Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

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henryk
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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by henryk » 08 Jan 2019 20:51

wm wrote:
08 Jan 2019 15:34
Basically, all the Empires were promising Polish independence/autonomy since the day one (on the territory of their enemy of course); the Germans, the Tsar, Kerensky, the Bolsheviks - mostly because they needed Polish cannon-fodder and because promises were cheap.

Actually, the most promising, and the foundation of the future Polish state was the created by the Germans in 1917 Kingdom of Poland.
Really!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_o ... %931918%29
Kingdom of Poland (1917–1918)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Kingdom of Poland (Polish: Królestwo Polskie), also known informally as the Regency Kingdom of Poland (Polish: Królestwo Regencyjne), was a proposed puppet state of the German Empire during World War I.[1][2] The decision to propose the restoration of Poland after a century of partitions was taken up by the German policymakers in an attempt to legitimize further imperial omnipresence in the occupied territories. The plan was followed by the German propaganda pamphlet campaign delivered to the Poles in 1915, claiming that the German soldiers were arriving as liberators to free Poland from subjugation by Russia.[3]

A draft constitution was proposed in 1917.[4] The German government used punitive threats to force Polish landowners living in the German-occupied Baltic states to relocate and sell their Baltic property to the Germans in exchange for the entry to Poland. Parallel efforts were made to remove Poles from Polish territories of the Prussian Partition.[5]

Early plans
Before the onset of war in 1914, for the purposes of securing Germany's eastern border against the Russian imperial army, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, the German chancellor, decided on the annexation of a specific strip of land from Congress Poland, known later on as the Polish Border Strip. In order to avoid adding the Polish population there to the population of imperial Germany, it was proposed that the Poles would be moved to a proposed new Polish state further east, while the strip would be resettled with the Germans.[6]

As World War I started, the German Emperor William II conceived of creating a dependent Polish state from territory conquered from Russia, since the majority of all Poles had lived in the area ever since the nation vanished from the European maps, after the three splittings of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772-1795. This putative Polish kingdom, of limited autonomy, would be ruled by a German prince and have its military, transportation and economy controlled by Germany. Its army and railway network would be placed under Prussian command.[1]

During the first year of the war, German and Austrian troops quickly conquered the Russian Vistula Land, the former Congress Poland, and in 1915, divided its administration between a German Governor General in Warsaw and an Austrian counterpart in Lublin.[1]

Rather than focusing on mineral and industrial resources, the purpose of eastern expansion was to strengthen German agriculture, expand Junker holdings and acquire large settlement areas for the German farmers and settlers. In this way, the German leadership hoped both to appease the Junker elites and, at the same time, ease the class conflicts in its rural areas. In addition, the confiscation of fertile territories was seen as one way of gaining war reparations from Russia.[7]

German aims
During the German military campaign in the ethnically Polish territory, Poles were subjected to forced labour and confiscation of food and private property. [16] Although early plans called for Austro-Polish solution, they were abandoned by the German Chancellor in February 1916 in the face of growing dependence of Austria-Hungary on Germany.[17] Both control over Polish economy and raw resources was to be in Germany's hands and Germany would also be in total control over the Polish army.

The borders of this "autonomous" Poland were to be changed in favour of Germany with annexation of the so-called "Polish Border Strip" which would lead to the annexation of considerable parts of Polish territory which had been part of the Russian partition of Poland. By the end of 1916 Germany wanted to annex almost 30,000 square kilometres of Polish territory. These lands were to be settled by ethnic Germans, while the Polish and Jewish population was to be removed.[18]

After the expected victory the Polish economy was to be dominated by Germany and preparations were made for German control over the Polish railway system, shipping in the Vistula and industrial areas in Dąbrowa basin, Radom and Kielce.[19]

Such plans were also proposed by members of German minority in Poland in the area of Łódź, who protested the Act of November 5, and in a letter to the German government demanded the annexation of western Poland by Germany and settlement of ethnic Germans in those areas.[20]

Proclamation promising creation of Poland
After the German offensive failed in the Battle of Verdun and Austria suffered military setbacks against Italy, Generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff, now supreme commanders of the German military and increasingly the dominant force over the politics of both Germany and Austria, changed their positions on Poland: having previously considered Poland as a bargaining card in the event of a separate peace with Russia, they now postulated the establishment of a German dependency, hoping that the creation of a Polish army could replace the Central Powers' losses.
In October 1916, at joint deliberations at Pszczyna, the German and Austrian leadership agreed to accelerate the proclamation promising creation of a Polish state in the future.[1]

In the meantime, General von Beseler had managed to gain support among pro-Austrian Poles and the followers of Józef Piłsudski. The Narodowa Demokracja party (centred in Paris), however, rejected any cooperation with the Central Powers. After the German Emperor and Chancellor met with a Polish delegation led by Józef Brudziński, the final details were arranged. On November 5, 1916, Governor von Beseler at Warsaw issued an Act of November 5, in which he promised that a Polish state would be created, without specifying any future Polish ruler, Polish borders or system of governance and, for the first time since 1831, had the Royal Castle decorated with Polish flags. The Austrian Governor-General Kuk issued a similar proclamation at Lublin. A pro-German faction led by Władysław Studnicki existed but didn't gain any significant backing among Polish population.

Immediately after the proclamation, the German governor-general in Warsaw issued an advertisement for military recruitment, resulting in Polish protests which especially decried the absence of a Polish government.

Council of State
On 14 January 1917, a Provisional Council of State (Polish: Tymczasowa Rada Stanu) was established as a provisional government, consisting of fifteen members chosen by the German and ten by the Austrian authorities. The magnate Waclaw Niemojowski was appointed Crown Marshal, with Józef Mikułowski-Pomorski acting as his deputy. Franciszek Pius Radziwiłł and Józef Piłsudski were put in charge of the Military Commission. The Council's first proclamation espoused monarchical government, Poland's expansion towards the east and supported an army of volunteers. A National Council served as a provisional parliament. The Councillors insisted on actual Polish autonomy and, on 21 April, were given authority over education, law courts and propaganda. Still, students were dissatisfied with the extent of autonomy and organised a strike on 3 May, resulting in the temporary closing of all universities.

Oath crisis
In December 1916, a brigade of Polish legions under Stanisław Szeptycki moved into Warsaw to form the officer corps of the new Polish army.

On 21 April, the Council of State had passed a proclamation in favor of the Polish army (German: Polnische Wehrmacht) and appointed Colonel Sikorski to oversee recruitment. The relationship between the Central Powers and the Polish legions became increasingly difficult, especially after the powers barred Austrian subjects from the Legions (now called the Polish auxiliary corps, Polski Korpus Posilkowy), aiming to divert them into the regular Austrian army. Piłsudski had abstained from the vote on the Polish army, and on 2 July resigned together with two left-wing State Councillors. The new army's oath drafted by the governors-general and passed by the Council of State resulted in a political crisis, especially since it was directed to an unspecified "future king" and emphasized the alliance with Germany and Austria. Several legionaries refused to take the oath and were arrested, prompting General von Beseler to arrest Piłsudski, his associate Kazimierz Sosnkowski, and have them confined in Germany. In August, the remains of the Legions, roughly ten thousand soldiers, were transferred to the Eastern front. Crown Marshall Niemojowski resigned on 6 August and the Council disbanded on 25 August.

"Regency" constitution
Administration, however, strictly remained in the hands of German authorities, now headed by Otto von Steinmeister. In March 1918, a resolution of the German Reichstag called for the establishment of a native civil administration in Poland, Kurland and Lithuania. However, the German authorities refused to transfer administration to Polish authorities and merely considered Poles as candidates to be trained under German supervision.

After the oath crisis of 1917, recruitment to the Polish army had received scant support and achieved negligible results, reaching merely 5,000 men. In May 1918, the force was strengthened by General Józef Dowbór-Muśnicki moving his Polish corps — assembled from the former Tsarist army — to Poland. In August, the legionaries arrested for refusing the oath were released and some again volunteered for the Polish army.

End of the German plans
After Germany's 1918 Spring Offensive had failed to win the war on the Western front, General Ludendorff in September proposed seeking peace based on the plan outlined by U.S. President Wilson in January 1918 in his Fourteen Points, which in regard to Poland demanded the creation of an "independent Polish state ... guaranteed by international covenant" with "free and secure access to the sea". On 3 October the new German Chancellor, Prince Max of Baden, announced Germany's acceptance of Wilson's plan and an immediate disestablishment of military administration in the countries occupied by Germany. Three days later the Regency Council in Warsaw also adopted Wilson's proposals as the basis for creating a Polish state.[1]

On 1 October, General von Beseler had conferred with Hindenburg at Berlin and, informed of the gloomy military situation, had returned to Warsaw ill and dispirited. On 6 October, he handed over administration to Polish civil servants and, on 23 October, transferred the command over Polish forces (which by then included the Polish regiments of the Austro-Hungarian Army) to the Regency Council.

Borders
In their proclamation of 5 November 1916, the Central Powers refused to[citation needed] determine the Polish borders.

Eastern
Following the Bolsheviks taking power in Russia in November 1917, some Polish politicians sided with Germany as the "last bulwark of order" against the Bolshevik threat but Germany's policy of creating several smaller client states east of Poland, supported especially by the supreme command under Ludendorff, also heightened resistance to German presence in Polish territories.

With the support of the German military, the Council of Lithuania proclaimed an independent Lithuanian state on 11 December. Polish sentiment reacted strongly, as it considered Poland and Lithuania to be a historical union and especially since it regarded Wilno (Vilnius), the proposed new Lithuanian capital, as a Polish city.

The Regency Council sought admission to the negotiations with the Bolshevik government during travels to Berlin and Vienna early in 1918 but only gained German Chancellor Georg von Hertling's promise to admit the Polish government in an advisory capacity. This, however, was refused by the Bolshevik representatives, who denied the Polish government any legitimacy. The German representative Max Hoffmann expressed a belief that "independent Poland was always considered by me to be a utopia, and I have no doubts regarding my support for Ukrainian claims."[22] When the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed on 9 February, ceded the province of Chełm — which had been part of Congress Poland until 1913 — to the new state of Ukraine, many in Poland regarded this as a "Fourth partition of Poland", prompting a "political general strike" in Warsaw on 14 February and the resignation of the Jan Kucharzewski administration later that month. Parts of the Polish auxiliary corps under Józef Haller protested by breaking through the Austro-Russian front line to Ukraine, where they united with Polish detachments which had left the Tsarist army. After a fierce battle with the German army at Kaniów in May, the remnants were interned, though Haller managed to escape to Moscow.

Western
However, Poland's unspecified borders were threatened in the West as well: Late in 1917, the German supreme command had proposed annexing a "border strip" to Germany,[18] a policy earlier suggested by a letter to the German government by members of Poland's German minority, settled around Łódź. Such plans were agreed to in principle by the German government in March 1918 and in April gained support in the Prussian House of Lords but were strongly opposed by General von Beseler in a report to Emperor William.

In July, Ludendorff specified his plans in a memorandum, proposing annexing a greatly enlarged "border strip" of 20,000 square kilometers. [17][18] In August, Emperor Charles of Austria insisted on the Austro-Polish option, forbidding Archduke Charles Stephen from accepting the crown and declaring his opposition to any German plans for annexation. In response, General Ludendorff agreed to leave Wilno (and possibly Minsk) to Poland but reaffirmed the "border strip" plan. However, this did little to soothe Polish sentiment, which regarded the return of Wilno as self-evident and refused to yield any part of the former Kingdom of Poland.

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wm
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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by wm » 08 Jan 2019 21:52

In the Kingdom of Poland Polish administration, Polish institutions, Polish Army, even a Polish government were introduced/created.

Because of that two years later, when the German Empire collapsed the Poles were handed over a nice, prepackaged and consolidated country.
Of course, the Germans didn't have such a gift in mind, they did for their own reasons so the only reasonable answer was thanks suckers.

Only thanks to the Kingdom of Poland the Poles were able to regain more their territories later and defend themselves from the Soviet invasion - simply because they didn't have to recreate a country from scratch in 1919.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by Futurist » 09 Jan 2019 00:05

wm wrote:
08 Jan 2019 21:52
In the Kingdom of Poland Polish administration, Polish institutions, Polish Army, even a Polish government were introduced/created.

Because of that two years later, when the German Empire collapsed the Poles were handed over a nice, prepackaged and consolidated country.
Of course, the Germans didn't have such a gift in mind, they did for their own reasons so the only reasonable answer was thanks suckers.

Only thanks to the Kingdom of Poland the Poles were able to regain more their territories later and defend themselves from the Soviet invasion - simply because they didn't have to recreate a country from scratch in 1919.
Did the Baltic peoples also benefit from German nation-building in their countries during WWI?

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by wm » 09 Jan 2019 13:54

They had a head start because Russia disintegrated earlier than Germany - in 1917. Still, for some time Latvia and Lithuania were occupied and Socialist Republics established there.
As far as I know, they mostly survived thanks to German help and the Battle of Warsaw.

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henryk
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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by henryk » 09 Jan 2019 20:32

wm wrote:
08 Jan 2019 21:52
In the Kingdom of Poland Polish administration, Polish institutions, Polish Army, even a Polish government were introduced/created.

Because of that two years later, when the German Empire collapsed the Poles were handed over a nice, prepackaged and consolidated country.
Of course, the Germans didn't have such a gift in mind, they did for their own reasons so the only reasonable answer was thanks suckers.

Only thanks to the Kingdom of Poland the Poles were able to regain more their territories later and defend themselves from the Soviet invasion - simply because they didn't have to recreate a country from scratch in 1919.
All the other new countries quickly set up operations, without such a "head start". Also the Blue Army and Polish Legion were available, despite the Germans.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by wm » 09 Jan 2019 22:10

Both the Polish Legions and the Kingdom of Poland were created by the Central Powers for the same reason.

If there was no need for the Kingdom there was no need for the Legions either, so the Legionnaires would have been drafted into the German and Austro-Hungarian armies as everybody else and ceased to exist.

No other country was really tested, faced such dangers like Poland, or their circumstances were vastly different.

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