Russo-Polish War, 1919-1921




A.) The Situation Preceding the War

During World War II, the Central Powers had occupied Congress Poland. In 1916 they proclaimed their intention to create a Kingdom of Poland (obviously intended as an Austro-German satellite state, and limited to Russian or Congress Poland). With the Austrian and German surrender in November 1918, an independent Polish state emerged which included formerly Austrian and Prussian parts of the country.
While the young Polish state consolidated and expanded, the Russian Empire disintegrated and sunk into a Civil War, the participants in which were not only characterized by different ideologies, but often also by ethnic differences.
In Poland, supporters of the JAGIELLONIAN IDEA proposed the establishment of a Confederation of Poles, Lithuanians, Belarussians and Ukrainians, the restoration of a Pre-Partition Poland-Lithuania. This concept was supported by the Ukrainian nationalist leader Symon Petlyura.


B.) The Cource of Events

After minor conflicts in 1919, in April 1920 a Polish force invaded Ukraine, took Kiev in May. The Soviet Red Army launched a counteroffensive and reached the Vistula near Warsaw in August 1920, where they were defeated by the Poles (Miracle of the Vistula). A truce was signed in September, the Treaty of Riga (March 1921) ended the war. The Polish forces suffered c. 25,000 fatalities, the Russian forces c.105,000.

C.) Legacy

The border regulation of 1921 assigned western Belarussian and western Ukrainian territory to Poland (and the larger remainder soon to be included in the USSR). However, despite these inclusions, Poland became a unitary state; the federal concept was not implemented.


EXTERNAL
FILES
Russo-Polish War 1919-1920, from ACED
Links to the Russo-Polish War 1919-1920, posted by Marcus Wendel
The Curzon Line, from Teheran Conference of 1943
The Polish-Russian War and the Fight for Polish Independence, 1918-1921, by A. Mongeon
General Jozef Haller and the Blue Army
The Last Hetman of Ukraine, from Ukraine Postal Express
DOCUMENTS Maps on the Polish-Soviet War, 1919-1920, posted by Patrick Dole
Polish-Soviet War, Campaign Maps, from General Jozef Haller and the Blue Army
Dyrectoriya UNR (14.12.18-10.11.20), a list of the cabinet of the Ukr. Nat'l Rep., posted by Viktor Prysyazhnyuk



This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on May 28th 2003, last revised on November 17th 2004

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