Bulakhtin М. А. Lithuanian-byelorussian lands in polish political plans during World War I (.pdf)


The Polish political elite’s views on the future of Lithuanian-Byelorussian lands are considered in the article. The lands were a part of the Russian Empire and were occupied by Germany during World War I. The representatives of various Polish parties persistently tried to achieve the inclusion of Lithuanian-Byelorussian lands into the territory of the revived Polish state. Proving the rights of Poland for those territories, they pointed to an essential contribution of Poles to the development of the region and to the centuries-old civilizing mission of Polish people extending the Western culture to the lands of historical Lithuania. «Cultural and economic superiority» of Poles in those areas was quite often emphasized. The Poles endured painfully the infringement of their national rights from the occupational authorities during World War I. Proving the need to include Lithuanian-Byelorussian lands in the structure of Poland, they used not only historical and cultural arguments. Arguing on borders, Polish politicians sought to create favorable conditions for sustainable and successful development of future Poland. They were convinced that both independence in foreign policy and economic progress were possible only through the attaching of the lands of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to Poland. Such a state would have to be viable and able to have enough opportunities for controlling the main neighbors – Germany and Russia. All that, according to Polish politicians, would be equitable to the interests of Europe in general.


Key words: Lithuania, Byelorussia, Polish political elite, eastern borders of Poland.


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