Poland, the Baltic states, Ukraine, Belarus, & the Caucasian states hold plebiscites

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
Poland, the Baltic states, Ukraine, Belarus, & the Caucasian states hold plebiscites

What if Imperial Germany would have been in a more generous mood and decided--for the sake of public relations--to hold free and fair plebiscites in Poland, the Baltic states, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Caucasian states as a part of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in early 1918?

Specifically, the two choices in such a plebiscite would be independence or joining Bolshevik Russia.

Germany's logic here is that it could bully these newly independent states into making favorable deals with it later on while also looking better in the eyes of the West by allowing these plebiscites to occur.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Considering Weimar troops, not imperial, fought in several theatres against Poles until 1921, I would say "generous" is a generous term. Even though a warring Russia was weakened, Russia and Germany had vied for control of these areas for centuries. I don't see Germany trusting Russia. Furthermore, while a communist regime may not have been very enticing for most of the nations you mentioned, I don't see Germany taking the chance to find out. And why would joining Germany not be an option?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
Considering Weimar troops, not imperial, fought in several theatres against Poles until 1921, I would say "generous" is a generous term.
Germany isn't going to hold any plebiscites on its own territory unless and until the Entente force it to, though. Rather, Germany would only envision holding plebiscites in former Russian territories.

Even though a warring Russia was weakened, Russia and Germany had vied for control of these areas for centuries. I don't see Germany trusting Russia.
Well, you could try having Austro-Hungarian troops administer these plebiscites. If that doesn't work, though, keeping German troops in place in Eastern Europe to conduct these plebiscites seems like the best option--unless, of course, Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, et cetera can administer these plebiscites themselves.

Furthermore, while a communist regime may not have been very enticing for most of the nations you mentioned, I don't see Germany taking the chance to find out.
Yeah, it would certainly be a risk for Germany. However, it could make Germany look better in the eyes of the Entente/Allies.

And why would joining Germany not be an option?
Because Germany wouldn't want to have tens of millions of Poles and/or Ukrainians join Germany. If they both do this, there is probably a very real risk that they would outnumber the Germans in Germany, either now or at some future point in time.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Because Germany wouldn't want to have tens of millions of Poles and/or Ukrainians join Germany. If they both do this, there is probably a very real risk that they would outnumber the Germans in Germany, either now or at some future point in time.
Isn't that what Imperial Germany had from its inception, in as far as the Poles? Despite the conflict Germany never considered relinquishing this portion of their empire.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
Isn't that what Imperial Germany had from its inception, in as far as the Poles? Despite the conflict Germany never considered relinquishing this portion of their empire.
According to the data here, Poles were just 5.5% of the German Empire's total population in 1900:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Empire#1900_census_results

That's easily manageable. Here, we are going to have a Polish and Ukrainian percentage much, much greater than that if both Poland and Ukraine join Germany.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
The German Poles might have looked scary because they made up a majority of the total population in certain parts of eastern Germany:



If one looks at Germany as a whole, though, Poles were less than 6% of Germany's total population and thus had a percentage which was more than two times smaller than the U.S.'s Black percentage nowadays.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
The only territories that Germany could annex without creating too much demographic trouble for itself are probably the Baltic states. Belarus might be doable, but even that is doubtful considering that Belarus has a lot of Jews whom some/many German nationalists are probably going to object adding to Germany.