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of agitation, which is an insuperable accompaniment to all popular decisions, necessarily increases, often to a dangerous extent, the passions which it was hoped would be allayed.
It clearly would not be desirable at this moment, when the final decision is still in suspense, to discuss the Upper Silesian problem. It may, however, be justifiable and useful to make observations on certain points connected with it. The decision to have a plebiscite here was part of the revision of the Treaty which took place at a very late stage. The original proposal had been to assign to Poland absolutely the larger part of the German district of Upper Silesia, including as it did the very valuable mining and industrial district which is situated on the Polish frontier. This decision was made on grounds similar to those on which the rest of the Polish frontier was determined. It was based purely on a minute examination of all the available evidence as to the language and race of the inhabitants. German statistics and all German books of reference showed that in this district there was a very large Polish element which in some parts amounted to 80 or even 90 per cent. It is not the case, as has been said, that this is the result of the recent industrial development. As with nearly all Germany east of the Elbe, the original population was purely Slavonic; in many parts it has now become thoroughly Germanised; but here on the
l Polish frontier, in a district? situated between the two Slavonic States of Bohemia and Poland, the process of Germanisation has been very slow. Peasants and landowners alike were of Slavonic origin, and the language spoken, though not identical with the written language of educated Poles, is a Polish dialect; it is not more different from standard Polish than Plattdeutsch is different from standard German. It is important to place this on record; for there is no reason to doubt that the original decision was one arrived at by a careful and honest investigation of the problem.*
This decision was challenged by the Germans, partly because the possession of this country was necessary to Germany and the general economic convenience of Europe, but, in particular, because it had not been Polish for 500 years, and there was no reason to believe that, even if a majority of the population were ethnographically Polish, they therefore would desire to be separated from Germany. These considerations clearly could not be ignored. After all, there was an essential difference between Upper Silesia and the other Prussian Provinces of Poland. Germany had, historically at any rate as against Poland, a good title. The country had been Bohemian; it had been merged with Austria only in consequence of the election of the Duke of Austria to the dignity of King of Bohemia; and historically Bohemia, now Czecho-Slovakia, had a stronger claim to it than Poland. It had been acquired by Prussia as the result of the Seven Years' War, and from that time onwards Prussian sovereignty had been universally recognised. The question whether economically the coal mines were of more importance to Poland or to Germany had, strictly speaking, nothing to do with the matter at all. The agreed conditions of the peace did not give the Allies the right to sever from Germany any territory unless it was in accordance with the particular cases specified in the Fourteen Points, or with the general principles put forward by President Wilson. They would only be justified in doing so, that is, if the population was indisputably Polish, or if this was the wish and for the benefit of the population concerned. Was the population indisputably Polish? It is well known that President Wilson considered that the evidence showed that it was. But if the fact was challenged, it would clearly have been a misuse of the power which the Allies possessed to refuse to allow an appeal to the only authority by which the question could be decided
* But paper statistics are a dangerous guide. It is said that the German school statistics were too favourable to the Poles, because the school teachers who had charge of Polish-speaking children received & higher salary.
that is, to the people themselves. This was the view taken by the British Government and accepted by the Council of Four.
When once the decision to have the plebiscite had been taken, it was of course incumbent on all concerned to insure that it should be held under such conditions that the result would be a free and unbiassed expression of the genuine wishes of the population. This was not
easy. In 1919 the whole district was much disturbed ; the country was to a large extent terrorised by the Soldiers' and Workman's Councils, which were probably here—as they certainly were in Slesvig-acting to a large extent in co-operation with the more extreme German Nationalists. It would be necessary not only to give the control to a special Plebiscite Commission, but that they should be supported by armed forces. A longer period of time seemed also necessary; the whole matter was on a larger scale and much more complex than with the purely rural populations of Allenstein and Slesvig. Much more power had to be given to the governing commission, and for a period of at least many months, possibly of nearly two years, the control had to be taken out of the hands of the German Government.
The great importance of the district has caused the regulations of the plebiscite here to be subjected to a much more careful scrutiny than in other places. The criticism which has been expressed, the suggestions made that the regulations were deliberately biassed so as to help to obtain a majority for Germany, are quite unfounded. In particular, a word must be said about what are called the out-voters.' It has been
It has been suggested that the out-voters,' some 180,000, were introduced as part of a determined plot by Mr Lloyd George to ensure that Upper Silesia might remain German. This sug. gestion, which should never have been made, may be absolutely contradicted. The clause was one with which he had nothing to do, one to which his attention was never directed. It was one of the common form clauses which had already been approved and communicated to the Germans in the regulations for the other plebiscites, as for instance those of Slesvig and Allenstein ; it was almost without discussion adopted from them and incorporated in the Upper Silesian section of the Treaty, with no special political intention, by an inter-Allied Committee under French chairmanship.
J. W. HEADLAM-MORLEY.
TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIFTH VOLUME OF THE
[Titles of Articles are printed in heavier type. The names of authors of
articles are printed in italics.]
Ashley, Prof. Sir William, 'Bol-
shevism and Democracy,' 157.
250-isolated position, 292.
provisions, 13-relations with
Baden, Prince Max of, appointed
Bagdad Railway, The, 307–329.
Balkans, The Truth about the,
Barnes, Rt Hon. G. N., introduction
to • Labour and the Peace Treaty,'
Berlin, Congress, 5-Conference,
Assembly at Lushnia, 411--member Bessarabia, union with Roumania,
Bickersteth, Geoffrey L., “Benedetto
Croce as Literary Critic,' 270.
Bielschowsky, Herr, biography of
Binyon, Laurence, 'English Tradi-
tions in Art,' 207.
Boer War, 38.
Bolshevism and Democracy, 157-
ton Conference of the International
Labour Office, 199 note,
of Nations Covenant, 300.
Prohibition, 100 note.
report, 169, 172.
12-provisions, 13—area, 403-un-
League of Nations, 406.
the date of the Apocalypse, 376
note, et seq.
113—Uncle Vanya,' ib.
Oesterreichische Rundschau,' 76
Council of Ten, 7.
The Desert Flower,' 51.
tration of Turkey, 15.
Task,' 54 note, 55 note, 56 note.
and Redistribution of our Land,'
H. Eworth, 213.
alliance with Jugo-Slavia, 393.
Cabinet, problem of the, 425
rate of wages, 179.
tariff, 26, 28, 93-Pacific Railway,
sador to Washington, 297.
French plays, 107,
Exegetical Commentary on the
Democracy and Bolshevism, 157-
organisation of the Naval Staff,