The Founding of the Republic: Poland, January-June 1936

Published: 2017-02-03

Part of the campaign:

Poland Hoi4 Campaign

The Founding of the Republic: Poland, January-June 1936
The German Victory in 1918 shocked the world. The great empires of old shattered to pieces, and a new world was assembled from the ashes. France, Britain, Italy and Russia where torn apart by the strains of fighting and losing the war. Whilst the acts of giants may dominate the world, the acts of minnows are often just as important. This is the story of one of those minnows
As 1936 dawns, Poland is a rump state. Despite fighting on the victorious side in the Weltkrieg thanks to Pilsudski's legions Poland was denied its Austrian and German territories, being given only the lands conquered from Russia. Poland was also denied full sovereignty, being placed under a seemingly indefinite 'Regency Council'. The Regency council however is bound by paralysis,a lack of authority and respect. This is partially down to the Council being stacked with Austrian and German sympathisers keen to put their respective dynasties on the throne.
Warsaw is often described as the 'Paris of the North'. Whilst picturesque, the city is lacking in terms of industry (a reflection of the rest of the nation)
Poland's Military however is staffed mainly by officers of the old Polish Legions. At this point, the Army is an outdated, inexperienced but nearly autonomous branch of the Government, capable of authorising their own small research projects and constructing their own military factories.
Polands industry is in a sorry state. Poland is infamous around Eastern Europe for its relatively poor standard of living (most of its eastern neighbours can supplement their own industry with Germany's through the Mitteleuropa trading bloc.). However this low standard of living attracts investors from Germany with the promise of low wages and productive employees.
The Military funds research at the University of Warsaw into new military technologies, in particular into updating their Weltkreig era artillery and support weapons. Research into the production of Military Vehicles
Polands air-force is equally outdated, and with only 75 aircraft it's no real defence against our neighbours in Germany or Austria.
The Military also announces that a new series of military recruitment, training and parade programs will be launched in order to make people aware of the armed forces. In reality, this was the first move in an attempt to undermine the Regency Council.
The Regency Council at this point enjoyed a small amount of support, and even that was unhappy with the way things were being run. The time was ripe for action
The Polish Army is sent to garrison the entire country in order to 'protect' the rural population from bandits. The Regency Council accept this explanation and happily authorise it. They don't particularly question the fact that significant garrisons remain in Warsaw and Lodz.
In Russia President Kerensky is Assassinated! A crisis is sure to emerge, and for days the talk on the streets of Warsaw is of what will happen next. Talk of a new Russian Empire reconquering Poland is commonplace
However these fears are unsubstantiated. Poland is nearly totally surrounded by the Mitteleuropa alliance. If an invasion is to come, it is to come from one of the two German states.
As the news of the assaination leaves the national conversation, the Military works on improving their military logistics. Polish Military production is low scale. Resources are scarce, something that seriously hinders production of the more complicated pieces of equipment
The Collapse of the German economy has a serious knock-on effect in Poland. Coupled with existing political frustrations the situation threatens to boil over. For the first time the threat of a syndicalist revolt is not just totally fanciful (if still unlikely). In the face of these pressures, the council announces it's intention to introduce more democracy into Polish society.

Whilst the official story is that the council unilaterally divested power to the people, rumours abound that the order was given for the military to police the countryside and that it was only after this order was ignored that the council realised the game was up.
Under military pressure Authoritarian Democrats are replaced with Social conservatives. Change is truly coming to Poland, as symbolised by the removal of the Eagle from the state flag. The Republic is born!
However the Authoritarians remain popular. More work will need to be done to secure the republic from the supporters of the old regime
A border skirmish breaks out in Asia. No-one in Poland cares too much
A more detailed analysis of the war appears in Polish newspapers. People continue to not care about the war a world away. Events at home are far more important
The Republic, now essentially free of the shackles of foreign powers, begins to look south. Krakow, the ancient capital of Poland, lies in Hapsburg hands. It's liberation would be a wonderful achievement for the new Republic. General Prich, head of the newly named Republican Guard, is tasked with theorising how it could be retaken. For now the dream seems impossible as the Galician pretenders draw support from Vienna, but the fragile state looks to break apart soon under internal pressures.

The Military is sent into the field for in depth exercises to prepare them for future wars
As the Military secretly plans an invasion, the Government seeks to improve relations with the Galicians in the hope of bringing them into Poland peacefully
On the home front liberalisation sees major investment flow into Poland, and two new factories are planned to be built outside of Warsaw
The Exercises have seen equipment destroyed. These must be replaced, so we focus our efforts on the weapons of war for now.
The Military's efforts to place themselves at the front of reforms have paid off, and is celebrated by a parade through Warsaw to commemorate the new republic.
With both Political and Military support the Government begins a new industrial program. The hope is is that Poland will be a heavily industrialised nation by the end of the decade
Romania re-militarises Olentia, breaking the Bucharest treaty of 1918
Romanian Troops move into the demilitarised zone. This was followed closely by the Military in Poland, who dreamt of their own occupation of Galicia
The Syndicalists hold a congress! Polish Syndicalists are not invited, and the story garners little attention amongst the populace. The Government pay quite keen attention for references towards any war against either Austria or Germany
Syndicalists are unpopular in Poland, the democratic reforms somewhat stealing their thunder. However I am reliably informed that Antoni Kaminski is an avid syndicalist in his spare time, and spends his weekends trying to find another one to talk too.
A slow news day shows that interest in this war warrants only a small article on the 7th page.
In light of the chance of a new Weltkrieg, the Government investigates what territories it could seek to occupy should Germany lose. The primary one is the territory of Plotzk, which the Polish Government (despite warnings to the Council from Berlin) has lain claim too since the end of the Weltkrieg. Given its lack of industry and resources, its likely that a strained Germany Government may exchange this region in exchange for an alliance.
However there is more than Plotzk in Germany. Pozan, one of the cultural centres of Polish culture, remains in German hands. No claim is laid here, but one could certainly be made should Germany fare badly in a war.
Krakow remains in Austrian hands. Plans are being made to change this as the False ruler, a Hapsburg, refuses to discuss its return to Poland
The same can be said for Lwow.
'Aren't they the same country?' - Everyone in Poland, 10th of April 1936
Warsaw Times: 13th April 1936:

WAR DECLARED: Second Russian Civil War begins as Reds seize army stores in Moscow and Petrograd!
Red army troops, Photographed here, are in high spirits after routing Government loyalists from Moscow and Petrograd. However the task ahead of them is enormous
Aside from besieged Yaroslavl, most of European Russia is in the hands of the Reds. The loyalists, or 'the whites', have established themselves in the city of Kazan. If the Reds are to win, they'll have to fight their way halfway to the Urals. And since the Germans took, destroyed or banned most of their armoured and mechanised forces, they'll have to do it mostly on foot.
A more detailed analysis of the war appears in Polish newspapers. Unlike the Anglo-Afghan war, this one is read avidly. A resurgent Russia could pose a serious threat to Poland if they can ally with the French to defeat the Germans
Constitution day is celebrated in a free Poland for the first time in over a century!
A parade is held in Warsaw to celebrate constitution day, with the cavalry taking pride of place. The parade reassures the people in the power of the military. In reality the Polish military is barely large enough to hope to delay the Russians, let alone fight them off.
Poland's industrial effort pays off, opening the way for more and more investment to come into the nation. All over the nation job openings are posted on street walls in anticipation for the building boom expected
Our next effort is the building up of civilian industry. Whilst some in the military moan, the standard of living in Poland must improve if our Republic is to survive
Poland's troops receive newer equipment, making them a slightly stronger force. At least now they stand a better chance against the Russians should they come.
Efforts are made to improve and make efficient Polish construction techniques via the funding of engineers in Warsaw's Universities
Our factories are also to be equipped with better machinery to make them more efficient. We cannot deal with shortfalls anymore with the Russians on the horizon
And, on page 23 of the Warsaw Times...
In Russia, the whites encircle a Syndicalist force...
...But Yaroslavl falls further and further behind enemy lines
This news gains a surprising amount of traction in Poland. The idea of working with other oppressed nations to overthrow a nearby imperial power garners many sympathies amongst Poles.
As July draws in, Poland sees her forces finish their exercises to much aplomb. This covers the awful shortfalls in artillery, medical supplies and radios that plagues the entire force.
It also sees the intensifying of the Second Russian Civil War, the outcome of which is still unclear. Whatever the result, The Republic must prevail!

Next chapter:

Game: Hearts of Iron IV

Securing our Position: Poland, July 1936-February 1937

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