The Polish-Lithuanian Crisis of March 1938. Some Romanian and Western reactions

“A.D. Xenopol” Institute of History of the Romanian Academy, E-mail: bogdan_schipor@yahoo.it

Thispaper has been presented at the First International Conference on Nordic and BalticStudies in Romania:Romania and Lithuaniain the Interwar International Relations: Bonds, Intersections and Encounters hosted by the RomanianAssociation for Baltic and Nordic Studies, Târgoviste, May 19-21, 2010.

Abstract:

In March 1938, whenthe eyes of the entire Europe were trained on the events in Austria that culminated with the Anschluss, there was another conflict on the Europeancontinent that bothered the Western powers, and not only. On March 17, 1938 thePolish minister at Tallinn handed to the Lithuanian minister in the capital of Estoniaa notification through which Warsaw asked Lithuaniato establish immediate diplomatic relations without prior conditions. ThePolish government considered this the only way to solve the problems related tothe border between the two states without jeopardizing the peace. Lithuania had48 hours after the delivery of the notification to accept the proposal without any debate or negotiation. Its rejection would have given Warsaw the right to ensure its objectives andinterests by any means it deemed necessary. Great Britain and France reactedcautiously to this new crisis, hoping for a peaceful solution, in order toavoid the involvement of the League of Nationsor the escalation of the events towards an open conflict between the two states. In its turn, Romania,as an ally of Poland,refrained from a possible involvement or condemnation of Warsaw’s actions, a fact for which the Polishdiplomats expressed their gratitude. But even if Lithuaniaconceded and the crisis died out, the Western countries, as well as Romania,had certain anxieties raised by the Polish-Lithuanian crisis which were to cometrue a year later. Poland’s actions in March 1938 had created a precedent thatother powers did not hesitate to follow and the country that, in the end, wouldlose everything was Poland itself.

Rezumat:

În momentul în care în martie 1938 privirile întregii Europe erau aţintiţi asupra evenimentelor din Austria care au culminatcu realizarea Anschlussului, a maiexistat un conflict pe continentul european care a nemulţumit puterile occidentale, şi nu numai. La 17 martie 1938 ministrul polonez la Tallinn i-aînmânat omologului său lituanian o notă prin careVarşovia solicita Lituaniei stabilirea imediată de relaţiile diplomatice fărănicio condiţie prealabilă. Guvernul polonez a considerat aceasta singura calede a rezolva problemele legate de frontiera dintre cele două state fără a punepacea în pericol. Lituania avea la dispoziţie numai 48 de ore de la transmiterea notei pentru a accepta propunerea fără nicio discuţie sau negociere. Respingerea sa ar fi dat Varşoviei dreptul de a-şi asigura obiectivele şi interesele prin orice mijloace pe care le considera necesare. Marea Britanie şi Franţa au reacţionat cu prudenţă cu privire la această nouă criză,sperând într-o soluţie paşnică, în scopul de a evita implicarea Societăţii Naţiunilor sau escaladarea evenimentelor în direcţia unui conflict deschis întrecele două state. La rândul său, România, aliată a Poloniei, s-a abţinut de laorice implicare sau condamnare a acţiunilor Varşoviei, poziţie pentru care diplomaţii polonezi şi-au exprimat gratitudinea. Dar chiar dacă Lituania a cedat şi crizaa încetat, ţările occidentale, la fel ca şi România, au nutrit anumitenelinişti alimentate de criza polonezo-lituaniană, care se vor adeveri un anmai târziu. Acţiunile Poloniei din martie 1938 au creat un precedent pe carealte puteri nu vor ezita să-l urmeze, iar ţara care, în final, va pierde totulva fi chiar Polonia.

Keywords: Poland, Lithuania,ultimatum, international crisis, Romania,Western Europe

https://balticnordic.hypotheses.org/files/2018/12/09.-Schipor.pdf