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

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

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

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    6,239
    Likes Received:
    1,865
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    Such a peculiar thread.
    Stopped reading a while back as I couldn't work out why someone hates Poland enough to make and defend this weird historical assertion, Tamino, and you don't appear keen to explain that.
    Picking it up again. No change. Still apparently some personal hurt wrapped up in politeness and somewhat unique interpretations of events.
    Couldn't find much long-standing beef between Slovenia and Poland so presumably it's more personal than that?

    I'm now far less interested in a theory that can be dismantled convincingly in seconds, than why someone might stick to that theory regardless.
     
  2. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,587
    Likes Received:
    299
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    There is nothing personal here, just curiosity – as »desire to know more about the subject«.
    The word »history« has its roots in ancient Greek language and means »inquiry« and that’s exactly what I do. »Knowing« the truth is psychologically a pleasant state whilst re-considering »Gospel« may be rather painful task. Therefore this theme is apparently unpleasant one. What I am trying here through this debate is to resolve probably nearly impossible dilemma: have the Germans deserved such a harsh punishment or have the Poles deserved to be granted the German territories? Where justice turns into injustice and where good intentions towards particular person or a group start to hurt someone else?
    No bad feelings, please, I don’t have any hidden intentions; I Just want to understand our common past.
     
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    6,239
    Likes Received:
    1,865
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    Fair enough. No feelings at all here, mate. The question posed as you're known to be chilled even in pretty intense disagreements and I still just cannot see any angle that convincingly hands WW2 Poland a win, so began musing on other reasons.
    Perhaps due to my perception that that part of the world is hardly short of old and complicated rivalries!

    So, I'll saunter off with a parting 'Nah!'. ;)
     
  4. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    452
    If "everyone and his dog is land grabbing" do we have "good" land grabbers, and "bad" land grabbers ? some people seem pretty sure we do, but the only sure thing for me is the dogs belongs to the "dogs of war" breed.

    I share Tamino's desire to learn and understand, but when I get to look closely at this sort of events all I feel is pity for the people caught in the middle of things over which they have little or no control. There is little to understand, just humanity at its worst, there is no place for words like "justified" when talking about ethnic cleansing,. The most horrible thing about crimes against humanity is they cannot be redressed, the population balance is altered, and pacification will take generations and really great leaders to be achieved, and it not sure you will get either, far less both, the nationalistic "platform" is a lot easier to play than the mutual respect one..
     
    Tamino likes this.
  5. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,587
    Likes Received:
    299
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    Let me conclude my participation in this theme with a song of Italian musician Sergio Endrigo "Pola – La mia città, la mia gente" (Pola – My city, my people).
    Sergio Endrigo was born in Pola, Italy, now after annexation Pula, Croatia. He and many his countryman were expelled after the war, from Dalmatia, Istria and Adriatic islands. They all could have been my countrymen too, but nationalists have decided to eradicate everything what wasn't "Ours" and anything that wasn't "Us". That was an act of cowardice of ignorant people, from pure feeling of inferiority. I consider this as a grievous loss for the both sides, especially for us as we have lost great neighbors and great countrymen.

    Please, look at the photos of people who have been expelled from the city they owned and loved.

    [media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiE98Bie9dM[/media]
     
  6. green slime

    green slime Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    578
    Where is it implied that there are good or bad land grabbers? Which people seem sure?
     
  7. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,725
    Likes Received:
    811
    The thing that i take away is that- everyone reads from a different text book supplied by the school they went to.
     
  8. green slime

    green slime Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    578
    Until you realize that there is an agenda at work, to vilify the Western Allies in general, and Poles and Poland specifically, all under the guise of seeking "justice":

    https://justice4germans.com/

    Where we can find such eloquent posts stating:

    "After this trip, I began to research what happened with our people in the northeastern part of Germany during the Red Army invasion….OMG! It made me sick!!! And now I understand why all of the people that belonged to my father’s generation, as well as the older ones, have always avoided talking about the war. The atrocities that the Red Army and the Bolsheviks committed against our people and our land is so far beyond horrors that anyone of us could hardly imagine. There are so many stories about Russian atrocities available on the Internet now, but unfortunately, the mainstream media never covers this information properly…guess why!"
     
  9. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    452
    I was not refeffing to anyone in particular, but there seems to be a sort of "cultural blindspot" in a lot of these posts to even taking into consideration Soviets and Germans could be anything but aggressors no matter who invaded who and who kcked who out of their ancestral homes.
    The OP is basically flawed, a statement like "where the Poles the Greatest profiteees of world war 2" belongs the the same cathegory as "when did you stop beating your wife?" you cannot answer that, you have to challenge the implications hidden in the question itself first. I believe Tamino missed that fact that and it went downhill from there. Saying "someone profitted" is not offensive but saying they are "profiteers" is inflammatory. IMO there were no "profiteers" in WW2 anongst the combattants, one could make a case for the Swiss and Swedes but it would be thin, when you are dealing with a Hitler "you are better off trading with me rather than invading me" is a perfectly acceptable strategy.

    "Who benefitted most from WW2" would be a better starting point, I would say the Poles came off a little better than even in the territory department but given what they went through globaly the balance sheet is negative, and on top of that had to suffer some decades of heavy handed Soviet interference.

    Mpst of the combattants seem ro be losers to me, the Soviets did gain some territory, and a lot more influence on the international scene than they had before the war, but at a huge loss of population and devastation of territory.
    The colonial powers lost their empires though the process dragged onfor a couple of decades after the war and could bloodless or extremelly traumatic depending on circumstances that had little to do witf WW2, the French came close to "loosing their souls" over Algeria.
    The Germans and Japanese lost both teritory and suffered massive devastations from the bombings, Getting rid of Hitler and the Nazis is worth a lot but the price was too steep, The Italians had a king and the Japanese an emperor, both had a huge moral authoroiy, so may they have been able to get rid of the ultranationalists by themselves without having it imposed by an occupying power at the end of a lost war. How much damage to their unforunate neighbours they would have done before a failed military adventure brought the militaristic governments down is an open quetion, but a failed "colonial style" adventure would likely be a lot less destructive than a world wide war that degenerated to the "total war" concept where everything was a valid target..
     
    lwd likes this.
  10. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    452
    That quote is trash, and pretty unsofisticated trash at that, there are no facts, just innuendo. Problem is that if an unwary teenager does digs he will find real atrocities to confim that statement, only if keeps digging and finds what happened before, when the (hobnailed) boot was on the other foot, he will begin to understand that the people managing that internet site are not very nice people and are telling just a little part of the story.

    In Italy, until pretty recently, they did not teach history after 1920 in schools, while that avoided conflict, the communist party got over 30% of the votes at it's peak and there was a hardcore 5% of fascist/monarchist vote, it left a whole generation vulnerable to "repeating history for not having studied it".

    @Poppy I had the (mis)fortune of going through four different school system, French, Italian Catholic, British and Italian state, it still took me a while to put the dots together and start questioning authority and making my own conclusions. So you may be right.
     
  11. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,587
    Likes Received:
    299
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    I shouldn’t say that wording is the real problem – the problem is that I have suggested that the result of the Just War could have been an injustice. I could have re-formulated my question in a million ways and yet there would have been an avalanche of enraged reactions because my inquiry is a heresy in its very essence, a heresy that undermines very core of the Gospel of the Right War. That is the real reason why this conversation went downhill from its very beginning. In my view we should re-consider or even abandon an idealized view on the WW2. The war was a conflict with certain results, sometimes embarrassing.
     
  12. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,515
    Likes Received:
    1,176
    There are no bad questions if they are sincerely asked, but the premise was badly formulated.

    Poland in some respects came out better than some other participants of WWII, but hardly the best by any measure. Fought over twice, partitioned by two despotic nations, occupied first by Nazi Germany, then the Soviet Union, looted by the same and forced to endure some 50 years of Communist rule as the pawn of Moscow before gaining control over their fate hardly seems like a great profit.

    Many countries in Europe took advantage of the chaos rampant at the end of the war to eliminate one of the root causes of WWII, nations who had restless ethnic minorities within their borders. In a perfect world a gentler, kinder method would have been used, but humanity has never lived in a perfect world and those living them had be traumatized and brutalized by a war they did not start or want.
     
  13. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    452
    History is never black or white, but there are darker and lighter shades in between.

    Soviets history called WW2 "the great patriotic war", they were surtpise attacked with no provocation by a fascist coaltion of Germany, Finland, Hungary, Rumania and Italy (Bulgaria didn't send troops East which is why it had some sort of "special relationship" post war), sufferend horrendous losses but didn't break, and ultimately came up victorious. Obviously they were the goof guys fighting evil, and If you look at it that way they it makes perfect sense, pity it "conveniently forgets" things like the winter war, Bessarabia and the Ribbetrop Molotov pact with its secret clauses for the partitioning of Poland.

    Western "conventional wisdom" is more justified, IIRC the only neutral they invaded was Iran and that was a joint effort with the USSR, they also came close with Norway though Hitler was faster by a matter of hours, and Churchill's fantasies of bombing Baku don't count as they never materialized. But IMO they were no angels either and some western histories gloss over a lot of "unpleasant facts".

    I might be wrong but I believe Japanese "revisionism", that is a much larger phenonomenon that the German one, is partly fueled by that. People find that some details have been "white washed" in western histories and start to doubt if the whole story is wrong.

    Then there is the big issue of the holocaust, a regime that could come up with that should be destroyed, but as far as I know the race laws had little to do with the big decisions, the St. Luis liner episode is proof enough of that, and the "final solution" postdates the war's start..

    There are also cases like my country, (Italy) that switched sides in mid course, just immagine waking up one morning and finding you have to fight the people you fought alongside until yesterday following ambiguous orders from leaders that have run for safety behind the former enemy's lines. Not an easy choice. I am currently reading of the trial of general Basso for not preventing the Germans ( 90th panzergrenadier and Luftwaffe support personnel) from crossing over from Sardinia to Corsica, and eventually the manland from there, after the armistice, an attempt at justice? I don'r think so, he might possibly have achieved more but also started a bloodbath for no results at all given the operational situation.

    Last, but not least, when looking at the current "revisionism", the military clauses in the treaties prevent Germany and Japan, two of the current "west" main economic powers, from actively participating in stabilizing hot areas, and that is not a good thing for anybody but the local warlords. Economic (and demographic) forces will trump treaties in the long run, a lesson of Versailles the allies failed to learn, but changing the treaties is very hot political potato and ovesimplification like "it was the nazi not the Germans" are necessary to help the process move.
     
  14. green slime

    green slime Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    578
    I'd heartedly disagree with this statement.

    Your O.P, you stated:

    "In my humble view, Poles are the greatest profiteers of the World War 2." followed with a map from a Dr Wilheim Winkler, which applied a very generous interpretation of what is to be "German". How many people in Bern or Luxemburg would've really identified themselves as "Germans"? Already there, alarm bells should ring.


    Later you stated "The story about Innocent Poland attacked by Evil Germans is a myth. As the matter of fact, Poles wanted the war ..."

    Which is repackaged revisionism, blaming the victims for the crimes of the aggressor. Poland did not start the war, Germany did.

    I'm starting to get a little thin-skinned with regards to revisionism. Lately too many posts are embracing crack-pot conspiracy theories. It is all very well to be curious, question and inquire, but when the original premise is an insult couched in a question, with biased material presented, together with denying historical facts (treatment of minorities in the pre-WW1 Empires), well then... it doesn't reinforce the idea of just plain curiosity.

    Facts remain; Germany started the war, and had they won, there would not have been much mercy shown to any other minority in the East.

    There were an infinite number of other paths Germany could've taken to avoid war, but Hitler was not in the least bit interested in avoiding war. His decisions from 1938 to 1939 show he was determined to press his luck as far as he could.


    Lastly
    You could divide the issue into two; the annexation of lands, and the expelling of Germans.

    It was precisely because of the pre-war German "justification" that all "ethnic Germans" should belong to the one sole nation (whether they spoke German or not), that Germans post WW2 were expelled from all over Europe; even the Netherlands. No one wanted a fifth column of Germans in their nation. Given the German self-appointed title of "the Master Race", their prevalent attitudes , and behaviour of the time, it is hardly surprising that there would be a backlash once they lost.

    As to why Stalin decided to give so much territory to Poland, we can only speculate; perhaps it was to alleviate his conscience after the Khatyn massacre? You believe it was because of the Polish lobby. Other find that highly dubious, and consider that Stalin would not agree to something that wasn't in his favour; Stalin knew it was likely Poland would end up a puppet state of the USSR, but the control and fate of Germany was uncertain, as all four powers controlled their own zones. As such; extending the border of the puppet state westwards is a definite gain for Stalin.

    There is no "justice" to be found during or after a war. Germany did start it, and has to live with the consequences of losing it.

    There were far worse plans and ideas for a post WW2 Europe with regards to Germany, than losing some territory...
     
  15. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    452
    Stalin with a conscience ? no way. I obviously don't know what passed through his head but IMO it was to weaken Germany as much as possible. That it conveniently also compensated the territory taken over with Ribbentrop Molotov partition, so assuaging western public opinion a bit, was the icing on the cake.
     
  16. Triton

    Triton New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2015
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Germany
    Well, Eastern Prussia was not a part of the Ribbentrop-Molotov partition for sure, Königsberg was'nt part of the SU after autumn 1939. The Kaliningrad Oblast with all its famous little towns did cost the SU a lot of money with no profit whatsoever. Serves them right.
    You know cheese from Tilsit or horses from Trakehnen? The Curonian Spit? These were trademarks, famous all around the world and what did the soviets do? They build a huge fence around the enclave...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curonian_Spit
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilsit_cheese
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trakehner
    Economically, Communism showed that it can ruin every country in a few years.

    Poland and Germany were loosers. Maybe the former german territory had a more modern infrastructur, more and better houses or whatever, but it wasn't polish homeland. Even 50 years later, young poles didn't regard cities like Stettin or Danzig as truly polish cities. This has changed after the german reunification, now everyone knows that there is no german desire for a change of frontiers.

    The difference with other regions like Alsace/Lorraine or Southern Tirol was, that the population there wasn't exchanged. Such an idea could only be developped by a completely mad brain.
     
  17. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,587
    Likes Received:
    299
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    I must admit that the premise of this theme is flawed - I am to be blamed for that. I do sincerely apology if I have insulted anyone's feelings by expressing my ideas. That wasn't my intention.

    During the first half of the past century Germans did nothing to deserve mercy. They haven’t stopped slaughter until the defeat and occupation of their entire country. Letting them go with it would have been an insult to the justice. Shrinking of Germany has provided guarantee for lasting peace in Europe whilst historic territories have been returned to the original owners: Poles.

    Therefore, I’m switching back to my good old phrase: “Germans have been beaten dearly but not hard enough.”

    If I may use TiredOldSoldiers’s metaphor: asking for mercy for Germans after the world war is like asking a judge to pardon a bastard who has beaten his wife long after the police has arrived.
     
  18. Triton

    Triton New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2015
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Germany
    Please, this is a historical forum, most of the "new" Poland had an almost pure german population and history.
    You can argue that the loss of territory was, what Germany deserved. But declaring Stettin an ever polish city is ridiculous.
    The better and more natural given frontier would have been the Oder and the Kaliningrad Oblast to Poland.

    But Stalin never knew when it was enough. He was insatiable. He just could not accept limits or rules, the faith of millions of people was nothing that bothered him. And that the naive Roosevelt always flattered him didn't help either...
     
  19. green slime

    green slime Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    578
    My apologies Tamino, for my thin skin, and bringing bagage from other threads.

    There is never any justice for the individual in a war. By it's pure nature war is the act of a collective.

    Sadly we see the same collective sins repeated even in our time.

    Anyway, thanks for the debate, and making me think.
     
    Tamino likes this.
  20. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,587
    Likes Received:
    299
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    Thanks GS for understanding - now, let me answer to Triton, you're also welcome to this debate.


    It depends when your history starts. Initially, German settlements at the east have comprised areas until rivers Elbe, Saale and Danube. Since Otto I and Markgraf Gero der Große, Germans have been constantly expanding towards east. In the opening post I have shown a map which is the most favourable for the Germans. On the map below you may observe expansion of German area of settlement and the process which has led to distribution of Germans at the beginning of 20th century. From the point of view based purely on historic maps, Poles could have rightfully requested a frontier on the river Spree or even further westwards - on rivers Elbe and Salle.

    [​IMG]
     

Share This Page