Saying that these stamp issues are for the German
occupation of Poland, as the Scott Catalog states, is a bit misleading.
In 1915, there was no such place as "Poland". It had not existed as a
nation since 1795. Michel calls these stamps, issues for the German
Post Offices in Poland.
In 1914, simply put, the western area of the former state of Poland was part of the German Empire, The eastern area was part of the Russian Empire, and the southern area was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
These stamps were actually issued for use in ethnic
Polish cities and towns that were in Russian imperial territory, as they came
under occupation. These stamps were primarily used by war-time
post offices in Częstochowa, Lodz, Sosnowiec, Warsaw, and Zawiercie.
On May 12, 1915, five stamps of the contemporary Germania definitive series were overprinted "Russisch / Polen", of "Russian Poland" in English. All of them are shown in the image above, except for the 40 Pf. denomination.
Between 1916 and 1917, eleven of the contemporary Germania definitive stamps were overprinted "Gen. Gouv. / Warschau" or "General Government for Warsaw". All but the 5 Pf., 15 Pf. yellow brown, 20 Pf., and 30 Pf. denominations are shown in the image above.
All of the stamps in this set exist in varying shades, as well as with glazed and matte overprints. Most of these Russian Poland issues are not terribly expensive.
There were also a number of local stamp issues for Otwock, Sosnowice, Warsaw, and Zawiercie. Though scarce, they are not terribly expensive, as well. See the Michel Deutschland Spezialkatalog Vol. I for details.
In 1917, the Russian October Revolution resulted in the overthrow of the Czar, and a new Communist state was established. Weary from three long years of War with Germany and Austria, they stopped fighting, thus ending World War I on the Eastern front. This enabled the Germans and Austrians to focus on the war in Western Europe, rather than the two-front war they had both been fighting since 1914.
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