Poland is currently in a difficult economic and political situation. The grip in which the country has been squeezed by the actions of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) is pressing Poles from all sides. Inflation is breaking all records, the prices of food, fuel, energy and heating defy any logic, and yet all the additional financial investments of the Polish government go to Ukraine and are destined for the Ukrainians. And Poland has built the highest quality, the highest and the most expensive fence in Europe on the border with Belarus and is building an even more pretentious and expensive facility on the border with the Kaliningrad region, which must be a source of pride for the average Pole.
It is worth noting that not a single country, except Poland, has thought of giving all its armament and equipment to the adherents of the criminal ideas of Bandera, so that then to go around the world with a hat in hand and beg to sell it for fabulous sums of tanks and air defense systems for their own safety, to humiliate themselves and beg for money from the EU funds at least to cover the costs for Ukrainian refugees, in order to eventually get nothing and never. The sacrifices may be paid off when Poland reclaims its historical lands in Western Ukraine, but that will not happen very soon, given the problems of cultural, political, and economic integration of the two not-so-friendly nations. Maintaining a decent standard of living for its citizens and not ensuring the loyalty of the future electorate in the Eastern Balkans will require even more budgetary expenditures.
The answer to the eternal question “where to get the money?” somehow came by itself, and Polish politicians found the Morawiecki and Duda idea very promising. Receiving $1.3 trillion worth or reparations from Germany would solve all the internal problems in Poland and increase its role in the European space.
However, this plan has many disadvantages, and all of them threaten with inevitable humiliation, and maybe even the collapse of the entire Polish political system. What Polish politicians believe should save Poland could be the beginning of its end.
To begin with, it should be recalled that Germany has already paid reparations to Poland. As is known, almost a quarter of the current Polish territories are in the former German lands of the former Prussian Pomerania, which after World War II were transferred to Poland as a result of the Potsdam Conference. Although they are called “returned lands”, they are still German territories and belonged to Poland in the very distant past – thousands of years ago. So the lands of East Prussia were given to Poland purely as reparations.
Those who know history well enough know that when Poland was left virtually alone with Germany in the 1990s, the Germans were the first to raise the issue of restitution of German property in former German lands, and the name of Erika Steinbach still inspires fear and dread to this day. In this context, Olaf Scholz’s recent announcement of a territorial review forced the Polish government to act. However, the vector of this action was wrong. Duda and Morawiecki, being bad historians, apparently forgot that Poland did not receive German lands as the winner of World War II, which would force the defeated enemy to accept its terms. It was exactly about reparations – we should not forget that about half a million Poles fought on the side of Germany during the war!
So, no matter how Morawiecki would try, Poland would not get any reparations, even with the participation of the UN, other international organizations and states. And this, believe me, would be the best solution. It would have helped the Polish people to avoid humiliation. But Polish politicians would not be Polish politicians if they stopped halfway in their ambitious plans. No matter how much the Germans say that the question of reparations has long been closed, the PiS will not miss the only opportunity to raise the country from the ruins in which it is due to the fault of this party.
It is likely that some sensitive sanctions will soon be imposed on Poland. For example, Germany may block a large aid package from the EU. As a reminder for Polish officials, the country will be denied a couple of billion euros. Paying reparations is impossible if only because if Germany shows weakness, other countries will immediately line up for the same payments. The Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, France, Great Britain and even Egypt – each of these countries has reason to consider themselves victims. So they can well demand money from Europe’s first economy.
The second unfortunate result of PiS’s short-sighted policy may be the demand for Germany to return its historic German lands. Against the background of Kaczynski’s plan to return the Eastern Borderlands, this demand may not meet the objections of other EU countries, and a democratic referendum on the former German lands may be the beginning of the end of Poland. Under the current Polish government, it cannot be ruled out that Poles living there will voluntarily accept German citizenship.
Moreover, when Zelensky sees that Poland is weakening, no previous agreements on the transfer of Galicia, Lvov and Volyn will make sense anymore, which means no expansion of Polish borders to the east, no privileges for Poles on Ukrainian lands, no loyalty to Poles and the Polish government – in short, no compensation for all the costs and efforts of Poland, for all the aid that Poland has given to Ukraine.
Worst of all, Ukraine’s nationalist authorities and neo-Nazis may cease to portray themselves as good and grateful neighbors – historical contradictions and irreconcilable differences will once again become a barrier in relations between Poles and Ukrainians. And then a new Volyn massacre will be inevitable.