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."
Now that’s funny! I don’t care who you are.
The fact that German and Polish positions are not that far apart doesn’t mean Poland won’t veto constitution. Surprisingly it’s easier for Poland to talk about constitution with Germany then with Italy and Sweden. Their comments are very brutal I’d say, and they have no will to talk over the case.
"If they quibble over this, the only benefit might be the end of the European Union."
The stay at homes can cry a river...
Au contraire, perfido.
The Roman Empire? Imperial Poland? Nazi Germany? An American civilization consumed by liberal values contrary to the national interest, political posturing to gain short-term advantage, a corrupt and hopelessly biased press, and perpetual readiness to surrender to terrorists abroad and illegal immigrants at home?
Take 17th Century Poland as an example. Polonians had conquered nearby tribes: Lenczanians, Mazurs, Kuyavtans, Jadzwings, Chrobatians (Post #81). Now, proud, feudal, independent, so suspicious of central authority that only two of The Crown’s kings were native Poles: one a discarded lover of a Russian empress and the other John Sobieski, the national hero who held off the Turks at the gates of Vienna. Polish and Lithuanian landed aristocracy controlled White Russian and Ukrainian peasants. Corruption, bribery and palace intrigue produced a power vacuum in which the Poles had few friends and plenty of ambitious neighbors eager to protect their blood brothers. Though some Polish noblemen were accomplished and widely traveled, perhaps owing to a dearth of literature in the Polish language with the arts centered on folk productions, many became impoverished, ill-educated and unruly... or, in other words, ripe for partition. Meanwhile, Germans inhabited East Prussia, Pomerania and the larger towns and resisted assimilation.
Fast forward to the 1919-1920 Peace Conferences of WWI, where the seeds of resentment were planted in the German populace. Germany lost all African and Pacific Ocean colonies, but more significantly, European territories to France (Alsace-Lorraine—87% German, Saar Basin temporarily—nearly 100% German), Denmark (by League of Nations plebiscite), Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and by far the largest chunk—17,806 square miles to Poland that contained 12% of her population. That caused many Germans to be willing to listen to whoever promised relief--probably not unlike the U.S. populace if an international “peace” conference gave the American Southwest back to Mexico, presuming we still had some fight left. Part of the area seized was the Polish Corridor including Danzig--97% German and 3% Polish. (It was not by coincidence that WWII opened with a symbolic German attack on the Danzig post office. Many Poles even welcomed a Bolshevik defeat.) After WWI, Poles used abandoned ordinance to begin new expansions into Ukrainian, Lithuanian and German territories. Thus, we see Poles never missed an opportunity to try to subjugate others. (Polish News June’07 http://www.polishnews.com/text/polish_studies_newsletter/june_2007.html)
We can conclude that the Poles suffered mightily from the war, but most of them know that they brought misery upon themselves, as evidenced by past wrongs perpetrated. For instance, Auschwitz could not have operated efficiently without substantial Polish collaboration in promoting the Holocaust--and we’re not just talking about kids flashing death signs to captives on trains. Poles do not care to criticize their Soviet conquerors because there is no advantage to be gained—in votes or reparations money. In sum, as others have argued above, perceptions of justice and injustice depend on where the history clock is started. If we insist on continuing to fight the last war, the fight will never end as each side rages on. I'm impressed that your contribution to that rage has been considerable.
I am quite aware of the events you describe. I also know that the pre-war Polish regime was quasi-Fascist and —like the Czech regims, not kind to minorities. However, that is beside the point. We in the South enslaved millions of people and even went to war in order to preserve our system. BTAIM, we were invaded and finally over whelmed by large Union armies, which not only destroyed our economy (in 1870, NYState alone had a large GDP ; than the entire former confederacy) but left us for us under military government. In 1877, the North abandoned its effort to coerse the South and allwed state government to return to the hands of their white majorities. Not until the 1960s can it be said that the South recovered from the Civil War. </i>
I recite this history to remind you that an angry scar never heals and is a constant reminder of past injuries done. You have a point about the benefits of letting go. But it is silly to compare the evils done by the Poles with those done by the Germans or the Russians. They simply never had the power.
1919-1920 Peace Conferences of WWI, ... Germany lost all African and Pacific Ocean colonies, ...European territories to France ...Denmark ...Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and by far the largest chunk17,806 square miles to Poland that contained 12% of her population.
You must be smoking something... and it ain’t common sense.
Germans lost what WASN’T THEIRS in the first place. So much for your “analysis”.
I suppose the Mongols will be sending a letter soon asking for southeastern Europe back. Hell, the Italians have a pretty case for just asking for all of Europe back.
Now if only we can convince the Islamic fascists (with military might, if necessary) that they can like as they want in their own societies. But they seem intent on staging spectacular killings--with the explosion of a nuclear device in a U.S. city high on their wish list. Maybe we have to set an example, but if they agree and live in peace for 60 years, or 140 years, I for one am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. How about you?
The map (circa 1600 AD) displayed in Post #68 shows Poland holds territory that belongs to Lithuania. Where does it end? Are other threats more important?
Nice map. That’s it.
The concept of an EU is built on a foundation of bones blood and denial. My money is on Poland and those others few who are saying nope to an EU!
Poland is saying "not so fast", and is not willing to acknowledge any special greater equity in such population weighted voting, given the way population differences came about in Europe. It is saying "keep one vote per state", knowing full well it underweights the bigger countries. It is saying they should be underweighted in population terms, that they should regard and treat smaller states as their equals, not as junior or second class members of the EU.
Poland is itself a middling country by EU standards. The little ones that benefit the most by one country, one vote are the lowland countries, scandanavia, and the smaller eastern European countries (Poland is much larger than the others in eastern Europe, in population terms).
I do not trust the Muslims as far as I can throw the Kaaba. I have in times past thought that we made a big mistake in destroying the Ottoman Empire. But then I remember that Armenian Massacres—which of course the Turks deny to this very day. In this respect they are no unique. The Japanese refuse to admit the Nanking massacres, and for the same reason, which is that such things are dishonorable. A main difference is that despite this the Japanese have become a cold and rich society that has abandoned the Samarai culture that gave rise to Japanese militarism. This in addition to the Japanese ability to develop scientific thinking in one compartment of their brain while continuing to be traditionally Japanese in another. This enables the Zen buddhist to fly on an airplace which to his thinking does not exist. Very few Arabs have the ability to hold onto an 7th Century warrior cult mentality and at the same time modern scientific thought. Intellectually the Arab world is like the avereage American teenager: he loves all these gadgets and knows how to make them work. But the theory behind them? He could care less. The whole Muslim world is like this. The present problem is that the teenagers have decided to join gangs and get their real kicks from endless violence.
Thanks for that perspective!