Journal:Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis
Volume 31 (2015): Empires and Nationalisms in the Great War: Interactions in East-Central Europe = Imperijos ir nacionalizmai Didžiajame kare: sąveikos Vidurio Rytų Europoje, pp. 99–119
In the course of the First World War, ‘the nationalities question’ exploded in Eastern Europe. By the fall of 1918, the Eastern Europe of the three empires had collapsed, and national states were rising. During the war, the nationalities question as perceived in Switzerland, a neutral country, had developed from an initial concern about the loyalty of the minorities in the borderlands of the three East European empires into a battle royal for recognition as individual states. The article focuses on the activities of the German ambassador in Bern who was the most active force in the development, and he gave special support for the nationalities on Russia’s western border. Poland’s future quickly became the major issue but this threatened Germany’s own ambitions in Eastern Europe. The Lithuanians and the Ukrainians particularly opposed Polish dreams of establishing a large state. The Germans, however, considered the future of Ukraine to lie mostly in the hands of the Austrian Empire, and therefore Lithuania appeared to be the more promising force to limit any new Polish state.