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German partition

 
 
Equus
 
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2004 07:16 pm
After WWII, Germany was occupied and sectioned, but NOT restored to its pre-war borders. Why was the eastern part of the country, east of the Oder-Neisse line, annexed to Poland and the USSR, instead of becoming part of East Germany? Why did the Western powers agree to this? Has there been any outcry in Germany to have these lands restored?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,702 • Replies: 11
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2004 07:56 pm
A lady i know is from East Prussia. They visited within the last few years. It's Russian now as far as she is concerned, although she recognized the scenes of her youth.

Poland had been partitioned by the Prussians, Russians and Austrians, twice. It had disappeared form the European map. Poles who entered public service, such as the military, did so in one to those three empires. Jozef Pilsudski formed an army of Polish patriots in 1914, and announced the formation of a Polish Congress, and marched to Kielce, announcing a Congress Kingdom and national government, and his selection as military commander. This was simply his announcement, the independent parties had failed to form a Congress. The Austrians became alarmed and told Pilsudski to give it up, and merge his troops in the Austrian Army. Pilsudski was forced to accept, but the Polish who joined his First Brigade, and the various Legions formed thereafter, although obliged to take an oath to support the Austiran crown, showed loyalty to no one except Pilsudski, and took orders from no one else.

The Austrians did badly against the Russians, and were forced to retreat. Pilsudski moved his troops very skillfully to avoid being pushed into German territory by the retreat. He had genuine military ability, and the Austrians accepted the situation, promoting him to the rank of General officer.

After the war, Pilsudski again declared Polish independence. The Autrian crown was no more, even the whisper of an oath no longer bound the battle-hardened veterans who had never followed any banner but Pilsudski's. The Poles got something of their nation back at Versailles--but the important Baltic port city of Danzig (Gdansk) was declared a free city. Hitler would later use the resentment Germans felt about the loss of East Prussia, and invented incidents in the "Polish Corridor" between Germany and Danzig, as a causus belli. Pilsudski was dead by then, and the Polish state was about as effective as it had been in the chaos of the 18th century which had lead Frederick of Prussia, Catherine the Great and the Emperor Joseph to step in and carve it up in the first place.

I'm sure you know the general outline of the course of World War II with regard to Poland. As the Red Army approached Warsaw, the Polish underground rose in the city. They were about the most militarily-well organized and experienced of any resistance movement in Europe, with the possible exception of Josip Broz, "Marshall" Tito in Yugoslavia. The Red Army halted and waited while the Werhmacht destroyed the Polish fighters, and removed any possible future oppostion to them, before entering Warsaw.

After the war, the Soviets saw fit to demand at Potsdam both that Poland recover her former western-most territory at the expense of Germany, while claiming the right to reoccupy the territory the Russians had taken first under the Empress Catherine. The Polish settlement represented the largest chunk of Germany parcelled out to the victors, and Poland came out very much smaller than she had been in 1770, because the Russians took so much of the eastern portion of the nation, and all of the Polish Ukraine.

Whether or not there were ever an outcry over this in Germany, i could not say. Why did the western Allies "allow" this? Possession is nine-tenths of the law we are told, and Joe Stalin was a bully whenever he dealt with others, and had been a whiner and resentful to his allies throughout the war. Truman was a brand new President who had not even completed all of this briefings, taking over in an administration which was at best indifferent to him, and at worst, hostile. Churchill was an old and now almost toothless imperial lion, with the political jackals closing in. Stalin smelled green, and he smelled blood, and he grabbed all he could get away with. After the war, he promoted as many socialist uprisings in Europe as he could manage, gobbling up what would become the Warsaw pact. Tito stood up to him, and the Red Army was in no condition to take on Yugoslavia, and risk confrontation with the Americans, Brits and French, now militarily installed in their "zones" in Germany. The attempted communist take-over of Greece was thwarted by the Allies, using Brit troops. And the Cold War set in . . .

Them damned Eu-roh-peans just can't quit squabblin' . . .
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 05:47 am
Re: German partition
Equus wrote:
After WWII, Germany was occupied and sectioned, but NOT restored to its pre-war borders. Why was the eastern part of the country, east of the Oder-Neisse line, annexed to Poland and the USSR, instead of becoming part of East Germany?

Officially, as compensation from Germany to Poland, which was the first victim of the German aggression in World War II. Inofficially, as kind of a compensation of Poland by the Soviet Union, which kept the Polish territories it had annexed under the Hitler-Stalin pact.

Equus wrote:
Why did the Western powers agree to this?

Why not? They were allies of the Soviet Union at the Potsdam Conference, when the annexion of these territories was agreed on. And the beneficiaries -- Poland, and to a lesser degree the Soviet Union -- had suffered the largest share of the burden in World War II. It seemed only fair.

Equus wrote:
Has there been any outcry in Germany to have these lands restored?

There has been; but it gradually faded out after 1970, when both German states guaranteed the Oder-Neisse line as Germany's Eastern border. (The Oder-Neisse line was the border between East Germany and Poland. It ran along the Oder and Neisse rivers, hence the names.)
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 06:24 am
It was the Yalta Conference , where the UK, the USA and the Soviet Union moved back Poland's eastern boundary with the Soviet Union to the west, placing it approximately along the Curzon Line. Because this settlement involved a substantial loss of territory for Poland, the Allies also agreed to compensate the reestablished Polish state by moving its western frontier farther west at the expense of Germany.
Quote:
source: Britannica
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 06:38 am
Walter Hinteler wrote:
It was the Yalta Conference , where the UK, the USA and the Soviet Union moved back Poland's eastern boundary with the Soviet Union to the west, placing it approximately along the Curzon Line.

Thanks for the correction, Walter!
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 07:13 am
That's not a correction at all: ar Yalta, they only started there ... without result.
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Equus
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Aug, 2004 09:55 am
Is German still spoken in the former territory east of the Oder-Neisse?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Aug, 2004 10:01 am
Well, since most of the (original) Germans, who formerly lived there, are now either here (or in other countries like CANADA), no, not by more than those, who learnt it at school, I suppose.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Aug, 2004 08:02 pm
GERMAN PARTITION
there is still some german spoken in the russian/polish region that at one time was part of germany. there seems to be a good deal of german tourist traffic in the area. plenty of information available(even in german). here is an example of a hotel in the former insterburg/east prussia : HOTEL ZUM BAEREN
0 Replies
 
BlackWatch
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Aug, 2004 05:14 pm
1946 Map
I have a map from 1946 that shows the various partitions (it was printed for the G.I.'s).

At that time, Germany had its pre-war boundaries. From a practical standpoint, once the East half was behind the Iron Curtain, all bets were off. The Russians had no love of the Germans and they were happy to pass East Prussia back to the Polish.

//BW
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Aug, 2004 05:21 pm
Interesting BW and welcome.
0 Replies
 
J-B
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Aug, 2004 07:26 pm
territory

the biggest question of every country
0 Replies
 
 

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