Curzon and Poland

General WWII era German military discussion that doesn't fit someplace more specific.
Pirx
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Curzon and Poland

Post by Pirx » Mon Mar 06, 2006 1:18 pm

[Split from "Peace Between Axis and Allies - Tom]
sid guttridge wrote: Hi Pirx,

.........true, but as usual you are failing to mention that most of the population and territory lost after WWII to the USSR was not Polish or populated by Poles. (You know this perfectly well from previous threads, so why do you keep hiding it?)

Sid.
My intention was different. CdV was talkin about injustice so.... never mind.

I agree that Poles were only 36% of population east from Bug river. But Russians was much much much less. (1 - 2%?) So why this lands should belong to Russians?
I guess You agree that independent Ukraine or Belorussia was not possible in 1919. Western ukraine from post Austro-Hungarian empire was much closer to Poland than to Russia. In Vilnius 90% were Poles, in Grodno 67 %. Shall Poles agreed with "Great" polititian like Curzon?
I agree with M.H. that Curzon should keep his mouth quiet.

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Post by sid guttridge » Tue Mar 07, 2006 3:06 am

Hi Pirx,

Strictly speaking, none of the lands Poland lost in 1939 were annexed to Russia. They were annexed to the Ukrainian and the Byelorussian SSRs of the USSR, both of which peoples were much more numerous in the area than Russians.

Incidentally, both the Ukraine and Byelorussia had their own seats at the United Nations from its foundation. I appreciate that Russia dominated both, but the fact remains that none of the territory Poland lost in 1939 was ever absorbed into Russia.

Curzon didn't impose his services on Poland, he was asked by the victorious powers of WWI to adjudicate the most reasonable border he could between the Poles and their eastern neighbours. This he did on the basis of population majority in so far as this was possible. He was reasonably successful. Not only did the carve up of Poland by Hitler and Stalin follow his line quite closely, but so does the border today.

The anomally was not the Curzon Line. The anomally was Poland's eastern border between the wars, which included very large areas where Poles were in a minority.

Nationalist Poles seeking their own version of lebensraum in the east may not like it, but take Curzon himself out of the equation and you still find that population criteria necessarily still produce borders similar to his recommendations.

The anomally was not the Curzon Line(s). The anomally was Poland's eastern border between the wars, which was established by conquest and included very large areas where Poles were a minority.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Pirx » Tue Mar 07, 2006 3:41 am

sid guttridge wrote:Hi Pirx,

Strictly speaking, none of the lands Poland lost in 1939 were annexed to Russia. They were annexed to the Ukrainian and the Byelorussian SSRs of the USSR, both of which peoples were much more numerous in the area than Russians.
:D Soviet Union was a Russian empire. I lived many years in "independent" Poland, but i have no doubt that i lived in Russian empire.
Incidentally, both the Ukraine and Byelorussia had their own seats at the United Nations from its foundation. I appreciate that Russia dominated both, but the fact remains that none of the territory Poland lost in 1939 was ever absorbed into Russia.
:shock: amazing dicovery! Sid you have surpirised me. Germans also did not absorbed all Poland. They created Generalgouvernement. Russians ruled everywhere! In Kiev, in Warsaw, in Prag!
Curzon didn't impose his services on Poland, he was asked by the victorious powers of WWI to adjudicate the most reasonable border he could between the Poles and their eastern neighbours. This he did on the basis of population majority in so far as this was possible. He was reasonably successful. Not only did the carve up of Poland by Hitler and Stalin follow his line quite closely, but so does the border today.
Curzon was talking only about Poland, why about Ireland he wasn't so wise guy?
The anomally was not the Curzon Line. The anomally was Poland's eastern border between the wars, which included very large areas where Poles were in a minority.

How many Poles lived east from Bug river?
Nationalist Poles seeking their own version of lebensraum in the east may not like it, but take Curzon himself out of the equation and you still find that population criteria necessarily still produce borders similar to his recommendations.
That's right. In Poland were politians who wants to conquer land on east.
For example party called National Democracy wanted conquer Lithuania, or get some colonies in Africa or Asia. Parties like that was on all over the world.
The anomally was not the Curzon Line(s). The anomally was Poland's eastern border between the wars, which was established by conquest and included very large areas where Poles were a minority
Cheers,

Sid.
anomally was UK in India. Curzon never mention that British colonies could be independent.He didn't care about Irish minority in UK.

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Post by sid guttridge » Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:49 am

Hi Pirx,

The rights or wrongs of the British record in India or Ireland, or Curzon's other activities do not in any way affect the rights or wrongs of Poland's claims for its eastern border.

The simple fact of the matter is that, to the east of the Curzon Line Poles were in an overall minority. (Although I wouldn't put it quite as low as the 36% you quoted earlier.) Nothing Curzon could say or do could change that. He was simply trying to report the facts on the ground, which he did with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

The Soviet Union was indeed a Russian empire. But the fact remains that it was not on the grounds of a significant Russian presence that the USSR laid claim to the lands it took off Poland in September 1939. It was on the grounds that a majority of the population in these areas consisted of non-Russian peoples who already had SSRs in the Soviet Union. Furthermore, none of these areas were contiguous with the Russian SSR. They were absorbed into the Ukrainian, Byelrussian and Lithuanian SSRs.

Yes, the Germans did absorb the Generalgouvernment into the Reich. They also absorbed Galicia and Bialystok. If you want the specific dates I can find them for you. Unlike the Soviet Union, Germany recognised no sort of Polish national existence whatsoever.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Pirx » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:58 am

Maybe Curzon has good intention, but he do not said what to do with 5 milion Poles who lived east from his line. Resettled them in western Poland? Poland after 1919 had large problem with asimilation of over 300 000 Poles from all over the world that returned to new country. Or maybe They should be left in USSR?
Curzon first talk then he fought. For me this lord always was stupid man.

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Post by sid guttridge » Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:16 am

Hi Pirx,

From a Polish point of view it is entirely understandable that any proposed border that left 5 million Poles in neighbouring states would be resented.

However, from an outsider like Curzon's point of view, it was even more significant that these 5 million Poles were a minority living with 8 million or so other nationalities. This explains why he recommended the borders he did.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Pirx » Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:22 am

sid guttridge wrote:
However, from an outsider like Curzon's point of view, it was even more significant that these 5 million Poles were a minority living with 8 million or so other nationalities. This explains why he recommended the borders he did.
Oh that would be no problem for bolsheviks. Polish minority quickly could find his place in new homeland. Beutiful places near Kokchetav, Magadan or Kolyma waits for new settlers.

You also have mention Ukrainian SSR, Byelorussian SSR.
When Curzon proposed border on "his" line, this republics not exist, so i was right that he wants to give this lands to Russia.

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Post by sid guttridge » Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:47 am

Hi Pirx,

I don't think I have ever mentioned the Ukrainian and Byelorussian SSRs in direct connection with Curzon. They were mentioned in the context of 1939 and 1945.

But however you care to look at it, there were still some 5 million Poles amongst 8 million non-Poles in the areas we are discussing, regardless of the existence or non-existence of SSRs at the time. To an outsider this does not look like an unargauable case for Polish possession.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Pirx » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:11 am

Yes.
Lord Curzon was specialist from far east. Eastern Europe was black hole for him. As a foreign minister he must say something and he did it. No matter that his simply solution was extremaly complicated for Poles.

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Post by Alex Coles » Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:25 am

Please lock this thread.

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Post by sid guttridge » Fri Mar 10, 2006 6:28 am

Hi Pirx,

Precisely. Curzon was without preconceptions. He was therefore less likely to show bias than those with an existing vested interest in the region.

But questioning Curzon's motivations or fitness are only a smokescreen you are using to try to obscure an essential fact: That in the area beyond the Curzon Line Poles were a minority. Who says so? The interwar Polish census! Curzon may well not have been exactly right, but he wasn't too far off.

Cheers,

Sid.

Torquez

Post by Torquez » Fri Mar 10, 2006 6:59 am

Nope Poles were the majority. There was no other ethnic group larger then them.
Also as Pirx said, at the time of discussion there was no Ukrainian SSR, but there were Ukrainians fighting together with Poles just as Belarussians, the aim of Pilsudski was to create a multiethnic confederation composed of all former members of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Thus you are seeing it wrongly-the former state Poland was trying to restore wasn't based on nationality but multiethnic-Tatars, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Belarussians made it just as Poles(even if Poles were dominant).
That in the area beyond the Curzon Line Poles were a minority
Poles were minority in German Reich also. Why should they be part of Poland then ?
Likewise Lithuanians were minority in Russian Empire-why should they be allowed to form their own state ?
Your way of thinking is absurd.

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Post by sid guttridge » Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:34 am

Hi Torquez,

No. The Poles were simply the largest of many minorities.

Really? The Poles were attempting to create a multi-ethnic state at the very time that the multi-ethnic states of which Poles had been an unwilling part before WWI were breaking up and nation states like Poland were reasserting themselves?

What of the opinions of the other ethnicities? You mention the recreation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Lithuanians didn't seem very keen on this. A technical state of war between Poland and Lithuania existed in the early-mid 1920s, the border couldn't be agreed for a decade afterwards and only then because in March 1938 Poland mobilised its air force on the border and prepred to mobilise its III Corps.

If what you say is true, Poland was, in effect, building an old style empire. Was this why, between the wars, the divisions raised in Eastern Poland were packed with ethnic Polish conscripts from Western Poland - as a potential occupation force? Was it also why the KOP border guard in the East was not allowed to accept non-Poles - to prevent fraternisation across the border?

You ask why the Lithuanians and other ethnic groups should be allowed to form their own states? Simple: Because they wanted to. This was also the principle that saw an independent Poland resurrected after WWI. If self determination was good enough for the Poles, why shouldn't it be good enough for Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, etc.?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Pirx » Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:21 am

sid guttridge wrote:
Really? The Poles were attempting to create a multi-ethnic state at the very time that the multi-ethnic states of which Poles had been an unwilling part before WWI were breaking up and nation states like Poland were reasserting themselves?
This time Torquez was right. Pilsudski and his supporters really wants to create chain of independent states east from Poland (including some lands that was in Polish teritory after 1921). But when bolsheviks won civil war in Russia and in front of strong polititian oposition in country this conception failed.
If what you say is true, Poland was, in effect, building an old style empire. Was this why, between the wars, the divisions raised in Eastern Poland were packed with ethnic Polish conscripts from Western Poland - as a potential occupation force?
That is your idea Sid? wrong idea.
Germans thought that Ukrainians, Byelorussians or Lithuanians would desert across front line to Germans. But those soldiers was brave defenders of Poland.
Was it also why the KOP border guard in the East was not allowed to accept non-Poles - to prevent fraternisation across the border?
That is your idea Sid? wrong idea. Today Grenzschutze between Germany and Poland is in 90% from people from west Germany. Poles who lived in Western Poland are working on eastern border.
You ask why the Lithuanians and other ethnic groups should be allowed to form their own states? Simple: Because they wanted to. This was also the principle that saw an independent Poland resurrected after WWI. If self determination was good enough for the Poles, why shouldn't it be good enough for Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, etc.?
I Agree. all those nations should be independent in 1919. Question: Was Possible independent Ukraine or Byelorussia in 1919-1922? I think: nope.
Poles also wants to be independent from 1772 to 1919 but believe me, will and determination was not enough. Poles in difference of Ukrainians and especially Byelarussians since 1870 has created background for independence: finances, industry, schools, lawmakers, oficers korps, diplomats, culture, sciene, state clerks etc. We need 50 years to rebuild skeleton of modern country. Poles just wait for war beetwen German and Russian empire.
Curzon proposed ethnic border for Poles, what he proposed for Ukrainians and Belorussians?

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Post by sid guttridge » Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:57 pm

Hi Pirx,

So, you are suggesting that Pilsudski himself did not consider much of Eastern Poland as intrinsically Polish? Surely this merely reinforces my point that this was precisely the case beause Poles were in a minority in most of it?

Nope. Right idea. As you well know, I have several times previously given the specific statistics division by division on Feldgrau. Between the wars Poles were deliberately sent to serve as conscripts in the East of Poland where Poles were a minority of the population. If you want the English source, or details of the original Polish source, just look in Zaloga and Madej's excellent book on the Polish Campaign, published by Hyppocrene Press.

We are not talking about the KOP border guards today. We are talking about between the wars. Between the wars the KOP on the Sovet border was entirely ethnically Polish. The bulk of the local population was not trusted to serve in the KOP because the majority of their compatriots were Soviet citizens.

I do not think any study has been done on the relative performance of ethnic minorities in the Polish Army in 1939. However, we do know that the Polish Army fell apart very rapidly and we do know that there was sniping and sabotage by Ukrainian nationalists in south-eastern Poland within the area the Polish High Command had designated for making a final stand.

What is more, even if minorities had served with distinction in Polish ranks, it need not tell us much about their real attitude to the Polish state. Remember, on another recent Feldgrau post it was pointed out that Poles played a significant role within the German Army during the Battle of Tannenberg in 1914. Did this reflect Polish loyalty to the German state?

I agree that there were pragmatic reasons why Poland's border was so far east of the Polish ethnic border between the wars, but this is an entirely different argument from proposing that this area was Polish by right and that Poles were entitled to integrate it into their state for ever afterwards.

Cheers,

Sid

P.S. Was Curzon ever even asked to delineate Byelorussian and Ukrauinian states? Tell me more....

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