Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

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Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by Futurist » 22 Jan 2019 05:59

Here is the scenario: For whatever reason, the Germans refuse to accept the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919. This causes WWI to restart and for the Allies to conquer Germany and eventually reach Berlin. As a way of punishing Germany for refusing to make peace earlier, the Allies decide on a harsher peace than they previously offered in June 1919. Thus, Poland gets all of East Prussia (with the exception of Memelland, which goes to Lithuania), Danzig, eastern Pomerania, and all of Upper Silesia in addition to all of the territories that it got in real life.

Anyway, how many Poles would have moved to East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomerania in the interwar period (note: this assumes that there would have eventually been a WWII in this scenario, which certainly isn't guaranteed) in this scenario?

I know that several million Poles or so moved to the territories that Poland acquired after the end of WWII in real life. However, that involved a larger amount of territory than we are talking about here (though, in this scenario, Poland gets northern East Prussia whereas it didn't in real life). Also, this was helped by the post-WWII mass expulsions of Poles from the Kresy--which is a non-issue in this scenario during the relevant time period (specifically the interwar period). Thus, I am wondering as to just how successful Poland would have been in settling its western Lebensraum with Poles in the interwar period in this scenario.

Any thoughts on this?

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by Futurist » 22 Jan 2019 06:01

Also, I would like to point out that I am not thinking of any expulsions of the German populations from these territories (unlike after the end of WWII in real life). Rather, the Germans in these territories would be allowed to remain as long as they will swear allegiance to Poland--though I have no doubt that some would leave Poland and move to Germany anyway.

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 22 Jan 2019 14:34

Hi futurist,

How can anyone possibly answer this?

Sid.

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by wm » 22 Jan 2019 23:05

It's not that hard.
East Prussia and eastern Pomerania were basically redneck territory; peasants, landowners, Polish seasonal farmhands, and the supporting economy. Their prosperity depended on Polish farm workers. So really there was no pressing need to improve anything there by migration.

Additionally, there were up to several million so-called redundant, "no-future" people in the destroyed by the Great War and the Great Depression interbellum Poland - mostly poverty-stricken peasants, landless peasants, farmhands, to a lesser degree poor Jews. As they were "redundant" they really had no choice but to migrate.
Well, the Polish Jews alone could have repopulated Danzig and could have replaced all the Germans there.

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by Futurist » 23 Jan 2019 00:49

If the newly acquired Polish territories don't require a lot of migration and yet a lot of desperate Poles and Jews move there anyway, wouldn't there be serious problems in these territories due to overpopulation?

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by wm » 23 Jan 2019 06:48

As they were redundant it didn't matter where they were redundant - in Poland or in East Prussia.
The point is because of the structural unemployment, even among the highly educated, there would be no problem with replacing folks leaving the freshly acquired territories.
But colonization wasn't possible because those people didn't have any money (to start a new life), and the government didn't have either.

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Jan 2019 11:15

Hi wm,

It may be simple, but you haven't actually answered the question:

"Anyway, how many Poles would have moved to East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomerania in the interwar period..... in this scenario?"

Do you have a number?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A few other factors to be considered:

The original inhabitants of most of East Prussia were the Old Prussians. These were a Baltic people related to the Lithuanians and Latvians. Their language died out in the 18th Century. To what degree they were assimilated or wiped out is unclear to me. However, if the former, the bulk of the population of East Prussia in WWII may have been Balts by ethnic origin, not Germans! However, by then they certainly thought of themselves as Germans and the Nazis made an effort to stamp out residual Old Prussian geographical names, such as for rivers, to emphasize the point.

Between the wars there were already many people (about 10%) of Polish origin in East Prussia, but a majority of them had become so Germanized that many apparently voted in the post WWI frontier plebiscites to stay in Germany.

There is also the possibility that the north-east of East Prussia might have gone to Lithuania, as that country's nationalists claimed it on the grounds of their relationship to the Old Prussians.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by wm » 23 Jan 2019 19:59

I suppose the answer is nobody would move there.
Lots of people would be willing, but without expulsions nobody would need them.
Actually, because their traditional markets were in Germany the economy of the acquired territories would contract forcing many locals to leave.

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by Futurist » 24 Jan 2019 04:43

wm wrote:
23 Jan 2019 19:59
I suppose the answer is nobody would move there.
Lots of people would be willing, but without expulsions nobody would need them.
Actually, because their traditional markets were in Germany the economy of the acquired territories would contract forcing many locals to leave.
Couldn't the markets and economies of these regions be reoriented towards Poland, though?

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by wm » 24 Jan 2019 11:33

Poland already suffered a severe deflation because of agricultural overproduction.
More kartoffeln was the last thing the Poles needed.

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by Futurist » 24 Jan 2019 21:57

wm wrote:
24 Jan 2019 11:33
Poland already suffered a severe deflation because of agricultural overproduction.
More kartoffeln was the last thing the Poles needed.
The cities of Danzig and Konigsberg had some industry, no? If so, couldn't that industry have been put to good use by Poland?

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by wm » 24 Jan 2019 23:12

It was put to good use because the Free City of Danzig was in a customs union with Poland, so the direct rule wouldn't bring any benefits. From the economic point of view, Danzig was Poland.
Konigsberg was small and insignificant.

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by Futurist » 25 Jan 2019 05:28

Were Poles able to freely move to Danzig in the interwar era?

Also, Konigsberg wasn't that small. It had over 250,000 people at the end of WWI.

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Jan 2019 11:48

Hi Guys,

Yup, Danzig was in a customs union with Poland and had Polish customs officials in its port and along the East Prussian border.

However, the Poles knew it was inadvisable to have all their seaborne trade passing through an almost entirely German city of 500,000 people, so they had built an alternative port of their own at Gdynia, which was diverting significant traffic from Danzig by 1939.

By comparison with Danzig, Konigsberg had half the population, while Gdynia had grown from a small fishing village to a major port of 120,000 people in fifteen years.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Had Poland received East Prussia, Danzig, and eastern Pomeria in 1919, how many Poles would've moved there?

Post by Futurist » 25 Jan 2019 18:37

Sid Guttridge wrote:
25 Jan 2019 11:48
Hi Guys,

Yup, Danzig was in a customs union with Poland and had Polish customs officials in its port and along the East Prussian border.

However, the Poles knew it was inadvisable to have all their seaborne trade passing through an almost entirely German city of 500,000 people, so they had built an alternative port of their own at Gdynia, which was diverting significant traffic from Danzig by 1939.

By comparison with Danzig, Konigsberg had half the population, while Gdynia had grown from a small fishing village to a major port of 120,000 people in fifteen years.

Cheers,

Sid.
Yes, all of this is correct--though it is worth noting that Konigsberg still had more than two times more people than Gdynia had on the eve of World War II.

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