Skip to comments.We'd have more power in EU if Germans hadn't 'reduced our population' in WWII, says Polish PM
Posted on 06/21/2007 10:54:10 AM PDT by RWR8189
The Polish PM has stunned European leaders today with an astonishing attack on Germany for starting the Second World War.
In a spectacularly undiplomatic outburst, he said his country was losing out in today's European Union as a direct result of the millions of deaths that followed its invasion by Germany in 1939.
"We are only demanding one thing - that we get back what was taken from us," said Jaroslaw Kaczynski at the opening of the EU summit in Brussels, chaired by German chancellor Angela Merkel.
"If Poland had not had to live through the years of 1939-45, Poland would be today looking at the demographics of a country of 66 million."
The issue of population is at the heart of a heated row over voting rights that could wreck Tony Blair's last EU summit.
A proposed new system of sharing out votes rewards countries such as Germany with the biggest numbers - and Poland is angrily demanding more.
Poland's population is 38 million - implying that Mr Kaczynski blames the Germans for the loss of 28 million people.
Mr Kaczynski and his twin brother Lech, Poland's president, are said to be Second World War obsessives, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of their country's sufferings under occupation.
The identical twins, whose father fought in the 1944 Warsaw uprising, have become infamous for their unrestrained comments and dislike of EU integration.
Luxembourg's premier, Jean-Claude Juncker, said they should stop living in the past. "You have to jump into the present," he told FT Deutschland.
"You will not be happy in the long run if you are always looking in the rear-view mirror."
It sets the scene for a rancorous dinner tonight when leaders of the 27 EU states need to thrash out a series of disputes to avoid a crisis.
Mr Blair, notching up his 47th EU summit, told his Cabinet in London that he was prepared to walk away from the table unless his own demands were met in full.
Before flying out, he and Gordon Brown had telephone talks with Mrs Merkel - indicating that Mr Brown is intensely involved in the negotiations.
Mr Blair came under fire for trying to water down the EU's "son of constitution" treaty. Mr Juncker a veteran federalist, fumed: "We will not stand by and see all the substance removed from the treaty."
New French president Nicolas Sarkozy said there were multiple disputes.
"We don't just have problems with Poland," he said. "We have problems with the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, a little bit with the Czech Republic. The problems are numerous."
Privately, No 10 indicated that Mr Blair wanted his demands met "100 per cent". But European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso retorted: "All the leaders say that they want 100 per cent achievement. But in Europe you've got to be reasonable and rational.
"At the end there has to be some, let's say, agreement."
Mrs Merkel sent an 11th-hour letter pleading with the leaders to compromise, so that Europe could move on from inwardlooking disputes to pressing issues such as climate change, energy supplies and globalisation.
"The European public now expects us to put the necessary reforms of the Union in hand," she wrote. "The time has now come to set out the roadmap for the impending reform of the treaties."
Its why I said, I din't want to see it going on for infinity, and wasn't going that far, the question is what is the limitations going to be?
As the saying goes, "just cuz you lose some of your boys stealing diamonds, doesn't mean your off the hook, or get to keep the diamonds"
The purple area corresponds to the assumed Urheimat (Samara culture, Sredny Stog culture). The red area corresponds to the area which may have been settled by Indo-European-speaking peoples up to ca. 2500 BC; the orange area to 1000 BC.
To which, an answer can never be found.
Ya gotta love Poland. They tell it like it is.
Y'know, I was buying Poland's argument, until I saw yours. You're exactly right. The time to settle up is right after the war, and events that occur some sixty years later should have had the reparations figured into them.
Poland's present day economic situation comes from its time spent under communism, perhaps there should be reparations paid by Russia to the former Warsaw Pact nations. Now that's within recent history.
As a person of German descent, I encourage Poles to get down to the business of making more Poles as quickly as possible. I hear Polish women are lovely and I’m sure that Polish men desire no help from either the Germans or Russians in this matter.
Germany and France have to worst run governments in the EU. Everyone in the EU would be better off if they had less power than say Lichtenstin or Monaco, not more power.
On the other hand, anyone who thinks Germany and France should have more votes than any other country in the EU just because they are larger needs to have their head examined. Germany and France are the worst run socialist cess pools in the EU.
Nearly all ethnic Germans who found themselves living on the Polish side of the post-war border moved back to Germany. Hence Germany's population did not decline nearly as much as Poland's as a result of the war, which a Germany started, I might add.
I mean, is it possible to be any more stupid than the Kaczynski twins?
Apparently yes, judging by your comments.
The Poles would have loved to have settled up after the war. Unfortunately, the Soviet Union wouldn't let them.
This is an issue about how much extra power is given to countries with larger populations. This is the same argument the founding fathers had about deciding the composition of the legislative branch. There are a whole host of reasons why apportioning power strictly on the basis of population is a bad idea (which is why we have a Senate). Kaczynski has simply used a dramatic means of illustrating this point.
Where did Kaczynski ask for reparations? He didn't, so stop acting like he did.
Actually Germany lost even more people as a result of the war than Poland did. Of cause, speaking in generalized terms Germany started the war and Poland was a victim, but the whole what-a-big-country-we-would-be-if-you-did-not-attack-us concept is fallacious and can lead only to a dead end. Past is past, and it's not about to change.
This could get very interesting.
This isn't about reparations or whining - it's about equity.
You're not supposed to be able to profit from crime.
I wholeheartedly agree! Unfortunately the Cold War mitigated the punishment dished out to Germany and Japan (though Germany was divided and Japan disarmed). And I'm not saying that we could afford to ignore the Russians and let the Axis Powers have it full tilt, but I imagine that Germany and Japan would be far more rehabilitated (and Japan is still a notorious revisionist nation) had we not had to switch to opposing the Russians so suddenly.
Of course, Germany and Japan were certainly punished more than Russia ever will be, and that's not just either.
To insist on a kind of "justice" the Polish leadership is not able to enforce, leaves a very weak impression. It only reveals the actual insignificance of the Kaczynski brothers, since they are obviously unable to verify the effective importance of their country if they are forced to construct such moronic argumentations. WWII is over since 60 years and most of the participants (no matter if we speak about victims or offenders) are dust. It is boring to beat a dead horse*.
Although this time they are obviously still not among the decisive nations in Europe, the Poles could make a good deal since other, bigger and more powerful countries want to keep them in the boat. We (the other Europeans) all know that there will be a time without this funny Polish president and his twin brother. Therefore the whining of the twins might be a nuisance but is de facto irrelevant. Obviously a strange form of folklore.
* I do not deny the nameless crimes of German forces in Poland but I doubt their actual political relevance.
What Germany did, was shoot Polands horses, then argue that Germany should handle the transportation since Poland has no horses. Its that kind of arguement.
I had a better description of it in post #100.
You should tell Prodi that it is time to pay the bill. :-)))
Very true. Another negative effect of not taking Patton's advice, and knocking off the Russkies when they were down, and we were coming on strong.
Ave America! Lucrifacturi te salutant!
I don't think Ukraine/Russia would ... they would have to give back a hell of a lot of land to Poland
I guess time is the question here, some folks would argue 9/11 happened "a long long time ago".
Its also not like victims and perpetrators are not still alive, to either be punished or benefit.
And lost 70,000 square miles to Soviet Union for a net post war loss of 30,000 square miles... bottom line, blame Germany, blame the Soviet Union, but Poland didn't attack any one and got screw at the beginning of the war and got screw at the end of the war ...
Poland's eastern border was moved westward and, as a result, Poland lost more than 70,000 square miles of territory to the Soviet Union. Poland was compensated, however, with German territory from the provinces of Silesia, Pomerania, and the southern part of East Prussia; her western border (as determined at the July 1945 Potsdam conference) would run along the line of the Oder and Neisse Rivers. Thus, Poland received more than 40,000 square miles of territory from Germany, including Silesian coal mines and a Baltic Sea coastline. This territorial shift of Polish borders moved the country decisively westward, closer to the heart of Europe. Nevertheless, Poland emerged from World War II slightly reduced in size from its 1939 boundaries.
Link to Map of Poland in 1945
Sure. And there would also be another 25 million Germans living in Pomerania and Silesia. Should these also be counted?
Your point would seem that Poland had a net gain after the war at Germany expense in both in territory and or population ...
Yet the reality is Poland had a net loss of territory of 30,000 square miles and it's population "permanently" reduced by the German policy to create German "living space"... also note that Poland did not gain the German population of Pomerania and Silesia as the Soviet Union forcibly moved them inside the new postwar German border
An in the scheme of things forcible population relocation beats forcible population reduction ... as the dead don't vote (there not Dems) or reproduce...so it does effect relative power in the new EU...
Poland main gripe is as legitimate an small population state's in the US with the added factor that it was one of there New Co-EU states that thinned out there potential Polish EU voting power ...
If Texas invaded Arkansan, after the dust settled Arkansan would at the very least, be pissy, probably for quite a few years, about having less Congressmen in the house and less political clout, money, etc. at the Federal level because of a forcible reduced population by some one they are now being asked to share population proportional voting power with in that same Federal government
With all due respect to your pride, but the times are a changing. You know very well that contemporary Germany is not the country you have to fear. Beside of that it is not Poland to decide wheter Germany is a member of the European family or not.
The problem might be that Germany is a country you Poles export/import roundabout 30% to/from while Germany exports/imports roundabout 3% to/from Poland. The fact is, that Poland is completely dependent from the access to the German market. If you would not be allowed to do so, Poland will fall into the economical status of Belarus (the "North Korea" of Europe) while Germany is for sure not reliant on Poland or its markets (BuHuHaHa!). I also do not like the comparisons between our countries with the US/Mexican situation but economically they hit the point for sure. There are many nations of Europe who want to cooperate with us because they simply like us as their reliable partner. If you Poles do not want to do this is okay with me. You even can try to convince the rest of Europe. Just ask the EU-nations which partner is more important to them. Poland or Germany. You should start with your direct neighbour, the Czechs.
Nevertheless your President well advised to leave this summit and tell everbody that he want absolutely no connection to my country. He even can close the boarder. No problem. Germany will survive it for sure. If you search for friends in your neighbourhood you can turn to Russia then. Have fun with Puttie Pooth.
Well, Puttie Poot is not an option here, but there are other neighbors to have fun with - for instance Ukraine, Baltic states and Georgia. Potentially they could make up a strong alliance supported by the USA or even form their own Eastern European Union (EEU) within or outside the EU with uncertain results. The near future of Europe seems to be a damned interesting show!
Accurate. I agree with a post here that said that Poland suffered more than any nation during and after WWII. It’s been less than two decades that Poland is free and the people are not forgetting yet. My Dad (WWII Vet) said that when Russia/Soviet army freed Poland from Nazi Germany, the people felt they went from bad (Nazi) to worse (Soviets). Poland, the people, hoped/prayed that the US or Britain would be the military that freed them from the Nazis. They suffered under Soviet rule more than they did under Nazi Germany. History shows that, too.
This isn’t about reparations, imo. They fought too long and too hard for many decades after WWII. The people of this country never surrendered (and they got screwed with Yalta) even when the war was long over for Europe. The Soviet Union was able to pacify, to an extent, all of the countries they controlled, but never Poland. I have such respect for Poland and tend to side with them on this.
Point taken, my gripe is only that I see it as germany, trying to take advantage of a situation, they caused in the first place, to get similiar results, that they tried to to get earlier.
To me, if you did something wrong, and you know it was wrong, and a situation arises later on, that you helped create, you should not now make rules that benefit you from prior bad acts.
The question here is basically time, as in how much time, or how little, which is a big question, I made a joke about the whole thing in post #100.
In some sense, I see this is as Germany trying to do the political opposite (in spirit) of what the "son of sam" law does .
My suggestion of Putin was of cause only sarcasm.
The problem for Poland is that the Balts, Georgia or the Ukraine might be pleasant neighbours, but they are a matter of complete unimportance since those nations do not offer any economical potence. Their potential of development is -due to the alarmingly shrinking population- quite limited. The US only play a role in security matters for the Poles. Economically they are also completely irrelevant for them. The US can and want not afford a second Israel to subsidize. Therefore Poland is completely dependend on western Europe and particulary on Germany.
That are the facts.
This is the reason why we Germans understand the noisy appearance of the leading twins of Poland as just a smeary show to cache their own irrelevance and the potential weakness of their country. The sad thing is that it could be so easy. With a littlebit more capitalism and a intelligent foreign policy Poland could leave the 2nd/3rd world to become a real industrial 1rd world nation. Now they are struck in their national pride and in dumb socialism.
As I said: Sad.
You have no idea what´s the difference betweeen individual and collective guilt, have you? And even worse for your position: The war ended 62 years ago.
Well, in the relation to Germany, Poland got a settlement: one third of Germany´s territory (of 1937). It´s not Germany´s fault that the Soviets took about the same size of Poland´s East. They should complain in Moscow, not Berlin.
It IS sad. In fact, I have underestimated the power of the twins to damage the German-Polish relationship. Here, the media is repeating all over again that the twins DO NOT represent a majority of the Polish people with regard to the relations with Germany. I hope the media is right.
And how big would the United States be if it won the War of 1812, took over all of Mexico after the Mexican-American War, and Cuba and the Philippines became states some time after the Spanish-American War? Even had Congress accepted that crazy American who temporarily took over Nicaragua and tried to offer it to the United States.
While on the topic of hypothetical populations.
Many Americans who discover that they have a bit of African blood find that discovery difficult, when they shouldn't.
If you have German blood, so what? That doesn't make you less Polish.
Exactly. And by the way, it’s not many, it would most likely be a lot with ‘African’ blood in them, yet not knowing it.
When things such as these are taboo, it is pushed under the rug much too often, leading to false beliefs of genetic purity.
The twins are more motivated by their real life experiences under Communism.
They waited their entire lives to throw off the shackels of Socialism only to find themselves forced by neo-,third way EuroSocialists and the Clinton Socialists into the EU.
The twins have been absolute adorers of The Constitution of The United States of America and capitalist free enterprise under the rule of law. Oh, they like property rights, contracts, and guns, too.
Off topic post about your comment: for the Americas, some estimates range from about 50% (one of the most common) to a whopping 95% of the Amerindian population dying as an effect of European contact. Much of this was due to diseases the Europeans unwittingly brought, but some was due to warfare and harsh slavery conditions at the hands of the Europeans.
By your logic, it should be the Nazis of Germany who should pay, not the entire German populations. But there are no (longer) Nazis (officially) in Germany.
So, using your Germany/Poland view and analogy, it should be the former segregationist states who should pay (and it wasn't only the Democrat-dominated South--miscegenation was illegal in California until relatively recently.