The German Empire and the Reconstruction of Poland’s Statehood
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Uniwersytet Warszawski
Publication date: 2018-03-31
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2018;54(1):163-192
Following the outbreak of World War I, a reconstruction of Poland’s statehood emerged as a legitimate issue on the German Empire’s political agenda. German decision-makers deemed the Polish cause an important instrument of the antiRussian diversion, thus falling back onto the original strategic plans contemplated by the German Army’s General Staff as early as 1880s. The rebuilt Polish statehood was also deemed a component of the so-called Mitteleuropa concept, i.e. a union of European states, officially invested with equal rights, but actually subject to German domination. In Berlin, it was believed that by controlling Mitteleuropa Germany would gain a dominant position on a global scale, and would consequently join the elite club of autarkic world powers, as its bona fide fourth member, alongside the United States, British Empire, and Russia. Postulated establishment of a Central European Economic Union (Mitteleuropa concept), one of whose components was to be a rebuilt Polish statehood, was incorporated into the key agenda of German war aims, the so-called Septemberprogramm of 1914, endorsed by the Chancellor of the German Reich, and Prime Minister of Prussia, Theobald von Bethmann- -Hollweg. Germany briefly implemented the Mitteleuropa concept between March (Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty with Bolshevik Russia) and November of 1918 (ultimate war defeat of the German Reich).
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