Suwałki Agreement - Background


In the aftermath of World War I both Poland and Lithuania gained independence, but borders in the region were not established. The most contentious issue was Vilnius (Wilno), historical capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with a population, according to the 1916 German census, divided about evenly between Jews and Poles, but with only a 2–3% Lithuanian minority. The Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty, signed in July 1920 between Lithuania and the Russian SFSR, drew the eastern border of Lithuania. Russia recognized large territories, including the Vilnius and Suwałki Regions, as belonging to Lithuania. That month, during the Polish–Soviet War, the Red Army pushed Polish forces from the contested territories, including Vilnius. In the meantime, Lithuanians secured some other areas abandonened by the Polish army, such as the town of Suwałki. On August 6, Lithuania and Soviet Russia signed a convention regarding withdrawal of Russian troops from the recognized Lithuanian territory. However there were indications that the Soviets planned a coup against the Lithuanian government in hopes of re-establishing the Lithuanian SSR. The Soviet troops began to retreat only after the Red Army suffered a heavy defeat in Poland at the Battle of Warsaw in mid-August.

The Polish Army pushed back and came in contact with the Lithuanians in the contested Suwałki Region. The diplomatic negotiations broke down. The Lithuanians claimed to be defending their borders, while Poland did not recognize the Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty and claimed that the Lithuanians had no rights to these territories. Poland also accused the Lithuanians of collaborating with the Soviets and thus violating the declared neutrality in the Polish–Soviet War. In the ensuing hostilities, the towns of Suwałki, Sejny, and Augustów changed hands frequently. The diplomatic struggle, both directly between the two states and in the League of Nations, intensified.

Read more about this topic:  Suwałki Agreement

Famous quotes containing the word background:

    Pilate with his question “What is truth?” is gladly trotted out these days as an advocate of Christ, so as to arouse the suspicion that everything known and knowable is an illusion and to erect the cross upon that gruesome background of the impossibility of knowledge.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

    I had many problems in my conduct of the office being contrasted with President Kennedy’s conduct in the office, with my manner of dealing with things and his manner, with my accent and his accent, with my background and his background. He was a great public hero, and anything I did that someone didn’t approve of, they would always feel that President Kennedy wouldn’t have done that.
    Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–1973)

    In the true sense one’s native land, with its background of tradition, early impressions, reminiscences and other things dear to one, is not enough to make sensitive human beings feel at home.
    Emma Goldman (1869–1940)