Peace of Riga

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The Peace of Riga, or The Treaty of Riga (Polish:Traktat ryski), was signed in Riga on March 18 1921 by the Second Polish Republic, Soviet Russia, and Soviet Ukraine and ended the Polish-Soviet War.

The borders between Poland and Russia that were changed by the treaty stayed the same until World War II, when the Soviets took eastern Poland. That was finalized by the Yalta Conference and the Potsdam Conference.

World War I[change | change source]

World War I changed the imperial borders of Europe. In 1918, after the Russian Revolution, Russia gave up Poland at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. After the war ended by Germany losing. Poland was recreated after over 100 years of being divided by three countries.

Russian Civil War[change | change source]

The Russian Civil War gave Poland the chance to regain the land that had been controlled by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth but was taken by Russia in the 18th century. Meanwhile, the Soviet leaders wanted to attack Poland to respond to the leader of Poland, Józef Piłsudski, who had moved into Ukraine. The Soviets saw Poland as a land bridge to Western Europe, which they could cross to expand communism to the West. That started the Polish-Soviet War. A grear victory for Poland happened at the Battle of Warsaw. Both sides were now tired and wanted to end the war. Other victories by Poland placed it under pressure by the League of Nations, which also wanted to end the war after it had taken a lot of land.

Negotiations[change | change source]

Peace talks started in Minsk on August 17, 1920, but since the Poles' counterattack had moved closer, the negotiations moved to Riga and continued on September 21. The Soviets suggested two solutions, one on 21 September and a second on 28 September. The Poles suggested another solution on October 2. Three days later, the Soviets suggested a change to the offer to the Poles, who accepted it. An end to the war was signed on 12 October, and the war actually ended on 18 October 1920. The leading negotiators were, Jan Dąbski from Poland and Adolph Joffe from Soviet Russia. The Soviets did not let the anti-communist Ukrainian leaders be in the negotiations.

The Soviets' military problems made them give up much of the land that they wanted. However, to many other people, it looked as if Poland had lost the war.

Most of the Polish negotiators were members of the National Democrats, who were Piłsudski's political enemies. They did not want more than a third of the people living in Poland to be ethnic non-Polish and so they agreed to get less land than they could have gotten although many Poles would be left on the Soviet side of the border. The Soviets had been willing to give up even Minsk.