Germanisation, or Germanization, is the spread of the German language, people and culture. It was a central plank of German conservative thought in the 19th and the 20th centuries, when conservatism and ethnic nationalism went hand in hand. In linguistics, Germanisation also occurs when a word from the German language is adopted into a foreign language (for this purpose, German has a special word, Eindeutschung, in contrast to the general translation, Germanisierung).
Under the policies of states such as the Teutonic Order, Austria, the German Empire and Nazi Germany, non-Germans were often prohibited from using their native language,and had their traditions and culture suppressed. In addition, colonists and settlers were used to upset the population balance. During the Nazi era, Germanisation turned into a policy of ethnic cleansing and later into the genocide of some non-German ethnic groups.
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Historically there are different forms and degrees of the expansion of the German language and of elements of German culture. There are examples of complete assimilation into German culture, as happened with the pagan Slavs in the Diocese of Bamberg (Franconia) in the 11th century.[ citation needed ] An example of the eclectic adoption of German culture is the field of law in Imperial and present-day Japan, which is organised according to the model of the German Empire.[ citation needed ] Germanisation took place by cultural contact, by political decision of the adopting party, or by force.[ citation needed ]
In Slavic countries, the term Germanisation is often[ quantify ] understood to mean the process of acculturation of Slavic- and Baltic-language speakers – after conquest by or cultural contact with Germans in the early Middle Ages; especially the areas of modern southern Austria and eastern Germany to the line of the Elbe.[ citation needed ] In East Prussia, forced resettlement of the "Old" or "Baltic" Prussians by the Teutonic Order as well as acculturation by immigrants from various European countries – Poles, French and Germans –contributed to the eventual extinction of the Prussian language in the 17th century. Since the flight and expulsion of Germans from Central and Eastern Europe at the end of and after World War II, however, the process of Germanisation has been stopped or reversed in most of these territories.[ citation needed ]
Another form of Germanisation is the forceful imposition of German culture, language and people upon non-German people, Slavs in particular.[ citation needed ]
Early Germanisation went along with the Ostsiedlung during the Middle Ages in Hanoverian Wendland, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lusatia, and other areas, formerly inhabited by Slavic tribes – Polabian Slavs such as Obotrites, Veleti and Sorbs. Early forms of Germanisation were recorded by German monks in manuscripts such as Chronicon Slavorum.[ citation needed ]
Since the Late Middle Ages, the Polish-Silesian Piast dynasty invited German settlers to settle in many areas of the Kingdom of Poland, notably Silesia and Pomerelia. As a result, these regions became largely Germanised in the following centuries.[ citation needed ]
The proto-Slovene language was spoken in a much larger territory than modern Slovenia, which included most of the present-day Austrian states of Carinthia and Styria, as well as East Tyrol, the Val Pusteria in South Tyrol, and some parts of Upper and Lower Austria. By the 15th century most of these areas had been gradually Germanised. The northern border of Slovene-speaking territory stabilised on a line from north of Klagenfurt to south of Villach and east of Hermagor in Carinthia, while in Styria it closely followed the current Austrian-Slovenian border. This linguistic border remained almost unchanged until the late 19th century, when a second process of Germanisation took place, mostly in Carinthia.[ citation needed ]
In Tyrol there was a Germanisation of the Ladino-Romantsch of the Venosta Valley by Austria in the 16th century.[ citation needed ]
The rise of nationalism in the late 18th and 19th centuries in Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Pomerania, Lusatia, and Slovenia led to an increased sense of "pride" in national cultures. However, centuries of cultural dominance by the Germans left a German mark on those societies; for instance, the first modern grammar of the Czech language by Josef Dobrovský (1753–1829) – Ausführliches Lehrgebäude der böhmischen Sprach (1809) – was published in German because the Czech language was not used in academic scholarship.[ citation needed ] From the high Middle Ages until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 German had a strong impact on the Slovene language and many Germanisms are preserved in contemporary colloquial Slovene.[ citation needed ]
In the German colonies, the policy of imposing German as the official language led to the development of German-based pidgins and German-based creole languages, such as Unserdeutsch.[ citation needed ]
Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II (r. 1780–90), a leader influenced by the Enlightenment, sought to centralise control of the empire and to rule it as an enlightened despot. He decreed that German replace Latin as the Empire's official language.
Hungarians perceived Joseph's language reform as German cultural hegemony, and they reacted by insisting on the right to use their own tongue.As a result, Hungarian lesser nobles sparked a renaissance of the Hungarian language and culture. The lesser nobles questioned the loyalty of the magnates, of whom less than half were ethnic Hungarians, and many of these had become French- and German-speaking courtiers. The Hungarian national revival subsequently triggered similar movements among the Slovak, Romanian, Serbian, and Croatian minorities within the Kingdom of Hungary.
Germanisation in Prussia occurred in several stages. The Old Prussians, originally a Baltic ethnic group, were Germanised by the Teutonic Knights. Germanisation efforts were pursued by Frederick the Great in territories of partitioned Poland. There was an easing of Germanisation policy in the period 1815–30, followed by an intensification of Germanisation and a persecution of Poles in the Grand Duchy of Posen in 1830–41. Germanisation ceased during the period of 1841–49 and restarted during years 1849–70. Bismarck intensified Germanisation during his Kulturkampf against Catholicism and Polish people. There was a slight easing of the persecution of Poles during 1890–94. A continuation and intensification of activity restarted in 1894 and continued until the end of World War I. It was the policy of the Kingdom of Prussia to seek a degree of linguistic and cultural Germanisation, while in Imperial Germany a more intense form of cultural Germanisation was pursued, often with the explicit intention of reducing the influence of other cultures or institutions, such as the Catholic Church.[ citation needed ]
Following the partitions of Poland the Germanisation effort previously pursued by Frederick the Great in Silesia was extended to the newly gained Polish territories. The Prussian authorities settled German-speaking ethnic groups in these areas. Frederick the Great settled around 300,000 colonists in the eastern provinces of Prussia. He aimed at a removal of the Polish nobility, which he treated with contempt, describing Poles in newly reconquered West Prussia as "slovenly Polish trash"similar to the Iroquois. From the start of Prussian rule Poles were subject to a series of measures against their culture: the Polish language was replaced by German as the official language; most administrative positions were filled by Germans. Poles were portrayed as "backward Slavs" by Prussian officials who wanted to spread German language and culture. The estates of the Polish nobility were confiscated and given to German nobles.
After the Napoleonic Wars, Prussia obtained the Grand Duchy of Posen and Austria remained in possession of Galicia. In May 1815 King Frederick William III issued a manifest to the Poles in Posen:
You also have a Fatherland. [...] You will be incorporated into my monarchy without having to renounce your nationality. [...] You will receive a constitution like the other provinces of my kingdom. Your religion will be upheld. [...] Your language shall be used like the German language in all public affairs and everyone of you with suitable capabilities shall get the opportunity to get an appointment to a public office. [...][ citation needed ]
The minister for Education Altenstein stated in 1823:
Concerning the spread of the German language it is most important to get a clear understanding of the aims, whether it should be the aim to promote the understanding of German among Polish-speaking subjects or whether it should be the aim to gradually and slowly Germanise the Poles. According to the judgement of the minister only the first is necessary, advisable and possible, the second is not advisable and not accomplishable. To be good subjects it is desirable for the Poles to understand the language of government. However, it is not necessary for them to give up or postpone their mother language. The possession of two languages shall not be seen as a disadvantage but as a benefit instead because it is usually associated with a higher flexibility of the mind. [..] Religion and language are the highest sanctuaries of a nation and all attitudes and perceptions are founded on them. A government that [...] is indifferent or even hostile against them creates bitterness, debases the nation and generates disloyal subjects.
In the first half of the 19th century, Prussian policy towards Poles was based on discrimination and Germanisation.From 1819 the state gradually reduced the role of the Polish language in schools, with German being introduced in its place. In 1825 August Jacob, a politician hostile to Poles, gained power over the newly created Provincial Educational Collegium in Poznan. Across the Polish territories Polish teachers were removed, German educational programmes were introduced, and primary schooling was aimed at the creation of loyal Prussian citizens.
In 1825 the teacher's seminary in Bydgoszcz was Germanised.Successive policies aimed at the elimination of non-German languages from public life and from academic settings, such as schools. For example, in the course of the second half of the 19th century, the Dutch language, historically spoken in what is now Cleves, Geldern and Emmerich, was banned from schools and the administration and ceased to be spoken in its standardised form by the turn of the century.
Later in the German Empire, Poles, together with Danes, Alsatians, German Catholics and Socialists, were portrayed as "Reichsfeinde" ("foes of the Empire"). [ citation needed ] From 1908 the committee was entitled to force the landowners to sell the land. Other means of oppression included the Prussian deportations from 1885 to 1890, in which non-Prussian nationals who lived in Prussia, mostly Poles and Jews, were removed; and a ban issued on the building of houses by non-Germans. (See Drzymała's van.) Germanisation in schools included the abuse of Polish children by Prussian officials. Germanisation stimulated resistance, usually in the form of home schooling and tighter unity in minority groups.[ citation needed ]In 1885 the Prussian Settlement Commission, financed by the national government, was set up to buy land from non-Germans and distribute it to German farmers.
In 1910 Maria Konopnicka responded to the increasing persecution of Polish people by Germans by writing her famous song entitled Rota; it immediately became a national symbol for Poles, with its sentence known to many Poles: The German will not spit in our face, nor will he Germanise our children.[ citation needed ] An international meeting of socialists held in Brussels in 1902 condemned the Germanisation of Poles in Prussia, calling it "barbarous".
Prussian Lithuanians experienced similar policies of Germanisation. Although ethnic Lithuanians had constituted a majority in areas of East Prussia during the 15th and 16th centuries –from the early 16th century it was often referred to as Lithuania Minor –the Lithuanian population shrank in the 18th century. Plague and subsequent immigration from Germany, notably from Salzburg, were the primary factors in this development. Germanisation policies were tightened during the 19th century, but even into the early 20th century the territories north, south and south-west of the Neman River contained a Lithuanian majority.
Due to migration within the German Empire as many as 350,000 ethnic Poles made their way to the Ruhr area in the late 19th century, where they largely worked in the coal and iron industries. German authorities viewed them as a potential danger as a "suspected political and national"[ citation needed ] element. All Polish workers had special cards and were under constant observation by German authorities. Their citizens' rights were also limited by the state.
In response to these policies, the Polish formed their own organisations to maintain their interests and ethnic identity. The Sokol sports clubs, the workers' union Zjednoczenie Zawodowe Polskie (ZZP), Wiarus Polski (press), and Bank Robotnikow were among the best-known such organisations in the Ruhr. At first the Polish workers, ostracised by their German counterparts, had supported the Catholic centre party. [ citation needed ]During the early 20th century, their support shifted increasingly towards the social democrats. In 1905 Polish and German workers organised their first common strike. Under the Namensänderungsgesetz (law of changing surnames), a significant number of "Ruhr-Poles" changed their surnames and Christian names to Germanised forms, in order to evade ethnic discrimination. As the Prussian authorities suppressed Catholic services in Polish by Polish priests during the Kulturkampf, the Poles had to rely on German Catholic priests. Increasing intermarriage between Germans and Poles contributed much to the Germanisation of ethnic Poles in the Ruhr area.
During the Weimar Republic, Poles were recognised as a minority in Upper Silesia. The peace treaties after the First World War contained an obligation for Poland to protect its national minorities (Germans, Ukrainians and other), whereas no such clause was introduced by the victors in the Treaty of Versailles for Germany. In 1928 the Minderheitenschulgesetz (minorities school act) regulated the education of minority children in their native tongue.From 1930 onwards Poland and Germany agreed to treat their minorities fairly.
The Nazis considered land to the east – Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia – to be Lebensraum (living space) and sought to populate it with Germans. Hitler, speaking with generals immediately prior to his chancellorship, declared that people could not be Germanised, only the soil could be.
The policy of Germanisation in the Nazi period carried an explicitly ethno-racial rather than purely nationalist meaning, aiming for the spread of a "biologically superior" Aryan race rather than that of the German nation. This did not mean a total extermination of all people in eastern Europe, as it was regarded as having people of Aryan/Nordic descent, particularly among their leaders.Himmler declared that no drop of German blood would be lost or left behind for an alien race. In Nazi documents even the term "German" can be problematic, since it could be used to refer to people classified as "ethnic Germans" who spoke no German.
Inside Germany, propaganda, such the film Heimkehr , depicted these ethnic Germans as persecuted, and the use of military force as necessary to protect them.The exploitation of ethnic Germans as forced labour and persecution of them were major themes of the anti-Polish propaganda campaign of 1939, prior to the invasion. The bloody Sunday incident during the invasion was widely exploited as depicting the Poles as murderous towards Germans.
In a top-secret memorandum, "The Treatment of Racial Aliens in the East", dated 25 May 1940, Himmler wrote "We need to divide Poland's different ethnic groups up into as many parts and splinter groups as possible". There were two Germanisation actions in occupied Poland realised in this way:
Germanisation began with the classification of people as defined on the Nazi Volksliste.The Germans regarded the holding of active leadership roles as an Aryan trait, whereas a tendency to avoid leadership and a perceived fatalism was associated by many Germans with Slavonic peoples. Adults who were selected for but resisted Germanisation were executed. Such execution was carried out on the grounds that German blood should not support non-Germanic people, and that killing them would deprive foreign nations of superior leaders. The intelligenzaktion was justified, even though these elites were regarded as likely to be of German blood, because such blood enabled them to provide leadership for the fatalistic Slavs. Germanising "racially valuable" elements would prevent any increase in the Polish intelligenstia, as the dynamic leadership would have to come from German blood. In 1940 Hitler made it clear that the Czech intelligentsia and the "mongoloid" types of the Czech population were not to be Germanised.
Under Generalplan Ost , a percentage of Slavs in the conquered territories were to be Germanised. Gauleiters Albert Forster and Arthur Greiser reported to Hitler that 10 percent of the Polish population contained "Germanic blood", and were thus suitable for Germanisation.The Reichskommissars in northern and central Russia reported similar figures. Those unfit for Germanisation were to be expelled from the areas marked out for German settlement. In considering the fate of the individual nations, the architects of the Plan decided that it would be possible to Germanise about 50 percent of the Czechs, 35 percent of the Ukrainians and 25 percent of the Belarusians. The remainder would be deported to western Siberia and other regions. In 1941 it was decided that the Polish nation should be completely destroyed. The German leadership decided that in ten to 20 years, the Polish state under German occupation was to be fully cleared of any ethnic Poles and resettled by German colonists.
In the Baltic States the Nazis initially encouraged the departure of ethnic Germans by the use of propaganda. This included using scare tactics about the Soviet Union, and led to tens of thousands leaving. –that, for instance, if twenty German master bakers were sent, twenty Polish bakeries had to have their owners removed.Those who left were not referred to as "refugees", but were rather described as "answering the call of the Führer". German propaganda films such as The Red Terror and Frisians in Peril depicted the Baltic Germans as deeply persecuted in their native lands. Packed into camps for racial evaluation, they were divided into groups: A, Altreich, who were to be settled in Germany and allowed neither farms nor businesses (to allow close supervision); S Sonderfall, who were used as forced labour; and O Ost-Fälle, the best classification, to be settled in the occupied regions and allowed independence. This last group were often given Polish homes where the families had been evicted so quickly that half-eaten meals were on tables and small children had clearly been taken from unmade beds. Members of the Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls were assigned the task of overseeing such evictions and ensuring that the Poles left behind most of their belongings for the use of the settlers. The deportation orders required that enough Poles be removed to provide for every settler
This colonisation involved 350,000 such Baltic Germans and 1.7 million Poles deemed Germanisable, including between one and two hundred thousand children who had been taken from their parents, and about 400,000 German settlers from the "Old Reich".Nazi authorities feared that these settlers would be tainted by their Polish neighbours and warned them not to let their "foreign and alien" surroundings have an impact on their Germanness. They were also settled in compact communities, which could be easily monitored by the police. Only families classified as "highly valuable" were kept together.
For Poles who did not resist and the resettled ethnic Germans, Germanisation began. Militant party members were sent to teach them to be "true Germans". 's cover article was on "Germany is building in the East".The Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls sent young people for "Eastern Service", which entailed assisting in Germanisation efforts. Germanisation included instruction in the German language, as many spoke only Polish or Russian. Goebbels and other propagandists worked to establish cultural centres and other means to create Volkstum or racial consciousness in the settlers. This was needed to perpetuate their work; only by effective Germanisation could mothers, in particular, create the German home. Goebbels was also the official patron of Deutsches Ordensland or Land of Germanic Order, an organisation to promote Germanisation. These efforts were used in propaganda in Germany, as when NS-Frauen-Warte
On 6 April 1941 Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis Powers. Part of the Slovene-settled territory was occupied by Nazi Germany. The Gestapo arrived on 16 April 1941 and were followed three days later by SS leader Heinrich Himmler, who inspected Stari Pisker Prison in Celje. On 26 April, Adolf Hitler, who encouraged his followers to "make this land German again", visited Maribor. Although the Slovenes had been deemed racially salvageable by the Nazis, the mainly Austrian authorities of the Carinthian and Styrian regions commenced a brutal campaign to destroy them as a nation.
The Nazis started a policy of violent Germanisation on Slovene territory, attempting to either discourage or entirely suppress the Slovene language. Their main task in Slovenia was the removal of part of population and Germanisation of the rest. Two organisations were instrumental in the Germanisation: the Styrian Homeland Union (Steirischer Heimatbund – HS) and the Carinthian People's Union (Kärtner Volksbund – KV).[ citation needed ]
In Styria the Germanisation of Slovenes was controlled by SS-Sturmbannführer Franz Steindl. In Carinthia a similar policy was conducted by Wilhelm Schick, the gauleiter's close associate. Public use of the Slovene language was prohibited, geographic and topographic names were changed and all Slovene associations were dissolved. Members of all professional and intellectual groups, including many clergymen, were expelled as they were seen as obstacles to Germanisation. As a reaction, a resistance movement developed. The Germans who wanted to proclaim their formal annexation to the "German Reich" on 1 October 1941, postponed it first because of the installation of the new gauleiter and reichsstatthalter of Carinthia and later they dropped the plan for an indefinite period because of Slovene partisans. Only Meža valley became part of Reichsgau Carinthia. Around 80,000 Slovenes were forcibly deported to Eastern Germany for potential Germanisation or forced labour. The deported Slovenes were taken to several camps in Saxony, where they were forced to work on German farms or in factories run by German industries from 1941 to 1945. The forced labourers were not always kept in formal concentration camps, but often vacant buildings.[ citation needed ]
Nazi Germany also began mass expulsions of Slovenes to Serbia and Croatia. The basis for the recognition of Slovenes as German nationals was the decision of the Imperial Ministry for the Interior from 14 April 1942. This was the basis for drafting Slovenes for the service in the German armed forces. The number of Slovenes conscripted to the German military and paramilitary formations has been estimated at 150,000 men and women. Almost a quarter of them lost their lives, mostly on the Eastern Front. An unknown number of "stolen children" were taken to Nazi Germany for Germanisation.
Later Ukraine was targeted for Germanisation. Thirty special SS squads took over villages where ethnic Germans predominated and expelled or shot Jews or Slavs living in them.The Hegewald colony was set up in the Ukraine. Ukrainians were forcibly deported, and ethnic Germans forcibly relocated there. Racial assignment was carried out in a confused manner: the Reich rule was three German grandparents, but some asserted that any person who acted like a German and evinced no "racial concerns" should be eligible.
Plans to eliminate Slavs from Soviet territory to allow German settlement included starvation. Nazi leaders expected that millions would die after they removed food supplies.This was regarded as advantageous by Nazi officials. When Hitler received a report of many well-fed Ukrainian children, he declared that the promotion of contraception and abortion was urgently needed, and neither medical care nor education was to be provided.
When young women from the East were recruited to work as nannies in Germany, they were required to be suitable for Germanisation, both because they would work with German children, and because they might be sexually exploited.The programme was praised for not only allowing more women to have children as their new domestic servants were able to assist them, but for reclaiming German blood and giving opportunities to the women, who would work in Germany, and might marry there.
"Racially acceptable" children were taken from their families in order to be brought up as Germans.Children were selected for "racially valuable traits" before being shipped to Germany. Many Nazis were astounded at the number of Polish children found to exhibit "Nordic" traits, but assumed that all such children were genuinely German children, who had been Polonised. Hans Frank exhibited such views when he declared, "When we see a blue-eyed child we are surprised that she is speaking Polish." The term used for them was wiedereindeutschungsfähig—meaning capable of being re-Germanised. These might include the children of people executed for resisting Germanisation. If attempts to Germanise them failed, or they were determined to be unfit, they would be killed to eliminate their value to the opponents of the Reich.
In German-occupied Poland, it is estimated that 50,000 to 200,000 children were removed from their families to be Germanised.The Kinder KZ was founded specifically to hold such children. It is estimated that at least 10,000 of them were murdered in the process as they were determined unfit and sent to concentration camps. Only 10–15% returned to their families after the war.
Many children, particularly Polish and Slovenian, declared on being found by Allied forces that they were German.Russian and Ukrainian children had been taught to hate their native countries and did not want to return.
In contemporary German usage the process of Germanisation was referred to as Germanisierung (Germanicisation, i.e., to make something German-ic) rather than Eindeutschung (Germanisation, i.e., to make something German). According to Nazi racial theories, the Germanic peoples of Europe such as the Scandinavians, the Dutch, and the Flemish, were a part of the Aryan master race, regardless of these peoples' own acknowledgement of their "Aryan" identity.[ citation needed ]
Germanisation in these conquered countries proceeded more slowly. The Nazis had a need for local cooperation and the countries were regarded as more racially acceptable. Racial categories for the average German meant "East is bad and West is acceptable".The plan was to win the Germanic elements over slowly, through education. Himmler, after a secret tour of Belgium and Holland, happily declared the people would be a racial benefit for Germany. Occupying troops were kept under discipline and instructed to be friendly in order to win the population over. However, evident contradictions limited the policies' success. Pamphlets, for instance, enjoined all German women to avoid sexual relations with all foreign workers brought to Germany as a danger to their blood.
Various Germanisation plans were implemented. Dutch and Belgian Flemish prisoners of war were sent home quickly, to increase the Germanic population, while Belgian Walloon ones were kept as labourers.Lebensborn homes were set up in Norway for Norwegian women impregnated by German soldiers, with adoption by Norwegian parents being forbidden for any child born there. Alsace-Lorraine was annexed; thousands of residents, those loyal to France as well as Jews and North Africans, were deported to Vichy France. French was forbidden in schools; intransigent French speakers were deported to Germany for re-Germanisation, just as Poles were. Extensive racial classification was practised in France.
In post-1945 Germany and Austria the concept of Germanisation is no longer considered relevant. By the loss of the Former eastern territories of Germany and the Polonisation of these regions, and the Expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia most of the regions that had been subject of medieval Ostsiedlung ceased being part of German-speaking Europe. German-speaking minorities continue to exist in Eastern Europe, such as in Opole Voivodeship or in Romania and are being supported by the German Federal Government.
In today's Germany, the Danes, Frisians, and Slavic Sorbs are classified as traditional ethnic minorities and are guaranteed cultural autonomy by both the federal and state governments. There is a treaty between Denmark and Germany from 1955 regulating the status of the German minority in Denmark and vice versa. The north German state of Schleswig-Holstein has passed a law aimed at preserving the Frisian language. [ citation needed ]The cultural autonomy of the Sorbs is enshrined in the constitutions of both Saxony and Brandenburg. Nevertheless, almost all Sorbs are bilingual and the Lower Sorbian language is regarded as endangered, as the number of native speakers is dwindling, even though there are programmes funded by the state to sustain the language.
In the Austrian federal state of Burgenland, Hungarian and Croatian have regional protection by law. In Carinthia, Slovenian-speaking Austrians are also protected by law.[ citation needed ]
Masuria is a region in northeastern Poland, famous for its 2,000 lakes. Masuria occupies much of the Masurian Lake District. Administratively, it is part of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. Its biggest city, often regarded as its capital, is Ełk. The region covers a territory of some 10,000 km2 and had a population in 2013 of 59,790.
In Nazi German terminology, Volksdeutsche were "people whose language and culture had German origins but who did not hold German citizenship". The term is the nominalised plural of volksdeutsch, with Volksdeutsche denoting a singular female, and Volksdeutsche(r), a singular male. The words Volk and völkisch conveyed the meanings of "folk".
The German concept of Lebensraum comprises policies and practices of settler colonialism which proliferated in Germany from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, Lebensraum became a geopolitical goal of Imperial Germany in World War I (1914–1918) originally, as the core element of the Septemberprogramm of territorial expansion. The most extreme form of this ideology was supported by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and Nazi Germany until the end of World War II.
The Slovenes, also known as Slovenians, are a South Slavic ethnic group native to Slovenia, and also to Italy, Austria and Hungary in addition to having a diaspora throughout the world. Slovenes share a common ancestry, culture, history and speak Slovene as their native language.
Drang nach Osten is the motto of the 19th century German nationalist movement, that refers to the idea of German territorial expansion toward Eastern Europe into the lands of Slavic nations. In some historical discourse, Drang nach Osten combines historical German settlement in Central and Eastern Europe, medieval military expeditions like those of the Teutonic Knights, and Germanisation policies and warfare of modern German states such as those that reflected Nazism's concept of Lebensraum.
Following the Invasion of Poland at the beginning of World War II, nearly a quarter of the entire territory of the Second Polish Republic was annexed by Nazi Germany and placed directly under the German civil administration. The rest of Nazi occupied Poland was renamed as the General Government district. The annexation was part of the "fourth partition of Poland" by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, outlined months before the invasion, in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
The Masurians or Mazurs are a small Lechitic sub-ethnic group of about 5,000–15,000 people traditionally present in what is now Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland. In the 2011 Polish census, 1,376 individuals declared themselves to be Masurian either as a first or secondary identification. Before World War II and its post-war expulsions, Masurians used to be a more numerous ethnic group found in the southern parts of East Prussia for centuries following the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Today, most Masurians live in what is now Germany and elsewhere.
The Prussian Settlement Commission was a Prussian government commission that operated between 1886 and 1924, but actively only until 1918. It was set up by Otto von Bismarck to increase land ownership by Germans at the expense of Poles, by economic and political means, in the German Empire's eastern provinces of West Prussia and the Posen as part of his larger efforts aiming at the eradication of the Polish nation. The Commission was motivated by German patriotism.
The Nazi–Soviet population transfers were population transfers between 1939 and 1941 of ethnic Germans and ethnic East Slavs in an agreement according to the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Albert Maria Forster was a Nazi German politician, member of the SS and war criminal. Under his administration as the Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter of Danzig-West Prussia during the Second World War, the local non-German population of Poles and Jews was classified as sub-human and subjected to extermination campaign involving ethnic cleansing, mass murder, and in case of some Poles with German ancestry, forceful Germanisation. Forster was directly responsible for the extermination of non-Germans and was a strong supporter of Polish genocide, which he had advocated for before the war. Forster was tried, convicted and hanged in Warsaw for his crimes, after Germany was defeated.
Heimkehr is a 1941 Nazi German anti-Polish propaganda film directed by Gustav Ucicky.
After partitioning Poland at the end of the 18th century, the Kingdom of Prussia and later the German Empire) imposed a number of Germanisation policies and measures in the newly gained territories, aimed at limiting the Polish ethnic presence and culture in these areas. This process continued through its various stages until the end of World War I, when most of the territories became part of the Second Polish Republic, which largely limited the capacity of further Germanisation efforts of the Weimar Republic until the later Nazi occupation. The genocidal policies of Nazi-Germany against ethnic Poles between 1939 and 1945 can be understood as a continuation of previous Germanization processes.
The Deutsche Volksliste, a Nazi Party institution, aimed to classify inhabitants of Nazi-occupied territories (1939-1945) into categories of desirability according to criteria systematised by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. The institution originated in occupied western Poland. Similar schemes subsequently developed in Occupied France (1940-1944) and in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine (1941-1944).
Carinthian Slovenes or Carinthian Slovenians are the indigenous minority of Slovene ethnicity, living within borders of the Austrian state of Carinthia, neighboring Slovenia. Their status of the minority group is guaranteed in principle by the Constitution of Austria and under international law, and have seats in the National Ethnic Groups Advisory Council.
The Expulsion of Poles by Germany was a prolonged anti-Polish campaign of ethnic cleansing by violent and terror-inspiring means lasting nearly half a century. It began with the concept of Pan-Germanism developed in the early 19th century and culminated in the racial policy of Nazi Germany that asserted the superiority of the Aryan race. The removal of Poles by Germany stemmed from historic ideas of expansionist nationalism. It was implemented at different levels and different stages by successive German governments. It ended with the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.
The Germanisation of the Province of Posen was a policy of the Kulturkampf measures enacted by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, whose goal was to Germanize Polish-speaking areas in the Prussian Province of Posen by eradicating and discrimination of Polish language and culture, as well as to reduce the influence of the "ultramontanist" Roman Catholic clergy in those regions.
The Expulsion of Poles by Nazi Germany during World War II was a massive Nazi German operation consisting of the forced resettlement of over 1.7 million Poles from all territories of occupied Poland with the aim of their geopolitical Germanization between 1939 and 1944. The expulsions were justified by Nazi racial doctrine, which depicted Poles and other Slavs as racially inferior Untermenschen.
Germanisation in Poland (1939–1945) was an intense process of Germanisation during World War II carried out by Nazi Germany in German-occupied Poland.
The intermittent Germanisation of Prussia was a historical process that resulted in the region’s inclusion in various German states. Originating with the arrival of ethnically German groups in the Baltic region, it progressed sporadically with the development of the Teutonic Order and then much later under the Kingdom of Prussia, which continued to impact the region with germanising policies generally aimed at enhancing state control. Ultimately, attempts at Germanisation peaked as the Prussian state transitioned into the German Empire, by which point the main target of reforms were Germany's Polish subjects, only to be halted by the outbreak of the First World War.
It has been estimated that during his reign 300,000 individuals settled in Prussia. ... While the commission for colonization established in the Bismarck era could in the course of two decades bring no more than 11,957 families to the eastern territories, Frederick settled a total of 57,475. ... It increased the German character of the population in the monarchy's provinces to a very significant degree. ... in West Prussia where he wished to drive out the Polish nobility and bring as many of their large estates as possible into German hands.