Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 20 May 2018 23:36

Battles of Greater Poland Uprising 1918-1919:

In total I counted 221 battles and smaller combats. After disarming German garrisons and taking control of the interior of Provinz Posen, the fighting continued along the frontlines (northern, western and southern) and this is visible in this map:

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Documentary with English subtitles about the uprising:



Division of Provinz Posen after the uprising, white areas became parts of Poland, yellow remained in Germany:

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Borders before WW1, Provinz Posen highlighted in red:

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After WW1, Grenzmark Posen-Westpreussen in red:

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Parts of Lower Silesia incorporated to Greater Poland after WW1, in red:

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Song of Greater Poland Insurgents:

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: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 20 May 2018 23:38

Poles with German ancestry who fought as Polish insurgents in the uprising:

Interestingly ca. 1/10 of Polish insurgents who died in the Greater Poland Uprising had German surnames.

Here is a list of all insurgents who died (including some listed as "NN" because their names are unknown):

List of Polish casualties in the Greater Poland Uprising (2nd edition from 2009)

List of Polish casualties in the Greater Poland Uprising (1st edition from 2008)

Of the ones whose surnames are known, 1/10 have surnames of German (or Scottish in few cases) origin:

8. Albrecht Stanisław
36. Apelbaum Roman
40. Bajer Leon
83. Bauza Jerzy
97. Becker Stanisław
104. Bernau Kazimierz
112. Bierwagen Henryk
145. Böhm Władysław
169. Bötcher Ignacy
170. Brajer Jan
171. Brauer Michał
172. Braun Franciszek
179. Brungart Stanisław
254. Codrow (mother's surname: Szulc) Józef
294. Eichstaedt (later changed to Dąbrowski) Stefan
300. Deier Michał
305. Deutsch Kazimierz
306. Deutsch Kazimierz (2nd)
317. Doecker Jan
353. Düsterhöf Michał
368. Estrych Augustyn
373. Felgebel Leon
375. Fender Brunon
379. Fietzner Władysław
388. Finc Ignacy
390. Fiszer Edward
391. Fiszer Józef
392. Flieger Stefan
398. Franke Władysław
411. Frischke Marian
412. Froehlich
413. Fromm Wiktor
423. Galant Wincenty
441. Gehrka Władysław
449. Gimpertowicz Józef
455. Glasner Wacław
456. Glüger
510. Gross Konrad
519. Grützmacher Edmund
539. Gunderman Tadeusz
547. Haller Czesław
554. Hasse Konstanty
556. Heinsch Jan
557. Heintsch Augustyn
559. Heller Aleksander
562. Henke Wiktor
563. Henschke Józef
565. Herzog Leon
567. Hoffman Marian
568. Hoffman Michał
570. Hoppel Wincenty
581. Ikert Józef
582. Ilart Jan
588. Jachman Walenty
605. Janke Stanisław
611. Jansen Henryk
632. Jauer Józef
635. Jenchen Antoni
657. Juhnke Leon
691. Kalke W.
708. Karge Józef
720. Katella
721. Kaus Jan
722. Kaus Władysław
723. Kauzug Stanisław
748. Kierstein Roman Franciszek
754. Klatt Jan
756. Kleiber Stanisław
764. Klinger Jan
778. Knak Wojciech
779. Knappe Leon
780. Koch Henryk
781. Koch Stanisław
805. Konitzer Leon
830. Koschel Karol
875. Kracner Franciszek
879. Kranc Alojzy
880. Krauke Andrzej
881. Krause Edmund
882. Krause Michał
883. Krenc Leonard
884. Krentz Wojciech
935. Kuffel Ludwik
953. Kunert Józef
965. Kurzerl Józef
971. Kutschenreiter Otto
983. Kycler Walenty
985. Lasch (later changed to Lacek)
986. Lachera Piotr
987. Lachera Stanisław
988. Lacherny Walenty
990. Lang Wiktor
992. Lautenszlager Grzegorz
995. Leister Wawrzyn
997. Lekier Wincenty
1017. Liebest (Lübest)
1026. Lorenc Andrzej
1027. Lorenc Wacław
1081. Maeusel (Maensel) Seweryn
1082. Miaeusel Stanisław
1090. Majerowicz Mieczysław
1114. Mann Korneliusz
1128. Martinek Jan
1156. Meller Aleksander
1158. Mencel Jan
1159. Mencel Stanisław
1160. Mencel Wincenty
1165. Mettler Władysław
1197. Minczke Paweł
1209. Moellenbrock Józef
1212. Morison Franciszek
1221. Müller Ferdynand
1222. Müller Marian
1223. Münschke Paweł
1473. Otto Jan
1485. Paetzold Stanisław
1497. Pauter (Panter) Franciszek
1503. Paschke (Paszke) Edmund
1504. Paschke (Paszke) Józef
1536. Peterknehl Adolf
1568. Pikel Józef
1592. Pohl Stanisław
1615. Preis Aleksander
1637. Putz Stanisław
1666. Rau Jan
1667. Rausch Władysław
1671. Reich Piotr
1672. Reinsz Wincenty
1675. Richter Franciszek
1676. Rissmann Wiktor
1687. Romel Walenty
1726. Rysman (Rissmann) Wiktor
1727. Ryster Władysław
1738. Schmidt (Szmyt) Franciszek
1739. Seiler Maksymilian
1740. Seker (Secker) Wincenty
1746. Sewohl Anna
1748. Siebert Stanisław
1803. Snella Franciszek
1804. Snella Jan
1805. Snella Wincenty
1822. Sommer Franciszek
1827. Specht Józef
1828. Speier (Speyer) Jakub
1829. Springer Jan
1848. Steinberg Paweł
1850. Stelter Ernest
1861. Streck Gustaw
1868. Stürmer Andrzej
1901. Szeffler
1902. Szefner Franciszek
1904. Szemberg Marian
1913. Szmidereit Michał
1914. Szmytkowski Władysław
1920. Szrajter Władysław
1922. Szturmer Andrzej
1926. Szulc Stefan
1927. Szulczyński Jan
1928. Szulz Stanisław
1929. Szulz Władysław
1931. Szwajerek Marcin
1955. Szymlet Stanisław
1986. Tabat Tomasz
1993. Tamul (Tammel) Szczepan
2000. Tetzlaff Władysław
2001. Thiede Bruno
2002. Thomas Stanisław
2006. Tomas Henryk
2007. Tomas Jan
2034. Tycner Walenty
2049. Vogt Piotr
2055. Wachtel Mariusz Józef
2056. Wagnerowski Marcin
2077. Wandt Leon
2078. Wangenmann Józef
2096. Weber Antoni
2097. Weber Marian
2098. Wechterowicz Józef
2099. Wegnerowski Marcin
2100. Weiman Franciszek
2101. Weinkauf Franciszek
2102. Weis Jan
2103. Weis Kazimierz
2104. Weiss Franciszek
2105. Wejman Adam
2106. Wekert Edmund
2107. Welke Ignacy
2110. Wendland Franciszek
2125. Wick Ludwik
2150. Wilhelm Franciszek
2151. Wilhelm Stefan
2152. Wilke Benjamin
2174. Witmann Ludwik
2175. Wittmann Stefan
2176. Wiza Wacław
2177. Wize Jędrzej
2260. Zerbst Julian
2279. Zyber Wojciech
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: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 22 May 2018 01:35

There seems to be a concentration of battles along the line of the subsequent German-Polish border.

Were the Polish insurgents trying to capture only the Posen Province of the German Reich? Or were they trying to advance as far as the Oder, before being halted by German resistance and/or Allied intervention?

So far as I know, the insurgents were linked politically to the National Democrat movement, which claimed the Oder-Neisse Line as the western border of a resurrected Polish State, on the basis that that line had been the approximate western boundary of the Piast Polish state in the 10th Century.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 23 May 2018 14:13

michael mills wrote:There seems to be a concentration of battles along the line of the subsequent German-Polish border.

Were the Polish insurgents trying to capture only the Posen Province of the German Reich? Or were they trying to advance as far as the Oder, before being halted by German resistance and/or Allied intervention?

So far as I know, the insurgents were linked politically to the National Democrat movement, which claimed the Oder-Neisse Line as the western border of a resurrected Polish State, on the basis that that line had been the approximate western boundary of the Piast Polish state in the 10th Century.
Based on this documentary - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6-poUU6Rac - they generally tried to avoid stretching their frontlines too much or advancing into areas where most of inhabitants were Germans, so I don't think that they planned advancing further west.

They also decided not to attack Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) - but that decision was not really motivated by the fact that Bromberg was mostly German-speaking, but rather by the fact that it was a major railway hub and German forces from the Russian Front were being evacuated to the west via it. So capturing Bydgoszcz would cause real outrage in Germany and would cut off their supply lines and evacuation routes.

It was also harder to capture mostly German areas due to less friendly / more hostile attitude of civilians. In areas with mostly Polish population, German units often surrendered without offering much resistance, but they were more willing to defend German areas.

Due to high % of German inhabitants in some areas, Polish command avoided conscription - all of the insurgents were volunteers.

Here is a map based on official data from German 1910 census (which inflated the number of Germans and underestimated the number of Poles in some areas, but can be used as a reference anyway). Germans started to settle in Bydgoszcz and in areas along the Netze River immediately after 1772, during the so called Frederician Colonization. Bilinguals are also counted as Germans (orange) in this map:

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Political borders: http://files.foreignaffairs.com/legacy/ ... 0403-1.jpg

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Religions in the Polish-German borderland, before WW1:

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Religions in the Polish-German borderland, after WW1:

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

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 23 May 2018 14:31

Michael,

The original plan of Polish patriotic organizations in Prussia, was to start a synchronised uprising not just in Posen, but in all of Prussian areas with Polish population. So the Uprising was originally planned to begin simultaneously in Posen, West Prussia, Upper Silesia, and maybe East Prussia (although in Masuria only a small part of the Polish-speaking population had a pro-Polish attitude). The outbreak of that uprising in Posen was premature - people started it spontaneously and unexpectedly, during Paderewski's visit. Other regions were not yet ready at that time. Silesians later started their own uprisings, but in December 1918 it was too early for them to join the fighting. In West Prussia uprisings turned out to be unnecessary after the area was granted to Poland during the Paris Peace Conference - Poland received 2/3 of West Prussian territory.

As a side note, The Inquiry - a group of 150 American experts summoned by President Wilson - wanted to give Danzig to Poland as well, instead of turning it into a Free City - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Inquiry. The same idea was supported by Cambon's Commission:

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jules-Cambon

I think that the idea of incorporating Danzig to Poland was ultimately rejected due to the British opinion on the matter.

Railroads in Poland in 1918: http://www.pod-semaforkiem.aplus.pl/hi-mapa-1918-I.html

The Inquiry also wanted to give Poland the Poznań-Piła-Czersk-Kartuzy railroad (in reality Piła remained part of Germany) and the Działdowo-Iława-Malbork-Gdańsk railroad, which was the shortest and best railway connection between Warsaw and Danzig:

In reality Poland only got the Działdowo-Brodnica-Grudziądz-Laskowice-Gniew-Tczew-Gdańsk railway line:

http://www.pod-semaforkiem.aplus.pl/linie/1918-I.gif

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michael mills wrote:the National Democrat movement, which claimed the Oder-Neisse Line as the western border
Only fringe and marginal elements within that movement had such demands, if anything. Roman Dmowski, the leader of National Democracy, initially had the following territorial demands, but he later withrew from claiming so much territory. His initial grand demands was only a tactical move, he demanded more than he really wanted in order to be able to give up on something during the subsequent negotiations:

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

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 24 May 2018 06:01

In that documentary, there is a scene (I presume reconstructed) where a group of insurgent officers is standing in front of a map, and a man comes in and asks them whether they want to go to Gdansk, or even all the wat to Berlin.

Who was that man? Was it meant to be Pilsudski?

The map of railways is very interesting. It shows the much denser network in the former German territory compared with the former Russian territory. I have read that the difference in development between the former German areas and areas further east is still observable. I think I wrote once before about how, when I flew from Berlin to Warsaw in 2010, I was struck by the transition from the square Central-European fields in the west of Poland to the markedly different long, thin strip-fields closer to Warsaw.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by michael mills » 24 May 2018 08:16

In that same scene in the documentary, the commentator says that the insurgents could not rely on Pilsudski and the Polish Army. What was the background to that situation? Did it reflect a conflict between Pilsudski, who had been installed in Warsaw by the Germans as the successor to the Regency Council and recognised by them as the Head of State of an independent Poland, and the Polish National Committee headed by Paderewski and Dmowski, who were recognised by the Entente?

I note that the documentary does not make any reference to Pilsudski as Head of State and Commander of the Polish Army, but refers only to Paderewski as Head of Government. That surprises me, given that Pilsudski seems to be lionised today as the founder of modern Poland, and presented as such to visitors, whereas Dmowski seems to be largely forgotten (perhaps due to his conflict with Jews). Does that reflect political divisions in Poland today?

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by wm » 30 May 2018 21:20

michael mills wrote:In that same scene in the documentary, the commentator says that the insurgents could not rely on Pilsudski and the Polish Army.

Poland and Piłsudski were preoccupied in the east, didn't want to offend the Allies (who disliked violence and preferred to decide themselves) and even Germany (especially the still large and powerful German Army).
The uprising was meant to be a voice of the people, and an internal German conflict. After all it was supposed to be all about self determination, so the Allies were given a clean and clear case of self determination, without any external influence and help.
Actually the uprising helped Poland by providing badly needed weapons (especially numerous modern German planes) for the conflicts in the east.

michael mills wrote:I note that the documentary does not make any reference to Pilsudski as Head of State and Commander of the Polish Army, but refers only to Paderewski as Head of Government. That surprises me, given that Pilsudski seems to be lionised today as the founder of modern Poland, and presented as such to visitors, whereas Dmowski seems to be largely forgotten (perhaps due to his conflict with Jews). Does that reflect political divisions in Poland today?
Piłsudski preferred to lead from behind, he disliked government official jobs, and associated with them mundane bureaucracy - and tended to hold official positions as short as possible. Piłsudski wasn't influential because he was a head or this or that, but because he was Piłsudski.
And in this case he really played a minor role.

Both Piłsudski and Dmowski have been adopted by the conservatives, as great leaders and Polish patriots. The liberals, who knows, they seems to be mostly interested in "modern" problems (in a way that offends the majority of Poles), and disinterested in history - they use it mostly to support their narration and as a propaganda weapon against the conservatives.

michael mills wrote:Who was that man? Was it meant to be Pilsudski?
Probably Wojciech Korfanty, an experienced politician and the voice of reason contrasted with the inexperienced hotheads. He played a similar role during the Third Silesian Uprisings.
It's unlikely it's a reconstruction, surprisingly little is known about the events, and the available information is polluted with tales of wannabe "heroes".

michael mills wrote:The map of railways is very interesting. It shows the much denser network in the former German territory compared with the former Russian territory. I have read that the difference in development between the former German areas and areas further east is still observable.
It was/is called Poland A and B. Even the legal systems were entirely different for the first ten years of the Poland's existence, and partially later.
Additionally the Greater Poland was for some reason called Polish Belgium - an island of relative wealth and prosperity among the poverty, it seems Belgium was held in high regard at that time.
The Nationalists who controlled that region were especially proud of the fact that the success was achieved by the Poles themselves. Jews played a really minor role there.

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Re: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 03 Sep 2019 14:38

German losses in the uprising according to Kriebel (1936) were 1528 soldiers killed and missing without a trace:

http://zbc.uz.zgora.pl/Content/30516/PD ... nie_16.pdf - page 86

Translated to English: "(...) Friedrich Karl Kriebel spent few years compiling the list of fallen and missing soldiers, checking the course of all battles and skirmishes and interviewing relatives of veterans. The effect was a memorial book (Der deutschen Ostmark Ehrenbuch), published in December 1936, containing the surnames of 1211 Germans killed in action and 317 missing in action. (...)"

Polish losses published in 1938 listed 1714 dead and missing, including those who died of wounds and sickness.

I think real losses were a bit higher on both sides.
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: Wielkopolskie Uprising 1919

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 01 Sep 2021 19:52



I've updated my map of ca. 200 battles & skirmishes during the Uprising, by adding Provinz Posen borders:

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^^^ I used this KML file - https://pw.ipn.gov.pl/dokumenty/mapy/34.kml?v=
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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