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

Discussions on all aspects of Poland during the Second Polish Republic and the Second World War. Hosted by Peter K
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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 » 20 Feb 2019 23:29

Steve wrote:Declaring itself neutral meant Czechoslovakia had international law behind it when not allowing military supplies to cross its territory.
"Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land" (part of Laws of War, Hague V, 1907) were rights and duties of countries which signed Hague V.
The Bolsheviks didn't sign it. They weren't a country. According to laws of The Russian Empire and international law, they were rebels and illegal combatants. For those reasons, they weren't protected by Laws of War and Czechoslovakia didn't have international law behind it.

Steve wrote:The Poles came to the conclusion that France would not fight over the Sudetenland so therefore Hitler would get what he wanted.
It was more than that, France and Czechoslovakia publicly demonstrated they were unwilling to fight.
Both countries "blinked" a few times at the beginning of the conflict, and if you blinked you couldn't "unblink."
In comparison, Poland in her long confrontation with Hitler in 38/39 never blinked, never showed weakness.

Steve wrote:If Czechoslovakia was going to be dismembered then now was the time to get Teschen back. As shown in previous posts the Poles coordinated their actions with Germany.
The Poles coordinated their actions with Germany but not against Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia wasn't even aware of the coordination.
The goal of all that coordinating was to prevent an accidental conflict with Germany.

Steve wrote:The Sudetenland had never been part of Germany and it seems the Czechs never expected Germany to make the demands it did.
The Polish offer of an alliance actually specified what was for the Czechs in it.
And the "it" was protection of Sudetenland.
Czechoslovakia was a dagger thrust into the heartland of Germany, it was a direct threat to German security. It was obvious even then.
Map_of_Czechoslovakia_1938.png
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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 Steve » 21 Feb 2019 05:08

I am no lawyer but a look on Wikipedia Neutrality (international relations) says that international law allows a country to remain neutral during a period of war between two or more states. Is wm arguing that only countries that signed Laws of War Hague V can declare themselves neutral? I do not see the relevance of whether or not the Bolsheviks signed the Hague convention as they were not a neutral party in the Polish Russian war. Both de facto and de jure the Russian Empire no longer existed in 1920. The Czar abdicated and Russia was declared a republic in March 1917.

If the Poles did not coordinate their action with Germany against Czechoslovakia then which other country was the coordination aimed at? I suppose using this argument you could say that in 1939 the Germans and the Soviets did not coordinate their action against Poland they only coordinated to avoid any unfortunate incidents.

I presume the Polish offer of an alliance that included protection for the Sudetenland was made when Beck put out feelers for an alliance against Germany in 1933. The Czechs were not prepared to enter into such an alliance as they thought it would give Germany cause to fear encirclement. They also thought that they could be dragged into war over Danzig and the corridor. Benes countered Beck’s offer by offering a pact of eternal friendship knowing that this was meaningless.

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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 » 28 Feb 2019 21:33

The main effort was in 1921, so-called Skirmunt-Plitz rapprochement with Czechoslovakia, later it was more like feelers than serious negotiations - because the negative Czech attitude was obvious by that time.

The Poles coordinated their action with Germany post-Munich, with the intention of avoiding military conflict because the territories they both demanded partially overlapped.
Earlier Poland didn't formulate any overt demands, it simply pressured the Czech by being neutral so there was nothing to coordinate. Simultaneously they tried (unsuccessfully) to extract political concessions from the Germans by hinting they could have become unfriendly to their efforts.

Any country can declare itself neutral but it's pointless if the other side isn't a signatory, so the benefits granted by the convention aren't assured. The convention protected from belligerents but belligerents had to be a signatory to be worthwhile.

The internationally recognized legal successor of the Russian Empire was the White Movement and in 1920 it was the Provisional All-Russian Government led by Alexandr Kolchak.
Czechoslovakia actually recognized the USSR very late, several years later than 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 Steve » 01 Mar 2019 23:49

WMs post about the 1921 negotiations is informative I had not seen it before. There was a secret protocol in the proposed pact. Czechoslovakia promised to support Poland “within the limits of her possibilities” on East Galicia and not to do anything that would jeopardise the Riga Treaty with the Soviets. In return Poland promised not to recognise any Habsburg attempts to reinstate themselves in Hungary or Austria.

Unfortunately the Pact was never ratified by the Czechs perhaps because the Poles asked for a small territorial concession so as to get it ratified by their Sejm. This was a Polish speaking area called Javorina, 316 sq kl according to Wikipedia. Czechoslovakia continued to oppose Poland having East Galicia and continued to support various Ukrainian organisations who wanted independence.

Incidentally Benes had connived with France and the UK at the 1920 Spa conference to obtain Teschen for Czechoslovakia. The Poles were being very forgiving in 1921 unless they did not know.

After the Polish attempt in 1933 to come to an agreement with the Czechs Beck seemingly decided that it was a pointless exercise. The Czechs were never interested in anything more than some nice words about friendship.

Polish talks with Germany did not suddenly spring up after Munich they were there before Munich. If a country has a dispute with another country can it declare itself neutral? I do not understand how the Poles pressured the Czechs by being neutral unless the Czechs had expected the Poles to be on their side. It seems rather unlikely that in 1938 the Czechs ever thought that the Poles would side with them.

Then as now the words “internationally recognised legal successor” often only means who the worlds big cheeses and their followers want recognised. That Admiral Kolchak qualified either de facto or de jure as the government of Russia rather than the godless Bolsheviks is I think a very moot point.

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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 » 05 Mar 2019 14:19

Pre-Munich Poland wasn't in dispute with Czechoslovakia, Polish demands were submitted to Britain, France - the self-declared arbiters in the conflict not to Czechoslovakia, and depended entirely on acceptance of the Germans demands.

Polish neutrality was like the work-to-rule industrial action. It wasn't neutrality as defined by the Convention because that was only possible during a war.
Czechoslovakia, entirely by her own doing, was surrounded by unfriendly countries, so obviously such neutrality was a nuisance.

Czech generals actually pressured Czech politicians to start negotiations with Poland, but they were refused. It was maybe the last chance but the Czechs, as usual, wasted it.

Igor Lukas ascribes the failures to the general antipathy of progressive Czech elites towards the conservative, religious Poland. In their opinions, Poland was a basket of deplorables not cool enough to hang out with them.
And he agrees with Piotr Wandycz (with minor reservations) that Beneš basically hated 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 Futurist » 31 Mar 2019 23:28

Steve wrote:
20 Feb 2019 04:00
One reason the Czechs were not interested in an alliance with Poland is because they always expected that Germany would look to revise its border with Poland. To enter an alliance with Poland could mean being drawn into a war between Poland and Germany.
Bingo!
The Sudetenland had never been part of Germany and it seems the Czechs never expected Germany to make the demands it did. The Austrian Germans living in the Sudetenland had at the end of WW1 wanted to stay with Austria. The German deputies in the Reichsrat proclaimed on October 21 1918 that the German parts of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia belonged to the German Austrian state.
Didn't all of German Austria try to unify with Germany in 1918-1919, though? If so, one could view Hitler's annexation of Austria in 1938 as simply picking up Austria's claims to the Sudetenland.

You are correct, though, that Weimar Germany would have probably been less willing to claim the Sudetenland than Hitler was. Due to him originally being Austrian, Hitler might have had a sentimental attachment to the formerly Austrian German lands that someone who was born in Bismarck's Reich might not have had.

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