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Where did the power of Poland vanish to, since... let`s say, some 300 years ago?


David_18 68 | 982
7 May 2011 #121
Who opposed Koszcziuzko's reforms and liberation of the serfs - and sided with the Russians? The church and the aristocracy.

Not that many actually. The problem was that the ones who opposed held some key areas like one of the Lubomirski members that was supposed to hand out rifles, cloths and gun powder. Instead he blew up the arsenal.*

Those kinda people messed up the uprising and made sure that the logistic would not work as it should have done.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
7 May 2011 #122
Some pictures of the polish standing army in the 1700s that according to Sobieski did not exist.









Mr Grunwald 29 | 1,950
8 May 2011 #123
Why not Austria?

They just used the situation and pre-emptive striked. Without Prussia&Russia Taking lands from Poland. Austria wouldn't have a reason to enter in the first place. It was all so that Prussia&Russia wouldn't get too much. It was all grand picture plans about self defense.

what about Hungary? is there anything that was done by Hungarian elite that led to weakening of Poland?

Don't think they had any major power/influence until the creation of Austro-Hungarian Empire and that was AFTER the partitions...

I think that besides the selfishness of the szlachta and the betrayal of the magnates (all in someone's pay), the problem is that Poland had no standing army. Nothing to compete with Prussia's army for example.
And who was against this? All these narrow-minded szlachta.
Who opposed Koszcziuzko's reforms and liberation of the serfs - and sided with the Russians? The church and the aristocracy.

I am starting to get Sok/I-S syndrome
Palivec - | 380
8 May 2011 #124
What? You mean with the 40.000 soldiers Prussia had duriing the partitions? Poland had around 56.000 very modern troops.

At that time Prussia had around 190.000 soldiers. There was a reason why it was called a army with a country.
But ultimately it was Polands own weakness. Poland wasn't the only country which was surrounded by enemies. Brandenburg-Prussia was, since 1650, at war or attacked by France, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Russia and Saxony. Earlier it was almost wiped out during the Thirty Years War, lost an enormous amount of people and was pushed around by almost all neighbours (including Poland), since it was so weak.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
8 May 2011 #125
At that time Prussia had around 190.000 soldiers.

At the time of Kościuszkos uprising? At the time of Kościuszkos uprising the Prussian army numbered 35.000 regulars and 8200 Landwehr which rounds their armed forces at 43.200 men.

At the same time Poland had 56.000 regulars and approx 20.000 magnate militias (private armies), any conflict could only go one way.

There was a reason why it was called a army with a country.

You got mixed up with Frederic the Greats early years i'm afraid, conversly Frederic is the express reason why by the time of first partition Prussia had only a fraction of its former military power, he depopulated and bankrupted his country to a point that, when Poles rose up in Greater Poland the siege of Warsaw had to be lifted since Prussia simply didnt have any troops available beyond the 30.000 soldiers besieging Warsaw.

But ultimately it was Polands own weakness. Poland wasn't the only country which was surrounded by enemies.

Tartars, Cossacks, Branderburgians, Swedes, Russians, Turks, Wallachians, i daresay Poland was the only country so heavily besieged.

Again Polands weakness is a relative term, what Poland lacked during partitions were briliant leaders, the money and manpower was there, the army while weak for the countries size was none too shoddy, at 56.000 people it had modern infantry and cavalry, artillery, what Poland lacked was a strong king backed by gifted commanders, the nepotism rooted these out decades before.

To digress a bit, its the partitions that allowed Prussia to revive its military power temporarily, the heavy taxes and goods outright looted from polish territories as well as 30.000 polish recruits forcibly pressed into service brought the army to 70.000, by 1806 when Napoleon wiped his arse with prussian armies the prussian army was 120.000 strong with more than 40.000 recruits being Poles.

Prussia needed to invade and annex Poland to survive both economically and due to population defficiencies.
Palivec - | 380
8 May 2011 #126
At the time of Kościuszkos uprising? At the time of Kościuszkos uprising the Prussian army numbered 35.000 regulars and 8200 Landwehr which rounds their armed forces at 43.200 men.

The Landwehr was estalished in 1813, after the defeat by the French in 1806. After the French defeat the Prussian army was indeed limited to ~42.000 men. During Fredericks time the army was much bigger.

You got mixed up with Frederic the Greats early years i'm afraid, conversly Frederic is the express reason why by the time of first partition Prussia had only a fraction of its former military power, he depopulated and bankrupted his country to a point that, when Poles rose up in Greater Poland the siege of Warsaw had to be lifted since Prussia simply didnt have any troops available beyond the 30.000 soldiers besieging Warsaw.

You are a bit misinformed about Prussias might I'm afraid. Prussia lost around 500.000 people during Fredericks wars, but gained 3 million people, among them 250.000 immigrants. And he tripled public revenues between 1740 and 1786. Bad were only the first few years after the Silesian Wars, but the army was never affected by this, because nothing was more important than the army.
MediaWatch 10 | 945
8 May 2011 #127
Back then there was no idea of ethnicity. People were loyal to kings, countries or religions, nationality and ethnicity in the way you understand it didnt exist untill XIX century.

So people who spoke a given language back then saw themselves the same as people who did not speak their language?

I agree ethno-centrism of European groups back then was not as bad as the years leading up to WWI and WWII, but it was still there. Its true that people of a given nationality may have liked a king of another nationality but that relationship was tenuous and fragile. Deep down, each European ethnic group always had the "my people vs your people" mentality vs another ethnic group.

I was always thought it was interesting that Hitler referred to Poles as the "Polish race" even though they were both of the white race. That's how bad ethno-centrism got in Europe. But the seeds of ethno-centrism were already there in the prior centuries.

Poles/Poland lost much of its "power" because it didn't have the numbers. Its no coincidence that the most influential European countries of today have the biggest population numbers of their main national population.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,475
8 May 2011 #128
Poles/Poland lost much of its "power" because it didn't have the numbers.

Wrong. Poland had plenty of numbers - look at how big the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth actually was!

The reason she lost the country to begin with was directly related to internal problems relating to politics.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,426
8 May 2011 #129
I agree ethno-centrism of European groups back then was not as bad as the years leading up to WWI and WWII, but it was still there. Its true that people of a given nationality may have liked a king of another nationality but that relationship was tenuous and fragile. Deep down, each European ethnic group always had the "my people vs your people" mentality vs another ethnic group.

I disagree.

Till the unification of Germany under Bismarck it was usual that the different german counties and duchies would see themselves on different sides of warring parties...despite common language, culture etc.

Political reasons only...Europe was much more fragmented till the upcoming of the nation states and every ruler had different ideas and their subjects had to follow. That was not only true for the Germans.

It's not always a numbers game either...it's more about smart alliances (or the lack of).
ZIMMY 6 | 1,601
8 May 2011 #130
Poland had plenty of numbers

Around the time of the partitions; Austria-Hungery had about 25 million people as did Germany (Prussia). Russia had about 30 million. Poland had 11 million.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
8 May 2011 #131
The Landwehr was estalished in 1813, after the defeat by the French in 1806. After the French defeat the Prussian army was indeed limited to ~42.000 men. During Fredericks time the army was much bigger.

Militia, i call it Landwehr since i read Wagram 1809 by Bellona but the name stuck in my head.

You are a bit misinformed about Prussias might I'm afraid. Prussia lost around 500.000 people during Fredericks wars, but gained 3 million people, among them 250.000 immigrants. And he tripled public revenues between 1740 and 1786. Bad were only the first few years after the Silesian Wars, but the army was never affected by this, because nothing was more important than the army.

Well apparently it was affected since it shrank to below 30% numerical strength, economy also played a significant part.

So people who spoke a given language back then saw themselves the same as people who did not speak their language?

Correct.

Wrong. Poland had plenty of numbers - look at how big the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth actually was!

Wrong, despite its size Poland was sparsely populated relative to its territory.
Palivec - | 380
8 May 2011 #132
Well apparently it was affected since it shrank to below 30% numerical strength, economy also played a significant part.

I don't have any books about it, but have a look at the numbers here:
de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altpreu%C3%9Fische_Heeresorganisation

The two tables are interesting. Number of artillery and field guns. Doesn't look like a country in a serious economic crisis... ;)
MediaWatch 10 | 945
8 May 2011 #133
Correct.

I doubt it. Europeans may have put less of an emphasis on ethno-centrism back then, but it was still there. It was just dormant and underneath the surface for nationalists to exploit which they later did.

Around the time of the partitions; Austria-Hungery had about 25 million people as did Germany (Prussia). Russia had about 30 million. Poland had 11 million.

Very interesting.

I also think Russia had more then 30 million back then.
Palivec - | 380
8 May 2011 #134
Around the time of the partitions; Austria-Hungery had about 25 million people as did Germany (Prussia). Russia had about 30 million. Poland had 11 million.

Prussia wasn't Germany. Keep in mind that, for instance, Austria and Saxony were often at war with Prussia. Prussia itself had only 2.4 million people in 1740 and 5,6 million at the end of Fredericks reign.
MediaWatch 10 | 945
8 May 2011 #135
But when push came to shove and clever Germanic nationalists came along to unite the Germanics with the notion of "us" (Germanics) against "them" (non-Germanics), the Germanic tribes started to unite.
ZIMMY 6 | 1,601
8 May 2011 #136
I also think Russia had more then 30 million back then.

The population figure was for Czarist Russia only. After the partitions, 4 million Poles were counted as Russian.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
8 May 2011 #137
I don't have any books about it, but have a look at the numbers here:

I'll ask people at histmag for an online source, asfor artillery thats actually not much, Russia entered Poland with more than 600 guns in 1792.
MediaWatch 10 | 945
8 May 2011 #138
The population figure was for Czarist Russia only. After the partitions, 4 million Poles were counted as Russian.

I just thought before the partitions there were many more ethnic Russians then just 30 million. I'll have to look into that. But that only furthers my point that half the reason that European countries become powers is because they have the numbers.

Its no accident that Russia became the biggest nation because it had the large numbers to bulldoze over all the smaller population countries around it. China could have challenged Russia with its numbers, but being an Asian nation it was content with the territory it already had. Europeans have always been most aggressive about seizing territory with the numbers they have.
Palivec - | 380
8 May 2011 #139
But when push came to shove and clever Germanic nationalists came along to unite the Germanics with the notion of "us" (Germanics) against "them" (non-Germanics), the Germanic tribes started to unite.

But we don't talk about the 19th century here but about the 18th century. And in the 18th century Prussia was way smaller than Poland, and yet became one of the great European powers. The number of people isn't everything.
MediaWatch 10 | 945
8 May 2011 #140
Of course numbers isn't everything, but it SURE HELPS!

Its like saying money won't give you happiness, but for me (and many other people) it sure beats having no money LOL
southern 75 | 7,096
8 May 2011 #141
Countries like Poland,Ottoman Empire became largely irrelevant when industrial revolution and Enlightment started bringing about the civil ideas.In the case of Poland the collapse was much faster due to lack of protectors.
OP Crow 146 | 9,112
8 May 2011 #142
i think that split of Christianity and divisions (even antagonism) among the Christian Churches had enormous impact on Poland`s strategic situation and on power of Poland.

Countries like Poland,Ottoman Empire became largely irrelevant when industrial revolution and Enlightment started bringing about the civil ideas.In the case of Poland the collapse was much faster due to lack of protectors.

i don`t see Poland as strategically irrelevant country (nor Turkey of course) but, you said here in this reply of yours one other great truth. That is, ``in the case of Poland the collapse was much faster due to lack of protectors``. This remind us that Poland failed to choose her friends wisely but was/is regularly giving her trust to false friends and, on the other side, Poland was ready to confront very strong opponents. In that situation one simple must exhaust his strength.

Now, when you mentioned Turkey, it seams that there are historical tendencies that Britain, France and also Germany much more tend to support and cooperate with Turkey then with Poland.
southern 75 | 7,096
8 May 2011 #143
that Poland failed to choose her friends wisely but was/is regularly giving her trust to false friends and, on the other side, Poland was ready to confront very strong opponents

It is rather idiotic to trust the French and confront the Germans and the Russians at the same time.Germans and Russians always avoided like hell to open simoultaneously an eastern and western front.Poles allied with Russians would be a deadly threat for Prussia and a cause of instability for Austria.But this requires large politics and big game.

The English decided to protect the integrity of Ottoman Empire to block russian expansionism and keep the balance of power in Europe.English were not in position to offer any help to Poland.Poland was left on its own.The integrity of Poland never served any foreign force interests.
OP Crow 146 | 9,112
8 May 2011 #144
It is rather idiotic to trust the French and confront the Germans and the Russians

Poland had to be aware of historical `Drive to the East` (Drang nach osten) perpetrated by Germanics against Slavs in general. Meaning, Poland had to refrain itself from any provocation of German state (even as respond on German provocations!). Furthermore, it means that Poland mistaken when allied itself with France. It was tragic mistake. That way Poland endangered Germanic interests on France what installed Russia (in the eyes of Germans) as natural allay against Poland.

Also, France had its own interests against Russia (as all countries from west of Europe- `Drive to the East`). So when Poland allied itself with France, Poland actually challenged Russia. Situation on Baltic didn`t help and Poland become problem to Russia. i really don`t think that Russia initially had any interests to see Poland destroyed or even to work against Poland. From the Russian point of view Poland was rather seen as rogue state (being Slavic and that way naturally confronted with enemies of Russia who could try to invade Russia) on the volatile and dangerous Russian western borders. Russia had (as it has today) all possible interests that Poland exist and that Poles live.

Let us go back to France. In struggle for her strategic interests France relied on Britain and both of them very directly allied itself with Islamic factor. Same goes for German schemes with islamists. Because of all of this Poland was in very strange and bad situation, having France and Britain for friends and Germany for enemy. Especially if we have in mind that Poland, defending her zone of influence on Slavic Balkan, directly confronted Turks (Islam). Now, instead to work together with Russia regarding Slavic Balkan (there where their interests overlap and goes hand in hand), thanks to Britain and France, Poland refused coordination with Russia (or Russia turned its back to Poland having now her own obligations to Britain, France and Germany).

But, just look what happening today on Balkan, Mediterranean, in Europe and how history repeat itself. What would Poland choose these days in attempt to support defenders of Polish/Slavic zone of influence on Balkan (Serbians)? What would Poland do now when Islam openly attacking (not only Balkan), when Britain, France and Germany coordinate (against Slavs) with that advancing Islam?
southern 75 | 7,096
8 May 2011 #145
We have also to keep in mind that when Russians offer a treaty they usually contain some terms which can easily be viewed as violation of internal control or dependancy.Poles did not probably want to become a vassal state to Russia sharing the fate of Belarus or Ukraine that is why they resisted.If Russians displayed a tact(which I doubt in those circumstances) and let the nationalism of Poles intact they may have succeeded but it was doomed from the begiining due to mutual suspicion of orthodox towards catholics I mean Russians did not trust Poles and Poles did not trust Russians.

There was also no visible common danger to unite Russians and Poles aka united Germany so the Russians acted in comfort they just got the strategical advantage of controlling biggest part of Poland letting Germans suppressing the polish minorities inside their borders since they(the Russians) could not appear as slavic protectors.

If the Russians trusted Poles they would give them independance and press Germany for the rights of polish minorities.Generally the Russians never worked out a panslavic scheme for slavic domination in Europe moreover when such a scheme had fanatic enemies inside and outside of slavic countries.

Between the two choices germanic or russian rule millions of Slavs would choose germanic and both sides were aware of that.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
8 May 2011 #146
Southern, when you're not being a twat you're brilliant.
Palivec - | 380
8 May 2011 #147
It is rather idiotic to trust the French and confront the Germans and the Russians at the same time.Germans and Russians always avoided like hell to open simoultaneously an eastern and western front.

You have a limited view on German history. The different German states, most notably Prussia, often fought on several fronts. That's not the problem. The problem is to survive such a situation.

Poland and Brandenburg-Prussia were in the same situation, both were surrounded by enemies. The enemy of Brandenburg-Prussia was mainly Austria, but also France, Russia and Sweden, while stronger Poland had to be treated carefully because of Eastern Prussia. If you compare what Prussia and Poland did since ~1650 you see what went wrong in Poland. After the horrible losses of the Thirty Years War Prussia deprived the estates from power and centralized the government, invited a large amount of well skilled people, reclaimed land, built new villages and towns, reformed the army and avoided any trouble until the reforms showed success (during Fredericks reign). This changed the balance of power in Europe, which led to the war against Austria and the partitions of Poland, which were mainly done to built a new balance between Prussia and Russia.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,426
8 May 2011 #148
But when push came to shove and clever Germanic nationalists came along to unite the Germanics with the notion of "us" (Germanics) against "them" (non-Germanics), the Germanic tribes started to unite.

Well...I wouldn't call it like that.

The French under Napoleon trampling across german lands, occupying it, helped by the many fractioned and disunited german kings and princes, did do alot to drive the point home in the minds of many Germans that there is only one way to avoid such things in the future...
gumishu 11 | 5,632
8 May 2011 #149
actually in short the German history (as well as Polish but German is more striking here) indicates one point - you bully around you end up bullied - you encroach on your neighbours - you will be encroached upon (if you care to consider it is one of the main principles of the Universe - what you give is what you will recieve )- I hope the Germans learned the lesson
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,426
8 May 2011 #150
Not only the Germans....after all being bullied around led to the building of modern Germany in the first place.

(Later the French wished they hadn't done that!)

;)


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