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Poland and the Western Powers, 1938-1939: A Study in the Interdependence of Eastern and Western Europe (Study in Political History)

jan peczkis|Tuesday, March 13, 2012

This work is profusely documented. It details the efforts of the Polish government to remain scrupulously neutral in the face of the increasingly belligerent Soviets and Nazi Germans. For instance, when Poland signed a nonaggression pact with Nazi Germany, Communist propaganda (and even modern revisionistic Russian propaganda) twisted this pact into false Nazi-Polish alliance against the USSR.

Polish Ambassador Lipski often met with Joseph Goebbels in what turned out to be a futile attempt to smooth-out Polish-German relations. Tensions grew acute around the German claim to the Free City of Danzig (Gdansk), which the Germans wanted to annex. These tensions grew especially severe after the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia and the Anschluss.

An early part of this work mentions the border wars between Germany and Poland around 1918. Interestingly, a detailed map (p. 292), based on Prussian statistic from 1910 (which probably undercounted the Poles) shows extensive areas with significantly Polish population outside the 1918 frontiers. Non-trivial Polish minorities populated territories that had not been part of Poland for several centuries. For instance, Breslau (Wroclaw) and Liegnitz (Legnica) were totally surrounded by territories where Poles formed 5-10% of the population. The same held for southern East Prussia and a large fraction of eastern Pomerania.
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