Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

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michael mills
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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 22 Jun 2011 01:40

Domen,

I refer you back to your post of 18 June, in which you inserted a video from a film "Meskie Sprawy", showing insurgents capturing a town.

The insurgents are wearing civilian clothes, with red-and-white armbands. They are civilians who have taken up arms.

I will believe that ewthnic Polish members of the German Army could have deserted and gone over to the insurgents wearing their German uniforms and carrying their weapons. But the images in the clip you posted seem more realistic.

The photos of men in uniform you have posted are obviously modern reconstructions.

I find it difficult to believe that a uniformed army could have been organised while the Posen Province was still under German rule. Secret paramilitary training could have been given in sporting organisations like Sokol, but that is different from an army.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 22 Jun 2011 01:50

RG,

It was entirely possible for a peaceful settlement to have been reached between the Polish Government in Warsaw headed by Pilsudski and the new German Government. Remember that even before the end of the war the military dictatorship of Hindenburg and Ludendorff had been replaced by a moderate civilian government that was ready to negotiate.

Pilsudski was ready, willing and able to reach an agreement with Germany acceptable to both sides, since he was not psychotically anti-German. (Instead, he was psychotically anti-Russian).

What prevented agreement being reached was the existence of the psychotically anti-German political groups associated with Dmowski and Paderewski, whose motto was "jak swiat swiatem, nie bedzie Niemiec Polakowi bratem". Those groups started an entirely unnecessary violent uprising in Posen Province for the purpose of ethnic cleansing, to drive out the large ethnic German minority by terroristic violence and create a fait accompli.

It was the terrorist violence of the Endecja insurgents that caused the new republican government of Germany to become as hostile to Poland as the Prussian officer corps had been.

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Piotr Kapuscinski
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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 22 Jun 2011 10:50

Michael - the video I inserted shows early combats in December 1918 / first days of January 1919.

At the start of the uprising most insurgents were of course not uniformly uniformed. They were not transformed into regular Greater Polish Army before January 1919, when most of the province was already liberated.

And when the Uprising ended - in mid-February - the Greater Polish Army numbered over 30,000. After the end of the uprising it was expanded to 70,000 on 3 May 1919 and to probably around 100,000 in late May / early June 1919 (and on 25 May 1919 Greater Polish units were subordinated to the High Command of the Polish Army).

That was possible largely thanks to German weaponry captured during the uprising.

=====================================
The photos of men in uniform you have posted are obviously modern reconstructions.
Yes - if you don't like modern reconstructions then here are some original photos:

http://www.google.pl/search?q=powsta%C5 ... 66&bih=588

10 February 1919 - gen. Dowbor-Musnicki visiting units in Wagrowiec:

Image

More photos:

Image

Image

Image

Gen. Dowbor-Musnicki was the man who organized a strong, regular army in Greater-Poland:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B3zef ... C5%9Bnicki
(...) On January 6, 1919 he was nominated by the High Peoples' Council, the temporary ruling body of the province of Greater Poland, as the new commanding officer of all the Polish forces in the area. Two days later he arrived to Poznań and on January 16 he officially assumed his post, replacing Major Stanisław Taczak during the Greater Poland Uprising against Germany in the disputed region.

During his service as the commander in chief of the Uprising, Dowbor-Muśnicki was responsible for almost complete reorganization of what was started as a para-military partisan force. He introduced conscription and mobilized eleven classes of recruits and reformed the partisans into divisions. During his command, the Greater Polish Army grew from merely 20,000 to over 100,000 soldiers, well-armed and well-equipped. It is to be noted that, after the Battle of Ławica in which the Poles managed to capture the airfield, the Greater Polish Army was the fourth force in the world in number of aeroplanes available. (...)
Ławica airfield: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pozna%C5%8 ... ca_Airport

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ToKu
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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by ToKu » 22 Jun 2011 16:28

Other thing is that, according to Wikipedia article linked by Domen whole formations of Graeter Polish Army were incorporated into Polish Army (four infantry divisions, cavalry brigade and other smaller independent formations), with just their names and numbers changed.

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RG
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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by RG » 22 Jun 2011 19:45

michael mills wrote:RG,

It was entirely possible for a peaceful settlement to have been reached between the Polish Government in Warsaw headed by Pilsudski and the new German Government. Remember that even before the end of the war the military dictatorship of Hindenburg and Ludendorff had been replaced by a moderate civilian government that was ready to negotiate.
What kind of negotiations? Wielkopolska is Polish land, and if German Goverment - as you claim was ready to negotiate - they should simply transfer this polish teritory, taken by force by Germans to the legitimate owner - independent Poland, instead of organising Grenzschutz Ost.
Naive? Not less than your suggestion that negotiations with "moderate" German goverment would be successful.
michael mills wrote: Pilsudski was ready, willing and able to reach an agreement with Germany acceptable to both sides, since he was not psychotically anti-German. (Instead, he was psychotically anti-Russian).

What prevented agreement being reached was the existence of the psychotically anti-German political groups associated with Dmowski and Paderewski, whose motto was "jak swiat swiatem, nie bedzie Niemiec Polakowi bratem". Those groups started an entirely unnecessary violent uprising in Posen Province for the purpose of ethnic cleansing, to drive out the large ethnic German minority by terroristic violence and create a fait accompli.

It was the terrorist violence of the Endecja insurgents that caused the new republican government of Germany to become as hostile to Poland as the Prussian officer corps had been.
I see that you read little on polish history but in case of Wielkopolska you understood nothing or pretend not to understand. You exaggerate the influence of Endecja, people were simply fed up with Germans and your "conspiracy theory" in case of Wielkopolskie Uprising is wrong. Indeed, Endecja was dominating political power in Wielkopolska, but it was natural, Germans were hostile to Poles so they adhered to this party which shared their feelings. There were preparations for uprising, but not to support Dmowski or anybody else but simply to kick German asses and most documents on Uprising support an opinion that it was spontaneous act.

Very interesting is your suggestion that without Uprising there would be no hostility between Poland and Germany, despite of Loss of Pomorze? Well, no Hitler, no IIWW... Tempting :milwink:
But to find out it, you should read memories of polish insurgents, not over interpret insignificant details. I must admit, that Piłsudski was accused of being "pro German" during Uprising, and not supportive to insurgents, but even it was the truth, it would mean that Insurgents were right not to wait for Polish - German negotiations.

By the way of ethnic cleansing. You repeat it like a refrain, do you know documents, or have any evidence that it was a purpose of the Uprising?

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henryk
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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by henryk » 22 Jun 2011 20:53

michael mills wrote: Pilsudski had also agreed with Kessler not to take any German territory, since he wanted to have a friendly relationship with Germany, which he saw as an ally against Soviet Russia, the main threat to an independent Poland. Pilsudski, unlike the Piast faction of Polish nationalism, did not want to expand to the east and north by taking German territory; rather he wanted to expand to the east, and gain an outlet to the Baltic through Lithuania.

The uprising in Posen Province occurred against the wishes of Pilsudski, and was carried out by Endecja forces hostile to him. It upset his plans, since it turned Germany into an inveterate enemy of the new Poland, and resulted in an informal German-Soviet alliance against Poland, rather than a German-Polish alliance against the Bolsheviks, which is what he was aiming for.
Even a 1917 Polish author wrote about Pilsudski's preparations to fight the Germans. And a free Poland was always recognized as being composed of land from all three partitions.
http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?view ... 35;num=615
The political history of Poland, Corwin, Edward Henry Lewinski, 1885- New York, The Polish book importing company, 1917. xv, 628 p. illus. (incl. ports., maps, music) 21 cm.
p601
Many months prior to this step he discouraged recruiting for the Legions and a secret organization was formed at his behest. It enlisted tens of thousands of well trained men, to be used in an uprising against Germany should she bargain with Russia for a separate peace.
p610
In an official proclamation, the provisional government announced that it wishes Poland to decide for herself the form of government she desires and takes it for granted that the decision will be for " a new independent Poland" formed of all three now separate parts.

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henryk
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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by henryk » 22 Jun 2011 21:09

Here's a German book that recognizes Pilsudski was both anti-German and anti-Russian.
http://www.jrbooksonline.com/HTML-docs/ ... %20War.htm
The Forced War When Peaceful Revision Failed By David L. Hoggan 1961
First published as Der erzwungene Krieg Die Ursachen und Urheber des 2. Weltkriegs
Verlag der deutschen Hochschullehrer-Zeitung Tübingen, Germany
This edition being translated from English
First English language edition Institute for Historical Review USA 1989
Pilsudski's Polish Nationalism
A fourth major program for the advancement of Polish interests was that of Jozef Pilsudski, who thought of Poland as a Great Power. His ideas on this vital point conflicted with the three programs previously mentioned. Studnicki, Dmowski, and Bobrzynski recognized that Poland was one of the smaller nations of modern Europe. It seemed inevitable to them that the future promotion of Polish interests would demand a close alignment with at least one of the three pre-1918 powerful neighboring Powers, Germany, Russia, or Austria-Hungary. It is not surprising that there were groups in Poland which favored collaboration with each of these Powers, but it is indeed both startling and instructive to note that the strongest of these groups advocated collaboration with Russia, the principal oppressor of the Poles.
Pilsudski opposed collaboration with any of the stronger neighbors of Poland. He expected Poland to lead nations weaker than herself and to maintain alliances or alignments with powerful but distant Powers not in a position to influence the conduct of Polish policy to any great extent. Above all, his system demanded a defiant attitude toward any neighboring state more powerful than Poland. His reasoning was that defiance of her stronger neighbors would aid Poland to regain the Great Power status which she enjoyed at the dawn of modern history. Dependence on a stronger neighbor would be tantamount to recognizing the secondary position of Poland in Central Eastern Europe. He hoped that a successful foreign policy after independence would eventually produce a situation in which none of her immediate neighbors would be appreciably stronger than Poland. He hoped that Poland in this way might eventually achieve national security without sacrificing her Great Power aspirations.
.......................................................................................................
Pilsudski's prominence began with the outbreak of World War I. .............He predicted that a great war would break out which might produce the defeat of the three Powers ruling partitioned Poland. He guessed correctly that the Austrians and Germans might defeat the Russians before succumbing to the superior material reserves and resources of the Western Powers. He proposed to contribute to this by fighting the Russians until they were defeated and then turning against the Germans and Austrians.
This strategy required temporary collaboration with two of the Powers holding Polish territories, but it was based on the recognition that in 1914, before Polish independence, it was inescapable that Poles would be fighting on both sides in the War. Pilsudski accepted this inevitable situation, but he sought to shape it to promote Polish interests to the maximum degree.
......................................................................
Poland in World War I
......................................................................
General von Beseler, the Governor of German-occupied Poland, proclaimed the restoration of Polish independence on November 5, 1916, following an earlier agreement between Germany and Austria-Hungary. ........................... Pilsudski welcomed this step by Germany with good reason, although he continued to hope for the ultimate defeat of Germany in order to free Poland from any German influence and to aggrandize Poland at German expense.
A Polish Council of State was established on December 6, 1916, and met for the first time on January 14, 1917. The position of the Council during wartime was advisory to the occupation authorities, and the prosecution of the war continued to take precedence over every other consideration. .................The Council was reorganized in the autumn of 1917, and on October 14, 1917, a Regency Council was appointed in the expectation that Poland would become an independent kingdom allied to the German and Austro-Hungarian monarchies. ............... Negotiators for the Western Allies, on the other hand, were willing to reverse the German independence policy as late as the summer of 1917 and to offer all of Poland to Austria-Hungary, if by doing so they could separate the Central Powers and secure a separate peace with the Habsburgs.
.............................................................
Pilsudski at this time was engaged in switching his policy from support of Germany to support of the Western Allies. He demanded a completely independent Polish national army before the end of the war, and the immediate severance of any ties which made Poland dependent on the Central Powers. He knew that there was virtually no chance for the fulfillment of these demands at the crucial stage which the war had reached by the summer of 1917. The slogan of his followers was a rejection of compromise: "Never a state without an army, never an army without Pilsudski." Pilsudski was indeed head of the military department of the Polish Council of State, but he resigned on July 2, 1917, when Germany and Austria-Hungary failed to accept his demands.
Pilsudski deliberately provoked the Germans until they arrested him and placed him for the duration of the war in comfortable internment with his closest military colleague, Kazimierz Sosnkowski, at Magdeburg on the Elbe. It was Pilsudski's conviction that only in this way could he avoid compromising himself with the Germans before Polish public opinion. His arrest by Germany made it difficult for his antagonists in Poland to argue that he had been a mere tool of German policy. It was a matter of less concern that this accusation was made in the Western countries despite his arrest during the months and years which followed.

..............................................................
Polish Expansion After World War I
It was fortunate for Pilsudski that the other Poles were unable to achieve any thing significant during his internment in Germany. He was released from Magdeburg during the German Revolution, and he returned speedily to Poland. On November 14, 1918, the Regency Council turned over its powers to Pilsudski, ..................................
Pilsudski had an enormous tactical advantage which he exploited to the limit. He was a socialist, and he had fought for the Germans. His principal political opponents, the National Democrats, were popular with the Western Powers. Poland was not mentioned in the November 1918 armistice agreement with Germany, and soon after the armistice a protracted peace conference began. Pilsudski was persona non grata at Versailles. He gladly expressed his confidence in the Paris negotiation efforts of the National Democrats in the interest of obtaining a united Polish front. It was not his responsibility, but that of his opponents, to secure advantages for Poland at the peace conference. This effort was almost certain to discredit his opponents, because Polish demands were so exorbitant that they could scarcely be satisfied. Pilsudski was free to turn his own efforts toward the Polish domestic situation. He made good use of his time, and he never lost the political initiative gained during those days. His cause was aided by an agreement he made with the Germans as early as November 11, 1918, before the armistice in the West. According to this agreement, the occupation troops would leave with their arms which they would surrender at the frontier (German-Congress Poland frontier of 1914, which was confirmed at Brest-Litovsk, 1918). The operation was virtually completed by November 19, 1918, and the agreement was faithfully carried out by both sides.
...........................................................................................................................................................
The ultimate treaty terms gave Poland much more than she deserved, and much more than she should have requested. Most of West Prussia, which had a German majority at the last census, was surrendered to Poland without plebiscite, and later the richest industrial section of Upper Silesia was given to Poland despite the fact that the Poles lost the plebiscite there. The creation of a League protectorate for the national German community of Danzig was a disastrous move; a free harbor for Poland in a Danzig under German rule would have been far more equitable. The chief errors of the treaty included the creation of the Corridor, the creation of the so-called Free City of Danzig, and the cession of part of Upper Silesia to Poland. These errors were made for the benefit of Poland and to the disadvantage of Germany, but they were detrimental to both Germany and Poland. An enduring peace in the German-Polish borderlands was impossible to achieve within the context of these terms. The settlement was also contrary to the 13th of Wilson's 14 Points, which, except for the exclusion of point 2, constituted a solemn Allied contractual agreement on peace terms negotiated with Germany when she was still free and under arms. The violation of these terms when defenseless Germany was in the chains of the armistice amounted to a pinnacle of deceit on the part of the United States and the European Western Allies which could hardly be surpassed. The position of the United States in this unsavory situation was somewhat modified by the American failure to ratify the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and 1920. The Polish negotiators remained discredited at home because they had failed to achieve their original demands, which had been widely publicized in Poland. .............................................................................
There was action in many directions on the military front. A Slask-Pomorze-Poznan (Silesia-West Prussia-Posen) Congress was organized by the National Democrats on December 6, 1918, and it attempted to seize control of the German eastern provinces in the hope of presenting the peace conference at Paris with a fait accompli. Ignaz Paderewski arrived in Poznan a few weeks later on a journey from London to Warsaw, and a Polish uprising broke out while he was in this city. Afterward the Poles, in a series of bitter battles, drove the local German volunteer militia out of most of Posen province. .............................. The National Democrats controlled the Polish Western Front and Pilsudski dominated the East. The National Democrats were primarily interested in military action against Germany. Pilsudski's principal interest was in Polish eastward expansion and in federation under Polish control with neighboring nations.
.................................... Pilsudski cleverly appealed to the anti-German prejudice of the followers of his enemies. He argued that Russia and Germany were in a gigantic conspiracy to crush Poland, and that to retaliate by driving back the Russians was the only salvation.
..........................................................................................................
The Dmowski disciples chafed at their failure to realize many of their aspirations against Germany in the West. It seemed that no one in Poland was satisfied with the territorial limits attained by the new state, although most foreign observers, whether friendly or hostile, believed that Poland had obtained far more territory than was good for her. It soon became evident that the post war course of Polish expansion had closed with the Riga peace, and with the partition of Upper Silesia. Poland had reached the limits of her ability to exploit the confusion which had followed in the wake of World War I. Her choices were to accept her gains as sufficient and to seek to retain all or most of them, or to bide her time while awaiting a new opportunity to realize her unsatisfied ambitions. The nature of her future foreign policy depended on the outcome of the struggle for power within Poland.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 23 Jun 2011 04:02

Henryk,

Hoggan is not generally considered a good historian, but his book does include some useful material.

If you look more closely at the excerpt you posted, you will see that it aqctually supports the point I was making. In particular, this part of the excerpt:
Pilsudski had an enormous tactical advantage which he exploited to the limit. He was a socialist, and he had fought for the Germans. His principal political opponents, the National Democrats, were popular with the Western Powers. Poland was not mentioned in the November 1918 armistice agreement with Germany, and soon after the armistice a protracted peace conference began. Pilsudski was persona non grata at Versailles. He gladly expressed his confidence in the Paris negotiation efforts of the National Democrats in the interest of obtaining a united Polish front. It was not his responsibility, but that of his opponents, to secure advantages for Poland at the peace conference. This effort was almost certain to discredit his opponents, because Polish demands were so exorbitant that they could scarcely be satisfied. Pilsudski was free to turn his own efforts toward the Polish domestic situation. He made good use of his time, and he never lost the political initiative gained during those days. His cause was aided by an agreement he made with the Germans as early as November 11, 1918, before the armistice in the West. According to this agreement, the occupation troops would leave with their arms which they would surrender at the frontier (German-Congress Poland frontier of 1914, which was confirmed at Brest-Litovsk, 1918). The operation was virtually completed by November 19, 1918, and the agreement was faithfully carried out by both sides.
The excerpt shows that Pilsudski did not want to antagonise Germany by making excessive demands, such as those being made by Dmowski and Paderewski in Paris.

Instead, he entered into negotiations with Germany that were beneficial to both sides. Those negotiations resulted in German troops in the Polish Kingdom handing over their weapons to the new Polish army that was being created by Pilsudski. Those weapons provided Poland with the basis of the military power that later allowed Pilsudski to resist the westward advance of Bolshevism, both in 1919 and again , more importantly, in 1920.

Furthermore, the negotiations between Pilsudski and the German representative Count Harry Kessler formed the basis for a future friendly relationship between a moderate republican Germany and the new Poland. The two men agreed to minimise the territory that Poland would claim from Germany; Pilsudski agreed that Germany could keep East Prussia, West Prussia, and the northern and eastern parts of Posen Province, an area with an overall German majority. In return, Poland would be given a free port in Danzig, with an extraterritorial link from that free port over German territory to the nearest Polish territory.

Unfortunately, that incipiently good German-Polish relationship was ruined right from the start by Endecja and other partisans of Dmowski, who were both psychotically anti-German and psychotically anti-Jewish. First, the anti-German extremists started the uprising in the Posen Province (but only after the German troops had left the Kingdom of Poland and handed over their weapons to the Polish forces cimmanded by Pilsudski), ie they started an illegal armed action in a territory that was still under German sovereignty according to international law, for the purpose of seizing as much territory as possible and thereby frustrate Pilsudski's agreement with Germany.

Second, they tried to overthrow Pilsudski in Warsaw. On 5 January 1919, some of Dmowski's supporters tried to mount a coup against PIlsudski, but failed.

It should be noted that Pilsudski's negotiations with Kessler began even while he was still a prisoner in Magdeburg, before his return to Warsaw on 8 November. There is reason to believe that his imprisonment by the German Governor-General was something of a charade, a way of facilitating his continuing negotiations with the Germans while protecting him from the accusation of being pro-German, an accusation made against him by Endecja. As Hoggan writes:
Pilsudski deliberately provoked the Germans until they arrested him and placed him for the duration of the war in comfortable internment with his closest military colleague, Kazimierz Sosnkowski, at Magdeburg on the Elbe. It was Pilsudski's conviction that only in this way could he avoid compromising himself with the Germans before Polish public opinion. His arrest by Germany made it difficult for his antagonists in Poland to argue that he had been a mere tool of German policy. It was a matter of less concern that this accusation was made in the Western countries despite his arrest during the months and years which followed.
As Hoggan recognises, the Western Allies were not fooled by Pilsudski's apparent imprisonment; they knew that he was pro-German. In fact, during the so-called "imprisonment" in Magdeburg, Pilsudski and Sosnkowski were free to wander around the city.

The bottom line is that if Endecja had not provoked an illegal uprising on German territory, there is no reason why a good relationship with Germany could not have resulted from the negotiations between Pilsudski and Kessler in November 1918. Poland would have received most of the Posen Province in any case, and the German republican government would not have become anti-Polish. As a result, Poland would have been able to face the westward onslaught of the Bolsheviks without a hostile Germany in its rear.

Furthermore, there is no reason why Pilsudski could not have recruited troops from the former Posen Province into the Polish Army, once it had been transferred to Poland under international law by treaty.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by henryk » 23 Jun 2011 21:32

michael mills wrote:Henryk,
If you look more closely at the excerpt you posted, you will see that it aqctually supports the point I was making. In particular, this part of the excerpt:
His cause was aided by an agreement he made with the Germans as early as November 11, 1918, before the armistice in the West. According to this agreement, the occupation troops would leave with their arms which they would surrender at the frontier (German-Congress Poland frontier of 1914, which was confirmed at Brest-Litovsk, 1918). The operation was virtually completed by November 19, 1918, and the agreement was faithfully carried out by both sides.
The excerpt shows that Pilsudski did not want to antagonise Germany by making excessive demands, such as those being made by Dmowski and Paderewski in Paris.

Instead, he entered into negotiations with Germany that were beneficial to both sides. Those negotiations resulted in German troops in the Polish Kingdom handing over their weapons to the new Polish army that was being created by Pilsudski. Those weapons provided Poland with the basis of the military power that later allowed Pilsudski to resist the westward advance of Bolshevism, both in 1919 and again , more importantly, in 1920.

Furthermore, the negotiations between Pilsudski and the German representative Count Harry Kessler formed the basis for a future friendly relationship between a moderate republican Germany and the new Poland. The two men agreed to minimise the territory that Poland would claim from Germany; Pilsudski agreed that Germany could keep East Prussia, West Prussia, and the northern and eastern parts of Posen Province, an area with an overall German majority. In return, Poland would be given a free port in Danzig, with an extraterritorial link from that free port over German territory to the nearest Polish territory.

Unfortunately, that incipiently good German-Polish relationship was ruined right from the start by Endecja and other partisans of Dmowski, who were both psychotically anti-German and psychotically anti-Jewish. First, the anti-German extremists started the uprising in the Posen Province (but only after the German troops had left the Kingdom of Poland and handed over their weapons to the Polish forces cimmanded by Pilsudski), ie they started an illegal armed action in a territory that was still under German sovereignty according to international law, for the purpose of seizing as much territory as possible and thereby frustrate Pilsudski's agreement with Germany.

The bottom line is that if Endecja had not provoked an illegal uprising on German territory, there is no reason why a good relationship with Germany could not have resulted from the negotiations between Pilsudski and Kessler in November 1918. Poland would have received most of the Posen Province in any case, and the German republican government would not have become anti-Polish. As a result, Poland would have been able to face the westward onslaught of the Bolsheviks without a hostile Germany in its rear.
Please note that I edited your quote to delete the less pertinent material.
The excerpt shows no negotiations other than that relating to the troops. My recollection is that in another thread you stated Pilsudski accepted Posen Province as German. Please provide a reference on the other agreements stated between Kessler and Pilsudski. Was there a clear understanding on the status of Posen province when the uprising started?
As discussed in other threads the German censuses disagree with your statements on land occupied by a German majority. For example Domen121 showed the so-called Polish Corridor had contiguous land with a Polish majority. It is hard to accept, that on one hand, Pilsudski accepted Polish majority land to be under Germany, and on the other strived for Polish minority land to be under Poland.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 25 Jun 2011 02:28

It is hard to accept, that on one hand, Pilsudski accepted Polish majority land to be under Germany, and on the other strived for Polish minority land to be under Poland.
It is not really all that difficult to understand.

For Pilsudski, Polish ethnicity, that is, speaking Polish as one's native language and being Roman Catholic, was not the decisive factor as the basis for a new Polish state.

He was an advocate of the Jagiellonian concept of the Polish State, which meant that he wanted to resurrect the medieval multi-ethnic Polish state that had included Lithuania, Belorussia, and Ukraine west of the Dnepr. It was naturaql for him to think in that way, since he had been born in Lithuania, and regarded himself as "Lithuanian" in the medieval sense, ie as an inhabitant of the old Grand Duchy of Lithuania, albeit of Polish ethnicity.

Since he envisaged the resurrected Polish state as multi-ethnic and as expanding to the east, Polish ethnicity per se was not so important to him, and he was not obsessed about incorporating into the state all territories in which ethnic Poles lived, particularly if such incorporation involved antagonising countries that he did not see as inveterate enemies of the Polish state he envisaged.

Pilsudski was opposed to the Piast concept of the Polish state, which was based on Polish ethnicity, and was advocated primarily by Dmowski. The Piast concept was based on two principles:

1. Inclusion in the Polish state of all territories in which there were substantial Polish populations, both in the east and the west;

2. Moving the Polish border westwards to the Oder-Neisse line and even beyond it, to incorporate the territories that had belonged to the Polish Piast state in the 10th Century.

Since the state envisaged by Dmowski would include territory inhabited by substantial non-Polish populations, he advocated the forced assimilation of Baltic and Slavic ethnic groups (Lithuanians, Belorussians, Ukrainians) and expulsion of non-Slavic elements (Germans and Jews).

Pilsudski was not opposed to accepting whatever German territories the Allies were prepared to award Poland, but considered it counter-productive to demand an excessive amount of such territory, since that woulkd needlessly antagonise Germany, and turn it into a permanent enemy. He had agreed with Kessler that both East Prussia and West Prussia (including Danzig) could remain with Germany, and that he would not ask for their cession in a German-Polish peace settlement.

He would also have been prepared to leave the Posen Province with Germany, if that was necessary to maintain a peaceful and friendly relationship with Germany; however, that was not part of the agreement with Kessler reached in November 1918. Since the Posen Province was the stronghold of his fiercest political enemy, the National Democratic movement, he was quite prepared to leave it out of the new Polish state that he envisaged.

It is noteworthy that Pilsudski opposed the uprising in the Polish Province that broke out in December 1918, after the talks with Kessler had concluded, and provided cno support to it. He saw it as needlessly antagonising Germany.

When Pilsudski seized power in May 1926, Polish political leaders in Wielkopolska, who belonged to Endecja and hated Pilsudski, suspected that he would be prepared to hand the province back to Germany in order to end the conflict with that country. They planned to secede from Poland and create a separate state of Wielkopolska, thereby recreating the de facto independent state that had come into being as a result of the uprising and had existed for a few months in 1919, albeit without recognition under international law.

I found out about the November 1918 negotiations between Pilsudski and Count Harry Kessler in this book:

Kimmich, Christoph M, "The Free City: Danzig and German Foreign Policy, 1919-1934. (New Haven, Yale U.P., 1968)

Kimmich drew his material from a book written by Kessler in the 1920s, in which the latter provided full details of the agreement he had reached with Pilsudski concerning West Prussia and Danzig. That agreement was that West Prussia would remain with Germany, but Poland would have free port in Danzig and an extra-territorial link from the port to sovereign Polish territory.

The negotiations are also mentioned in this book which I have read:

Komarnicki, Titus :"Rebirth of the Polish Republic : A Study in the Diplomatic History of Europe, 1914-1920" (Melbourne, W. Heinemann, 1957)

Komarnicki refers to the 1920s book by Kessler, but claims that Kessler was lying and that there had been no agreement between him and Pilsudski in November 1918. Since Komarnicki is writing from a very obvious Polish chauvinist point of view, whereas Kimmich's point of view is basically sympathetic to Poland but not chauvinist, I am inclined to accept Kimmich's interpretation.

For the fears that Pilsudski was prepared in 1926 to hand Wielkopolska back to Germany, see this book:

Von Riekhoff, Harald: "German - Polish Relations 1918-1933" (Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins Press, 1971)

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by henryk » 26 Jun 2011 22:34

Michael
Thank you for the sources.
Henryk

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 27 Jun 2011 01:33

I have found out that the Australian National University Library has a copy of the book written by Count Harry Kessler in the 1920s.

I will consult it to see exactly what he said about his November 1918 talks with Pilsudski.

You can read about Kessler here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Graf_Kessler


As you will see, he was no stereotypical Prussian militarist of the sort that exists in Polish chauvinist historiography. He was not someone who was likely to make German chauvinist propaganda.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by szopen » 27 Jun 2011 12:16

Micheal Mills, Dmowski didn't want Oder-neisse line. That's a fantasy. You should know what Dmowski wanted, because he proposed his plans openly.

http://pl.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?tit ... 1020084659

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 28 Jun 2011 01:04

Szopen,

The Polish border proposed by Dmowski at the Paris Peace Conference did not represent the full amount of what he and the National Democrats wanted in the west and north.

It represented a minimum demand, since Dmowski and Paderewski knew that their maximum demand, ie a Polish western frontier lying along the Oder-Neisse line, with the Lausitz region detached from Germany as an autonomous region linked to Poland, would be rejected by Britain.

Before the Paris Peace Conference began, the Polish National Committee in Paris, headed by Dmowski, had asked that the envisaged Polish state, which the Allies had agreed to after the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia, be allowed to occupy all German territory up to a line drawn from Koszalin on the Baltic coast to Landsberg on the Netze River, from Landsberg due south to the Oder, then along the Oder to its junction with the Upper Neisse River, then along that river to the German-Bohemian border.

That proposed border lay considerably to the west of what was actually granted in the Versailles Treaty, and even so it represented less than what Dmowski and the National Democrats had been calling for. It was a compromise made in the knowledge that Dmoski's maximum demand would arouse opposition from the Allies, especially from Britain.

For most of the 19th Century, Polish spokesmen had been following the legitimist position, calling for the restitution of Poland within its borders of 1772. However, toward the end of that century, the "Piastist" position emerged, supported by the National Democrat movement in particular, with Poplawski as its protagonist. The "Piastist" position claimed that restitution of the 1772 frontier in the west was not enough, that a restored Poland should regain its 10th century border under the first Piast rulers, along the line of the Oder and Lower Neisse rivers; some extremists even wanted the frontier to run west of that line on the Baltic coast to include the island of Ruegen (called Rana in Polish). That meant that East Prussia, West Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia would have to be taken from Germany and given to Poland, and the "foreign" German population living in those provinces expelled.

Details of the "piastist" position propounded by Poplawski can be found in this book:

"Das Ende Preussens in polnischer Sicht : zur Kontinuitat negativer Wirkungen der preussischen Geschichte auf die deutsch-polnischen Beziehungen", by Andreas Lawaty ( Berlin : W. de Gruyter, 1986).

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 28 Jun 2011 01:35

More information on Jan Ludwik Poplawski and the "koncepcja piastowska" and Jan Ludwik Poplawski can be found in this article by Norman Davies, page 152:

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=hhb ... st&f=false


Here is another interesting article by Norman Davies which explains the ideology of Dmowski, with his slogan of "jeden narod, jeden wiara, jedna rzeczpospolita, jedna kultura":

http://eprints.lib.hokudai.ac.jp/dspace ... 034106.pdf


Here is what Davies writes:
In the Polish case, the particular historical fable preferred by the nationalist
movement was the one which has become known as the Piast Idea (koncepcja piastowska).
The chief propagator of the idea was the National Democrat publicist and literary critic Jan
Ludwig Poplawski (1854-1908), who had been converted to "Nationalism" as distinct from
the older trend of "National Insurrectionism" after a spell of political exile in Russia. Of
course, at the time when Poplawski was writing in the 1880s and 1900s, Poland did not
exist as a state, having been partitioned over a hundred years earlier by the three great
empires of Eastern Europe, Russia, Prussia and Austria; and in imagining where the true
Poland ought to be in future, or might have been in the past, Poplawski and his associates
seized on the ancient kingdom of the Piast dynasty of the ninth and tenth centuries, whose
territorial limits lay somewhat to the north and west of most later Polish states, and whose
main provinces - Wielkopolska or Posnania, Maiopolska or Galicia, Pomerania, Kujavia,
Silesia, and Mazovia - had subsequently fallen largely under German or German/Austrian
control. According to the theory, the Piast homeland was supposed to have been
inhabited by so-called "native" aboriginal Slavs and Slavonic Poles since time immemorial
and only to have been "invaded" and "occupied" and "infiltrated" by so-called "alien"
Germans, BaIts, Celts, Ruthenians, Huns, Avars, Jews and Mongols in subsequent times.
The Poles were supposedly indigenous; all the others, to a greater extent, foreign
intruders. In the eyes of the nationalists, the evil of history, lay less in the presence of
the Empires, which as ephemeral political organisms were sure to pass away, as in the
intermixing of peoples and cultures caused by the German Drang nach Osten and, to them,
by the equally regrettable Polish Drang na wsch6dCDrive to the East) into Belorussia,
Lithuania and Ukraine. Throughout the first part of the twentieth century up to 1939, it
was the policy, more or less explicit, of the nationalist movement to recover and to
reconstruct not only the Piast lands themselves but also their supposedly mononational,
monocultural, monoethnic character. Here was a policy and a theory, at once
deceptively simple and highly emotional, and possessing a high de~ree of racism and
impracticality.

Needless to say, the Piast Idea, which was directed principally at German
expansionism, evoked considerable sympathy in Tsarist Russia where similar visions of
primitive Slavonic purity were afoot. It is worthwhile noting, for instance, that the map
of a future Europe published in 1914 by an overoptimistic Russian General Staff at the
outbreak of the First World War, envisaged an autonomous Poland under Russian suzerainty
stretching from the Oder to the Bug. 1
Szopen, I guess you need to sit down and read a lot more about the history of your own country. Preferably the sort of impartial history written by scholars like Norman Davies rather than Polish chauvinist history.

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