League of East European States

The League of East European States (German: osteuropäischer Staatenbund) was a political idea conceived during World War I for the establishment of a buffer state (Pufferstaat) within the Jewish Pale of Settlement of Russia, composed of the former Polish provinces annexed by Russia, which would be a de facto protectorate of the German Empire in Mitteleuropa. The plan soon proved unpopular with both German officials and Bodenheimer's colleagues, and was dead by the following year.

In 1902, prominent Zionist Max Bodenheimer wrote a memorandum to the German Foreign Ministry in which he claimed that Yiddish, the common language of East European Jewry who lived in the provinces annexed from Poland by Russia and Austria, was "a popular German dialect", and that these Jews were mentally well disposed to Germany by linguistic affinity and hence could be an instrument of German imperial policy in the East. In August 1914, a German Committee for Freeing of Russian Jews (Deutsches Komitee zur Befreiung der Russischen Juden) was founded by German Zionists, including Bodenheimer, Franz Oppenheimer and Adolf Friedmann, and Russian Zionist Leo Motzkin.

According to this plan, the new state should be a monarchy ruled by the Hohenzollern dynasty.

The population of some 30 million of this state would be composed of 6 million Jews, 8 million Poles, 11 million Ukrainians and Belarusians, 3.5 million Lithuanians and Latvians, 1 million Romanians and under 0.5 million Baltic Germans. Isaiah Friedman in the book Germany, Turkey, and Zionism 1897-1918 on page 231 gives the following number of nationalities: Poles, 8 million; Ukrainians, 5 million; Belarusians, 4 million; Lithuanians, Estonians, and Latvians, 3 to 5 million; Jews, 6 million; and Germans, 1.8 million. While in theory all the groups were to enjoy national autonomy, the Poles were to be "counterbalanced" and Jews and Germans were to "tip the scales" in the proposed state. Isaiah Friedman notes that such a collection of nationalities had merits for German war aims, as it would be dependent on Germany, while a separate Polish state spelled danger.

This concept was criticized by various Zionist leaders as impractical and dangerous, and eventually was given up after Wilhelm II of Germany and Franz Joseph of Austria issued the Act of November 5th 1916 in which they proclaimed the creation of the Kingdom of Poland.

The Bodenheimer plan was cited by the author Andrzej Leszek Szczes¬īniak as an example of "Judeopolonia" in his 2001 book of the same name, echoing the anti-semitic conspiracy theory positing a future Jewish domination of Poland that arose in the late nineteenth century.

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