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Poles in the Napoleonic era


Ozi Dan 26 | 569
5 Jul 2010 #121
Below are some cool PHOTOS of Napoleonic veterans in full uniform. There are 2 of uhlans but they don' seem to be Polish unfortunately:

dl.lib.brown.edu/libweb/collections/askb/veterans.php

Has anyone got photos of Polish veterans?
Sire Brenshar 1 | 61
5 Jul 2010 #122
There are 2 of uhlans but they don' seem to be Polish unfortunately:

No, they are both Polish lancers, though maybe the men wearing the uniform aren't.
Ozi Dan 26 | 569
5 Jul 2010 #123
I meant not Polish because of the surnames, or do you mean their uniforms are Polish?
OP Mr Grunwald 29 | 1,957
3 May 2011 #125
It's 3 of May today in Poland!
The national anthem stems from the Poles during the Napoleonic era! ;)
JK_TX - | 23
3 May 2011 #126
Just out of curiosity, does anyone know how many, or what percentage of the Prussian Army during Napoleonic times was Polish?
Weren't Poles were being conscripted when they came of age and forced to serve for a period of several years or did this happen later?

J
gumishu 11 | 5,632
3 May 2011 #127
I don't think they were conscripted at all by the Prussian Army at the time - it was very different story to what happened during the I WW
JK_TX - | 23
3 May 2011 #128
Thank you gumishu, it would be interesting to me to know when the Prussians did start conscription. I know my gg grandfather was Polish but served in the Prussian cavalry. Not sure if he volunteered or was conscripted. He would have served probably in the late 1860's or so...

I have looked at a lot of Parish records from West Prussia during these times and it seems that most men didn't marry till their mid-20's. So I'm not sure if this is a cultural thing or they waited till their conscription time was passed.

J
gumishu 11 | 5,632
3 May 2011 #129
well I have just found condradicting statements here
bryk.pl/teksty/liceum/historia/xix_wiek/11225-prusy_w_pierwszych_latach_xix_wieku.html
the site claims that up to 40 per cent of Prussian troops in the Franco-Prussian war of 1806 were Poles - I would tend to think Prussian military would deem Poles not trustworthy enough to fight among their ranks but seems I am wrong - this may have changed after Napoleonic wars (when Poles supported the French) for some time - there is little read on the subject on the internet

Poles (forced recruits) were definitely part of the Prussian army in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71 - Wojciech Kossak depicted their attack in the first line of Prussian army in the battle of Gravelotte - the Prussian military orchestra played them the Dąbrowski Mazurka for their charge

agraart.pl/cgi-bin/obiekt.cgi?act=1&qt=1073520697&nr=1004
JK_TX - | 23
3 May 2011 #130
It looks like (if my sources are correct) that conscription began around 1806. I am also aware that Prussia had Hussar and Uhlan units, were these made up of Poles but led my Germans?? This seems to be a very difficult subject to research!

Thanks again and best wishes.
J
gumishu 11 | 5,632
3 May 2011 #131
I am also aware that Prussia had Hussar and Uhlan units, were these made up of Poles but led my Germans??

I am pretty sure these weren't made up of Poles - they were elite cavalry units - you wouldn't expect such units to be made up of some (despised and not trusted) minority of an empire
Palivec - | 380
3 May 2011 #132
It looks like (if my sources are correct) that conscription began around 1806. I am also aware that Prussia had Hussar and Uhlan units, were these made up of Poles but led my Germans?? This seems to be a very difficult subject to research!

No, conscription in Prussia started only after the Prussian reforms by Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, which were a direct result of the defeat in 1806. Conscription was first temporarialy implemented in March 1813 and finally began in 1814.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
3 May 2011 #133
Poles were also in the German Army during the First World War. There is a passage in Ernst Junger's Storm Of Steel in which a German officer asks for volunteers to storm a British machine gun emplacement, but no Germans volunteer. However one soldier, whom Junger describes as "a large lumbering Pole", does volunteer, and faced with his brave example some German soldiers are inspired, or perhaps shamed, and they volunteer to accompany the Pole. Ernst Junger being a reactionary German nationalist, who was no friend of Poland, would not have invented this story.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,432
3 May 2011 #134
I am pretty sure these weren't made up of Poles - they were elite cavalry units - you wouldn't expect such units to be made up of some (despised and not trusted) minority of an empire

The prussian army was quite egalitarian. You were a good soldier or not and treated accordingly, your ethnicity didn't matter...Prussia had more minorities than just the Poles.

There exists a book about it:

Preußische Armee und polnische Minderheit. Royalistische Streitkräfte im Kontext der Nationalitätenfrage des 19. Jahrhunderts (1815-1914)

JK_TX - | 23
3 May 2011 #135
Copy Cats :D

Thank you Bratwurst Boy. I guess I'll have to brush up on my German to read that though! ;)
J
gumishu 11 | 5,632
3 May 2011 #136
The prussian army was quite egalitarian. You were a good soldier or not and treated accordingly, your ethnicity didn't matter.

sure you would like to believe in that :P

btw what other minorities? the Danes? how many of them? some 50 thousand Lithuanians? a couple of thousands of Czechs?
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,432
3 May 2011 #137
Thank you Bratwurst Boy. I guess I'll have to brush up on my German to read that though! ;)

Oh yeah...I read a review about it and it's tough! ;)

sure you would like to believe in that :P

No, it's from that book...the army had no much time nor patience for all that nationalistic squabbling...you had to function as their soldier and that was all they cared about. They were apolitical.
Palivec - | 380
3 May 2011 #138
btw what other minorities? the Danes? how many of them? some 50 thousand Lithuanians? a couple of thousands of Czechs?

Mainly French Huguenots and Kashubians.

Poles in the Prussian army:
pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kategoria:Polacy_%E2%80%93_wojskowi_armii_pruskiej
JK_TX - | 23
3 May 2011 #139
Well, that explains it, he was Kashubian...
J
gumishu 11 | 5,632
3 May 2011 #140
No, it's from that book...the army had no much time nor patience for all that nationalistic squabbling...you had to function as their soldier and that was all they cared about. They were apolitical.

ha ha ha - einer Schuss einer Russ, einer Stoss ein Franzos - quite apolitycal - so was Bismarck (and his remarks about Poles being wolves and that you don't befriend wolves just shoot them - well he was right to a certain extent)
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,432
3 May 2011 #141
einer Schuss einer Russ, einer Stoss ein Franzos - quite apolitycal -

Well...yeah...war slogans. They didn't made the policy they were a tool.

so was Bismarck (and his remarks about Poles being wolves and that you don't befriend wolves just shoot them - well he was right to a certain extent)

And still the Poles flourished in Bismarckian Prussia...
gumishu 11 | 5,632
3 May 2011 #142
Mainly French Huguenots

French Huguenots were thouroughly integrated by the middle of XIXth century I would presume - simple as that Poles were the biggest minority in German empire and earlier in Prussia (counting in several millions) even excluding Kashubians - I'm pretty sure you will argue Silesians were not Polish :P
J Gard - | 4
5 May 2011 #143
I don't know how many made it to Moscow but not many made it back. The Era is one of most wrote about eras, read somewhere that only Jesus and Lincoln have had more wrote books about them
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
5 May 2011 #144
The Era is one of most wrote about eras

It was such a promising time. Napoleon was spreading the modern values of the Revolution even all the way to hoary Moscow! But the damned forces of reaction had to ruin it.
Koala 1 | 332
5 May 2011 #145
Ideas and values (as awesome as they might be) should be spread by models to follow, not by forcing other countries to submission.
alexw68
5 May 2011 #146
As that well-known force of reaction, Beethoven, famously realised - and scratched out the original dedication to Napoleon of his 3rd Symphony, the Eroica:

Eroica cover page
Palivec - | 380
5 May 2011 #147
ha ha ha - einer Schuss einer Russ, einer Stoss ein Franzos - quite apolitycal - so was Bismarck (and his remarks about Poles being wolves and that you don't befriend wolves just shoot them - well he was right to a certain extent)

You confuse several things here. The topic is the early 19th century, your first quote is from the early 20th century. Because of the evolving nationalism in Europe these eras were quite different. Before the age of nationalism, and after the enlightenment, Prussia was actually quite liberal and a pretty progressive society.

And Bismarcks quote often gets misread. He also says that Poles have his full sympathy. What he said was that he fully understands the Polish cause, but in order to preserve the unity of Germany he has to take harsh measures. In retrospect this was of course wrong, but at that time no government had an answer to the evolving nationalism of the 19th century.
gumishu 11 | 5,632
5 May 2011 #148
Prussia was actually quite liberal and a pretty progressive society.
And Bismarcks quote often gets misread.

it was not very liberal to its Polish (or generally Slavic) subjects - perhaps even more so in those parts that it acquired before the partitions of Poland (like Śląsk where Polish was gradually removed from liturygy not to mention schooling - there simply was a policy of germanization through various means including colonization)

the topic was also Prussian and German millitary up untill the I WW (as asked by one of the posters)

here's an excerpt from Polish wikipedia :
Jeden z pierwszych dekretów Fryderyka Wielkiego z 1764 roku był skierowany przeciwko językowi polskiemu. W tym zarządzeniu germanizacyjnym nakazuje on wprowadzenie języka niemieckiego jako języka urzędowego oraz wydaje zakaz zatrudnienia w szkołach nauczycieli nie posługujących się językiem niemieckim.

Why didn't u post the English version? It is there.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,236
5 May 2011 #149
... a nawet zakazywało udzielania zgody na śluby jeżeli nowożeńcy nie nauczą się mówić po niemiecku.

This is clear evidence that the germanization of the Polish-speaking people of Lower Silesia has swiftly started off almost from the very moment the Prussians had conquered Silesia from the Austrian Empire in 1741. The germanization process which had hitherto been natural and very slow on the right bank of the river Oder and even in large areas south of Breslau/Wrocław [around the town of Oława], had been given a new, and a very strong, administrative dimension. The intention of Frederic the Great and the Prussians is more than clear for everyone who will read the above decree.

Curiously enough, the Prussians did not manage to make such a progress in the germanization of Upper Silesia which until 1918 largely remained a Polish-speaking region.

--------------------------------------
Not a mention of the above decree of Frederic the Great in the German Wikipedia, however.
gumishu 11 | 5,632
5 May 2011 #150
Not a mention of the above decree of Frederic the Great in the German Wikipedia, however.

well, you have to build your national myths on something - Germany has appartently chosen the times of the Frederic for now


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