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The General Government of Warsaw (German language: Generalgouvernement Warschau) was an administrative civil district created by the German Empire in World War I.[1] It encompassed the north-western half of the erstwhile Russian-ruled Vistula Land (Congress Poland).[1]

Although initially a part of the Ober Ost military command under the authority of general Erich Ludendorff, after the military advances in the fall offensive of 1915 the territory was turned over to a separate administration in October.[1] It continued to exist even after the later establishment of a rump Kingdom of Poland, a Central Powers puppet state. Its governor-general, Hans Hartwig von Beseler, held his office for the entire duration of the region's existence. The seat of the General Government was located in the Royal Castle, Warsaw, while the governor-general's seat was in the Belvedere palace, Warsaw.[2]

There was also an Austro-Hungarian-controlled counterpart to its south called the Military Government of Lublin.[1]

Ten Polish marks, 1917.

On 18 October 1916, a joint administration had been introduced[by whom?] for both districts of the former Congress Poland, with a German civil-servant, Wolfgang von Kries, appointed as the first chief of the intended administration. On 9 December, Kries founded a Polish central bank, which issued a new currency, the Polish mark (Marka polska).

During the occupation German authorities drafted Poles into forced labor to replace German workers drafted into the army.

Chiefs of Joint Administration:

  • Wolfgang von Kries (18 October 1915 - 26 November 1917)
  • Otto von Steinmeister (26 November 1917 - 6 October 1918)

See also[]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Liulevicius, Vejas G. (2000). War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, Identity, and German Occupation in World War I. Cambridge University Press, p. 54. [1]
  2. W. Głębocki, Pałace Warszawy, Warszawa 1991, s. 8. ISBN 83-217-2814-6

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