Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by wm » 29 Oct 2016 15:53

And of course we have this early gem:
Conversation of Corps General Sikorski with Chairman of the Council of the Soviets Stalin at dinner in Kremlin
4.XII.1941
Most secret

[...]Stalin stressed that Poland should be large and powerful, more powerful than ever.
Stalin: You conquered Moscow twice. The Russians visited Warsaw a few times. We fought each other constantly. It's time to stop this brawling.
[...]
General Sikorsky said [...] he isn't ready to pursue the idea "more powerful than ever". He wants Poland stronger than she was in 1939.
Danzig and Eastern Prussia are German colonies and a bulwark towards the East, both must belong to Poland (Stalin is nodding vigorously).
But forcing on us the Lower Oder line is unrealistic.
Why? Stalin asks. Because we can, using their methods deal with 2 millions Germans, with 9 millions we can't. We will help you to destroy [those] Germans - Stalin says.[...]
Commander in Chief of the Polish Army in the USSR
Władysław Anders

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by michael mills » 30 Oct 2016 05:07

Of course there were various discussions, internal memorandums written, fact-findings and analyses conducted. Some of them demanded the border as far as west of Berlin.
But the end result were the few documents sent to various politicians, and only those count.
If you want to know some government's official position you should read its official statements, not its trash.
Although those various discussions, internal memoranda and analyses were not official statements of the position of the Polish Government-in-Exile, they do reveal the thinking within that Government while it was headed by Sikorski, and formed the basis on which he did eventually put forward an official proposal for the Oder-Neisse Line during his visit to Roosevelt in December 1942. Accordingly, all those documents need to be taken into account, and they clearly show that the concept of the Oder-Neisse Line as the future Polish-German border was developed by Polish political circles and not by Stalin, who merely adopted it when he needed to offer the Poles "compensation" for keeping the Polish Eastern Territories which he had annexed in 1939.

Professor Terry shows how Sikorski was very careful about openly expressing his plans for westward expansion to the British and United States leaders because he and his advisors believed that those leaders would react negatively to such plans, seeing them as aggressive and expansionist, and in conflict with the Atlantic Charter which had expressly disavowed any intention to take territory from a defeated Germany.

By December 1942, Sikorski had obviously gained sufficient confidence to present his plans for westward expansion to Roosevelt, perhaps because he knew that Stalin was now supportive of a transfer or German territory to Poland. In that regard, Professor Terry quotes in full the memorandum of 4 December 1942 presented to Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles during Sikorski's visit to Washington (page 3 of her book).
MEMORANDUM CONCERNING THE WESTERN BOUNDARIES

1. Our approach to the problem of [Poland's] western boundaries is dictated by the necessity of:

- a lasting guarantee of the territories most basic to the economic development and defensive potential of the Polish-Czech federation, that is, the mouth of the Vistula and the industrial centre in Silesia;

- the liquidation of the permanent threat such as East Prussia and Silesia constitute [when] held in the hands of the Germans as their base of attack;

- control over the mouth of the Oder, which possesses paramount importance for the federation as the artery directly linking our common centre of Silesian industry with the sea (emphasis by Professor Terry);

- the opening to us permanently of a route through the Baltic and the guaranteeing of communication with allies (naval bases on Bornholm, Ruegen and Fehmarn);

- the creation of conditions for our effective and rapid intervention against Germany should it attempt to remilitarise. In this regard, Western Pomerania based on the lower Oder and, secondly, the northwestern part of the Sudetes with an outlet toward Leipzig are of paramount importance for the federation (emphasis by Professor Terry).

II. The problem of occupation consists in guaranteeing the freedom to execute in Germany the conditions of surrender imposed on her and, on the other hand, in creating for us the possibility of rapid economic, political and military reconstruction of our country.

In this connection the range of our (federated Poland's) interests includes:

a) The zone up to the Oder and Lusatian Neisse with bridgeheads on the left bank (as on the line of the Rhine);

b) key points on the western Baltic as well as [points] connecting it with the North Sea (Bornholm, Ruegen, Fehmarn, the Kiel Canal) as a joint zone of Polish, British and American interests.

III. A Central-European federation is a fundamental condition of the economic existence and, therefore, also of the security of the states along the Belgrade-Warsaw axis.

A federation based on strong foundations will be a guarantee likewise of the security of the United States, both in relation to Germany and also to any other forces which might again bring Europe to a state of chaos and, consequently, of war.

According to our conception, the basic elements of the federation include: Poland (with Lithuania), Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, (and Hungary).
The passages of the memorandum emphasised by Professor Terry in her book are those which equate Sikorski's proposals for the westward expansion of the Polish area of control with the Oder-Neisse Line, which is specifically mentioned (ie the rivers Oder and Lusatian Neisse which together constitute the Oder-Neisse Line).

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by michael mills » 30 Oct 2016 10:05

And of course we have this early gem:
General Anders' gem may turn out to be only coloured glass.

The passage is alleged to be a record of an exchange between Stalin and Sikorski at the banquet on 4 December 1941 during Sikorski's visit to Moscow. I have checked the official Polish record of the conversation during that banquet, which is Document 160 in the series "Documents on Polish-Soviet Relations, 1939-1945", published by the General Sikorski Historical Institute, and have ascertained that it does contain any reference by Stalin to shifting the Polish border to the Oder River.

I will quote the whole of Document 160 here, to demonstrate the absence of any record of the exchange alleged by Anders. I have highlighted words in the record that do resemble some of those alleged by Anders.
Note of a Conversation between General Sikorski and Stalin during dinner at the Kremlin, Lt.-Gen. Anders taking part.

Moscow, December 4, 1941

GSHI, PRM, 41/4
Transl. from Polish

General S: When yesterday I put forward a proposal for the transfer of the whole Polish Army to Persia, where it would be definitely formed, I did it on the assumption that you did not wish, in fact, a strong Polish army. I now see, I confess, that I made a mistake. I wished to ensure proper conditions for this army to be formed as soon as possible.

Stalin: Because you did not believe in our good faith.

Gen. S: I also resented your refusal to release from the Red Army and "labour-battalions" all Polish citizens who had been called up by you on the territories you occupied in 1939.

Stalin: Are we not releasing them now.

Gen. S: Only now you are beginning to release some people from these battalions, and then only those who are Poles. On the other hand, I was officially told that Byelorussians, Ukrainians and Jews would not be released. Were they not Polish citizens? They have never ceased in fact to be Polish citizens, because your agreements with Germany have been annulled.

Stalin: What do you need Byelorussians, Ukrainians and Jews for? It is Poles you need, they are the best soldiers.

Gen. S: I do not have individuals in mind, they can be exchanged for the Poles who are Soviet citizens. I am, however, unable to accept, even in principle, any suggestion that the Polish state frontiers could be considered fluid. All Polish citizens within the frontiers of Poland as they existed before the war did not cease to be our citizens. One must not create "faits accomplish" by force. Nobody in the West will agree to it.

Stalin: They took part in the vote and became Soviet citizens.

Gen. A: They did not do it of their own free will, and, so far as Byelorussians are concerned, they regarded themselves as Poles and were good soldiers in 1939.

Gen. S: You said yesterday that the world would laugh should the whole Polish Army leave Russia. I have to answer now that the world would have burst with laughter if I accepted a discussion on the 1939 frontiers, and recognition of the facts accomplished by you during the war. We know well, in fact, what all these plebiscites in the Eastern territories were like, the plebiscites which were to settle the question of our eastern frontiers.

Stalin: We shall not quarrel because of frontiers.

Gen. S: Have you not said yourself that Lwow is a Polish town?

Stalin: Yes, but you will have a dispute about it, not with us but with the Ukrainians.

Gen. A[nders]: Many Ukrainians were and are germanophils, the present war proves it, and that is why first we, and later you, had much trouble with them, even with those among them who pretended to be Communists, but who during the retreat of Soviet forces were among the first to shoot at them.

Stalin: Yes, but they were your Ukrainians, not ours. Jointly with you we shall destroy them in future. We shall finish with them once and for all.

Gen. S: It is not the Ukrainians who matter to me, but the territory in which the Polish element is dominant, and which you have weakened by deporting 2,000,000 Polis into Russia.

Stalin: We should settle our common frontiers between ourselves, and before the Peace Conference, as soon as the Polish Army enters into action. We should stop talking on this subject. Don't worry, we will not harm you.

Gen. S: The 1939 frontier must not be questioned. You will allow me, Mr President, to return to this problem.

Stalin: Please, you will be welcome.

The conversation which ensured was held in a friendly spirit. At table Commissar Molotov proposed a toast to Ambassador Kot, and the latter to Commissar Molotov.

Commissar Molotov proposed further toasts to General Anders, General Szyszko-Bohusz, Colonel Okulicki and Captain Klimkowski, as the representative of Polish youth.

All of them answered in turn.

Stalin then delivered a long and important speech, very friendly to Poland. He emphasised that Poland should be big and strong, stronger than ever before. Stalin:...."Twice you have conquered Moscow in the past, and the Russians have several times been in Warsaw. We have foght each other continually. It is about time to finish this brawl" (pora konchat' draku mezhdu Polyakami i Russkimi - in Russian).

He spoke about the common effort and struggle against Germany up to the victorious end. He ended by expressing wishes for a common victory over the German aggressor and German savagery which for centuries has been menacing all the Slavs.


After dinner the conversation continued in a very courteous manner. Stalin told some stories from his life (as for instance about an incident at the railway station at Trzebinia, when he spoke in Russian, and about an illegal crossing of the frontier near Bedzin with a Polish guide), and he availed himself of this occasion to make some sarcastic remarks about the Jews.

All the diners were then invited to a cinema which is inside the palace.

During the performance of a film which dealt with war events, Stalin continued a very friendly conversation as between comrades, becoming at times even cordial, with General Sikorski and General Anders. The picture showed the Third Reich's war against Soviet Russia. To Stalin's remark that the picture was made three years ago, that is to say at a time when relations with Germany were apparently most friendly, General Sikoski observed: "This is not the best horoscope for the declaration which we shall sign presently". _ "Quite so" - answered Stalin - "but it will be the first time that a declaration has been signed by Stalin and not by Molotov". "I thank you", answered Gen. Sikorski - "and I reckon upon you in future".

All those present passed to another building to sign the joint declaration.

Stalin ordered the declaration and Sikorski's speech to be translated into 27 languages and to be distributed among the Soviet troops, also to be dropped behind the German lines by paratroopers.

"Hitler will be mad with rage and will again bite the carpet out of spite", observed Molotov.

Taking leave Stalin reminded General Sikorski that he had invited him to come to Moscow for a second time. A visit to the sector of the front in the neighbourhood of Moscow was also announced.
Thus the official Polish of what Stalin and Sikorski said to each other. If it is an accurate record, then the issue of the Polish western frontier was not raised at all, and only the issue of the Polish eastern frontier was discussed.

There are essentially two possibilities:

1. Stalin did propose that Poland annex German territory, and Sikorski did reject the suggestion, but the episode was omitted from the Polish official record.
2. The whole episode is fictional either an invention by Anders or a false memory, a distortion of what was actually said.

With regard to the first possibility, there seems to be no reason why the Poles should have omitted from their official record something as sensational as Stalin's offering to help them seize German territory up to the Oder and get rid of the German population. Furthermore, if Stalin had made that suggestion and Sikorski had rejected it for quasi-humanitarian reasons, it is inconceivable that the Poles would have passed up the chance to present their leader standing up manfully to Stalin's bullying; after, several times in the record Sikorski is shown steadfastly resisting Stalin's pressure, and even having a few snide digs at him, eg about the former Soviet friendship with Germany.

With regard to the second possibility, it is easy to see how some of things Stalin is recorded as having actually said could serve as the basis for Anders' allegations about what he said. For example, Stalin is recorded as praising Poland, as saying that it should "be big and strong", and also that Poland and Russia should "finish their brawl", again the same words quoted by Anders.

Stalin's words about Lwow, about a conflict between Poles and Ukrainians over possession of the city, and his offer to help the Poles by "destroying" the Ukrainians are almost certainly the basis for the claim by Anders that Stalin offered help the Poles gain possession of the German territory east of the Oder by "destroying" the 9 million Germans living there.

A further possibility is that the part of Stalin's speech referring to a victory over "German savagery which for centuries has been menacing all the Slavs" may have contained some further rhetoric about "all the Slavs" stopping the German eastward advance and pushing them back to the west where they had come from. Such rhetoric could easily have been recast more specifically as an offer to push the Germans back behind the Oder and give the vacated territory to the Poles.

Whatever the case may be, the Poles who prepared the official record of the dinner with Stalin on 4 December 1941 did not mention any offer by Stalin to give Poland German territory up to the Oder, or of any rejection of that offer by Sikorski. The simplest, and therefore most likely explanation for that omission, is that no such offer was ever made by Stalin on that date.

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by ljadw » 30 Oct 2016 12:19

michael mills wrote:
The threatened/non-threatened part was clearly to be decided by the British.
Historically incorrect.

In a discussion with the US Ambassador Kennedy, on the morning of 31 March 1939, before Chamberlain issued his open-ended guarantee to Poland in the Commons, the Permanent Head of the British Foreign Office, Sir Alexander Cadogan, told him about the forthcoming guarantee, and in response to a query from Kennedy advised him that it would be left to Poland to decide whether a threat to its independence existed.

The text of the discussion between Kennedy and Cadogan is published in FRUS, and I have posted it on this Forum a number of times. I guess I will just have to go to the trouble of doing so yet again.
As it was not (no longer ? ) a question of the Anschluss of Danzig ,but about the satellisation of Poland, a concession over Danzig would matter nothing .

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by ljadw » 30 Oct 2016 12:42

michael mills wrote:The text of Ambassador Kennedy's report to the US Department of State, made on 31 March 1939, can be found here:

http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bi ... 01&isize=M

After giving the text of the statement that Chamberlain was to make in the Commons on the afternoon of that day, which had been provided to him by Cadogan, Kennedy reported as follows:
I asked Cadogan whether this meant if Poland fights Britain fights. He said of course if Poland itself committed an act of aggression it would not mean that but for the first time in the history of Great Britain the latter has left the final decision as to their fighting outside of their own country to the other power.

I asked Cadogan could there be any hedging on the part of Great Britain as to whether Poland was fighting for "Polish independence"; he said absolutely not; that if Poland thought that any gesture of Germany's threatened their independence and they themselves are the judges of that, Great Britain commits itself to fight.
Cadogan's words to Kennedy show unequivocally that Britain had issued a "blank cheque" to Poland, which gave that country the power to create a state of war between Germany and Britain. They also show that Britain would not question any decision by Poland to send its armed forces into action against Germany on the basis that a threat to its existence existed, but would itself immediately join Poland in making war on Germany.

Note that Cadogan did not specify that the "threat to Poland's independence" did not need to consist of an actual armed invasion of Polish territory by Germany; any "gesture" by Germany would be enough to trigger war between it and Britain, provided that Poland claimed that that gesture represented such a threat and sent its armed forces into action against it.

In the context of the time, the "gesture" that Cadogan had in mind was almost certainly a unilateral declaration by Germany of its reintegration of Danzig. If Poland then sent its troops into Danzig to occupy it, and Germany tried to eject those troops, Britain would declare war on Germany on the basis that the German attempt to take possession of Danzig represented a threat to Poland's independence.

Without the British "blank cheque", and the subsequent military agreement between Britain and Poland, it is likely that the Polish Government would have eventually accepted the German proposals in regard to Danzig and the extraterritorial road and rail link to East Prussia, since the saner elements in that Government would have known that Poland could not possibly win a war against Germany by itself. In that case, there might well have been a military uprising against the Sanacja regime, similar to what happened in March 1941 in Yugoslavia, but that would have been an internal conflict within Poland, not a casus belli for Britain to declare war on Germany.

.
The truth is that there was NO blank cheque to Poland : As Gordon Martel is writing in "The Origins of the Second World War reconsidered " :"The principal purpose of the guarantee was to defer war by restraining Hitler " .

There was an other purpose ,a domestic one : to win/conserve marginal constituencies: elections were planned for november .

And, what Kennedy reported was wrong /what Cadogan said was wrong : privately , Chambelain said :what we are concerned with is not the boundaries of states but attacks of their independence,and it is we who will judge wether this indepence is threatened or not . (Martel P 235 , note 42 )

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by wm » 30 Oct 2016 15:46

michael mills wrote:Although those various discussions, internal memoranda and analyses were not official statements of the position of the Polish Government-in-Exile, they do reveal the thinking within that Government while it was headed by Sikorski, and formed the basis on which he did eventually put forward an official proposal for the Oder-Neisse Line during his visit to Roosevelt in December 1942.
But, are we running a thought police here? Thinking, discussing was forbidden like in the Stalinist Russia? Or in Britain with her onerous wartime censorship?
That was a bunch of diverse parties, from hard core socialists to hard core conservatives, with some common goals but not much more.
Everybody had their own ideas, some were saying the borders should stay as they were (like Adam Pragier, the Minister of Information - strangely Ms Terry missed them), same were saying they should stretch as far as Berlin or even further - she missed them too! What an opportunity wasted.
But the final consensus was as shown already - limited, properly justified demands.
michael mills wrote:The passages of the memorandum emphasised by Professor Terry in her book are those which equate Sikorski's proposals for the westward expansion of the Polish area of control with the Oder-Neisse Line, which is specifically mentioned (ie the rivers Oder and Lusatian Neisse which together constitute the Oder-Neisse Line).
Or more properly a buffer, demilitarized zone is proposed - no different than the good old Rhineland demilitarized zone. Many Polish documents expressed this or similar ideas.
michael mills wrote:Professor Terry shows how Sikorski was very careful about openly expressing his plans for westward expansion to the British and United States leaders because he and his advisors believed that those leaders would react negatively to such plans, seeing them as aggressive and expansionist, and in conflict with the Atlantic Charter which had expressly disavowed any intention to take territory from a defeated Germany.
Well, let's say it straight. That woman hasn't even seen 5% of all Polish documents, official or not, concerning themselves with this problem. If she had seen he would have done a much better job. This all grasping straws by an obvious British apologist.

Stalin was going to annex 48% of all Polish territory. That was unprecedented in history even against a thoroughly defeated enemy. He had to offer something, in fact his initial offer was less than 50% of the annexed territories, he reconsidered and threw in more in 1945.
Annexed = 175,000 km2, Stalin's final offer = 101,000 km2:
mapa_Polski_1939_1945.jpg
As can be seen on the map the offer (in red) wasn't especially generous and was rather obvious one. Claiming he wasn't able to figure it by himself is like claiming he was legally idiotic. He had to offer something otherwise even the Allies wouldn't buy it.

michael mills wrote:I will quote the whole of Document 160 here, to demonstrate the absence of any record of the exchange alleged by Anders. I have highlighted words in the record that do resemble some of those alleged by Anders.
It's not the original document, at least 50% is missing - that merely summarizes what was said.

ljadw wrote:As it was not (no longer ? ) a question of the Anschluss of Danzig ,but about the satellisation of Poland, a concession over Danzig would matter nothing .
It should be added the concession, exactly as in the case of the post Munich Czechoslovakia, would destroy the internal political stability of Poland, preparing ground for an easier, Czechoslovakia-like vassalisation.
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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by ljadw » 30 Oct 2016 19:03

The 175000 km annexed by Stalin were ,following the Soviet version, territories which had belonged to Russia before WWI,and which had been annexed by Poland after WWI .Thus there was no reason why Stalin would give them back to Poland .

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by wm » 30 Oct 2016 21:17

Stalin didn't want them because they had been in Russian hands for a hundred years, the 100-years-and-it's-mine rule would give him the right to most of Poland - including Warsaw. He wanted them because simply he wanted them.
And he didn't do it for the suffering Ukrainians and Belorussians. In any honest plebiscite conducted there most of the people would vote for Poland.

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by ljadw » 30 Oct 2016 21:59

That's why the Poles had a lot of troubles to pacify the eastern regions ?

Besides, there was no honest plebiscite between 1920 and 1939 .

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by wm » 30 Oct 2016 22:47

Of course there was, twenty years long. The border was relatively easy to cross. And as in the post-war Germany people usually chose freedom, and fled to the West.

In a contest between Poland and Stalinist Russia even the inmates of mental institutions would vote for Poland. It was no brainer.

The troubles were mostly instigated by Soviet subversive and sabotage groups which infiltrated through the border, and then fled back to their mothership. This was dealt with in the twenties.
Then there were the early Banderities, but it was a low intensity conflict, not even comparable with the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by michael mills » 31 Oct 2016 00:36

Or more properly a buffer, demilitarized zone is proposed - no different than the good old Rhineland demilitarized zone. Many Polish documents expressed this or similar ideas.
Professor Terry (former Professor of History at Tufts University, Massachusetts) dealt with that issue in her book.

Page 109:
It [the brief memorandum submitted to Welles in the December 1942] was in fact a summary of three much longer memoranda, each one elaborating on one of the three paragraphs of the shorter document: 1) "The German Problem with Special Relation to Poland", a twenty-one-page defense of Poland's territorial claims in the west and north; 2) "Measures to be Applied to Germany Immediately after Cessation of Hostilities", corresponding to paragraph 2 and discussing the truce and occupation conditions to be imposed on Germany; and 3) "The Problem of Central and South-Eastern Europe", corresponding to paragraph 3 and elaborating on the proposed federation.

..........................................................................................................

Perhaps the issue that has evoked the greatest amount of confusion and controversy is whether, in presenting an Oder-Lusatian Neisse demarcation line, Sikorski intended it as a future Polish-German boundary or merely as the westernmost limit of Polish or Polish-Czech occupation. While it is true that Paragraph 2 of the summary "Western Boundaries" memo presents it as a line of occupation - "in connection [with the problem of occupation] the range of our (federated Poland's) interests includes: (a) the zone up to the Oder and Lusatian Neisse with bridgeheads on the left bank....." - paragraph 1 would seem to justify the outright incorporation of these areas on grounds of economic necessity and strategic security, and in words that recall the admonition s of the 1940 Bevin memo concerning the need to "weaken the objective bases of German power":

"1. Our approach to the problem of the western boundaries is dictated by the necessity of: ........

- control over the mouth of the Oder, which possesses paramount importance for the federation as the artery directly linking our common centre of Silesian industry with the sea;..........

- the creation of conditions for our effective and rapid intervention against Germany should it attempt to remilitarise. In this regard, Western Pomerania based on the lower Oder and, secondly, the northwestern part of the Sudetes with an outlet toward Leipzig are of paramouint importance for the federation."

The memorandum on "Measures to be Applied to Germany Immediately after Cessation of Hostilities" repeated the Oder-Neisse formula, and in a context that suggested it was meant to be the future boundary line. After describing the principles that should govern the occupation of central Germany, it continued (emphases by Professor Terry):

"Apart from the.......[area of] general occupation, "strict occupation" is foreseen for the territories of Germany in her frontier zones. This term is used to define territories the incorporation of which into other States is foreseen, or ......... the occupation of which is indispensable from the military viewpoint to exact by force the strict execution of imposed conditions.

II> Such strict occupation includes the following areas:

a. in the East: a line following the left bank of the river Goerlitzer [Lusatian] Neisse and the left bank of the Oder, including the necessary bridgeheads; the estuary of the Oder, including Stettin, the islands of this estuary and the Isle of Ruegen. The occupying power should be Poland and in the southern area bordering Czechoslovakia - Poland and Czechoslovakia;.........

b. in the North: at least the German islands on the North and Baltic Seas, as well as the [Kiel] Canal and its bordering zones. The occupying powers in the areas of the North Sea and the {Kiel Canal] should be Great Britain and America; in the area of the Baltic islands Great Britain and Poland."

Reinforcing the proviso that the zones of "strict occupation" might be subject to incorporation into neighbouring states, paragraph 15 of the same memo proposed that Germany be obliged "to admit to the area of general occupation ........ all persons of German extraction, expelled by Allied Authorities".
Professor Terry concludes that, since Sikorski included within the concept of "strict occupation" German territories that might be subject to incorporation into neighbouring states, and also canvassed the possibility that the Allied Authorities might expel ethnic Germans from zones of "strict occupation" into the zone of "general occupation", his application of that concept to the territory east of the Oder-Neisse Line represented a de facto claim for the transfer of those territories to Polish sovereignty, coupled with the expulsion of its ethnic German population, even though he did not explicitly make that claim.

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by michael mills » 31 Oct 2016 02:24

Well, let's say it straight. That woman hasn't even seen 5% of all Polish documents, official or not, concerning themselves with this problem. If she had seen he would have done a much better job. This all grasping straws by an obvious British apologist.
Professor Terry is American, a native of New England.
It's not the original document, at least 50% is missing - that merely summarizes what was said.
Do you have access to the original document? Are you able to show what is missing from Document 160 published by the General Sikorski Historical Institute?

Are you wanting to suggest that the GSHI has somehow falsified the record of the 4 December 1941 banquet in the Kremlin? If so, can you suggest a good reason why they would do so? Why suppress any mention of such an important item as Stalin offering Poland a border on the Oder and Sikorski rejecting the offer?

To be sure Document 160 does not quote everything that was said verbatim, but it is reasonable to assume that the persons who produced the document quoted verbatim everything that Sikorski considered important, and only summarised the items that he considered less important.

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by Boby » 31 Oct 2016 10:19

2. The Sikorski-Stalin Talks in Moscow, December 3-4, 1941.



Sikorski travelled to Russia by plane, via Egypt and Tehran. He stopped first in Kuybyshev (in the middle Volga valley, about 200 miles south of Kazan), where the Polish embassy had been evacuated from Moscow, along with the rest of the diplomatic corps and the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He then flew to Moscow, talked with Stalin on December 3rd, after which they signed a Treaty of Mutual Friendship and Assistance on December 4. During the banquet that followed, Stalin made certain proposals on Polish frontiers. We do not know exactly what Stalin said to Sikorski for no Soviet account has been published so far and there are at least three different Polish versions. Thus, the official Polish note on a conversation between Stalin and Sikorski at the Kremlin banquet on December 4th, only hints at Stalin's proposals regarding the Polish-Soviet frontier, and notes Sikorski's refusal to discuss the issue. Next, in a report to the Polish Council of Ministers, Sikorski stated that Stalin had offered his assistance in the Polish-Ukrainian dispute over Lwow, and proposed the conclusion of a Polish-Soviet frontier agreement before the peace conference at war's end, a proposal that Sikorski declined. Finally, in a more revealing account, which Sikorski handed to Churchill on January 31, 1942, he quoted Stalin as saying that Poland must have East Prussia and that Poland's western frontier must be on the Oder River.He also mentioned Stalin's offer of common Polish-Soviet action against the (allegedly) "pro-German" Ukrainians.
http://acienciala.faculty.ku.edu/commun ... 7/ch5.html

Wm, what is the source of the Anders account?

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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by michael mills » 31 Oct 2016 13:11

Boby,

The book by Professor Terry deals with the issue of the conflicting accounts of what Stalin said at the banquet on 4 December 1941. It describes three reports made by Sikorski after his return from Moscow.

1. A letter from Sikorski to Churchill, written from Tehran on 17 December, the bulk of which dealt 2with the two topics that dominated the talks, the plight of the Polish civilian population and the formation of a Polish Army in Russia. Political issues were dealt with only briefly and in the most general terms. Sikorski reported that Stalin had said he was strongly in favour of permanently reducing the Power of Germany whatever its form of political Government, and that he put no trust even in "so-called German Communists".

One of the most interesting things in this letter is Sikorski's assessment that "for the time being Stalin has abandoned the idea of universal communism and the international policy of the Comintern".

Professor Terry considers this letter to be a fairly accurate reflection of the tone and substance of the Sikorski-Stalin talks. She stresses the very important fact that in this letter, Sikorski's first report to Churchill on his talks with Stalin, there is no mention of boundaries, either of Soviet territorial demands in the east or of the Polish-German frontier in the west, nor of an offer by Stalin to extend Poland westward to the Oder.

2. A report by Sikorski to his Council of Ministers on 12 January 1942, on his return to London from Moscow. With respect to the boundary question in the west, his report states (Document 171 in "Documents on Polish-Soviet Relations"):
We do not know what kind of Poland will emerge from this war. It will depend on the precise balance of forces in the ultimate stage of the war. We hope that it will be to our advantage, and that the Polish State will expand its western frontiers. It is history that pushes us in this direction, providing us with a unique occasion for putting right old wrongs and mistakes and enabling us to reinforce our strategic position in the West, to stem the perennial German drive to the East and to force it back. We shall have do our utmost in this period in order to lay a firm foundation for a strong Poland, a Poland that will be able to face Germany, by regaining old Slav territories, with wide access to the sea, and secure from the military point of view. Such a Poland, closely allied to Great Britain, should hold a key position in Eastern-Central Europe.
It is blindingly obvious that in this passage Sikorski is expressing the ideology of the Tendencja Piastowska, which called for Poland to return to its medieval western border on or even beyond the Oder, the border of the Piast state. The reference to "forcing back" the "perennial German drive to the East" obviously means pushing the German-Polish border back to the West by taking from Germany territory that country had gained in medieval times through eastern colonisation, the "Ostsiedlung". The forcing back could also imply the expulsion of the ethnic German population from those territories.

Professor Terry notes that Sikorski did not attribute the idea of Polish westward expansion to Stalin, but rather to Poland's historic rights and strategic requirements. Indeed, Sikorski went on to make this statement:
He [Stalin] mentioned Poland's mission in the West, and the prospects of her expansion at Germany's cost. I declined these proposals politely but firmly.
What exactly did Sikorski decline? That statement occurred in the context of his report about his conversation with Stalin about Poland's eastern frontiers, and Stalin's offer to help the Poles against the Ukrainians in regard to Lwow. Thus it seems likely that what Sikorski was declining was Stalin's attempt to open a conversation about Poland's eastern border, not that he was rejecting the idea of Polish expansion to the West by taking German territory, as alleged by Anders.

Since Sikorski had already stated in this report that the war would give Poland the opportunity to expand to the West, it is hardly likely that he would have specifically denied to Stalin any ambition to do so, if Stalin had indicated that he would support that ambition.

Professor Terry concludes that Sikorski was deceiving his own Cabinet on this matter, and I tend to agree with her. It is likely that his aim was to plant in the minds of his ministers the idea of westward expansion, while simultaneously denying that he would seek help from Stalin to achieve that aim.

3. Sikorski's meeting with Churchill on 31 January 1942, the Polish record of which is Document 179 in Documents on Polish-Soviet Relations. That record states in part:
Sikorski, describing Stalin, said he was a man who, having spent a few years in Poland, was convinced that Poland's existence was essential for Russia as a rampart against Germany. He declared to General Sikorski that Poland must arise larger and stronger than before, that East Prussia must belong to Poland, that the Polish Western boundaries must be based on the river Oder. Stalin's tendency to push Poland to the West was obvious. During that official conversation the problem of the Polish Eastern frontiers was not mentioned. During the banquet, however, Stalin broached that subject. General Sikorski declined to discuss it. Stalin also touched upon the Ukrainian problem. He said that the claim for Lwow was not made by him, but by the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians were pro-German, said Stalin, and he proposed to Sikorski that a common action should be undertaken against the Ukrainians. Stalin would like to open the discussion on the Polish-Russian frontier at the time when the Polish Army in USSR was already at the front.
This passage makes clear two things. First, if Stalin did indeed make a suggestion that East Prussia be given to Poland and that Poland's western border should be on the Oder, it was made at the talks on 3 December, not at the banquet on the following day. Second, at the banquet on the following day, Stalin had tried to open a discussion on Poland's eastern frontier, and that is what Sikorski had rejected, not any suggestion about Poland's western frontier.

I think the above items show the account of the banquet on 4 December by Anders to be a distortion of what actually happened. Anders took Sikorski's rejection of Stalin's attempt at the banquet to start a conversation on Poland's eastern frontier, and turned it into a rejection on quasi-humanitarian grounds of a suggestion by Stalin that Poland annex German territory, something that Stalin may have hinted at on the previous day. Anders also took Stalin's words about helping the Poles against the Ukrainians over Lwow by "destroying" the latter, and turned them into words about "destroying" the Germans in order to help the Poles take the German territory.

Anders' motive in making those distortions is perfectly clear; he wanted to absolve Sikorski and the Polish Government-in-Exile from any responsibility for the expulsion of the German population from the territory east of the Oder-Neisse Line by laying that responsibility on Stalin and his Polish Communist puppets.

Boby
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Re: Poland came close to making a concession over Danzig

Post by Boby » 31 Oct 2016 14:01

Excellent analysis, thanks!

Boby,

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