“The Pygmy Among the Giants”? – Polish Eastern Policy in the Eyes of the British Political Elite (1919–1923)
This lecture event is part of the 11th Kościuszko Chair Spring Symposium in honor of Lady Blanka Rosenstiel sponsored by the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies and the Center for Intermarium studies.
Lady Blanka Rosenstiel and the American Institute of Polish Culture (AIPC) established the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies at IWP in 2008. The Kościuszko Chair serves as a center for Polish Studies in the broadest sense, including learning, teaching, researching, and writing about Poland's culture, history, heritage, religion, government, economy, and successes in the arts, sciences, and letters, with special emphasis on the achievements of Polish civilization and its relation to other nations, particularly the United States. We remain grateful for Lady Blanka’s leadership in founding this Chair at IWP.
About the lecture:
The Treaty of Versailles established the new order in Western Europe, but its clauses did not bring peace to independent Poland. The young state was struggling with external threats. First of all, from Soviet Russia, the Ukrainian national self-determination was endangering the Polish state’s security; in 1919, the Polish-Lithuanian antagonism sprang to life. In reality, its political, social, and military situation was anything but “stable.” Those conditions made the Polish-British inter-state diplomatic relation the essential factor in Polish foreign policy.
This discussion attempts to explain the evolution of the British political elite’s perception of Polish Eastern policy. The speaker will introduce the British attitude towards Poland since the Peace Conference in Paris, which commenced its proceedings from 18th January 1919 until 15th March 1923, when Britain recognized Polish Eastern borders. The talk seeks to answer the following questions: what kind of factors—a geopolitical theory or a strategic necessity—determined British policy towards Polish Eastern policy? Moreover, what factors influenced the British approach towards Poland? Finally, according to the British officials, what role did the Eastern border’s recognition play in the Anglo-Polish reciprocal relationship? What was the importance of this fact in the perception of Poland’s role as one of the factors of stability in East-Central Europe?
About the speaker:
Dr. Jolanta Mysiakowska carried out her graduate work at the University of Warsaw (2005). She has a doctorate in modern history from the Polish Academy of Sciences (2010). In 2015, she won a research grant from the Polonia Aid Foundation Trust. In 2020, she won a research grant from Lanckorońskis’ Foundation. Currently, she works with the Institute of National Remembrance, Warsaw, Poland. She is also editor-in-chief of Glaukopis—a scholarly periodical produced in cooperation with The Institute of World Politics (Washington, D.C., USA).
She is a historian of 20th century Poland, with a particular interest in developing independent Poland after the First World War, its political and domestic situation, and its inter-state diplomatic relationship with Great Britain. She also has research interests in political ideology from the late 19th to the first half of the 20th century—Member of British International Study Association and Britain and the World association.
Much of her recent research is focused on the perception of independent Poland among the British political and intellectual elite (1919–1926).