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Were the Poles the Greatest Profiteers of the World War 2?


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#1 Tamino

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 07:23 PM

First I would like to welcome our new member Jan Baptista van Helmont who made a great post over there in a tread “Churchill Turning his Back on Poland”. He proposed opening a new tread to discuss the subject “Were the Poles the Greatest Profiteers of the World War 2?”. Good idea indeed. I would like to hear your opinions. 
 
It is true that Poland suffered horrendous losses during the World War two, more than six milion polish citizens have died during the course of the war - that is more than 20% of the entire population, 22% to be more precise. However, half of “Polish” victims were of other ethnicity - Jewish actually. The war has left Poland “Judenfrei” and, conveniently, that was the objective of numerous prominent pre-war anti-Semite Polish politicians, but it is worth to mention that anti-Semitism was deeply and widely spread among Poles. Even today there is a great deal of anti-Semitism in Poland when there are virtually no more “Polish” Jews left to hate and discriminate. Another Arch-Enemy of Poles, the Polish Folksdeutsche were eradicated after the war has ended. Consequently, costs of formation of the present day Poland were high and involve not just costs in Polish blood but also the costs in German and Jewish blood. Poles have remained, Jews and Germans have vanished from the ethnic map of the present day Poland. This is also one of sad results of the World War 2.
 
Below is an ethnic map of “Polish” territories at the beginning of the past century. It is obvious that Poland had nothing to lose east of the Curson line. At the west  vast territories have been handed over to Poland at Potsdam Conference. Needless to say, these territories are today completely Polonised whilst millions of Germans had to leave their Fatherland where they lived for centuries. 
 
Polonization went that far that prominent Germans originating from the annexed territories were silently Polonized. Blatant example of such policy is German astronomer Niklas Koppernigk, well known by his latinised name Nicolaus Copernicus, which was turned into a Pole -  Mikołaj Kopernik.
 
In my humble view, Poles are the greatest profiteers of the World War 2.
 
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Edited by Tamino, 19 April 2016 - 07:43 PM.

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#2 bronk7

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 10:24 PM

what do you mean 'profiteer'?



#3 Belasar

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 01:25 AM

I'll give you points for a arresting title, but you are mistaken.

 

By any reasonable measure it was the US who 'profited' the most by the war.

 

First it drew us out of the Depression fully in the way FDR's economic efforts could never entirely accomplish. Secondly American industry expanded exponentially, producing state of the art goods, filling the vacuum of lost world production. Third her loss of life in comparison to her population was fairly low, certainly compared to other victorious nations and by an order of magnitude compared to the defeated nations. Fourth, the US suffered no appreciable actual damage to her homeland and considerable ground was gained in bringing substandard ethnic conditions into a more equatable state (though much was left to be done). The US became the defacto leader of the west and in the eyes of many, the leading nation in the world. 


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#4 Tamino

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 02:19 AM

what do you mean 'profiteer'?

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary profiteer is: one who makes what is considered an unreasonable profit especially on the sale of essential goods during times of emergency.

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#5 bronk7

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 02:49 AM

  I thought Poland lost a lot---their sovereignty and 'identity', etc ..?..good call Belasar.....the US came out mucho good



#6 Skipper

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 06:53 AM

-The Poles gained territorities from the Germans but lost those stolen by the Soviets in 1939 and which were never recovered. -

They also underwent a harsch German occupation from 1939 to 1945

-plus a terrible Soviet repression  in the east from 1939 to 1941.

_Add to this what many Poles consider themselves as a second Soviet Occupation in 1945 and you'll get a 45 years long deprivation of Freedom with many martyrs, including under the Polish post war Communist regime.

-On top of it they were abandonned by the West, forgotten by general opinions until the Solidarnosc revolts in the 1980s ,

-the fact that many death camps were built on Polish ground

-and that about 15% of the Poles lost their lives during the war. 

-Finally many poles were Germanized and drafted in the German army

-and many of their cities and homes were destroyed.

 

 They  received territorial compensations , but that will never cover the rest , except the theft of the Brest Litov territories by Staline. 

 

Winkler's map is Propaganda not facts. It shows for example that pre war Alsace was 100% German speaking , same for Lorraine. the Flemish are a people, they speak Dutch with a Flemish accent. Flemish is not a language. Same for Süd Tirol which had a strong Italia minorityn  which is not mentionned, so I doubt all the little red sports in Poland are  all effectively German speaking areas. Some may be, but why then are the Polish minorities in Silezia (near Breslau )  or in Lithuenia  not shown? Polish minorities have always existed int he east. Despite heavy Soviet deportations and repressions after from 1939 to 1941 and after 1945  there are still some polish speakers in Belarus and Ukraine nowadays. 

 

https://en.wikipedia...anguage_map.PNG

 

 

 

800px-Languages_of_CE_Europe-3.PNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

563px-Curzon_line_en.svg.png

 

 

The curzon line wasn't even respected . As you will notice the Soviets took even more in 1947. 


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#7 lwd

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 11:00 AM

I also don't see that Poland had any real control or even much influence over the land transfers.  That alone would rule out the applicability of the term "profiteer".

 

If you look at the relative status of various countries in say 35 and 50 a fairly credible argument can be made for the USSR showing the greatest "profit".


Edited by lwd, 20 April 2016 - 11:01 AM.


#8 bronk7

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 11:53 AM

I know what profiteer means .....I just don't see Poland's 'profits'....$, land , etc....Japan was rebuilt with US $ , no?  they really got going, no?


Edited by bronk7, 20 April 2016 - 11:53 AM.


#9 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 06:40 PM

But if you look at 1914 and 1950 you get a different view. A lot of the Versailles creations came out of the old Russian empire.

 

The role of Poland in the events that led to WW2 is far from unambiguous, the case could be made that they played with fire and eventually got burned.

 

The Winkler's map is an interesing confusion of "dominant language" and nationality and looks totally inconsistent,  I see lots of small "German enclaves" some of which I really can't place, but no "non German" inside the German majority areas. Also not all German speakers are Germans there is practically no Switzerland apart from the Ladins  and most Swiss would very much resent being called German as would a lot of Austrians.


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#10 Skipper

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 06:58 PM

The so called Germans speaker zone  is eastern France even goes beyond the borders of Alsace Moselle . Luxemburg is mentioned as German speaking only....... same fo the Danish Slewig. It sure looks like and anti Versailles Treaty map. The most interesting is the west Prussia German speaker corridor into Poland which links East Prussia to the rest of Germany through the south and not only Danzig in the north. it goes from the Weischel delta to Scheidemühl via Thorn. As a coincidene it comprises the future WW2 annexed Wartheland areas. Same for the Memelgebiet which goes way beyond the actual German speaking area. 


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#11 lwd

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 07:46 PM

But if you look at 1914 and 1950 you get a different view. ...

 

If the subject is Polish profiteering in or due to WW2 why would you even think about doing that?



#12 Tamino

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 06:58 PM

I'll give you points for a arresting title, but you are mistaken.

 

By any reasonable measure it was the US who 'profited' the most by the war.

 

First it drew us out of the Depression fully in the way FDR's economic efforts could never entirely accomplish. Secondly American industry expanded exponentially, producing state of the art goods, filling the vacuum of lost world production. Third her loss of life in comparison to her population was fairly low, certainly compared to other victorious nations and by an order of magnitude compared to the defeated nations. Fourth, the US suffered no appreciable actual damage to her homeland and considerable ground was gained in bringing substandard ethnic conditions into a more equatable state (though much was left to be done). The US became the defacto leader of the west and in the eyes of many, the leading nation in the world. 

Belasar, you have advantage of using sound Texan cowboy reasoning but money isn't everything - there are other important things. What is the price of Fatherland or should I say what are the costs associated with loosing a Fatherland? Just imagine: one morning you wake up and some strange voices inform you that the state of Texas is annexed to Mexico and you have just two hours to pack-up your personal belongings and leave. Sounds impossible? That's what has happened to millions of Germans seventy years ago. They had to leave because Semi-greater Poland had to be built from the ashes of the collapsed Germany. In my humble view, Poland was involved in war games that led to outbreak of World War 2, with clear objectives: creation of Greater Poland. I am not that naive to believe that such large chunks of purely German territories have been handed over to Poland just as a gesture of courtesy. Was that a payment and for what?


Edited by Tamino, 21 April 2016 - 07:11 PM.

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#13 Carronade

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 07:47 PM

Frankly, it was the Germans who decided that there couldn't be both a German East Prussia and the Poland established after WWI.  Of course their solution was to get rid of Poland, but if they insist that one or the other had to go, they can't complain if it ends up being them.

 

East Prussia, or just Prussia as it was at the time, was a fief of the Polish kingdom.  It came to be ruled by a branch of the Hohenzollern family, who of course were also Electors of Brandenburg, and in 1618 a marriage of cousins created a personal union which came to be called Brandenburg-Prussia - and soon cast covetous eyes on the Polish land which separated their territories.  It's as if your neighbor on the left married your neighbor on the right and then decided they needed your property to remedy the "injustice" of theirs being separated.



#14 Tamino

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 05:01 AM

@Carronade

 

Your explanation could be acceptable if just East Prussia was ceded to Poland, but there were much more territories handed over to the Poles. German border was shifted westwards to the unthinkable Oder-Neisse line. There must have been much more behind the plan to make a swollen Poland.


Edited by Tamino, 22 April 2016 - 05:24 AM.

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#15 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 05:50 AM

IMO the reasoning was pretty simple, the Soviets were not giving the Ribbentrop Molotov concessions back, it was "politically unacceptable" to do reduce Poland when the western countries had officially declared war to protect it so some land had to be found to give the Poles and ... Germany had lost the war and any reduction of Germany would get approval by the Soviets and French "by default" and probably not much opposition by the British and USA. 

The composition of the populations of those areas was not that  important, even less the "historical composition" that would be very difficult to establish anyway, the borders of Poland shifted a river or two eastwards or westwards quite a number of times over history depending on who had come up on top in the latest round of warfare.

 

The main difference from a humanitarian perspective is that some countries resorted to "ethnic cleansing" in newly occupied territories  while others tried a much more difficult and risky policy of slow assimilation and pacification, and the 1945 Poles are in the ethnic cleanser field.


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#16 von Poop

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 10:18 AM

50 years of Soviet occupation was a 'profit'?
A thousand years of significant presence as a European/Slavic power reduced to mere satellite/buffer status was a profit?
Nope.

I understand a degree of what's going on here (regular conversations with a mate who specialises professionally in the politics and conflicts of that region), and that the current direction of Poland's leadership is causing concern in certain quarters. I also appreciate that Poland wasn't perfect or entirely innocent in the early C20th (who was...) but they were certainly not a profiteer from WW2, despite how some contemporary political positions wish to paint it. A net loser. Crushed, with a reasonably impressive re-emergence since the martial law period of the early 80s. A re-emergence that seems to have strongly stirred up the old jealousies and cultural battles of the region.
Whatever games were played pre-war, the entire nation essentially ceased to exist at the hands of both of the great dictators. If the wall hadn't fallen, they'd still be little more than a Soviet possession. So maybe they profited more from the end of Cold War 1 than many others by virtue of size and the lead the Solidarity incident gave them, but it's a stretch to link that as a gain to the wilderness position WW2 left them with.


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#17 Tamino

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 12:44 PM

Nevertheless, Soviets have gone, ceded territories are still Polish property. I have made an estimate: 120.000 km2. That area is 50% larger than Scotland - quite a large chunk of land, isn't it. I am neutral here but I am trying to understand why and how that could have happened?


Edited by Tamino, 22 April 2016 - 12:44 PM.

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#18 green slime

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 02:01 PM

Poland-Lithuania, ca 1400;

 

entity_2750.jpg

 

Poland-Lithunaia, ca 1700:

entity_2750.jpg

 

Disputed territories, post 1918:

Rzeczpospolita_1920_claims_names.png



#19 gtblackwell

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 02:30 PM

The Poles may have had a net grain in territory but the price they paid was truly horrendous. 



#20 toki2

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 05:16 PM

Since Poland first became a separate state in the 10thc, it's borders have gone in and out like a yo-yo. Over the centuries dominated by Russian, Prussian, Austrian and German powers. 6 million Poles died during WW2 and those that survived were traumatised by the actions of the Nazis. Who can blame them for ousting Germans from their lands? Did those German speaking people welcome Hitler's invasion or resist? 



#21 Carronade

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 05:44 PM

If we are willing to say that a country profitted from the war despite a huge cost, how about the Soviet Union?  Before the war they were one of several world powers, all the rest of which were basically anti-Bolshevik although they were not planning to fight over it.  The only other Communist country on earth was Mongolia.

 

After the war they were one of just two superpowers.  They controlled eastern Europe and had made advances in the Far East.  All their European rivals were drastically weakened, and the colonial empires were on the verge of breaking apart.  Most of the liberation movements or new governments were Marxist or socialist to some degree.  The USSR controlled more territory and had a significantly greater share of world power.



#22 Slipdigit

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 06:37 PM

Just imagine: one morning you wake up and some strange voices inform you that the state of Texas is annexed to Mexico and you have just two hours to pack-up your personal belongings and leave. Sounds impossible? 

I don't think that they just woke up one morning.  There was a six year long alarm clock going off beside their bed while their neighbor's house was burning.


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#23 Tamino

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Posted 23 April 2016 - 08:17 PM

I don't think that they just woke up one morning.  There was a six year long alarm clock going off beside their bed while their neighbor's house was burning.

I think TOS knows more about this subject:

 

...

The role of Poland in the events that led to WW2 is far from unambiguous, the case could be made that they played with fire and eventually got burned.

...

The story about Innocent Poland attacked by Evil Germans is a myth. As the matter of fact, Poles wanted the war - with help of Britain and France they wanted to gain more German territories, even more than Versailles has granted them. They wanted the war so badly that priests begged God in public, at the altar to give Poles a new Great War:

 

"O wielk wojn ludów prosimy Cie, Panie!"  or in English: "We pray to you for the great War of Peoples, oh Lord!" *

 

(*) Else Löser, Das Bild des Deutschen in der polnischen Literatur, pp. 44, Kaiserslautern: self-pub., 1983.


Edited by Tamino, 23 April 2016 - 08:46 PM.

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#24 Tamino

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Posted 23 April 2016 - 08:43 PM

I also don't see that Poland had any real control or even much influence over the land transfers.  That alone would rule out the applicability of the term "profiteer".

 

If you look at the relative status of various countries in say 35 and 50 a fairly credible argument can be made for the USSR showing the greatest "profit".

Here is a passage from Mathew Minutes from Yalta Conference:

 

PRESIDENT: I should like to bring up Poland. I come from a great distance and therefore have the advantage of a more distant point of view of the problem. There are six or seven million Poles in the United States.

 

This is just one, little, but indicative example. Poles were omnipresent and had significant impact on decisions made about the fate of Germany.


Edited by Tamino, 23 April 2016 - 08:45 PM.

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#25 green slime

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Posted 23 April 2016 - 09:57 PM

At that same conference;

 

STALIN:

But I must remind you that the Curzon line was invented not by Russians but by foreigners. The, Curzon line of Curzon was made by Curzon, Clemenceau and the Americans in 1918-1919. Russia was not invited and did not participate. This line was accepted against the will of the Russians on the basis of ethnological data. Lenin opposed it. He did not want to give Bialystok and Bialystok Provinces to Poland but the Curzon line gives them to Poland. We have retreated from Lenin's position. Some want us to be less Russian than Curzon and Clemenceau. What will the Russians say at Moscow and the Ukrainians? They will say that Stalin and Molotov are far less defenders of Russia than Curzon and Clemenceau. I cannot take such a position a return to Moscow. I prefer that the war continue a little longer and give Poland compensation in the west at the expense of Germany. I asked Mikolajczyk what frontier he wanted. Mikolajczyk delighted to bear of a western frontier to the river Neisse. I must say that I will maintain this line and ask this conference to support it. There are two Neisse rivers. The east and the west. I favour the west.

 

 

 

If Germany didn't want to lose territory, they shouldn't have embarked on a war of aggression. 

There were no Polish delegates at Yalta.






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