Poor Poland.

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

Post by xsli » 21 Jul 2017 13:23

Sorry for mixed up Overy's book "The Origins of the Second World War" with Watt's "How war came". Overy's book is overall unflattering to Poland but Watt's is harsh on Germany/Hitler and sympathetic to Poland.

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wm
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by wm » 22 Jul 2017 22:38

Weren't The Origins of the Second World War written by Taylor?

Anyway any historian writing about Polish "aggression" against Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, or Ukraine proves his ignorance, and even more damning that he din't use any Polish, Czech or even Ukrainian sources - at all, presumably because of language barrier.
And actually the claims seem to be a copy/paste straight from Soviet propaganda sources.

The demand that Lithuania established diplomatic relations with Poland can hardly be described as an aggression.
In Silesia there was an uprising of the Poles living there, an entirely grass root development. The Polish Government was against the uprising and didn't support it.

The Poles were quite ready to forget being slighted in Teschen - for the price of a defensive agreement with Czechoslovakia, but the Czechs doggedly refused to pay that price.
The Czech refused to be a part of the solution, so they became a part of the problem.

Ukraine as a country had never existed, Ukraine was a part of Poland for almost a half of milenium. After the Great War the Ukrainians could have lived as free people in Poland, or as slaves subjected to genocide in the USSR. I was the only choices available to them.

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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by StrangerHereMyself » 22 Jul 2017 23:56

Interesting thread here on this topic, xsli:
viewtopic.php?f=111&t=219105
Look out for 4thskorpion’s enlightening contributions in particular.

xsli, would you happen to know if there are substantial differences between Dr. Overy’s The Origins of the Second World War (1987, 4th edition 2016) and his (with Andrew Wheatcroft) The Road to War: The Origins of World War II (2009)? Is it worthwhile purchasing both?
This forum is shit. I would delete my account and posts but this forum is so shit it does not have this function. Shit forum. Shit mods. Shit everyone and everything.

xsli
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by xsli » 24 Jul 2017 15:18

Hi, StrangerHereMyself, the two books are different - "road to war" is a longer version focusing on background of 7 major belligerents (Poland not one of the 7, but mentioned many times) while "the origins" is an overview. Overy also has another short book: "1939 - Countdown to War" - which is somewhat a chronicle of the days just before the war. There are other popular titles related to the Origin - Taylor, Bell, Hoggan, Watt, Remark, etc.

I am already aware of the Churchill-poland thread.
Last edited by xsli on 24 Jul 2017 22:37, edited 2 times in total.

xsli
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by xsli » 24 Jul 2017 16:25

wm, I was careful not writing "aggression" - instead I chose "aggressive" - in dealings with the countries I mentioned.

For territorial dispute, I do not know if there is a universal rule to judge who is the rightful claimant. You use "Ukraine was never a country" as a reason that Poland is right to go east of Curzon line. If that is legit and applied globally, then quite a few countries today should be mopped out from the map. At the end of the WW1, I just cannot agree that the Ukrainians do not have a right to start its own country. While "historically" is often cited in territorial dispute, but one cannot ignore the international circumstances and situation. Otherwise, USA should be returned to the native Indians.

For Teschen, I am not sure why it owner should be Poland instead of Czech. It was Bohemian king's crown land anyway. I understand Poles felt indignant when Czech sent troops to Teschen while Poles were fighting the Soviets. But how did Russians feel when Poles went to Ukraine as Russian civil war were raging? Later Teschen was partitioned in arbitration, but Poles think it is unfair. Poles got it back after Munich - riding on Czech's weakness.

Similarly for the Lithuanian and Silesian disputes, Poles think they are strong enough to take a firm stand in those situations. Here ethnicity is Poland's justification. In Central Lithuanian election, Poles won a majority and the republic was incorporated into Poland. In Upper Silesia, though Poles lost the plebiscite, Poland still took a good chunk of land. Poland made the best in both disputes.

Poland prevailed in the Polish-Russian war and took lands in Ukraine - here the justification is that the lands used to be Poland, not ethnicity. But there are lots of other lands inside Poland when Poland was at its peak. Why only Ukraine?

So circumstances play a big part also - then when Germany felt strong enough and asked for Danzig back in late 1938 (it must also have felt it has done Poland a favor in Teschen), Poland refused - because it felt it can hold Danzig from Germany and it can fight. Only this time the war really broke out and Poland was partitioned again.

I am sympathetic to Poles during the occupation, but I think Poland can have better vision and judgments in those dealings to avoid the tragedy or fare better.

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henryk
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by henryk » 24 Jul 2017 19:57

Facts need to be reviewed before an opinion is formed. In each case mentioned the population was a majority of ethnic Poles. For example there were less than 10% Lithuanians in the city of Vilnius. Review these old threads:
viewtopic.php?f=111&t=140142&p=2067580& ... [quote]The Wilno/Vilnius area claimed by Poland was overwhelmingly ethnic Polish. I think RCW Mark means East Galicia, as in total Galicia was overwhelmingly ethnic Polish. In East Galicia, the urban area were overwhelmingly ethnic Polish. Excluding one province East Galicia was about one half ethnic Polish and one half ethnic Ukrainian.
I repeat the statistics I have given previously to RCW Mark:
From:Polish Encyclopaedia: Volume II: Territory and Population ofPoland
Original: Published by the Committee For the Polish Encyclopaedia Publications at Fribourg And Geneva (Switzerland), Printed by ATAR Ltd, Geneva, 1924
Reprint: Publications of the Polish National Committee Of America, Reprint Edition by Arno Press, 1972
The 1916 census carried out by Germany gives for the District of Wilno And Troki:
Wilno City: Polish: 50.2%, Lithuanians: 2.6%, Jews: 43.5% of total 140,840
Wilno Suburbs: Polish: 89.8%, Lithuanians: 4.3%, Jews: 4.3% of total 63,076
District: Polish: 55.0%, Lithuanians: 24.7%, Jews: 17.3% of total 478,779
1909 Russian Census (% orthodox not given below):
Wilno City: Polish: 37.8%, Lithuanians & others: 4.7%, of total 205,250
Wilno Suburbs: Polish: 71.4%, Lithuanians & others: 7.2%, of total 236,029
Province of Wilno: Polish: 47.1%, Lithuanians & others: 13.6%, of total 1,815,215
1920 Polish Census: Wilno City & District: 25.9% non-Polish of total 279,952
Abstracted from:
http://www.usindexlist.de/keyword/Galic ... ral_Europe).php#Population_of_the_Eastern_Galicia_in_1931
Locality-------------------------Polish Total %----------Ukrainian Total %
Southeast Poland--------------2,007,215 39.7%-------2,650,997 52.5% (East Galicia)
Lwow City------------------------ 198,212 63.5%----------35,137 11.3%
Lwow Voivodship-----------------885,926 44.9%---------903,984 45.8%
Tarnopol Voivodship-------------789,114 49.3%---------728,135 45.5%
Stanislawow Voivodship---------332,175 22.4%--------1,018,878 68.8%
(excluding Stanis. Voi.)---------1,675,040 45.2%--------1,632,119 44.1%[/quote].
viewtopic.php?f=111&t=7849&hilit=cieszyn&start=15
viewtopic.php?f=55&t=72399&p=1652082&hi ... n#p1652082
viewtopic.php?f=55&t=72399&hilit=polish ... &start=105
http://slaskie.fotopolska.eu/foto/22/22256.jpg
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=76805&p=1610734&hi ... a#p1610734
Total German vote

707,605
" Polish "

479,359
German majority:

228,246

[This was the vote cast in the whole of Upper Silesia; Blanke gives the vote only in the part that was awarded to Poland, that is, Polish Upper Silesia].

However, German outvoters brought in from Germany numbered 179,910. If we deduct them from the German total, it is reduced to 527,000. Silesian born Poles working in the Ruhr were not allowed by their German employers to go and vote. There were 10,000 Polish outvoters from Poland, so the real totals were 527,695 German resident votes and 469,359 Polish resident votes, or a German majority of 58,336 instead of 228,246. The Polish majority would have been much larger if the Silesian Poles working in the Ruhr had been allowed to vote, or if the plebiscite had been held only East of the Oder river. However, it was held in all of Upper Silesia, including the preponderantly German speaking areas West of the river.*
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wm
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by wm » 24 Jul 2017 20:40

StrangerHereMyself wrote:Look out for 4thskorpion’s enlightening contributions in particular.
He argued there mostly from ignorance, using some questionable books, designed, as I understand it, to justify the Jewish reconquest of Palestine (i.e. they had to do it because East Europeans wanted to murder them all) and all the bad things that happened during it.
Because really "the Poles wanted to send all Jews to Madagascar" and some of the others are the Flat Earth Society level stuff.

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wm
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by wm » 24 Jul 2017 21:09

xsli wrote:wm, I was careful not writing "aggression" - instead I chose "aggressive" - in dealings with the countries I mentioned.
Sorry, this kind of mistake is one of my numerous shortcoming :)
xsli wrote:For territorial dispute, I do not know if there is a universal rule to judge who is the rightful claimant.
The rule is "possession is nine-tenths of the law". If you own it, it's almost yours. Self-determination wasn't a valid principle then and it's not today either.
xsli wrote:You use "Ukraine was never a country" as a reason that Poland is right to go east of Curzon line.
The reason was that millions of Poles lived or were born there, including a large part of Polish elites. No Polish Government could have changed that or done something about it.
xsli wrote:But how did Russians feel when Poles went to Ukraine as Russian civil war were raging?
The Russians and the Ukrainians were/are two different nations. It was none of their business.
xsli wrote:Later Teschen was partitioned in arbitration, but Poles think it is unfair. Poles got it back after Munich - riding on Czech's weakness.
Not quite, they thought that German arbitrators meddling in Polish maters were unacceptable, insulting and humiliating. So they refused to submit to arbitration.

It could have been Polish Teschen or Nazi Teschen - because the Germans wanted a large part of it. People who condemn the Poles for the annexation really vote for the Nazi version.

Such a development would destroy internal political stability in Poland, and even could have resulted in civil war.
xsli wrote:But there are lots of other lands inside Poland when Poland was at its peak. Why only Ukraine?
The Polish negotiators represented parties hostile to the then military leader Piłsudski, they believed than only territories populated by a significant Polish population or by people who didn't care who they were (actually there were many such people) should have been included.
And then they left hundreds of thousands of Poles on the Soviet side of the border. Later the Soviets murdered most of them.

They truth is people who say the Poles should have stopped at the Curzon Line vote for genocide of Poles and Ukrainians.
xsli wrote:So circumstances play a big part also - then when Germany felt strong enough and asked for Danzig back in late 1938 (it must also have felt it has done Poland a favor in Teschen), Poland refused - because it felt it can hold Danzig from Germany and it can fight.
The Polish leaders knew they were going to be defeated. Their only mistake was they thought it would take a few months not weeks. They though the Allies would win the war anyway.
Actually they weren't mistaken much in this case.
xsli wrote:I am sympathetic to Poles during the occupation, but I think Poland can have better vision and judgments in those dealings to avoid the tragedy or fare better.
For quite complicated internal political reasons it wasn't possible, at all.
And really the only choice was to become a Nazi lapdog or a Soviet lapdog.

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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by antfreire » 24 Jul 2017 22:19

- then when Germany felt strong enough and asked for Danzig back in late 1938 (it must also have felt it has done Poland a favor in Teschen), Poland refused - because it felt it can hold Danzig from Germany and it can fight. Only this time the war really broke out and Poland was partitioned again."

The reason Poland refused to concede Danzig was because England promised them that they would defend them from a German attack. That did not fulfill neither in 1939 nor in 1945.

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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by xsli » 24 Jul 2017 23:07

henryk, I am familiar with the Teschen, Lithuania cases. For Silesia, it is more complicated - I am aware of the poles disputing the votes so am gonna read a bit more. But at least poles do not have a clear-cut majority like the Lithuanian case. For Ukraine, there were substantial Poles there but am not sure about the percentage. At least, Ukrainians should make the majority in the eastern part of the land east of the Curzon line. My view is that Poles should keep the part where Poles are majority while leaving other area to the Ukrainians. If that is the case, Ukrainians/Russians will feel much more comfortable and less likely to seek a revenge.

While Poles do not consider the Curzon line as a fair demarcation, I think Poles should give it a serious look when determining its eastern border. The English likely think Poles may not be able to hold that much eastern territory for a long period - similar to their thinking during Sudetenland crisis.

Poles think Curzon line is unfair and they crossed it rather soon. They think Spa treaty is unfair but waited for an opportunity to get even. While the Germans think the Danzig part of the treaty is not fair, Poles insisted to uphold status quo.

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wm
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by wm » 25 Jul 2017 00:23

antfreire wrote:The reason Poland refused to concede Danzig was because England promised them that they would defend them from a German attack. That did not fulfill neither in 1939 nor in 1945.
Poland had told the Germans to "get lost" at least eight times before England arrived with her promise.
I've posted the relevant documents here.

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wm
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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by wm » 25 Jul 2017 00:44

xsli wrote:Poles think Curzon line is unfair and they crossed it rather soon. They think Spa treaty is unfair but waited for an opportunity to get even. While the Germans think the Danzig part of the treaty is not fair, Poles insisted to uphold status quo.
Poland didn't want to get even, the Poles were ready to forget Teschen, and offered the Czechs anti-German defense agreement a few times. The Czechs refused.
By refusing they endangered Poland's security (because they blocked access to the traditional Polish allies: Hungary and Romania) so they had to go. This is why Poland actively supported Slovak independence.

It should be remembered that during the Polish-Soviet war the Czechs prevented the Hungarians from sending substantial military help to Poland. It was obvious that shouldn't have been allowed to happen again.

In 1938 the Polish demand was a rider on British appeasement. It was: if you were going to give the Sudetenland to the Germans, the Poles should have got back Teschen. No Sudetenland, no Teschen.

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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by xsli » 25 Jul 2017 02:25

Poland didn't want to get even, the Poles were ready to forget Teschen, and offered the Czechs anti-German defense agreement a few times. The Czechs refused.
Then why Poland raised the issue during Sudetenland crisis? It became the last straw that broke Czech. The defense offering reminded me of Hitler's offering to Poland in exchange of Danzig and the corridor. Czech had quite different perspective about its security, plus the past acrimonies - the rejection is not that surprising.
In 1938 the Polish demand was a rider on British appeasement. It was: if you were going to give the Sudetenland to the Germans, the Poles should have got back Teschen. No Sudetenland, no Teschen.
It is pretty convenient - but does British want Poles to ride? Isn't it both Britain, and esp. France are very unhappy about the Poles because of the ride?

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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by xsli » 25 Jul 2017 02:37

Poland had told the Germans to "get lost" at least eight times before England arrived with her promise.
wm is correct. The polish-english agreement is not the source of Poland's resolve. The national pride, mood, and thinking are.

On the other hand, it totally changed the picture for Hitler. Before that, Hitler considered Poland a pal and tried to negotiate a way out. After that, Poland is an enemy. War is the likely solution. The divergent views of Germany and Poland/Britain are the direct cause of the war.

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Re: Poor Poland.

Post by Steve » 25 Jul 2017 02:58

If I am not mistaken a Ukrainian state known as Kievan Rus was founded in the 9th century and later part of its territory was known as Ukraine. This state was destroyed in 1240 by the Mongols. The Poles were lucky that the Mongol Khan died in 1241 in Mongolia causing a halt to their advance into Europe. When Mongol power waned other states moved into the area. To argue that as Ukraine never existed in the past it did not have a right to exist in 1918 means batting on a sticky wicket.

Of course self determination should be the guiding principle in deciding whether a people obtain independence though it rarely is. The Polish people in 1918 self determined that they preferred independence to being governed by other countries. Why then did the Ukrainians not have the same right? As about a third of the population in the western Ukraine was Polish and Lwow was regarded as a Polish city it was never going to happen. It is quite amazing how countries refuse to accept what they happily inflict on others. The British would have been outraged in 1918 if anyone seriously suggested that they should be ruled from Berlin but they were not prepared to give Ireland its independence.

Poland was a bit player at Munich. Hitler allowed them to have some crumbs from the table and then thought they should be grateful. The Czechs would not enter into a defence agreement with Poland because they expected Germany to one day demand the return of Danzig and they could be drawn into a war. Beck never told Hitler to get lost he always tried to negotiate which was the sensible think to do. The Polish leadership seemingly did not expect Hitler to go to war over Danzig. Whatever Hitler had been thinking the acceptance of the British guarantee caused him to decide on eliminating Poland as soon as possible. When the British gave their guarantee they had no intention of doing much. They thought a German attack would overwhelm the Poles in months and there was nothing they could do to prevent it so no point in trying to do anything.

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