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


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#101 lwd

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 12:21 PM

I was referring to the following statement by GS in post 69.

 

"Had the Poles not extended their borders eastwards, they almost certainly would have faced defeat at the hands of the Red Army bent on returning the lands of the old empire to the fold. A speculative comment, but Bolshevik behaviour of the period gives me little indication otherwise."

 

History is full of examples where the winner got away with calling "acts of agression"  as "justified preventive wars". I do not believe in legittimate "preventive wars", if you have the military strength to attack you also have enough for a good defence and probably to bring your opponent to the negotiang table too if you are truly  looking for a solution and not a land grab. Surprise is a big force multiplier but not as big as that assuming you are willing to face the cost of staying mobilized.

I do not believe the 1919  Red Army would be stopped without some combat but they had a lot of other problems to deal with so without the move to Kiev they may very well have ignored Poland. The Poles by discriminating the ethnic Germas gave Hitler a perfectly good "casus belli", that he chose not to use it and instead fake an attack is more proof of his ultimate insanity.

 

Ah that makes more sense.  My apology. 

 

In regards to "preventive wars" I think your assumptions are in error.  Initiative can make a huge difference especially if one lacks space to operate in.  Of course in the situation you are talking about there is a real question as to whether or not it was defensive space that was desired or just space.  I'm sure there were some "good guys" in Eastern Europe in the aftermath of WWI but I don't think many if any made it to the top leadership positions.  My impression is that you need a score card not for keeping track of the players but for keeping track of the sides there.
 



#102 lwd

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 12:57 PM

...

Western "conventional wisdom" is more justified, IIRC the only neutral they invaded was Iran ...

 

Well to be fair the British did take over Iceland, which I believe had declared itself neutral and the US had recognized the Vichy French as neutral and invaded their territory in North Africa.  Iraq was in violation of treaties and had asked for German assistance if the British invaded but also was arguably still "neutral".  I'd say Iran was the only clear black and white case with the others various shades of grey.



#103 wm.

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 08:11 PM

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!" *

 

 

Hi Tamino,
 
That is an old and obscure saying from the nineteenth century. From times the Poles hoped for a war that  would destroy the status quo in Central Europe and allow for a reconstitution of Poland.
Although the Polish priests didn't beg God for this in the nineteenth century (because they would end up in Siberia), and didn't beg God for this in the interwar period - because by then Poland didn't need any reconstitution and inciting violence against neighbours was a crime anyway. 
The pre-war Polish press, Polish politicians were remarkably calm and non-aggressive even in the last days of peace. By mere reading any Polish newspaper from those days is hardly possible to notice that a war is imminent. 
 
And Poland wasn't Ancient Egypt, Catholic priests didn't pray for wars - the Catholic Church was an international organization. 
 
And btw Mikołaj Kopernik was a citizen of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and a subject of Polish Kings. There is very little  information available about him available today. We don't know which side if any he would choose. 
 
The "Polish" Volksdeutsche weren't eradicated at the end of the war by the Poles. Although some of them were punished for real war crimes they committed most of them were integrated into Polish society or deported. 
 
And then, it's not true whatsoever than the Polish Government in Exile demanded The Oder-Neisse line. And it's not true they demanded German territories in exchange for the territories lost to the Soviets. 
 
They wanted to preserve Poland in the pre-war borders plus wanted some German territories as compensation for the war. The territories were populated by a substantial Polish minority or sometimes even majority, and earlier belonged to Poland. The demands were limited  and didn't imply any deportation of the Germans. 
 
The Oder–Neisse line, the deportations were forced upon the Polish Government by the victorious Allies at the prodding of Stalin. 
 
You've said the Germans disappeared from ethic map of the present day Poland but I can show you many villages with German names and populated with German majority in today's Poland. 
 
You wrote that numerous prominent pre-war anti-Semite Polish politicians wanted Judenfrei Poland - without any supporting evidence. This is because you will not find even a single example of such a Polish politician. 
 
But you are right Poland that benefited in the end, the German territories were more valuable than the lost ones. There are precise calculations made by the post-war Polish Government showing that. 
The problem is it was a solution imposed on Poland by the victorious Allies. As the Communist regime they forced upon the Poles. 
And the fact is from the economic point of view the communists and their socialist experiments were more devastating that the WW2 - and by a huge margin. 
Lots of time will be needed before this loss will be offset by profits from the so called "regained territories". 
And the other, human costs of the WW2, of the communist rule are simply immeasurable. 


#104 mac_bolan00

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 09:42 AM

i took the trouble to read through the whole thread and i'm pretty sure the answer to the thread question is a 'no', and that the basic premises are factually factually incorrect. i also notice frequent mention of the suffering of polish jews and anti-semitism in poland: two things somewhat irrelevant to the topic. the thread, however, opens a very interesting subject, which is how the allies divided a conquered germany. aside from being divided up, i understand germany lost nearly 20% of its land area to adjacent countries (poland, france, czechoslovakia, etc.)


Edited by mac_bolan00, 04 May 2016 - 09:42 AM.

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#105 wm.

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 10:25 AM

The one basic rule of war - the loser pays, usually with territory, had been in force from the times immemorial. It didn't matter if it was right or wrong - the loser was expected to pay regardless. 

As it is known  Nazi Germany was especially fond of this rule and used it extensively, confirming its legality. 
 
And not only Germany lost its territories.
At the end of the war Polish, Czechoslovak, Romanian, Finnish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Japanese territories were annexed by the Soviets. As they say loser pays.
 


#106 Tamino

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 07:24 PM

... i also notice frequent mention of the suffering of polish jews and anti-semitism in poland: two things somewhat irrelevant to the topic ...

This might be a crucial question if you go deeper into the substance.

 

Just remove »National« from »National-socialist« and you will end up with »Socialist«, a word that can be used best to describe Germany today. Socialist Germany is good Germany. Without national, racial, ethnic hatred and intolerance the inter-war Germany would have easily qualified for a normal country.

 

However, France and Britain choose to support certain countries despite wide spread racial, ethnic hatred and intolerance over the entire Central/East Europe. Why?


Edited by Tamino, 04 May 2016 - 07:25 PM.

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#107 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 05:47 AM

British policy was always to prevent anyone from becoming the dominant power in Europe, it was France up to 1870, Germany after 1900 and the USSR post WW2, though by then that role had somewhat been taken over by the USA that had a more confused agenda.  The French were at an economic and demographic disadvantage compared to a unified Germany, so they would back almost anyone able to help them against the Germans, and lacking such countries East, the Soviets were "untouchable parias",  went out their way to create ones at Versailles. The west excluding the USSR from the Versailles negotiations was a time bomb against European stability.

 

Paradoxically its quite possible the French and Poles would have been better off on the medium run with Blum's left wing government, that was likely to discourage something like the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, than with the anticommunists government that replaced it that could do nothing to prevent that very unnatural alliance between the "losers of WW1". In the long run the popular front's reforms were incompatible with the need to gear up for war, but war in 1940 or 1941 would be a very different story.


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#108 Tamino

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 12:58 PM

This can mean only that the real purpose of war was to either preserve or gain global dominance. Britain and France had interest to keep Germany out of their overseas possessions. Then, Poland was just an instrument to achieve their real goals. Now, I can understand Polish ambassador to Paris who at the end of March 1939 stated to Polish foreign minister in Warsaw :

"It is childishly naive and also unfair to suggest to a nation in a position like Poland, to compromise its relations with such a strong neighbour as Germany and to expose the world to the catastrophe of war, for no other reason than to pander to the wishes of Chamberlain's domestic policies. It would be even more naive to assume that the Polish government did not understand the true purpose of this manoeuver and its consequences."


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#109 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 04:02 AM

Hitler's ambitions were probably  boundless but the colonial powers overseas possessions were not high on his list, Poland was "in the way" of the upcoming confrontation between Germany and the USSR, what it might have done is play the balance game between Germany and the USSR, the Polish army was not irrelevant and could make a difference in a Soviet German war. Its ties to the west, that could not provide immediate military assistance, could then be used to prevent it's current "ally" from becoming too intrusive. Instead they managed to irritate both its more powerful neighbours to the point they allied against them, at that point they were doomed, there are not many instances in history of so called "buffer states" managing to have both of the big bullies they were supposed to keep apart ally instead to get rid of them.

 

BTW I have come across stories of killings of German civilians by Poles in 1939 before the war, but I never was able to find out hard evidence about them, so I don't know if they are just "stories". Does anyone have better info ? Absence of proof as proof of absence is acceptable here.


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#110 Tamino

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 06:35 PM

...

BTW I have come across stories of killings of German civilians by Poles in 1939 before the war, but I never was able to find out hard evidence about them, so I don't know if they are just "stories". Does anyone have better info ? Absence of proof as proof of absence is acceptable here.

I've seen and read few quite convincing documents regarding the interwar murders of Germans but by citing sources I would risk being accused of using revisionist sources. What really are good and bad sources? Some documents from the same source are considered as genuine - these supporting Katyn, for example. Who decides which sources are trustworthy and how? By convenience, perhaps?


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#111 lwd

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 07:04 PM

If the source where you find the material maybe questionable try and find where they got it.  Katyn is pretty well documented for instance in reputable sources.  If they don't have a source for their info then it's questionable.



#112 wm.

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 09:00 PM

1939, anti-German excesses in the  Province of Posen according to Polish Police:

Attached File  wielkopolska.jpg   12.04KB   0 downloads

 

from left to right:

1 - months,
2 - demonstrations,
3 - windows breaking,
4 - graffiti, 
5 - property damage,
6 - assault and battery,
7 - defacing signboards,
8 - insulting Hitler,
9 - provocations of the National Party.





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