FOREIGN POLICY INITIATIVES OF THE SUPREME NATIONAL COMMITTEE (1914-1917) (Akcja zagraniczna Naczelnego Komitetu Narodowego (1914-1917))
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The Supreme National Committee (NKN), active in the period of World War I, was a broad coalition of political parties that connected their hopes for Poland's autonomy, or even independence, with opting for Austria-Hungary in the conflict. The Committee organized several quasi-diplomatic initiatives such as setting up offices abroad and sending envoys to establish closer links with Poles living outside the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The goal of the 'Foreign Initiative', as it was called, was to inform public opinion abroad about the outstanding problem of Poland's independence and to argue that any solution to it must be sought in cooperation with the Habsburg monarchy. In all, NKN was able to extend its various operations to twelve countries of Europe and America (Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey, Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, United States, and Brazil). Its envoys were able travel freely on the territory of the Central Powers, their allies, and the neutral states. In the countries of the Coalition, where NKN could not act openly, all activities had remain clandestine. Also the diplomatic service of Austria-Hungary showed little eagerness to help their Polish allies. However, the major difficulty the NKN envoys had to face was the hostility of rival organizations whose aim was to enlist Polish support for the Coalition. In an atmosphere of repeated allegations that NKN is a front for German interests many diaspora Poles simply did not trust this organization. In effect, most of the NKN foreign initiatives ended in failure.
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