The German-Polish non-aggression pact was a treaty that was created between the Second Polish republic and Nazi Germany. This international treaty was signed on January 26, 1934. It stipulated the agreement of both countries to put an end to their problems by creating bilateral negotiations. They also agreed to forego their armed conflicts for ten years. In effect, this has normalized the relationship between Germany and Poland, which became quite strained because of the border disputed caused by the territorial settlement indicated in the Treaty of Versailles. Because of the peace treaty, Germany has recognized the borders of Poland and attempted to end the customs war that only damaged the economies of both countries.
The Non-Aggression Pact: Poland and Germany
It was believed that Pilsudski created a foreign policy and proposed France to initiate a war against Germany. This was rumored to have occurred after Adolf Hitler had risen to power in 1933. There were a few historians that claimed Pilsudski’s aim of encouraging France to start a military action that was against Germany, and this might have caused a violation to the Versailles Treaty. However, France refused this proposal, and this was one of the reasons why Poland has agreed to sign the pact with Germany.
The argument that this pact was initiated by Pilsudski to create a preventive war was disputed by a number of historians because there was no evidences of Polish or French diplomatic archives pertaining to the advancement of such proposal.
Historians believe that the rumors about the preventive war agreement were Poland’s proposal of a war to Belgium and France. However, it was during this time when Germany and Poland were secretly forming negotiations about their non-aggression agreement. Many scholars also argue that Pilsudski started the rumors about such preventive war, as this was his way of creating pressure to the Germans because of the demands placed on Poland in abrogating the 1921 Polish-Franco alliance.
One of the possible reasons for Pilsudski’s aim for wanting a non-aggression pact was the pending concerns about the Maginot Line in France. By 1929, France still had plans to maintain a defensive stance in case there would exist a war with Germany. Moreover, the eastern allies of France would be on their own. Hence, Pilsudski believed that the pact with Germany would be beneficial for Poland.
Pilsudski opted to use Hitler’s power and worldwide isolation of Germany’s newly-formed regime as an excellent opportunity to minimize the risk that Poland would experience if it would become a victim of Germany’s aggression. The rulers in Germany seemed to be opposed to the Prussian anti-polish orientation. Moreover, Pilsudski believed that the new chancellor seemed less threatening that the immediate predecessors, and that the Soviet Union appeared as a greater threat.
According to the text included in the treaty, the Poles aimed to express the fact that it did not nullify all the international agreements made in the past, particularly the alliance between France and Poland. By stopping the country’s dispute with Germany, the treaty aimed to weaken the diplomatic position of France against Germany. In order to minimize fears about the good relationship between Poland and Germany, the former renewed the non-aggression pact that included the Soviet Union and Poland.
Because of the agreement, Poland maintained notable relations with Germany during the next 5 years. Moreover, the country fostered a remarkable relationship with Great Britain and France, although it has led to inattentiveness to the foreign policies with regard to the weakening of the League of Nations.
In 1934, the non-aggression pact between Poland and Germany eventually followed a successful trade agreement with the latter nation. It also gave Germany the eastern border, and provided more time for Hitler’s rearmament. After 5 years of signing the pact, Hitler was successful in invading Poland. Although Pilsudski continued to distrust German intentions, he believed that Hitler was of Austrian origins. He also stated that he wished to see Hitler in power for the longest time possible.
This agreement between both countries was viewed as a situation of political weakness, which was caused by Pilsudski’s illness. It also led to the lack of leadership that was displayed by Hindenburg and Chamberlain. Hence, the German policy began to change in the latter parts of 1948, after Poland and Czechoslovakia became the next target of Hitler. The invasion of Poland in September 1939 started the World War II.