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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

"Proposed Frontiers of Poland," 1918. Manuscript map. Woodrow Wilson Collection, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (170.00.00)
“Maximum Eastward Extension of Polish Nationality,” 1918. Printed map of southwestern Russia from 1866, with emendations. Woodrow Wilson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (170.01.00)

Establishing the Boundaries of Poland

Prior to World War I, Poland's territory was divided among the empires of Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary. The war reignited Polish dreams of self-determination. President Wilson and his administration wanted to redraw the country's borders based on the dominant language of the people in a given area. However Great Britain feared that approach would give Poland too much of Germany's natural resources and industries in the east. Britain wanted Germany left in a position to pay restitution for the war and to avoid a communist uprising, like the one in Russia.