Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 28 Jun 2011 01:48

A wikipedia article on Jan Ludwik Poplawski:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Ludwik_Pop%C5%82awski

Note this statement by him:
One of the main ideas of his works was the issue of returning the Western lands to Poland, in particular Pomerania with the widest possible access to the Baltic Sea. Although focusing mostly on Western lands under Prussian partition, Popławski eventually also favoured inclusion of some Eastern territories to future independent Poland. He summarized these goals in 1901:

"The country between the Oder and the Dnieper, between the Baltic and the Carpathians and the Black Sea, stands as a separate organic whole, a cohesive unity of territorial conditions, economic interests, and finally historical tradition."[4]
He saw the western border of Poland as the Oder.

Szopen, had you ever heard of Jan Ludwik Poplawski before?

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by wm » 01 Jul 2011 02:14

Well claiming that Popławski wanted the western border of Poland as the Oder is really putting his vision on its head. First and foremost he wanted a strong and economically viable country.
For this he put the main targets of Polish geopolitics in the west and wanted a wide access to the Baltic Sea, the industrial region of Upper Silesia and maybe a part of the Lower Silesia. The rest was unimportant and "if God is willing".
Popławski ideas are clearly discernible in Dmowski's Line, a proposed border of Poland after World War I:
Image

It is true that in his wildest dreams he saw Poland as it is today with the western border on the Oder but he and his disciples didn't act on these dreams and anyway after 1926 they were persecuted by the ruling Sanacja regime and had no influence at all in Polish politics.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by RG » 02 Jul 2011 10:31

michael mills wrote:...Pilsudski did not want to antagonise Germany by making excessive demands, such as those being made by Dmowski and Paderewski in Paris.

Instead, he entered into negotiations with Germany that were beneficial to both sides. Those negotiations resulted in German troops in the Polish Kingdom handing over their weapons to the new Polish army that was being created by Pilsudski. Those weapons provided Poland with the basis of the military power that later allowed Pilsudski to resist the westward advance of Bolshevism, both in 1919 and again , more importantly, in 1920.

Furthermore, the negotiations between Pilsudski and the German representative Count Harry Kessler formed the basis for a future friendly relationship between a moderate republican Germany and the new Poland. The two men agreed to minimise the territory that Poland would claim from Germany; Pilsudski agreed that Germany could keep East Prussia, West Prussia, and the northern and eastern parts of Posen Province, an area with an overall German majority. In return, Poland would be given a free port in Danzig, with an extraterritorial link from that free port over German territory to the nearest Polish territory.

Unfortunately, that incipiently good German-Polish relationship was ruined right from the start by Endecja and other partisans of Dmowski, who were both psychotically anti-German and psychotically anti-Jewish. First, the anti-German extremists started the uprising in the Posen Province (but only after the German troops had left the Kingdom of Poland and handed over their weapons to the Polish forces cimmanded by Pilsudski), ie they started an illegal armed action in a territory that was still under German sovereignty according to international law, for the purpose of seizing as much territory as possible and thereby frustrate Pilsudski's agreement with Germany.

Second, they tried to overthrow Pilsudski in Warsaw. On 5 January 1919, some of Dmowski's supporters tried to mount a coup against PIlsudski, but failed.

It should be noted that Pilsudski's negotiations with Kessler began even while he was still a prisoner in Magdeburg, before his return to Warsaw on 8 November. There is reason to believe that his imprisonment by the German Governor-General was something of a charade, a way of facilitating his continuing negotiations with the Germans while protecting him from the accusation of being pro-German, an accusation made against him by Endecja. As Hoggan writes:
The bottom line is that if Endecja had not provoked an illegal uprising on German territory, there is no reason why a good relationship with Germany could not have resulted from the negotiations between Pilsudski and Kessler in November 1918. Poland would have received most of the Posen Province in any case, and the German republican government would not have become anti-Polish. As a result, Poland would have been able to face the westward onslaught of the Bolsheviks without a hostile Germany in its rear.

Furthermore, there is no reason why Pilsudski could not have recruited troops from the former Posen Province into the Polish Army, once it had been transferred to Poland under international law by treaty.
The alleged treachery of Piłsudski and being Germany’s agent was discussed several years ago in polish newspapers, but in fact his antagonists were always accused him for being “German puppet” (in fact, he did itself against his enemies and Sikorski was accused of being French agent). With relations to the memories of Kessler there are two options:
1) He was lying
2) He was sincere.
I tend to believe he was telling the truth. In 1915, when he met Piłsudski for the first time in the trenches near Koszyszcze on Wołyń it was obvious that Pilsudski had to declare that he was not interested in taking even an inch of German soil. He was supporting Germany, and hoped that victorious central powers would allow making any kind of independent Polish state on territory given from Russia. In this time he would be an idiot to declare a wiliness to take anything from Germans. But despite it, he stated, if Germany are lost he would accept Pomorze offered by France and UK. Later, when military situation changed, it was Piłsudski who initiated the so called “oath crisis” and refused to swear to “remain a loyal brother in arm of the soldiers of Germany and Austria-Hungary and of the states allied to them”
In 1918 is quite possible that Piłsudski promised something to Kessler, but the way it was achieved (according to Kessler’s statement) is a comedy. Germany is collapsing and Romberg reminded himself about talks by a coffee with Piłsudski. And they offered him a deal. Acceptance of this proposal is shameful (even Kessler admitted it and wrote that he did not demand a written document since it would discredit Piłsudski in Poland, which is the best comment to opinion that “negotiations with Germany that were beneficial to both sides”) but I think that Piłsudski simply despised these bankrupts and all he wanted, was to get to Warsaw as quickly as possible. To achieve it, he would promise Niderlands (Polish readers know what I mean);).

The suggestion that Poland would give back Wielkopolska in 1926 is ridiculous. I admit, I did not read a book by Von Riekhoff, Harald: "German - Polish Relations 1918-1933", but I think that everyone, particularly Mr Mills knows that Poles are “pathologic anti-German chauvinists” ;), so even bellowed leader, like Piłsudski would be quickly overthrown by revolt of furious compatriots. I remember that in 90-ies there were rumors that Russia is going to give back Prusy Wschodnie to Germany. For sure, in 20, 30 years there will be a naive historian who will announce such sensational information as a certain fact.

But entire discussion on Piłsudski and its attitude toward Wielkopolskie Uprising is pointless, I am not going to defend JP. More interesting are pathetic efforts of fossilized German militarists like Kessler and his bosses to keep stolen lands. It is incredible that despite of military and political situations they did not lose their anti-polish attitude and militaristic illusions and wanted land where majority of inhabitants did not want to be part of Germany.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 02 Jul 2011 13:23

......fossilized German militarists like Kessler .....
This tsatement by RG suggests that he is indeed afflicted with "pathological anti-German chauvinism".

Anybody who knew anything at all about the real Count Harry Kessler would know that it is the height of absurdity to describe him as a"fossilised German militarist". He was in fact the very opposite.

By November 1918, the de-facto military dictatorship of Hindenburg and Ludendorff had come to an end, and power in Germany had been assumed by a moderate leadership in the Reichstag, even before the abdication of the Kaiser and the proclamation of the German Republic. Kessler was one of those moderates, and his negotiations with Pilsudski, both in Magdeburg before the latter's release, and then in Warsaw where Kessler had been sent as the German Minister reflect the policies of the new moderate leadership.

I have already posted a link to information on Kessler. Here it is again:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Graf_Kessler

I suggest RG read it.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 02 Jul 2011 13:41

The suggestion that Poland would give back Wielkopolska in 1926 is ridiculous.
RG, you need to read more carefully what I wrote.

Riekhoff in his book shows that when Pilsudski seized power in 1926, his enemies in Endecja feared that he might give the former Posen Province back to Germany in order to achieve detente with that country. Endecja leaders in Poznan were preparing to secede from Poland if any such move were made by Pilsudski.

However, it did not come to that, since the German republican government remained hostile toward Poland. I do not think that Pilsudski ever intended to return all of the former German territories, but he would probably have been prepared to make concessions over Danzig and the Polish Corridor if Germany in return had abandoned its hostile policy and recognised the German-Polish border, ie a compromise deal, such as that offered in 1938 by Hitler.

In the Kessler-Pilsudski conversations, the question of the Posen Province was not raised, only that of Danzig and West Prussia. The new German Government had accepted Wilson's 14 Points as the basis for a negotiated peace, which meant that it accepted that German territories with an indisputably Polish population would have to be ceded to the new Polish state, ie the greater part of Posen Province.

However, West Prussia was not indisputably ethnic Polish territory, and Kessler was seeking Pilsudski's agreement to a referendum in that territory, with possible partition based on local majorities. According to Kessler, it was France that insisted on West Prussia's being given to Poland, not Pilsudski, who was not really interested in the western territories.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 03 Jul 2011 06:06

I have now obtained the book by Kessler, published in 1923.

Its title is "Germany and Europe", and was published in New Haven for the Institute of Politics by the Yale University Press. It consists of lectures delivered by Kessler at Williamstown, Massachusetts, in July and August, 1923.

The passage in which he refers to his negotiations with Pilsudski in Warsaw in November 1918 is on page 33 (with my emphases):
The reason adduced for Dantzig and Western Prussia, the necessity of giving Poland a free access to the sea, was a very poor excuse. Fir in the case of Czecho-Slovakia, which is just as much in need of a free access to the sea as Poland, and indeed more so, being a more civilized and more highly developed industrial nation, the difficulty was solved without any transfer of population or territory by the internationalization of the Elbe and a free port under Czech administration in Hamburg; and the Vistula, which flows through Poland to Dantzig, is a river nearly a mile wide as high as Warsaw, and could easily have been so canalized as to carry the sea up to the very Polish capital. That is what I myself, who was at the time German Minister to Poland, was prepared, on instructions of my government, to propose or to accept. A right of way on land, coupled with a railway neutralized and guaranteed by international agreement and a port on the Baltic next to Dantzig, under Polish sovereignty, could have completed the arrangement and given Poland a perfectly free and direct access to the sea. The Poles themselves would have been content with this. For Marshal Pilsudski, the Polish Chief of State, and a man who more than any other was responsible for the rebirth of Poland, when I spoke with him about Western Prussia, repeatedly made a point of asserting that Poland did not care about it, and that it did not seem to him in her interest that she should get it, although she might be forced to accept it if it were offered her by the Allies. Indeed, it was not the interest of Poland and not the necessity of securing for her a free access to the sea that forced the framers of the Treaty to repudiate the principle of self-determination in the case of Western Prussia, but the interest of France and the policy of France of dismembering Germany by cutting off her eastern provinces and tearing out by the roots every possibility of a friendly understanding between her and Poland.
Note that Kessler's concern is solely with West Prussia and Dantzig; the Posen Province is not mentioned at all, since it did not form part of his negotiations with Pilsudski in Warsaw in November 1918. That was because, even before the armistice 0f 11 November, the new moderate government in Berlin had accepted Wilson's 14 points, and hence that most of the Posen Province would have to be ceded to the resurrected Polish sate.

Indeed, between the armistice and the outbreak of the uprising toward the end of December 1918, the German Republican Government had recognised the mor4e moderate representatives of the Polish majority population in the Posen Province, and was engaged in negotiations with them on a peaceful resolution of the issue of sovereignty. Thus, there was no need whatever for a Polish nationalist uprising in the Posen Province.

The uprising was a result of Paderewski's visit to Poznan, in which he incited nationalist passions, and was instigated by the National Democratic Movement through various activist groups associated with it, such as Sokol. Its purpose was not so much to gain independence from Germany, which was already in process of being achieved through the terms of the armistice, but to drive out, through terrorist violence, as much of the ethnic German population as possible, in order to create a fait accompli bolstering the claim of the Polish National Committee to all German territory east of the Oder.

It is noteworthy that the uprising was immediately supported by France, which pushed for the Entente to recognise the insurgent leaders as the de facto government of the Posen Province, replacing the German administration.

It is also noteworthy that the line of demarcation between the area under the control of the insurgents and that remaining with Germany, decided on by the Allies, left Pomerania, West Prussia and East Prussia with Germany. It had not yet been decided whether those territories would be taken from Germany.

Kessler is correct when he sees France as the main force pushing for the excision of West Prussia and Danzig from Germany, for the purpose of both weakening Germany and creating ongoing hostilty between Germany and Poland.

He is also correct in seeing Pilsudski as not wanting to take West Prussia from Germany, because it would create Polish-German hostility.

However, he is incorrect in seeing PIlsudski's attitude as that of all Poles, and in ignoring the anti-German or Piastist tendency in Polish nationalism represented in particular by Dmowski, which promoted westward expansion by seizing German territory, and was opposed to the anti-Russian or Jagiellonian tendency represented by Pilsudski, which wanted eastward expansion and was less interested in taking German territory.

It was a combination of the desire of the Piastist nationalists to expand to the west, and the French aim of weakening Germany and promoting hostility between Germany and Poland, that prevented the negotiations between Kessler and Pilsudski from being realised. If the settlement described by Kessler had been achieved, and there had been no ethnic cleansing of ethnic Germans in the Posen Province in the winter of 1918-19, there would have been no cause for ongoing hostility between Germany and Poland and no cooperation between Germany and Soviet Russia, no "spirit of Rapallo".

If friendship between Germany and Poland had been achieved at the end of 1918, on the basis of the Kessler-Pilsudski negotiations, Poland would have had the support of Germany in its confrontation with Soviet Russia in 1919-20, and it is possible that the expansionist Bolshevik regime could have been overthrown at that time. If that had happened, it is most probable that Poland would have been spared the fate it suffered during and after the Second World War.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by Musashi » 05 Jul 2011 00:39

michael mills wrote: If friendship between Germany and Poland had been achieved at the end of 1918, on the basis of the Kessler-Pilsudski negotiations, Poland would have had the support of Germany in its confrontation with Soviet Russia in 1919-20, and it is possible that the expansionist Bolshevik regime could have been overthrown at that time. If that had happened, it is most probable that Poland would have been spared the fate it suffered during and after the Second World War.
Again, your fantasy theories are remarkable. How could Germany have supported Poland as the former had been disarmed before? Needless to say, even coping with Polish insurgents in Greater Poland and Silesia was too challenging. So how could have the Germans coped with the Red Army? By sending a bunch of Freikorps guys? You seem to forget 1919 was neither 1918 nor 1939 and Germany was not a powerful country at that time. It faced more than a plenty of problems inside its own territory (communists, fascists, anarchists, Polish insurgents, etc.). Finally, what would have been French and British reaction, if Germany had got involved in another conflict? Give me a break, Michael, these countries would not have behaved the way they did in 1938 and German politicians knew about it very well. Any wide conflict involving Germany was out of question at that time as it would have triggered a British and French reaction. That reaction would have been prompt and the consequences for Germany would have been much more harsh than in 1918.
And please don't exaggerate about German help for Poland before the Polish-Soviet war. Poland acquired most of its made in Germany equipment because Polish irregurals were disarming German soldiers, who were returning from the Eastern Front, en masse, not because Germany was a nice country and German politicians wanted to donate a large stockpile of armament to Poland. These events were not hostile as Polish irregulars from the western Poland used to serve in the German Army during the WWI and they did not consider German soldiers enemies as they served together at the front before 1919. After finishing the conflict with Russia the only German soldiers' dream was to get back to Germany as fast as possible and they could only achieve it by cooperating with the Poles as all routes from the Eastern Front to Germany were controlled by local Polish authorities at that time. So the usual sequence was: "give your arms, get on our train and we don't mind if you go back to Germany".
The only substantial help for Poland to wage the war with the Soviet Russia came from France.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by wm » 05 Jul 2011 02:08

michael mills wrote: Anybody who knew anything at all about the real Count Harry Kessler would know that it is the height of absurdity to describe him as a"fossilised German militarist". He was in fact the very opposite.
I agree. He knew how to live a good life. :)
the Vistula, which flows through Poland to Dantzig, is a river nearly a mile wide as high as Warsaw, and could easily have been so canalized as to carry the sea up to the very Polish capital.
Dear Graf do you volunteer to pay the bill? You know the Vistula is a relatively young and unstable river, canalization costs are very, very high. Well beyond the means of the Second Polish Republic. BTW it's not "nearly a mile" in Warsaw but about half a mile.
michael mills wrote: The Poles themselves would have been content with this.
but they were, only a small part of Western Prussia was granted to Poland.
michael mills wrote: Its purpose was not so much to gain independence from Germany, which was already in process of being achieved through the terms of the armistice,
But it was to gain independence. Did the terms of armistice grant the Posen Province to Poland? or did Germany agree to cede it?
michael mills wrote: but to drive out, through terrorist violence, as much of the ethnic German population as possible, in order to create a fait accompli bolstering the claim of the Polish National Committee to all German territory east of the Oder.
I don't think so. The German exodus started in 1919 and by then the Posen Province was securely in Polish hands.
michael mills wrote: Indeed, between the armistice and the outbreak of the uprising toward the end of December 1918, the German Republican Government had recognised the mor4e moderate representatives of the Polish majority population
recognized? it means that the German Republican Government was engaged in negotiations with itself. The High People's Council was created a day after Armistice and it was the only power that mattered.
michael mills wrote: but the interest of France and the policy of France of dismembering Germany by cutting off her eastern provinces and tearing out by the roots every possibility of a friendly understanding between her and Poland.
Prior to 1871 Germany was a crazy cauldron of enclaves and enclaves, even Prussia consisted of two large and separate sections. Germans really had time to acquire immunity against the Western Prussia and Eastern Prussia questions.
There are many enclaves, completely surrounded by foreign territory even today ( http://www.vasa.abo.fi/users/rpalmber/enclaves.htm ) US has been non-contiguous country for a long time, Russia has been for over a 20 years.
We don't need new canals to live in peace, just a little good will on both sides.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by RG » 05 Jul 2011 14:16

michael mills wrote:
......fossilized German militarists like Kessler .....
This tsatement by RG suggests that he is indeed afflicted with "pathological anti-German chauvinism".

Anybody who knew anything at all about the real Count Harry Kessler would know that it is the height of absurdity to describe him as a"fossilised German militarist". He was in fact the very opposite.

(...)I have already posted a link to information on Kessler. Here it is again:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Graf_Kessler

I suggest RG read it.
I read it, and found only information on his "artistic" activity, impressive, but there was nothing about his political notions. It is like jugging Fuehrer according to his artistic activity (well, he was an artist too, isn't it?). The fact that such "reasonable" and "objective" person like you calls me "pathological anti-German chauvinism" I consider as a compliment.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by RG » 05 Jul 2011 14:37

michael mills wrote:
The suggestion that Poland would give back Wielkopolska in 1926 is ridiculous.
RG, you need to read more carefully what I wrote.

Riekhoff in his book shows that when Pilsudski seized power in 1926, his enemies in Endecja feared that he might give the former Posen Province back to Germany in order to achieve detente with that country. Endecja leaders in Poznan were preparing to secede from Poland if any such move were made by Pilsudski.

However, it did not come to that, since the German republican government remained hostile toward Poland. I do not think that Pilsudski ever intended to return all of the former German territories, but he would probably have been prepared to make concessions over Danzig and the Polish Corridor if Germany in return had abandoned its hostile policy and recognised the German-Polish border, ie a compromise deal, such as that offered in 1938 by Hitler.

In the Kessler-Pilsudski conversations, the question of the Posen Province was not raised, only that of Danzig and West Prussia. The new German Government had accepted Wilson's 14 Points as the basis for a negotiated peace, which meant that it accepted that German territories with an indisputably Polish population would have to be ceded to the new Polish state, ie the greater part of Posen Province.

However, West Prussia was not indisputably ethnic Polish territory, and Kessler was seeking Pilsudski's agreement to a referendum in that territory, with possible partition based on local majorities. According to Kessler, it was France that insisted on West Prussia's being given to Poland, not Pilsudski, who was not really interested in the western territories.
I admit, I did not read it carefully. But as I wrote before, it is not important what Piłsudski told Germans, not important were political antagonisms between Piłsudski and Endecja, important is what citizens of Wielkopolska wanted to achieve, and pathetic efforts of German nationalists and "traitor" Piłsudski are just insignificant historical artifacts. I do not know Piłsudski was not interested in western teritories (if it is true, why did he support III Śląsk Uprising?), but if you are right, it means that he was an idiot and fortunatelly Wielkopolanie did well.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 06 Jul 2011 01:49

I do not know Piłsudski was not interested in western teritories (if it is true, why did he support III Śląsk Uprising?), but if you are right, it means that he was an idiot and fortunatelly Wielkopolanie did well.
It is not at all clear that the Wielkopoliane "did well".

If their sole aim was to transfer the territory they lived in from German rule to that of a resurrected Polish state, then there was no need whatever for an armed uprising. The peace Treaty would have achieved that end, and in any case the new German Government had agreed to the principle that German territories with an indisputably Polish population should be transferred to a Polish state, if that population had clearly expressed its wish for such a transfer.

All that the Wielkopolskie uprising achieved was to increase the hatred between Germans and Poles, as did the later uprisings in Upper Silesia. That hatred resulted in the killing of some tens of thousands of Poles in Wielkopolskie at the end of 1939.

If there had been no uprisings in Wielkopolskie and in Upper Silesia, the parts of those areas in which the population freely expressed a desire to unite with Poland would have passed to that country in any case, under the terms of the Peace Treaty, without causing the intense bad feeling between Germans and Poles that actually resulted, and the immense suffering inflicted on Poland by Germany 20 years later, which affected the Wielkopoliane in particular, would most probably not have occurred, since the emotional fuel for the harsh treatment of Poland by Germany would not have existed.

Pilsudski was no idiot. He could see clearly that the way forward for the new Polish state was to avoid causing a needless dispute with Germany. Unfortunately, in the critical period between 1918 and 1923 he did not have sufficient power to prevent the anti-German extremists in Endecja from making an enemy of Germany.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by wm » 06 Jul 2011 21:24

michael mills wrote:in any case the new German Government had agreed to the principle that German territories with an indisputably Polish population should be transferred to a Polish state, if that population had clearly expressed its wish for such a transfer.
When did that happened? This German Government seems very generous and noble...
michael mills wrote:Pilsudski was no idiot. He could see clearly that the way forward for the new Polish state was to avoid causing a needless dispute with Germany. Unfortunately, in the critical period between 1918 and 1923 he did not have sufficient power to prevent the anti-German extremists in Endecja from making an enemy of Germany.
It was a hard-to-control popular uprising but 20 years later the German population, the Army and the police were under full control of the German Government so this:
michael mills wrote: That hatred resulted in the killing of some tens of thousands of Poles in Wielkopolskie at the end of 1939.
was very avoidable.
There were simpler methods of avoiding the bloodshed, for example: Hitler choking to death on a peanut in his childhood, less senile Hindenburg, more cooperative communists' posture. Take the Nazi out of the equation and the killings would not have happened.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by RG » 07 Jul 2011 09:07

michael mills wrote:
I do not know Piłsudski was not interested in western teritories (if it is true, why did he support III Śląsk Uprising?), but if you are right, it means that he was an idiot and fortunatelly Wielkopolanie did well.
It is not at all clear that the Wielkopoliane "did well".

If their sole aim was to transfer the territory they lived in from German rule to that of a resurrected Polish state, then there was no need whatever for an armed uprising. The peace Treaty would have achieved that end, and in any case the new German Government had agreed to the principle that German territories with an indisputably Polish population should be transferred to a Polish state, if that population had clearly expressed its wish for such a transfer.

All that the Wielkopolskie uprising achieved was to increase the hatred between Germans and Poles, as did the later uprisings in Upper Silesia. That hatred resulted in the killing of some tens of thousands of Poles in Wielkopolskie at the end of 1939.
Well, now we know the reason for the IIWW, it is not NSDAP but Endecja, I think that Dmowski never dreamt to be a main actor of XX century’s history.
The keys to the peaceful coegsistence were in Germany. If Germans would sent such militarists as Kessler and associates for retairnment and changed their aggressive attitude towards neighbors there could be peace, and we would avoid slaughter of millions people in the IIww. The later history proven that it is useless to satisfy demands of Germany.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 29 Jun 2013 14:58

When it comes to Jan Rzepa, he was not only veteran of Wielkopolskie Uprising.

He was veteran of four wars (WW1, Wielkopolskie Uprising, Polish-Soviet War and WW2):

Jan Rzepa (14.06.1899 - 23.03.2005):

In 1917 he was drafted into the German Army, he served in Grenadier Regiment 12. "Prinz Karl von Preußen" (Frankfurt an der Oder) and fought on the Western Front, in combats near Verdun, as a Machine-Gunner. In 1918 an artillery shell exploded near his machine gun and entire crew was killed, only he survived, but was wounded. He was sent to hospital in Cottbus for reconvalescention. After the end of WW1 he returned to his home in village Ćmachowskie Huby near Wronki. On 27.12.1918 he volunteered to Polish insurgents in the Greater Poland Uprising. On 30.12.1918 his unit fought for and captured the German prison in Wronki. On 06.01.1919 his unit captured from German hands the railway station in Miały as well as the entire town and neighbouring villages. Then, together with a group of picked men, he was assigned to a unit of insurgents from Grodzisk Wielkopolski and fought for the liberation of Zbąszyń, Opalenica and Wolsztyn. Later he continued combats as a soldier of 3rd Machine-Gun company of III battalion of 2nd Greater Polish Rifle Regiment (later renamed to 56th Infantry Regiment). In this unit he fought until the end of the uprising and liberation of Greater Poland. In September 1919 he was transported from Koscian to the Eastern Front (Polish-Bolshevik War) and fought in the battle of Bobrujsk Stronghold and later in delaying battles near: Leśna, Słonim, Świsłocza, Krynica, Kamieniec Litewski and Gnojno. In Świsłocza Bolshevik forces broke through defensive lines of 15th Infantry Division and attacked 56th Infantry Regiment, which was during the process of embarking to a train transport, but swift counterattack of III battalion and elements of II battalion rejected the enemy and the train could move on towards Hajnówka. While moving to Hajnówka the train had to break through enemy forces, who cut-off the railway line. 8 machine guns were placed on top of 4 wagons, and the train drew straight into enemy lines, opening fire from all machine guns (among their gunners was Jan Rzepa). Enemy forces were dispersed by fire, some wounded Polish POWs were recaptured in this action, and the train moved on towards its destination. Later he fought in the battle of Warsaw in 1920, in which Bolshevik offensive was halted, rejected and many of their divisions were destroyed. After the battle of Warsaw he participated in Polish counteroffensive and fought at the Berezyna River, near Baranowicze and near Minsk. Jan Rzepa was awarded the Cross of Lithuanian-Belarussian Front and his regiment (56th Infantry Regiment) - as one of 14 regiments in this war - was awarded Virtuti Militari. Demobilized in 1922, Rzepa settled in Pozarow and in 1923 he married Elzbieta Roszak. In 1930 they moved to Wartoslaw. In 1939, when Germans invaded Poland, Rzepa became a soldier of a unit of sappers, which was part of Army "Poznan" He fought in the battle of Bzura (9 - 22 September) and after the battle he went to German captivity. On 11 October 1939 he returned to Lodz from POW camp "Rosenblatt", but soon after that he was taken away by Germans to forced labour near Vienna. He returned home on 10 May 1945, after marching 800 km on foot. Since April 2004 he was the last surviving veteran of the Greater Poland Uprising.

He died on 23 March 2005, aged 105 years old.

Jan Rzepa (1899 - 2005):

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Combats of regiment in which Jan Rzepa served in 1919 - 1920 during the Polish-Soviet War:
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There are words which carry the presage of defeat. Defence is such a word. What is the result of an even victorious defence? The next attempt of imposing it to that weaker, defender. The attacker, despite temporary setback, feels the master of situation.

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Piotr Kapuscinski
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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 10 Jul 2013 20:17

A documentary about the Wielkopolskie Uprising with English subtitles:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6-poUU6Rac

There are words which carry the presage of defeat. Defence is such a word. What is the result of an even victorious defence? The next attempt of imposing it to that weaker, defender. The attacker, despite temporary setback, feels the master of situation.

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