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  • 1919
Protect Homeland
Wife and

The provisions concerning Upper Silesia in the Treaty of Versailles aroused tremendous outrage among the Germans. Germany had lost immediately the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine to France; two small enclaves, Eupen and Malmedy, to Belgium, and the provinces of West Prussia and Posen to Poland, while the populous city of Danzig was declared "independent."

In 1920, plebiscites were held along the Danish/German border, and the East-Prussian/Polish borders. In these areas, the German population overwhelmingly voted to stay with Germany although as we have seen, the Northern area of North Schleswig was separated despite the electoral outcome.

But for upper Silesia (that is the Southern part of Silesia) the Treaty of Versailles scheduled a plebiscite, not in 1919 or 1920, but in 1921. The delay was designed to encourage Polish-speakers of the area to organize politically. But it also permitted Germans to organize as well, and one of the most popular means was to form para-military units to combat Polish "terror."

This is a poster from late 1919 calling for recruits to protect German Silesia. The image is starkly effective -- a soldier faces flames coming from the East, and with his bayonett drawn stands guard over his little family, wife and two children. The bottom caption states:

You too should report soon to take up weapons!

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