Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

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Futurist
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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by Futurist » 24 Oct 2019 17:04

Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 Oct 2019 13:43
I would suggest that what-if scenarios are only worth serious attention if they were practicable. This one is not.

All the new countries of east/central Europe were hypersensitive about their national identities and their newly won independence. Historically the Poles were an imperial power to many of them and not very welcome, especially in Lithuania, whose ancient capital of Vilnius was already in Polish hands. Latvians were not a strong majority in their own country and the Estonians had no common border with Poland at all.

Just as it was impracticable of Angela Merkel to expect the countries of East/central Europe willingly to accept Middle Eastern immigrants a couple of years ago, because they had only just managed to regain their national sovereignty from the USSR, so it is equally impracticable to expect the Baltic States to voluntarily enlist Polish immigrants after they had only just managed to escape the clutches of Imperial Russia.

Cheers,

Sid.
I think that a part of Eastern Europe's concern about Muslim refugees is that a huge number of them--perhaps even the majority of them--simply isn't going to successfully assimilate. I mean, they look at what's happening in Western Europe with the terrorist attacks, Muslim crime, et cetera and don't want the same thing to happen in their own countries.

Poles, on the other hand, shouldn't have too much problem assimilating other than for the fact that they are Catholics. I mean, culturally speaking, Poles and Balts aren't that different, are they? I do agree with you that Lithuania probably isn't going to want more Poles due to its fear of Polish domination and due to its dispute with Poland over Polish-majority Vilnius, though.

Interestingly enough, there are huge Russian minorities in Latvia and Estonia right now (and a much smaller one in Lithuania that doesn't appear to concern Lithuanians very much) and I suspect that a lot of Latvians and Estonians dislike the fact that a huge part of their countries' populations came into their countries during the half-century that their countries were occupied by the Soviet Union. At least with Polish immigrants in this scenario, the Poles are actually going to be invited into Latvia and Estonia.

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 Oct 2019 19:47

Hi Futurist,

I don't think the Baltic peoples think the Poles aren't very different from them. The Poles, like the Russians, are Slavs. None of the Baltic peoples are. The Estonians and Latvians are not Catholic, as the Poles are, and the Lithuanians, who are majority Catholic, had a running border dispute with Poland until forced to concede under threat of war in early 1938.

What is more, it seems unlikely that the Poles, one of whose heightened characteristics is national pride, would want to give up their language and identity to assimilate. The Russians didn't.

This idea is a non-starter, because Poland was part of the Baltic states' problem of over mighty neighbours, not part of its solution.

Cheers,

Sid

P.S. There is also the fact that Poles were already a minority in Eastern Poland and any resettlement of them might be better used to consolidate their own country.

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by Futurist » 06 Nov 2019 01:53

Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 Oct 2019 19:47
Hi Futurist,

I don't think the Baltic peoples think the Poles aren't very different from them. The Poles, like the Russians, are Slavs. None of the Baltic peoples are. The Estonians and Latvians are not Catholic, as the Poles are, and the Lithuanians, who are majority Catholic, had a running border dispute with Poland until forced to concede under threat of war in early 1938.

What is more, it seems unlikely that the Poles, one of whose heightened characteristics is national pride, would want to give up their language and identity to assimilate. The Russians didn't.

This idea is a non-starter, because Poland was part of the Baltic states' problem of over mighty neighbours, not part of its solution.

Cheers,

Sid

P.S. There is also the fact that Poles were already a minority in Eastern Poland and any resettlement of them might be better used to consolidate their own country.
Good points--though I would like to point out that, AFAIK, eastern Latvia (the Latgale, I believe) is I think majority-Catholic. As for the Baltic countries, in spite of Poland's dispute with Lithuania over Vilnius, Poland actually did the Baltic countries a huge favor in saving their skins from the Soviets in 1920-1921. Had Poland fallen in 1920-1921, the Baltic countries would have likely been the next to fall to the Soviet Union and to have Communist rule be imposed upon them.

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by Sid Guttridge » 06 Nov 2019 11:22

Hi Futurist,

What Poland did against the Bolsheviks in the early 1920s was out of self interest. Whatever the benefits of this to the Baltic states, they were purely incidental.

Besides, Poland was a real threat to Lithuania's very existence as its ultra-nationalists recalled the joint Polish-Lithuanian state of centuries past as a justification for its annexation in an effort to get a second Baltic coastline less vulnerable to German pressure.

It is worth noting that ultra-nationalist Lithuanians had their own claims on the Vilnius region of interwar Poland and on an area of East Prussia that is approximately the same as the current Kaliningrad enclave of Russia.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by wm » 08 Nov 2019 21:59

Sid Guttridge wrote:
06 Nov 2019 11:22
Besides, Poland was a real threat to Lithuania's very existence as its ultra-nationalists recalled the joint Polish-Lithuanian state of centuries past as a justification for its annexation in an effort to get a second Baltic coastline less vulnerable to German pressure.
I don't think that is true.
Especially there were no ultra-nationalists in Poland, I've never heard about any (Polish) efforts to get a second Baltic coastline, and Poland wasn't an aggressive country - the Peace of Riga (where Poland voluntarily handed over large territories to the Soviets because the Poles were in minority there) demonstrated that clearly.

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by Futurist » 17 Nov 2019 00:32

wm wrote:
08 Nov 2019 21:59
Sid Guttridge wrote:
06 Nov 2019 11:22
Besides, Poland was a real threat to Lithuania's very existence as its ultra-nationalists recalled the joint Polish-Lithuanian state of centuries past as a justification for its annexation in an effort to get a second Baltic coastline less vulnerable to German pressure.
I don't think that is true.
Especially there were no ultra-nationalists in Poland, I've never heard about any (Polish) efforts to get a second Baltic coastline, and Poland wasn't an aggressive country - the Peace of Riga (where Poland voluntarily handed over large territories to the Soviets because the Poles were in minority there) demonstrated that clearly.
Which territories did Poland control in early 1921 and subsequently gave back to the Soviets?

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by Futurist » 17 Nov 2019 00:35

Sid Guttridge wrote:
06 Nov 2019 11:22
Hi Futurist,

What Poland did against the Bolsheviks in the early 1920s was out of self interest. Whatever the benefits of this to the Baltic states, they were purely incidental.
Oh, sure, Polish national interests took priority over the Baltic states' needs and desires. However, it might have been in Poland's interests to avoid having the Baltic be completely dominated by the Germans and the Soviets.
Besides, Poland was a real threat to Lithuania's very existence as its ultra-nationalists recalled the joint Polish-Lithuanian state of centuries past as a justification for its annexation in an effort to get a second Baltic coastline less vulnerable to German pressure.
The problem with this logic, though, is that Germany could have simply also claimed the Memelland in addition to Danzig and the Polish Corridor. After all, the Memelland also had a huge German majority. Plus, Danzig's and Gdynia's location was closer to Poland's major population centers, no?
It is worth noting that ultra-nationalist Lithuanians had their own claims on the Vilnius region of interwar Poland and on an area of East Prussia that is approximately the same as the current Kaliningrad enclave of Russia.
Yep.
Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by wm » 19 Nov 2019 00:13

Futurist wrote:
17 Nov 2019 00:32
Which territories did Poland control in early 1921 and subsequently gave back to the Soviets?
The Soviets were ready to offer more lands than the Polish negotiators' were ready to accept.

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Nov 2019 13:56

Hi wm,

Could you be more specific about what lands were offered to Poland by the USSR, by whom and when?

The fact that Poland retained territories east of the Curzon Line in most of which Poles were a clear minority, makes Poland look like an imperial power between the wars, not a national state. As a result, all its neighbours except Romania and Latvia felt threatened by it.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by henryk » 20 Nov 2019 20:09

Sid Guttridge wrote:
20 Nov 2019 13:56

The fact that Poland retained territories east of the Curzon Line in most of which Poles were a clear minority,
Not true!
viewtopic.php?f=111&t=140142&hilit=wilno+census
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%

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by Futurist » 20 Nov 2019 22:25

wm wrote:
19 Nov 2019 00:13
Futurist wrote:
17 Nov 2019 00:32
Which territories did Poland control in early 1921 and subsequently gave back to the Soviets?
The Soviets were ready to offer more lands than the Polish negotiators' were ready to accept.
Just how much more lands?

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by wm » 29 Nov 2019 23:05

It was the entire Byelorussia.

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Nov 2019 15:25

Hi wm,

It is unusual for a country to offer more territory than is demanded and equally unusual for a country to turn territory down when offered it.

Unusual claims require an unusual amount of evidence to substantiate them.

What are your sources?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by wm » 30 Nov 2019 16:24

Please, it wasn't like the Soviets offered Byelorussia and the Polish negotiators were like no, no we don't want it.
Obviously both sides kept their cards close to the chest.
The Soviets were ready to offer more, but the Poles, motivated by internal Polish political conflicts, deliberately didn't exploit the opportunity.
Polish negotiators: Stanisław Grabski and Jan Dąbski said that later after the peace was signed.

The Poles negotiating at Riga were radically different from Poles negotiating with the Soviets so far, they represented different political parties.

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Re: Poles and Baltic countries hypothetical question

Post by Futurist » 01 Dec 2019 00:43

wm wrote:
29 Nov 2019 23:05
It was the entire Byelorussia.
Why not take it and create a nominally independent Belarusian puppet state, though? At least that way Poland's Polish character won't be threatened.

Also, were any parts of Ukraine also offered?

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