Territorial changes of Poland immediately after World War II

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Poland's old and new borders, 1945

The territorial changes of Poland immediately after World War II were very extensive. In 1945, after the defeat of Nazi Germany, Poland's borders were redrawn in accordance with the decisions made by the Allies at the Potsdam Conference of 1945 due to insistence of Josef Stalin and the Soviet Union already controlling the area. The prewar eastern Polish territories of Kresy, which the Red Army had invaded in 1939 (excluding the Białystok region) were permanently annexed by the USSR, and most of their Polish inhabitants expelled. Today, these territories are part of sovereign Belarus, Ukraine, and Lithuania.

In turn, postwar Poland received the Free City of Danzig and the former territory of Nazi Germany east of the Oder-Neisse line, consisting of the southern two-thirds of East Prussia and most of Pomerania, Neumark (East Brandenburg), and Silesia. The German population fled and was forcibly expelled before these Recovered Territories (official term) were repopulated with Poles expelled from the eastern regions and those from central Poland. The small area of Zaolzie, which had been annexed by Poland in late 1938, was returned to Czechoslovakia on Stalin's orders.

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