Attempts at Creating Polish Military-Political Beachheads in the Balkans during the Nineteenth Century
After the loss of independence, during almost the whole nineteenth century successive tides of Polish emigres tried to find a place for reconstructing the Polish Army and creating political centres which would steer the national liberation struggle. As a rule, attempts at establishing such beachheads were made in the Balkans. The Peninsula had been for a long time ruled by Turkey, a consistent opponent of Russia - the most ruthless partitioner of Polish lands. The territories of interest for the Poles were regarded by the Porte as marginal and remained under minimal control. There, the emigres tried to erect autonomous administrative structures among the local Slavonic population in the Ottoman state by relying on the military and political experiences of the Poles. The article is based predominantly on Bulgarian and Serbian material, as well as reports or studies by British, German and Austro-Hungarian diplomats. The author discussed the intentions, recurring throughout the century, and instances of building the titular beachheads along the Serbia-Montenegro-Albania borderland as well as in northern, southern and, eventually, central Bulgaria.
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