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Poland obliged to make war reparations to Austria and Germany after WWI. Why?


hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
24 Jan 2011  #1
According to Adam Zamoyski in his book The Polish Way, page 348, Poland was obliged to pay war reparations to Austria and Germany.

Zamoyski:

“ The only solution was massive industrialisation, but this was made no easier by the fact
that in 1918 the retreating German Army had carried out a gigantic operation quaintly termed ‘the de-industrialisation of Poland; which left no factory, railway-station or bridge standing and no piece of machinery in place. The state came into being with vast debts to the allies (for equipping and arming the Blue Army and supplying armaments between 1918 and 1920), and the unbelievable obligation of making war-reparations to Austria and Germany.”

Does anybody know why?

Interestingly he also mentions that “In 1930 a Ukrainian nationalist organisation funded from Germany begun a campaign of terrorism and sabotage.” p344 again I wasn’t aware that they got their money from Germany, was anybody else?
Varsovian 92 | 634
24 Jan 2011  #2
Dunno, and don't have time to find out myself - does anyone out there know?
OP hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
24 Jan 2011  #3
I tried looking and thus far I haven't been successful, I wonder if anyone else has better knowledge of the topic. My first reaction was, How on earth can that have been possible?
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,015
24 Jan 2011  #4
Germany for sure did not get any reparations from anybody after WWI...WE PAID THEM!
Reparations is for losers!
Germany paid the last reparation for WW1 this year (2010).
Israel demands another 500 MIL for WWII (the East-German part they didn't get till now)...how is that?

"operation de-industrialisation" my arse! What crap! 1918 the german army was self-destructing and infighting.
(Not to mention that there was no Poland in 1918....I very much doubt the german army was on a destruction-spree in Germany).
The Treaty of Versaille decided that in 1919.

This guy is a plain liar...
Babinich 1 | 456
24 Jan 2011  #5
1918 the german army was self-destructing and infighting.

But marched back home, a home never breached by the enemy, with the belief that their defeat was a defeat sealed by back room political dealings.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,015
24 Jan 2011  #6
That's what I meant with infighting....the fight between the nationalists and the communists didn't stop in the army...quite the contrary.
The old order broke down.

There wasn't even an Austria yet but still the Austro-Hungarian empire breaking down.

in 1918 the war was over, mainly happened in the West anyhow....

This author is a liar!
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
24 Jan 2011  #7
This guy is a plain liar...

No, he is not. The Polish folk proverb says:
Czyj chleb jesz tego piosenkę śpiewasz.
Varsovian 92 | 634
24 Jan 2011  #8
Hey - before you lot go tribal ... can we get back to the original post?
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
24 Jan 2011  #9
Adam Zamoyski is a British historian not Polish. So he is objective.
adamzamoyski.com
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,015
24 Jan 2011  #10
Well...he should get his facts straight.

What did he bring to support this idea? Any documents? Or just a plain opinion like on a talk board?
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
24 Jan 2011  #11
Any documents?

You will find them in the book.
Varsovian 92 | 634
24 Jan 2011  #12
I don't need a link - just give some sort of clue as where to back up the statement at issue. As for he's British and therefore impartial ... erm, not good enough for me!
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,015
24 Jan 2011  #13
You will find them in the book.

Highly improbably...
enkidu 7 | 623
24 Jan 2011  #14
I am Polish born and educated in Poland and I have never heard about any reparations paid to Germany and/or Austria by Poland. Quick internet research also shows no results.

As for de-industrialisation. My home town is in the old Prussian territory. I assure you that the German-built bridges, factories, trains stations etc are still in place.
englishwarsaw - | 5
24 Jan 2011  #15
I think it is just a misreading of Zamoyski. Poland paid reparations not to Austria and Germany, but to third countries for the land they had taken over from Austria and Germany. Since the reparations were considered to be a collective punishment for the Austrian and German population, it was only logical that part of the population should not escape punishment just because their land had been re-allocated to a new country. Such an arrangement would normally see reparation payments more than counter-balanced by reparation receipts.
Daisy 3 | 1,228
24 Jan 2011  #16
Adam Zamoyski is a British historian not Polish

And which part of Britain does the name Zamoyski come from, it's definitely not English and it doesn't sound very Welsh or Scots either. he may have been born in Britain and have a British passport, but I doubt he's neutral on the subject
Trevek 26 | 1,703
24 Jan 2011  #17
he may have been born in Britain

He was born in New York and brought up in Britain and Switzerland. Parents left Poland in 1939.

adamzamoyski.com/about.php

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Zamoyski
OP hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
24 Jan 2011  #18
but to third countries for the land they had taken over from Austria and Germany.

could you elaborate a bit further? Do you mean that Poland had to pay for the Germans found on Polish territory? I can't seem to find any information on this besides Zamoyski. That is why I found his claim so surprising.

The Treaty of Versaille decided that in 1919.

Yes but they had quite a good idea that it would come about by the end, and whilst I think that Zamoyski exaggerates, there in no doubt that it did happen, The Russians used a similar tactic. often the Russians and Germans used such tactics to deny each other vital resources.
Teffle 22 | 1,321
25 Jan 2011  #19
And which part of Britain does the name Zamoyski come from, it's definitely not English and it doesn't sound very Welsh or Scots either. he may have been born in Britain and have a British passport, but I doubt he's neutral on the subject

Doesn't mean anything. Many people in Britain have "foreign" names.

The comedian Ricky Gervais for example hates the French.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,015
25 Jan 2011  #20
Yes but they had quite a good idea that it would come about by the end,...

Actually no, they hadn't.

Germany agreed to the negotiations because of the ongoing blockade by the Brits and French but mainly because of the "Wilson's 14 points" plan to end the war and to regulate the aftermath.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteen_Points

...The Fourteen Points was a speech delivered by United States President Woodrow Wilson to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918. The address was intended to assure the country that the Great War was being fought for a moral cause and for postwar peace in Europe.

But what came out in Versailles was something the US/Wilson didn't agreed with what led to the pullout of the US from the "peace conference" negotiations. Germany was f*ucked!

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Versailles#United_States_rejects_Treaty

...Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required Germany to accept sole responsibility for causing the war and, under the terms of articles 231-248 (later known as the War Guilt clauses), to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions and pay heavy reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers.

...and whilst I think that Zamoyski exaggerates, there in no doubt that it did happen, The Russians used a similar tactic. often the Russians and Germans used such tactics to deny each other vital resources.

That only happened once, during "Total war" in WWII.
Don't mix up the wars....both differ greatly, in ideology, reasoning, causes and execution.

And even if, a serious historians work isn't to "exaggerate" but to present objective facts and to prove them with evidence.
Varsovian 92 | 634
25 Jan 2011  #21
Count Adam Zamoyski - a true Brit. Still, nice wife. Rejected a marriage proposal from Imran Khan.
englishwarsaw - | 5
25 Jan 2011  #22
I was just reading Zamoyski with some background knowledge on reparations. I didn't find any confirmation, but didn't search very hard. The Polish references I looked at were more concerned with the difficulty of raising revenue rather than international payment obligations. Maybe they considered the creation and saving of Poland was too worthwhile to complain about the resulting burden of payments. I just felt that Zamoyski's 'unbelievable obligation' needed answering: it is too obviously an element of narrow, biased thinking or (perhaps more fair) simply sensationalism to make his book more interesting.

I have his 2009 revised version, now entitled 'Poland - A History', where the claim is maintained. I haven't read the book yet though, as my immediate interest is in the earliest known archaeological history of Poland. His first page of Chapter 1 is wrong and misleading. Between his period of "unwarlike and agricultural people" and "settled by Sarmatians" (if either of those are true) came the mighty warrior tribes popularly known as the Vandals, who, after devastating much of Europe, eventually destroyed Rome. Some of their forebears lived a couple of hundred metres away from my house, making weapons for huge armies. People with magic names like 'Goths' and 'Huns' passed through here as well.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,015
25 Jan 2011  #23
He should sell his books as fiction not as history....
OP hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
25 Jan 2011  #24
People with magic names like 'Goths' and 'Huns' passed through here as well.

I find find him quite prone to hyperbole at times, as a way of trying to demonstrate his language abilities.

Interesting it seems like quite a hard topic to research.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,015
25 Jan 2011  #25
Well...books and facts about the history of Europe and WWII is not exactly hard to find....if he had wanted to.

Another thing though is finding proof for unsubstantiated allegations which are just not true. That would be a miracle to find, that's true! ;)
OP hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
25 Jan 2011  #26
That only happened once, during "Total war" in WWII.

I am not mixing up wars:

"In 1915 Polish territories were looted and abandoned by the retreating Russian army, trying to emulate the scorched earth policy of 1812;[1][2] the Russians also evicted and deported hundreds of thousands of its inhabitants suspected of collaborating with the enemy.[1][3][4] By the end of 1915, the Germans had occupied the entire Russian sector, including Warsaw. In 1916 another Russian offensive in Galicia exacerbated the already desperate situation of civilians in the war zone; about 1 million Polish refugees fled eastward behind Russian lines during the war."
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,015
25 Jan 2011  #27
Well...then better talk about Russians and not Germans in WWI. I'm not an expert on russian history.

PS: In 1915 there hadn't been "polish territories".
Varsovian 92 | 634
25 Jan 2011  #28
Sausage churl - you'll find that there is little actually known about Poland in antiquity and the Dark Ages due to the lack of archaeology. Loads written, little known - doesn't that speak volumes? Next, you'd have an American know-it-all writing about Mieszko I ...
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,015
25 Jan 2011  #29
Heh:)

Mainstream info in Wiki (I'm sure polish wiki is much more informative)
Zamoyski should have tried it for starters....
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prehistory_and_protohistory_of_Poland

...

Celtic, Germanic and Baltic tribes inhabited various parts of Poland. Eventually, in the Middle Ages, the area came to be dominated by Slavic tribes and finally became home to a number of West Slavic Polish tribes that formed small states in the region, beginning in the 8th century.

I wonder how Zamoyski describes the period where Slavic tribes did wander into germanic settled lands and how that worked out all "unwarlike" as they were! ;)
OP hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
25 Jan 2011  #30
Well...then better talk about Russians and not Germans in WWI. I'm not an expert on russian history.

PS: In 1915 there hadn't been "polish territories".

Yes I am looking for the German involvement as mentioned by Zamoyski, but in the meantime more on the Russian contribution:

According to Edward Werner:

Millions of tourists visited the battlefields of France after the First World War, but only a few pushed further and investigated the devastation caused by the World War in Poland. A few figures might serve to illustrate this destruction: About 2,000,000 houses were damaged and had to be rebuilt, actual battlefields extended over one-fourth of the surface of the country. Direct war damages were computed at $2,500,000,000. Three billion feet of earth alone had to be shifted to fill excavated trenches. The loss of human life, which I should have mentioned first, is hard to estimate for Poles fought in all three contending armies. A part of Poland then belonging to Russia was deliberately laid waste in order to deprive the Germans of the necessary supplies. The inhabitants of that region were evacuated to Russia. When famine occurred in Russia in 1923 after the Bolshevik Revolution, these people were sent back by the Russians under the most appalling conditions.

He is quite specific about the title of this operation, where did he get his info from, I wander.


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