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Partition of Poland

From the 17th century till the end of the World War I, the country of Poland did not exist as an independent state. The country of Poland was removed from the map of the world by the three partitioning powers namely Russia, Prussia and Austria. Looking into the historical background of the partitions, it depicts that the Russian army troops and government were the most active members in carrying out the partition. Also Russia gained nearly most of the Commonwealth’s territory. The division of the territories of Poland resulted in the balance of power being disturbed all around globe.

Even the division of cities of Poland had a severe impact on the foreign trade and industry. The consequences of these divisions did not affected only the country and the people living there; but also it left a drastic affect on the political and economic conditions all around the world. The Third Partition of Poland BRIEF HISTORY OF POLAND: MIDDLE AGES: History of Poland began in the prehistoric times when people arrived in Poland. This was the time which is known as the establishment of the Polish state. This era included people who were using primitive tools and then started learning making stone tools and other such fortifications.

Then came the Early Bronze Age following which was the Iron Age. (Denil, p. 1, 2008) FORMATION OF FIRST POLISH STATE: The first Polish state was formed somewhere in 966. Poland is the original Slav homeland with which Slave entered different regions all around. Today’s Poland is the one that was the result of division of West Slav. There were several divisions at that time, which resulted into population being absorbed by Czech kingdom, Hungary and German expansion. Czech and Moravians combined together to form a Czech kingdom while Slovaks in Hungary.

Except for the Lusatians and Veleti who went to German, other remaining tribes formed the first Polish state. (Denil, p. 2, 2008) During the 13th and 14th century Polish state expanded its power towards the east. Also many of the Jews who were suffering in the Western part of Europe were offered safety by Poland and thus the population of Jews increased in the Poland. (Denil, p. 2, 2008) ERA OF COMMONWEALTH: The era of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was from 1569-1795. The king ruling the state at that time was elected by inherited dignity and nobleness. After the death of king, first elections were held in the year 1573.

After this period, Poland suffered a serious of extreme crime motives. (Denil, p. 3, 2008) The condition there was critical and left the Poland overwhelmed. The population decreased and also the systems prevailing there became futile. Poland suffered a number of partitions. WHY POLAND: The question that arises before going into the details of the partitions is that why Poland was the state that they turned to and used their forces against the country. The reason that is stated by the partitioning powers and as mentioned in various books is that the Poland was the nation responsible for causing crimes against the international morality.

However the reason could not be validated and it seemed that this was the self interest of the state of Russia and Prussia against the country of Poland and they in turn also encouraged the Austrians who were not much interested in these acts to be carried out against Poland. (Oskar, p. 204, 1978) The future could have proved that the existence of an independent state of Poland could have been far better for promoting much of the economic and political equilibrium worldwide.

No one till now have been able to prove that the country of Poland could have threatened the equilibrium of international politics and also that it could be a threat to its neighboring countries. (Oskar, p. 204, 1978) FIRST PARTITION: The wars of the 17th century went on ruining the conditions of Poland. The decline and the conflicts arising in Poland weakened the state and taking an advantage of the conditions prevailing there Russia, Prussia and Austria decided upon gaining access to the parts of the country. This was in 1772 when the first partition was carried out. (Kasprz, p. 3, 2008)

In February 1772, an agreement of partition was signed between the states in Vienna. Then in the month of August 1772, the Russian, Prussian and Austrian troops entered the state and occupied the territories as decided and agreed among them. Several battles took place at that time and the Polish army troops did not wanted to lay down their arms. (Kasprz, p. 3, 2008) In September 1772, Frederick II of Prussia gained success. As a result of this partition Commonwealth lost 23% of her former region. The area was 733,000 square kilometers. The population of the area occupied was about 4,500,000.

The Prussia took the best part of the territory which was filled with economic wealth. Prussia by occupying northwestern part of Poland gained access over 80% of the total foreign trade of Poland. However the region was smallest in size. Austria as per their prior agreement occupied the area that was most heavily populated while the Russia got the largest in size and area but was of least importance. (Kasprz, p. 3, 2008) The three states after occupying the territories demanded the King Stanislaw and the Sejm to give a legal value to their action by signing the partition treaty.

The treaty of partition was approved by the signatories in September, 1773. However this was opposed by some of the deputies but there was no other alternative than to pay submission to the will of the three partitioning powers. The partition treaty gave up all the claims to the occupied regions of Commonwealth on the hands of the three occupying powers. (Kasprz, p. 4, 2008) SECOND PARTITION: By the year 1790 the condition of the First Polish Republic was so vulnerable and helpless that it was almost ultimately a deadly entity on the political front with its enemy.

It was then the Polish Prussian Pact was signed between the Polish State and Prussia. The conditions placed under pact were so opposing and critical that it led to the final two partitions of the state. (Kasprz, p. 5, 2008) Then there was a May Constitution of 1791 which eliminated abuses and reformed the separation of three different branches of the government. Those reforms and efforts that the Poland made to improve the conditions were against and without the permission of the Russia.

The reforms of the constitution for that reason promoted fierceness among the neighbors of the state because of the threat they felt of the potential and effective rebirth of the state that would strengthen the Commonwealth. (Kasprz, p. 5, 2008) The aggressiveness of the Russia resulted in the invasion of Commonwealth in 1792. In the war, the Targowica forces also fought against the Polish forces. The reason behind this was their believe that the Russian force would be of help to them and would support them to regain their golden liberty.

So during the war, Polish forces were faced with the Targowica forces along with Russian army. The war was a defeat for them. Austria was not involved in the second partition whereas a treaty was signed between the rest two states of Russia and Prussia. The treaty clearly depicts that the occupied territory of Commonwealth would be divided into the Russia and Prussia. (Kasprz, p. 5, 2008) In 1793 the parliament members of the Grodno settled to the demands of the Russian armed forces. Most of the areas were occupied by the two states and the Commonwealth was left with only one third of the population of 1772.

(Kasprz, p. 5, 2008) THIRD PARTITION: BACKGROUND DETAILS: The first partition of Poland seriously weakened the reformists’ movement in the country; however the second partition of Commonwealth weakened the ruling supporters of the Russia together with the Targowica forces. The people who were supporting the Russian forces against the Polish were initially seen as the guarantees of freedom but later on were seen as the conspirators of their country. They lost their respect and support from the people and the reformers gained much support. (James, p. 1, 2004)

To overcome and remove this opposition the Russian forces and that of the Prussia decided upon demobilizing the Commonwealth army. Also they agreed upon bringing in the remaining Polish soldiers into the hold of their own state armies. However, the General Antoni; the commander of First Greater Polish National Troop, disobeyed the orders of the Russian forces of demobilization. This left the city unprotected as the Russian defense forces were ordered to fight against the Polish forces and defeat them. (James, p. 1, 2004) KOSCIUSZKO UPRISING: The Kosciuszko Uprising was the uprising against Russia and Prussia which evoked in the year 1794.

The uprising was led by Tadeusz Kosciuszko, an experienced person of the American Revolutionary war in Poland and Lithuania. He renounced the powers of the Chief Commander of Armed Forces and also depicted that these powers are not supposed to be used against any person but these are to be used for the integrity, protection and safety of the territories of the country. It is to be used to protect the right of independence of the nation. (James, p. 2, 2004) He issued an act of mobilization through which many a people joined hands with him. But the major problem was to provide the army troops with the proper equipment.

The large units of people were armed with scythes. The Russians in spite of the opposition of not being so strong were in their plan to destroy the Polish troops. The Russian army was ordered to fight battles against the Kosciuszko uprisings. The battle went in favor of Kosciuszko troop who went successful in defeating the fully armed and strong army of Russia. The Russian army had to leave the field, but despite of this battle to be won by them, the Kosciuszko forces were still not so strong to remove and wipe out Russian army from their territory. (James, p. 2, 2004)

The Russian forces after their defeat started to arrest the people supporting Kosciuszko army to weaken and disarm them. However due to this act, the Polish forces were supported by the civilian population and many of the groups of soldiers of Russian army were attacked by them. This eventually led to the Russian army leaving the city. This was being carried out over a number of towns and cities by the commander generals of the army. (James, p. 3, 2004) Despite of the reforms and action against the Russian army, the strategic situation of the Polish forces was very decisive and critical.

On May 10, 1794, the Prussian army also crossed the borders of the Polish territory and joined hands with the Russian army against the Polish forces. The joint efforts against Polish forces were made in the northern region of Poland. On june 6, the Kosciuszko was defeated by the Russian-Prussian army forces in the Battle of Szczekociny. Then another defeat followed it in the Battle of Chelm on June 8, 1794. (James, p. 3, 2004) After the two battles, the Polish army moved its way towards Warsaw where the Russian army faced many a defeats. However the Prussian army won and captured the battle at Krakow.

An uprising also was started in the month of August in Greater Poland and the Prussian forces were then forced to remove their army from the territory of Warsaw. The opposition and uprising in Warsaw gained some success. The uprising in Lithuania by the Polish forces was compressed by the Russian army. Another uprising of the troops was led by General Jan Henryk Dabrowski who forced the Prussian army to leave the central part of the Poland. (James, p. 4, 2004) During this period the Russian army forces prepared a new army troop under General Aleksandr Suvorov.

These troops were then ordered to join hands with the troop in Warsaw who was facing defeats at the hand of Polish army. After the battles of Krupczyce and Terespol, the troop made its way towards the capital of Polish. Commander Kosciuszko did not want the two army troops of Russia to join hands and enter the capital simultaneously. He made various plans for keeping the troops from entering together and also mobilized his army troop in Warsaw. However all these plans did not worked out well and both the troops entered together in the Battle of Maciejowice.

This battle eventually was won by the Russian army. Kosciuszko was also wounded while fighting this battle. He was captured by the Russian army troops and was sent to the Saint Petersburg. (James, p. 4, 2004) Tomasz Wawrzecki was then the new commander of the uprising troops after Kosciuszko but he was only the commander of a weak military troop. The uprisings all over were brought to an end by the even known as the Massacre of Praga. This happened in the month of September when the joint Russian forces broke in through the Polish defense military and started to loot and burn the region.

This caused complete destruction all around. About 20,000 of the population including women and children were murdered. Commander Wawrzecki was disheartened by the event and then withdrew his remaining armed forces southward and in this way in November 1794, Warsaw was captured by the Russian army. This brought the uprising to an end and the partitioning forces then decided upon wiping out any independent Polish state from the map. (James, p. 5, 2004) On 24 October 1795, the third partition of Poland happened to be carried out by agreement upon a treaty signed by the partitioning powers.

Through this treaty the three countries divided the remaining territories of the state among them. The Russian part included about an area of 120,000 square kilometers with a population of 1. 2 million. On the other hand the Prussia got a part of 55,000 square kilometers with 1 million people and the Austria received 47,000 square kilometers with 1. 2 million populations. Russia’s part included the city of Vilnius, Prussia’s included the city of Warsaw and Austria’s part included the cities of Lublin and Krakow. (James, p. 5, 2004)

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