On East and West Prussia

From David L. Hoggan, THE FORCED WAR, 1989, p. 383:

“[Polish Premier] Beck made the false assertion that Danzig was free, and therefore not a legitimate object of German concern. He suggested that the prestige factor was involved, and that Germany was deliberately seeking to humiliate Poland. Beck claimed that Hitler was actually seeking to exclude Poland from the Baltic ‘from which Poland will let herself be barred!’. This remark was a deliberate falsehood. Beck knew perfectly well that Hitler respected and encouraged Polish maritime aspirations.

“Beck refused to use the word ‘Corridor’, because ‘it is an artificial invention, for it is an ancient Polish land, with an insignificant percentage of German colonists’. One can only wonder at the temerity and disregard for historical accuracy of this remark. Polish West Prussia was colonized by Germans when it belonged to non-Polish West Slavic tribes and heathen Bo-russians, and there had never been a Polish settlement within the region before the coming of the Germans. The majority of the province was still German at the last pre-War census in 1910, although there had been a considerable infiltration by Polish settlers in recent years. The percentage of Poles in West Prussia in 1910 was considerably less than 35% and the Polish majority of 1939 was obtained by the ruthless expulsion of the German element, and by the arbitrary confiscation of German land. Hitler’s generosity in agreeing to recognize permanent Polish rule over this ancient German territory received no recognition whatever from Beck. The Allied victors of 1919 naturally refused to allow a plebiscite in the region, because a German victory in such a plebiscite would have been inevitable. Beck made the ridiculous claim that the Polish Government had been amply generous in allowing for German facilities of transportation and communication through this area. He saw no necessity for concessions which would have provided adequate German transit facilities to East Prussia.

Beck claimed that Germany had not offered one real concession to Poland, but had merely presented demands. This was another inversion, because Hitler’s October 1938 offer for a settlement was actually heavily slanted in favor of Poland..”

Page 292: “The German program of territorial revision on the European continent was modest in its dimensions. Hitler had no intention of attempting to regain control over the remaining European territories which had been held by Germany and Austria in 1914. He had renounced Alsace-Lorraine, Eupen-Malmedy, North Schleswig, South Tirol, Austrian Slovenia, Poznan, East Upper Silesia, and Polish West Prussia…”

[The book contains hundreds of pages of similar statements, backed up by thousands of detailed footnotes and an annotated bibliography almost 40 pages long in small print (pp. 646-684), including 127 sources in the Polish language. The German version of the book is even longer.]

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