Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Could Poland have fought for Germany in 1939 or was Russia a better option?

Discussion in 'Prelude to War & Poland 1939' started by scipio, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. scipio

    scipio Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    652
    Likes Received:
    122
    In 1939, Poland was under an autocratic, right wing government, anti-communist and anti-Russian, with a history of anti-Jewish abuses and unsympathetic to her minorities. In 1934 Hitler had signed a 10 non-agression pact and gone out of his way to woo the Poles - throwing them a tit-bit in Czechoslovakia for good measure.

    Is it conceivable that if Beck and Pilsudski had acted differently in March 1939 - had given back the those areas such as Danzig and Silesia which clearly were inhabited by ethnic Germans and co-operated in the struggle against Russian - that Poland could have become a junior member of the Axis in the War against the Bolsheviks.


    On the other hand if Poland had not weakened her ties with France in 1934 and co-operated fully in a Treaty with the USSR and France\Britain in 1939 could the coalition have present such and immpressive strenght that Hitler would not have attacked for fear of a two front War?


    So basically my question is could Poland have played her cards better and avoided her terrible fate of 6 years of German WW2 occupation and 40 years of Russian Communism domination.
     
    urqh likes this.
  2. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    955
    Many folk would rather pass by this stage of Polands history and its act of law before ww2 that disadvantaged Jewish folk in society. Its a flaming interesting point of history...It needs addressing still to this day...Nothing now can harm the gallant poles we all know of in the story of ww2. But this era should not be ignored...It cannot now harm them or hurt them and should be told.
     
  3. RD3

    RD3 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    31
    Simple answer: No. Giving back Danzig and Silesia would not have change a thing. Already in Mein Kampf Hitler mentioned his intention to seek lebensraum in the East and most of all he, and the Nazi ideology, considered the Polish as Untermenschen. They had to be destroyed, beginning with the intelligentia and the jews and ending with every Polish citizen by means of hard work and starvation. All political maneuvres, like the non-agression pact of 1934 were just a smoke screen. The nazis already had made up their mind about the faith of Poland.
    The Russians wouldn't have been a better partner, because they had revenge in their mind for the Polish-Soviet war of 1919-1921. So the USSR had no interest in a treaty in 1939.
     
  4. scipio

    scipio Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    652
    Likes Received:
    122
    First let me say that there is no greater admirer of the Free Polish Forces than me.

    With regard to joining forces with German, I was summarising a Book by a German Author - Joachim Fest in which he surprised me by saying that Hitler really left it up the Poles - they could oppose him or join him in the conquest of Russia.

    As they decided to oppose Hitler, signing the 1934 Pact was therefore the wrong thing for the Poles to do since it weakened the Pact with France and kicked an important leg out from the French strategy of containing Germany.

    In 1938 (and continuing into early 1939) the Russians seemed to be keen on strengthening a Treaty with France and hopefully with Britain. The Lukewarm (cold) reception from the Allies and a firm no from Poland, really left Stalin with little alternative in my view but to buy time with an agreement with Hitler.

    Only in the last week before the German attack did the Poles consent to "assistance" from the USSR and even then the statement hedged around with lots of caveats. Would they have been better in say early 1939, seeking a mutual Pact with the USSR and France and taking a positive stance against Hitler?
     
  5. tomflorida

    tomflorida Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    23
    Poland did not have any options. Nothing would have changed, no matter what Poland did. Hitler thought of Poles as less then people and wanted it's land for the Germans. Hitler didn't even respect German life let alone Polish. He might have been a "good" political speaker, but lets face it, he and his close friends were as evil as evil gets. And there was nothing Poland could do about it. Poles would never ally themselves with Fascists or Bolsheviks, so all it could do is fight to the last men. Only if the rest of Europe did the same early on.
     
  6. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Messages:
    6,321
    Likes Received:
    460
    Nope.

    Ps.
    The Poles disliked the Germans more. ;)
     
  7. RD3

    RD3 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    31
    I agree with tomflorida and Sloniksp. My reply is basicly the same. Germany did not act in a strategy of agreement but in a strategy of deception. Even the pact with Stalin was based on it.
     
  8. lost knight

    lost knight Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    12
    Rather late to this thread but if any is looking ....

    The Poles tried to warm up to Hitler. The right wing government, anti-Russian, grabbing a part of Slovakia (supporting Germany, sort of), all of it was pointless. The Nazi regime would never have accepted Poland in any but the form it took when he conquered it. Every occupied nation from France to Russia had units fight for the Germans (usually to oppose Communism, they say), but not so Poland. Odd that some Russians made it into the SS when Germany got desperate, but never any Poles. Was this because the Poles were 100% anti-Nazi?
    Poland's only hope was Russia and the Western Allies. All together they may have had enough influence to effect a change of course. The Western Allies as potential help and Russia as the power in the region. Help from a hostile Stalin...good luck. Besides the Russians did rather terrible the first years of their war with Hitler, it's hard to not see Poland crushed.
    So the answer is--- their only hope was a firm diplomatic resistance by all 3 eventual Allies to prevent an attack from ever happening. This would mean giving in to Stalin on key points. The Polish leaders could never bring themselves to do this. So the answer is --They could have done better, but couldn't stomach it. No hope at all for Poland.
     
  9. tomflorida

    tomflorida Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    23
    I think the fact that no Polish units served in the German army speaks volumes for the Polish people and its values. I'm not saying that Poles were the best people in the world. Many were anti semitic, many fascist, etc. But at least they did not fight for the country that just conquered your own country and killed your own people.
     
  10. lost knight

    lost knight Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    12
    But could they have? It seems very strange that he'd recruit so many various people, with good to terrible results, but as far as I know there are no Poles. Was this a Polish choice or a German policy?
     
  11. tomflorida

    tomflorida Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    23
    I think it was a Polish choices aided by many unique circumstances.
    1) Poland was mostly united and Hitler could not use one group of Poles against others. Like in the Batlic states, where Stalin was feared and hated and they were promised a free Ukraine, etc.
    2) Poles would have nothng to gain by helping Hitler. After 123 years of partions, no one believed that if Germany won the war there would be a "smaller"but free Poland. It was fight to death if you want your nation back mentality.
    3) Due to the close proximinity, Hitler did not need the "police itself from inside" policy.

    However, it was some what a German policy due to some of the reasons above. It would have been too much hassle to implement Polish units in the German army. Many countries that did, were either forced to or tricked into. Poles fighting for Germany would have been a ticking time bomb. Hitler was too smart to even entertain the idea.
     
  12. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,645
    Likes Received:
    305
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    What you've just said are reasonable ideas, but Poland was actually the target, Baltic States and Ukraine too. If you just analyze mortality at that region it becomes apparent that ethnic cleansing has started from the first day of the conflict. That option wasn't compatible with the original objective of the war: the Lebensraum free of any »irredeemably decadent elements« within its borders. To achieve that goal Poland had to be defeated and put under the direct control of the Reich.
     
  13. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    24,985
    Likes Received:
    2,386
    How could Poland have fought with any of both its agressors?

    Both Germany and Russia were eager to dissassemble the country and the did so in 1939.

    This picture below summeriezes it all. It was long occulted by the Soviet propagnada and is now visble at the Ukraine Lviv museum. It clearly shows fraternisation between both dictatorships .
    [​IMG]

    Le musée historique de la ville de Lvov, Lviv, Lvow
     
  14. tomflorida

    tomflorida Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    23
    Very true regarding the mortality. I mentioned the Baltic States since there were many elements in each of them who eagerly helped the SS in daily activities of murder. Some even had units fighting in the German Army.
     
  15. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2010
    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes Received:
    290
    With whom of both should they cooperate? Russia after the mass murder of Katyn?
    Or the Germans with their mass murder of polish jews and the polish intelligence?

    To me they had the choice between Plague and Leprosy! Not a fair deal.
     
  16. tomflorida

    tomflorida Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    23
    Reading this first post made me think. Thank God Pilsudski never gave in. I could not imagine, me being Polish, and having a history as a junior memeber to the Axis. All the murder, atrocities, and overall damage to man kind. Even if Poland was a member of the Axis, the result would have been even worse. The allies would have bombed it to the point of 100% destruction and the Russians would have probably departed just about everyone to Siberia and killed the rest. And Poland would have been part of the Soviet Union. This would have been devestating to the morel of Polish people. Its one thing to lose a war and pay, but its another thing to lose your country, history, culture and identity. Not much left to live for. And on top of that, Poland would have to carry the shame for being on the Axis side forever.
     
  17. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2010
    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes Received:
    290
    ...no the only ones who has a eternal shame are we! We were educated this way.....but i have missed the lesson with the "eternal"!

    But i agree with the rest of your post tom!
     
    TiredOldSoldier likes this.
  18. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    24,985
    Likes Received:
    2,386
    Agreed, modern generations should not be ashamed of the deeds of some of their ancestors,committed when their decendents weren't even born. Unless of course we go back in time.... but then almost every country of the world has something to be ashamed of.
    Modern Germany and Nazi Germany are two disctinct entities and modern Germans could teach us quite a few things about democracy.
     
    Gebirgsjaeger likes this.
  19. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,645
    Likes Received:
    305
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    b^.^d

    That's exactly why I advocate the view that 12 yrs. under Nazis should be considered separately from otherwise great German history.
     
    Sloniksp and Skipper like this.
  20. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Messages:
    6,321
    Likes Received:
    460
    I'm afraid Katyn is irrelevant as the truth behind the crime came out only a decade ago.
     

Share This Page