Why Poland's Geography is the Worst

Why Poland's Geography is the Worst

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this video is made possible by curiosity stream when you sign up with the link in the description you'll also get access to nebula the streaming video platform that real life floor is a part of Poland is not yet lost so says the national anthem of Poland but Poland's geography doesn't help very much in keeping her safe just take a look at this world map and think to yourself where would the worst possible spawn points for my civilization be at sure there's plenty of pretty awful locations but one of the absolute worst is this general area in
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Europe and it's terrible for a very long list of reasons it's flat in every direction and has no natural protection against outside attackers save for the Baltic in the North or the Carpathian Mountains in the South but it also has very limited natural resources it's only access to the sea is in the Baltic which means that in order to break out into the global ocean you have to pass through these narrow straits which presents two additional problems a you're at the mercy of whoever is controlling them for trade flowing in and out and be all it takes to blockade
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you is a few ships blocking the way here further all of the surrounding lands give civilizations starting there better opportunities for expansion any civilization to the east can expand way far out into the sparsely populated lands of Asia well civilizations to the west and the south will have an easier time getting access to better ocean trade routes in the North Sea or the Mediterranean any civilization that started here would have a difficult history and it just so happens that the civilization that did was Poland so Poland's greatest Geographic challenges to overcome have
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always been establishing a base on the coast and balancing the area's poorly defensible flat terrain against outside attacks from strong powers in every direction Swedes and Danes in the north Russians in the east Ottomans in the south and Germans in the West the consequences of Poland's geography have led to the modern-day state of Poland being a mere shadow of what it used to be for a time Poland was ranked among one of the global great powers and occupied a truly massive amount of land that stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea and included all of modern-day
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Lithuania Latvia Belarus and most of Ukraine with a good chunk of Russia to that for a time even included Moscow but neither the Baltic nor the black are great seas to have access to we already discussed the problems with the Baltic but the Black Sea has a very similar problem - in order to break out into the Mediterranean and the world ocean from there you have to pass through this extremely narrow strait here which at the time of poland's black sea access was controlled by the ottomans who are almost always a hostile state to poland
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so sea access was always hard for Poland and consequently Poland never became a historically significant naval power and over time the weak physical geography of Poland led to almost constant attacks from strong outside powers who combined their forces to overwhelm Poland and her weak natural defenses at various times the Swedes Russians and Ottomans all took their turns invading and seizing land before the disastrous year of 1772 when the armies of Russia Prussia and Austria all joined forces to attack
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Poland from every direction Poland's struggle to defend herself against superior enemy numbers who attacked from three different fronts across mostly flat and hard to defend terrain and so Poland lost and one-third of her land and her population was annexed by the conquerors over twenty years later and still crippled from the last war Poland was invaded and attacked again from the West in the east by Prussia and Russia and lost even more land and smelling the blood of a dying corpse with easy to take food Russia
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Prussia and Austria joined forces again and took over the rest of Poland in 1795 dividing the remaining land between themselves Poland's geography was simply overrun without much to stop or slow down the attackers and Poland itself ceased to exist as an independent entity for the next 124 years Poland only regained her full sovereignty from the conquerors in 1919 in the chaotic aftermath of all three conquering empires collapsing after World War one
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and she immediately found herself in a new war with a Soviet Union the Soviets wanted to use the flat land of Poland as a bridge to export the Communist revolution to Germany while the new Polish government wanted to reclaim the lost Lan's from the 18th century partitions it kind of went both ways before both sides just agreed to a ceasefire in 1920 which largely established the first iteration of poland in the 20th century but this poland's geographic position was severely flawed she had only this tiny strip of land to connect to the sea
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that was flanked on both sides by territory belonging to germany she shared too long land borders across hard to defend terrain with both germany and russia who had both invaded and conquered Poland together before and would soon do it once again after the Nazis took power in Germany and annexed Austria the Sudetenland and then occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia Poland's geographic position became even more tenuous when the Germans invaded Poland in 1939 after only 19 years of peace and Poland they could do so from
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three different directions the west from mainland Germany the south from occupied Czechoslovakia and the northeast from German East Prussia and they could quickly cut off Poland's tiny access to the sea from the two flanks Poland bravely managed to hang on for a while until the Soviet Union also invaded from the east and Poland found herself fighting enemies on all sides across hard to defend terrain like a repeat of the 18th century Poland was conquered and occupied by the Germans and Russians again for another six years before
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Poland was finally reestablished as effectively a satellite puppet state of the Soviet Union in 1947 Poland didn't recover true self-rule or sovereignty that was separated from the Soviet Union again until 1990 after another 51 years of effective occupation in short out of the past 225 years of history Poland has been occupied or ruled by a foreign power in some fashion for 175 of those
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years or 77% of the time the aftermath of the Second World War in the Soviet occupation gave Poland a new geographic reality however that's maybe only marginally better than what it used to be before after the war a significant portion of eastern Poland was annexed directly into the Soviet Union and the ethnic Polish residents were expelled in compensation for this Poland was given all these formerly German lands that the Soviets had conquered and forced them to give up the ethnic German populations here were expelled and most of the
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expelled Polish population from the east ended up coming and resettling in these new lands because of this the modern Polish state has achieved a significant coastline on the baltic with two natural harbors in the cities of good diets in Chechen and after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and communism after 1989 Poland has sought to distance herself from Russia and integrate further with the West the new reality meant that Poland only shares a tiny border with her former occupier Russia here in the Kaliningrad Enclave which is separated from the rest of Russia by the now
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independent Baltic states and Belarus but Poland's geography is still mostly flat and difficult to defend safer a portion of the Carpathian mountain range in the south and so Poland joined NATO in 1990 and joined the European Union in 2004 effectively securing her geography with friendly States in almost every direction safer potentially the East arguably for the first time since 1772 Poland's geographic position and independence became relatively secure and safe again after centuries of
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uncertainty in 1999 when she joined the NATO alliance but recent events in the East like what's been happening in Crimea between Ukraine and Russia has made Poland weary and uneasy from her history Poland joined the defense network of NATO to secure stronger allies that could compensate for her indefensible terrain and she joined the European Union to help further those aims any attack by Russia or by anybody else on Poland would be considered an attack on every other NATO and EU Member State which would be almost suicidal for anybody to
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attempt after centuries of struggling to simply exist Poland may have finally discovered the secret to staying alive when your country's geography is terrible have a lot of strong friends after all Poland is not yet lost geography however is just one of many aspects about our planet that influences one civilization success and another ones hardships I could tell you all about how geology physics biology psychology and even chemistry also all
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have major critical roles in civilization successes or you could just watch the great documentary series that'll explain all of that in much more detail called deep time history which is available right now on curiosity stream curiosity stream is the streaming platform with thousands of top quality documentaries to watch from people like David Attenborough Chris Hatfield Stephen Hawking Jane Goodall and so many more and it's only $20 a year for a subscription it's not $20 per month it's just $20 for a whole
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year plus when you sign up for an annual subscription to curiosity stream with a link in the description or by going to curiosity stream comm slash real life lore you'll also get access to nebula the streaming platform made by myself and a bunch of your other favorite youtube creators which is filled with ad free versions of all of our videos plus a bunch of awesome original content like the world's most useful airport documentary by the guy behind Wendover productions as well as my car review show grant test auto hosted by myself and JT from second thoughts you can get
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that bundle deal at curiosity stream comm slash real life floor and as always thank you so much for watching

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