Some Polish boundary problems and the United States reaction, 1919-1945
Daum, Paul S.
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The United States played a major role in the Polish settlement both in 1919 and again in 1945. However, American policy toward Poland showed a marked change in the two instances. The motives guiding Wilson's actions were far removed from those which determined the course Roosevelt was to follow. Scholars have investigated individual aspects of the Polish problem: American foreign policy in the twentieth century; the Paris Peace Conference, Teheran and Yalta; Wilson and Roosevelt; the establishment of the Polish State; Russian-Polish, French-Polish, German-Polish relations. Much has also been written on the "Curzon Line", the Oder-Neisse Line, and to a lesser extent the Teschen problem. No one, however, after an examination of these three boundary problems, has attempted to determine the evolution of American policy toward Poland in the twentieth century Further, no student has surveyed the American Congressional reaction to the Polish problem. This study demonstrates that Congress played a small part, if any, in guiding American foreign policy toward the boundary problems. The executive, who determined policy, both in 1919 and in 1945 gave support to Polish aspirations for an independent State. In spite of this similarity, there were significant differences between Wilson's and Roosevelt's actions. The former did not waver from his principles, especially that of self-determination of peoples. The latter, because of his misconceptions of the character and aims of Stalin, made concessions to Russian desires, among them the Polish boundaries. Roosevelt sacrificed the ideal of self determination for an unworkable dream of post-war co-operation with Russia.
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