Germany Wins WWI; German-Puppet Poland Annexes Latvia & Estonia

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,022
SoCal
#1
Here is my scenario:

Germany quickly wins World War I in the West in 1914 due to the French unwillingly "playing along to their own demise" 1940-style. Afterwards, Germany goes all out in the East and, after seeing that defeating the Russians is easier than expected, decides to get greedy--thus successfully acquiring Brest-Litovsk-style territorial gains in the East after it defeats Russia.

After its victory in World War I, Germany annexes the Polish Border Strip and expels the 2-3 million ethnic Poles and Jews who live there. Also, Germany creates German puppet states in Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine in this scenario (as well as acquiring both Latvia and Estonia).

However, Germany realizes that, in the long-run, its dominant position in Eastern Europe could be extremely precarious if Poland eventually successfully breaks away from the German orbit (say, due to a Polish nationalist revolution) and allies with a resurgent Russia against Germany (in order to acquire the Polish Border Strip and very likely both Posen Province, the Polish Corridor, and Upper Silesia as well). Thus, to reduce this risk, Germany decides to have Poland (which is currently a German puppet state) annex all of the Polish-majority parts of the Russian Empire (including a Polish-majority strip which stretches all of the way up north to Vilnius and Dynaburg/Daugavpils) as well as to have Poland annex both Latvia and Estonia (which, from a historical perspective, isn't that far-fetched considering that most of these territories were previously a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth).

In this TL, the German mentality is this: If Poland eventually successfully breaks away from the German orbit, Poland is less likely to ally with Russia against Germany. After all, in such a scenario, the Poles might very well be grateful to Germany for previously allowing them to annex both Latvia and Estonia; plus, in such a scenario, the Poles and the Russians might have differing views on the future of both Latvia and Estonia--thus making a Polish-Russian alliance (against Germany, of course) less likely than it would have otherwise been. Plus, in such a scenario, at least some of the ethnic Poles and Jews who were expelled from the Polish Border Strip would be able to settle in Latvia and/or Estonia--thus resulting in less overpopulation problems in other parts of Poland. In addition to this, another plus for Poland in this TL is that Poland would get a corridor to the sea--specifically through Latvia and Estonia and going through Vilnius.

Anyway, how exactly would such a proposal have worked out in this TL? Also, what exactly would have been the consequences of such a proposal actually being implemented in the years and decades afterwards?

Any thoughts on this?
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,351
#2
If German engages in wholesale ethnic cleansing expelling millions of Poles, i would think that good relations even with a puppet Poland would be questionable.

And secondly who would do all the farm labour in the German east? Germans were moving west to the cities pre ww1 and increasing number of poles were doing the labour. Expelling the Poles would be depopulating an area. Why have it if it's non productive.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,022
SoCal
#3
If German engages in wholesale ethnic cleansing expelling millions of Poles, i would think that good relations even with a puppet Poland would be questionable.
Completely agreed; however, Germany apparently nevertheless planned to do this in the event of a Central Powers WWI victory:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Border_Strip

And secondly who would do all the farm labour in the German east?
Seasonal workers from elsewhere, presumably?

Germans were moving west to the cities pre ww1 and increasing number of poles were doing the labour. Expelling the Poles would be depopulating an area. Why have it if it's non productive.
The logic behind these planned expulsions appears to have been to create a block of German territory to block the Poles in Posen and the Polish Corridor from being connected to their brethren in Poland; basically, this would make secession from Germany harder on the part of the Poles in Posen and the Polish Corridor.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,022
SoCal
#4
Also, Germany's leadership during this time unfortunately wasn't always rational; for instance, it could have given the Poles in Posen autonomy instead of trying to Germanize Posen and yet chose to do the latter rather than the former! :(
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,351
#5
Oh i entirely agree that the German leadership was not that rational antis period, (by general standards ,humans are only see rational at best, and all nations have non rational leadership elements so it's noted it's hardly unique to Germany in tis period)

But the German Empire pre-ww1 had several groups which were significant political forces with had pretty disconnected from reality gaols/ambitions.

The Poor Political structure of the German Empire allowed a certain unreality indecision making the lack a cabinet system, then lack of collective responsibility and decision making generally, ministers and chancellors quite independent of parliament, the lack civilian control over the Military, too much hanging on the personality and strengths/weakness of individuals. As WW1 went these groups got stinger and their ambitions/demands more unrealistic.

So Whatever peace was manufactured after 1918, in Germany a large number of Groups would be extremely disgruntled unless Germany got really over ambitious. The Extreme Right and Left were present before Versailles na the divided german political system meant any step towards democratisation would be unstable as significant large groups on the left and right where opposed to parliamentary Governance and were to some extent hopeful of one day remaking Germany by force.

If the Result of WW1 is some Greater German Empire, it would be facing internal divisions by with Germany itself and the outer provinces, and be encumbered with a system of Government badly suited to running Germany let alone a greater Empire, where brutal Repression was already at the top of the Military response list to any civilian dissent.

European Nationalism was out of the box, and would be a growing force in eastern Europe regardless of the result of ww1. Any multi Ethnic european Empire would face a lot of internal dissent.

An Expanded german Empire would have a difficult life like AH, Russian and Turkish Empires going into the 1920s onwards regardless of the results of ww1.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,022
SoCal
#6
Oh i entirely agree that the German leadership was not that rational antis period, (by general standards ,humans are only see rational at best, and all nations have non rational leadership elements so it's noted it's hardly unique to Germany in tis period)

But the German Empire pre-ww1 had several groups which were significant political forces with had pretty disconnected from reality gaols/ambitions.

The Poor Political structure of the German Empire allowed a certain unreality indecision making the lack a cabinet system, then lack of collective responsibility and decision making generally, ministers and chancellors quite independent of parliament, the lack civilian control over the Military, too much hanging on the personality and strengths/weakness of individuals. As WW1 went these groups got stinger and their ambitions/demands more unrealistic.
I completely agree with all of this.

So Whatever peace was manufactured after 1918, in Germany a large number of Groups would be extremely disgruntled unless Germany got really over ambitious. The Extreme Right and Left were present before Versailles na the divided german political system meant any step towards democratisation would be unstable as significant large groups on the left and right where opposed to parliamentary Governance and were to some extent hopeful of one day remaking Germany by force.
If there would have been a different, more pro-democracy German Kaiser, though, couldn't he have used his influence to get most of the German right to support his program?

If the Result of WW1 is some Greater German Empire, it would be facing internal divisions by with Germany itself and the outer provinces, and be encumbered with a system of Government badly suited to running Germany let alone a greater Empire, where brutal Repression was already at the top of the Military response list to any civilian dissent.
That's why political reform in Germany is so crucial even in a scenario where the Central Powers win World War I.

European Nationalism was out of the box, and would be a growing force in eastern Europe regardless of the result of ww1. Any multi Ethnic european Empire would face a lot of internal dissent.
Would this include a Greater Poland?

An Expanded german Empire would have a difficult life like AH, Russian and Turkish Empires going into the 1920s onwards regardless of the results of ww1.
Yes, but I am talking about Germany creating a Greater Poland instead of annexing this territory to Germany proper. This Greater Poland would be forced to have close economic and military ties with Germany but would officially be independent.
 

Edgewaters

Ad Honorem
Jul 2007
9,098
Canada
#8
So essentially you mean resurrecting the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth?

I think this would be disastrous and destabilize the entire East, and lead to a brutal three-way war between Germany, Russia, and the new power.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,022
SoCal
#9
So essentially you mean resurrecting the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth?
Sort of but not quite. Basically, Poland is going to get Latvia and Estonia in this scenario but not Lithuania, Ukraine, and Belarus.

I think this would be disastrous and destabilize the entire East, and lead to a brutal three-way war between Germany, Russia, and the new power.
Russia is going to be too weak to wage war immediately in this scenario, though.

Or are you thinking of a war later on?
 

Edgewaters

Ad Honorem
Jul 2007
9,098
Canada
#10
Yes I am thinking long-term. Although if it's just Latvia and Estonia that's probably not too bad.

But if it stretched to the Ukraine, that is a new Great Power. Then you've got three major powers side by side with no buffer states and plenty of historical resentments.