Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

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Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by Futurist » 04 Oct 2018 00:31

What would Poland's foreign policy be in a scenario where World War I never occurred and where Poland (as in, Congress Poland) would have broken away from Russia after Russia would have experienced a revolution (which I suspect was only a matter of time due to Russian Tsar Nicholas II's incompetence)?

For the record, in this scenario, Poland would have territorial claims on all three of its neighbors--it would want Posen, Upper Silesia, Masuria, and the Polish Corridor from Germany, Galicia from Austria, and Vilnius and possibly Volhynia as well from Russia. Which territorial claims would Poland have prioritized in this scenario and what would its relations with its neighbors and with the other Great Powers have been?

Also, it is worth noting that an independent Poland could be a pain-in-the-butt in regards to Russia's alliance with France since Russia's border with Germany is going to massively shrink in this scenario as a result of Poland being in the way. Thus, it would be an absolute imperative of Russo-French foreign policy to make Poland enter the Franco-Russian alliance in this scenario. However, Poland is probably going to demand a very high price for entering this alliance, and promises of territorial gains in Germany and Austria in the event of a future war might not be enough to convince Poland in regards to this since there is no guarantee that this war would ever actually take place and since such a war could be extremely bloody.

Anyway, any thoughts on this?

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by jesk » 04 Oct 2018 08:39

In October 1918, due to the deterioration of the domestic political situation, Germany agreed to a separate peace with the Entente. Without revolutionary sentiment in Germany, Poland’s claims to the western neighbor cannot be satisfied.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by wm » 15 Oct 2018 21:10

Without ww1 there would be no revolution, the revolution was enabled by ww1.

And without ww1 Poland would be reconquered by the Soviets as all the other breakaway countries were.
Poland survived the Soviet westward offensive of 1918–1919 because she was able to raise a large army quickly - an army of battle-hardened generals, officers, and soldiers of former French, German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian armies.
And this especially includes the most modern in Europe Blue Army - with their tanks and heavy guns, formed in France. And the mass of former German fighters and bombers.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by Futurist » 16 Oct 2018 06:12

wm wrote:
15 Oct 2018 21:10
Without ww1 there would be no revolution, the revolution was enabled by ww1.
In 1917, you're probably correct, but Russian Tsar Nicholas II's incompetence might have still resulted in a revolution in Russia eventually. Please keep in mind that Nicholas II manipulated the Duma election rules to ensure that he would always have a favorable Duma--something which indicates that he was not a big fan of public opinion in Russia.
And without ww1 Poland would be reconquered by the Soviets as all the other breakaway countries were.
Poland survived the Soviet westward offensive of 1918–1919 because she was able to raise a large army quickly - an army of battle-hardened generals, officers, and soldiers of former French, German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian armies.
And this especially includes the most modern in Europe Blue Army - with their tanks and heavy guns, formed in France. And the mass of former German fighters and bombers.
Without World War I and if Russia still descends into revolution, the Bolsheviks might not come to power in Russia but rather a moderate socialist government could come to power in Russia in the Bolsheviks' place. Such a Russian government would have probably been much more willing to respect Polish independence.

If the Russian regime does eventually turn hostile towards Poland, though, then Poland will have to make friends with Germany and Austria-Hungary in this scenario.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by wm » 17 Oct 2018 14:04

It's not likely, a revolution was tried in 1905 and failed miserably.

But it doesn't really matter, three countries partitioned Poland and legality of the act was confirmed at the Congress of Vienna. No country would voluntarily give away for free territories which were, according to international law, rightfully theirs.

Even if, the best parts of Poland were in German and Austro-Hungarians hands, so the Russian partition (called Poland B like B-movies, only worse) comprising ethnic Polish territories would be a bantustan, like the later General Government - but much smaller.
It wouldn't be able to claim anything.
Additionally, Germany and Austro-Hungary would be impeccable hostile because the stability of their partitions would be under threat.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by Futurist » 29 Oct 2018 22:26

wm wrote:
17 Oct 2018 14:04
It's not likely, a revolution was tried in 1905 and failed miserably.
It would depend on whether Tsar Nicky is able to retain the loyalty of the Russian Army. If he will, he'll stay; else, he'll go.
But it doesn't really matter, three countries partitioned Poland and legality of the act was confirmed at the Congress of Vienna. No country would voluntarily give away for free territories which were, according to international law, rightfully theirs.

Even if, the best parts of Poland were in German and Austro-Hungarians hands, so the Russian partition (called Poland B like B-movies, only worse) comprising ethnic Polish territories would be a bantustan, like the later General Government - but much smaller.
It wouldn't be able to claim anything.
Additionally, Germany and Austro-Hungary would be impeccable hostile because the stability of their partitions would be under threat.
Agreed that Poland would be in no position to claim anything by itself. However, what about allying with Russia and France--assuming that Russia will not be hostile to Polish independence, that is?

After all, allying with Russia and France will give Poland much more of what it wants in a successful war than allying with Germany and Austria-Hungary will give Poland.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by wm » 11 Nov 2018 05:50

Russia and France needed each other, they didn't need Poland for anything.
Polish leaders were well aware of that, this is why Piłusdski didn't ally with the legitimate Russian forces against the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks were the lesser evil, he was sure that France and the USSR wouldn't get along well.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by Futurist » 25 Nov 2018 00:09

wm wrote:
11 Nov 2018 05:50
Russia and France needed each other, they didn't need Poland for anything.
Polish leaders were well aware of that, this is why Piłusdski didn't ally with the legitimate Russian forces against the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks were the lesser evil, he was sure that France and the USSR wouldn't get along well.
When Pilsudski made his decision to reject an alliance with the Russian Whites, Poland already acquired its desired territories from Germany and Austria. This won't be the case in this scenario. Plus, Pilsudski was aware that the Bolsheviks would be more inclined to let him keep the Kresy than the Russian Whites would.

In a scenario where Posen, the Polish Corridor, Upper Silesia, and Galicia remains under German/Austrian rule, an alliance with Russia--especially a Russia which is not hostile to Poland--would probably look very attractive to Poland. As for France and Russia needing Poland, they need Poland to have easy access to Germany since Poland is in the way between Russia and Germany.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by wm » 25 Nov 2018 12:27

The Polish Army was the most modern and one of the strongest in Eastern Europe so Piłsudski was able to achieve a lot.
But the Army was a pure ww1 creation. The airplanes were German, the tanks French, the guns French, German and Austro-Hungarian. It's core - the Blue Army was created by the French. Even Piłsudski himself was created and promoted by the Austro-Hungarians.

Without the Army, the new Congress Poland would but just some random territory defended by insurgents with pea-shooters (even then planes and tanks costed lots of money). Russia would simply reconquer the territory and didn't bother with any alliances.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by Futurist » 26 Nov 2018 00:01

Your point about the post-WWI Polish Army is very well-taken. Indeed, the Polish Army should be much weaker in this TL. Still, if a post-revolutionary Russia is going to be led by moderate socialists like Kerensky, then they are probably going to have a moral objection to forcibly reconquering Poland even if they will have the military means to do so. Think of France militarily being able to hold onto Algeria in the early 1960s but lacking the willpower to actually do this. Thus, a post-revolutionary Russia led by moderate socialists will probably conclude that, morally speaking, it has no choice but to negotiate with Poland.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by wm » 27 Nov 2018 20:01

A moderate socialist giving away Russian lands wouldn't survive even a second in his Winter Palace. The White movement (and the Soviets too, see Soviet westward offensive of 1918–19 ) carried "Russia, one and indivisible" on their banners to the end.
Even Germany and Austro-Hungary would demand Russia pacify her partition, or they would have done it themselves.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by Futurist » 28 Nov 2018 00:10

wm wrote:
27 Nov 2018 20:01
A moderate socialist giving away Russian lands wouldn't survive even a second in his Winter Palace. The White movement (and the Soviets too, see Soviet westward offensive of 1918–19 ) carried "Russia, one and indivisible" on their banners to the end.
Were the Russian Whites unwilling to recognize Poland even west of the Curzon Line?

Also, AFAIK, Kerensky was willing to grant independence to Poland in 1917 in real life.
Even Germany and Austro-Hungary would demand Russia pacify her partition, or they would have done it themselves.
That would probably trigger a World War since the new Russian revolutionary government will probably come to Poland's aid if it is attacked by Germany and Austria-Hungary.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by wm » 28 Nov 2018 22:11

According to the treaty, Germany and Austria-Hungary were required to give all the support and assistance in their power in case the Russian partition was threatened and vice versa - till the threat would be eliminated.

The Russian Whites believed only the boss, i.e. the Tsar himself had the right to recognize border changes.

Kerensky was willing, but the Tsar and the Germans were willing and issued their proclamations too. All of them badly needed Polish cannon fodder and lots of it.

btw Kerensky demanded a perpetual military treaty with Poland, a mini Warsaw Pact - he wasn't an idiot it wouldn't be a free Poland but another Duchy of Warsaw ruled from Moscow.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by Futurist » 29 Nov 2018 06:06

wm wrote:
28 Nov 2018 22:11
According to the treaty, Germany and Austria-Hungary were required to give all the support and assistance in their power in case the Russian partition was threatened and vice versa - till the threat would be eliminated.
Exactly what treaty was this?
The Russian Whites believed only the boss, i.e. the Tsar himself had the right to recognize border changes.
Were all Russian Whites actually Tsarists, though?
Kerensky was willing, but the Tsar and the Germans were willing and issued their proclamations too. All of them badly needed Polish cannon fodder and lots of it.
Didn't the Tsar only promise to recognize Polish autonomy within Russia, though?
btw Kerensky demanded a perpetual military treaty with Poland, a mini Warsaw Pact - he wasn't an idiot it wouldn't be a free Poland but another Duchy of Warsaw ruled from Moscow.
Wouldn't this mean that Poland would be allowed to run its domestic policy as it sees fit but that its foreign policy would be closely tied to that of Russia?

Also, Yes, this is what I was thinking of here--specifically having Russia offer to recognize Polish independence on the condition that Poland will remain perpetually allied with Russia.

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Re: Poland's foreign policy if it breaks away from Russia after a revolution in a no-WWI scenario

Post by wm » 08 Jan 2019 15:34

Futurist wrote:Exactly what treaty was this?
It was article VII of the Treaty of St. Petersburg (1795.)

Basically, all the Empires were promising Polish independence/autonomy since the day one (on the territory of their enemy of course); the Germans, the Tsar, Kerensky, the Bolsheviks - mostly because they needed Polish cannon-fodder and because promises were cheap.

Actually, the most promising, and the foundation of the future Polish state was the created by the Germans in 1917 Kingdom of Poland.

The most dangerous were Russian/Soviet offers. The Russian because given by a victorious power so no need to be nice, the Soviet because of their expansionist designs.

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