Geographia Polonica (2012) vol. 85, iss. 1

The Curzon line as the eastern boundary of Poland. The origins and the political background

Piotr Eberhardt

Geographia Polonica (2012) vol. 85, iss. 1, pp. 5-12 | Full text

The paper presents the political history of the present-day eastern boundary of Poland (Polish-Ukrainian and Polish-Belarusian). Therespective line was called the Curzon Line due to the initiative of the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, George Nathaniel Curzon(1859-1925). On December 8th, 1919, he suggested a provisional demarcation line separating Poland from Bolshevik Russia.At that time, it was just one of many proposals for the course of the line of separation and did not play any significant political role. Thename, the Curzon Line, was brought back into use during World War II by Stalin and accepted by Roosevelt and Churchill at the conferencesin Teheran in 1943 and in Yalta in 1945, as the eastern boundary of Poland. In this article, the causes and consequences of thisdecision are considered, based on the source documents and the literature on the subject. The political boundary which was forced uponPoland by the three superpowers after the defeat of the German Third Reich, and the inclusion of Poland in the Soviet zone of influenceare the subjects of this article.

Keywords: Curzon Line, boundary of Poland, political boundary, World War II, historical geography

Piotr Eberhardt [], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00‑818 Warszawa, Poland