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2009 | 1 | 49-60

Article title

THE UPS AND DOWNS OF POLITICAL RELATIONS BETWEEN POLAND AND FINLAND IN THJE INTERWAR PERIOD (Wzloty i upadki w politycznych relacjach Polski i Finlandii w dwudziestoleciu miedzywojennym)

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Poland and Finland comprised an integral art of the Russian empire. Regardless of the will of the Russian decision makers, the February and October revolutions changed this state of things. Both countries gained independence, which they owed predominantly to their own determination as well as a favourable international situation. The basic political factor shared by Poland and Finland during the interwar period was fear of an invasion of Bolshevik militarism. Upon the basis of such a premise, both states, with the cooperation of Latvia and Estonia, embarked upon attempts at creating a defensive alliance. The Polish state also faced a grave situation along its western border. The demanding policy of the Weimar Republic and later the Third Reich posed the threat of an armed conflict. The Fins did not experience such a challenge to their sovereignty, and regarded the German state as a positive point of reference. Finland did not strive towards anti-German conventions, a stand that became a characterstic trait of its foreign policy. The mutual relations between Poland and Finland thus witnessed the emergence of a feature, which differentiated their perception of political reality in the region. Polish-Finnish relations were composed of three distinguishable stages; the first - 1920-1925 - coincided with talks about the establishment of a political-military alliance, to be known as the Baltic Union. The second stage - the years 1926-1932 - was a time when mutual collaboration focused on a joint stand vis a vis essential European events, such as the work of the Disarmament Commission in Geneva. During the 1933-1939 period Polish foreign policy was steered by Józef Beck, who tried to intensify bilateral contacts along the Warsaw-Helsinki line, which led to mutual visits paid by ministers of foreign affairs. Polish-Finnish political cooperation did not produce permanent effects. It proved impossible to create either a binding convention or - and this was the fundamental goal of the Polish policy - a joint defensive bloc. Finnish foreign policy oscillated around three focal points: cooperation with Poland and the Baltic states, collaboration with Scandinavia, and neutrality towards events on the Continent. Unfortunately, these targets could not be harmonized with the interests of the Polish state.







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  • Janusz Czechowski, Akademia Pomorska w Slupsku, ul. Arciszewskiego 22a, 76-200 Slupsk, Poland.


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