What do you think was the ideal course of action for Poland's leadership in 1939?

Futurist

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May 2014
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Oh, I certainly wouldn't have put it past Hitler to deport Poles and other "unreliable" and "un-Germanizable" Slavs en masse to Siberia, Central Asia, or somewhere else. :(
 

tomar

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Jan 2011
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Nazi occupation was worse than Soviet occupation, but the margin wasn't as big as you'd think. Remember, Stalin had a special grudge against Poland because of his role in the Soviet defeat of 1920-21.
well, historically the margin was circa 6 million dead
 
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Aug 2013
191
Finland
I am under the impression that in the 30's Poland's relations to Germany were actually better than their relations to the USSR and that the USSR considered Poland an enemy in the interwar years? With this in mind, it's difficult to imagine an alliance with the USSR, the best they could hope for was that the USSR stay out of the German-Polish war.

Poland also declined to call upon their ally Romania when the war started, was this a mistake or not? Could Romania entering the war against Germany have dissuaded the USSR from invading Poland and risk facing active war against Romania too? For sure a neutral but friendly Romania allowed the retreat of a lot of Polish troops that ended up fighting on the allied side later, but there was another option too.

Somewhat OT:
There were several attempts at alliances in Eastern Europe in the interwar years, but in the end they all failed to protect their members and prevent any wars. In 1939 it's too late to change that, but for sure a lot of things could have been done differently in the 20's and 30's. What if Poland and Czechoslovakia would have been allied and on friendly terms in 1938 and knowing that for example Poland and Romania had it's back, Czechoslovakia would have declined Germany's demands regardless of what the western powers would have said?
 

Futurist

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May 2014
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I am under the impression that in the 30's Poland's relations to Germany were actually better than their relations to the USSR and that the USSR considered Poland an enemy in the interwar years? With this in mind, it's difficult to imagine an alliance with the USSR, the best they could hope for was that the USSR stay out of the German-Polish war.
Polish-German relations actually were relatively warm in 1934-1938 before severely deteriorating in 1939. The USSR actually did sign a Non-Aggression Pact with Poland in 1932 only to subsequently violate it seven years later in 1939.

Poland also declined to call upon their ally Romania when the war started, was this a mistake or not? Could Romania entering the war against Germany have dissuaded the USSR from invading Poland and risk facing active war against Romania too? For sure a neutral but friendly Romania allowed the retreat of a lot of Polish troops that ended up fighting on the allied side later, but there was another option too.
Germany would have very likely crushed both Poland and Romania in this scenario both with and without the USSR's help.

Somewhat OT:
There were several attempts at alliances in Eastern Europe in the interwar years, but in the end they all failed to protect their members and prevent any wars. In 1939 it's too late to change that, but for sure a lot of things could have been done differently in the 20's and 30's. What if Poland and Czechoslovakia would have been allied and on friendly terms in 1938 and knowing that for example Poland and Romania had it's back, Czechoslovakia would have declined Germany's demands regardless of what the western powers would have said?
A Polish-Czechoslovak-Romanian alliance would have certainly been a more formidable counter to Nazi Germany. The population ratios would have certainly been much more comparable. I do wonder just how they would have compared in regards to industrialization, though. To my knowledge, Germany and Czechia were both very industrialized but the rest of Czechoslovakia as well as Poland and Romania weren't.
 
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Aug 2013
191
Finland
Germany would have very likely crushed both Poland and Romania in this scenario both with and without the USSR's help.
Eventually yes, but if we add up some assumptions:

1) Poland, due to better intelligence or precautionary extra military exercises or whatever other reason have more or less it's entire army mobilized and in good defensive positions when Germany attacks.
2) Romania enters the war and mobilizes, sends some divisions to Poland and also positions some divisions on the Soviet border as a precautionary measure (Germany and USSR are known to be on decent terms) and makes it clear that they will engage the USSR too should they choose to involve themselves.
3) The USSR decide to for now not invade Poland as they have not really prepared for an actual fighting war, especially not one involving Romania.

As a result Germany makes gains and pushes the Polish army back but they fail to make any significant encirclements. As a result of that, the Polish army retains good cohesion despite losses. At least some German divisions are actually trapped by the planned Polish pincer-counter-attack and have to break out with heavy losses.

The western allies conclude that Poland isn't a push-over and the war could take a couple of months, potentially more if the Polish army retreats into Romania and the fight continues there. It becomes more and more clear to France exactly how few German troops are stationed at their border as reports from Poland come in.

In this situation, does France finally attack? If they don't, Germany will eventually crush Poland and Romania and the USSR probably gets involved anyway when it becomes clear to Romania that they can either pull out or be invaded themselves. If they do however, Poland might very well survive.

Overall I think that in 1939 there is nothing Poland can do that doesn't rely on France that saves them, unless they can avoid the war altogether.
 
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Futurist

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Just how well could supplies move between Poland and Romania in 1939? As in, were the road and railway networks in the territories that connected the two of them pretty good in 1939? This could be especially crucial considering that Germany is likely to quickly cut off Poland from the sea (the Polish Corridor was militarily indefensible) and thus Poland is going to need to access whatever supplies and troops it can get through Romania.
 
Aug 2013
191
Finland
Wikipedia says this:
..the Polish government decided that it would be much more helpful to have a safe haven in Romania and a safe port of Constanța that could accept as many Allied merchant ships as required to keep Poland fighting. The Polish Navy and merchant marine were mostly evacuated prior to 1 September (see Peking Plan); they were to operate from French and British ports and deliver the supplies through Romania.
Source: Romanian Bridgehead - Wikipedia

EDIT: This may have been the plan, it's unclear to me how realistic that plan was. Certainly just the shipping of goods to Romania by sea would have taken a long time already.
 
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Jun 2017
3,027
Connecticut
What do you think the ideal course of action for Poland's leadership in 1939 was? The way that things turned out for Poland wasn't exactly pleasant. Specifically, Poland got conquered and occupied by Nazi Germany, had its officer corps and intelligentsia brutally murdered by the Soviets at Katyn, had its Jewish population annihilated by the Nazis, was occupied by the Soviet Union, and subsequently had to endure decades of Communist rule. It also lost its eastern territories but at the same time gained vast new territories in the west.

If Poland's leadership at the start of 1939 could have seen what was going to occur to Poland over the next several decades, do you think that they would have chosen an alternative course of action? If so, what alternative course of action do you think that they would have chosen? Also, what do you think that the results of this alternative course of action would have been for Poland and the rest of its neighborhood for the next several decades?
In hindsight give up Danzig and hope for best. Giving up Danzig might not have worked but it's really the only alternative I can see given the situation they are in 1939. Sadly at this point, Poland's fate was pretty much inevitable barring dues ex machina.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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I have a question for @Solidaire, @Visigoth Panzer, @Kotromanic, and everyone else here: In his 1928 Second Book, Hitler writes this:


"The only war aim that would have been worthy of these enormous casualties would have been to promise the German troops that so many hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of land would be allotted to the frontline soldiers as property or made available for colonization by Germans.171 In that way, the war would also immediately have lost the character of an imperial undertaking and would instead have become a matter of concern to the German people. Because ultimately, the German soldiers did not really shed their blood so that the Poles could obtain a state or so that a German prince could be installed on a plush throne. In 1918 we thus stood at the conclusion of a completely pointless and aimless waste of the most valuable German blood.172"

Where exactly did Hitler envision all of this land to come from? Did he already believe back in 1928 that Imperial Germany should have engaged in a program of mass expulsions in the event that it would have won WWI (and also obviously embraced such a program in order to motivate the German people to fight their hardest during WWI)? Or did Hitler argue that, during WWI, Imperial Germany should have aimed for something more limited--as in, creating nominally independent puppet states in Eastern Europe such as Ukraine but also giving away a lot of the land of these puppet states to German settlers and WWI veterans?