This essay briefly describes the history of Poland between the two world wars. Its main focus is on the period between 1920 to 1933, when communism slowly gained prominence in Poland. Poland gained its independence after the first world war in 1918. The Polish leaders, President in particular, advocated that Poland should get back all the territories which were in its possession during the Polish-Lithuanian era. On the other hand, Lenin saw Poland as an important bridge which could be instrumental
in spreading communism to the war torn Germany. The Polish-Soviet war was the most important war in central Europe between the two world wars. A compromise treaty was signed in 1921 that divided disputed territories of Belarus and Ukraine between the two combatants. Poland annexed Lithuania in 1922 by forged elections, which was never recognized by Lithuania. The agreement influenced the fate of the entire region for the years to come. Ukrainians and Belarusians found themselves without a state of their own
and some Poles found themselves within the borders of Soviet Union. The condition of those left under Bolshevik rule as a result The treaty was marked by Sovietization, Soviet terror, Communism and exiles to Siberia. Holodomor, a massive famine believed have been artificially created by Soviet government killed millions of Ukrainians. On the other hand, in Poland the non-ethnic Poles were not treated in a friendly way and alienated them from the Polish state, whose subjects they had become.
Independent Poland born after World War I was faced with daunting challenges of extensive war damage, ravaged economy, a population one third of which was largely the wary minorities, and economy which was largely under the German industrial interests, and integration of the three zones forcibly kept apart during the era of partition. The new constitution adopted in 1921, followed the republic model of the French example, vesting most of the power with the legislature. This parliamentary system proved unstable and erratic and because of disputes with
political foes, Pilsudki was forced to resign in 1922. For the next four years, Poland was ruled by ineffectual government. Pilsudki re-emerged as a national leader in 1926 following the May coup. His re-emergence marked the exit of democratic values and authoritarian system started emerging. Pilsudki dominated the Polish affairs for the next decade, and his government had a military character mixed with democratic and dictatorial elements while forcing Sanacja, a national cleansing. Pilsudki believed that both Soviet Union and
Germany had intentions to regain the territories lost in WW I so he did not rely on either of these powers, and sought alliance with France. Many accomplishments were achieved by Poland during these years. These include economic advances, revival of Polish education and culture, and reaffirmation of Polish nationhood. However, the minorities became increasingly alienated and anti-semitism rose in the general population. The Jewish population was pauperized due to boycotts. France did not show much concern regarding Poland’s eastern border with
Soviet Union. Mainly due to this reason, Poland’s alliance with France which began in 1921, came to an end when it signed non-aggression pact with Germany in 1934. This pact coupled with the death of Pilsudki, ended the republic form which had started in 1921. These years witnessed a shift from a democratic republic rule to an authoritarian rule, in Poland.
History of Poland ( 1918-1939 ), wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 18 March 07, Retrieved on 7 April 07 from: < http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/History_of_Poland_%281918%E2%80%931939%29 >