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Old 12-18-2015, 07:32 PM
 
Location: SoCal
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... Post-World War I German Colonization in Eastern Europe Be?

This question should be pretty self-explanatory: Let's say that the French "play along with their own demise" in 1914 in a similar style to what Maurice Gamelin did in 1940 in real life. This leads to a quick German victory in the west in World War I, after which Germany is able to direct almost all of its forces against Russia. Let's say that Germany still gets greedy in this TL and thus still demands Brest-Litovsk style borders in the east, eventually getting them after some additional fighting and after Russia concludes that it is pointless to continue resisting.

My question here is this--how successful will post-World War I German colonization in Eastern Europe be in this TL? Will Germany successfully manage to convince millions of ethnic Germans to permanently settle in Eastern Europe, such as in the Baltics? If so, then will this result in any eventual large-scale German annexations in the east, such as a German annexation of some or all of the Baltic states?

Thoughts on this?

For the record, I am focusing on Eastern Europe here since if Germany wins World War I in both the east and in the west, then Germany's post-World War I territorial gains (including its puppet states) will be *much* larger in the east than they will be in the west.
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Old 12-18-2015, 09:00 PM
 
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First of all I wouldn't think that colonization is the right term. I think annexation would be more appropriate. But to answer the question, before capitulating Germany had already acquired the territory from Russia that it wanted when Russia acquiesced to Germany's terms in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Of course the treaty was nullified by the general armistice in 1919 but while Germany did not maintain protectorship over the Baltic States, Ukraine and Finland I think we can see what the height of Germany's pre-Nazi territorial ambitions reached.
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Old 12-18-2015, 09:30 PM
 
Location: SoCal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWiseWino View Post
First of all I wouldn't think that colonization is the right term. I think annexation would be more appropriate. But to answer the question, before capitulating Germany had already acquired the territory from Russia that it wanted when Russia acquiesced to Germany's terms in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Of course the treaty was nullified by the general armistice in 1919 but while Germany did not maintain protectorship over the Baltic States, Ukraine and Finland I think we can see what the height of Germany's pre-Nazi territorial ambitions reached.
No--rather, I indeed meant colonization. In other words, I am talking about ethnic Germans settling in Germany's newly acquired Eastern European puppet states.
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Old 12-19-2015, 06:46 AM
 
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The war aims of Germany in WW1 were different than in WW2. In WW2 they wanted Lebensraum, a living space in the East, which met Russia. This way they would have more economic resources, especially in terms of agriculture. The Nazis were willing to kill off and resettle the native population to achieve this.

The war aims in WW1 were to obtain more overseas colonies and capture some of the global trade that Britain enjoyed.

I think they were willing to move the native Poles out of Germany at this time but not what the Nazis envisioned of doing at a huge scale. Also, Lenin was desperate to get out of the conflict, I am not sure the Czar or someone else would do such a beneficial treaty.

I think you have to keep those perspectives in mind.
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Old 12-19-2015, 09:32 AM
 
Location: Southeast Michigan
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The exemplary behavior of German troops towards the occupied population in Ukraine in 1918 is cited as one of the reasons why so many Jews did not believe the Soviet propaganda and stayed behind in 1941.

Kaiserreich could be brutal (and so could any other empire at that time) but it was not the Third Reich. Not even close by a long shot. Had they achieved any territorial gains in Eastern Europe, they would certainly not be considered "colonies" but an integral part of the country. So no mass murder / starvation.

Large parts of the Eastern Europe were already part of German states - Chechs, Slovaks, Ruthenians, Hungary, parts of Poland.

So we're basically talking about parts of the Russian Empire.

There were already millions of ethnic Germans in the Baltic states and Russian parts of Poland. Many more would come. The local population would be politically disenfranchised - there would be attempts to "Germanize" their kids, the government positions would be favoring Germans or at least German-speakers. Perhaps even the restrictions on the use of the native language or discrimination in college admissions. At the same time, there would not be the kind of economically, socially and culturally suffocating restrictions like the ones placed on the Jews by the Russian Empire. There would be law and order, better judicial system, and no restrictions on travel / trade / residence. Some groups, like the Jews, would actually see their lot improve greatly (only the Nazis were treating them worse than the Russian Empire). I'd say that the Poles would probably be slightly better off as well - there was a lot of animosity in Russia towards them ever since the 1863 uprising. The Baltic peoples would be far better off, given that their whole culture was so thoroughly Germanized before they were conquered by Russia. They would find it much easier to adapt. The Ukrainians, Belorussians, and ethnic Russians would be the losers. That of course depends on how far east the annexation would go.
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Old 12-19-2015, 01:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Futurist110 View Post
No--rather, I indeed meant colonization. In other words, I am talking about ethnic Germans settling in Germany's newly acquired Eastern European puppet states.
Ok. I still having definitional problems with the question. If I'm not mistaken most of eastern Europe with the exception of a small portion of today's Poland and the Baltic states were already part of Germany or the Austrian Hungarian Empire. In the treaty of Brest Litovsk the Baltic states and the Ukraine achieved independence but I don't see Germany attempting to "colonize" or even mass migrate to either. In short, I just don't see Imperial Germany holding the same "living space" ambitions of the the Third Reich. But maybe I'm wrong.

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Old 12-20-2015, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Southeast Michigan
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Originally Posted by Futurist110 View Post
No--rather, I indeed meant colonization. In other words, I am talking about ethnic Germans settling in Germany's newly acquired Eastern European puppet states.
Unlike the "true" colonization, the resettlement would work both ways. AFAIK a Pole from the German held part of Poland would have no restrictions if he wanted to move to Berlin. There likely would be common laws and citizenship. Annexation is indeed the correct term.
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Old 12-22-2015, 12:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jobseeker2013 View Post
I think they were willing to move the native Poles out of Germany at this time but not what the Nazis envisioned of doing at a huge scale.
My bet is that the far more genteel imperial Germans would have only expelled those Poles unwilling to either Germanize ethnically, or at least swear political allegiance to the German empire. Any efforts to Germanize westrern Poles would have been made easier by the fact that some western Polish sub groups (Silesians, Kashubians) and Germans shared some cultural elements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ummagumma View Post
Unlike the "true" colonization, the resettlement would work both ways. AFAIK a Pole from the German held part of Poland would have no restrictions if he wanted to move to Berlin. There likely would be common laws and citizenship. Annexation is indeed the correct term.
I think you are right, but there might have been a few caveats imposed by the Germans:

- Polish transplants would be welcome- so long as not too many of them took advantage of it. It is also preferable that such transplants be from German influenced sub groups.

- If too many of the wrong types of Poles show up, then we are going to declare Poles, Balts etc. to be Imperial German "nationals", but not German citizens per se. Imperial nationals, like British Hong Kongese dont have automatic residency rights.... .

Last edited by Cryptic; 12-22-2015 at 01:05 PM..
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:19 AM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWiseWino View Post
Ok. I still having definitional problems with the question. If I'm not mistaken most of eastern Europe with the exception of a small portion of today's Poland and the Baltic states were already part of Germany or the Austrian Hungarian Empire. In the treaty of Brest Litovsk the Baltic states and the Ukraine achieved independence but I don't see Germany attempting to "colonize" or even mass migrate to either. In short, I just don't see Imperial Germany holding the same "living space" ambitions of the the Third Reich. But maybe I'm wrong.
No, you are right in the sense that Imperial Germany was not the evil that was Nazi Germany. But the Germans of the World War I era did have areas that they wanted to annex to Germany or at least leave as German puppet states. These included the Baltic States and Poland.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Border_Strip Suggested areas of Poland to be annexed to Germany.
From the article: "also known as the Polish Frontier Strip, refers to those territories which the German Empire wanted to annex from Congress Poland after World War I. It appeared in plans proposed by German officials as a territory to be ceded by the Kingdom of Poland to the German Empire after an expected German and Central Powers victory. German planners also envisioned forced expulsion and resettlement of the Polish and Jewish population which would be replaced by German colonists".

Germans had been settling in the Baltic States as warriors, landlords and merchants since the Middle Ages. Indeed, East Prussia was originally not German territory. The East Prussians were originally a Baltic people called the Old Prussians whose language has died out and been replaced with German.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Prussian_language
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Old 12-23-2015, 11:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LINative View Post
No, you are right in the sense that Imperial Germany was not the evil that was Nazi Germany. But the Germans of the World War I era did have areas that they wanted to annex to Germany or at least leave as German puppet states. These included the Baltic States and Poland.
Here's the thing about Poland, with the exception of a short period during the Napolenoic Wars, Poland as an nation had ceased to exist by 1795 and only achieved state hood in 1919 at the end of WWI. So when it comes to annexation/colonization by Germany what we have in fact is a generational battle between Germany and Russia over the lands between them.

By the way, Germany had been expelling ethnic Poles from Germany, because that is what Poland was, in the 19th century.
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