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The Changing Map of Poland

Article about: Yes Poland was not formally at war with USSR, but USSR never the less invaded Poland in 1939 without a declaration of war. I would however not hesitate to call it war. USSR captured some 200

  1. #1

    Default The Changing Map of Poland

    Surely what was to deemed to be Polish territory depends on how far back in history one goes as its borders ebbed and flowed through its own conquests and alliances just as it was conquered and divided by other alliances or empires throughout the centuries. One could argue that even today Poland does not exist if one looks at the 1939 map of Europe—it is clearly not where it once was last seen by my father! Poland definitely did not exist between 1939 and 1945 if one looks at German and even some US published atlases of the time. This is clearly why the Nazi extermination camps were never built in Poland although they are situated in the Poland of today.

    For example a snapshot map of Poland March 1919 before Poland seized the territory of the West Ukranian Peoples Republic in July 1919. Then there was the so-called Polish-Lithuanian War lasting from August 1920 to October 1920 an armed conflict over control of the cities of Vilnius (Wilno), Suwałki and Augustów... and many more. Hopefully the Poland of today will remain as she is for evermore!

    Wiki link to Poland's territorial history with maps
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by StefanM; 11-16-2012 at 01:11 PM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Quote by Wagriff View Post
    Sadly, the slaughter of Eastern Europeans has always been strangely paid little attention to. Another example are the atrocities of the Ustasha and the Serbs. No one seemed to care then and they still do not seem to. The lands of Eastern Europe must be covered with unmarked and forgotten mass graves over the centuries....One wonders how many beautiful houses, hotels and resorts,roads and rural farms are built over such horrors-all unknowing and just as likely uncaring.
    Historian T. Snyder has addressed the slaughter of Eastern Europeans in his excellent and best- selling book "Bloodlands"

    A possible explantion for the lack of attention you mention could be if only 25% of Americans have passports then maybe the majority are simply just not interested in foreign countries, East European or otherwise?
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    I'll look that up, Dastier, sounds interesting...

    I did learn about the Bresk-Litovsk treaty for GCSE history many moons ago. I'd better go and brush up on that, hadn't I? But either way, the Germans and the Russians seemed to see the Poles as a combination of cannon fodder and material for forced labour.

    And yes, over the course of centuries, those borders have indeed been very fluid, as it has been for a lot of countries in northern / eastern Europe. In the end, I think it's as much about identity as terrirory and resources... Case in point, my grandmother's family (from Stawiszyn / Kalisz) is ethnically German, but they were "Poles by choice".

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Quote by 4thskorpion View Post
    Surely what was to deemed to be Polish territory depends on how far back in history one goes as its borders ebbed and flowed through its own conquests and alliances just as it was conquered and divided by other alliances or empires throughout the centuries. One could argue that even today Poland does not exist if one looks at the 1939 map of Europe—it is clearly not where it once was last seen by my father! Poland definitely did not exist between 1939 and 1945 if one looks at German and even some US published atlases of the time. This is clearly why the Nazi extermination camps were never built in Poland although they are situated in the Poland of today.

    For example a snapshot map of Poland March 1919 before Poland seized the territory of the West Ukranian Peoples Republic in July 1919. Then there was the so-called Polish-Lithuanian War lasting from August 1920 to October 1920 an armed conflict over control of the cities of Vilnius (Wilno), Suwałki and Augustów... and many more. Hopefully the Poland of today will remain as she is for evermore!
    There's a lot to be said about shifting borders, and what were and what are, the borders of many countries in Europe, especially Central and Eastern Europe. I'm sure the Estonians and Latvians (and even the Lithuanians) would say that they had a historic national homeland even if what we know as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania did not exists at the start of WW1.

    And a bit of trivia: the Federal Republic of Germany did not legally recognize Poland's post war western border until 1990 even though the DDR did in 1950!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German%...aty_%281990%29

    I've read somewhere that this lack of recognition made the government of the Peoples Republic of Poland very anxious during the Cold War.

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Apologies for straying off topic but since the subject of borders was brought up (and because I like maps), here are three interesting maps:

    This top one shows the prewar Austro-Hungary Empire with the area in red I believe representing the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria and in purple-grape: Austrian partitioned Poland.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This next map shows the distribution of Poles within the Polish boundaries.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    And the last: Polish historical claims to Polish lands prior to the partitions by Prussia, Austro-Hungary and Russia.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Quote by dastier View Post
    And a bit of trivia: the Federal Republic of Germany did not legally recognize Poland's post war western border until 1990 even though the DDR did
    Some Poles still don't recognise the postwar eastern boundary today

    Historical maps have been the cause of many subsequent wars!
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  7. #7
    ?

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Many Germans, Belorussians, Russians etc have problems with Poland's borders. It have always been like this. Nothing new there really. Is Danzig Polish or Königsberg Russian_

    Regards, Lars

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    The reference to maps reminded me of a great poem by author Krysia Jopek to be found in her novel Maps and Shadows

    DISPLACED PERSONS

    The cartographer, busy rearranging borders,
    does not hear the gunshots, glimpse the people
    lined up behind their possessions, aching
    not to turn back, not to remember [home].

    He hardly notices the country cut out
    and hidden. Severed from history,
    lost cities undo memory’s veils.

    The frozen blue bird wrapped in tree dust
    will not survive. This, a fact, or arguably
    an omen. Take your family and leave
    salvage
    what to carry and what hour.

    The wounds of hunger can deepen
    bones’ vacuous sockets eaten by time
    that stills and fallows.

    Not knowing the aftermath,
    the proper names for infinite
    waiting and disarray, the fear
    of being useless.

    Night, the circumference we stay inside
    at the margins of quiet, begging strangers
    for variations of kindness.

    Counting up deaths, there were many.
    Those ghosts that slip, sleeves pulled that
    come undone. All this undid
    what we knew, feeble specks
    lost in the cosmos.



    © Krysia Jopek
    Last edited by StefanM; 11-17-2012 at 12:56 PM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    I don't think mentioning borders takes it so far off topic, Dastier. I think it just proves a point that old resentments and the desire for revenge runs deep, which is almost certainly the motivation behind why the Poles were so poorly treated by the Germans and Russians.

    And also, inter-war politics, with its plebiscites on self-determination, the almost willy-nilly awarding of German territories to the WW1 allies and the lumping together of various ethnic groups to make entirely new countries e.g. Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, certainly added to what ended up being a fairly explosive mix...

    P.S. Love those maps

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Changing Map of Poland

    I for one still consider the Kresy stolen land, regardless of what emotions this brings up in what countries these areas are no within the boarders of. The only problem is that the shifting of the boarders is something that was soviet and some western powers made, the soviets drew a new map and the "some" western powers who couldn't care less didn't oppose it. Luckily many these areas were not completely ethnically cleared and many Polish still inhabit these lands.

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