No, this is not against Poland. Norman Davies (2004) has shown me its heroism. But Margaret MacMillan (2001) writing on the 1919 Paris Peace Conference ending the Great War vouches to Poland having been the product of nationalism-cum-territorialism.
US President Woodrow Wilson’s ‘Fourteen Points’ were meant to guide the proceedings. Point 13 promised a Poland to be established on ‘…territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations.’  But finding ‘… indisputable territory of any kind in Central Europe was never easy’, says MacMillan wryly on page 269. Anyhow, Polish cartographer Eugene Romer provided what one would now call the evidence base as of 1916. Morgane Labbé (2018) writes about the dire wartime circumstances under which this high-quality work was done. The map indeed featured a core where Poles were dominant. It was reworked by Romer in Paris to suit the purposes of the Polish delegation. By then, Poland was already a – shifting – reality on the ground. Indeed, the Great War in the east did not end before 1923, say Polish historians Wlodzimierz Borodziej and Maciej Górny (2018).
In the end, Poland was granted independence on the understanding that she would be the first-line defence against the unknown quantity UdSSR, and well under the stipulation of respecting the rights of millions of Germans, Lithuanians, Belorussians and Jews on their territory. So much for an ’indisputably Polish population’. If the truth be told, soon Poland abrogated its obligations under the treaty.
Having disappeared briefly from the map, post-World War II Poland re-emerged as good as ethnically homogenous, but not on territory ‘indisputably’ Polish. It rather comprised yet more German lands. The German inhabitants had to make room for Poles cleansed from territories acquired by the Soviet Union under the infamous Molotoff-Ribbentrop Pact. The Polish Jagellionian University of Lwów (Lemberg under Austrian rule ending in 1918) went to Wroclaw: Breslau when still German.
In the Foreword to MacMillan’s book, Richard Holbrooke (later to become the broker of the Bosnian peace agreement) relates Wilson’s Secretary of State Robert Lansing already having had misgivings about self determination. It ‘…was the watchword, but this was not a help in choosing among competing nationalisms.’ (MacMillan 2001, 25). See here the dilemma of constructing a state with a definite territory which an identifiable people can call its own.
Borodziej, W., Górny, M. (2018) Der vergessene Weltkrieg: Nationen 1917- 1923, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt.
Davies, N. (2004) Rising ‘44: The Battle for Warsaw, Macmillan, London.
Labbé, M. (2018) ‘Eugene Romer’s 1916 Atlas of Poland: Creating a new nation state, Imago Mundi, 70:1, 94-113.
MacMillan, M. (2001) Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World, Random Houase, New York, NY.

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