Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Discussions on all aspects of Poland during the Second Polish Republic and the Second World War. Hosted by Piotr Kapuscinski.
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Piotr Kapuscinski
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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 15 Jan 2016 20:49

Population exchanges between Poland and Germany after World War 1 were based on Article 91. of the Treaty of Versailles:

http://net.lib.byu.edu/~rdh7/wwi/versa/versa2.html

"ARTICLE 91.

German nationals habitually resident in territories recognised as forming part of Poland will acquire Polish nationality ipso facto and will lose their German nationality. German nationals, however, or their descendants who became resident in these territories after January 1, 1908, will not acquire Polish nationality without a special authorisation from the Polish State.

Within a period of two years after the coming into force of the present Treaty, German nationals over 18 years of age habitually resident in any of the territories recognised as forming part of Poland will be entitled to opt for German nationality.

Poles who are German nationals over 18 years of age and habitually resident in Germany will have a similar right to opt for Polish nationality.

Option by a husband will cover his wife and option by parents will cover their children under 18 years of age.

Persons who have exercised the above right to opt may within the succeeding twelve months transfer their place of residence to the State for which they have opted.

They will be entitled to retain their immovable property in the territory of the other State where they had their place of residence before exercising the right to opt.

They may carry with them their movable property of every description. No export or import duties or charges may be imposed upon them in connection with the removal of such property.

Within the same period Poles who are German nationals and are in a foreign country will be entitled, in the absence of any provisions to the contrary in the foreign law, and if they have not acquired the foreign nationality, to obtain Polish nationality and to lose their German nationality by complying with the requirements laid down by the Polish State.

In the portion of Upper Silesia submitted to a plebiscite the provisions of this Article shall only come into force as from the definitive attribution of the territory."
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 » 17 Jan 2016 07:14

They will be entitled to retain their immovable property in the territory of the other State where they had their place of residence before exercising the right to opt.
This part of Article 91 was massively infringed by the Polish Government, which carried out large-scale confiscations of German-owned immovable property in the former German territories, on the basis of the claim that that property was the inheritance of the Polish people that had been illegally acquired by Germans.

In particular, all land acquired by the Prussian Settlement Commission was confiscated without compensation on the basis that it had been "stolen" from Poles. That resulted in the dispossession of ethnic Germans who had bought land from the Settlement Commission, as well as of those who were leasing the land from the Commission.

The historical fact was that the Settlement Commission had never "stolen" land from Poles; it had bought large estates from bankrupt land-owners, mostly Polish but also some German, and then parcellised those estates for sale or lease exclusively to German small-holders. There had never been any seizure of land from Polish owners without compensation, although Polish tenants on estates purchased by the Settlement Commission had their leases terminated and were evicted to make the land available for parcellisation. Thus, the possession of the land acquired by the Settlement Commission and leased or sold to ethnic German farmers was entirely legal and in no way immoral.

Where land was still in the possession of the Settlement Commission, the Polish Government regarded it as property of the German State, which under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles automatically passed into the possession of the Polish State. Where land acquired by the Settlement Commission had been sold to individual German settlers, the Polish Government refused to recognise the validity of the sales, claiming that that land was still German State property and hence had become the property of the Polish state, which as legal owner had the right to evict the current German tenants.

Thus, a large amount of real estate owned by Germans was confiscated by the Polish State. However, not all of it was, since land acquired by Germans from other Germans rather than from Poles was left in the hands of the current German owners, not being regarded as "stolen" Polish property.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 26 Jan 2016 15:08

I have found an interesting map showing the results of the Reichstag Elections from year 1907:

http://starenowemapy.pl/2014/11/19/wybo ... kich-1907/

The map is superimposed on a modern satelite image and you can regulate the level of transparency. It shows that Polish Nationalists (Polen) won in 20 electoral districts including 5 in Upper Silesia (deputies elected: Korfanty, Skowronski, Napieralski, Jankowski, Brandys), 4 in West Prussia (deputies elected: Janta-Polczynski, Brejski, Kulerski and Saß-Jaworski) and 11 in Posen Province.

In some other counties we can see also deputies with Polish surnames who were, however, elected as members of other parties (for example Rogalla in Masuria, Malkewitz in Pomerania, Perniock, Glowatzki and Strzoda in Upper Silesia, etc.).

It also seems to me that a little bit of gerrymandering was involved on the German side in determining the borders of electoral districts in several regions, to lower the probability of Polish Nationalist victory in those particular districts.

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

Here another interesting map - check where the region of "Kaszuby" ("Kashubia") was located in 1849 according to this map:

http://starenowemapy.pl/2014/03/03/mapa ... roku-1772/

It was to the west of pre-1772 Polish borders, reaching as far as Rummelsburg (Miastko), Treblin (Trzebielino), Stolp (Słupsk).
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 » 28 Jan 2016 12:00

According to the map, the Zentrum also did well in Upper Silesia, a traditionally Catholic area. It also triumphed in the Ermland, a partially Polish area in East Prussia.

It is also noteworthy that in the southern part of West Prussia, National Liberals won in the Graudenz-Thorn area, while a member of the Reichpartei won in the Bromberg area. Perhaps that was due to the large ethnic German population in that belt of land stretching across the southern end of West Prussia.

But what is most significant is that the Polish Nationalists, who were entirely disloyal to the German State and wanted to secede from it, were allowed to participate at all. That shows the liberal-democratic essence of the German Empire at that time.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by Futurist » 29 Jan 2016 08:14

michael mills wrote:But what is most significant is that the Polish Nationalists, who were entirely disloyal to the German State and wanted to secede from it, were allowed to participate at all. That shows the liberal-democratic essence of the German Empire at that time.
Weren't pro-France Alsatian politicians also allowed to participate in Imperial German elections, though?

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 30 Jan 2016 02:00

It is also noteworthy that in the southern part of West Prussia, National Liberals won in the Graudenz-Thorn area, while a member of the Reichpartei won in the Bromberg area. Perhaps that was due to the large ethnic German population in that belt of land stretching across the southern end of West Prussia.
Kreise Graudenz and Thorn had overall Polish majorities according to German censuses (however, borders of Wahlkreise - electoral districts - were not the same as borders of Kreise - political counties). But that Wahlkreis around Bromberg most likely had German majority (it looks as if it was carved out the way it was, in order to incorporate that German-majority enclave of Bromberg).
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 gebhk » 30 Jan 2016 12:07

michael mills wrote:Polish tenants on estates purchased by the Settlement Commission had their leases terminated and were evicted to make the land available for parcellisation. Thus, the possession of the land acquired by the Settlement Commission and leased or sold to ethnic German farmers was entirely legal and in no way immoral.
Interesting view of morality, but each to their own. The end result was that on both occassions local people who could least afford it were thrown out of home and livelihood to make room for outsiders. The fact that this was done to them legally and 'morally' would have been little consolation, I suspect. I am not one of those who believe two wrongs make a right, however it was not the Poles who started the process. Given the tenor of the times, once set in motion these types of processes acquired a life of their own and governments had little option to go along with the programme if they wanted to stay in government because being seen as not supporting 'ones own' was seen as an unforgivable sin.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 01 Feb 2016 13:10

Hi Guys,

I find it very difficult to get over exercised about the fact of, rather than the method of, Poland's expulsion of Germans from the new territories in the west. Had this territorial settlement not happened, Germany would have emerged from WWII with its territory entirely intact.

In effect, the Germans expelled by the Poles were the whipping boys for the whole of pre-Austrian Anschluss Germany. They should therefore probably be looking to the rest of Germany for any compensation, not to the Poles.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by michael mills » 02 Feb 2016 01:22

They should therefore probably be looking to the rest of Germany for any compensation, not to the Poles.
They got it. It was called "Lastenausgleich", burden-sharing.

I strongly doubt that anyone living in Germany today would want to go and live in Poland. Rather the reverse.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by GregSingh » 02 Feb 2016 10:02

michael mills wrote: I strongly doubt that anyone living in Germany today would want to go and live in Poland.
Angelique Kerber !
You can get pretty damn far in life by just saying what you're going to do and then doing it.

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by michael mills » 02 Feb 2016 12:10

Who?

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 02 Feb 2016 14:06

Michael, Angelique Kerber is a tennis player - she was born in Bremen, Germany, to ethnically Polish parents - Sławomir Kerber and Beata née Rzeźnik. She has a double German-Polish citizenship and she currently lives in Puszczykowo near Poznań, Greater Poland, where her maternal grandfather - Janusz Rzeźnik - built Tennis Academy "Angie" for her (and for other teenagers who want to play tennis):

Academy's website: http://www.akademia.nstrefa.pl/english/

Google maps: Tennis Academy "Angie" in Puszczykowo

A recent interview in Polish after Australian Open (she took a flight to Poznań and is now back in Puszczykowo):

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 ljadw » 02 Feb 2016 14:22

Poland had no territorial plans against Germany,but,some Polish politicians had such plans ,and ,this was very unwise, because, if they succeeded they would saddle up Poland with even more non Poles .But the Polish rulers were wise enough to understand that the survival of Poland depended on the statu quo .

Germany, OTOH, had such plans ( von Seeckt is an exemple) . Germany never accepted the East European territorial clauses of Versailles .

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Re: Did Poland have territorial plans against Germany?

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 05 Feb 2016 21:08

michael mills wrote:According to the map, the Zentrum (...) triumphed in the Ermland, a partially Polish area in East Prussia.
Interestingly the Polish Nationalist candidate - Wolszlegier - won in southern Ermland (Allenstein-Rößel) in 1893 Reichstag elections:

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstagswahl_1893

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_fe ... tion,_1893

Another curious thing is that the main Zentrum opponent of Wolszlegier - Justus Rarkowski - was perhaps also ethnically Polish:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpost. ... count=2031
RS_UK-PL wrote:In the southern part of Warmia (Olsztyn/Allenstein, Reszel/Rößel) Roman Catholic priest Anton von Wolszlegier from the Polish Party won against Justus Rarkowski from the Centre Party, while largely assimilated Masurians voted for the Conservative Party. The Conservative Party was elected by majority of Masurians since 1884. Districts which were part of pre-1772 Poland (+ Upper Silesia) voted for the Polish Party.
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 wm » 06 Feb 2016 23:35

ljadw wrote:Poland had no territorial plans against Germany,but,some Polish politicians had such plans ,and ,this was very unwise, because, if they succeeded they would saddle up Poland with even more non Poles .
Actually many Polish politicians has such plans during the war, and this wasn't wise although understandable. Before the war they had their hands full with plentitude of other problems and nobody cared about territorial gains.

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