Vorposten und Grenzland. Ostpreussische Identitäten 1933-1945 | Bulwarks and Borderland. East Prussian Identities (1933-1945)
Volume 23 (2011): Daugiareikšmės tapatybės tarpuerdvėse: Rytų Prūsijos atvejis XIX–XX amžiais = Ambiguous Identities in the Interspaces: The Case of East Prussia in the 19th and 20th Centuries = Die vieldeutigen Identitäten in den Zwischenräumen: Der Fall Ostpreußen…, pp. 179–187
Pub. online: 28 November 2011 Type: Article Open Access
28 November 2011
28 November 2011
During the first half of the 20th century, East Prussia was described as the bulwark of Germandom against the permanent danger of a Slavic attack. The regulations of the Versailles Treaty and the founding of the Republic of Poland partly on former German soil seemed to verify this view. These fears had great influences of the identity of the East Prussians. The political culture and the public opinion were dominated by an aggressive, nationalist and anti-Polish propaganda. Many East Prussians feared a Polish attack and prepared to fight against it in volunteer battalions. The defending of East Prussia was to overrule all other conflicts, they believed. Even harsh political struggles, which where fought all over the German Reich, had to step back behind the need for a united East Prussia. In order to boost the poor province it was given economic aid and thus its role as bulwark was highlighted. On the other hand, this fighter-mentality was seen as a blueprint for the whole Reich. In 1945, this image of East Prussia was fatal. Many people believed in the government’s propaganda that they were fighters and that it would be possible to defend the province. As a result they stayed in their homes for too long and became victims of the Red Army.