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World War 1 - Poles on most fronts in Europe. Any good sites about it in English?


Mr Grunwald 29 | 1,946
7 Sep 2010 #1
Poland was occupied by Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia from 1795-1918. A recent Polish study estimated 3.4 million Poles served in the Armed Forces of the occupying powers during World War One. Total deaths from 1914-18, military and civilian, within the 1919-1939 borders, were estimated at 1,130,000.[4] The following estimates of Polish deaths, within contemporary (post 1945) borders, during World War I were made by a Russian journalist in a 2004 handbook of human losses in the 20th century. Total dead 640,000: including military losses from Polish delegations of the following armies below. POW deaths in captivity of 20,000. Civilian losses due to the war included 120,000 due to military operations and 250,000 caused by famine and disease.[3] The ethnic Polish Blue Army served with the French Army. The ethnic Polish Legions fought as part of the Austro-Hungarian Army on the Eastern Front.

Austria-Hungary (Polish Legions): 67,000
German Empire: 87,000
Russian Empire: 96,000

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I_casualties
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polnische_Wehrmacht
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Legions_in_World_War_I
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Army_%28Poland%29

On mobilization, the Russian army totalled 115 infantry and 38 cavalry divisions

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Russian_Army

I didn't find much information about the Poles/Polish army in Russia.

Anybody know any good cites about it in English?
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,424
7 Sep 2010 #2
What I would like to know if and how this topic is teached about in polish schools?
After all this war and it's aftermath was the reason for the rebuilding and independence of Poland.

Are Poles interested in WWI as much as in WWII???
Zed - | 195
7 Sep 2010 #3
Not as much.... the common knowledge from my time of schooling is that we shed blood for Germans, Russians and Austrians, unwillingly, and our country was ransacked and pillaged, and then all of the sudden with some aid from Pilsudski and other politicians we woke up independent :-). It's a simplification of course, but that's how it got remembered by me.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,424
7 Sep 2010 #4
It's a simplification of course, but that's how it got remembered by me.

Interesting...
Zed - | 195
7 Sep 2010 #5
and, wouldn't you say.... it's probably not far from truth :-)
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,424
7 Sep 2010 #6
Hard to say....but I don't remember that the territory of the future Poland was "ransacked and pillaged" during WWI (that was France mainly) and I really find it interesting that the Treaty of Versailles (there had been the new borders of Germany and Polands independence decided) wasn't even mentioned.
Marek11111 9 | 816
7 Sep 2010 #7
I have read some history books but no one expanded on ww1 and Poland involment.
My mother doctor when she was young was old conscription from Russian army as he serve for 25 years and learn the medicine.
plk123 8 | 4,149
7 Sep 2010 #8
I didn't find much information about the Poles/Polish army in Russia.

russia was a freaking mess at that time as they had internal conflicts too.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,424
7 Sep 2010 #9
Yeah...when did the revolution start? 1917 something?
The civil war just started...I wonder what with the conscripted Poles happened as Russia bowed out of WWI...probably marching home?
plk123 8 | 4,149
7 Sep 2010 #10
Yeah...when did the revolution start? 1917 something?
The civil war just started...

right, 1917 and there were other internal issues already brewing too.. civil war.. etc. = a mess

The civil war just started...I wonder what with the conscripted Poles happened as Russia bowed out of WWI...probably marching home?

gulags, home, helping the reds.. i'm sure all kinds of different things; probably why there isn't any good info on that period.
OP Mr Grunwald 29 | 1,946
8 Sep 2010 #11
The civil war just started...I wonder what with the conscripted Poles happened as Russia bowed out of WWI...probably marching home?

Well one thing for sure was that in 1917 the Germans had signed a peace treaty, meaning all Russia's Western territories belonged to Germany. But in 1918 Germany surrendered and had her own "revolution problems" at home. So nobody knew who all these territories belonged too, the commies thought of it belonged to them as they were a new version of Russia. While Poles thought where Poles lived was theirs, and Poles lived scattered all over the area, and adding Belarussian, Ukrainians, Balts. It was one huge chaos ball :)

russia was a freaking mess at that time as they had internal conflicts too.

Indeed.

Are Poles interested in WWI as much as in WWII???

Probably not, but some are and I bet Polish Legions have a special place. Fighting for Germany wasn't much attracted as then they maybe would fight French people (not a popular thing to do) but with the Austrian-Hungarian Empire which knew Poles animosities towards Russia they sended all of em against Russia, so fighting with Austria-Hungary was much more preferred then Germany's banners. Although some/many did in normal German regiments I think.

I am not sure if there was many Poles fighting on the Balkans...

Hard to say....but I don't remember that the territory of the future Poland was "ransacked and pillaged" during WWI

Well, maybe not ransacked and pillaged as many Germans lived in those areas too, and I guess the Central powers didn't want to lose some form of "I like those Germans better then Russians!"

If they went on pillaging and rampaging then perhaps no Poles would fight for central powers :)
But the front lines were moving.
Zed - | 195
8 Sep 2010 #12
So far I only managed to find this in polish:

historia.na6.pl/straty_po_i_wojnie_swiatowej

just an overview of damage incurred in WWI
OP Mr Grunwald 29 | 1,946
8 Sep 2010 #13
just an overview of damage incurred in WWI

It said 3 million people were resettled and all their property destroyed? O o
Zed - | 195
8 Sep 2010 #14
Well.... did you hear about Russian evacuation from Poland while Germans approached? And then war displaces people in general, doesn't it?
OP Mr Grunwald 29 | 1,946
8 Sep 2010 #15
Nope not heard much about it, I am mostly "stupid" when it comes to ww1

But I am going to bed now, if you write anythign ill read it tomorrow with great pleasure :)
and thank you for the link
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
8 Sep 2010 #16
Bratwurst Boy

Hard to say....but I don't remember that the territory of the future Poland was "ransacked and pillaged" during WWI

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.

Apparently both Germans and Russians stripped industrial equipment such as railways and carried it back to their respective countries in some places. Though he does not put a number on the dead fighting for the respective armies, I have read of estimates of between 400 000-450 000.
OP Mr Grunwald 29 | 1,946
9 Sep 2010 #17
hague1cmaeron

Thank you for your contribution
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
9 Sep 2010 #18
Mr Grunwald
Not a problem, its not the best known period of Polish history. Pilsudski always viewed a clash of the big powers as necessary for Poland to gain its independence. If my memory serves me right he correctly predicted the initial defeat of Russia in the conflict by Germany and Austro-Hungary, followed by the defeat of Germany by France and Britain.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,424
9 Sep 2010 #19
A part of Poland then belonging to Russia was deliberately laid waste in order to deprive the Germans of the necessary supplies.

Scorched-Earth-tactic ?

Apparently both Germans and Russians stripped industrial equipment such as railways and carried it back to their respective countries in some places.

???

During the war it WAS german territory (the industrial equipment and railways being german build) and after the war as the borders were changed I don't think they had the possibility to strip something...

What is the author talking about?

Pilsudski always viewed a clash of the big powers as necessary for Poland to gain its independence.

Yeah...isn't it nice.
Millions of Europeans die with grave consequences for the near future (another war) but Poland profits...the same with Napoleon who is seen as a wannabe conqueror and dictator in most of Europe - besides Poland where he is seen as rather "cool".

;)

Makes it hard to find a common narrative of european history for all Europeans I would think...
OP Mr Grunwald 29 | 1,946
9 Sep 2010 #20
besides Poland where he is seen as rather "cool".

Well he was cool! Beats Prussia, Austria and Russia! (Until he invaded Russia)

Millions of Europeans die with grave consequences for the near future (another war) but Poland profits...

War = People die
Enemies die = Free Poland
How can that be negative ;)?

BB do you know how Germans treated other minorities which were in the army? Like Jews for instance!

(Saw an movie about some Christmas day and there was an German Officer who was a Jew that's why I am asking)
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,424
9 Sep 2010 #21
Well he was cool! Beats Prussia, Austria and Russia! (Until he invaded Russia)

Since when does "beating countries" mean "cool" for Poles???
They should adore the Germans then! :):):)

BB do you know how Germans treated other minorities which were in the army? Like Jews for instance!

Nothing especially...besides that there have been Jews which got their Iron Crosses for Bravery too...

That was one point Hitler grappled with during his rise up....he even had to make concessions to Jews who fighted like any other Germans for the Kaiser.

An interesting example of jewish Germans experiences:
rubyfamily.blogspot.com/2006/08/german-jews-in-wwi.html

I couldn't find a thing about polish Jews in WWI though...there were drafted to, weren't they?
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
10 Sep 2010 #22
Scorched-Earth-tactic ?

You know, destroying everything that might be value to the enemy or close to everything e.g crops etc. It is done when a army is retreating and wants to delay the advance of the enemy.

During the war it WAS german territory (the industrial equipment and railways being german build)...

This was at the end of the war, when the writing was on the wall so to speak. it could be considered a great way of handicapping a future Polish state.

German built hmmm, maybe but it was Polish taxpayers who had to pay for it and as you might know the Polish nobility was initially taxed more that its Prussian counterpart.

Well it wasn't Polish Hubris that brought about the war......
but they were the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes at the end of it, though they did have to endure a lot suffering like the rest. A painful rebirth one might say.

You are right about the narrative part, its kinda hard to find an all embracing common narrative.
OP Mr Grunwald 29 | 1,946
12 Sep 2010 #23
I couldn't find a thing about polish Jews in WWI though...there were drafted to, weren't they?

Yeah I think so, but Jews, Muslims had their own versions of oath for instance(In 30's Polish army). Wasn't it like that in Kaiser Armee too?

Since when does "beating countries" mean "cool" for Poles???

No no no no! I said: Beating Prussia, Austria + Russia! Occupants! :p

They should adore the Germans then! :):):)

Well they fought Russians in WW1 so some were happy ;)
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,424
12 Sep 2010 #24
Wasn't it like that in Kaiser Armee too?

Jews having their own oath??? No....I really don't think so....
OP Mr Grunwald 29 | 1,946
12 Sep 2010 #25
Ahhh, so it was more important to feel as one, everyone was a German?

Ill try find some pictures of Uniforms and such the Poles used ;)
pawian 177 | 14,566
12 Sep 2010 #26
Are Poles interested in WWI as much as in WWII???

Many WW1 cemeteries in southern Poland are beautifully restored:

Beskidy Poland
Poland gory
Girugamesh
8 Aug 2017 #27
I would very much like to know more about the Poles during WWI. It serves as a good way to justify a lot of Poland's allegedly evil actions after the war ended, as a lot of revisionist Neo-Nazis like to blame the war's beginnings on the Polish.


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