Why did Poland get Bialystok back from the Soviet Union after the end of World War II?

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Why did Poland get Bialystok back from the Soviet Union after the end of World War II?

Post by Futurist » 03 Apr 2021 21:46

Why did Poland get Bialystok back from the Soviet Union after the end of World War II? The Soviet Union kept almost all of the other territorial gains that it made at Poland expense in 1939 at the end of World War II, but returned the Bialystok area to Poland:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... ine_en.svg

Image

Why was this the case? Due to Bialystok's bare Polish majority combined with the fact that Stalin possibly wanted to give some sort of concession to the Polish Communists, however small and symbolic, in exchange for having them agree to the Curzon Line? Or due to some other reason(s)--and, if so, which reason(s)?

BTW, here is some interesting historical ethnic information and data about Bialystok Oblast:

https://www.unz.com/akarlin/belostok-oblast/
Back then [as in, back in 1897], it was basically 34% Polish, 1/3 Russian (26% Belorussian, 7% Great Russian), and 28% Jew. It went to Poland after WW1. The USSR initially incorporated it back as the Belastok region, but eventually decided to let it merge back into Poland in 1944. (In fairness, by that time, it was 60%+ Polish).

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Re: Why did Poland get Bialystok back from the Soviet Union after the end of World War II?

Post by GregSingh » 11 Apr 2021 07:07

From PROTOCOL OF PROCEEDINGS OF CRIMEA CONFERENCE:
"The three heads of Government consider that the eastern frontier of Poland should follow the Curzon Line with digressions from it in some regions of five to eight kilometers in favor of Poland."
Consideration/agreement was on the Curzon Line, not on German-Soviet border as of late 1939.

So the question is why German-Soviet border as of late 1939 was not along the Curzon Line in the area of Bialystok.
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Re: Why did Poland get Bialystok back from the Soviet Union after the end of World War II?

Post by Futurist » 12 Apr 2021 19:35

The Curzon Line explanation here makes sense. Thank you.

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Re: Why did Poland get Bialystok back from the Soviet Union after the end of World War II?

Post by wm » 15 Apr 2021 22:17

At Teheran, Eden expostulated that the line proposed by Lord Curzon in 1920 did not run south through Galicia and that what the Soviets proposed was the line commemorating Ribbentrop and Molotov.
"Call it what you will," answered Stalin.
Expansion and Coexistence: Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917-73 by Adam B. Ulam
So more properly it should be called the Hitler-Stalin line.

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Re: Why did Poland get Bialystok back from the Soviet Union after the end of World War II?

Post by Futurist » 16 Apr 2021 00:35

wm wrote:
15 Apr 2021 22:17
At Teheran, Eden expostulated that the line proposed by Lord Curzon in 1920 did not run south through Galicia and that what the Soviets proposed was the line commemorating Ribbentrop and Molotov.
"Call it what you will," answered Stalin.
Expansion and Coexistence: Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917-73 by Adam B. Ulam
So more properly it should be called the Hitler-Stalin line.
Still looks like the Curzon Line based on my map above.

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Re: Why did Poland get Bialystok back from the Soviet Union after the end of World War II?

Post by wm » 16 Apr 2021 23:10

The point is the Curzon Line and the reasons it was proposed was used as a smokescreen for Stalin's, his own, designs.
Designs that, for various reasons weren't opposed by the Allies.
So the question has nothing to do with the Curzon Line, the proper question is why did Stalin want the border like that.

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Re: Why did Poland get Bialystok back from the Soviet Union after the end of World War II?

Post by Futurist » 18 Apr 2021 02:31

To reunite the Ukrainian and Belarusian peoples, no?

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Re: Why did Poland get Bialystok back from the Soviet Union after the end of World War II?

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 23 Mar 2022 00:18

During WW1 much of the Orthodox population fled to the east - so called Bezhenstvo:

https://uk-m-wikipedia-org.translate.go ... x_tr_hl=pl

Lucjusz Dura in his "Map of Polish population" has for Bialystok Oblast as of year 1916:

https://polona.pl/item/mapa-rozsiedleni ... o:metadata

County Sokolka - 71.0% Polish
County Białystok - 50.2% Polish
County Bielsk - 39.3% Polish

Total for the Oblast - 51.3% Polish

I'm sure that by 1939 this percent of ethnic Poles in the area increased even further.

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The Russian census of 1897 was - according to all Polish authors who analyzed it - falsified in a an anti-Polish way.

Lots of Poles were counted as Catholic Belarusians or even Catholic Russians in that census. In reality, virtually all (at least the vast majority) of Slavic Roman Catholics in North-East Poland and Belarus identified as Poles. Belarusian-identified Catholics were a rarity.

Check e.g. the 1897 census for Sokołka County - 69.3% Roman Catholics and only 1.2% Poles - obvious falsification:

https://datatowel-in-ua.translate.goog/ ... x_tr_hl=pl

Image

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In case of Bialystok County, the scale of falsification is less severe - the gap between Catholics vs. Poles is smaller:

Image

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And in case of Bielsk County there is almost no falsification - because they didn't have to do it to achieve majority:

[the number of Slavic Roman Catholics is in line with the number of Poles in this case]

Image

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But the best formula to count Polish-identified people in the Kresy is to count all of Slavic Roman Catholics as Poles.

Even according to modern research (published in 2000) as many as 95% of Roman Catholics in the Diocese of Grodno in Belarus (so roughly the same historical region as the one we discuss here) declare that they have ethnically Polish ancestors. It is this study:

Image

Even in Eastern Belarus - in the Archdiocese of Minsk-Mogilev - still 73% of Roman Catholics declare Polish ancestry.

There is also another similar study from year 2003 which basically confirms all of these findings of the 2000 study.
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Re: Why did Poland get Bialystok back from the Soviet Union after the end of World War II?

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 23 Mar 2022 01:11

^^^
And this is what we get for Ilukste, when applying the Slavic Roman Catholics = Poles formula:

Image

^^^
This is in agreement with what the Latvian Census of 1920 reported for roughly the same area.
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: Why did Poland get Bialystok back from the Soviet Union after the end of World War II?

Post by Sludge Factory » 18 Apr 2022 05:19

I wonder if the allies could have made Stalin give Grodno and Lemberg back in exchange for more concessions? Perhaps, in this scenario, Germany keeps Stettin and the Oder-Eastern Neisse line is used...

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