Polityka kolonialna międzywojennej Polski w świetle źródeł krajowych i zagranicznych: nowe spojrzenie (1918–1945)

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Piotr Puchalski


Interwar Poland's growing need for raw materials and new trade routes encouraged many social activists to argue for the acquisition of, or at least access to, colonies. Initially, this Polish colonial milieu connected the concept of creating pioneer settlements to the concept of channeling economic emigration to South America. After the creation of the Maritime and Colonial League (Liga Morska i Kolonialna) in 1930, the two concepts became partly separated as the Polish colonial milieu’s focus shifed to Africa. The Polish government endorsed activities intended to spread Polish influence in colonial areas: for example, it tacitly supported settlement projects in Angola, as well as a strictly confidential “Liberian action plan” for inciting an autochthonous uprising in Liberia and/or taking over that country’s finances. At the same time, unlike the revisionist powers, Poland attempted to satisfy its perceived needs in colonial matters through the international system. Moreover, Warsaw’s attitude toward the colonial question, made public in late 1936, was a matter of diplomacy. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Józef Beck, used colonial aspirations as diplomatic tools to detract Hitler’s attention from Europe and to prevent Western appeasement from taking place at Poland’s expense. In addition, his ministry incorporated the perceived need for Jewish emigration from Poland into colonial policies, especially in the context of Polish-French negotiations over Madagascar. By September 1939, however, the “Jewish question” was separated from Poland’s colonial policies in discourse and practice. The question of Polish colonies emerged for the last time during World War II, when certain officials of the Polish government-in-exile, failing to predict the quick collapse of the colonial system in the world, suggested channeling refugees and soldiers to Africa to create a basis for future Polish claims to colonial territories.

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Puchalski, P. (2019). Polityka kolonialna międzywojennej Polski w świetle źródeł krajowych i zagranicznych: nowe spojrzenie (1918–1945). Res Gestae, 7, 68–121. Pobrano z https://resgestae.uken.krakow.pl/article/view/4811

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