As you can see at the following map, Poland is the only way that can be used by a large European army, in order to march towards Russia, or by a large Russian army in order to march towards Europe. See map 1.
The green area in Northern Europe is called the Northern European Plain, and it is a corridor that can be used by an army in order to avoid the Alps and the Carpathian Mountains. See map 2.
The Northern European Plain is basically a gateway to Russia and a gateway to Europe. That’s the route used by Napoleon the Great in 1812, when he decided to invade Russia. That’s the reason that under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 the Nazis and the Communists agreed that Russia would take half of Poland, and also Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Finland. See map 3.
It was necessary for Russia to control Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, in order to be able to protect her borders from Germany. You can see from map 1 that once the Northern European Plain is passed, a much larger corridor can be used by an army, in order to reach Russia. That corridor increases from 500 kilometers to 5.000 kilometers, making it much harder for a Russian army to protect the Russian borders. That’s why Hitler had to allow Stalin to control half of Poland, together with the Baltic States and Finland, in order to lure him into a deal. In September 1st 1939 the Nazis marched into Poland, and in September 17th of 1939 the Communists marched into Poland too.
However when Hitler decided that the oil that was sent to Germany by Stalin was not enough, and he decided Germany had to take control of the oil of Baku in the Caspian Sea, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was not enough to save Stalin, because the Russian army did not manage to stop the Germans in Poland. The Russians managed to stop the Russians in Stalingrad, a long way down the road. During this war England and the US were constantly supplying the Russians with arms through the Middle East, which was under the allies’ control. See map 4.
Because of her great geostrategic importance, in the past Poland has been destroyed many times, and that’s why the Polish people are pro-Americans, and they do not trust neither the Germans nor the Russians. When the Germans and the Russians agreed on the construction of the German-Russian natural gas pipeline, the Nord Stream Pipeline, which would connect Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, the Polish were very worried.
A Polish minister publicly criticized this agreement, and compared it to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, as you can read at the following article from the German Spiegel, titled “Indirect Hitler Comparison: Polish Minister Attacks Schröder and Merkel”, May 2006. Today, like in 1939, the Russians supply the Germans with energy, and the Germans supply the Russians with manufactured goods. And given how autocratic Russia has become under Putin, no one can say that the Polish people are worrying too much, or without a good reason. In an effort to make things worse, Putin defended the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 2011, as you can read at the following article from the Financial Times, titled “Putin’s defence of Soviet-Nazi pact ramps up security tensions”, November 2014.
The problem is that the following situation has arisen in Europe. In order to allow the unification of Germany, France required a common currency, in order to make sure that the German economy would not be able to run much faster than the French one. The French can use the printing of new euros, in order to basically buy German goods for free. For an excellent description of the struggle between the French and the Germans for the euro see “The Tragedy of the Euro” by Philip Bagus. You can get a free copy at the following address.
The problem is that if at some point the Germans are tired of subsidizing the French, the eurozone might break, and that could lead to the break of the European Union too. Under such a scenario a world war could not be ruled out, with Germany siding with Russia and China, and France siding with the US and England. Poland knows full well that under this a scenario, the first thing that the Germans and the Russians would do, would be to consolidate Poland, in order to block NATO access to Russia. The Polish constantly ask from NATO as much military support as possible, in order to be able to stop a potential Russian attack, but they know that if they were to find themselves between the Russians and the Germans they would have no chance.
As you can see in map 1, the other route that NATO can use to reach Russia, Poland excluded, is Finland and the Baltic States i.e. Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. That’s why Putin warned that if Finland ever decides to join NATO the Third World War might break out, as you can read at the following article of Norway Today, titled “Russia warns Finland against joining NATO”, June 2014. Maybe Finland is for Russia even more important than Poland, because if a world war break out Poland will find itself encircled between Russia and Germany, which is not the case with Finland.
Please note that the map of Europe in 1939 was different from the one today, as you can see in map 5.
For the Spiegel article see:
“Indirect Hitler Comparison: Polish Minister Attacks Schröder and Merkel”, May 2006
For the Financial Times article see:
“Putin’s defence of Soviet-Nazi pact ramps up security tensions”, November 2014
For the Norway Today article see:
“Russia warns Finland against joining NATO”, June 2014