I met a shocking (for me) information, that Germany and Poland have not signed a peace treaty after the World War II.

Because I could not believe this, I performed some research.

In the Potsdam agreement:

The three Heads of Government reaffirm their opinion that the final delimitation of the western frontier of Poland should await the peace settlement. The three Heads of Government agree that, pending the final determination of Poland's western frontier, the former German territories cast of a line running from the Baltic Sea immediately west of Swinamunde, and thence along the Oder River to the confluence of the western Neisse River and along the Western Neisse to the Czechoslovak frontier, (...), shall be under the administration of the Polish State and for such purposes should not be considered as part of the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany.

This was however not signed neither by Germany nor Poland.

The similar question was asked on wiki.answers.com:

Basically a formal state of war existed between Germany and the various Allied nations until about 1949 although obviously all combat operations had ended many years previously. By 1954, Stalin was dead, the German government reorganized (east and west), and the German economy stabilized and growing. POWs, both German and Japanese were just being released about this time in large numbers by the Soviets.
Although I've never seen a full reckoning I suspect some nations never actually signed a treaty ending the war with Germany - for examples, perhaps Brazil or Costa Rica.
(...) A treaty between the (main) Allies and Germany was signed on 12 September 1990 just before the re-unification of Germany. This was essential in order to make Germany's new frontiers definitive. It was agreed between the four main Allies on the one hand and the two German states on the other, with the proviso that it wouldn't become fully effective unless ratified by the new, united Germany.
This treaty is regarded by Germans as equivalent to a peace treaty. A comprehensive treaty would raise all kinds of problems in respect of countries that were British and French colonies in WW2 but are now independent.
Already in 1947 the Allies issued a solemn statement to the effect that they were no longer at war with Germany.

Poland and East Germany were vassal states of the Soviet Union, and we can consider also (in this subject) West Germany as a puppet of the USA. Soviet Union had no problem if they had no peace treaty because she controlled them both (USSR however did, see below). But in 1990 Poland was no more a Soviet bloc member and signed a border treaty with (Federal Republic of) Germany (source):

Article 1. The Contracting Parties reaffirm the frontier between them, whose course is defined in the Agreement between the Polish Republic and the German Democratic Republic concerning the demarcation of the established and existing Polish-German State frontier of 6 July 1950 and agreements concluded with a view to implementing and supplementing the Agreement (Instrument confirming the demarcation of the State frontier between Poland and Germany of 27 January 1951; Agreement between the Polish People's Republic and the German Democratic Republic regarding the delimitation of the sea areas in the Oder Bay of 22 May 1989), as well as the Agreement between the Polish People's Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany concerning the basis for normalization of their mutual relations of 7 December 1970.

This is not a peace treaty, so I looked for documents mentioned there.

The treaty of Zgorzelec (the one between Poland and the DDR)

was worded as a declaration and was not recognised as a legitimate international treaty by West Germany insisting on its exclusive mandate and the members states of the NATO. Four years later when the Soviet Union granted East Germany independence,[2] the Soviet Union reserved rights over East Germany (similar to the rights reserved by the Western Allies over the West Germany under the Bonn–Paris conventions) pending a final peace treaty with Germany - the 1990 Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany. So although the treaty was binding on the two states it was not seen by many western members of the international community as a definitive.

The treaty of Warsaw (the one between Poland and BRD)

In the treaty, both sides committed themselves to nonviolence and accepted the existing border—the Oder-Neisse line, imposed on Germany by the Allied powers at the 1945 Potsdam Conference following the end of World War II. (...)
At the time the treaty was signed, it was not seen as the last word on the Polish border in West Germany, because Article IV of this treaty stated that previous treaties like the Potsdam Agreement were not superseded by this latest agreement, so the provisions of this treaty could be changed by a final peace treaty between Germany and the Allies of World War II—as provided for in the Potsdam Agreement.

As I understand, there really was no document between Poland and Germany that bore the name "peace treaty". However, it seems there were no direct "peace treaty" with anybody else; should then "4+2" agreement be considered as a peace treaty of WW2?

  • 3
    +1 - interesting question. But: was there ever a formal declaration of war between Germany and Poland such that a peace treaty would be required to determined that the war had ended? This is a rather nebulous subject, just as is the question of what constitutes "war". See: When did the practice of formally “declaring war” cease and why? - history.stackexchange.com/questions/259/…
    – user2590
    Jul 22, 2013 at 22:18
  • 1
    I suggest changing the title to something like "Have Germany and Poland ever signed a peace treaty after WWII"? Jul 23, 2013 at 8:01
  • @FelixGoldberg I already have, you are right
    – Voitcus
    Jul 23, 2013 at 13:34
  • 1
    Related question: history.stackexchange.com/questions/618/…
    – kubanczyk
    Jul 24, 2013 at 20:22
  • Wars don't always end with a peace treaty. Sometimes they end through debellation, where one of the combatants ceases to exist.
    – Mark
    Apr 20, 2022 at 2:52

5 Answers 5


Yes they did. The Treaty of Good Neighbourship and Friendly Cooperation qualifies as a "peace treaty"; see preamble and article 1 of the Polish text of the treaty. The treaty was signed in 1991 and went into force on 16 January 1992. It did not say specifically "we have had a war until today, but since tomorrow we are at peace", but it would hardly make sense in context of Article II of the treaty of 1970 "will solve all their disputes exclusively by peaceful means" and "will restrain from the threat of violence or the use of violence". Generally in the diplomatic practice, signing a peace treaty does not require the parties to be at war at the moment of signing; countries can sign a peace treaty even if they are already at peace.

The border has been also formally settled ("border treaty" as opposed to "peace treaty" if you seek such contrast), as described in the update of Wladimir Palant's answer here.

  • 2
    "Generally in the diplomatic practice, signing a peace treaty does not require the parties to be at war" - and perhaps more directly relevant: ending a war between two parties doesn't actually require a peace treaty. Nov 10, 2020 at 15:43

No, there was no state of war between Germany and Poland. A state of war can end either with a peace treaty or with a surrender. In this case, there was a surrender of Germany.

Furthermore. The German state ceased to exist in mid-1945. If was completely demolished and as such, its foreign relations as well. After a while, two new states were instituted by the former Allies. With these new states, Poland could sign or not to sign a peace treaty, but they were never in a state of war.

  • 6
    As I know, Federal Republic of Germany is direct legal successor of the 3rd Reich, so signing a peace treaty with her would be justified.
    – Voitcus
    Jul 24, 2013 at 20:30
  • 4
    @Anixx You might want to read German Wikipedia article. For instance "Mit der Errichtung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland wurde nicht ein neuer westdeutscher Staat gegründet, sondern ein Teil Deutschlands neu organisiert... Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland ist also nicht ‚Rechtsnachfolger‘ des Deutschen Reiches, sondern als Staat identisch mit dem Staat‚ Deutsches Reich‘" and so on. See also eg. 2 BvF 1/73 (cited here)
    – Voitcus
    Jul 25, 2013 at 6:59
  • 3
    @Sardathrion where do I say that Poland surrendered? It was Germany who surrendered.
    – Anixx
    Jul 25, 2013 at 8:14
  • 4
    "1. The Basic Law - not merely some proposition of the theory of international law or of constitutional law - takes it that the German Reich outlasted the collapse in 1945 and did not later perish either with the capitulation nor with the exercise of foreign sovereignty in Germany by the Allied occupation powers nor later; ..." and so on
    – Voitcus
    Jul 25, 2013 at 9:20
  • 2
    Its debatable whether there was a Polish state in existence in mid 1945 too.
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 25, 2013 at 16:14

A peace treaty with just Poland really makes little sense; it would have had to be a peace treaty with the Soviet Union (and the US, Britain and France) as well.

Until 1990, West Germany would not have considered a peace treaty because it would mean permanently ceding East Germany. The Germans preferred to have the formal status of occupied country.

After 1990, a peace treaty really made little sense; it was made obsolete by historic events. If anything, it could have re-ignited old memories that everybody involved would prefer to bury. Poland and (post-Soviet) Russia both self-identified as having transformed themselves, and Germany was all to happy to agree with that. So WW II pretty much ended by mutually forgetting about it, rather than a formal peace treaty.


My understanding is that the former government of Poland, the second Polish Republic, never formally declared war on the National Socialist Republic of Germany, and it was a de facto war.

The People's Republic of Poland was not reconstituted until 1952. By that time the Third Reich was long gone and there was nothing to declare war on.

Note that the former government of Poland, in exile in London during the war, was never restored to power.

So, the bottom line here is that both the governments of Germany and Poland were eliminated during the war and by the time the countries had new governments (and borders) a state of peace existed.

You are making the mistake of thinking that "countries" declare war. That is not how it works in diplomacy. People in the form of their governments declare war on each other. The land has nothing to do with it. For example, if you read the declaration of war by the United States Congress it specifically is against the government of Germany, not Germany, the GOVERNMENT of Germany.

  • 9
    There was never any such thing as "the National Socialist Republic of Germany". It was called Deutsches Reich.
    – fdb
    Mar 17, 2015 at 20:04

They did not, and it was a complex diplomatic issue until successfully addressed with a rather obscure instrument.

The problem was not peace itself but the border which according to the Potsdam Agreement was supposed to become final only upon the conclusion of the peace treaty. As the so called "2+4 process" on the unification of Germany in 1990 did not include Poland as a participant and was expected to produce the Final Settlement treaty (not the Peace Treaty), Poland got concerned least the legal loophole was not closed and her borders could be challenged. So the negotiating parties invited Polish representative for a short meeting in Paris held separately of the main 2+4 negotiations venue and agreed on a special protocol which stipulated that united Germany will see the borders as final, will speedily conclude a treaty with Poland, and will not allow any circumstances to affect this matter. It was also added that no peace treaty will be expected.

This protocol was drafted in French only and was formally delivered to Poland by the French Embassy in Warsaw on July 23, 1990. It has not been published until quite recently despite the fact that Poland considers it a key accomplishment of its diplomacy and a cornerstone of its rapprochement with Germany.

In other words, Germany (or rather both Germanies as it was going on before the ultimate unification) formally renounced the peace treaty requirement for the finality of border settlement but it was done with as little fanfare as possible.

  • 2
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    – Community Bot
    Apr 19, 2022 at 21:13
  • Cf. this answer regarding the border. Apr 19, 2022 at 22:07

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