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Titre du document / Document title

Die Stettin-Frage: Die KPD, die Sowjetunion und die deutsch-polnische Grenze 1945 = The Stettin question. The German Communist Party, the Soviet Union and the German-Polish border in 1945

Auteur(s) / Author(s)

HEITMANN Clemens ;

Résumé / Abstract

In August 1945, the three allied powers USA, USSR and Great Britain agreed on the Potsdam Conference that in Northeastern Germany the Oder River was to mark the borderline between the Soviet-occupied zone and the area under Polish administration east of it. Accordingly, Stettin (in Polish: Szczecin), situated west of the Oder, ought to have been part of the Soviet-occupied zone (SBZ). In fact, however, contrary to these regulations, on 21 September 1945, the Soviet authorities in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and a Polish government commission agreed on handing over Stettin to Poland, after the city had already been passed over to the Polish administration on 5 July, which the Western allies found out during the talks in Potsdam the same day. To this day, Stettin had been governed by German municipal authorities under the strict surveillance of the occupying forces. At the same time, representatives of the Polish communists tried to gain administrative supremacy over the city, installing their own authorities. Twice, however, on 16 May and 12 June 1945, this Polish administration was dissolved by the Soviets and expelled from the city, though it had been informed (on 3 June 1945) that Stalin wanted Stettin to belong to Poland. During this time, the German administration continued to exist, and even on 26 June 1945 the occupation authorities told Erich Wiesner, a German communist appointed mayor, to prepare further measures for a normalization of life in the city. Two days later, however, this order was cancelled with reference to a new order from Moscow, and Wiesner eventually told on 5 July 1945 to hand over his administration to the newly established Polish authorities. Mayor Wiesner's attempt to reverse this decision by intervening with leading German communists failed. Though the continued existence of a German administration and the repeated dissolutions of the rivalling Polish authorities seem to show a Soviet preference for a German Stettin, there is no clear evidence of Soviet intentions concerning the future border-line. Rather does the Soviets' decision of 28 June raise questions concerning Soviet interests and responsibilities in the decision over Stettin. So far it cannot be determined when or why the Soviet leadership eventually opted for Poland, nor who was responsible for this decision. What remains unclear in particular are the Soviet motives and Stalin's part in the decision, which was kept secret at first, probably with regard to the Western allies. The only established fact seems to be that neither Polish nor German wishes were the decisive factor. The Stettin question was exclusively decided on the basis of Soviet interests, and both Germans and Poles had to accept this decision.

Revue / Journal Title

Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung    ISSN  0948-8294 

Source / Source

2002, vol. 51, no1, pp. 25-63 [39 page(s) (article)]

Langue / Language


Editeur / Publisher

Herder-Institut, Marburg, ALLEMAGNE  (1995) (Revue)

Localisation / Location

INIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : 23444, 35400010164847.0020

Nº notice refdoc (ud4) : 13746432

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