Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

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wm
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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by wm » 17 Oct 2015 23:34

People in the Polish government-in-exile were thinking about some territorial gains (smaller than they eventually were) as a compensation/reparations for the war, from the day one of its existence.

But the true originator, lobbyist and executor of that idea was Stalin, he mentioned it to Polish/British diplomats in as early as 1941. The Poles had no say in this, they opinions/plans were irrelevant. Among the major powers Poland was just a nobody. Eventually Stalin in cooperation with "I'll give him everything" Roosevelt did it.

And really, Retinger? He was a friend of Skorski but he didn't represent anybody. As a anti-nationalist proto-EU-technocrat he would have ended up on the nearest lamp post in Warsaw.
Well, this almost happened in 1944.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by 4thskorpion » 18 Oct 2015 12:13

wm wrote:People in the Polish government-in-exile were thinking about some territorial gains (smaller than they eventually were) as a compensation/reparations for the war, from the day one of its existence.

But the true originator, lobbyist and executor of that idea was Stalin, he mentioned it to Polish/British diplomats in as early as 1941. The Poles had no say in this, they opinions/plans were irrelevant. Among the major powers Poland was just a nobody. Eventually Stalin in cooperation with "I'll give him everything" Roosevelt did it.

And really, Retinger? He was a friend of Skorski but he didn't represent anybody. As a anti-nationalist proto-EU-technocrat he would have ended up on the nearest lamp post in Warsaw.
Well, this almost happened in 1944.
You obviously have not read "Poland's place in Europe : General Sikorski and the origin of the Oder-Neisse line, 1939-1943" by Prof. Sarah Meiklejohn Terry, to discover the "true originator" was not Stalin but rather Sikorski and Retinger... but not surprisingly this does not inhibit you from making further unqualified pronouncements. :roll:

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by Peter K » 30 Oct 2015 20:29

Indeed some Poles considered those lands as ancestral to the Polish people, because they used to be inhabited by ethnic Poles (prior to the gradual process of their Germanization) and had belonged to Poland (and later to Polish duchies following the political fragmentation of the kingdom) under the Piast Dynasty - the founders of Poland. It was similar to the belief of many Jews, who considered Palestinian territories as ancestral to the Jewish people, and wanted to resurrect the state of Israel there, which - as we know - has been achieved.

4thskorpion is right, that the idea of territorial changes originally came from Polish circles (and that was before 1941), but wm is right, that Stalin embraced that idea eagerly. More about this can be found in this publication by Geographia Polonica (in English):

Piotr Eberhardt, "The Oder-Neisse Line as Poland's Western Border: as Postulated and Made Reality":

Link to the publication: https://www.geographiapolonica.pl/artic ... /9928.html

Full text in PDF format: http://rcin.org.pl/Content/53298/WA51_7 ... rhardt.pdf
Piotr Eberhardt
Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 1, pp. 77-105
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0007

Abstract:

This article presents the historical and political conditioning leading to the establishment of the contemporary Polish-German border along the ‘Oder-Neisse Line’ (formed by the rivers known in Poland as the Odra and Nysa Łużycka). It is recalled how – at the moment a Polish state first came into being in the 10th century – its western border also followed a course more or less coinciding with these same two rivers. In subsequent centuries, the political limits of the Polish and German spheres of influence shifted markedly to the east. However, as a result of the drastic reverse suffered by Nazi Germany, the western border of Poland was re-set at the Oder-Neisse Line. Consideration is given to both the causes and consequences of this far-reaching geopolitical decision taken at the Potsdam Conference by the victorious Three Powers of the USSR, UK and USA.

Keywords: Oder-Neisse Line, western border of Poland, Potsdam Conference, international boundaries

Piotr Eberhardt [ p.ebe@twarda.pan.pl ],
Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, 00-818 Warsaw, Twarda 51/55, Poland
Poland controlled most of those lands until the 14th century - this map shows Poland's borders in the 12th century:

Image

During the late 13th and the 14th centuries Poland lost lands in the west and in the north, but gained lands in the east annexing most of the Ruthenian Kingdom of Halych-Volhynia; in the 15th century Poland regained some of its lands previously lost in the 14th century - especially those lost in the north - at that time ethnically Polish settlers also expanded into East Prussia, into regions which later became known as Powiśle, Warmia/Ermland and Mazury/Masuren - Poles in Mazury adopted Protestantism during the 16th century, due to the conversion of Poland's vassal state - Ducal Prussia under Albrecht Hohenzollern - to Lutheranism, and the "cuius regio, eius religio" principle):

Map of ethno-linguistic and religious situation in East Prussia during the 19th century (majority ethnic groups by county):

Image

About the ethnic character of those lands prior to their gradual Germanization - let's see what do primary sources tell us:

According to Medieval documents, the original population of the cities of Wrocław (Vratislavia / Wratislaw / Breslau) and Glogow (Glogau) were ethnic Poles, just like Constantinople was at that time inhabited by ethnic Greeks (and has gradually transformed into an ethnically Turkish city only later, following it's conquest by the Ottoman Turks in year 1453). In the late 1200s the influx of ethnic German and Dutch immigrants to Silesia started. In the 14th century, Wratislaw and Glogow were still inhabited mostly by local "die Polen" (exact quotation from a document linked below), but immigrants - "die Dutsch" (= Dutch people, Flemish people, and Germans) - were already present:

https://books.google.pl/books?id=qhU_AA ... &q&f=false

http://monasterium.net/mom/UrkundenSchl ... b0/charter

Citation from a document dated 1302 (in paragraph 2. we can read about the ethnic structure of Wratislaw and Glogow at that time):

"(...) Wir, Heynrich, von Gotes Genaden eyn Erbe des Kunicriches czu Polennerlant, Herczoge von Zlezien, Herre czu Glogovv und czu Pozna, tun kunt allen Ldten, daz wir mit unsers selbis Liebe sin gegenwortik gewest in der erbern Stat czu Wratislaw vor den erbern Mannen, den Ratmannen derselben Stat czu Wratislaw, in eynem vullen Rate und haben sy gebeten umme dise Recht, wenne wir und unser Stat czu Glogow in irme Rechte sin und lygen, das sy di Recht uns und unser Stat czu Glogow gebin und fruntlich myete teileten. Derselben unser Bete sy geneygit wurden und goben uns und unser Stat Glogow dise Recht, di von Worten czu Worten hie her noch beschriben sten: (...)

(...) §. 2. Ist is ouch also, daz ein Lantman einem Burgere adir ein Burgere eyneme Lantmanne binnen der Stat Wichbilde ein Pfert anesprichet adir swaz sines Gutes sy, her si Polen adir Dutsch, und sich jener an synen Geweren czuit und den benûmet und derselbe Gewere kome vor Gerichte, her sy Ritter adir swer er si, und bekenne der Gewerschaft, der muz nach der Stat Rechte aida vor Gerichte bekennen, wie daz Pfert adir daz Gut an in komen si und czuit sich der denne an einen anderen Geweren, da muz im jener volgen, alse er sich vor- mizzit nach der Stat Rechte. (...)"


These excerpts are from a document dated 1302, decreed by Polish Duke Henry III of Glogow of the Piast dynasty (see the links above).

Check also my (Domen's) posts here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthrea ... t128177196

About German immigration to Lower Silesia, conflicts between newcomers and locals, and gradual ethnic transformation - read this book:

http://www.bibliotekacyfrowa.pl/Content ... _vol_1.pdf

It can be noted, that Poles never ceased to exist completely in Wrocław/Breslau, as there was always a Polish minority there, also before WW2. But just like Lithuanians in Vilnius/Wilno, Poles in Wrocław/Breslau as well got reduced to a small minority by the late 19th century. At the turns of the 19th and the 20th centuries, Wilno/Vilnius was about as much Lithuanian, as Breslau/Wrocław was Polish:

According to the German 1900 census, 2% of the population of Breslau were Poles (8,466 out of 422,709).
According to the Russian 1897 census, 2% of the population of Wilno were Lithuanians (3,131 out of 154,532).

Percent and number of Lithuanians in Wilno/Vilnius in subsequent censuses:

1897 census - 2,0% (3,131 Lithuanians out of 154,532)
1916 census - 2,6% (3,699 Lithuanians out of 140,890) --- by comparison Poles in Breslau even increased to 3,62% by the 1910 census
1917 census - 2,1% (2,909 Lithuanians out of 138,787)
1931 census - 0,8% (1,579 Lithuanians out of 195,021)
1959 census - 33,6% (79,400 Lithuanians out of 236,100)
2001 census - 57,5% (318,510 Lithuanians out of 553,904)

Lithuanians became a majority in Wilno/Vilnius around year 2000 AD. Very few of them were original inhabitants.

In Wrocław/Breslau not all of its pre-war inhabitants escaped in 1945 and were deported or expelled after WW2 (see exact data here). Some members of the Polish minority that had lived there before WW2 - stayed. 2,1% (6,373) of Wrocław's inhabitants in December 1950 were pre-1939 inhabitants of Breslau. In addition, 2,799 more (0,9%) of inhabitants of Wroclaw in 1950, were people, who in 1939 lived in other parts of German territories which were later given to Poland after WW2. That number included 658 people from pre-war German Lower Silesia, 1,702 from pre-1939 Regierungsbezirk Oppeln. Finally, 12,063 (3,9%) of inhabitants of Wrocław in 1950, were people who lived in pre-1939 Polish Silesia before WW2. In total there were 21,000 people from Silesia living in Wrocław in December 1950 - 1/14 of all inhabitants.

===============================

Poles lived also in the countryside at the outskirts of Breslau, but most of them were Germanized until the end of the 19th century.

Excerpts concerning ethnic Poles who lived in the region around Breslau in the 1800s (German and English sources):

1) Joseph Partsch: "Schlesien Teil I – Das ganze Land", Breslau 1896, pages 364-367 (chapter "die Sprachgrenze 1790 und 1890"):
(Partsch writes about Poles who lived around Breslau, to the north, east and south of it):

ImageImage

2) Robert Semple: "Observations made on a tour from Hamburg through Berlin, Gorlitz, and Breslau...", London 1814, pages 122-123:
(Semple writes about Polish peasants who lived between Leuthen [Lutynia] and Gross Gohlau [Gałów], to the west of Breslau):

Image

3) Documents from the Central Archive of Provinz Schlesien in Breslau, from the 19th century:

According to these documents in 1826 the ethnic structure of the Laskowitzer Dominium located near Wrocław (Breslau) - which included settlements Laskowice (Laskowitz), Piekary (Beckern), Chwałowice (Quallwitz), Jelcz (Jeltsch), Dziupliny (Daupe), Gross Duppine, Klein Duppine, Zindel, Neuvorwerk (Nowy Dwor) and Ratowice (Rattwitz) - was 89% Polish (391 Wirte) and 11% German (48 Wirte):

Image

Here about Jerzy (George) Treska, who in 1826 lived in Neuvorwerk (Nowy Dwor), near Breslau (Wroclaw):

Treska was among ca. 5000 Polen from villages around Breslau, protesting against Germanization policies in 1824:

Image

According to these documents, in 1826 - 1827 "Polish community" ("polnische Gemeinde") from Twardogóra (Festenberg) protested against sermons in German language and in 1811 "polnische Gemeinde" from Minken (Minkowice) near Ohlau (Oława) protested against abolishing sermons in Polish: http://blog-n-roll.pl/pl/o-śląskich-pol ... iApz0qTk8E

And when it comes to Upper Silesia - in the 1800s, that region was still considered to be fully Polish in its nature by German authors.

Let's quote for example the opinion of Rudolf Virchow from 1848:

Rudolf Virchow, "Mittheilungen über die in Oberschlesien herrschende Typhus-Epidemie", in 1848 wrote "Ganz Oberschlesien ist polnisch":

Image

Polish population had persisted in Lower Silesia and in Western Pomerania as late as until the 19th century (I have written about this before for example here), but most of them got Germanized by year 1900 (in Lower Silesia Polish population survived in large numbers until the 20th century only in the Reichthaler Ländchen, in Kreis Namslau and in Kreis Polnisch Wartenberg; in Western Pomerania it remained until the 1900s in Kreis Lebork, in Kreis Bytow and to a smaller extent also in Kreis Stolp - check my map here). Area of the Reichthaler Ländchen was incorporated to Poland already after WW1, and Lower Silesian dialect of Polish spoken by most its inhabitants survived to this day (in the 1st link below, you can listen to an interview in English with one of local Poles, who was born there in 1905):

Interview in English with Franciszek Nitzke from Lower Silesia (born in 1905): http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80016077
A sample of Lower Silesian dialect of Polish spoken by Józef Kurzawa: http://www.dziadowakloda.pl/content.php ... &cms_id=40

In some regions the progress of Germanization was very fast during the 19th century.

50 years was enough to completely Germanize for example population of parish Główczyce (Główczëce/Glowitz), 28 km from Słupsk (Słëpsk/Stolp).

Year (total population) - number of Polish/Kashubian-speakers (%), number of German-speakers (%) in this parish:

1829 census (total population: 4848) - 3297 Polish-speakers (68%), 1551 German-speakers (32%)
1850 census (total population: 5122) - 1370 Polish-speakers (27%), 3752 German-speakers (73%)
1879 census (total population: 5381) - 125 Polish/Kashubian-speakers* (2%), 5256 German-speakers (98%)

As you can see the population of that parish changed from 32% Germans in 1829, to 98% Germans in 1879 - that's just 50 years.

*Separate category "Kashubian" appears for the first time in 1879 census; in 1829 and 1850 censuses Kashubian was counted as Polish.

In a similar time Lithuanians declined from being 12,13% of the population of East Prussia, to being 6,19% of the population of East Prussia.

According to official census data:

Year - Lithuanian-speakers as % of the total population of East Prussia according to official census data:

1825 - 12,13%
1837 - 11,49%
1848 - 10,26%
1871 - 7,65%
1878 - 6,91%
1890 - 6,19%

So in 65 years the relative proportion of Lithuanians among the total population declined by half.

The absolute number of Lithuanians in East Prussia did not decline much (139,268 in 1825 and 121,345 in 1890), but the total population of East Prussia almost doubled (1,148,016 in 1825 and 1,958,663 in 1890) - so the proportion of Lithuanians among the population declined by 1/2.

When it comes to the Opole Regency:

Here you have a comparison for 22 out of 26 counties of Oppeln Regency for censuses of 1890, 1900, 1905 and 1910:

Counties 1. - 11.: http://s1.postimg.org/5wwgcdk73/Oppeln_ ... _to_11.png

Counties 12. - 22.: http://s27.postimg.org/qbkl0v6n7/Oppeln ... _to_22.png

As you can see in each subsequent census (1890, 1900, 1905 and 1910) overall % of German-speakers was increasing.

And a comparison just for censuses of 1905 and 1910 can be found here, in Dudziński's book on Silesian Poles (on page 33 out of 54):

http://rcin.org.pl/Content/24616/WA004_ ... lacy_o.pdf

Between 1905 and 1910 according to official German census figures, number of Poles in Oppeln Regency increased by just 3,7% (from 1,213,265 to 1,258,138), number of Germans by as much as 17,0% (from 745,115 to 871,773) and total population by 8,51% (from 2,023,566 to 2,195,709). That was not due to higher natural growth among ethnic Germans, because the opposite was the case - Poles had a slightly higher natural growth than Germans at that time. So either that was due to manipulations in the 1910 census (i.e. number of Poles was deliberately underreported - and this is what Dudziński assumes), or immigration of Germans, or emigration of Poles*, or success of Germanization efforts.

Let's also note, that bilinguals who spoke both Polish and German, were always counted as Germans in those German statistics.

The same applies to Lithuanian-German (and Polish-German) bilinguals in East Prussia.


*Many Poles from Silesia emigrated to the USA in the 1800s, especially to Texas, where they established the oldest Polish town in the USA - Panna Maria (as well as several other towns). Their descendants live in Texas today, identify as Polish-Americans, some preserved their Silesian dialect, they also maintain cultural contacts with their ancestral region in Poland. Links related to Poles from Silesia in Texas below:

Their YouTube channel "Śląsk-Teksas": https://www.youtube.com/user/slasktexas/videos

Map showing their territorial origins: http://www.slask-texas.org/en/materialy/materialy-mapy

Visiting family who stayed in Silesia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFfh1DDZlfI#t=277

Some of them still speak their dialect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFfh1DDZlfI#t=573

Silesians from Poland visiting Texas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i-ag1ebTrs#t=655

============================

Edit:

Map showing the ethnic structure of Silesia around year 1650 (areas with German, Polish and Czech majorities at that time):

red/pink - Polish majority
blue - German majority
green - Czech majority

Image

Map showing areas which could be considered - from ethno-linguistic perspective - Polish in the early 1900s (sizeable Polish/Kashubian communities also still existed in Kreis Lebork and in Kreis Stolp, but they were already less than 20% of the total population there):

http://s3.postimg.org/q7627ydir/The_Poles_Map.png

Image

As you can see, compared to the situation in 1650, Polish ethnos has declined sharply in Lower Silesia, and partially in Upper. Poles in Silesia and in East Prussia - although ethnically Polish - were outside of the political influence of Poland already before the Partitions:

Dark / light blue - borders / territory in 1772 (before the First Partition)
Red / orange - borders / territory in 1937 (before annexation of Zaolzie)
Green - modern (post-WW2) state borders in this region of Europe

After WW1, Poland got only areas which had been in Poland until 1772 - with the exception of East Upper Silesia (in the south), small bits of Lower Silesia (the Reichthaler Ländchen and seven more settlements) and Kreis Soldau/Działdowo (in Masuria - southern East Prussia):

After WW2, Poland got also many such areas, which had not been under Polish political influence for a much longer time:

Image
There are words which carry the presage of defeat. Defence is such a word. What is the result of an even victorious defence? The next attempt of imposing it to that weaker, defender. The attacker, despite temporary setback, feels the master of situation.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by Peter K » 30 Oct 2015 22:22

Being of Greater-Polish, Kashubian and Silesian descent, I feel special connection with this Western Poland.

My genealogical ancestors, if I go back in my family tree to the late 18th and 19th centuries, are mostly:

- Wielkopolanie / Greater-Poles (the majority of my ancestors, including direct paternal ancestors)
- Kaszubi / Kashubians (ancestors of my maternal grandmother's father)
- Ślązacy / Silesians (ancestors of my paternal grandmother's father)
- Olędrzy / Hollanders (ancestors of my maternal grandfather's father) --- German/Dutch/Flemish immigrants

Based on family names of my great-great-grandparents, these families most likely come from these regions:

Image

I have traced my Kashubian ancestors (as taxpayers) back to the Prussian Land Tax Census of 1772 - 1773.

And ultimately they probably descended from a certain 14th century knight from Pomerania.
There are words which carry the presage of defeat. Defence is such a word. What is the result of an even victorious defence? The next attempt of imposing it to that weaker, defender. The attacker, despite temporary setback, feels the master of situation.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by michael mills » 07 Nov 2015 11:11

Yes, Sikorski was indeed the originator of the Oder-Neisse frontier. He first called for it in 1940, and asked the British Government to endorse the Polish demand for annexation of German territory, but the British Government declined to commit itself. In 1942 he suggested to Roosevelt that Poland be allowed to occupy the territory east of the Oder-Neisse as one of the post-war occupying powers, but Roosevelt was non-committal.

However, he had more success with Stalin. When he visited Moscow in December 1941, he suggested that he would be willing to agree to soviet retention of most of the Polish territories annexed in 1939, in return for Stalin's support for Polish westward expansion to the Oder-Neisse Line. That was the origin of Stalin's proposal to that effect at the Tehran Conference in 1943, after Sikorski's death.

Although Sikorski was the first modern Polish leader to call for the Oder-Neisse frontier, he was by no means the originator of the idea. During the inter-war period, various Polish opposition groups, in particular those linked to Dmowski's National Democratic Party (Endecja), had called for Polish westward expansion by seizing German territory, and maps were published showing the Polish western border running along the Oder-Neisse Line, or even to the west of it, as far west as Luebeck on the Baltic coast.

The only reason Dmowski had not asked for the Oder-Neisse frontier in the submission to the Paris Peace Conference by the Polish National Committee in 1919 was that he thought it would be too much for the Allied Powers to accept. Accordingly, he limited his demands to most of East Prussia (except for an enclave around Koenigsberg), all of West Prussia, all of Upper Silesia, the parts of Lower Silesia east of the Oder, and the eastern part of Pomerania.

Thus, the answer to the question "Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany", is that the anti-Pilsudski forces most certainly did, and those plans became official Polish Government policy once those forces came to dominate the Government-in-Exile after the defeat and occupation of Poland in 1939. In fact, once Poland had received the British guarantee at the end of March 1939, many elements in the Polish political class, particularly in the military (or ex-military in the case of Sikorski), saw a successful war against Germany in alliance with Britain and France as a means of achieving the Piast nationalist aim of expanding Poland to the West.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by 4thskorpion » 07 Nov 2015 14:12

michael mills wrote:Yes, Sikorski was indeed the originator of the Oder-Neisse frontier. He first called for it in 1940, and asked the British Government to endorse the Polish demand for annexation of German territory, but the British Government declined to commit itself.
There has always been a question mark as to whether Sikorski was merely the front man presenting plans initiated by Retinger who preferred to remain in his role as Eminence Grise.

No wonder some Poles wanted both Sikorski and Retinger dead.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by wm » 09 Nov 2015 22:37

4thskorpion wrote:You obviously have not read "Poland's place in Europe : General Sikorski and the origin of the Oder-Neisse line, 1939-1943" by Prof. Sarah Meiklejohn Terry, to discover the "true originator" was not Stalin but rather Sikorski and Retinger... but not surprisingly this does not inhibit you from making further unqualified pronouncements. :roll:
For the first time the Polish government-in-exile talked about the need for correcting the western borders at the expense of Germany at the beginning of November 1939. Independently similar demands were made by various fractions of the Polish Underground.
On February 1940 it was officially declared as one of the Polish war aims. On November 1940 the demands were formally submitted to the Allies.
Between 1940 and 1942 tens of documents, books, letters were published on this subject by various people and organizations in France, Great Britain, and Poland.

So much for Mr Retinger, the saviour of Poland and it seems the creator the EU too, and his exceptionalism. The truth is he didn't represent anybody and himself was nobody.

But the Polish demands never were submitted to Stalin. The Polish government-in-exile never agreed to any border changes on the East, never had any intention to exchange the Eastern, Polish territories for the Western, German territories.
Poland never was consulted, never asked for opinion. It was all Stalin's idea. After he had annexed Polish territories he had to offer a carrot - not to Poland but to the Allies. They wouldn't confirm his land grab without that carrot. He didn't do that for Poland but for himself. For Stalin (and really for the Allies too) Poland was nothing.
michael mills wrote:Yes, Sikorski was indeed the originator of the Oder-Neisse frontier.
citation needed
michael mills wrote:However, he had more success with Stalin. When he visited Moscow in December 1941, he suggested that he would be willing to agree to soviet retention of most of the Polish territories annexed in 1939, in return for Stalin's support for Polish westward expansion to the Oder-Neisse Line.
citation needed

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by 4thskorpion » 10 Nov 2015 10:29

wm wrote:
michael mills wrote:Yes, Sikorski was indeed the originator of the Oder-Neisse frontier.
citation needed
Citation? See below:
wm wrote:
4thskorpion wrote:You obviously have not read "Poland's place in Europe : General Sikorski and the origin of the Oder-Neisse line, 1939-1943" by Prof. Sarah Meiklejohn Terry, to discover the "true originator" was not Stalin but rather Sikorski and Retinger... but not surprisingly this does not inhibit you from making further unqualified pronouncements. :roll:

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by wm » 10 Nov 2015 21:26

It is not a primary source, it's just a book written in 1983.
This why I'm asking for an official Polish document demanding the Oder-Neisse line.

Because for example on 7 December 1943 the Council of Ministers of the the Polish government-in-exile adopted a resolution demanding Eastern Prussia, Danzig, Opolian Silesia and nothing more.
And added that linking the Polish demands with the Soviet annexation of Polish lands, as suggested by Stalin (and the Allies) was unacceptable.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by 4thskorpion » 12 Nov 2015 11:55

wm wrote:It is not a primary source, it's just a book written in 1983.
This why I'm asking for an official Polish document demanding the Oder-Neisse line.

Because for example on 7 December 1943 the Council of Ministers of the the Polish government-in-exile adopted a resolution demanding Eastern Prussia, Danzig, Opolian Silesia and nothing more.
And added that linking the Polish demands with the Soviet annexation of Polish lands, as suggested by Stalin (and the Allies) was unacceptable.
By the same token please post the official Polish government-in-exile document for 7 December 1943 otherwise this is simply a unsupported statement which we are supposed to accept of face value.

However you have made reference to a Polish government policy resolution made some 5 months after Sikorski was killed at Gibraltar, so are you saying December 1943 was the only time the Polish government-in-exile discussed the issue of boundaries and that Sikorski had no proposals that he had presented to the allies prior to July 1943? Of course this is not the case.

Below from "Poland's place in Europe : General Sikorski and the origin of the Oder-Neisse line, 1939-1943" by Prof. Sarah Meiklejohn Terry a footnote to reports held in the PRO re Rex Leeper of the FO and Sikorski on 25 November 1939 which clearly mentions Sikorksi aimed at finding "compensation elsewhere" should it prove impossible to recover that which Poland lost to Russia. Although at that time only East Prussia was mentioned as a demilitarised zone under international control. So it is quite clear even at this early time Sikorski was open to boundary changes in the East and was discussing his thoughts with the British long before Stalin was in the allied camp.
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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by Peter K » 12 Nov 2015 15:09

Polish Inter-War era historian Władysław Konopczyński (1880 - 1952), who was a student of Polish-Jewish historian Szymon Askenazy (1865 - 1935), founder of the Askenazy School of History, wrote about the ethno-national composition of Silesia in 1740, when Frederick II invaded it:

"(...) Silesia was an aboriginal Polish land, by that time [1740] only superficially Germanized a little bit over here and a little bit over there. Not only in Upper Silesia: in Opolskie, Raciborskie, Karniowskie, Pszczyńskie, Niskie; but also in the regions of Brzeg, Byczyna, Kluczbork, Oława, and Wrocław; German settlements and manors of Germanized nobility were bathing in the Sarmatian sea (...)".

There was some truth in that, but only in regards to Upper Silesia and the south-eastern parts of Lower Silesia - which is also called Middle Silesia (areas of Brzeg, Byczyna, Kluczbork, Oława and Wrocław), while most of the rest of Lower Silesia was already German by then.

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As wm wrote, Roman Dmowski never demanded from Germany: Lower Silesia, West Pomerania and Northern Prussia. What he wanted was Pomerelia with Danzig and with Warmia (Ermland), Powisle, Masuria, Prussian Oberland, and historical Upper Silesia.

Dmowski's demands for Danzig and Northern Warmia (Kreise Braunsberg + Heilsberg) were justified by historical ownership of those lands by Poland (they were within Poland's borders until 1772), by the importance of Danzig for Poland's trade, as well as by fact, that Poland needed to control the entire course of the Vistula River, which was her most important river route. His demands for Southern Warmia (Kreise Allenstein + Roessel) and Powiśle - which included Kreise Elbing, Marienburg, Stuhm, Kwidzyn and Graudenz - were justified both by historical ownership (until 1772) and on ethnic grounds (in case of Stuhm, Kwidzyn and Graudenz). Masuria was claimed mostly on ethnic grounds, and Prussian Oberland (Kreise Pr. Holland, Mohrungen and Rosenberg) was claimed because it was surrounded from all sides by Warmia, Masuria and Powisle. Upper Silesia was claimed primarily on ethnic grounds (historical grounds were weaker in this case, due to the fact that the Kingdom of Poland lost that area in political terms long before the partitions), and of course also it's industrial resources were important for Poland.

According to Dmowski, Polish frontier in East Prussia was supposed to be roughly along the same line as today is Polish border with Kaliningrad Oblast - in fact a bit to the south of the modern border (Rastenburg and Bartenstein were not claimed by Dmowski, but are today in Poland).

In Pomerania-Pomerelia, Dmowski did not demand anything to the west of Stolp, Lebork and Bütow, i.e. he did not want anything to the west of areas which had some Slavic population (in Kreis Stolp there existed groups of Kashubian-speaking population known as Slovincians).

In Silesia, Dmowski wanted only areas where the majority of population spoke Polish, which at that time included most of Regierungsbezirk Oppeln and two Kreise from Regierungsbezirk Breslau (Gross Wartenberg and Namslau). In case of Regierungsbezirk Oppeln, Dmowski did not want all of it, because he did not claim the following counties: Grottkau, Falkenberg, Neisse, Leobschütz and the western half of Neustadt. He regarded them as utterly Germanized (in Kreis Leobschütz there also existed some ethnically Czech population, if I remember correctly). It can be noted, that those counties were later included in the Plebiscite Area, even though Poland never claimed those territories.

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Approximate extent of Dmowski's territorial claims in the west and north-west:
Dmowski Line.png
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There are words which carry the presage of defeat. Defence is such a word. What is the result of an even victorious defence? The next attempt of imposing it to that weaker, defender. The attacker, despite temporary setback, feels the master of situation.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by wm » 12 Nov 2015 15:51

we will ask the Anglo-Saxon powers for unconditionally incorporation of Eastern Prussia, Danzig, Opolian Silesia.
We will resist any efforts to change our Eastern borders:
tezy1.jpg
tezy2.jpg
from: W stronę Odry i Bałtyku, wybór źródeł(1795-1950) by University of Wrocław

As I wrote earlier similar statements were made in 1940, when Sikorski was firmly at the helm of that government.

I'm not saying they demanded nothing. They had limited demands, as it was customary at that time. They were victims of an aggression and presumably future victors. Limited demands were understandable.
Limited as in: there is 300 kilometers to the Oder-Niesse from Eastern Prussia, and 200 from Opolian Silesia.

Stalin's "I'll steal lots of your land, then steal lots of German land and give you as compensation" was something entirely different. That made Poland Russia's puppet instantly. A country that was like nothing couldn't do that to a major world power without future "consequences", or a powerful "benefactor".
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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by 4thskorpion » 12 Nov 2015 17:17

Did not Sikorski's (and Retinger's) proposed Polish-Czechoslovakian federation of 1939 include territories that were to be expropriated from a defeated post-war Germany long before the USSR joined the allied camp?

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by wm » 12 Nov 2015 18:25

The Polish Government formulated their territorial claims at the beginning of 1940, the Allies saw them for the first time on November 1940 (in Memorial of the Polish Government to Minister Bevin).
The federation was post the fall of France thing and was mention in that memorial.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Nov 2015 12:23

Hi Guys,

My impression is that the loss of German territory to Poland after WWII was essentially the punishment by the Allies of the whole of Germany for WWII. It was not simply a Polish question.

Look at it another way - apart from its losses to Poland (and Russia) what other territorial losses did inter-war Germany suffer?

None. As far as I am aware, all its other borders were unaltered.

Would a return to the borders of 1933 have been widely acceptable given what the Nazis had done in WWII?

Almost certainly not.

Germany had to be punished more effectively than after WWI (when it lost only 13% of its territory, arguably all of it with non-German majorities).

The chosen tool of the Allies was major territorial revisions in favour of early victim Poland, which had the added advantage of allowing Poland's eastern border to be drawn roughly along the old Curzon Line, which had been recommended after WWI, before Polish military success against the new USSR pushed it much further east.

I would suggest that this subject needs a more holistic view than merely one of Polish ambition.

Cheers,

Sid.

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