2011 | 46 | 85-98
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POLAND'S DIPLOMATIC BATTLE FOR EASTERN GALICIA IN THE YEARS 1918-1923 (Walka dyplomatyczna Polski o Galicje Wschodnia 1918-1923)

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A number of local conflicts surfaced during World War I. Numerous countries stood for their rights, and that led to arguments which could not be solved peacefully. Battles for dominance over a certain area, for territories, for borders, broke out all over Europe. The end of the Great War was not the end of those conflicts, one of which was the Polish-Ukrainian war for Lvov and Eastern Galicia, fought between 1918 and 1920. The lands of former Poland, which after 1772 were ruled by Austrians - known under the popular name of Galicia - were inhabited by Poles, Ukrainians, Jews, Lemks, Armenians, and Germans. The Galicia of the autonomous era (after 1867) was an area where both Poles and Ukrainians could realize their ambitions to develop their cultures. In the second part of the 19th century, Ukrainians developed their national movement in Eastern Galicia, and at the end of the century Ukrainian political parties emerged. Ukrainians also began to - to some extent inspired by Poles - form paramilitary organizations. The outbreak of the European conflict in 1914 was received, both by Polish and Ukrainian politicians, with hope for a crucial change in the state of national matters. The interests of the two sides were divergent, which made the already existing antagonism deeper. Towards the end of the war, the Polish-Ukrainian quarrel over the political shape of Galicia was included in the range of issues connected with the construction of the new order in Central-Eastern Europe. The military attempt, carried out by Ukrainians on the night of October 31st to November 1st, 1918, with the intention to take over Lvov and Eastern Galicia, initiated a P olish-Ukrainian war which lasted until the summer of 1919, and ended in Polish offensive that pushed Ukrainians behind the Zbrucz. The end of military activities was followed by intensification in Poland's diplomatic battle over Galicia's attachment. The issue was present at the Peace Conference in Paris from the beginning. Ententa's agreement for the Polish troops to take the whole Eastern Galicia up to the Zbrucz was Poland's success. It also caused protests from the Ukrainian delegation in Paris. A peace treaty with Germany, signed in Versailles on June 28th, 1919, established the western border of Poland, but not the eastern one. Decisions of the High Council that followed were not satisfactory for the Polish side. Neither the settlements of the Versailles Treaty nor the Riga Treaty of March 18th, 1921, ending the Polish-Soviet war, brought a conclusive decision as to the attachment of Galicia. Diplomatic struggle continued. Ukrainians led a diplomatic propaganda campaign on the international scene. With Poland enjoying a period of stabilization, Polish Foreign Ministers made further efforts to regain Eastern Galicia. Finally, in 1923, as a result of notes and interventions by the government, as well as favourable circumstances, the struggle was brought to an end. The act describing the status of Eastern Galicia and its attachment to Poland was accepted by the Council of Ambassadors on March 15th, 1923. The military and diplomatic victory of independent Poland was a defeat of independence - seeking Ukraine. The events discussed were to become tragic legacy in the relations between Poland and Ukraine.
  • Aleksandra J. Leinwand, Instytut Historii im. Tadeusza Manteuffla PAN, Rynek Starego Miasta 29/31, 00-272 Warszawa, Poland
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