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

Discussion in 'Post War 1945-1955' started by Tamino, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    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.
     
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    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.
     
  3. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I think TOS knows more about this subject:

    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.
     
  4. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    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.
     
  5. green slime

    green slime Member

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    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.
     
  6. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    First, thanks for the quote from Yalta, which I planned to cite later. That explains East-side story of Polish expansionism.

    .. neither there were representatives of Ruthenians, Byelorussians, Slovaks, Czechs, Ukrainians, Jews, Germans and other ethnic groups that lived on territories claimed to be part of the Greater Poland.
     
  7. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Let's re-iterate what Stalin said:

    "This line was accepted against the will of the Russians on the basis of ethnological data. "

    The Germans, losing a war they had started, had no claims to anything.
    The Germans, had taken "well hand" of any Jewish ethnic issues.

    I'm not aware of any mention anywhere in the minutes, of a "Greater Poland".

    In fact frequently Churchill states, that the exact border is irrelevant compared to Polish independence.

    "However, I am more interested in the question of Poland's so sovereign independence and freedom than in particular frontier lines. "


    The Ukrainians and Belorussians were represented, as part of the USSR, by Stalin and his cronies. They hardly walked away lotless from the divvy, now then , did they?

    [​IMG]



    Belorus owes it's very idea, it's very existence, to the annexation of Polish-Lithuanian lands by Imperialist Russia during the Partition of Poland. The whole of Belorus today, resides in what was Polish-Lithuanian territory prior to it's annexation in the 18th century, and it had done so for hundreds of years. Belorus nationalism began in the wake of Russian oppression after the unsuccessful predominantly Polish uprisings of the 1830's. During the 1840's the Tsar implemented policies of de-Polonisation and Russification. 1863, another revolt was followed by banning the use of the Latin alphabet.
     
  8. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Poles had nothing to lose behind the Curzon line - that was a land populated by other peoples so why should they have been handed over into Polish hands, especially if we know bloody well how ruthlessly they treated minorities during the inter-war period. Eastern Polish border is just and can be well justified based on demographic data.

    Western border was rather problematic. If the Versailles border was injustice then the Potsdam Oder-Neise border was crippling to Germany as a nation, some say it is atrocious. If it was meant as a punishment to the German nation as a whole then it is a shameful "justice". The real perpetrators should have been punished instead, not the entire nation. On the other hand Allies have left Speer walk away to sell his booty legally on an auction.
     
  9. green slime

    green slime Member

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    "Other peoples", thanks to 1) partitioning of Poland, 2) the Tsar implemented policies of de-Polonisation and Russification...

    Nevertheless, these "Other peoples" were made part of "Belorus" and Ukraine. Many people in those territories there also were forcibly moved elsewhere.

    Germany had far more worrying things to concern itself with than the exact demarcation of it's borders; it was split into two entities for goodness sake! Germany hardly appears "crippled" today; it is the powerhouse of the entire EU.

    The real perpetrators were for the most part punished; hung, imprisoned, or dead. Albert Speer was imprisoned for 20 years. So it's not quite clear what else worse you expect to have happened to them.
     
  10. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Maybe that was then, centuries ago when Poland was yet another European backward Mid-Age Empire. But at the beginning of 20th century Poles were minority in lands behind the Curzon line. That is indisputable historic fact. If the territories Behind the Curzon line had remained under Polish region, Poles would have until today expelled all non-Polish population and have made these lands ruthlessly 100% Polish just like they did with territories that once belonged to the German state and were practically 100% populated densely with Germans. Fortunately for the minorities beyond the Curzon line, Polish expansion was stopped and today these peoples are where they were for centuries. In their own countries.


    You can renounce ownership of your country but you can not deny Germans the right of ownership over their own lands.

    Obviously, you use different yardsticks, one for Poles and another for the other peoples. I am slowly starting to understand your biased reasoning.
     
  11. green slime

    green slime Member

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    No, it is your reasoning that is biased; as you continue to ignore historic truths; that the Germans and Russians were every bit as ruthless if not moreso, than you are trying to portray the Poles: in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. That's 300 years. The Poles were merely students to their neighbours. Your "yardstick" isn't particularly consistent. You are the one insisting on blackwashing Poles, and trying to whitewash Germans and Russians.

    There is no "maybe" about those historic lands east of the Curzon line. The rest of your post is either speculative, or more concernedly incorrect; Russification was re-continued to the degree that Russian was the administrative language in the 50's, and Russian is the primary language spoken in 70% of homes in Belorus today. The 1959 census of Belorus had more than 538,000 Poles living in Belorus; nearly as many as people declaring themselves Russians in Belorus (659,000). So how did Russian end up as the administrative language; in most important Soviet posts in Belorus sat Russians. Post WW2, Poles were violently encouraged to leave if they could prove they were Polish. A stark choice: Poland, or Siberia.

    During 1939 to 1940, Nazi Germany expelled 680,000 Poles from Wielkopolska (what became in German Reichsgau Warthelan). They expelled 70,000 from the city of Poznan. By 1945, 500,000 "Volkduetsche" from Soviet, Bessarabia, Romania, and elsewhere had resettled there under the "Heim ins Reich" program. The Germans also kidnapped young children of "Aryan" appearance 400,00 across Europe; An estimated 200,000 of these were Polish. Of which only 5,000 were ever identified.

    During the Soviet occupation '39 to '41, the Soviets expelled an estimated 1.5 million Poles, and killed the Polish officers and intellectual elite at Katyn.
    A further 1.5 million Poles were expelled from the East after the war.

    Given all the crimes and excesses committed in the Eastern and Central Europe over the past two centuries, the forced dispossession and expelling of millions Germans from territories made Polish in 1945, barely registers at all. Was it "fair" or "just"? Of course not. This all occurred in the aftermath of a vicious war in the East betwixt two evil empires. There was never going to be justice for the little man measured in millimeters. Of course little people get trampled on, and Justice got gang-raped by the victor in the shape of a Soviet soldier: the loser has to pay. If the German nation wanted "fair and just", they should've behaved thereafter. Centuries old injustices had just received a whole new suite of new collective crimes, and you want justice for the little man? No one was innocent. "I didn't know!" just isn't credible.

    I suggest reading "Redrawing Nations: Ethnic cleansing in East-Central Europe 1944-1948."
     
  12. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Why such complicated explanation if the truth is so obviously simple, except you want to present here a distorted picture what actually has happened in Poland during the first half of 20th century?

    Now, let's employ simple analysis by numbers, to be exact:

    Population remained in the USSR due to change of the border (approximate Curzon line) at the east:

    Total......................... 7,800,000 (100,0%)
    Poles ........................ 1,000,000 ( 12,8%)
    Jews ......................... 100,000 ( 1,3%)
    Germans ...................... 0 ( 0,0%)
    Ukrainians and Belarussians .. 6,700,000 ( 85,9%)

    Numbers indicate that the border at Curzon line was set correctly because much lesser damage has been done: instead of turning majority of 6,700,000 (85,9%) into a minority, minority (12,8%) has remained what it always was - a minority.

    Or you think that the Poles were racially worthier and should have ben granted the right to dominate and rule the majority as they wish, as the master race?

    I know, you will get back with yet another platitudes, but numbers are numbers - they just support the truth.
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Were they really "omnipresent"? How many were at the major conferences and how high were they in the allied command structure. Not sure I've heard of any of them doing much in the Pacific for instance. Since the war in Europe started with the German and Soviet attacks on Poland followed by the British and French declarations of war in line with their declarations of support for Poland surely Poland was a factor. How significant the impact of Poles were in regards to the mid, late, and post war decisions with regards to "the fate of Germany" is an open question but I've seen nothing to date that would prove they were what I would call "significant".
     
  14. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    The post WW2 ethnic cleansings qualifyfy as a crime against humanity in my book, but then so do a lot of other things starting with the Versailles treaty that should, in theory, have respected. nationalities but in practice created puppets and buffer states and left large numbers of Germans beyond Germany's borders. The buffers and puppets had no chance of survival without strong allies that would very likely turn into masters unless something like the post WW2 EU created economic ties that made war highly unlikely, but nationalism was still too strong in 1918 to have that.
    I'm starting with Versailles because going further back to pre second industrial revolution times brings in different parameters, changing the language in schools has a different meaning when over 90% of the population is illiterate.
     
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  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The treaty of Versailles had a number of significant flaws but what exactly qualifies as a "crime against humanity"? I don't think I've seen any of the clauses that would qualify as such in the parts I've read. It might and likely did lead to such crimes but in and of itself I don't think so. I'm also leery of arbitrary cut offs. Especially when they predate the formal relevant laws under discussion by a considerable number of years.
     
  16. green slime

    green slime Member

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    You enjoy cutting history off at that time, because it suits your diatribe, instead of admitting that the whole region has been trampled over by primarily the German and Russian empires, for 300 years, doing exactly what you accuse the Poles of doing. Stark programmes of national de-identification by the repression of minority culture and language. That is the "truth" of your numbers. Even in post WW2 USSR.

    You sit and pretend to talk about Justice for those Germans forced from their holdings in 1945. Well, quite frankly, given that the burden of collective guilt of all Germans was so huge they were lucky it ended the way it did.

    It may seem astonishing to us that, after the Second World War and the revelations of the grisly work of the extermination camps, Germans could feel that they were the victims of Jews, and lack of understanding of what the Jewish survivors had endured is remarkable. However, desperate and fearful Germans who were losing their homes and living in terror did not concern themselves with the plight of others. Their focus, understandably perhaps, was on their own troubles, and the victims of the Nazi regime - Russians, Poles, Jews - now appeared as tormentors in a cruel and unjust world.

    - Germany 1945: From War to Peace by Richard Bessel

    "When we reached the industrial city of Halle late in the afternoon, we found its undestroyed houses occupied by combat troops. We looked for a place to spend the night, but nothing was available. A Russian girl walked up to me and in mangled German asked where the Kommandantur was. She had just come to the city after escaping from the farm where she was enslaved, and was looking desperately for somebody to help her. She possessed nothing except what she had on her back, and her eyes were wet from weeping. 'I want to go home' she sobbed, 'please help me get home, I am only seventeen.' "

    - Saul Padover, April 1945.


    Think it was anywhere near achievable, justice on an individual level for the properties stolen, people enslaved, and lives taken? Everyday the whole war, the Nazi state of the Germans committed collective crimes of the worst kind.

    http://www.ceupress.com/books/html/Duty-to-Respond.htm


    Accusing Poles of "profiteering" from German megalomania is sickening.
     
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  17. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Don't know if I fully agree here, German policies in WW2 were inhumane, little doubt about that, but two wrongs does not make a right. And I make a distinction between the Nazi state and the German population though it not a clear cut one. Personally I consider citizens on democracies that tolerate aggression by their governments a lot more guilty than people for which opposing the government could likely lead to imprisonment for both themselves and their families.

    Versailles was a "crime" because it proclaimed to respect self determination but actually applied it in a very selective way, and thus created the base for the oppression of the German minorities. That oppression was a fact, not Hitler's invention. It was also badly flawed as a blueprint for stability as it created some pretty strange political entities such as Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia in an attempt to make them strong enough to last. And of course not inviting the Soviets was morally unacceptable.

    I also cannot see how we could have a region trampled over by the German and Russian empires for 300 years when the German empire lasted less than 50 and Russia only emerged as a major power at the beginning of the XVIII century with Peter the Great. the Holy Roman Empire was not Germany and the Swedes played a large role in the area for a while.

    The problem for the Versailles Poles was they were stuck between two much stonger entities, but they contribute to their doom by their aggressive behaviour that left them with no friends close by.
     
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  18. green slime

    green slime Member

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    The concept of Germany as an extension of Prussia, and inheritor of the Prussian legacy of militancy and expansion is not new? It was the Prussian invasion of France that allowed the formation of Germany? It was merely a shorthand comment after certain posters complained of complexity.

    Incredibly XVIII, XIX, and XX centuries, make 300 years.

    The Polish first partition took place in 1772, but Poland's problems with it's greedy neighbours predated that; The treaty of the Three Black Eagles (1732) spelled Poland's doom, triggering the war of Polish Succession, and ultimately, the partitioning of Poland. Sorry, I should've been more exact; 1989 -1732 = 257 years.


    The Swedes didn't "play a large role" for the few years they were running around there, because they surprisingly, didn't interfere with the local language or culture (apart from enforcing the right of protestants to practice their religion). Indeed, Charles the XII would not have been there at all, had not Denmark, Russia, & Poland declared war (The Great Northern War 1701-1721) on an unaligned Sweden with a young king; This triple alliance was led by... Russia and Peter the Great.
     
  19. green slime

    green slime Member

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    I'm not disagreeing with this part of your post at all (re:Versaille); I was merely trying to point out there was historical, understandable reasons for Polish behaviour, rather than just blatant blackwashing, finger pointing, and making extraordinary claims of "profiteering". (None of which you claimed)

    Poland tried and failed to create alliances with her non-German neighbours as a bulwark against Bolshevik / Russian future strength, failing in those early chaotic years post 1918, as the other states were naturally concerned about what the true intentions of Poland were.

    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.

    Now, had the Red Army defeated the Poles in Warsaw post WW1, where would that leave the Germans? I can't imagine much complaining about the Sudetenland or seeking a Danzig corridor...
     
  20. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I always thought those who profited the most were the US, Germany and Japan...all major economies today with high standards of living...
    I could argue that Britain and Australia profited the most because if we were invaded we would have had nothing...so anything is above and beyond what would/could have been.
    No one has mentioned the Swiss?
    Profit is not just monetary...
     

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