German-Polish Relations: A History Of Betrayals - SPIEGEL ONLINE
The relations between France and Germany, since , according to Ulrich Krotz, has three .. Poland especially, and Czechoslovakia as well, felt threatened by the . The post-war Franco-German cooperation is based on the Élysée Treaty, a memorial in Vieil Armand, France, known in German as Hartmannswillerkopf. Just before his death, Piłsudski told Józef Beck that it must be Poland's policy to maintain neutral relations with Germany and keep up the. The history of German-Polish relations is long and often marked by bloodshed. kneeling in front of the Warsaw Ghetto memorial in December, . The architects of the post-communist era in Warsaw always knew that.
On the remote Eastern end of the German Empire, the Memel territory was separated from the rest of East Prussia and occupied by France before being annexed by Lithuania. To alleged German failure to pay reparations under the Treaty of Versailles inFrance responded with the occupation of the Rhineland and the industrial Ruhr area of Germany, the center of German coal and steel production, until Locarno treaties of [ edit ] Main article: Locarno Treaties In late German foreign minister Gustav Stresemann made his highest priority the restoration of German prestige and privileges as a leading European nation.
French withdrawal from the occupation of the Ruhr was scheduled for Januarybut Stresemann sensed that France was very nervous about its security and might cancel the withdrawal. He realized that France deeply desired a British guarantee of its postwar borders, but that London was reluctant. Stresemann came up with a plan whereby all sides would get what they wanted through a series of guarantees set out in a series of treaties.
British Foreign Minister Austen Chamberlain enthusiastically agreed. France realized that its occupation of the Ruhr Had caused more financial and diplomatic damage that was worth, went along with the plan.
The conference of foreign ministers they convened in the Swiss resort of Locarno and agreed on a plan. The first treaty was the most critical one: The second and third treaties called for arbitration between Germany and Belgium, and Germany and France, regarding future disputes.
The fourth and fifth were similar arbitration treaties between Germany and Poland, and Germany and Czechoslovakia. Poland especially, and Czechoslovakia as well, felt threatened by the Locarno agreements and these treaties were attempts to reassure them.
Thanks to the Dawes plan, Germany was now making regular reparations payments. In Septemberwith a seat on its counsel as a permanent member. The result was the euphoric "Spirit of Locarno" across Europe—a sense that it was possible to achieve peace and a permanent system of guaranteeing that peace.
From under Adolf HitlerGermany began to pursue an aggressive policy in Europe. Meanwhile, France in the s was tired, politically divided, and above all dreaded another war, which the French feared would again be fought on their soil for the third time, and again destroy a large percentage of their young men. France's stagnant population meant that it would find it difficult to withhold the sheer force of numbers of a German invasion; it was estimated Germany could put two men of fighting age in the field for every French soldier.
Thus in the s the French, with their British allies, pursued a policy of appeasement of Germany, failing to respond to the remilitarization of the Rhinelandalthough this put the German army on a larger stretch of the French border.
But France remained exhausted and in no mood for a rerun of — When the Germans launched their blitzkrieg invasion of France inthe French Army crumbled within weeks, and with Britain retreating, an atmosphere of humiliation and defeat swept France. On the other hand, the French Resistance conducted sabotage operations inside German-occupied France. To support the invasion of Normandy ofvarious groups increased their sabotage and guerrilla attacks; organizations such as the Maquis derailed trains, blew up ammunition depots, and ambushed Germans, for instance at Tulle.
The 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich came under constant attack and sabotage on their way across the country to Normandy, suspected the village of Oradour-sur-Glane of harboring terrorists, arms and explosives. In retaliation they decided to shoot all men, and burn alive all women and children in the church.
There was also a free French army fighting with the Allies, numbering almost five hundred thousand men by Juneone million by December and 1. By the war's end, the French army occupied south-west Germany and a part of Austria. France, Germany, and United Europe[ edit ] Pre ideas of France-German cooperation[ edit ] Marshal Petain, who ruled France under German supervision,adopted the ideology of National Revolution which was originally based on ideas which had been discussed for years.
Key members of the Committee became the key leaders of the French collaborators with Nazis after Therefore, a group called "Group Collaboration" had been established during the war in France, and led a myriad of conferences promoting Pro-Europeanism. The very first time the expression "European Community" was used was at its first sessions, as well as many conferences and guests lectures sponsored by the German government, propagating French-German reconciliation, French renewal and European solidarity.
Cold War The war left Europe in a weak position and divided between capitalism and democracy in the West, and dictatorship in the East. For the first time in the history of Europe both Americans and Soviets had a strategic foothold on the continent. Defeated Germany was under the control of the U. While the surveys found a view of guilt, there was a persistent negative perception of Jews, Gardner Feldman says; strikingly, one-third of those surveyed clung to the belief of the inferiority of Jews and the justice of discrimination, and 83 percent believed that Germany's crimes were only on the same level as other nations'.
Gardner Feldman describes this period as the "big silence. Some, however, accepted blame. Segments of German society involved themselves in organizations committed to penitence, notably various faith-based groups that reached out to France and the newly established Israel. This grassroots reconciliation effort was embraced and championed by Konrad Adenauer, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union party and the first postwar chancellor of West Germany.
Adenauer was a deeply religious man who reportedly read the Bible each night. Adenauer realized that to become a productive and prosperous nation, West Germany must forge close relations with old enemies. East Germany, dominated by the Soviet Union, showed little inclination toward reconciliation. Says Maull, "East Germany saw itself as representing a different Germany and therefore refused to assume any responsibility for what had happened during the Nazi regime.
West Germany, on the other hand, accepted—legally and politically—that it was the successor state to previous Germanys. In addressing his country's parliament to petition for the financial arrangement, Adenauer said Germany had a debt to pay: From the beginning of this "special relationship" between West Germany and Israel, there existed a gargantuan awkwardness.
Israel did not authorize its passports for use in Germany. Many Jews to this day refuse to step on German soil or have any business with Germans. Menachem Begin, later Israel's prime minister, led opposition to the reparation negotiations.
In Tel Aviv there were huge demonstrations that showed a deeply divided Israel. Both sides dug in and wielded moral arguments, Gardner Feldman says.
Former eastern territories of Germany - Wikipedia
Begin argued it was immoral to deal with these awful people. The fledgling state was an economic disaster. The director of the finance ministry, David Horowitz, was scouring the world for funds. He concluded that the only place Israel could get financial help was from West Germany, and that was when Israel began to make claims for compensation through reparations.1,000 years of Germany Poland relations
To devise a formula, they did not base reparations on what had been lost because such a toll, they felt, could never be calculated. Instead they formulated the cost of resettling Holocaust survivors in Israel.
On September 10,a reparations agreement between Israel and West Germany was signed in Luxembourg. The talks had been conducted in English and there were no handshakes or smiling faces at the signing of the pact, under which West Germany was to pay Israel for integrating Holocaust survivors and agreed to devise German domestic legislation to pay compensation and restitution to individual Jews.
The first reparations payments to the Israeli state as goods in kind began in and ended in ; payments to individuals continue to this day. By the end ofGermany had provided 66 billion euros in all forms of compensation, with the largest share going to Israel. Some Israelis said it was akin to taking blood money, but the agreement brought in German goods and infrastructure that built and stabilized the Israeli economy. Gardner Feldman, who has been researching German reconciliation for more than 40 years, says nearly every conceivable dimension of political and social relations was engaged in this bilateral connection between West Germany and Israel.
At the same time, Germany was developing a similar relationship with France through cultural institutions such as the Franco-German Youth Office. In the s, West Germany under Willy Brandt, who first was foreign minister and then chancellor, reached out to the East and made steps toward reconciliation with Poland in particular.
Brandt said Germany had to build with Poland what it had built with France. On a cold wet day in Warsaw on December 7,Brandt laid a wreath at the memorial of the Jewish ghetto. The lasting image of that day was a photo taken when Brandt fell to his knees in front of the memorial and remained completely still for half a minute on the wet stone floor.
That same day, Brandt signed the Treaty of Warsaw, which committed Germany and Poland to nonviolence and accepted the existing border—the Oder-Neisse line, imposed on Germany by the Allies at the Potsdam Conference.
- Former eastern territories of Germany
- France–Germany relations
- German-Polish Relations: A History Of Betrayals
Here was a man who had resisted Hitler and owned no direct responsibility for Nazi atrocities, but took on the full weight of their actions. Though West Germany had gone to great lengths to express contrition for the transgressions of the Nazis, German political leaders long avoided the concept of collective guilt and underlined that Germans had to atone for crimes committed by the Third Reich, not the nation.
Brandt, however, was the first German head of government to adopt a clear stance that "no German is free of history. Germany's ongoing relationship with Israel is unique, Gardner Feldman says, but one can see similar reconciliatory themes, approaches, and patterns through Germany's relations with its other former enemies.
In her book, she argues that the "cornerstone, perhaps the very definition, of German foreign policy after World War II became, progressively, reconciliation. Gardner Feldman examined all German chancellors from Adenauer to Merkel and found a common strain: Gardner Feldman speculates, "Maybe [Germany] looked at the most egregious examples or countries that could bring it the most benefit? Japan has rejected claims from individual Korean and Chinese victims.
This statement led to the creation, a year later, of the Asian Women's Fund, which provided aid and support to women who were forced into prostitution. It was dissolved in March Gardner Feldman also mentions two statements by Japanese prime ministers: None was followed by robust, concrete action. Some right-wing politicians have called for Tokyo to revise or rescind the Kono and Murayama apologies.
Gardner Feldman observes, "Whereas the Germans from until today are still saying, 'Sorry' and, 'This is our burden from the past,' you have a Japan whose actions contradict the apologies they have uttered. The shrine is particularly anathema to China, which was occupied by Japan before and during World War II, and Korea, which was colonized by Japan from to Various government ministers paid their respects at the shrine, and Prime Minister Abe sent a small masakaki tree.
Germany, meanwhile, has used sites of Nazi crimes, such as concentration camps, as learning and teaching tools and visible representations of atrocities. In Berlin, there are countless physical reminders such as words engraved in cobblestones that mark the arrests of Jews or where families lived before they were pushed out by the Third Reich.
While Japan has largely forgone reconciliation, Germany has used its policy to claim a moral high ground and become a trusted power. Hanns Maull, the foreign policy analyst, says that one reason Germany has become so trusted is the lengths it has gone to distance itself from its days as an aggressive power. Military power, in particular, is taboo.
Germany debates the role of force and has a very cautious approach. Germans are willing, under certain conditions, to use military force but never to use it alone and only when there's no choice but military intervention. Gardner Feldman says no.