Prussian Poland


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. Prussian Poland is Number 45 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. Prussian Poland, also known as the province of Poznania or the Grand Duchy of Posen, was that part of the former Kingdom of Poland obtained by Prussia in the partitions of Poland (1772−95). The grand duchy was bordered by the Prussian provinces of West Prussia on the north, Brandenburg on the west, and Silesia on the west and south, and by Russian Poland to the east. According to the 1910 census, the population of Poznania was 2,099,831, of whom 61.46 percent were Polish. The study emphasizes the persistence of a Polish national consciousness, as reflected in the insurrection of 1846 and the rise of a separatist movement in Poznania. The policy of Prussia (and of Germany after 1871) was one of Germanization and a general attack on the rights of Poles and Catholics. Polish children in national schools were educated in German, and policies were instituted to transfer land from Polish to German owners. After World War I, Prussian Poland became part of the reestablished Polish state. A companion volume in the series, Number 39, East and West Prussia, deals with German policy toward Poles in those provinces.

Last updated: November 14, 2017