East and West Prussia


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. East and West Prussia is Number 39 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The study deals with the two provinces of Prussia located along the coast of the Baltic Sea in the extreme northeastern part of the German Empire. As a consequence of the territorial changes wrought by World Wars I and II, these territories are no longer part of Germany, but are in Poland, the Russian Federation, and Lithuania. The book includes sections on physical and political geography, political history, social and political conditions, and economic conditions. Most of the people living in these provinces were Polish or Lithuanian rather than German, and the study gives a detailed breakdown of the numbers of Polish and German speakers in the different localities of West Prussia. The study notes that the “recent history of both East and West Prussia has largely consisted in the religious, economic, educational, and political attacks by the Government upon its Polish subjects,” a topic also covered in Prussian Poland, Number 45 in the series of Foreign Office studies. The economic section devotes considerable attention to the well-developed railroad networks of the two provinces and the importance of the two main cities, Danzig (Gdańsk, Poland) and Königsberg (Kaliningrad, Russian Federation), as ports and railroad hubs.

Last updated: November 14, 2017