British Foreign Policy and Poland

Discussion in 'Revolutionary War' started by markpeters, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. markpeters

    markpeters New Member

    Pulaski had been impressed that the Americans were fighting for the same ideals that he espoused.  He was also very eager to fight against the British since England supported the partitioning of Poland.

    J.D. posted an interesting extract about Casimir Pulaski, that got me thinking.  I'd never heard the assertion that Britain had supported the partitioning of Poland, and have found no mention of this in my limited library.  If anybody can find something tangible that supports Pulaski's statement, I'd be very grateful.  Indeed, post-Napoleonic times has seen particularly cordial relations between the two countries that exist to this day.

    However, British trading policy in the mid-1700s had seen close ties between us and Imperial Russia.  Ties that went back to Peter the Great and The Muscovy Trading Company in the 1550s.  The importance of this relationship was highlighted by Napoleon's introduction of the Continental Blockade in 1806, in an attempt to break a particularly successful trading partnership.

    I personally believe that as a result of the trading relationship with Russia, it is probable that Britain 'turned a blind eye' to Russian ambitions in the Baltic.  Certainly, Britain's political and commercial ties with Sweden were already strained, and had been worsened by Sweden offering better trading terms to France.  It is a sad probability that Poland was of little importance to Britain, at that time, and allying ourselves with Russia was of far greater import.  So, in reality Pulaski would have been entitled to have been disappointed in Britain ignoring the plight of his country, but that is a big jump to claiming that Britain supported the piece-meal destruction of Poland.

    Call me cynical, but I wonder how much of the Pulaski venom was no more than 'sucking up' to Benjamin Franklin, and justifying his selection to a potential employer.  Any thoughts?


  2. Pamela Jo

    Pamela Jo Guest


    I dusted off a few of my Polish history books looking for answers to Pulaski's claims about Britain. In comparing the content of 3 books about Poland, I found nothing concrete to support the theory that Britain was directly involved in any of Poland's problems prior to the American Revolution.

    The domestic economy and lack of organized foreign trade relations had Poland headed for bankruptcy during the 1700"s. The countries which bordered Poland posed the major threat. Russia, Austria and Prussia annexed large parts of Poland in 1772.

    No doubt, Britain did have political ties to those countries. However, I cannot find anything at all to indicate that the British government became directly involved with the partition of Poland. I would think that at least one of the books i have would at least make mention of it, if it were a fact.

    Pulaski was most likely "sucking up"...nevertheless, he contributed to the efforts of the American forces. I suppose he cannot be faulted for his methods. If I find any info that negates what I've found so far, I'll be sure to post it.


  3. markpeters

    markpeters New Member

    Thanks Pam,

    You've certainly confirmed what I suspected. I would have thought some verification for Pulaski's claim would have been out there; especially in books dealing with Poland in the 1700s. You're right about British political ties with Russia, Austria, and Prussia. The importance of those countries, to counter-balance French strength would have meant that Poland had no chance of gaining support from Britain.

    However, this is not intended to criticise Pulaski's abilities as a soldier. His record speaks for itself! In his position, and with large personal debts, I'd have probably done the same thing. :-\

    Best wishes,


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