Poland Population and Armed Forces
Population. – Since 1931, the major cities in Poland, listed below, have seen a notable increase, according to a 1937 assessment.
As can be seen from this table, the increase is quite strong in absolute value, for Warsaw, Łódź and above all for Gdynia; for the latter center the population has almost quadrupled. This is mainly due to the importance that the city has assumed as a port. The movement of the population in the three-year period 1934-36 has the same characteristics as in the previous years, expressed in the following average values: live births 26.2 ‰, deaths 14.2 ‰, fairly strong surplus births 12.1 ‰. The migratory phenomenon in 1935 had no influence on the movement of the population because in the face of 53,800 emigrants there were 53,400 repatriations, while in 1936 the values were respectively 54,600 and 43,700; on the total population, however, the surplus is a completely negligible percentage.
From the agricultural point of view the conditions of the economy remain almost stationary; remaining almost equal the surface of arable land, orchards and vegetable gardens, meadows, pastures, forests and uncultivated and unproductive, it can be observed that for the various agricultural products in the two-year period 1935-36 there was an increase in the area cultivated for wheat (1.748. 000 ha.), For rye (5.807.000 ha.), For oats (2.244.000 ha.) And for flax; while there is a decrease in the land cultivated with barley (1,203,000 ha.) and beet (120,000 ha.). Production is slightly increasing for wheat (20.7 million q.), While it is stationary or decreasing for other products.
Breeding is in continuous development, at least as far as cattle (9,760,000), sheep (2,803,000) and pigs (6,723,000) are concerned, while it remains almost stationary for horses; in 1935, in addition to the data cited, there were also 355,000 goats.
According to healthvv, the trade movement with foreign countries for 1934 and 1935 shows the following values (in millions of złoty) respectively: exports: 975 and 925, imports 799 and 861. In 1934 there was a slight recovery for the former, which then fell to minimum of the last decade, while for imports from the minimum of 1934 it goes back, in 1935, to a value almost equal to that of 1932. The highest values for exports are always given by timber (155 million) and coal (140 million), while for imports, cotton (114 million) and machinery (70 million) predominate with an increase, while imports of wool remain strong (73 million). From this point of view, the relative position of Italy remains almost the same, despite having been overtaken by the USSR, while the absolute value has slightly decreased.
Merchant Navy. – The merchant navy is made up of 45 ships per ton. gross 93,202: of which 13 per ton 35.006 motor. The two largest Polish ships are the transatlantic liners Pilsudski and Batory, built in the Monfalcone shipyards and employed on the North American line. The most important Polish company, Gdynia-America, is improving its material. A plan for the reconstruction and increase of the canal has recently been put into practice.
Civil aviation. – All of Poland’s air network is currently operated by a single company, PLL Lot, which is owned by the state and autonomous municipalities. The Lot’s air network has the following lines for a total length of 5670 kilometers: Warsaw-Gdynia-Gdansk line (333 km); Warsaw-Poznań-Berlin line (km. 515); Warsaw-Katowice line (km. 256); Warsaw-Krakow line (km.243); Warsaw-Vilna-Riga-Tallinn-Helsinki line (km. 1141); Warsaw-Lviv-Cernauţi-Bucharest-Sofia-Thessaloniki-Athens-Lydda line (km.3188).
Army. – After successive modifications, the Polish army is now made up of 30 infantry divisions, of which 2 are mountain divisions. No variations were carried over to the internal constitution of the infantry division. The cavalry remained constituted on 1 division and 12 autonomous brigades; a telegraph platoon was added to the division; each autonomous brigade is made up of 2 to 4 cavalry regiments, 1 horse artillery group, 1 digging squadron and 1 telegraph platoon.
In addition, 6 tank and armored car battalions and 1 chemical battalion were set up.
Navy. – New units: Destroyers: 2 (B łyskawica, Grom) built in England in 1936, from 1975/2144 tons. and 39/42 knots, armed with 7/120 and 2 x 533 three-point launch tubes.
Submarines: 2 planned (Semp, Orze ł), under construction in Dutch shipyards, 990 tons. and 19/8 knots, armed with 6 launch tubes and 1/100, capable of carrying 40 torpedoes.
Minesweeper: 1 (Gryf) built in 1936 in France, of 2250 tons. and 20 knots, armed with 6/120, anti-aircraft weapons, capable of 300 torpedoes.
Minesweepers: 6 Mewa type, two of which are still under construction and the other 4 launched in 1934-35, weighing 183 tons. and 18 knots, armed with 1/75 and also equipped as minelayers.
Balanced strength ascends to 6100 men.
Military aviation. – The air force includes: 2 air grouping commands; 6 aviation regiments in 3-4 groups with 2-3 squadrons each; autonomous air force squadron as well as two aeronautical battalions. The units are grouped into: Army Aviation: 59 squadrons with 1200 aircraft (bombing, fighter, reconnaissance and school); Maritime aviation: 6 squadrons with 60 aircraft (bombing, fighter and reconnaissance); River aviation: a squadron out of 20 aircraft. A total of 66 squadrons, but only 46 constitute true units for use with a line force of about 700 aircraft.
Finance. – Despite the severe revision of the various revenue and expenditure chapters of the budget, the deficit has not disappeared and to tackle it it has been necessary to resort to loans and coin issues (raising the legal limit), as well as Treasury reserves and advances from the Bank of Poland. However, from 1934-35 there is a notable upward movement in economic activity largely due to increasing state intervention and rearmament costs.
The autonomous department of Silesia has a separate budget which, after reaching 170 million in 1929-30, fluctuates in more recent years around the 80s.
Beginning in 1932, the external public debt fell as a result of both repayments and the depreciation of the pound sterling and the dollar; at 30 September 1937 it amounted to 2632 million and the internal debt (including that due to the Bank of Poland since 1933 and, since 1934, that due to the Postal Savings Bank) at the same date was 2130 million, of which most consolidated.
Gold convertibility (for a minimum of 20,000 złoty) was maintained; in April 1936 it was therefore necessary to introduce exchange control.
As of December 31, 1937, banknotes in circulation amounted to 1059 and the divisional currency to 438 and the reserves in gold and foreign currencies to 435 and 36 million respectively.