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Why has Poland been attacked so often by its neighbors?


masks98 27 | 289  
11 Jun 2008 /  #1
Looking around the Warsaw Centrum, one can easily imagine being in any of the big European cities. Fancy cars drive all around you, young trendy hipsters prance up and down the sidewalk just like they do in New York, Paris, etc. (Some of them don't prance, they just strut in that "I'm to sexy for my country" way. Just like all the other stuck-up hipsters of the Western world.)

There are huge shopping malls, tons of restaurants, an efficient transportation system (depending who you ask,) and as an English teacher, I've seen many spiffy flats in various parts of Poland (then again I make a point to aim for the rich clients.)

While it surely has its own kinks and eccentricities, (like the single subway line, or the sprawling senior population, or the popularity of cats, or the...) It's just like any other major city I've been to.

An ignorant foreigner like me for example, would have no clue that but only a few decades ago, within the lifetime of many of its citizens, Warsaw was wrecked through and through, sandwiched as it was between two demented tyrants, Hitler and Stalin, who both made it a personal matter to see Poland destroyed; the result was that Warsaw took quite a beating.

In fact, one would be surprised to learn that Poland's history is an extraordinary tale of survival against the assholish warmongering of Various Russian and German empires. In the same period when Warsaw was levelled during WWII, Poland had much of its intelligentsia shot dead almost one by one at Katyn, by soviet zombies who used to be men. Furthermore, Poland was the victim of ethnic cleansing, 3million of its Jews, 3 million of its non Jews. That was a shock for me to learn. As an American who has to bear Jewish whining about the Holocaust, I just though the Holocaust was when Hitler killed 6 million Jews, without any idea about Polish ethnic-cleansing.

A quick Wikipedia search and you learn that Warsaw "experienced numerous plagues, invasions, devastating fires and administrative restrictions on its growth." Having learned American history in school, I knew that shortly after the US was created, other countries followed its example, one of them being Poland with its May 3rd constitution. A good thing, but I never knew what happened afterwards. I never knew that Poland was then attacked by its neighbors, and erased from the map for over one hundred years.

Yet despite being one of the most embattled group of people in Europe, The Poles somehow got their act together and reestablished Poland as one of the major economies of Europe. Wow.

Yet I never hear a peep out of the mouths of Poles "we've had to fight everyone to survive,,,blah blah blah." Though I guess that mostly old people would whine about that, but seeing that I don't speak Polish, I never hear of it. I guess the Poles are made of tougher stuff than most of us.

So to that I say...

Na zdrowie!
plk123 8 | 4,150  
11 Jun 2008 /  #2
NA ZDROWIE KAMRAD. LOL

that's the price you pay for being in the middle. PL has fough germanic forces from the beginning and the russ almost as long.
MarcinD 4 | 135  
11 Jun 2008 /  #3
Agreed, how would United States history look if their neighbors were Germany and Russia instead of Canada/Mexico and two huge bodies of water.
plk123 8 | 4,150  
11 Jun 2008 /  #4
I'D IMAGINE us WOULD BE THAT MUCH BIGGER. DON'T MESS WITH THE US. ;)
OP masks98 27 | 289  
11 Jun 2008 /  #5
Well at the beginning the new US states were stuck in the middle of French and Spanish territory. Which became once the French Revolution began. That's one of the reasons why the Louisiana Purchase was so important. On top of that there were a bunch of aggressive Indian tribes rightfully attacking Americans stealing their land.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,436  
11 Jun 2008 /  #6
Yet I never hear a peep out of the mouths of Poles "we've had to fight everyone to survive,,,blah blah blah."

Erm...
MarcinD 4 | 135  
11 Jun 2008 /  #7
Well at the beginning the new US states were stuck in the middle of French and Spanish territory. Which became once the French Revolution began. That's one of the reasons why the Louisiana Purchase was so important. On top of that there were a bunch of aggressive Indian tribes rightfully attacking Americans stealing their land.

Point taken but there's a difference between being in the middle of territory's/colonies and the homeland. Plus the Indians were so behind on technology, basically military....they blew it.

Poland never colonized unlike their European brothers, on one hand it's something to be proud of that we didn't contribute to suffering and so on but on the other hand maybe the nation would be richer these days.
isthatu2 4 | 2,704  
11 Jun 2008 /  #8
masks98:
Yet I never hear a peep out of the mouths of Poles "we've had to fight everyone to survive,,,blah blah blah."

Erm...

LOL,seconded :)
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,436  
11 Jun 2008 /  #9
Poland never colonized unlike their European brothers

Look at a historical map...the slavs wandered into central europe much later than the germanic tribes.
It was no empty land!

Plus the Indians were so behind on technology, basically military....they blew it.

So...being technological more advanced than your enemy gives your the right to take the land away?
Then why are you criticizing the Germans???
They were always technically and militarily advanced....

PS: Not to forget, as the Czech Republic vanished it was also Poland gulping down a piece of it...
plk123 8 | 4,150  
11 Jun 2008 /  #10
..they blew it.

blankets anyone.. from a nnice gentelman named Mad Anthony? lol

Poland never colonized unlike their European brothers, on one hand it's something to be proud of that we didn't contribute to suffering and so on but on the other hand maybe the nation would be richer these days.

huh? look into this further.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
11 Jun 2008 /  #11
Poland never colonized unlike their European brothers

To quote Blackadder (not the forum's resident Croat this time):
... while the German Empire consists of a small sausage factory in Tanganyika.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,436  
11 Jun 2008 /  #12
Actually Poland wasn't alone in being the battlefield of foreign armies:

Germany was the country which was once parted into more than 300 little statelets, with the most neighbours of all countries...no clear borders like rivers or mountains...always being either invaded or marched through.

The hundred years war cost us 1/3 of the population and let the whole country devastated (worse than WWII)
That all changed to the better only 1871!

Do you hear Germans whine all the time?
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163  
11 Jun 2008 /  #13
3million of its Jews, 3 million of its non Jews. That was a shock for me to learn.

All together there were something like 50 million people killed during WW2, It's just that some groups have more "tools" to promote their victimhood than others...
plk123 8 | 4,150  
11 Jun 2008 /  #14
Do you hear Germans whine all the time?

YES. LOL

AND SLAVS WERE IN eU THEN TOO AND JUST LIKE GERMANS IN LITTLE BANDS WITH NO DEFINED BORDERS ETC.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,436  
11 Jun 2008 /  #15
All together there were something like 50 million people killed during WW2, It's just that some groups have more "tools" to promote their victimhood than others...

"promoting victimhood"???

What's that for an attitude...
osiol 55 | 3,922  
11 Jun 2008 /  #16
Poland had a little trouble with Sweden at some time or other. Is that true? Any long term grudges?

how would United States history look if their neighbors were Germany and Russia instead of Canada/Mexico

Canadians only set fire to the White House just the once.
OP masks98 27 | 289  
11 Jun 2008 /  #17
The hundred years war cost us 1/3 of the population and let the whole country devastated (worse than WWII)
That all changed to the better only 1871!

Do you hear Germans whine all the time?

Yes, the rise of German Pan nationalism, Hitler and all that. Their cruelty was their form of whining about WWI and whatever other things that pissed them off. So they tried to kill as many people as possible.
celinski 31 | 1,258  
11 Jun 2008 /  #18
Why has Poland been attacked so often by its neighbors?

Because everyone wanted to own her. Here in the States we are much safer no one wants us. :)
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,436  
11 Jun 2008 /  #19
Their cruelty was their form of whining about WWI and whatever other things that pissed them off.

WWI gave land and people away to build new states regardless of the ethnic Germans who lived there - partitions anybody???

And yes WWII was fueled by the injustice of the Treaty of Versailles...but without this treaty no Poland...now what?
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
11 Jun 2008 /  #20
You must look at it from pre-industrial era perspective.
Polish lands were simply very attractive for centuries, lots of arable land, almost all the country except for the mountains in the south (which were also good economically speaking, sheep breeding). Besides the arable land we had quite a lot of forests with game, bees, berries, so generally speaking good place to feed your people and let them procreate. Vistula (also Oder, but it was less navigable) - running from south to north - allowed easy transport of goods on a long distance.

Poland has been wide open both from East and West, so it attracted invasions anytime one of our neighbourghs grew strong. Thus it became a "natural" first target option for those countries and that's how it stayed :)
irishdeano 5 | 304  
11 Jun 2008 /  #21
well at one time poland ruled the nest away back in 1540's...but the reason poland was attacked was not just for its beauiful women but it was because poland was a country with alot of materials such as salt mines. coal mine's and i forget the other thing it was something like mmm type of powder so it was worth quite alot of money to these other countries
pawian 175 | 13,553  
11 Jun 2008 /  #22
Attacking neighbours to grab their land, recources, people has been a common phenomenon until today. Do you remember Yugoslavian wars in 1990s?

That Poland was attacked by its neighbours was nothing unusual. When Poland was strong, she attacked her neighbours too, e.g., Russia in 17th century was almost conquered by the Polish army, and Poles occupied Moscow for over a year.

What was unusual is the fact that a big country in Central Europe allowed its neighbours to dismantle it like a Lego block construction. I am talking about partitions. They took place because over centuries Poland had grown weaker, while her neighbours grew stronger. And the Polish elites did nothing about it. The Polish state was unable to achieve such basic things as a strong regular army paid from the state treasury because it was always empty. The ruling aristocracy and gentry didn`t want to pay taxes in fear of the king`s power becoming too big.

Besides, the industrial development took place in our neighbours` countries, while Poland still remained a rural country. No wonder Poland was unable to produce enough arms to supply the army. Polish soldiers during a few Polish Risings had to use scythes. Against carbines. Later they had to use horse cavalry whereas Germans had tanks in 1939.

1863, the January Uprising, Forging Scythes



History teaches us that a weak country which is unable to defend itself is attacked and devoured by stronger neighbours.

It is good, though, that after being devoured by various predators, Poles refused to be digested by them.
joepilsudski 26 | 1,389  
11 Jun 2008 /  #23
Why has Poland been attacked so often by its neighbors?

Because it is 'in the way'.
plk123 8 | 4,150  
11 Jun 2008 /  #24
Poland had a little trouble with Sweden at some time or other. Is that true? Any long term grudges?

nope

Canadians only set fire to the White House just the once.

under the union jack, jack.. them wuzn't 'nadiens. ;)

Yes, the rise of German Pan nationalism, Hitler and all that. Their cruelty was their form of whining about WWI and whatever other things that pissed them off. So they tried to kill as many people as possible.

lol. right on bro. actually they still whine about pomerania. they think it's theirs because the darn tutons roamed it once.. not that it was theirs in the first place.. we finally kicked them out and the gerries still have issues about it and that was some 500 y/o. :D

Because everyone wanted to own her. Here in the States we are much safer no one wants us. :)

new mehico, tehas and kalifornia are all going back to our neighbours from the south. :D

WWI gave land and people away to build new states regardless of the ethnic Germans who lived there - partitions anybody???

you start ****, you lose, that's what happens. thos lands weren't german anyway. you get what you deserve.
Dzhaklin 3 | 166  
11 Jun 2008 /  #25
Why has Poland been attacked so often by its neighbors?

Because it is 'in the way'.

I think this is the best answer
plk123 8 | 4,150  
11 Jun 2008 /  #26
that would be the best answer if the attacks were always at someone else but PL was the target most of the time.
Dzhaklin 3 | 166  
11 Jun 2008 /  #27
this is in part because people wanted the polish land? Poland in the past has been the only barricade between two historically powerful regimes, no?
plk123 8 | 4,150  
11 Jun 2008 /  #28
the only two armies that were going to russian in all of hostory were the french and the nazis everyone else was after something in PL.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,436  
11 Jun 2008 /  #29
you get what you deserve.

Hmm...then Poles and Poland never deserved much, right?

the only two armies that were going to russian in all of hostory were the french and the nazis everyone else was after something in PL.

Not wanting to get your share from a weak, torn neighbour???

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish-Muscovite_War_(1605)
southern 75 | 7,096  
11 Jun 2008 /  #30
The hundred years war cost us 1/3 of the population

The 30 years war.

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