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PORTRAIT OF A NECESSARY  PONTO-BALTIC ALLIANCE: POLISH COMMERCIAL ROAD PROJECTS TOWARDS THE BALKANS AND THE BLACK SEA, 1919 – 1926

 

Florin Anghel

 

”Ovidius” University of Constanta, Faculty of History and Political Sciences, Aleea Universitatii 1, Constanta, 900470, Romania, e-mail: fl_anghel@yahoo.com

 

 

Abstract:

The economic expression of the Romanian-Polish military and political alliance undoubtedly had to be represented by the rebirth of the Baltic-Pontic commercial road, as the flow of products coming into and towards the Polish space had been artificially directed, during the 19th century, as a result of understandable political and economic interests, towards the North and the Adriatic Seas, instead of the Baltic and Black Seas. A Polish commercial road towards the Balkans obviously comprised economic, financial and strategic components. One of them referred to building an alternative to the continental routes dominated by Germany (Rhine, Main, Danube); the aim was chiefly to break a dangerous monopoly in the region of Central Europe and the Baltic area. Foreign commerce on the two relations did not enjoy, in any period between the two world wars, a spectacular evolution and never reached an important point. The arguments are based on strictly economic and financial elements: 1. Romania and Poland produced largely the same type of merchandise: there were basically similar raw materials (cereal, coal, oil), the products had a very low degree of processing, and one could earn more and more assuredly with the export type-products on traditional markets (mainly Western Europe); 2. Even if there was a great interest in a partner or a product on the other market, the transport thereof took a very long time. Between Warsaw and Bucharest there was a simple, inefficient and unsafe railroad; there was no preoccupation in the ’20s for the revamping or modernizing of the transport and service infrastructure (telephone, telegraph, post) between the two states; 3. Last, but not least, although the two states had a great number of inhabitants – and, thus, an extremely important potential for buying and consumption – the potential was strongly handicapped by the standard of living. The scanty Polish projects and investments on the Baltic – Black Sea axis have completed – and have not influenced – the general frame of Romanian – Polish relations, essentially based on political, diplomatic and military interests.

 

Rezumat:

Expresia economica a aliantei politice si militare româno-poloneze trebuia sa fie reprezentata fara îndoiala de renasterea drumului comercial baltico-pontic din vreme ce fluxul de produse care se îndreptau sau plecau dinspre spatiul polonez a fost îndreptat în mod artificial, în cursul sec. al XIX-lea, ca urmare a unor interese politice si economice firesti, catre marile Nordica si Adriatica în locul marilor Baltica si Neagra. Un drum comercial polonez catre Balcani continea o dimensiune economica si financiara, dar si una strategica. Una dintre acestea avea în vederea construirea unei alternative la rutele continentale dominate de Germania (Rin, Main, Dunare), obiectivul principal fiind acela de a sparge un monopol periculos în regiunea Europei Centrale si în regiunea Marii Baltice. Totusi, comertul exterior în aceste doua directii nu s-a bucurat în niciun moment din perioada situata între cele doua razboaie mondiale de o evolutie spectaculoasa si nu a ajuns la o cifra însemnata. Ratiunile sunt de natura strict economica si financiara: 1. România si Polonia produceau în mare masura acelasi tip de marfuri: este vorba în principal de materiale prime similare (cereale, carbune, petrol), produse cu un grad foarte scazut de prelucrare, iar acestea se putea vinde mult mai sigur pe piete traditionale (în special Europa de Vest); 2. Chiar daca a existat un interes mare pentru gasirea unui partener sau a unui produs pe piata celuilalt, transportul acestuia dura foarte mult. Între Varsovia si Bucuresti a existat o cale ferata simpla, ineficienta si nesigura. Nu a existat nicio preocupare în anii '20, pentru modernizarea infrastructurii de transport si de servicii (telefon, telegraf, post) între cele doua state; 3. În fine, desi cele doua state au avut un numar mare de locuitori – si, prin urmare, un potential extrem de important pentru cumparare si consum –, acest potential a fost puternic afectat de nivelul de trai. Putinele proiecte si investitii poloneze pe axa Marea Baltica - Marea Neagra axa au completat – dar nu au influentat – cadrul general al relatiilor româno-poloneze, bazate în esenta pe interesele politice, diplomatice si militare.

 

Keywords: Baltic Sea, Black Sea, commercial roads, strategic axis, infrastructure, trade, common interests


06. Anghel.pdf

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