Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Discussions on all aspects of Poland during the Second Polish Republic and the Second World War. Hosted by Peter K
User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 5766
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by wm » 22 Nov 2016 01:30

I have now the book (or rather a hagiography) Joseph Retinger: Memoirs of an Eminence Grise by Jan Pomian. The idea was that Retinger as a close confidante of Sikorski, and more importantly a leftist technocrat and a proto-European liberal would have no qualms mentioning Sikorski's "Oder-Neisse line" plans, and be proud of them.
And in really he says nothing, even when it would clearly benefit Retinger's narration. Advocating the Oder-Neisse line he never mentions Sikorski, never even invokes his authority. So most likely they never existed.
It's a better proof that Terry's reading between the lines of a few documents of secondary importance, and ignoring all the others (presumably because they haven't been translated into English).

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8856
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by michael mills » 31 Dec 2016 11:45

The Allies now understood that a weak Germany would be no barrier to Russian westward expansion. A poor Germany was a potential communist Germany while a strong Germany was a bulwark against communism.
That is precisely what I have been saying. It is why in 1947 the US Government decided to include Germany in the Marshall Plan, in contrast to its policy in 1945, which was that no aid should be given to Germany for reconstruction.

It was fear that all of Germany would go Communist that caused the US Government to change its policy.

What was happening in the Soviet Occupation Zone in the first two years after the end of the war was no worse than what was happening in the Western Zones, so the German population had no incentive to prefer Western rule to Soviet. It was the currency reform of 1948 in the US and British Zones that started the growth of the West German economy and made it more prosperous than that of the Soviet Zone.
The cold war can be dated from March 1946 with the Fulton speech.
Not so. Churchill was expressing his own views as a private citizen, and the speech was rejected by the British Labour Government as reactionary warmongering. It was also widely rejected by Liberals in the United States, who were left over from the Roosevelt administration and were still very influential.

It was at least another year or two before the US Government accepted Churchill's view of the Soviet Union as an enemy rather than an ally, as a greater threat than a revived Germany. It was the Truman Doctrine of 1947, initiated to prevent a Communist victory in the Greek Civil War, that signalled the commencement of the Cold War.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3079
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by Futurist » 25 Dec 2019 00:55

Apologies for bumping this thread; anyway, though, here goes:
wm wrote:
02 Nov 2016 22:45
michael mills wrote:The idea that the "recovered territories" were entirely resettled with ethnic Poles expelled from the lands to the east of the Curzon Line is historically incorrect. A large part of the settlers who moved into the former German territories came from overpopulated central Poland, relieving the problem of land hunger there. In addition, there were the 1.1 million so-called "indigenes", existing inhabitants of the German eastern territories (mainly in Upper Silesia) who were "verified" as being of Polish ethnicity.
But do we have any support for this? Because people didn't want to settle in the former German territories, even my family chose to resettle on the Polish side of the border despite worse conditions there.
Till the seventies everybody expected the Germans would return and kick everybody out, or worse. The Poles didn't want to go there at all. They were forced to.
How exactly was this (the bolded part) going to work when the Soviet Union would have militarily resisted any German attempts to revise Germany's eastern borders by force in the post-WWII years and/or decades? For that matter, would the Western Allies/NATO countries have silently sat by while Germany would have done this? Or would they have joined the Soviets in yet another war to crush the Germans in such a scenario?

For that matter, why would Germany be willing to risk the loss of even more of its young men after already losing so many of them in World War II? Germans already saw what happened the last time that their country tried to revise their border with Poland by force back in 1939--and I strongly doubt that most of them would have actually wanted a repeat of this. (True, Germany initially achieved quick and decisive victories but ultimately crushingly and humiliatingly lost the war in the long-run and suffered something like six million deaths as a result of this.)

gebhk
Member
Posts: 1198
Joined: 25 Feb 2013 20:23

Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by gebhk » 25 Dec 2019 09:53

Futurist - I think you are missing the point which is that East Germany was as much an 'ally' of the USSR as Poland and a 'better behaved' one at that. East Germany being on the 'front line' meant keeping East Germany happy was more important to the USSR than doing the same for Poland. The fear was that the Germans would return entirely with the USSRs blessing/support.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3079
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by Futurist » 28 Dec 2019 01:36

It's worth noting that East Germany already agreed to the Oder-Neisse line--likely under heavy Soviet pressure--back in 1950, though. Would the Soviets really be willing to revisit this issue? I mean, AFAIK, Stalin made recognition of the Oder-Neisse line a precondition for his agreement to German reunification in his 1952 Stalin Note--did he not?

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3079
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by Futurist » 28 Dec 2019 06:52

Steve wrote:
04 Oct 2016 05:47
I agree, there was a lack of enthusiasm especialy by the British. Also it was pretty much impossible to form an eastern front as long as the Poles refused to allow Soviet troops onto their territory.
Wouldn't the smart thing to do on the Poles' part (if the Poles didn't actually want an alliance with Hitler, that is) be to allow Soviet troops into Poland but only if/after Germany would have actually invaded Poland? After all, preemptively letting Soviet troops into Poland sounds like a bad idea considering that the Soviets tried to forcibly conquer Poland back in 1920.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3079
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by Futurist » 31 Dec 2019 21:24

wm wrote:
31 Oct 2016 23:51
Then Seyda says the British (Winiewicz mentions a few meetings in Chatham House dedicated solely to this subject) refused even the limited Polish demands, and for example for East Prussia they demanded that a part of Poznań Voivodeship to be given to the Germans. That he estimates Poland has 50% chance to get East Prussia, 5% to get the Oppeln region, and nothing more.
Exactly what source is this from?

Also, by "the Oppeln region", you mean the entirety of the German part of Upper Silesia, correct?

In addition, is Danzig included in "East Prussia" here?

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3079
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by Futurist » 11 Jan 2021 23:14

wm wrote:
02 Nov 2016 22:45
michael mills wrote:The idea that the "recovered territories" were entirely resettled with ethnic Poles expelled from the lands to the east of the Curzon Line is historically incorrect. A large part of the settlers who moved into the former German territories came from overpopulated central Poland, relieving the problem of land hunger there. In addition, there were the 1.1 million so-called "indigenes", existing inhabitants of the German eastern territories (mainly in Upper Silesia) who were "verified" as being of Polish ethnicity.
But do we have any support for this? Because people didn't want to settle in the former German territories, even my family chose to resettle on the Polish side of the border despite worse conditions there.
Till the seventies everybody expected the Germans would return and kick everybody out, or worse. The Poles didn't want to go there at all. They were forced to.
Your relatives told you this, wm? Because short of World War III, I really would not have seen the Germans ever returning to the Recovered Territories. In any case, German Upper Silesia wasn't that different from Polish Upper Silesia considering that Poland claimed all of Upper Silesia back in 1919-1921.
michael mills wrote:I doubt that the Polish political leaders were all that worried about underpopulation in the case of a territorial expansion to the Oder-Neisse Line, since they could expect a post-war natural increase in the Polish population.
You can't populate cities with babies.
Not only with babies, of course, but these babies will contribute to this and could serve a useful role (in the economy, military, et cetera) once they will actually become adults. Michael Mills actually is correct that in demographic terms, Poland was one of the European countries that was best-placed to conduct a settler colonialist project in the mid-20th century:

https://www.geocurrents.info/wp-content ... ld-Map.png

Image

Poles in 1950 were, by European standards, unusually fecund during this time.

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 5766
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by wm » 12 Jan 2021 09:46

The fear of them returning is an undisputed fact in Polish histography, and ww3 was expected from day one, especially by the anti-communist underground.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3079
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by Futurist » 12 Jan 2021 22:23

wm wrote:
12 Jan 2021 09:46
The fear of them returning is an undisputed fact in Polish histography, and ww3 was expected from day one, especially by the anti-communist underground.
The anti-Communist underground thought that NATO was going to go to war against the Soviet Union? Or the reverse?

OldBill
Member
Posts: 278
Joined: 04 Mar 2012 09:19

Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by OldBill » 13 Jan 2021 00:17

Did the Germans ever offer territory in exchange for Danzig? A different port to the east (which would have meant taking territory from Lithuania) so the Poles would have an outlet to the sea?

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3079
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by Futurist » 13 Jan 2021 00:34

OldBill wrote:
13 Jan 2021 00:17
Did the Germans ever offer territory in exchange for Danzig? A different port to the east (which would have meant taking territory from Lithuania) so the Poles would have an outlet to the sea?
Territory west of Danzig could have also theoretically been offered. I mean in order to expand and widen the Polish Corridor further to the west.

Return to “Poland 1919-1945”