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Międzymorze (Myen-dzih-MOH-zheh): name for Józef Piłsudski's proposed federation of Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine. The name may be rendered in English as "Tween-Seas": the federation was meant to emulate the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, that — from the late 14th to the late 18th century — had united Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (the latter also incorporating Belarus and Ukraine).
The Polish-Lithuanian alliance had come about as a mutual response to a common threat from the Teutonic Order. It had been cemented by the personal union in 1386 of Poland's Queen Jadwiga and Lithuanian Grand Duke Jogaila, who became King Władysław Jagiełło of Poland. It had been further extended by the 1569 Union of Lublin, when the two states merged into a federation, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which would remain until the late 17th century the largest state in Europe. Its combined resources enabled it to withstand the aggressions of the Teutonic Order, the Mongols, the Russians, the Turks and the Swedes, for four centuries, until the partitions of the weakened Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by its neighbors in the late 18th century.
It was Piłsudski's strategic goal to resurrect a modern form of the old Commonwealth, while working for the disintegration of the Russian Empire into its ethnic constituents (the latter was his Promethean project). The accomplishment of these ends — somewhat approximated, decades later, with the creation of the European Union, and with the abolition of the Soviet Union in 1991 — might have made Central Europe into a "Third Europe" invulnerable to Poland's historic antagonists, Germany and Russia.
Piłsudski's dream faced opposition from virtually all interested parties. The Soviets exerted their influence to thwart it. The western Allies feared that a weakened Germany and Russia might be unable to pay their First World War reparations and obligations, and that the European balance of power might be excessively altered by coordinated action among the newly independent countries. The Lithuanians, Ukrainians and other peoples that were invited to join a federation dreaded any compromise to their own cherished independence; in many cases they had reason to be wary, after recent wars and border conflicts with Poland (the Polish-Lithuanian War, Polish-Ukrainian War, and border conflicts between Poland and Czechoslovakia). Finally, many Polish politicians such as Roman Dmowski opposed the idea of a multi-cultural federation, preferring to work toward a nationalistic, ethnically-pure Poland. In the aftermath of the Polish-Soviet War, Piłsudski's concept of a federation of Central and East European countries lost any chance of realization. Less than two decades after he had broached the idea, and only four years after his death, all the countries that had so jealously been guarding their independence would once more be engulfed by their neigbors, Germany and the Soviet Union.
A late version of the concept was attempted by interwar Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Józef Beck, a Piłsudski protege. It envisioned a Central European union as also including Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Scandinavia, the Baltic states, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Greece: thus stretching not only west-east from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, but north-south from the Arctic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. Such a polity, comprising some 150 million central Europeans, with a common foreign policy, might have been a force to be reckoned with by Nazi Germany in the west and the Soviet Union in the east.
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