The Inquiry on Polish and Czechoslovak borders 1919

May 2018
233
Poland
Last edited:

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
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Yeah, the Inquiry certainly had some interesting suggestions. Frankly, I certainly wouldn't have minded if Masuria (southern East Prussia) and most or all of Upper Silesia would have been given to Poland on ethnographic grounds. In regards to Danzig, though, Poland can't claim it on ethnographic grounds (even if one uses 1772 demographics). Thus, I am wondering if it would have been possible to turn Danzig into a free city like in real life, but also to hold a plebiscite there to determine its future sovereignty after twenty years or so. This would have given Poland enough time to build its own port at Gdynia and would have also removed one source of German grievance in the long(er)-run. While I know how import the Vistula is to Poland, I wonder if the Vistula could have been internationalized and if Poland could have gotten easy access to the port of Danzig even if it would have been a part of Germany.

As for the Sudetenland, I would have probably split it between Germany and (German) Austria. I mean, putting three million ethnic Germans into Czechoslovakia seems like a very heavy price to pay for ensuring Czechoslovak security.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
I want to make an additional point in regards to the Vistula--if it's perfectly acceptable for Mexico to control the mouth of the Colorado River in spite of the fact that the Southwestern U.S. depends on this river, couldn't Poland have likewise dealt with it if Germany would have controlled the mouth of the Vistula in Danzig as long as Germany-Poland relations would have been friendly?

I just want to figure this out.

(Note: This would not have extended to the Polish Corridor--to which Poland certainly has a strong claim based on ethnicity/demographics.)
 
May 2018
233
Poland
But doesn't it also matter that Gdansk was Polish until 1308 and later between 1454 (when its own citizens asked Poland to take them in) and 1793 (the 2nd Partition of Poland)? Also when Poland first lost the city in 1308, it was done by the sword and Teutonic Knights massacred the city's population (which is probably one of reasons why it later became a majority German-speaking city).

Pope Clement V wrote:

"Novissime vero ad nostrum pervenit auditum, quod dicti praeceptores et fratres hospitalis eiusdem dilecti filii nobilis viri Wladislai Cracovie et Sandomirie ducis terram hostiliter subintrantes in civitate Gdansco ultra decem milia hominum gladio peremerunt infantibus vagientibus in cunis mortis exitum inferentes, quibus etiam hostis fidei pepercisset. (...) Gravem dilecti nobilis viri Wladislai ducis Polonie querelam accepimus, continentem, quod magister et fratres domus s. Marie Theutonicorum non attendentes, quod quondam Conradus dux Polonie avus eiusdem ducis eosdem magistrum et fratres, quos veros credebat katholice fidei defensores, ad partes illas pro defensione ipsius fidei primitus advocavit et nonnula inmobilia et mobilia bona liberaliter concessit eisdem, alias eos dictus Conradus et successors sui benigne ac favorabiliter prosequendo; sed ipsi dicto duci se reddentes ingratos et ad bona ipsius rapacitatis manus extendentes, illicite ducem ipsum terra sua Pomoranie Wladislauiensis dyocesis, que de regno Polonie fore dinoscitur temeritate propria spoliantes, illam cum hominibus, vasallis, castris, villis, possessionibus et bonis existentibus in eadem contra iusticiam occuparunt et detinuerunt iam per octo annos et amplius sicut adhuc detinent violenter, fructus ac redditus et proventus provenientes ex illa percipientes indebite et iniuste, illam sibi reddere contradicu-nt in ipsius ducis grave dispendium et regni predicti diminucionem enormem et scandalum manifestum."

Translation to English:

"It has recently come to our attention that the said preceptors and brothers of the same hospital [Order], stealing into the land of our dear son, the nobleman Duke Vladislav of Cracow and Sandomir, in a hostile manner, killed more than 10,000 people in the city of Gdansco by the sword, inflicting death upon infants crying in their cradles, whom even the enemies of the faith would have spared. (...) We accepted the serious complaint of our dear son, the nobleman Duke Vladislav of Poland, the master and brothers of the Teutonic Order not being present, maintaining that the late Duke Conrad of Poland, grandfather of the same duke, first called the master and brothers, whom he believed true defenders of the Catholic faith, and he freely conceded to them some movable and immovable goods, and the said Conrad and his successors with benign favour followed these up with others. But, showing no gratitude to the said duke and extending the hands of rapacity towards his goods, they [the Teutonic Knights] boldly and illicitily robbed that duke of his own land of Pomerania, of the diocese of Włocławek, which it is known should belong to the kingdom of Poland, along with the men, vassals, castles, villages, possessions, and goods in it, now occupying and detaining it against justice for eight years and more still violently detaining its fruits and revenues and produce wtihout right and unjustly, they refuse to return it to him at great cost to the duke himself and immense damage to the aforesaid kingdom [Poland] and in manifest scandal."
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
But doesn't it also matter that Gdansk was Polish until 1308 and later between 1454 (when its own citizens asked Poland to take them in) and 1793 (the 2nd Partition of Poland)? Also when Poland first lost the city in 1308, it was done by the sword and Teutonic Knights massacred the city's population (which is probably one of reasons why it later became a majority German-speaking city).

Pope Clement V wrote:

"Novissime vero ad nostrum pervenit auditum, quod dicti praeceptores et fratres hospitalis eiusdem dilecti filii nobilis viri Wladislai Cracovie et Sandomirie ducis terram hostiliter subintrantes in civitate Gdansco ultra decem milia hominum gladio peremerunt infantibus vagientibus in cunis mortis exitum inferentes, quibus etiam hostis fidei pepercisset. (...) Gravem dilecti nobilis viri Wladislai ducis Polonie querelam accepimus, continentem, quod magister et fratres domus s. Marie Theutonicorum non attendentes, quod quondam Conradus dux Polonie avus eiusdem ducis eosdem magistrum et fratres, quos veros credebat katholice fidei defensores, ad partes illas pro defensione ipsius fidei primitus advocavit et nonnula inmobilia et mobilia bona liberaliter concessit eisdem, alias eos dictus Conradus et successors sui benigne ac favorabiliter prosequendo; sed ipsi dicto duci se reddentes ingratos et ad bona ipsius rapacitatis manus extendentes, illicite ducem ipsum terra sua Pomoranie Wladislauiensis dyocesis, que de regno Polonie fore dinoscitur temeritate propria spoliantes, illam cum hominibus, vasallis, castris, villis, possessionibus et bonis existentibus in eadem contra iusticiam occuparunt et detinuerunt iam per octo annos et amplius sicut adhuc detinent violenter, fructus ac redditus et proventus provenientes ex illa percipientes indebite et iniuste, illam sibi reddere contradicu-nt in ipsius ducis grave dispendium et regni predicti diminucionem enormem et scandalum manifestum."

Translation to English:

"It has recently come to our attention that the said preceptors and brothers of the same hospital [Order], stealing into the land of our dear son, the nobleman Duke Vladislav of Cracow and Sandomir, in a hostile manner, killed more than 10,000 people in the city of Gdansco by the sword, inflicting death upon infants crying in their cradles, whom even the enemies of the faith would have spared. (...) We accepted the serious complaint of our dear son, the nobleman Duke Vladislav of Poland, the master and brothers of the Teutonic Order not being present, maintaining that the late Duke Conrad of Poland, grandfather of the same duke, first called the master and brothers, whom he believed true defenders of the Catholic faith, and he freely conceded to them some movable and immovable goods, and the said Conrad and his successors with benign favour followed these up with others. But, showing no gratitude to the said duke and extending the hands of rapacity towards his goods, they [the Teutonic Knights] boldly and illicitily robbed that duke of his own land of Pomerania, of the diocese of Włocławek, which it is known should belong to the kingdom of Poland, along with the men, vassals, castles, villages, possessions, and goods in it, now occupying and detaining it against justice for eight years and more still violently detaining its fruits and revenues and produce wtihout right and unjustly, they refuse to return it to him at great cost to the duke himself and immense damage to the aforesaid kingdom [Poland] and in manifest scandal."
Very interesting! Thanks!

Also, it could make a difference that Gdansk was Polish up to 1772. Indeed, considering that France got Alsace-Lorraine without a plebiscite (and it couldn't justify its annexation of Alsace-Lorraine on ethnographic grounds given the ethnic German majority there), one can certainly argue that Poland should have been entitled to a restoration of its 1772 borders in both the east and the west (assuming that this is what Poland would have wanted, of course). Still, it would have reeked of double-standards for the victorious Allies to tell Hungary that it deserves to lose a lot of its territories even though they were a part of Hungary for centuries and yet France and Poland are allowed to restore their old borders even if the population there doesn't want to live under French or Polish rule. Of course, one could argue that this double-standard is justified considering that France and Poland were winners in World War I whereas Hungary was a loser. However, it would have still flown in the face of the principle that the post-World War I peace settlement should be fair and based on national self-determination.

As for the massacre in Danzig in 1308, if we are going to consider the actions of the Teutonic Knights to be illegitimate, why not also strip East Prussia from Germany and give it to either Poland or Lithuania? (Lithuania would be a more legitimate contender given its closeness to the historical Baltic Prussians, but the number of ethnic Germans in East Prussia could be too overwhelming for Lithuania to swallow--hence I proposed an alternative Poland option for this.) Indeed, stripping Germany of East Prussia would have also eliminated the problem of the Polish Corridor and, if Germany would have been pissed off by this, one could simply invoke the Sudetenland and say that keeping out 3 million Sudeten Germans from the Reich is no better than removing 2.5 million East Prussian Germans from the Reich.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
I've got an idea--why not revive the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth within its 1772 borders and turn it into a federation--specifically with its constituent units being Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, and Danzig?

Indeed, Lithuania could opt out of this federation if it wished to do so--in which case only Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Danzig would be left inside of this federation.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
Agreed that the 1876 map is much more realistic. That said, though, it would have been interesting to see how Lithuania would have handled it if non-Lithuanians (primarily Belarusians) became a majority of the total population in Lithuania as a result of excessive Lithuanian expansion.