Poor Poland.

Discussions on all aspects of Poland during the Second Polish Republic and the Second World War. Hosted by Peter K
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wm
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by wm » 19 Jun 2016 18:36

It was a border conflict between freshly created/recreated countries that escalated into all-out war. Such border conflicts/wars were fought all over Eastern Europe at the end of the WW1, the new borders weren't going to draw themselves they had to be won.
Poland was trying to regain her former territories, and one of the Polish goals was an independent Ukrainian state so the Poles actually were supported by the Ukrainians.

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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by michael mills » 20 Jun 2016 06:19

Poland was trying to regain her former territories, and one of the Polish goals was an independent Ukrainian state so the Poles actually were supported by the Ukrainians.
Somewhat misleading.

Pilsudski offered to help Petlura reconquer the Ukrainian territory west of the Dnepr River, but not the territory east of that river, which he was quite content to leave under Bolshevik rule. In return, he compelled Petlura to agree to the Ukrainian territory west of the Zbruch River, the former Austrian territory of East Galicia, being annexed by Poland.

For his alliance with Poland, and the abandonment of West Ukraine, Petlura was denounced as a traitor by his former colleagues in the government of the short-lived Ukrainian National Republic, such as Vynnychenko and Hrushevsky. For them, Bolshevik rule of Ukraine was preferable to Polish rule, and they made their peace with the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic created by the Bolsheviks (although they later regretted that).

The fact is that most Ukrainians did not welcome the invading Polish forces as liberators, but rather as foreign conquerors coming to reimpose the former Polish rule in the Ukrainian territories that had been so hated by the Orthodox population. Although Pilsudski proclaimed the aim of creating a Ukrainian State allied with Poland, the Ukrainians knew very well that he wanted only the territory west of the Dnepr which would be de facto under Polish domination, even if nominally independent.

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BillHermann
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by BillHermann » 20 Jun 2016 06:56

carll wrote:Reading the literature and watching documentaries about the second world war it seems that the consensus regarding Poland is of a peaceful democratic victim of aggression, when in fact prior to the war, it could justifiably be viewed as a nasty militaristic backstabbing state.
Wow the revisionists are working hard

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wm
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by wm » 20 Jun 2016 07:13

Certainly, but better that than nothing. The Ukrainians were weak and without allies so they couldn't demand much and couldn't offer much. Not only the illegitimate Soviet regime was against them but the legitimate Russian forces too.

The fact that Hrushevsky was murdered by Stalin in 1934 and Vynnychenko had to flee to Austria fearing for his life shows rather clearly their that their ideas were wrong and failure.
Later, in comparison with the Soviet blood-lands the Polish Ukraine and the Czechoslovak Ukraine were unique safe havens for the Ukrainians till the beginning of the WW2.

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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by michael mills » 20 Jun 2016 14:50

Later, in comparison with the Soviet blood-lands the Polish Ukraine and the Czechoslovak Ukraine were unique safe havens for the Ukrainians till the beginning of the WW2.
True, in the sense that the Ukrainian population of those areas was not subjected to the same persecution as in the Soviet Ukraine, and there was no mass mortality as there was during the 1932-33 famine.

However, neither the Polish nor the Czech Governments allowed any Ukrainian autonomy in those areas, and they did try to suppress Ukrainian culture and ethnic identity. Polish rule over ethnic Ukrainians in its eastern territories might well be compared with Prussian rule over ethnic Poles before the First World War; oppressive, but not murderous.

By the way, was Hrushevsky actually murdered? I know that he was exiled to Kislovodsk in the Caucasus, where he died at the age of 68. But was his death due to natural causes, as it could well have been at his age, or was he actually killed?

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wm
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by wm » 21 Jun 2016 09:01

The Ukrainians in territories with Ukrainian majority were more or less left to their own devices - they had their own schools, political parties, institutions - to the point Polish children living there were forced to learn Ukrainian in schools.

The Ukrainian minority living outside, behind the so called Sokal cordon sanitaire, were out of luck - they had no minority rights.

So it wasn't quite like in Wilhelmine Germany or Czarist Russia, or even in the progressive interbellum France or Belgium - where wholesale cultural eradication (one might say cultural genocide - La vergonha) of their minorities was attempted.

Hrushevsky died in suspicious circumstances, but it's true there is no proof he was murdered. But in Stalinist Russia suspicious circumstance were reserved for well known, popular public figures, people who couldn't be eliminated openly (like Solomon Mikhoels) - and generally it was hard to die of old age there.

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Steve
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by Steve » 21 Jun 2016 17:09

I think WM paints a rather rosey picture of the Ukrainians in "Eastern Little Poland" pre war. For example, from 1924 the Ukrainian language was no longer used in state institutions and government agencies. In the 1930s schools were being Polonized and the number of Ukrainian schools was sharply dropping. Lwow university abolished the chair of Ukranian studies.

I have only spoken to one Ukrainian who lived in pre war western Ukraine so not a representative sample but he gave me an example of discrimination. He applied for a job and was told by a Pole that the job was his if he converted to the Catholic faith, he refused. I checked up and there was a campaign run by Polish authorities in the 30s to convert Orthodox believers to the Catholic faith. The man disliked Poles but he hated Jews.

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wm
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by wm » 21 Jun 2016 19:51

The official languages of the pre-war Poland were only Polish and German.
And it is true that the number of state financed pure Ukrainian schools was gradually reduced, although they had their own independently financed schools.
I didn't say it was all rainbows, unicorns and glitter there, only it wasn't that bad in comparison with other countries.
Otherwise we might complain they didn't have gender-neutral restrooms there (although actually most of them were very gender-neutral at that time).

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Steve
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by Steve » 22 Jun 2016 16:55

Pre war restrooms in the western Ukraine may well make for an interesting discussion. For example how does the design of those built under the Austrian Empire differ from those built under the Czarist Empire. How many rest rooms did the new Polish government build and what design did they favour. Was there a difference between restrooms in Polish, Jewish and Ukranian areas. Does anyone know of a good book on restrooms in "Little Poland".

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wm
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by wm » 22 Jun 2016 21:41

Common Polish, Jewish and Ukrainian areas usually meant some rural territories.
And they actually had some architectural variations there.
Usually there was a structure, maybe a barn and a place behind it where you were expected to unload your "cargo" directly on Mother Earth, in the process listening to the birds above you.
It was an ecological, down to earth, gender-neutral, lgbt friendly, deeply connected with Nature solution to the problem.
Architectural details of the structure usually allowed to discern nationality of the owner.

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KACKO
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by KACKO » 01 Aug 2016 00:10

wm wrote: And really Poland didn't backstab anyone, although was labeled as a backstabber by failed Western politicians eager to hide and blur their own persistent appeasement and backstabbing efforts. Like Ethiopia 1936, Shanghai 1937, Czechoslovakia 1938, Poland 1943, Vietnam 1945 and a few others.
Exactly. Poland in fall 1938 just used opportunity to recover some territory with Polish majority as well some which they thought thay got historical right.
Same Slovakia in 1939 used opportunity in September 1939 to recover territories with Slovak majority lost in 1938 as well as some ceded by Prague in early 20-ties as compensation for Tesin.

Both countries just used they neighbor was preoccupied with something else and liberated their people.

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KACKO
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by KACKO » 01 Aug 2016 00:14

michael mills wrote:
Later, in comparison with the Soviet blood-lands the Polish Ukraine and the Czechoslovak Ukraine were unique safe havens for the Ukrainians till the beginning of the WW2.
True, in the sense that the Ukrainian population of those areas was not subjected to the same persecution as in the Soviet Ukraine, and there was no mass mortality as there was during the 1932-33 famine.

However, neither the Polish nor the Czech Governments allowed any Ukrainian autonomy in those areas, and they did try to suppress Ukrainian culture and ethnic identity. Polish rule over ethnic Ukrainians in its eastern territories might well be compared with Prussian rule over ethnic Poles before the First World War; oppressive, but not murderous.

By the way, was Hrushevsky actually murdered? I know that he was exiled to Kislovodsk in the Caucasus, where he died at the age of 68. But was his death due to natural causes, as it could well have been at his age, or was he actually killed?
I don't know how much Czech tried to suppress Ukrainian/ Ruthenian culture. Can you please elaborate.
Because as far as I know there were Ukrainian schools, teacher institute to educate new teachers as well as newspapers and theaters. Something which was never before seen in Hungarian kingdom.

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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by gebhk » 31 Mar 2017 09:59

WM - regarding the eastern Polish rest room question, you are omitting the essential matter (oops) of the 1928 presidential edict initiated by Prime Minister Slawoj-Skladkowski. This established by law that every built-on plot had to have a lavatory to improve the hygiene standards of the peasantry. These establishments quickly gained the moniker of 'Slawojki' (sing Slawojka) after the eponymous hero of this essential initiative and the PM became the butt of much ribald humour for his pains. The word 'slawojka' entered the Polish language and to this day describes an outdoor wooden toilet with a slat for a seat and usually a hole in the ground or other container for the produce. Just enter Slawojka into Uncle Google and view images for some quite wonderful hand-carved examples in various regional styles (and many more not so wonderful).

Needless to say, by and large, the peasants continued as they had done for millenia and the slawojki were kept clean and spotless (and unused) to keep zealous inspectors, sent out to ensure compliance with the new law, happy.

Just sayin'.

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wm
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by wm » 22 Apr 2017 11:01

And then it was said: [The pre-war] Europe was building air-raid shelters, but we [the Poles] were building shithouses...

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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by xsli » 20 Jul 2017 01:51

If you read Overy's 'how war came?', Poland is not the peaceful country it may appear to be during the interwar period.

To me, Poland is rather aggressive towards some of its weaker neighbors, like Ukraine, Lithuania. At the end of WW1, it tried to grab Silesia from Germany. Also it feels the Spa treaty is unfair and never forgets being slighted in Teschen. After Hitler got power, Poland thought once to overthrow him.

As for the "trying to recover lost territory", it is understandable - but not sure how justified that is. Poland lost so much during the prior partitions, then where is the end for the recovery?

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