Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 1

The Oder-Neisse Line as Poland’s western border: As postulated and made a reality

Piotr Eberhardt

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 1, pp. 77-105 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/GPol.0007

Abstract

This article presents the historical and political conditioning leading to the establishment of the contemporary Polish-German border along the ‘Oder-Neisse Line’ (formed by the rivers known in Poland as the Odra and Nysa Łużycka). It is recalled how – at the moment a Polish state first came into being in the 10 th century – its western border also followed a course more or less coinciding with these same two rivers. In subsequent centuries, the political limits of the Polish and German spheres of influence shifted markedly to the east. However, as a result of the drastic reverse suffered by Nazi Germany, the western border of Poland was re-set at theOder-Neisse Line. Consideration is given to both the causes and consequences of this far-reaching geopolitical decision taken at the Potsdam Conference by the victorious Three Powers of the USSR, UK and USA.

Keywords: Oder-Neisse Line, western border of Poland, Potsdam Conference, international boundaries

Piotr Eberhardt [p.ebe@twarda.pan.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, 00-818 Warsaw, Twarda 51/55, Poland