Would Poland be willing to trade Danzig for German military help to retake the Kresy?

Futurist

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#1
Here's the scenario that I am thinking of here: Due to France doing a better job of defending the Ardennes, the Manstein Plan fails and thus France doesn't fall in 1940. After several months, Hitler and the Nazis are overthrown and replaced by a military junta of anti-Nazi German generals.

Britain and France offer an armistice to the new German government in exchange for having it withdraw from all of Poland. However, they would also be willing to recognize Danzig as a part of Germany if the new German government will militarily assist Poland in trying to militarily retake the Kresy (eastern Poland).

Now, my question is this--would Poland actually be interested in this? In other words, would Poland be willing to allow Danzig to reunite with Germany in exchange for German military assistance in a war between Poland and the Soviet Union over control of the Kresy? Or would Poland be willing to permanently give up on the Kresy as the price of preventing Danzig from reuniting with Germany?
 

Futurist

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#2
Also, for what it's worth, I am thinking of Britain and France retaining a large number of military forces on their border with Germany as well as retaining their blockade of Germany in order to serve as insurance against Germany.
 

Rodger

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#3
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Rodger

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#4
I am reading another book on Polish-German and Polish-USSR relations. It is called Bitter Glory: Poland and Its Fate, 1918-1939, by Richard M. Watt. Although I am only slightly over half way through, I am gaining new insights on the topic at hand. Anyway, its seems that during this era there was a split among the POlish leaders as to what nation was more of a threat to Poland (although both were considered one). The National Democrats, the right wing party, thought Germany was the greater threat. Coincidentally, their base was primarily in the west of Poland. Pilsudski, the de facto leader for most of this era, a former member of the socialist party in Poland (known as the PPS) and generally considered a leftist, considered the USSR a greater threat. Coincidentally, their base was ore in the eastern part of the nation. In the end, it is a challenge to say who was the greater threat. Germany never gave Poland any rest during this period, doing everything within their means to harass and weaken Poland. (primarily economically through the League of Nations, through their influence in the "Free City" of Danzig and even through such actions as curtailing the purchase of Silesian coal, Poland's most profitable export during the interwar period).After the Polish-Soviet War, the Soviets actually tread lightly when it came to Poland, especially because France and Poland had a mutual defense agreement. Many may not know that there was a series of incidents in 1927 whereby the Soviets thought that the western powers, led by the U.K. was going to invade the USSR with the Poles as the spearhead of the attack:
https://www.jstor.org/stable/127760?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
https://www.jstor.org/stable/2492651?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
In my opinion, Germany was the greater threat once Hitler came to power, obviously culminating with the Nazi invasion in 1939. Yet, in the long run, the Soviets held sway over Poland from 1945-1989. Germany was going to eventually be defeated, just like in WW1. The Soviets weren't going anywhere, until their own system collapsed, a much longer time period.
 
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Futurist

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#5
I am reading another book on Polish-German and Polish-USSR relations. It is called Bitter Glory: Poland and Its Fate, 1918-1939, by Richard M. Watt. Although I am only slightly over half way through, I am gaining new insights on the topic at hand. Anyway, its seems that during this era there was a split among the POlish leaders as to what nation was more of a threat to Poland (although both were considered one). The National Democrats, the right wing party, thought Germany was the greater threat. Coincidentally, their base was primarily in the west of Poland. Pilsudski, the de facto leader for most of this era, a former member of the socialist party in Poland (known as the PPS) and generally considered a leftist, considered the USSR a greater threat. Coincidentally, their base was ore in the eastern part of the nation. In the end, it is a challenge to say who was the greater threat. Germany never gave Poland any rest during this period, doing everything within their means to harass and weaken Poland. (primarily economically through the League of Nations, through their influence in the "Free City" of Danzig and even through such actions as curtailing the purchase of Silesian coal, Poland's most profitable export during the interwar period).After the Polish-Soviet War, the Soviets actually tread lightly when it came to Poland, especially because France and Poland had a mutual defense agreement. In my opinion, Germany was the greater threat once Hitler came to power, obviously culminating with the Nazi invasion in 1939. Yet, in the long run, the Soviets held sway over Poland from 1945-1989. Germany was going to eventually be defeated, just like in WW1. The Soviets weren't going anywhere, until their own system collapsed, a much longer time period.
Excellent summary and analysis, Rodger! :)

Also, what's interesting is that, AFAIK, the Soviet Union was largely quiet about its territorial claims in eastern Poland between 1921 and 1939 while Germany constantly raised the Danzig and Polish Corridor issue in the 1920s and early 1930s and again in 1939. One would have expected the Soviet Union to be the more vocal one since there were much more Ukrainians and Belarusians under Polish rule than there were Germans (even if one includes Danzig, which was not ruled by Poland).
 
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Futurist

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#6
IMHO, Germany should have been happy with the eastern borders that it got at Versailles in 1919 and not complained much about them. After all, it tried to change these borders by force and ended up getting much worse borders afterwards--at which point Germany was dreaming about getting its old (1919) borders back. At that point (after the end of World War II) it was already too late for Germany to accept the Versailles borders, though. Rather, it had to accept the Oder-Neisse borders.

Also, in a sense, I'm happy that the Soviet Union took eastern Poland away from Poland since it put a lot of Ukrainian nationalists into the Ukrainian SSR and thus made it much harder for Ukraine to remain in the Russian orbit in the long(er)-run. Without Galicia and Volhynia, the pro-Western Ukrainians would have probably been outnumbered and thus outvoted in an independent Ukraine--which might have very well paved the way for Ukraine to return to Russia's orbit.

Still, Poland should have evacuated its military officers to the West instead of letting them fall into Soviet hands. The Katyn massacre was an extremely massive crime and atrocity which was completely unacceptable and a great stain on the Soviet Union's record. :(
 

Rodger

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#7
Excellent summary and analysis, Rodger! :)

Also, what's interesting is that, AFAIK, the Soviet Union was largely quiet about its territorial claims in eastern Poland between 1921 and 1939 while Germany constantly raised the Danzig and Polish Corridor issue in the 1920s and early 1930s and again in 1939. One would have expected the Soviet Union to be the more vocal one since there were much more Ukrainians and Belarusians under Polish rule than there were Germans (even if one includes Danzig, which was not ruled by Poland).
In my reading I have learned that the USSR was weak during he 1920s. They still feared the Russian Whites, and, in fact, thought that the supposed invasion of 1927 may have included this factor. Moreover, The Soviets were isolated. There were no other communist nations at this time and the rest of Europe was antagonistic. Foer example, the Soviets were excluded from the Locarno Treaties, Locarno Treaties - Wikipedia.
Then again, so was Poland. These treaties, signed in 1925, permitted Germany to have normalized relations with the rest of Europe, primarily the victorious Allied Powers. Germany was then emboldened. In truth, Britain, under its Foreign Minister, Chamberlain, called for these meetings and was not a fan of Poland. One could say that he favored Germany over Poland. France was perceived by Poland as having abandoned its treaty of defense with them, in order to resolve the border dispute with Germany. So, Germany perceived itself in a strong position. They initiated a economic war with Poland, one in which that they could outlast Poland. The USSR had to bide its time.
 

Rodger

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#8
IMHO, Germany should have been happy with the eastern borders that it got at Versailles in 1919 and not complained much about them. After all, it tried to change these borders by force and ended up getting much worse borders afterwards--at which point Germany was dreaming about getting its old (1919) borders back. At that point (after the end of World War II) it was already too late for Germany to accept the Versailles borders, though. Rather, it had to accept the Oder-Neisse borders.

Also, in a sense, I'm happy that the Soviet Union took eastern Poland away from Poland since it put a lot of Ukrainian nationalists into the Ukrainian SSR and thus made it much harder for Ukraine to remain in the Russian orbit in the long(er)-run. Without Galicia and Volhynia, the pro-Western Ukrainians would have probably been outnumbered and thus outvoted in an independent Ukraine--which might have very well paved the way for Ukraine to return to Russia's orbit.

Still, Poland should have evacuated its military officers to the West instead of letting them fall into Soviet hands. The Katyn massacre was an extremely massive crime and atrocity which was completely unacceptable and a great stain on the Soviet Union's record. :(
Germany was never going to be satisfied with its eastern border that Versailles presented to them. There were, as you know, skirmishes in Silesia and Poznan into the 1920s. The Germans were never going to see Danzig as anything but German and even the Polish Corridor was a sore spot them.
Silesian Uprisings - Wikipedia
https://www.jstor.org/stable/4546111?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
 

Futurist

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#9
Germany was never going to be satisfied with its eastern border that Versailles presented to them. There were, as you know, skirmishes in Silesia and Poznan into the 1920s. The Germans were never going to see Danzig as anything but German and even the Polish Corridor was a sore spot them.
Silesian Uprisings - Wikipedia
https://www.jstor.org/stable/4546111?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
Yes, there were skirmishes--and the Poles do bear some blame for that, at least in Upper Silesia. After all, Korfanty's Uprising in Upper Silesia was done by Poles, no?

Also, Yes, Danzig was overwhelmingly German. However, was it really worth a new world war? After all, the Germans started a new world war and ended up losing the German provinces of East Prussia, Pomerania, and Silesia. Was risking these provinces really worth it just to reacquire Danzig and the Polish Corridor?

As for the Polish Corridor, it's interesting that, even under German rule, it was majority-Polish if one considers Kashubians to be Poles. Plus, it consistently voted for the Polish Party in Imperial German Reichstag elections.
 

Futurist

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#10
In my reading I have learned that the USSR was weak during he 1920s. They still feared the Russian Whites, and, in fact, thought that the supposed invasion of 1927 may have included this factor. Moreover, The Soviets were isolated. There were no other communist nations at this time and the rest of Europe was antagonistic. Foer example, the Soviets were excluded from the Locarno Treaties, Locarno Treaties - Wikipedia.
Then again, so was Poland. These treaties, signed in 1925, permitted Germany to have normalized relations with the rest of Europe, primarily the victorious Allied Powers. Germany was then emboldened. In truth, Britain, under its Foreign Minister, Chamberlain, called for these meetings and was not a fan of Poland. One could say that he favored Germany over Poland. France was perceived by Poland as having abandoned its treaty of defense with them, in order to resolve the border dispute with Germany. So, Germany perceived itself in a strong position. They initiated a economic war with Poland, one in which that they could outlast Poland. The USSR had to bide its time.
I've read about the 1926-1927 war scare. It was quite something. However, I am a bit surprised that the Soviets and Germans didn't try to team up more in the 1920s. After all, both of them wanted border revisions with Poland.

As for Germany launching an economic war against Poland, it demonstrated that Germany was unwilling to play nice. That, and it ultimately failed due to Polish resolve. Still, I wonder if, without Hitler, Germany and the Soviet Union could have started a limited war against Poland at some point in time in the 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s. I mean, without the previous events in Czechoslovakia, Britain and France might have been more willing to throw Poland under the bus.