Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

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Futurist
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Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by Futurist » 02 May 2016 04:00

You Are the Kaiser of a Victorious Germany in World War I--Your Goal is to Make Both Latvia's and Estonia's Population German-Majority by 2016; How Exactly Do You *Successfully* Do This (*Without Any* Indecent Behavior)?

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Since I am an American who is certainly *extremely* interested in Manifest Destiny (albeit an American who obviously *strongly* dislikes what happened to the Native Americans afterwards), I felt compelled to ask this question here:

Let's say that you are the Kaiser of Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Also, let's say that you appoint strong Chancellors who are willing to push through whatever policies you prefer. In addition to this, let's say that, under your reign, Germany is more careful with naval expansion and less provocative in its foreign policy. Also, let's say that you tell your generals to focus on a long war rather than on a short war and to use Moltke the Elder's Plan for defense in the West and a limited offensive in the East rather than using the Schlieffen Plan.

Anyway, let's say that World War I still breaks out sometime in the mid-1910s in this TL due to some crisis getting out of control. However, in this TL, Germany *doesn't* invade Belgium in World War I and thus both Britain and the U.S. remain neutral in this TL's World War I (which in turn means that there is *no* British blockade of Germany during World War I in this TL). Thus, in this TL's World War I, French troops get mauled by Germany (which is purely on the defensive in the West at the start of World War I in this TL) as they try to invade Germany while the same thing happens to Russian troops in the East (as in, Germany allows Russian troops to penetrate a little into German territory before mauling them). Afterwards, Germany remains exclusively on the defensive in the West while slowly and gradually beginning to advance deeper and deeper into Russian territory. (Also, for the record, during this TL's World War I, you keep ambitious German generals such as Hindenburg and Ludendorff at arm's length in order to prevent them from seizing too much power.) After three or four years of warfare, Russia cracks, descends into revolution, and capitulates to Germany. Afterwards, Germany is able to launch an *extremely* massive offensive in the West and to quickly defeat and overwhelm France, thus making France capitulate to Germany as well. (Indeed, the lack of British and American manpower to help the Franco-Russians in this TL makes an eventual Franco-Russian defeat in this TL's World War I virtually inevitable, in my honest opinion.)

In the post-World War I peace treaty in this TL, Germany acquires resource-rich Briey and Longwy as well as the rest of Lorraine and some French colonies from France. Meanwhile, Germany acquires Poland, *all* of the Baltic states, and *maybe* Ukraine, the Caucasus, and/or (probably *much* less likely) Central Asia from Russia in this peace treaty. In addition to this, both France and Russia are forced to have permanent limitations on the size of their militaries as well as to pay *extremely* large amounts of reparations to Germany for the next several decades.

Anyway, you are now the Kaiser of a victorious Germany in World War I. In addition to this, by this point in time, you have become fascinated by the U.S.'s 19th century settlement and territorial expansion in the form of Manifest Destiny. Thus, you want to implement a German version of Manifest Destiny in Latvia and Estonia (due to their relatively low population density and centuries-long history of German rule and German domination) and want to make both Latvia and Estonia have an ethnically-German majority population (and preferably a *large* majority) by 2016 (but preferably as early as possible). Also, since you are a decent Kaiser, you certainly *don't* want to resort to *any* Nazi-like tactics such as genocide, ethnic cleansing(s), and expulsion(s) in order to achieve this goal of yours.

Anyway, how exactly do you *successfully* accomplish this task? Also, for the record, just like in our TL in 1918, the ethnically German nobility of Latvia and Estonia (the Baltic Barons) have offered to help you out in regards to this by offering to donate one-third of their total lands and estates so that these lands can be used for ethnic German settlement.

In addition to this, though, I would like to point out that the German people might be (or become) hungry for change, democratization, and liberalization after the end of this TL's World War I. Thus, your and your descendants autocratic power certainly *isn't* going to last forever. In turn, this means that you are going to need to initiate a process of large-scale ethnic German settlement and colonization in Latvia and Estonia (and, if you want, in other areas such as Lithuania as well) which *isn't* going to be either stopped or reversed after you will lose most of your powers (and/or after you will die, if the autocratic system in Germany will outlive you).

Indeed, any thoughts on how exactly you should *successfully* accomplish your goal of making both Latvia and Estonia have an ethnic German-majority population (and preferably a *large* ethnic German-majority population) by 2016 (but preferably as early as possible)?

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by pugsville » 02 May 2016 07:53

1/ The german Empire was badly run, the idea that extremely difficult, sensitive, challenging policies could be undertaken both externally and internally is pretty highly dubious. the leadership required is simply lacked for any sort of decent, nuanced and effective long term policy, the various parts of the governance structure did not work together. the kaiser has rather limited power.

2/ when challenged by dissent the first instinct of the German Empire was brutal repression. the Idea that German rule either in the west or east could win over significant numbers of the local population is just not going to happen.

3/ demographics. with the German population moving west in general and urbanising seeking a higher standard of living was well under way, and those not heading west headed across the seas to the USA. turning this around would be extremely difficult.

4/ peace treaty you can write whatever you like but you cannot enforce it. enforcement in the east would require large scale deployment of millions of troops which simply would not pay for itself. much like France after ww1, germans defaults, France occupies and faces passive resistance and an occupation that is very expensive, unpopular at home, aboard and extremely so where it is occupying.

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by Futurist » 02 May 2016 08:58

pugsville wrote:1/ The german Empire was badly run, the idea that extremely difficult, sensitive, challenging policies could be undertaken both externally and internally is pretty highly dubious. the leadership required is simply lacked for any sort of decent, nuanced and effective long term policy, the various parts of the governance structure did not work together.
How exactly does one try fixing this, though?
the kaiser has rather limited power.
What about the Kaiser having the Chancellor twist some hands in the German Reichstag in order to try getting what he wants, though?
2/ when challenged by dissent the first instinct of the German Empire was brutal repression. the Idea that German rule either in the west or east could win over significant numbers of the local population is just not going to happen.
Yes, the German Empire certainly had some repressive tendencies. However, the German Empire was also surprisingly tolerant in certain ways--such as by allowing Alsatian and Polish separatists to campaign (and win seats) in German Reichstag elections. (Indeed, this is certainly extremely different from Nazi Germany's or the Soviet Union's one-party system.)
3/ demographics. with the German population moving west in general
Yes--the Ostflucht.
and urbanising seeking a higher standard of living was well under way,
Yes; correct! However, cities in eastern Germany such as Konigsberg and Danzig also saw significant increases in their populations between 1871 and 1910. :) Indeed, urbanization was also a process that occurred in the eastern parts of Germany. :)
and those not heading west headed across the seas to the USA.
Or to Canada. Or to Brazil. Et cetera.
turning this around would be extremely difficult.
What about giving ethnic Germans (whether from Germany or from Austria-Hungary or from Russia) free land if they will agree to move to and to settle in Latvia/Estonia, though? Indeed, the donated land from the Baltic Barons will ensure that the German government will not have to spend its own money purchasing this land. :)
4/ peace treaty you can write whatever you like but you cannot enforce it. enforcement in the east would require large scale deployment of millions of troops which simply would not pay for itself.
What about limiting Germany's territorial gains in Eastern Europe to Poland and all of the Baltic states, though?
much like France after ww1, germans defaults, France occupies and faces passive resistance and an occupation that is very expensive, unpopular at home, aboard and extremely so where it is occupying.
Would this have still been the case if Germany's post-World War I territorial gains would have been relatively limited, though?
Last edited by Futurist on 02 May 2016 21:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by Futurist » 02 May 2016 08:59

Also, out of curiosity--exactly how expensive was land (as in, purchasing some land) in the eastern parts of Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries?

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by wm » 02 May 2016 12:35

The land wasn't a problem. The problem was it wasn't some kind of German Wild West. Agriculture was highly developed there, mainly because the soil was poor, and a great deal of competitive pressure from Russia and the US existed all the time.
A loser with a hoe in his hand wouldn't survive there. It was a highly competitive environment, a place for professionals with an access to capital, newest agricultural machinery, and modern agricultural knowledge.

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by pugsville » 02 May 2016 20:50

The problem of Government and administration was there was very little, everything was a separate institution, the army, the railways, the foreign affairs department, they didnt talk or act together, the ministers did not really meet (there was no cabinet) or work together. The Various minsters could and did follow contradictory polices, the left hand had no idea what the right was doing. Politics did not attract talent.

The Reichstag was not very important, and mostly ignored, powerless, that is why they did not care who ran or was elected. Reichstag could not make policy. Imperial Germany had a by and large powerless show parliament incapable of influencing policy (yes it could obstruct budgets but with the military budgets funded for years almost all of the speeding was already guaranteed), and without any power the administration could and did govern without parliament

It's pretty unheard of for urban populations to leave the cities and move to the countryside, German's were rejecting agriculture besides if you depopulated the cities the economy and industrialization would falter. Germany was short of workers and was importing workers to work in the mines and farms. The German rapid rise of industry sucked in a lot of population from the countryside.

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by Futurist » 02 May 2016 22:03

pugsville wrote:The problem of Government and administration was there was very little, everything was a separate institution, the army, the railways, the foreign affairs department, they didnt talk or act together, the ministers did not really meet (there was no cabinet) or work together. The Various minsters could and did follow contradictory polices, the left hand had no idea what the right was doing. Politics did not attract talent.
How exactly does one try fixing this, though? By creating a German Cabinet and by having one's Chancellor try reigning everybody in and putting everybody in line?
The Reichstag was not very important, and mostly ignored, powerless, that is why they did not care who ran or was elected. Reichstag could not make policy. Imperial Germany had a by and large powerless show parliament incapable of influencing policy (yes it could obstruct budgets but with the military budgets funded for years almost all of the speeding was already guaranteed), and without any power the administration could and did govern without parliament
Yes, I think that this is correct. However, the very fact that the Imperial German government allowed separatists to participate in Reichstag elections is certainly very impressive in itself. :)
It's pretty unheard of for urban populations to leave the cities and move to the countryside,
I was talking about rural ethnic Germans (from Germany--where about 40% of the population was still living in rural areas in 1914--as well as from Russia and/or from Austria-Hungary) moving to rural areas in both Latvia and Estonia here, though.
German's were rejecting agriculture
Yes, but this rejection took time--specifically decades.

Plus, there certainly is the option having ethnic Germans settle in cities in Latvia and Estonia. :)
besides if you depopulated the cities the economy and industrialization would falter.
Yes, but I certainly wasn't talking about depopulating the cities here. :)
Germany was short of workers and was importing workers to work in the mines and farms. The German rapid rise of industry sucked in a lot of population from the countryside.
Yes; correct! However, what about having Germany implement large-scale industrialization in both Latvia and Estonia?

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by Futurist » 03 May 2016 07:54

wm wrote:The land wasn't a problem. The problem was it wasn't some kind of German Wild West. Agriculture was highly developed there, mainly because the soil was poor, and a great deal of competitive pressure from Russia and the US existed all the time.
So, to clarify--due to the better soil and less developed agriculture in the 19th century U.S., the U.S. experienced less competitive pressure in regards to agriculture than Imperial Germany did, correct?
A loser with a hoe in his hand wouldn't survive there. It was a highly competitive environment, a place for professionals with an access to capital, newest agricultural machinery, and modern agricultural knowledge.
OK. Also, though, to clarify--this certainly wasn't true for the 19th century U.S., correct?

In addition to this, though, out of curiosity--agriculture in the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) was likewise highly developed because the soil was poor and likewise faced a lot of competitive pressure from Russia and the U.S., correct?

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by Futurist » 03 May 2016 08:09

Also, do you think that this map is accurate, wm? :

Image

After all, if this map is accurate, then this map certainly appears to help get your point across. :)

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by Futurist » 04 May 2016 00:12

In addition to this, out of curiosity--if a victorious Imperial Germany would have allowed both Latvians and Estonians (well, all of the law-abiding ones) to immigrate to Germany proper without any restrictions (and with an eventual path to citizenship), how many Latvians and Estonians do you think would have actually chosen to immigrate to Germany proper over the next century (as in, from the late 1910s to the late 2010s)? Several hundred thousand? Less than that?

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by Futurist » 08 May 2016 08:43

Futurist wrote:In addition to this, out of curiosity--if a victorious Imperial Germany would have allowed both Latvians and Estonians (well, all of the law-abiding ones) to immigrate to Germany proper without any restrictions (and with an eventual path to citizenship), how many Latvians and Estonians do you think would have actually chosen to immigrate to Germany proper over the next century (as in, from the late 1910s to the late 2010s)? Several hundred thousand? Less than that?
Thoughts on this?

Anyone?

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 24 May 2016 23:26

wm wrote:The land wasn't a problem. The problem was it wasn't some kind of German Wild West. Agriculture was highly developed there, mainly because the soil was poor, and a great deal of competitive pressure from Russia and the US existed all the time.
So, to clarify--due to the better soil and less developed agriculture in the 19th century U.S., the U.S. experienced less competitive pressure in regards to agriculture than Imperial Germany did, correct?
A loser with a hoe in his hand wouldn't survive there. It was a highly competitive environment, a place for professionals with an access to capital, newest agricultural machinery, and modern agricultural knowledge.
Futurist wrote:OK. Also, though, to clarify--this certainly wasn't true for the 19th century U.S., correct?
A lot of the farm 'settlers' of the US frontier ended in poverty or dying. They were not prepared with the skills or capitol to establish paying farms. Aportion dragged on for generations on what amounted to subsistance farms, until one generation or another gave up and joined the migration to the cities.

Perhaps had the Germans brought capitol for enhanced mechanization, and funded A & M style schools, they might have become influential in the Baltic states & some German migration followed. Tax and economic policy could help & if that can make Germanies cities the best market for the Baltics agriculture then the business and cultural ties would strengthen.

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by Futurist » 02 Jun 2016 10:22

Carl Schwamberger wrote:A lot of the farm 'settlers' of the US frontier ended in poverty or dying. They were not prepared with the skills or capitol to establish paying farms. Aportion dragged on for generations on what amounted to subsistance farms, until one generation or another gave up and joined the migration to the cities.
Do you have a source for all of this information, please?
Perhaps had the Germans brought capitol for enhanced mechanization, and funded A & M style schools, they might have become influential in the Baltic states & some German migration followed.
OK. Also, though, how much ethnic German migration are we talking about here?

In addition to this, though, could this result in large-scale prosperity in the Baltic states and thus result in greater loyalty towards Germany among the various Baltic peoples?
Tax and economic policy could help & if that can make Germanies cities the best market for the Baltics agriculture then the business and cultural ties would strengthen.
OK. :)

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 07 Jun 2016 03:33

For the pioneer death causes you can sort though a wide variety of frontier histories. The properly researched stuff is at variance with the Hollywood or TV version. Cant recall the title or author now, but back in the 1980s there was a book that included a study of the letters and diaries of the migrants who traveled the Oregon trail. Those had frequent descriptions of accidental gunshot wounds and deaths during the journey, something you never seen in the popular version. My mother continued a family history study her brother started. Looking it over the Irish side of the family left a trail across Ohio & Indiana of sucessive small farms possesed for just a few years, liens and debt judgements recorded in the county courts, and cemetaries full of childrens graves and relatively young adults. Those who took refuge in the new towns and embryonic cities seem to have done a lot better. The Brewer, Shaw, & McGee antecedents to myself dont show much for a century of farming effort.

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Re: Germanizing Latvia and Estonia

Post by Futurist » 02 Sep 2016 14:24

Carl Schwamberger wrote:For the pioneer death causes you can sort though a wide variety of frontier histories. The properly researched stuff is at variance with the Hollywood or TV version. Cant recall the title or author now, but back in the 1980s there was a book that included a study of the letters and diaries of the migrants who traveled the Oregon trail. Those had frequent descriptions of accidental gunshot wounds and deaths during the journey, something you never seen in the popular version. My mother continued a family history study her brother started. Looking it over the Irish side of the family left a trail across Ohio & Indiana of sucessive small farms possesed for just a few years, liens and debt judgements recorded in the county courts, and cemetaries full of childrens graves and relatively young adults. Those who took refuge in the new towns and embryonic cities seem to have done a lot better. The Brewer, Shaw, & McGee antecedents to myself dont show much for a century of farming effort.
Thank you very much for all of this information, Carl! :)

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