Sorry for the long delay, I’ve had, and still have, a lot of letters to write, amongst other stuff.
I wonder how long since copies of these two books have sat together?
Don’t tell anyone butt I had to cut the pages on the military account, no doubt the resale value was affected, but books are intended to be read, and there’s a guilty pleasure in knowing that in 172 years I’m the first person to see those pages.
Trying to get a grip on what happened during the Polnisch Aufstand in Posen in 1848 is not easy.
Willisen’s account, which I read first (although it’s an answer to the military account) because I acquired it first, sounds perfectly reasonable, especially I imagine to modern ears more used to calls to freedom and anti-imperialism. Basically the Poles are just looking to get some autonomy back after years of double dealing and germanisation by the Prussians, and all they need is a little more time to gain trust before they disband the various armed groups that had formed. Rumours of atrocities by the Poles are of course just exaggerations or downright fabrications by the Germans and the Jews. Even before reading the military account though I must admit to wondering if Willisen was not being a bit naïve.
The military account takes the more cynical view that the Poles just want total control over the country, not the promised reörganisation, and that all the negotiations are just buying them time to build up arms and train their fighters. Looked at from the Army’s point of view the accusations of attacks and atrocities by the Poles also sound a lot more credible.
Looking at events later in the year, and subsequent centuries, I think the military might have had a point, but it’s hard not to have some sympathy for Poland.
Offener Brief an den Herrn Major von Voigts Rhetz
Denkschrift über die Ereignisse im Großherzogthum Posen seit dem 20. März 1848
The conclusion? I think I’ll leave it to the reader to decide who was in the right, I don’t want to get involved. It reminds me too much of us English and the Irish, and nobody wants to go down that road…