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Recovered Territories

Recovered Territories, Regained Territories or Western and northern Territories (Polish: Ziemie Odzyskane, Ziemie Zachodnie i Půłnocne) is the term used in Poland to describe the Polish provinces of Pomerania, Silesia, Lubus and East Prussia, which were lost by Poland in various wars and acquired (restored, recovered) after World War Two.

The territories had for many years been part of Poland and later of Bohemia, Austria, Sweden, Prussia and then Germany and just before 1939 much of the population consisted from the mixture of Germanised Slavs, successors of German immigrants and some 1 million Poles left on the German side, ouside of Poland. When Germany started the World War II in September 1939, the shift of Polish borders to the west was made one of the main goals of the allies (initially Poland, United Kingdom and France, later also other countries).

Initially Poland was promised East Prussia, Upper Silesia and the eastern part of Western Pomerania up to Kolberg. At the Potsdam conference, Poland's exact western borders were drawn on Oder-Neisse line. The German inhabitants of these areas who fled westwards or were forcefully expelled by the Soviets are known as Heimatvertriebene (literally: "the ones driven from their homeland"), and today the area is predominantly Polish.

Today there is no question internationally about Poland's right to control these territories and many Poles believe passionately in Poland's ancestral rights to the areas.

Arguments for the Polish Position

This position is defended by facts such as that the Holy Roman Empire at the meeting at the tomb of Saint Adalbert in 1000, Silesia and Lubus were already part of Poland, Pomerania a Polish fief. This area of the country was made into a separate Polish province of the church, which included Silesia until 1850 and Lubus, Pomerania until the Reformation. Also the fact that Poland bordered the Holy Roman Empire was possible only because the Slavic people that lived between Oder and Elbe rivers were already the subject of conquest from the side of Saxonian vassals of the Holy Roman Empire. During the partial division of Poland period (1138-1320), Poland lost Lubus and sovereignty over the western part of Pomerania, which became a separate state, Silesia. Silesia was ruled by princes from the Polish dynasty of Piast until 1675, and eventually, in 1343, recognized the sovereignty of the rulers of Bohemia.

Counter-Arguments

Many doubt the validity of these claims, however, contending that the concept of Poland of a thousand years ago and the modern notion of Poland bear very little relation to each other. This concept is equally non-realistic to a concept of some modern English nationalists deriving their Englishness from the inheritance of Alfred the Great.

Also, since the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ruled almost all of eastern Europe at one time or another, it could be argued that in 1945 Polish claims to these territories were no better than claims would be for sovereignty over Kiev or Moldova.