Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

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wm
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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by wm » 09 Jan 2019 01:44

The Ukrainians were much better off under Polish rule but they wanted more.
So they would continue their fight for independence, and Galicia and Volhynia could have become a Polish Northern Ireland. Ugly things could have happened there.
Poland was actually lucky in this regard.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Futurist » 09 Jan 2019 01:58

wm wrote:
09 Jan 2019 01:44
The Ukrainians were much better off under Polish rule but they wanted more.
So they would continue their fight for independence, and Galicia and Volhynia could have become a Polish Northern Ireland. Ugly things could have happened there.
Poland was actually lucky in this regard.
If the USSR would have declined to intervene, though, then ultimately I suspect the agreed-upon solution would have been some kind of autonomy. Some of these territories had way too many Poles to let them go and Ukrainians couldn't complain about Poles depriving them of citizenship (like, say, the Algerians could in regards to the French).

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Futurist » 09 Jan 2019 01:59

IMHO, it would have been best for Poland to create a separate west Ukrainian state after the end of WWI, but as you said, this wasn't going to fly due to the fact that a lot of the Polish elites lived in Galicia and also due to the possibility of west Ukrainians electing a Communist government. What a shame. :(

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Steve » 09 Jan 2019 02:26

Hello, When in Rumania either Beck or Smigly did say that they had expected to lose but that Poland would rise again when the allies had won, or words to that effect. The allies did expect a long war of perhaps three years. You might find this interesting:-

On August 16 1939 the Committee on Imperial Defence, Deputy Chiefs of Staff met and prepared a report for the British government. The following is an abridged portion of the report.

It is perfectly clear that without early and effective Russian assistance, the Poles cannot hope to stand up to a German attack ……….for more than a limited time. The same applies to the Rumanians except that the time would be still more limited.
The supply of arms and war material is not enough. If the Russians are to collaborate in resisting German aggression against Poland or Rumania they can only do so effectively on Polish or Rumanian soil; and………..if permission for this were withheld till war breaks out, it would be then be far too late. The most the allies could then hope for would be to avenge Poland and Rumania and perhaps restore their independence as a result of the defeat of Germany in a long war.
Without immediate and effective Russian assistance ………..the longer that war would be, and the less chance there would be of either Poland or Rumania emerging at the end of it as independent states in anything like their original form.

As mentioned the Czechoslovakian position in 1938 was not as strong as many people think. Once Hitler occupied Austria he could turn the flank of their main defences. Presumably the German element in the Czechoslovakian army would not have been called up as they were unlikely to have shown any enthusiasm and that may have also applied to the Slovaks. The military advice Chamberlain received was that Czechoslovakia would fall quite quickly. Something that Chamberlain had to take into account was the Czech treaty with the USSR. Unless the Red Army forced its way through either Poland or Rumania it could not aid Czechoslovakia. If it had tried to advance through Poland what would have happened? Chamberlain was always conscious of the fact that a war could bring the Red Army into the centre of Europe. The British had the impression that though the French talked of honouring their treaty they were looking for a way out. Often forgotten is that the British were under no obligation to defend Czechoslovakia and not many people in Britain wanted to.

It was a shame the USA retreated into isolationism. A great deal of the blame for what went on with Danzig lies with the British and Lloyd George in particular. He had supported the Germans over the matter in 1919 (France had supported the Poles) and the end result was an almost unworkable compromise especially when one side was determined to sabotage it.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Jan 2019 11:51

Hi Steve,

That is precisely why NATO exists - to avoid small countries being picked off one by one by larger ones, regardless of the rights or wrongs of the circumstances.

It is often forgotten how big Nazi Germany was. By 1939 it contained 80 million Germans. This made it very nearly as populous as the metropolitan UK and France combined. It also meant that there were "only" three ethnic Russians in the USSR to every two Germans in the Reich. Coalition warfare was the only way for the smaller population groups to stand up to such large, authoritarian powers.

I bet the Ukraine and Georgia wish they had been taken into NATO a decade ago - then they would almost certainly not have Russian boots on their soil now.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Jan 2019 11:58

Hi wm,

According to the information I have, 560 kilometers of autobahn were built after the outbreak of war, which was several times as far as the width of the Polish Corridor.

It appears that the autobahn to East Prussia, be it territorial or extra-territorial, was not a necessity, just a diplomatic leverage device, because when the Nazis had both the time and opportunity to build it, they did not.

As I posted before, Germany already had use of Polish road and rail networks to East Prussia and, most tellingly, they had unfettered access by sea.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Jan 2019 12:04

Hi Steve,

Good post.

Sid.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by wm » 09 Jan 2019 13:02

Sid Guttridge wrote:It appears that the autobahn to East Prussia, be it territorial or extra-territorial, was not a necessity, just a diplomatic leverage device, because when the Nazis had both the time and opportunity to build it, they did not.
Of course you are right, even more, the entire autobahn system was a vanity project, Germany didn't need it for anything and didn't use it for anything including waging her wars (but the Allies found them extremely useful during their advance into Germany - in a thanks suckers manner).
German home movies from the thirties invariably show autobahns empty, devoid of cars.
The autobahns should have been built in the fifties or sixties and nothing would be lost.

But despite being a vanity project the autobahn to East Prussia was real even if the end result was more vanity, and the desire to build it was real. Its construction started in 1933 and the Poles were honestly informed about its existence from day one. For example, Fritz Todt consulted technical details of its construction with his Polish counterparts in Warsaw in 1936.
There are Polish documents which discuss the problems and benefits of establishing Polish-German company tasked with building and exploiting its corridor part.

But a single road would be a drop in the bucket, as seen below:
[June 1939] . Unsigned note on the subject of communications through Polish Pomerania
COMMUNICATIONS FROM GERMANY TO EAST PRUSSIA THROUGH POLAND

Transit between East Prussia and the rest of Germany is taking place on the basis of the Paris Convention of 21 April 1921, which provides for communications by rail, road, water, post, telegraph, and telephone.

In railway transport, Germany can make use of ordinary transit on general conditions, using all Polish railway lines, or of privileged transit, for which five transit lines, of a length of 110 to 400 km, have been provided.
The German railways voluntarily gave up using three of these lines for currency-related reasons [...]

In transit, travelers are carried, as is merchandise, using separate trains with German transport lists without any further formalities. Travelers are not subjected to any passport or customs control. In these conditions, travelers may not even notice that they have traveled through Polish territory. When the transit trains stop at the station, travelers can purchase fruit, meals, and refreshments. It is, of course, permitted to open windows in the cars of the train in transit. [...]

The German railways reimburse the Polish railways for the latter's share in the transport fees for the transit lines in keeping with the Polish tariff, with all Polish tariff discounts. In some cases, the German railways are even granted rebates that do not exist in the Polish tariff (such as discounts for families with a large number of children, discounts for return tickets, etc.), and also rebates for German popular trains from Germany to East Prussia.
Given the unusually cheap fares in the Polish tariff, the management of the German railways, in charging fees according to the German tariff, derives benefits from the difference between the amount charged and the one reimbursed for transit through Polish Pomerania. [...]

For auto transit through Polish Pomerania, Germans can use excellently maintained asphalted roads. Thus especially on the Starogard-Chojnice section, several hundred cars and motorcycles, and even huge cargo train autos can be seen daily moving freely between Germany and East Prussia. This traffic takes place without passports, and drivers only pay a very low fee for the wear of the asphalted surface.

If one were to add to the above the unfettered freedom of navigation for German ships on inland routes and Poland's agreement for German aircraft to fly over the Polish voivodship of Pomerania, one can see that such transit facilitations as observed in communications with East Prussia would be difficult to find elsewhere and any objective observer would have to state unconditionally that Poland truly gave Germany the freest possible communication with East Prussia.

ISBN 978-83-89607-72-0. Polish Documents on Foreign Policy. 24 October 1938 – 30 September 1939

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by wm » 09 Jan 2019 13:12

Steve wrote: When in Rumania either Beck or Smigly did say that they had expected to lose but that Poland would rise again when the allies had won, or words to that effect.
All Polish studies of the subject in the thirties (but no plans, they never existed - all planning capacity was allocated for defense against the Soviet threat) came to the conclusion Poland would be able to resist for a few months and no more.
And they generally doubted France would be able or even willing to help in a meaningful way.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by wm » 09 Jan 2019 13:23

Futurist wrote: IMHO, it would have been best for Poland to create a separate west Ukrainian state after the end of WWI, but as you said, this wasn't going to fly due to the fact that a lot of the Polish elites lived in Galicia and also due to the possibility of west Ukrainians electing a Communist government. What a shame. :(
Piłsudski was trying to do that, although by trying to establish a Ukrainian state without Volynia and Western Galicia. The Soviet-Polish war, supported by Ukrainian leaders and the Ukrainian Army was fought among others for that reason.

The Polish defeat and Piłsudski's enemies who conducted final peace negotiations with the Soviets made sure it was not going to happen.
They would pay for that (and other reasons, real and imagined) later, Piłsudski wasn't vengeful but in this case, they really asked for it.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Delwin » 09 Jan 2019 17:12

Outside of the extraterritorial status being the blow into the sovereignty of Poland , the existence of such motorway, enabling free movement of the Germans through it, is grave military danger. In few hours you army can easily march into your territory, cut down the corridor etc.

Such highway would be workable only if:
- Poles have heavily fortified positions at each end of the road, controlling the movement, with constant crew;
- the highway has no junctions with local roads and it is build over the land so it can be easily mined and destroyed if needed.

I believe that Poland could agree to such option (with some common management of the road). The problem is that the highway was just the pretext...

On Pilsudski willingness to ally with Germany (irrespective of the terms - the decision just about the alliance). Assuming he is healthy and fully sane until the date : it is not likely that he will go for it but it is more likely that he will succeed that it could be done by his successors. In principle he had more authority over the society (what's most important - army and elites) and possible backslash would not be that severe as for Beck or others.
The problem is that Pilsudski is not likely to choose that option for that option (there is no benefit for Poland) unless an actual threat from Russia had occurred.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by wm » 09 Jan 2019 18:32

The problem is the existing road network was more than sufficient for German mobile units to basically overrun the corridor with ease - "For auto transit through Polish Pomerania, Germans can use excellently maintained asphalted roads".
For this reason, Poland didn't even intend to defend the corridor.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Futurist » 10 Jan 2019 02:14

wm wrote:
09 Jan 2019 13:23
Futurist wrote: IMHO, it would have been best for Poland to create a separate west Ukrainian state after the end of WWI, but as you said, this wasn't going to fly due to the fact that a lot of the Polish elites lived in Galicia and also due to the possibility of west Ukrainians electing a Communist government. What a shame. :(
Piłsudski was trying to do that, although by trying to establish a Ukrainian state without Volynia and Western Galicia. The Soviet-Polish war, supported by Ukrainian leaders and the Ukrainian Army was fought among others for that reason.

The Polish defeat and Piłsudski's enemies who conducted final peace negotiations with the Soviets made sure it was not going to happen.
They would pay for that (and other reasons, real and imagined) later, Piłsudski wasn't vengeful but in this case, they really asked for it.
IMHO, if it was acceptable for Poland to create an independent Ukrainian state on Ukrainian territories west of Galicia and Volhynia, it should have also been acceptable for Poland to create an independent Ukrainian state in Galicia and Volhynia--both of which Poland retained in its peace settlement with the Soviets. After all, wasn't Poland going to puppetize Ukraine anyway? If so, there wasn't going to be any risk of a Communist takeover in Galicia and Volhynia even if Poland would have given them independence (of course, Poland would obviously keep Polish-majority western Galicia for itself).

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Futurist » 10 Jan 2019 07:03

BTW, wm, why exactly wouldn't even a surviving Weimar Germany have tried to resolve its border issue with Poland by force if it would have been sure that Britain and France wouldn't intervene on the side of the Poles in any German-Polish conflict?

You mention the Kellogg-Briand Pact, but one does wonder whether Germany was sincere in signing this pact or whether it was merely a tactical ploy to look good in the eyes of the international community.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Futurist » 10 Jan 2019 07:18

Steve wrote:
09 Jan 2019 02:26
Hello, When in Rumania either Beck or Smigly did say that they had expected to lose but that Poland would rise again when the allies had won, or words to that effect.
The Poles didn't anticipate the Soviet invasion, though--did they?
The allies did expect a long war of perhaps three years. You might find this interesting:-

On August 16 1939 the Committee on Imperial Defence, Deputy Chiefs of Staff met and prepared a report for the British government. The following is an abridged portion of the report.

It is perfectly clear that without early and effective Russian assistance, the Poles cannot hope to stand up to a German attack ……….for more than a limited time. The same applies to the Rumanians except that the time would be still more limited.
The supply of arms and war material is not enough. If the Russians are to collaborate in resisting German aggression against Poland or Rumania they can only do so effectively on Polish or Rumanian soil; and………..if permission for this were withheld till war breaks out, it would be then be far too late. The most the allies could then hope for would be to avenge Poland and Rumania and perhaps restore their independence as a result of the defeat of Germany in a long war.
Without immediate and effective Russian assistance ………..the longer that war would be, and the less chance there would be of either Poland or Rumania emerging at the end of it as independent states in anything like their original form.
Interestingly enough, their prediction could have come true even with immediate and effective Russian assistance. If all of Poland and/or all of Romania would have been occupied by the Soviets like it was in real life, then the only independence that Poland and/or Romania might have had after the war is a nominal independence. As you know, both Poland and Romania spent nearly half a century as Soviet puppet states--though with Romania being more independent-minded even within the Warsaw Pact.
As mentioned the Czechoslovakian position in 1938 was not as strong as many people think. Once Hitler occupied Austria he could turn the flank of their main defences. Presumably the German element in the Czechoslovakian army would not have been called up as they were unlikely to have shown any enthusiasm and that may have also applied to the Slovaks. The military advice Chamberlain received was that Czechoslovakia would fall quite quickly. Something that Chamberlain had to take into account was the Czech treaty with the USSR. Unless the Red Army forced its way through either Poland or Rumania it could not aid Czechoslovakia. If it had tried to advance through Poland what would have happened? Chamberlain was always conscious of the fact that a war could bring the Red Army into the centre of Europe. The British had the impression that though the French talked of honouring their treaty they were looking for a way out. Often forgotten is that the British were under no obligation to defend Czechoslovakia and not many people in Britain wanted to.
In regards to the Soviets, I believe that Churchill wrote in his post-war memoirs that there were railroads through Romania and Hungary which the Soviet Union could use to avoid Czechoslovakia and which did not pass through either the Romanian capital or the Hungarian capital. This would have ensured that the Soviet Union wouldn't have to go through Poland and that there would be little risk of Soviet-sponsored regime change in either Romania or Hungary.

As for Britain not wanting to fight over Czechoslovakia, that's certainly a valid point. At least the Brits were willing to fight over Poland, though--something which unfortunately can't be said for the U.S. :(

Also, the interesting thing is that while Chamberlain wanted to avoid having the Red Army be in the center of Europe, this is ultimately what happened anyway, but with a lot more dead Jews and Soviets in the process. Still, Britain can be grateful for the fact that the casualties that it suffered in WWII in real life might have been less than would have been the case had war broken out in 1938 and been a long war.
It was a shame the USA retreated into isolationism.
Yep. :( Personally, I blame Wilson for refusing to compromise with the Republicans in the U.S. Senate in regards to this. They were willing to agree to the League of Nations with reservations as well as to a security treaty with France. Instead of taking them up on their offer, Wilson foolishly went for "all or nothing" and ultimately ended up getting nothing. :(
A great deal of the blame for what went on with Danzig lies with the British and Lloyd George in particular. He had supported the Germans over the matter in 1919 (France had supported the Poles) and the end result was an almost unworkable compromise especially when one side was determined to sabotage it.
The issue with Danzig is that it was an overwhelmingly German-majority city but Poland relied on it for trade. Giving it to Poland would have sounded great on paper, but this would have also given legitimacy to German grievances about the right of national self-determination not being respected. Granted, this would have been less of a violation of national self-determination than was the case with the Sudetenland, but Germans (with the possible exception of Hitler, ironically) appear to have been much more upset by having their country be split into two parts than by having three million Germans be put under Czechoslovak rule.

The way that the Polish Corridor was set up in real life likely allowed it to have a Polish-majority population if one considers Kashubians to be Poles. To my knowledge, Danzig was a German-majority city even back in the days of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Thus, Poland couldn't have claimed that Danzig was a historically Polish city and that it was only Germanized after the Partitions of Poland. Of course, if Germans were so offended about their country being split into two parts, another solution to this issue in 1919 might have been to simply strip Germany of East Prussia (as was indeed done after the end of World War II, but possibly without the expulsions). However, this would have carrier a very serious risk of Germany refusing to sign the Versailles Treaty and thus of having the Allies be required to march onto Berlin in 1919.

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