|flag||coat of arms|
|Situation in Prussia|
|surface||25,554.6 km² (1910)|
|Population density||67 inhabitants / km² (1910)|
|Arose from||Prussia royal share ,|
|Incorporated into||Grenzmark Posen-West Prussia|
|Today part of||Pomeranian Voivodeship , Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship and Greater Poland Voivodeship|
West Prussia was a Prussian province on both sides of the lower Vistula with the capital Danzig . It was formed in 1772/1793 at the time of the first and second partition of Poland-Lithuania from annexed areas of the Prussian Royal Part, supplemented by part of the Prussian Oberland around Riesenburg and Marienwerder , which became the seat of government. The province included the Kulmerland , Pomesanien , Pomeranian and parts of Greater Poland : from 1775 to 1807 the entire Netzedistrikt , then only its northern parts around Flatow and Deutsch Krone . In 1772, the Prussian King Friedrich II had decreed that the province should be named West Prussia , while the previous Kingdom of Prussia , united with the Warmia , should henceforth be called East Prussia .
Today the area forms the main part of the Polish Pomeranian Voivodeship .
Location and natural space
The territory of West Prussia consists of two highlands and the lower Vistula valley embedded between these in the form of a hollow . The plateau east of the Vistula is part of the Baltic Lake District , which is bordered by the Baltic Sea , the Vistula and the Polish-Lithuanian plain. The territory of West Prussia lies in the west of the Oberland. It is moderately forested and has mostly fertile soil. The soil of the southern part, the so-called Kulmer Land , was considered the most fertile wheat soil in the entire Prussian monarchy . The strip of land bordering on Masuria to the southeast , d. H. the former districts of Strasburg and Löbau already contain more sand floes. But they are nowhere to be found in the area as on the left bank of the Vistula. The plateau to the west of the Vistula is counted as part of the Pomeranian Lake District , which lies between the Baltic Sea, the Vistula and the Pomeranian-New Mark plains.
The whole plate is divided into the following three groups:
The province of West Prussia was at the time of the German Empire (1871-1918) in the north-east of the empire and was essentially delimited by the three neighboring provinces of East Prussia, Posen and Pomerania . In the southeast there was an external border with Congress Poland , i.e. with the Russian Empire . In the north the Baltic Sea formed a natural border.
The coast is by nature geographically to the west around 30 km, the for Pomerania typical compensation coast , to the east then but made Nehrungsküste from the main coastline. To the open sea, without the Putziger Spit , the coast was around 130 km long, taking into account the peninsula mentioned, 200 km long. In the far east, a small part of the Fresh Spit still belonged to West Prussia.
Most of the province consisted of the Baltic ridge , a hilly, lake-rich and very fertile young moraine landscape very similar to today's Ostholstein . Here, southwest of Gdansk, is also the highest mountain in the province, the 329-meter-high Turmberg , which is also the highest mountain on the Baltic Ridge.
The southernmost areas of the province were characterized by old moraines and sand , a rather barren, lake-poor landscape, not unlike the Lüneburg Heath. To the east of Gdansk to the Frischen Haff lies the delta area of the Vistula and Nogat , a fertile low -forest plains and marshland , similar to the marshes of the Lower Weser and partly below sea level.
In the 13th century the Kulmer Land was the starting point for the creation of the Teutonic Order State of Prussia. Thorn in the Kulmer Land is the oldest city in Prussia . Due to inheritance disputes at the turn of the 13th and 14th In 1308, the Teutonic Order conquered the area of the Duchy of Pomerania , which was disputed between the Margrave of Brandenburg of Margrave Waldemar and the Kingdom of Poland of Duke Władysław I. Ellenlang, and added it to its own territory, a process that was established in the Peace Treaty of Soldin 1309 and the Peace Treaty of Kalisch 1343 found its conclusion.
At the beginning of the 15th century, many of the country's mostly German-speaking cities revolted against the rule of the Teutonic Knights; In 1440 some founded the Prussian Confederation opposing the order and later voluntarily submitted to the patronage of the Crown of Poland, that is to say of the Polish king personally , while maintaining their own constitution and extensive autonomy .
After several wars between Poland and the Prussian Confederation on the one hand and the Order on the other, the Teutonic Order State was divided in the Second Peace of Thor in 1466. The order had to cede its possessions on both sides of the lower Vistula to the autonomous Prussian Royal Share , which was under the patronage of the King of Poland and which was largely made up of the cities that had previously fallen away from the order, and to deal with its remaining area ([East] Prussia without Warmia) subject themselves to Polish supremacy . Contract partners were the representatives of the Teutonic Order, the King of Poland and the estates of the Pomeranian-Prussian country organized in the Prussian Confederation . Although it was linked to Poland as a state body, the country had retained its own constitution and, with Poland and Lithuania, only had one ruler in common. The Prussian Federation had contractually assured that the ruler would first have to confirm the privileges of Prussia's royal share after his coronation, before receiving homage from the country.
Historians and cartographers called the Prussian Royal Part or Polish Prussia, Latinized as Prussia Occidentalis , even before it was officially called West Prussia in German.
Under Polish sovereignty, the large cities of Thorn, Danzig and Elbing, which were conveniently located on waterways and flourished economically through trade, were best able to maintain their independence. The rest of the area was divided into the voivodeships of Culm , Marienburg and Pomerania from 1466 . Prussia's royal share suffered from the interference of the imperial estates in its privileges and privileges, from the devastation caused by unfortunate wars, from the participation in war costs forced by extortion of all kinds and from the despotism of the nobility, who collected war taxes but paid nothing themselves. The peasant class gradually fell into serfdom. Due to the privileges they received, parts of the nobility quickly began to assimilate, even Polonizing their proper names and getting used to Polish customs and way of life.
The first years 1772–1806
Seizure of possession by the King of Prussia
With the first partition of Poland-Lithuania in 1772, the Prussian royal share was incorporated into the Prussian state as the province of West Prussia . After the conclusion of the partition treaty with Austria and Russia on August 5, 1772, the King of Prussia issued an "occupation patent" on September 13, 1772. The Polish parliament ratified under the pressure of three partitioning powers in September 1773 and the assignment agreement with Prussia , which the division of international law received character. In contrast to the (in the 19th century Posen belonging) Netzedistrict to the 1772 and the beginning in 1807 southwestern West Prussian circles German crown and Flatow belonged, West Prussia was originally only from areas that had been formerly subject to the German Teutonic Knights. After the reunification of the western parts of Prussia with the eastern part achieved through this incorporation of the Prussian royal share, the Prussian king could now call himself King of Prussia , instead of just King in Prussia as before .
The Hohenzollern had created a land connection between the Kingdom of Prussia and the core areas of the Prussian state within the empire . In Warmia and in cities such as B. Danzig and Elbing the population was almost complete up to this time, in the remaining areas of western Prussia about half of the population was German-speaking.
General Joachim Friedrich von Stutterheim and the Prussian Minister of State and Oberburggraf Jakob Friedrich von Rohd took possession of the Polish voivodeships of Pomerania, Kulmerland and Marienburg as well as the Duchy of Warmia with several sub-commissions and the necessary military accompaniment . There was no resistance worth mentioning. At the same time, the Brenkenhoff Secret Finance Council took possession of the area that would later become the network district . Already on September 27th, the estates of the entire new area paid homage to the two royal commissioners in the Great Remter of the Marienburg . A second homage was made on May 22, 1775 in front of Brenkenhoff in Inowraclaw , after the borders of the network district had been expanded.
In the spring of 1793, while it was at war with revolutionary France, Prussia agreed with Russia to divide further parts of the Polish state among themselves. Among other things, Danzig and Thorn should come to West Prussia. Concerned about their independence, the two cities had initially resisted the takeover. On March 11th, 1793 the council and the citizens of Danzig decided unanimously to submit to the sovereignty of the Prussian king. On March 28, the Prussian troops under General Raumer were to move into the outlying works of the city. This led to a mutiny by the Danzig city soldiers, who stood against their officers and began to shoot the advancing Prussians. Many of the Gdańsk city soldiers had previously deserted from Prussian service and were now afraid of being punished for doing so. Eventually the city fathers succeeded in suppressing the mutiny. On April 4, the annexation of Gdańsk, which was largely welcomed by the citizens, took place.
In 1772 the king ordered that Warmia should come under the administration of the Königsberg War and Domain Chamber . A new war and domain chamber was to be set up in Marienwerder for the new areas of Elbing, Marienburg, Kulmerland and Pomerellen, and the Prussian offices of Marienwerder and Riesenburg and the hereditary offices of Schönberg and Deutsch-Eylau were to be added to it. The network district should initially receive an independent administration under the Secret Finance Council von Brenkenhoff.
As early as June 1772, at a personal meeting in Marienwerder, Friedrich had appointed the President of the Gumbinner War and Domain Chamber, Johann Friedrich Domhardt , as the Chief President of all three Prussian chambers, the Königsberg, the Gumbinner and the Marienwerder Chamber to be newly created for the areas to be acquired . The Marienwerder Chamber was initially not subordinate to the General Directory in Berlin, but remained directly dependent on the King. In a cabinet order of January 31, 1773 to Domhardt, Frederick named the new province "West Prussia", while the old province of Prussia should now be called "East Prussia". Both provinces together now formed the sovereign "Kingdom of Prussia". Friedrich now called himself “King of Prussia” instead of “King in Prussia”.
West Prussia was divided into seven (aristocratic) "district councils", namely:
The network district, the "Cammer Deputations Department", was completely incorporated into West Prussia in 1775. Four districts were set up:
At the head of a district council was the district administrator appointed by the government without the participation of the district residents. Almost all of him belonged to the nobility, if not always to the local nobility. As a state official he had general police supervision of the noble estates, their farmers and the people of Cologne. In 1787 the West Prussian knighthood was given the privilege of filling vacant district council positions by electing from among their number. Next to the district administrators were the "officials", the administrators of the royal domain offices within the same district administrative district. The tax councils formed a third group. They administered the control groups, in each of which a number of cities were combined with their chamber goods.
Although these three institutions overlapped spatially, their official powers were strictly separated. The district administrators were responsible for collecting the contribution from the nobility, the domain offices were responsible for collecting the lease income (praestation) of the leased property belonging to their office, and the tax councilors were responsible for collecting the excise duties on city property, the chamber goods. This also included the sales tax that was levied at the city gates on goods imported and exported.
In Polish Prussia, the coexistence of the kulmish law and a nobility law modeled on the Polish one had not resulted in a uniform codification. For the great majority of the serf peasants there was no regulated law at all. With the “notification patent, concerning the establishment of the judiciary” of September 28th, 1772 the previously valid law and the courts were repealed. The court system tried and tested in East Prussia and the “Improved Land Law of 1721” that apply there have now also been introduced in West Prussia.
Two higher courts have been set up:
- The "West Prussian Government" at Marienwerder for the actual West Prussia. It was named "Government" because, in addition to the higher court rulings, it also had to fulfill administrative tasks in sovereign , church and school matters, including administrative jurisdiction. It was not until the 19th century that justice and administration were separated.
- The “West Prussian Court Court” in Bromberg, which did not exercise any administrative activities and only acted as a higher court for the four districts of the network district.
Lower courts were
- the domain justice offices,
- the city courts,
- the patrimonial courts.
- Eleven Domainenjustitzämter in West Prussia and four in the Netzedistrikt were established. They took the place of the Starostei dishes. Several domains were combined under the direction of a professionally trained judicial officer.
- The city courts and
- the patrimonial jurisdiction of the noble estates was retained. However, they were reformed and subjected to supervision by the higher courts.
The legal development came to a certain conclusion with the introduction of the “General Land Law for the Prussian States” on June 1, 1794.
- In taxation, the “Instructions for the Classification Commission” of June 5, 1772 introduced the contribution . An exact survey of the land and an estimate of the yield of the individual properties took place from September 1772 to the beginning of 1773. The quality of the soil was "classified", the fee to be paid, the contribution, not just according to the size of the area, but also according to the soil quality of the property. These surveys showed the desolate state of the flat country and the small towns. Since they were collected for tax purposes, they cannot be presumed to have intentionally misrepresented the condition found. Their source value is therefore undisputed.
- The contribution cadastre also contained the names of all heads of household, stating how many male and female persons under and over 12 years each household comprised, which professions were exercised and which denomination the people were. The ethnicity (Germans, Kashubians, Poles) was not recorded on this occasion. A national feeling was not yet developed at the time. However, from other sources it is known that the Pomeranian population consisted of about half of Germans, the other half of Kashubians and Poles. The Germans were generally Lutheran and lived mainly in the cities and as farmers in a west-east running strip of the Netzer area. The contribution register is still a treasure trove for family researchers today.
Measures to promote the country
- The king also ensured the maintenance and improvement of the dikes in the Vistula and Nogat lowlands and made the Nogat navigable.
- After only two years of construction, the Bydgoszcz Canal was completed in 1774. With a length of 27 km, a top height of 25 m and nine locks, it connects the Oder with the Vistula and appeared to be a miracle at that time.
- Regular postal connections throughout the province were used for business and administration.
Agriculture and forestry :
- The numerous Starosteien were converted into domains and leased to German civil domain officials.
- The extensive church property was taken into state administration. However, the church institutions remained owners and received a kind of lease payment.
- The extensive but completely neglected forests were taken into a structured state forest administration. For the forest service, generally disused soldiers, including invalids, from the hunter corps were used, who were regularly transferred to other locations at intervals of several years.
- Agriculture received special support through the cheap sale of good seed grain and through the introduction of potato cultivation, through which the regular danger of famine was averted. The potato thrived on the sandy soils. Care was taken to increase and improve the livestock population and to plant fruit trees.
- With the establishment of the "West Prussian Landscape" in 1787, the indebtedness and mortgage system of the noble estates was arranged. It was a connection between the noble estates and their owners who voluntarily took part in it to form what we would call today a mortgage bond and land credit institution. The king donated 200,000 Reichstaler to their establishment and funds. All participating properties were liable for the Pfandbriefe issued. Most of the Pfandbriefe had to be issued in small denominations of 50 and 100 Reichstalers so that they were sold as widely as possible. On the other hand, the participants could get cheap loans.
School system :
- As early as 1763, the king had enacted the “General Country School Regulations”. In it the general compulsory education was ordered. It also made provisions on the choice of teachers with training in seminars , the scope of the subject matter and the supervision of schools. This school law was also introduced in West Prussia in 1772 and initially provided for the education of the rural people by setting up schools in the domain offices. Around 150 schools were founded in West Prussia under Friedrich's government. At the end of the century there were 180 urban and 750 rural schools in West Prussia.
- Higher education in Polish Prussia was in the hands of the Jesuit order. This order was repealed by the papal breve of July 21, 1773. Friedrich therefore ordered the conversion of the colleges in Rößel, Graudenz, Konitz, Bromberg, Marienburg and Deutsch-Krone to Catholic high schools. The colleges in Old Scotland and Braunsberg became educational institutions for the Catholic clergy. The former members of the Order became leaders and teachers.
- From the beginning Friedrich had also thought of increasing his army . Five new infantry regiments and a cavalry regiment, along with artillery and garrison troops, could be set up.
- The found Kashubian nobility were numerous. The nobility were tied to property. However, through centuries of inheritance divisions, many aristocratic properties had shrunk to the size of small farmers. The saying “I am pan (= Lord) and you are pan; but who should look after the pigs? ”reflects the situation aptly. These numerous Kashubian petty nobility opened up prospects of advancement in military and civil service. The newly founded cadet house in Kulm was supposed to serve the military education of the West Prussian young nobles. It was initially designed for 60 cadets, the number was then increased to 100.
Cities : The king ordered the reorganization of the city administrations and their finances. Some of the country towns still bore the traces of the Swedish-Polish War of 1655–1660. So were z. B. in Kulm 212 "desert" building sites available. Of the 313 houses still standing, 70 to 80 threatened to collapse on their own.
Peasant exemption : Serfdom , which had primarily affected the Polish and Kashubian peasants, was replaced by the regulation of November 8, 1773 by the milder inheritance . Every subject, including the landlord, should be allowed to seek justice in the ordinary state courts.
Science and culture :
- The " Natural Research Society in Danzig " was founded in 1743. It existed until 1945.
- From 1798–1801 Danzig received its theater, the popular "coffee mill", as the house on the Kohlenmarkt was affectionately known because of its cubic shape with a spherical structure. It was used until 1945. As early as 1794, Mozart's Magic Flute had been enthusiastically received in Danzig.
- In 1773 the "West Prussian Court Book Printer" was built in Marienwerder. In it appeared u. a. 1789 Goldbeck's topography of West Prussia.
Period of upheaval 1806–1815
Prussian collapse (1806/07)
The fundamental defeat of the Prussian state against the First French Empire in 1806 hit the province of West Prussia completely unexpected. On October 14th, the Prussian army was destroyed in the double battle near Jena and Auerstedt . On October 27, Emperor Napoleon entered Berlin. Seven ministers and members of the General Management took the oath of loyalty to Napoleon . The king had fled with his family and some ministers to Memel via Königsberg and the Curonian Spit . It was not until November 13th that the “Königlich Preußische Staats- Kriegs- und Friedenszeitung” published in Königsberg (Eastern Pr.) Announced the defeat at Jena. Napoleon had advanced east by forced marches. In the Battle of Preussisch Eylau on February 8, 1807, the Russians had already given up the battlefield when General Anton Wilhelm von L'Estocq and his East Prussian corps asserted themselves against the French and forced Napoleon to move into winter quarters. Napoleon spent the winter in Finckenstein Castle on the border between East and West Prussia. At the end of May 1807, Danzig, defended by General von Kalckreuth , fell.
Through the Peace of Tilsit on July 7th and 9th 1807, West Prussia lost the Kulmerland with Thorn and the Netzedistrikt except for a narrow northwestern strip (around Flatow and Deutsch Krone) to the newly formed Duchy of Warsaw . The exception was Graudenz , which stayed with West Prussia. Above all, Gdansk, which was elevated to a "Free State" (see Republic of Danzig ) under the protection of the kings of Prussia and Saxony, was lost, but in reality it became a French arsenal and base on the Baltic Sea. The Kingdom of Prussia was occupied up to the Vistula until the end of 1807 and was charged with high contributions.
During this time, the fundamental administrative reorganization in Prussia, known as the Stein-Hardenberg reforms, was tackled. The highest administrative authorities have been reorganized. The Berlin general directorate fell away, along with the provincial ministries. On December 26, 1808, the "Ordinance for Improved Establishment of the Provincial, Police and Financial Authorities" was issued. The War and Domain Chamber in Marienwerder was renamed the "West Prussian Government" with its seat in Marienwerder . She only had administrative tasks. The previous West Prussian government became the higher regional court and dealt exclusively with jurisprudence. This marked the separation of administration and justice.
The peasant liberation that had got stuck was started again in 1807. It was not completed until 1850. The Stein city order (see Prussian reforms ) was enacted in 1808, with which the cities were granted self-government. The freedom of trade was introduced 1810th The Jews were largely emancipated in 1812. All of these measures naturally also had an effect in West Prussia.
Wars of Liberation (1813/14)
The Wars of Liberation started in East Prussia after the Grande Armée had perished miserably on the retreat from Moscow in late autumn 1812 . But a strong French garrison under General Rapp in Danzig long withstood the attacks of the united Russians and Prussians. As a result, Gdansk suffered severe loss of life and property. The French surrendered on November 27, 1813. On February 19, 1814, the Free State was dissolved and Danzig was reunited with Prussia.
The border regulation in the Kulmer and Michelauer Land, which had been ceded to the Duchy of Warsaw in 1807, proved more difficult . It was occupied by Russian troops in 1813 . In view of the fact that Thorn was a German-speaking city, the tsar renounced Thorn on November 27, but wanted to make it a free city - like the Republic of Krakow . It was not until January 30, 1815 that he agreed to the reintegration of Thorn and the entire Kulmerland into Prussia. It was not until May 22, 1815 that the previous sovereign, Friedrich August , the King of Saxony and Duke of Warsaw, released his previous subjects from their oath. And only on June 21, three days after Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo , did the Prussian government subordinate the city of Thorn to the West Prussian district president in Marienwerder. The province of West Prussia remained within these limits until 1920.
The years 1815-1840
Reorganization of the state (1815)
The foundations for a new order in Europe were laid at the Congress of Vienna . From Vienna, King Friedrich Wilhelm III. on April 30, 1815 the "Ordinance for Improved Establishment of the Provincial Authorities". In it, the Gdansk administrative district is mentioned for the first time. The province of West Prussia was then divided into the two administrative districts of Danzig and Marienwerder . The chief president Theodor von Schön took over the leadership of the province . His official seat became Danzig . The highest provincial authorities were also located in Danzig, with the exception of the Higher Regional Court , which remained in Marienwerder .
The district order was introduced between 1815 and 1818. In the administrative district of Danzig the independent cities of Danzig and Elbing and the administrative districts of Danzig, Neustadt a. d. Rheda, Karthaus, Berent, Pr. Stargard, Elbing and Marienburg. In the administrative district of Marienwerder the districts Deutsch-Krone, Flatow, Schlochau, Konitz, Schwetz, Graudenz, Kulm, Thorn, Stuhm, Marienwerder, Rosenberg, Löbau and Strasburg were formed. As before, the head of each district was the district administrator, but the district area now comprised a closed territory including the domains and country towns within it.
In 1821 there was a monetary reform with the introduction of a new Reichstaler at 30 silver groschen each (the latter silver groschen at 12 copper pfennig each). This money remained in circulation until 1871 (1873), when the Reich currency Mark (= 1/3 Thaler) was introduced at 100 Pfennig each.
When the East Prussian Upper President von Auerswald resigned from office in 1824, Schön also took over the East Prussian Upper Presidium and moved his official seat to Königsberg. This “personal union” between East and West Prussia became the “Realunion” five years later, when, at Schön's instigation, on December 3, 1829, East and West Prussia were united to form the Province of Prussia by royal decree .
District presidents in Danzig were Theodor Balthasar Nicolovius (1819–1825) and Johann Carl Rothe (1825–1841); in Marienwerder Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel , the author of the appeal to my people from 1813, (1815-1823), Eduard Heinrich von Flottwell (1825-1830) and Jacobus Justus Philipp Freiherr von Nordenflycht (1831-1850).
The provincial assembly
On May 22, 1815, King Friedrich Wilhelm III. promised to grant a constitution, but not kept this promise. In pursuit of the “ Karlsbader Decisions ” of 1819, he limited himself in 1823 to granting provincial parliaments . But they only had an advisory function and the “right” (!) To address petitions to the king. In 1824 the first provincial parliament of the united province of Prussia took place in Königsberg. Three estates were represented in it: the aristocratic and bourgeois landowners with 15, the cities with 13 and the peasants with 7 votes. The following diets took place alternately in Koenigsberg and Danzig.
The most important task in the post-Napoleonic period was to heal war damage. Both provinces were ravaged, plundered and financially exhausted by fighting. Most of the goods were heavily in debt. The agricultural products, especially the grain, could not be sold because the former main buyer, England, was now growing grain itself and levying protective tariffs . Grain exports via Danzig, which were still considerable between 1793 and 1807, sank to an unprecedented low. In addition, Russia sanded the Vistula and directed its export through its own ports in Libau , Riga and the Black Sea ports. For political reasons, the Prussian government allowed cheap Russian grain to be imported. Several bountiful harvests in the early 1820s added to the evil. Prussian agriculture suffocated in grain. Due to the lack of transport options and the still existing internal tariffs, sales to other German regions were not possible. In contrast, the breeding of merino sheep and the export of wool were a success. The horse breeding gained great importance.
Numerous goods were foreclosed in the years 1824–1834 and thus fell into the (bourgeois) hands of well-funded buyers from trade and commerce.
Schön made particular efforts to improve the school system. In a few years he founded over 400 elementary schools. These schools were created as "simultaneous schools" in which Germans and Poles, Protestants and Catholics were to be brought closer to one another. All Polish and Kashubian children had to learn the German language. This could be understood as a coercive measure, but on the other hand it also opened the way for these children to higher schools and universities, which many of them took. Schön also expressly involved the landowners in the establishment of schools.
Large parts of the province belonged to Polish dioceses, and the Kashubians and Poles were almost entirely Catholic. While the majority of the Kashubian and Polish rural population was not yet politically conscious, the nobility and, above all, the Polish clergy were carriers and preachers of a very pronounced Polish national consciousness with anti-German aims from the beginning. For the nobility, clergy and in the second half of the 19th century also for the Polish-Kashubian intellectuals (who had all attended German grammar schools and universities), the Catholic religion was the identification with Poland, a demarcation against Orthodox Russians on the one hand and Protestant Prussians and Germans on the other hand.
Reorganization of the diocese borders : After negotiations between the Prussian state and Rome, the ecclesiastical relationships in Prussia were reorganized. Through the Circumscriptionsbulle De salute animarum of July 16, 1821, most of West Prussia was placed under the Kulm diocese. The area around Elbing and Marienburg became part of the Diocese of Warmia . The Deutsch-Krone district remained directly subordinate to the Archdiocese of Posen-Gnesen. The seat of the bishopric of Kulm was moved to Pelplin ; the monastery church there became an episcopal cathedral and is still today. With regard to the election of bishops, it was determined that the competent cathedral chapter should make the election to be confirmed by the curia, but that before the election, "the candidates who are less pleasant to the king" are to be struck off the list of candidates. Schön achieved that the German canon Ignatius Stanislaus von Mathy was appointed bishop of Kulm in 1821. His successor was the German Silesian Anastasius Sedlag . Bishops of Warmia were Prince Joseph von Hohenzollern-Hechingen and, since 1836, Andreas Stanislaus von Hatten , who was murdered in 1841 by robbery.
Mixed marriage dispute: There was a clash between state power and the church in 1838 in connection with the Cologne mixed marriage dispute, which also spread to the eastern dioceses. The different denominations in West Prussia were almost always an expression of different ethnic affiliations. While there were no political consequences in the dioceses of Kulm and Ermland due to the moderate attitude of the local bishops, the Archbishop of Posen, the Polish Count Dunin-Sulgustowski (1831–1842), was arrested like the Archbishop of Cologne Clemens August , Baron von Droste zu Vischering . Both had insisted that the children from mixed marriages had to be raised Catholic, while the state had made the regulation that the children had to follow the denomination of the father. In West Prussia, with its predominantly Protestant German and predominantly Catholic Polish population, confessional mixed marriages were often also ethnic mixed marriages, and a Catholic upbringing strengthened Polish culture.
Monasteries : With the edict of October 31, 1810, the abolition of the monasteries was ordered, as had happened in other - including Catholic - countries. The execution was hesitant and was not completed until 1833. Since the days of the Reformation, the convents were often only occupied by a few monks.
Poles and Kashubians
In the first half of the 19th century, Polish politics played only a very minor role in West Prussia. The cities - with the exception of Kulm - were entirely or predominantly German. In much of the province, e.g. For example, in Danziger Werder, in the districts to the right of the Vistula, and in the area of the former Neumark with Deutsch-Krone, Schlochau and Flatow, the rural population was also pure or the vast majority German. The large majority of the Polish or Kashubian-speaking population, with a few exceptions, remained politically uninterested until the last quarter of the 19th century, especially the Kashubians . A real national feeling has not developed among the Kashubians, just a regional consciousness of varying strength, which is sometimes still alive today in relation to the so-called “ Congress Poles” (the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Poland created in the Congress of Vienna). In 1819 there were 46% Germans and Mennonites in West Prussia, 52% Poles and Kashubians.
The Polish uprising of 1830 in Congress Poland , the “ November uprising ”, did not lead to any unrest in West Prussia. A Polish press or any political or economic organizations did not - yet - exist.
The years 1840–1870
Reconciliation policy of Friedrich Wilhelm IV.
In August 1840, Friedrich Wilhelm IV succeeded his father on the Prussian throne. In his romantic view that the nobility and the church were the pillars of the throne and the altar across all ethnic differences, he gave up positions in order to bring about a reconciliation with the Catholic Church and Poland. So he ordered the immediate release of the two archbishops from prison without them having changed their position on the question of mixed marriages. They returned to their dioceses in triumph. In 1841 the king ordered the establishment of a Catholic department in the Ministry of Culture. It was connected with a spiritual school supervision . The high president Theodor von Schön was recalled in 1842 because, in the opinion of the king, he had steered an anti-Polish and anti-Catholic course that was too harsh.
In the office of chief president followed
- 1842–1848: Carl Wilhelm von Bötticher
- 1848–1849: Rudolf von Auerswald
- 1849–1850: Eduard von Flottwell
- 1850–1869: Franz August Eichmann
- 1869–1878: Karl von Horn
Were regional presidents in Gdansk
- 1841–1863: Robert von Blumenthal
- 1863–1868: Robert von Prittwitz and Gaffron
- 1868–1876: Gustav von Diest
District President in Marienwerder was
- 1850–1874: Botho zu Eulenburg
In 1843 it was ordered that Polish should be introduced as the main language of instruction in all schools with a Polish-speaking majority. This led to the fact that the German minority was Polonized in many places. B. the complete polonization of the Catholic high school founded in 1837 in Kulm.
In the German Confederation (1848-1851)
West Prussia was relatively little affected by the March Revolution of 1848. East Prussia, West Prussia and Posen were given the right, like the other German regions, to send their representatives to the Frankfurt Parliament. Prussia's application of April 11, 1848 to include East and West Prussia in the German Confederation was unanimously accepted. It was the educated bourgeoisie that represented this national side of the movement. The nobility held back. The Königsberg university professor Eduard von Simson became President of the Frankfurt National Assembly on December 18, 1848 . It was he who offered Friedrich Wilhelm IV the imperial crown. Friedrich Wilhelm IV refused. The National Assembly was dissolved in 1849. In the Treaty of Olomouc in November 1850 with the Austrian Empire , Prussia had to agree to the restoration of the Bundestag in its old form. This meant that the provinces of Prussia and Posen had to leave the German Confederation again. The corresponding order was issued on October 3, 1851.
In the German Empire 1871–1918
By the law of March 19, 1877, the province of Prussia was divided again; the provinces of East Prussia and West Prussia were restored with effect from April 1, 1878. For the new province of West Prussia, the Provincial Parliament of the Province of West Prussia with its seat in Danzig was set up as a representative body.
At the beginning of the 20th century, these Prussian (ethnically Polish) candidates in West Prussia (according to their proportion of the population) received around a third of the votes in Reichstag and Landtag elections, in some rural constituencies ( Berent , Karthaus , Neustadt ) they also received the Reichstag mandate . In the 1910 census, 65% of the residents of West Prussia stated German, 28% Polish and 7% Kashubian as their mother tongue. The purchase of aristocratic property by non-aristocrats, forbidden in most of the provinces of Prussia in order to preserve the priority of the nobility, was allowed in West Prussia, since in many parts of the province impoverished Polish nobility faced a German upper class.
Between the wars and the Second World War 1919–1945
In order to give Poland access to the sea in accordance with the Versailles Peace Treaty , the area of the historically heterogeneous province was divided up after the First World War : the Polish Corridor was created from the central part, which formed its own voivodeship. “The Pomeranian Voivodeship in the interwar period formed only part of the West Prussian province (62%)”, areas in the west and north-east with a particularly high German population remained with Germany or became part of the Danzig mandate area of the League of Nations . With the Free City of Danzig , a German state was created in the Polish economic area. In the Pomeranian Voivodeship, the large cities of Thorn and Graudenz had a clear German majority, but overall the ratio between Germans and Poles or Kashubians was roughly equal. Despite verifiability on the basis of the 1910 census, the figures given fluctuate between about 40:60 and 60:40 percent.
The German representatives in Versailles were only able to push through a referendum to legitimize the new order for the eastern part of West Prussia. For plebiscite Kwidzyn belonged together with the city of Elblag circles Elbing-Land , Marienwerder , Marienburg (Westpr.) , Rosenberg i. Western pr. and Stuhm . With a large majority they decided to remain with Germany and were incorporated into the province of East Prussia as the administrative district of West Prussia with the seat in Marienwerder .
From the western districts of Deutsch Krone , Flatow and Schlochau and the western border areas of the province of Posen that remained with Germany , the new Prussian province of Grenzmark Posen-West Prussia emerged in 1922 . It went up in 1938 in the neighboring provinces of Brandenburg , Pomerania and Silesia .
Interwar period (1920–1939)
At the time of the Weimar Republic , the German-Polish border in the West Prussia region was considered controversial, as significant parts of German society did not want to accept the cession of areas with a large German population. In addition, the minority policy of the Piłsudski government was criticized because the Germans, like other minorities , e. B. Ukrainians , experienced certain repression.
Period of World War II (1939-1945)
At the beginning of the Second World War , during the attack on Poland in 1939, German troops occupied 62% of the former West Prussian territory that had belonged to Poland since 1920. From the parts of West Prussia that belonged to Poland and the Free City of Danzig, the Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia was formed on November 1, 1939 with the administrative district West Prussia, which had previously belonged to the Province of East Prussia . In addition, the occupying forces assigned the remaining Great Pomeranian Powiate Bromberg (as the district of Bromberg ), Lipno (as the district of Leipe ), Rypin (as the district of Rippin ), Wirsitz (as the district of Wirsitz ) and Bromberg , a town in the range of a Powiat, as an urban district to the new Reichsgau . The areas of Powiate Lipno and Rypin had never belonged to Germany, the territories of Bromberg-Stadt, Bromberg-Land and the Kreis Wirsitz had been part of the province of Posen until the border changes as a result of the Treaty of Versailles .
Shortly after the start of the Second World War , between September and December 1939, members of the SS and the Volksdeutsche Selbstschutz murdered several thousand people in the forests of the West Prussia region: Poles, Kashubians and Jews. The National Socialists used the chaos of the first days of the war for a series of systematically planned extermination campaigns. B. in the forest of Piaśnica , forest of Szpęgawsk , forest of Mniszek (Mischke). In addition to members of the Polish and Kashubian intelligentsia , the victims also included patients from German and Polish psychiatric clinics and deportees from the Reich.
Numerous Baltic Germans who came from Estonia and Latvia in the course of the “ Heim ins Reich ” campaign were settled in this area, and after some of the Polish population had been expelled, the Baltic Germans were given their homes.
Polish resistance rose during the occupation in Pomerania . In 1940 the Tajna Organizacja Wojskowa "Gryf Pomorski" (TOW; Secret Military Organization "Pomeranian Griffin") was formed. The chairman of the Supreme Council was Józef Wrycza .
The end of 1945
At the end of the war, the entire area of West Prussia was conquered by Soviet troops . The Polish government had almost the entire German-speaking population evicted, forcibly leaving almost all of their mobile and immobile property behind. The expulsion itself was accompanied by riots by Polish and Soviet soldiers against the German civilian population (rape, robbery). While the state affiliation of the eastern territories belonging to the German Reich within the borders of 1937 ( East Prussia , Pomerania , Grenzmark Posen-West Prussia , the Neumark Brandenburg and Silesia ) remained controversial until the Warsaw Treaty in 1970 and until the German-Polish Border Treaty in 1990, the In contrast to the Weimar Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany never had territorial claims to most of West Prussia, which belonged to Poland from the middle of the 15th century to 1772/73.
Gdansk administrative district
- Danziger Höhe [seat: Danzig]
- Danzig Lowlands [seat: Danzig]
- Elbing country
- Marienburg i. Western pr.
- Neustadt i. Western pr.
- Prussian Stargard
Marienwerder administrative district
- German crown
- Graudenz country
- Löbau [seat: Neumark]
- Rosenberg i. Western pr.
- Strasburg i. Western pr.
- Thorn Land
After the end of the province
After 1920 the following districts of West Prussia remained with Germany:
From the Marienwerder administrative district :
From Gdansk Governorate :
President of the Province of West Prussia
- 1815: Theodor von Schön , from 1824 Upper President of the new Province of Prussia
- 1878: Heinrich von Achenbach
- 1879: Adolf Ernst von Ernsthausen
- 1888: Adolf Hilmar von Leipziger
- 1891: Gustav von Goßler
- 1902: Clemens von Delbrück
- 1905: Ernst von Jagow
- 1919: Bernhard Schnackenburg
The former provincial area today
Today the area of the former province of West Prussia belongs to the Polish voivodeships of Pomerania and Kuyavian-Pomerania . The population of the German minority is higher than in central and southeastern Poland, but significantly lower than in Upper Silesia (Voivodships Opole and Silesia ) and Warmia-Masuria .
To clarify the demographic developments, the table below also shows values for the period between 1829 and 1878, when the province did not exist but was part of the province of Prussia. Regarding the information on the proportion of the total Prussian population, it should be noted that the latter increased considerably due to area growth between 1849 and 1867.
|year||Residents||Share in preuss.
|1817||581,971||?||23||thereof 289,060 Evangelicals, 267,935 Catholics, 12,649 Mennonites and 12,632 Jews|
|1819||630,077||5.5% (1917)||25th||thereof 327,300 Poles and Kashubians, 290,000 Germans and Mennonites, 12,700 Jews|
|1825||700,000||?||30th||350,000 Poles and Kashubians, 330,000 Germans and Mennonites, 20,000 Jews|
|1890||1,433,681||4.8%||56||581,195 Protestants, 717,532 Catholics, 13,158 other Christians and 21,750 Jews|
|1900||1,563,658||4.5%||61||730,685 Protestants, 800,395 Catholics, 14,308 other Christians and 18,226 Jews; 1,007,400 people (64.4%) with German, 99,357 people (6.4%) with Kashubian and 437,916 people (28.0%) with Polish as their mother tongue; 1,349 people (0.1%) speak Kashubian alongside German, 16,130 people (1.0%) speak Polish alongside German|
|1905||1,641,746||?||64||of which 764,719 Protestants, 844,566 Catholics and 16,139 Jews (567,318 Kashubians , Masurians and Poles )|
- Religious groups
|Proportions of denominations|
- Spread of the Slavic languages 1819–1910
|Proportion of Kashubian, Masurian and Polish speakers|
|Official information ¹||51.9%||50.0%||32.4%||34.4%||35.5%|
|1) including the bilingual group|
- Distribution of the German, Kashubian, Masurian and Polish languages in 1905 according to official information
|circle||Polish name||Population 1905||Kashubian, Masurian, Polish||Percentage||German||Percentage|
|West Prussia Province|
|Gdansk administrative district|
|Pr. Stargard||Starogard Gdański||62,465||44,809||71.73||17,425||27.90|
|Marienwerder administrative district|
- German dialects
The East Low German and East Central German dialects that were spoken in West Prussia are recorded and described in the Prussian dictionary . Low Prussian and High Prussian are considered to be almost extinct. As Plautdietsch , a variety of Low Prussian is still spoken by around half a million Russian mennonites worldwide (see also Plautdietsch Friends ).
- Eddi Arent , German actor
- Emil von Behring , serologist; received the first Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1901
- Hugo Conwentz , botanist, founder of state conservation
- Horst Ehmke , German lawyer and politician (SPD)
- Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit , physicist (temperature scale)
- Johannes Daniel Falk , theologian and writer
- Georg Forster , natural scientist, researcher
- Johann Reinhold Forster , natural scientist, researcher
- Tiedemann Giese , Prince-Bishop of Warmia , from the Giese patrician family
- Günter Grass , writer and Nobel Prize for Literature
- Heinz Guderian , German officer and troop leader
- Johannes Hevelius , astronomer
- Paul von Hindenburg , Field Marshal General, President of the Reich
- Klaus Kinski , German actor
- Nicolaus Copernicus , astronomer
- Hilmar Kopper , bank manager (coined »Peanuts« as a bad word of 1994)
- Arnold Krieger , German writer
- Werner Kriesel , German professor, pioneer of industrial communication technology
- Hermann Löns , German journalist and writer
- Oskar Loerke , German expressionist poet
- Walther Nernst , physicist, Nobel Prize 1920
- Bernd Neumann , politician (Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media)
- Wolfgang Peller , educator, politician (SPD)
- Arthur Schopenhauer , philosopher
- Johanna Schopenhauer , b. Trosiener, writer
- Kurt Schumacher , politician (SPD)
- Clara Siewert , painter
- Elisabeth Siewert , writer
- Heinz-Günter Stamm , German actor, radio play and theater director
- Alfred Struwe , German actor
- Adam Wiebe , engineer, inventor of the cable car
- Wolfgang Völz , German actor
- Friedrich Wilhelm Ferdinand Schmitt : Country and people in West Prussia . In: Journal for Prussian History and Regional Studies . Volume 7, Berlin 1870, pp. 33-47. , Pp. 189-229 , pp. 553-568 and pp. 610-624.
- Max Bär : The change of place names in West Prussia compared to the names of the Polish times . Danzig 1912 ( digitized version ).
- Matthias Blazek : “How beautiful you are!” West Prussia - the land on the lower Vistula. Ibidem: Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-8382-0357-7 .
- Hartmut Boockmann: East Prussia and West Prussia (= German history in Eastern Europe). Siedler, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-88680-212-4 .
- Andreas Gehrke, R. Hecker, H. Preuß: The province of West Prussia in words and pictures. A home book for school and home , 2 parts in one volume. Danzig 1911; Reprint Melchior, Wolfenbüttel 2006, ISBN 3-939102-53-9 .
- Johann Friedrich Goldbeck : Topography of the Kingdom of Prussia . Part II: Topography of West Prussia . Marienwerder 1789, Ndr. Hamburg 1991.
- Richard Wagner: A Pomeranian Duchy and a Teutonic Order Komthurei. Cultural history of the Schwetzer Kreis edited from archival and other sources. A contribution to the documented history of Germanness in West Prussia, as well as to the knowledge of the antiquities of this part of the country, with numerous illustrations and as yet unprinted historical documents . Volume 1: Until 1466. Posen 1872 ( e-copy ).
- Hermann Eckerdt: History of the Marienburg district . Bretschneider, Marienburg 1868 ( e-copy ).
- Hans Prutz: History of the Neustadt district in West Prussia . Danzig 1872 ( e-copy ).
- Albert Reusch : West Prussia under Polish scepter. Ceremonial speech held in the Elbinger Gymnasium on 13th Spt. 1872 . In: Old Prussian monthly . Volume 10, Königsberg 1873, pp. 140-154 .
- Erich Hoffmann: Theodor von Schön and the design of the school in West Prussia . Marburg / Lahn 1965.
- Erich Keyser: Danzig's story . Danzig 1928, Ndr. Hamburg at Danziger Verlagsgesellschaft Paul Rosenberg, undated
- Friedrich Lorentz : History of the Kashubians . Berlin 1926.
- Ernst Opgenoorth : Handbook of the history of East and West Prussia (= individual publications of the Historical Commission for East and West Prussian State Research . Volume 10). On behalf of the Historical Commission for East and West Prussian State Research , Mehrteilig, Verlag Nordostdeutsches Kulturwerk, Lüneburg 1994 ff.
- Heinz Neumeyer: West Prussia, history and fate . Munich 1993, ISBN 3-8004-1273-X .
- Manfred Raether: Poland's German Past , Schöneck, 2004, ISBN 3-00-012451-9 (new edition  as an e-book; Kindle version).
- Gotthold Rhode : History of Poland . 3rd edition, Darmstadt 1980, ISBN 3-534-00763-8 .
- Bruno Schumacher : History of East and West Prussia . Würzburg 1958.
- Jürgen W. Schmidt (ed.): When the homeland became a stranger ... Flight and expulsion of Germans from West Prussia. Köster, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-89574-760-1 .
- Ernst Lippe-Weißenfeld : West Prussia under Frederick the Great. Edited from documented sources . Thorn 1866 ( full text ).
- Bernhard Stadié : The Poles' Claims on West Prussia . Lambeck, Thorn 1867 ( contemporary review ).
- Old Prussian biography. Ed. on behalf of the Historical Commission for East and West Prussian State Research by Klaus Bürger. Finished in collaboration with Joachim Artz von Bernhart Jähnig. Elwert, Marburg 1936 ff. 2 volumes (1936–1967), 3 supplementary volumes published (as of 2015).
- West Prussia Province , overview
- Michael Rademacher: German administrative history from the unification of the empire in 1871 to the reunification in 1990. Prussian province West Prussia 1871–1920. (Online material for the dissertation, Osnabrück 2006). , with administrative structures
- Contribution register 1772/1773
- West Prussian State Museum Warendorf website
- A short history of West Prussia in the Secret State Archive of Prussian Cultural Heritage
The following are web links with historical maps of Prussia including West Prussia, East Prussia, Warmia , and the Free City of Danzig from around 1500 to the 20th century:
- Map by Caspar Henneberg circa 1550 Pomerania, Marca (Brandenburg), Prussia (western part with Danzig)
- historical map PRVSSIA 1584 Abraham Ortelius
- Blaeu's map - circa 1660 Prussia (West and East Prussia including Danzig) after Caspar Henneberg
- Map from Old and New Prussia , Christoph Hartknoch (Thorn), map in Frauenburg
- Map of Prussia after 1701 northwestern part with the Free City of Danzig , map in Frauenburg
- Ermland Warmia map 1755 by Johann Friedrich Endersch , Elbing with parts of West Prussia and East Prussia
- East Prussia after the Treaty of Versailles
- Gdansk and the subsequent district of Elbing on a map
- Map of West Prussia with the border with Pomerania, including Danzig, Elbing, Frauenburg
- Province of West Prussia (counties, municipalities and manor districts) 1910
- Cartographic representations of West Prussia
- Map of the German Empire 1: 100,000 (focus on eastern areas)
- Prussian Provinces 1910
- Friedrich Wilhelm Ferdinand Schmitt : Country and people in West Prussia . In: Journal for Prussian History and Regional Studies . Volume 7, Berlin 1870, pp. 33-47, pp. 38-40. ,
- Anton Friedrich Büsching : Extract from a description of the earth. First part, which contains Europe and the northern part of Asia . Hamburg 1771, pp. 162-166.
- ACA Friederich: Historical-Geographical Representation of Old and New Poland . Berlin 1839, p. 121.
- Ferdinand Gottschalk : Prussian History . 1. Volume, Königsberg 1850, pp. 193-194.
- Bernhard von Winckler : West Prussian Studies . In: Old Prussian Monthly Journal , Volume 3, Königsberg 1866, pp. 415–440
- Xaver Frölich : History of the Graudenzer Kreis . Volume 1, Graudenz 1868, p. 103.
- Xaver Frölich : History of the Graudenzer Kreis . Volume 1, Graudenz 1868, p. 103.
- West Prussia (encyclopedia entry). In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon , 6th edition, 20th volume, Leipzig and Vienna 1909, pp. 567-568.
- Community Treuburg
- Christian Wilhelm von Dohm : Memories of my time or contributions to the history of the last quarter of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century 1778 to 1806 . 2nd volume, Lemgo and Hannover 1815, p. 81 ff.
- Georg Hassel : Statistical outline of the entire European and the most distinguished non-European states, in terms of their development, size, population, financial and military constitution, presented in tabular form; First issue: Which represents the two great powers Austria and Prussia and the German Confederation; National Diversity 1819: Poland - 327,300; Germans - 290,000; Jews - 12,700. Verlag des Geographisches Institut, Weimar 1823, p. 42.
- After Leszek Belzyt: Linguistic minorities in the Prussian state 1815–1914. The Prussian language statistics in progress and commentary. Herder Institute publishing house. Marburg 1998, ISBN 3-87969-267-X .
- Kurt Jeserich : The Prussian Provinces. A contribution to administrative and constitutional reform . Deutscher Kommunal-Verlag, Berlin-Friedenau 1931. p. 61.
- Witold Stankowski: Camp for Germans in Poland using the example of Pommerellen, West Prussia (1945–1950): Review and analysis of Polish archives [uniform title: Obozy dla Niemców w Polsce na przykładzie Pomorza Gdańskiego (1945–1950) ; German]. Historical research. Cultural Foundation of German Expellees, Bonn 2001, ISBN 3-88557-207-9 , p. 17.
- Upper presidents and state directors / governors on territorial.de .
Leszek Belzyt: Linguistic minorities in the Prussian state 1815–1914. Marburg 1998, p. 17.
Michael Rademacher, Prussian Province West Prussia 1871–1920
- Georg Hassel : Statistical outline of the entire European and the most distinguished non-European states, with regard to their development, size, population, financial and military constitution, presented in tabular form; First issue: Which represents the two great powers Austria and Prussia and the German Confederation; Religious Diversity 1817: Evangelicals - 289,060; Catholics - 267,935; Mennonites - 12,649; Jews - 12,632; Churches, chapels, synagogues 831. Verlag des Geographisches Institut, Weimar 1823, p. 42.
- Karl Andree (geographer) : Poland: in geographical, historical and cultural-historical terms , Leipzig 1831
- Michael Rademacher: German administrative history from the unification of the empire in 1871 to the reunification in 1990. Prussian province West Prussia 1871–1920. (Online material for the dissertation, Osnabrück 2006).
- Leszek Belzyt: Linguistic minorities in the Prussian state from 1815 to 1914 . Marburg 1998, p. 17 f.