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  1. Silesian uprisings | Military Wiki | Fandom › wiki › Silesian_uprisings
    • Historical Background
    • Mineral Resources
    • Demographics in The Early 20th Century
    • Versailles Plebiscite
    • First Silesian Uprising
    • Second Silesian Uprising
    • Third Silesian Uprising
    • Further Reading

    Much of Silesia belonged to the Polish Crown in medieval times, but passed to the Kings of Bohemia in the 14th century, then to the Austrian Habsburgs. Frederick the Great of Prussia seized Silesia from Maria Theresa of Austria in 1740 in the War of Austrian Succession, after which it became a part of Prussia and, in 1871, the German Empire. After World War I, during the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles, the German government claimed that without Upper Silesia it would not be able to fulfil its obligations in regards to reparations to the Allies.

    Upper Silesia was a bounty in mineral resources and heavy industry, with mines and iron and steel mills. The Silesian mines were responsible for almost a quarter of Germany's annual output of coal, 81 percent of its zinc and 34 percent of its lead.

    The area east of the Oder in Upper Silesia was dominated by ethnic Poles, most of whom were lower class. A large proportion spoke a dialect of Polish, many also felt that they were a Slavic ethnic group of their own called Silesians. Simultaneously, most of the local elites - the landowners, businessmen, factory owners, local government, police and Catholic clergy - were German.There was a further division along the religious lines: almost all of the higher German Silesian officials were Protestant while the vast majority of Polish Silesians were Catholic. In the German census of 1900, 65% of the population of the eastern part of Silesia was recorded as Polish speaking, decreasing to 57% in 1910. This was the result of forced Germanization as well as the creation of a category of "bilingual inhabitants" for the purpose of the census, which reduced the number of Polish-speaking Silesians. German scholar Paul Weberdrew a language map that showed that in 1910, in the majority of Upper...

    The Treaty of Versailles had ordered a plebiscite in Upper Silesia to determine whether the territory should be a part of Germany or Poland. The plebiscite was to be held within two years of the Treaty (signed in 1919) in the whole of Silesia, although the Polish government only wanted it to be held in the part of Silesia east of the Oder river where there were significant numbers of Polish speakers.It was however decided to hold the plebiscite in all of Upper Silesia, including both the predominantly Polish-speaking areas in the east and the predominantly German-speaking Upper Silesian areas west of the river. It was decided by the Allies that the Upper Silesian plebiscite was to be conducted on March 20, 1921. In the meantime, German administration and police were left in place. In the background, propaganda and strongarm tactics on both sides led to increasing unrest. The German authorities warned that those voting for Poland would lose their jobs and pensions. Former German Army...

    On 15 August 1919, German border guards (Grenzschutz) massacred ten Silesian civilians in the Mysłowice mine (Myslowitzer Grube). The massacre sparked protests from the Silesian Polish miners, including a general strike of about 140,000 workers,and caused the First Silesian Uprising against German control over Upper Silesia. Revolting, the miners demanded the local government and police to become ethnically mixed (German-Polish). Roughly 21,000 Germans soldiers of the Weimar Republic's Provisional National Army (Vorläufige Reichsheer), with about 40,000 troops in reserve, quickly suppressed the uprising. What followed was German repression of the ethnic Poles of Silesia, and approximately 2,500 Poles were either hanged or executed by firing squad.[citation needed] 9,000 ethnic Poles sought refuge in the Second Polish Republic; including their family members, this amounted to some 22,000 people. The repressive actions came to an end when Alliedforces were brought in to restore order,...

    The Second Silesian Uprising (Polish: Drugie powstanie śląskie) was the second of three uprisings. In February 1920 an Allied Plebiscite Commission was sent to Upper Silesia. It was composed of the representatives of the Allied forces, and thus its members hailed from mostly from France, with smaller contingents from United Kingdom and Italy. Soon, however, it became apparent that the Allied forces were too few to maintain order; further, the Commission was torn apart by lack of consensus: the British and Italians favored the Germans, while the French supported the Poles.Those forces failed to prevent continuing unrest. In August 1920, a German newspaper in Upper Silesia printed what later turned out to be a false announcement of the fall of Warsaw to the Red Army in the Polish–Soviet War. This led to celebrations among the German community over what they assumed would be the end of independent Poland. The volatile situation quickly degenerated into violence (as German militias atta...

    The Third Silesian Uprising (Polish language: Trzecie powstanie śląskie) was the last, largest and longest of the three uprisings, as it included the Battle of Annaberg. It began in the aftermath of the plebiscite which yielded mixed results. The British and French governments could not reach a consensus on the interpretation of the plebiscite. The primary problem was the disposition of the "Industrial Triangle" east of the Oder river, whose triangle ends were marked by the cities of Beuthen (Bytom), Gleiwitz (Gliwice) and Kattowitz (Katowice). The French wanted to weaken Germany, and thus supported the Polish claim; the British and the Italians disagreed, particularly as the Germans claimed they could not pay war reparationsif they were to lose the Silesian industries. In late April 1921, rumors spread that the British pro-German position would prevail. This caused the local Polish sympathizers to act again. The insurrection began on a date planned for early in May. Unlike the Seco...

    Lt.-Colonel Graham Seton Hutchison, Silesia Revisited, DSO, MC, FRGS, London, 1929.
    Friedrich Glombowski, Frontiers of Terror, London, 1935.
    Henryk Zieliński, Rola powstania wielkopolskiego oraz powstań śląskich w walce o zjednoczenie ziem zachodnich z Polską (1918–1921), w: Droga przez Półwiecze.
    Rohan Butler, MA, J.P.T. Bury, MA, & M.E. Lambert (ed.), MA, Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919–1939, 1st Series, volume XI, Upper Silesia, Poland, and the Baltic States, January 1920–March 1...
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