What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Sep 2018 16:39

Hi Steve,

My impression is the exact opposite - that the Czechs did not support Ukrainian nationalists.

The easternmost province of inter-war Czechoslovakia was Ruthenia. This was a majority Ukrainian/Ruthene province. If memory serves me correctly, the Czechs staitioned their 12th Infantry Division there and deliberately filled it with ethnic Czechs, while Ruthene conscripts served in divisions in Bohemia-Moravia.

The Ruthenes were pragmatically loyal(ish) to Czechoslovakia for as long as it could protect them from their previous overlords - the Hungarians. The moment Czecho-Slovakia was dismembered by the Germans, they declared independence. The Hungarians moved in within a day - hence the title of the book Republic for a Day.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by Steve » 15 Sep 2018 03:42

Hi, after WW1 the Czechs opposed the Polish annexation of the Hapsburg province of East Galicia now known as west Ukraine. At Versailles the British proposed on January 20 that East Galicia should be allowed to decide between independence, union with the Ukraine or even join Czechoslovakia. Masaryk the Czechoslovakian President thought there should be a federation between East Galicia and Czechoslovakia. The Czechs wanted a border with Russia not just because of trade but also for defence. In 1938 they had a military treaty with the USSR but the Poles refused to allow Soviet forces to cross Polish territory if there was war with Germany.

The Czechs seem to have had close relations with the West Ukrainian government set up in 1918. After its defeat in 1919 they allowed them to cross into Czechoslovakia and later open a consulate in Prague. Financial support was given to ex Ukrainian soldiers and also to students who wanted to study in Czechoslovakia. According to Wikipedia Stepan Bandera tried to study in Czechoslovakia but was prevented. Attempts by the Ukrainians to use the newly formed League of Nations to further their cause were seemingly helped by the Czechs. Support for Ukrainian groups who wanted to end Polish rule in Galicia (not Ruthenia) was probably linked to the issue of Teschen which Poland claimed.

On November 6 1921 the Benes/Skirmund pact was signed between the two countries. This seems to have settled all their differences for example benevolent neutrality in war and ending support for Ukrainian groups. Unfortunately it was never ratified because the Czechs would not make a small territorial concession that the Poles needed to get it passed in the Sejm and were still aggrieved about the awarding of East Galicia to Poland. There may have been more to it but my source is a Polish author. Interwar Polish Czechoslovakian relations were never good.

Source: - From Versailles to Locarno, keys to Polish foreign policy 1919-1925

The Polish aim in 1938/39 was to detach Sub Carpathian Ruthenia from Czechoslovakia and have it awarded to Hungary giving them a common border. Somewhere in the deep dark recesses of the garage I have a book written by an Englishman who in 1939 witnessed the strange goings on in Carpathian Ruthenia.

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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by wm » 18 Sep 2018 02:01

Steve wrote:
14 Sep 2018 03:50
The Ukrainian population in German occupied Poland were allowed their own language schools and cultural organisation something the Polish state had not allowed.
Seriously not true.
Not only the full spectrum of Ukrainian political parties existed in pre-war Poland (including parliamentary representation, a Ukrainian Wasylow Mudry was the first deputy speaker of the parliament till 1939) but Ukrainian cultural and more importantly economic influences were growing leading to total domination on some territories.
In the thirties, Polish children living in the Eastern parts (for example Volhynia) were forced to learn Ukrainian - as a gesture of goodwill.

btw the Stephan Bandera's government were promptly interned in Auschwitz, where his brother (and vice-premier) was quickly "dehydrated" in a quicklime pit by the prisoners.
Still, later the interned Ukrainians cooperated with Polish underground in Auschwitz.
So much for freedoms under the Nazi occupation, anyway the only "cultural organization" allowed was Ukrainian fascism (or rather Ukrainian collaboration).
Steve wrote:In 1938 they had a military treaty with the USSR but the Poles refused to allow Soviet forces to cross Polish territory if there was war with Germany.
The vague military treaty depended on the treaty with France. It couldn't be activated without French participation.
Even more, the Soviets refused to help, but still they were encouraging the Czechs to resists hoping to trigger a beneficial to them general European war. Exactly like it happened a year later thanks to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Sep 2018 06:06

Hi Steve,

I stand considerably corrected!

The book is probably the one I mentioned above - Republic for a Day. I photocopied it as it is very pricy nowadays. Look after yours!

The Poles were often their own worst enemies between the wars, foregoing potential allies in favour of pursuing often minor territorial claims against them. Romania and Latvia were their only neighbours with whom they had no territorial dispute. That was why in 1939 the UK and France only guaranteed Poland against Germany and so were not obliged to intervene against Moscow when the USSR attacked Poland.

Cheers,

Sid

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wm
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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by wm » 18 Sep 2018 19:16

The Poles didn't have any allies - even potential ones, except Romania (against the USSR).

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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by Steve » 18 Sep 2018 23:45

Hi Sid,
Have retrieved the book which I have not seen for a couple of years titled Standing up to Hitler by Major Geoffrey Moss published 1939. I paid £3-50 locally but buying on the internet you’ll be lucky to get it all in for much under £20.

Moss arrived in Ruthenia just after the 1938 Vienna award of November1st. The situation he found can only be described as Ruritanian. The two largest towns had gone to Hungary so the capital was a straggling provincial town of some 26,000 people. The main west east railway line had also gone as had the main west east road. All economic activities were oriented toward Hungary which had ruled Ruthenia for centuries but Hungary had closed the border. The Czechoslovakian army was still present and was occasionally exchanging fire with the Hungarians. A Ukrainian militia called the Sich was now operating openly and Moss interviewed an officer. Although the militia was banned under the Czechs he had recently come to Ruthenia from its headquarters in Prague! Polish saboteurs were crossing from Poland and blowing up power lines and bridges apparently to destabilise the area. Hungarian was commonly spoken in towns and Ukrainian in the countryside by a backward but colourful peasantry with apparenty no nationalist aspirations. Virtually all commercial activity seemed to be run by Jews and most professional people were Jewish. A totally incompetent secret policeman tried to follow him everywhere.

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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by Steve » 19 Sep 2018 13:45

Inter war relations between the Polish government and Ukrainians in Galicia were far from good. In 1921 many Ukrainians refused to participate in the census and in 1922 they boycotted the elections. A nationalist group known as the UVO carried out sabotage and assassinations even attempting to assassinate Pilsudski in 1921. Thousands of Ukrainians were arrested and by 1925 the organisation seems to have been broken. A new organisation the OUN was formed in Vienna in January 1929. It launched a small scale campaign of assassination and sabotage murdering in 1934 the Polish interior minister Pieracki. The Poles used harsh measures to try and stamp it out and in 1934 opened a prison camp at Bereza Kartuska where many Ukrainian nationalists were held. When the Soviets invaded Galicia in September one witness recalled “it was the rule rather than the exception for villages and towns to greet the Red Army with the traditional symbols of hospitality…..”

Unfortunately I don’t have educational figures for all of western Ukraine. In the areas of Volhynia and Drohobych the number of Ukrainian schools dropped from 1,050 in 1919 to 433 in 1922. By the 1930s most of these were bilingual Polish Ukrainian schools. Following the Soviet occupation the number of Ukrainian schools in Volhynia and Drohobych rose to 907. The number of Ukrainian teachers rose from 1,207 to 2,138. Under Polish rule the Ukrainian chair at Lwow University was closed and Ukrainian attendance restricted. Under Soviet rule a department of Ukrainian language, literature and history was created at the University.
The educational statistics are from The Lands Between by Alexander V Prusin page 133.

Stepan Bandera was leader of one of the largest and probably most violent resistance groups of WW2 yet is almost totally unknown in the west. Between 1939 and 1941 he lived in the German occupied part of Poland where the Ukrainian OUN organisation was not banned. Advancing into the USSR together with the Germans the OUN-B faction which he led made the bad mistake of proclaiming Ukrainian independence in Lwow on June 30. Whether Bandera has a responsibility for the appalling massacre of Jews in Lwow that occurred after its “liberation” from the Soviets is a moot point. As the Germans arrested him on July 5 he avoided direct association with ethnic cleansing in Galicia. In 1959 a KGB hit man killed him in Munich.

The Poles made it clear in 1938 that they would not allow the passage of Soviet troops across Poland to aid Czechoslovakia. Whatever the motivations of Stalin or the wording of the French Czechoslovakia treaty the Polish position on the matter then and later never changed.

A joke from 1939
One Frenchman is a lover, two Frenchmen and a woman are a ménage a trois, three Frenchmen form a political group pass a vote of censure on the Government and call a General Strike.
One German is a machine, two Germans are an army on the march, three Germans are a world menace.

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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by wm » 19 Sep 2018 18:11

It was good enough by the standards of the era. Political violence was worse in Britain (including the S-Plan), France, Germany.
A few politicians were killed, but Poland had lots of politicians, nothing of value was lost.
Generally, it was something the Poles read in newspapers never experienced themselves. The communists created a larger mess than the Ukrainians.
It was communists who greeted the Red Army, Ukrainian peasants were traditionally nice to any arriving army, and Ukrainian nationalists knew what happened to their brethren in the USSR.

Bandera and his merry men were a post-1939 thing, the Nazis enabled him.

"Under Soviet rule a department of Ukrainian language, literature and history was created at the University" and I'm rather sure 99 percent of those people didn't reach old age.
The bloody purges of Ukrainian elites were the most severe of them all.

Steve wrote:Polish saboteurs were crossing from Poland and blowing up power lines and bridges apparently to destabilise the area.
The saboteurs are believable because true, that they had power lines there is rather unbelievable.
Major Moss must have been an impressive man, I thought nobody was aware those people were Poles.

Steve wrote:The Poles made it clear in 1938 that they would not allow the passage of Soviet troops across Poland to aid Czechoslovakia.
Laws of War :
Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land (Hague V); October 18, 1907

Article 1.
The territory of neutral Powers is inviolable.
Article 2.
Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power. [...]
Article 5.
A neutral Power must not allow any of the acts referred to in Articles 2 to 4 to occur on its territory.

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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by Steve » 21 Sep 2018 18:46

The November 2 Vienna award divided Ruthenia between Hungarian and mainly Ukrainian parts. A Ukrainian government was organised but according to Major Moss many of its officials either did not speak Ukrainian as a first language or could not write in Ukrainian. On November 8 a “Karpatska Sic” militia was formed headed by leading members of the O.U.N. Germany raised no objection to what was happening and vetoed any military action by the Hungarians. In December UNDO (Ukrainian National Democratic Organisation) deputies in the Polish Sejn demanded autonomy for south eastern Poland. Hungary and Poland were not happy bunnies.

The Czechoslovakian army had a small exhibition in the capital Khust of what they had captured from “terrorists” who crossed over from Poland. The firearms came from all over Europe but the rucksacks had partially rubbed off Polish government stamps and there were some Polish army pattern grenades. Moss was shown a picture of four dead “terrorists” and the army claimed to have prisoners but he never saw any.

Was Poland neutral during the Czech crisis?

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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Sep 2018 19:45

Hi Steve,

Which Czech crisis? It occupied Tesin/Teschen and several small enclaves in Slovakia (Zakopane) following the Munich Crisis in 1938. I don't think it had a role on the ground in March 1939.

The Czechs were quite effective in dealing with Polish and Hungarian (Ragged Guard) infiltration of Slovakia and Ruthenia in the winter of 1938-39.

Sid.

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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by wm » 21 Sep 2018 21:59

Steve wrote:
21 Sep 2018 18:46
Was Poland neutral during the Czech crisis?
According to Hague Conventions, neutrality needs war to be a thing. It's "Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land" after all.

Poland wasn't politically neutral but international law didn't concern itself with such neutrality.

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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by Futurist » 15 May 2019 05:27

Steve wrote:
22 Aug 2018 01:49
A Swedish businessman named Dahlerus met Hitler and Goering on September 27 1939 in Berlin and he arrived in London September 29 with Hitler’s proposals for peace. He met Chamberlain, Halifax and Alexander Cadogan a civil servant who was the Under Secretary of State. In 1972 which from when my source dates there was apparently no mention of this meeting in published Government documents. However, Cadogan kept notes and we are told that with regard to Poland his notes dated October 4 say the following.

Poland in economic vassalage to Germany and military restrictions to prevent the country ever being a threat to Germany. Germany would occupy the old Reich border. Frontier rectification would take place in Slovakia particularly the region Poland had occupied. Germany would say nothing about the other side of the demarcation line- she was not interested in that. Settlement of Jewish question by using Poland “as a sink in which to empty the Jews”.

Presumably the old Reich border is the 1914 German Russian border so seemingly the area between that and the new demarcation line with the Soviets is what Hitler had in mind for a possible Polish state.

Mussolini was an advocate for a Polish state to remain in being. On September 9 Mussolini told the German ambassador that Hitler should agree to a “generous settlement” with a new Polish government. On September 15 the Italian ambassador to Germany told State Secretary Weizsacker that the Duce “desired a really magnanimous offer of peace” On October 1 Ciano the Italian Foreign Minister met Hitler and pressed him for details about a Polish rump state that would be set up as a condition of peace. Ciano did not know that six days previously Stalin had objected to any residual Polish state.
Source -The War Hitler Won by Nicolas Bethel
Steve, I have a question for you--had a formally independent Nazi Polish puppet state been created, do you think that this would have made any difference in the Axis campaign against the Soviet Union?

Also, would the Jews of Poland in this scenario have had a somewhat higher survival rate in comparison to real life? I mean, in real life, the Jews in Nazi satellite states such as Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria tended to have somewhat higher survival rates in comparison to the Jews that lived in directly controlled Nazi Germany (such as Germany itself, Poland, the occupied Soviet territories--if one excludes the Jews who fled before the Nazis reached them, of course).

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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 16 May 2019 11:18

Hi Futurist,

It would have meant that the only German territory for launching such a campaign would be East Prussia - a perilously narrow front.

Assuming rump Polish territory was also used, massive German deployments there, of the sort that preceded Barbarossa, would have been far more conspicuous.

"Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria" were German allies, not puppets, and retained varying degrees of autonomy. They all regarded German interference in their management of their Jewish populations as an infringement of their only recently regained independence from foreign domination. Even Slovakia, an entirely Nazi-era creation, had some capacity to resist German pressures - though very belatedly in the case of its Jews. A Polish state would likely have been a genuine puppet, without any national discretion whatsoever.

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: What size did Hitler want his Polish puppet state to be?

Post by Steve » 16 May 2019 16:19

Hello, Hitler in his Danzig speech of 19 September 1939 left the door open about Poland’s future. During the course of his October 6 peace offer speech he said ……..”formation of a Polish state so constituted and governed as to prevent its becoming once again either a hotbed of anti-German activity or a canter of intrigue against Germany and Russia”. Perhaps if Britain and France had accepted Hitler’s peace offer a puppet Polish state would have been created. By October 26 military administration of Poland had been ended and the country was divided among several long time Nazis. It must be highly unlikely that a Polish puppet state would have said no to anything Hitler wanted. In my opinion it would have made no difference to the ultimate end of the campaign in Russia. However, such a state may have enabled the Germans to get more out of Poland with fewer security forces than their brutal occupation methods did.

I would guess that at first the situation of Jews in a Polish puppet state would have been better. Eventually though Hitler would have moved to exterminate them. With extreme persecution maybe lasting for a shorter period and a quisling government not particularly keen on co-operating in mass murder perhaps more would have survived. I believe the Germans did not find nearly as many willing helpers in Poland as in some other east European states. Due to a weak stomach I have not read much on the persecution of European Jewry beyond the broad picture.

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