Curzon Line

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Curzon Line


conventional name for a line passing through Grodno - Yalovka - Nemiroff- Brest-Litovsk - Dorogusk - Ustilug, east of Grubeshov, through Krylov, and then west of Rava Ruska and east of Przemysl to the Carpathians. It was recommended in December 1919 by the Supreme Council of the Entente as the eastern boundary of Poland.

On July 10, 1920, at the Spa Conference the representatives of Poland, seeing that Poland’s war of aggression against Soviet Russia was not going well for Poland, agreed to accept the line in order to ensure help from the Western powers; the line essentially corresponded to the ethnographic principle. In a note directed to the Soviet government, the British foreign secretary G. Curzon demanded that the Red Army stop its advance at this line (which came to be known as the Curzon Line). The Soviet government declared that if Poland would contact it directly with a proposal to open peace negotiations, it would even agree to some modification of the Curzon Line in favor of Poland. But the Polish government, taking advantage of the changed situation at the front, reneged on its own pledges and, in the Treaty of Riga of 1921, imposed on the Soviet state a boundary running far east of the Curzon Line, thus seizing the western part of the Ukraine and Byelorussia.

In September 1939, when the attack of fascist Germany put an end to the independence of Poland, the Soviet Union, anticipating the seizure of the western part of the Ukraine and Byelorussia by Germany and restoring historical justice with respect to these lands, took them under its protection. The state boundary of the USSR established in 1939 ran somewhat west of the Curzon Line in a number of places. On Jan. 11, 1944, the Soviet government announced its readiness to accept the Curzon Line as the basis for the Soviet-Polish postwar boundary. The Crimean (Yalta) Conference of 1945 decided, upon the proposal of the USSR, that the eastern frontier of Poland should run along the Curzon Line with deviations in some areas in favor of Poland. On Aug. 16, 1945, a treaty was signed in Moscow between the USSR and people’s democratic Poland on the definitive settlement of the Soviet-Polish frontier. (It basically corresponded to the Curzon Line.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.