Borderland Nationalism, Westward Migration, and Anti-Polish Aggression: The Case of the Grenzmark Posen-Westpreussen, 1919-1939

By Spevack, Edmund | East European Quarterly, Fall 1996 | Go to article overview

Borderland Nationalism, Westward Migration, and Anti-Polish Aggression: The Case of the Grenzmark Posen-Westpreussen, 1919-1939


Spevack, Edmund, East European Quarterly


After Germany's military defeat in World War I, and with its acceptance of provisions stipulated by the Versailles Treaty in June 1919, major territorial changes took effect in the German eastern provinces. Almost all of the Posen province, a portion of Silesia, and large areas of West Prussia were lost by Germany and integrated into the newly established Polish state. The "corridor" of Polish territory now lay between the Free City of Danzig (to be administered by the League of Nations) and the parts of Pomerania which remained German. Although not on as grand a scale, the situation after 1918 was in quite a few ways comparable to that incurred twenty-seven years later in 1945. In the area remaining within the Reich, German politicians, business people, as well as local inhabitants, were forced to confront the sudden loss of territory, economic facilities, agricultural resources, and political control. Beyond the newly drawn eastern borders, German citizens were either driven out of what was now Polish territory, or they suddenly found themselves living as an isolated and not very well respected or protected minority under foreign political control.(1)

Because of the loss of much of what had previously been known as West Prussia and Posen, an independent new German province was established in 1992 which stretched out along the eastern-most border of the Weimar Republic and became known as the Grenzmark Posen-Westpreussen. The Polish historian Jan Wasicki has shown how the Grenzmark was founded and named purposefully as "to keep green the memory of the territories detached by the provisions of the Versailles Treaty." The formerly German areas of Posen and West Prussia would thus live on in name as well as in the collective consciousness of the German people.(2) In 1936, the German historian Erich Murawski went even further, stating that the creation of the Grenzmark emphasized the artificiality and temporariness of the borders imposed by the Versailles Treaty. The Grenzmark was here seen as a territory which would help the Germans gather strength before they returned to their rightful place as rulers over West Prussia and Posen.(3)

The new province, a true borderland phenomenon, was very slim and elongated, and rather small in territory and population. It only consisted of nine regional administrative counties (Kreise), situated in a thin strip along the new German-Polish border, and its capital was a town of 40,000 inhabitants named Schneidemuhl. A thorough portrayal of area and population of the territory is available in statistical reference works,(4) as well as more recently in two major histories of public administration.(5) These show that the new region had, in 1925, a population of 332,485 persons (by 1933 the figure had risen slightly to 337,600), an area of 7,715 square kilometers, and a population density of 43.8 persons per square kilometer. The nine individual counties (Kreise) were Schlochau, Flatow, Deutsch Krone, Netzekreis, Schwerin, Meseritz, Bomst, Fraustadt, and the city of Schneidemuhl itself. They stretched for several hundred kilometers along the newly created international border.

Since it was composed in such an artificial way, one of the most obvious features of the Grenzmark province was its heterogeneity. This holds true for the historical roots, the national and linguistic affiliation of the population, as well as for economic development in the nine individual districts.(6) Created out of bits and pieces left over when intact territories were forcibly divided by the Versailles Treaty, the Grenzmark may thus be seen as a region consisting of administrative areas possessing not many historical links and common characteristics. In fact, the artificiality of this newly joined administrative region was the main reason, in its few years of existence, for German fears of chronic instability. On the other hand, it is perhaps astounding that the region remained as stable as it did. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Borderland Nationalism, Westward Migration, and Anti-Polish Aggression: The Case of the Grenzmark Posen-Westpreussen, 1919-1939
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.