - whose king was also the ruler of Lesser Poland - acknowledged Przemysl II in their chronicles as just "the king of the town of Kalisz". Although coronation of Przemysl didn't have any major political importance, it had got huge ideological and propaganda undertone. Finally Przemysl managed to implement what so many Piast dukes of feudally fragmented Poland didn't manage to achieve - resurrect the kingdom and its emblem.
Symbol of the Kingdom of Poland - since the times of Przemysl II:
But the possibility of enjoying his royal crown for a long time wasn't given to Przemysl. Neighbours of Poland didn't like the growth of its might. On 8th of February 1296 assasins hired by the German Margraviate of Brandeburg kidnapped and then murdered the king of Poland. The result of this move was exactly opposite to the expected - it caused indignation among other Polish dukes and provided a pretext for many of them to compete for the heritage of Przemysl II and for his crown. Duke Wladyslaw Lokietek seized power in former Przemysl's lands - Greater Poland and Pomerelia. Also Waclaw managed to find a pretext to enter the competition for the title of Polish king, especially that he was the ruler of the most important province and the capital city of the whole state - Cracow. Furthermore, in years 1289 - 1292 Waclaw subordinated part of Silesia and the whole Land of Sandomir to his rule - duke Wladyslaw Lokietek was forced to recognize his supreme power. In 1297 Waclaw crowned himself for the king of Bohemia, which strengthened his position not only in Bohemia but also - or even especially - in Poland, as a candidate for the crown of the Kingdom of Poland. In 1299 he demanded the lands inherited by Wladyslaw Lokietek from the deceased Przemysl. Lokietek however didn't intend to give away these lands to his superior, that's why Waclaw banished the insubordinate duke from the country by force. In Anno Domini 1300 Waclaw got engaged with the juvenile daughter of the deceased king - Elizabeth Ryksa - and was crowned for the king of Poland by archbishop Jakub Swinka in the cathedral in Gniezno. He was then the ruler of all Polish lands, except major part of Silesia and the whole Mazovia. But yet in 1301, after the death of duke Bolko I, Waclaw assumed regency power over the whole Silesia except the Duchy of Glogow ruled by Henryk III Glogowski, attitude of whom towards Waclaw was quite friendly at the beginning. Two years later - in 1303, when Elizabeth Ryksa reached a grown-up age, he married her and she was crowned for the queen of Poland and Bohemia. This is how the period of feudal fragmentation in Poland ended, Waclaw II managed to reunite the whole country under his rule during just 10 years, but it wouldn't be possible without all of those deeds done by Przemysl II.
Kingdom of Poland and its neighbours at the beginning of 14th century - Anno Domini 1301:
Population density and number of inhabitants of towns and cities can be seen as well as major rivers, major primeval forests and major swamps. Red point means over 30 people per 1 square km - area around the town of Wislica:
Provinces of the Kingdom of Poland in 1301:
1 - Greater Poland
7 - Pomerelia
2 - Land of Lublin
2a - Land of Sandomir
K - Land of Cracow
6 - Silesia (without the duchy of Glogow)
The religious adherence of the Masurians created a barrier between them and the Catholic population of Poland.
Today there are in Poland many persons who were formerly German citizens, or are decendants of German citizens, who are once again claiming German ethnicity, in order to be able to go and live in rich Germany rather than staty in relatively poor Poland.
were not subject to persecution in Germany in the 1930s provided they remained loyal to the State.
When the Duchy of Prussia united with the Electorate of Brandenburg under a Hohenzollern ruler, forming a state that became the Kingdom of Prussia at the beginning of the 18th Century, the Masurians remained loyal subjects of the Prussian King, and finally, in 1871, of the German Emperor.
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