Russian Poland, Lithuania and White Russia


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Russian Poland, Lithuania and White Russia is Number 44 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The study deals with parts of the Kingdom of Poland acquired by Russia in the 18th-century partitions of Poland (and confirmation of those partitions in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna) as well as the three Lithuanian provinces of the Russian Empire (Grodno, Kovno, and Vilna), and the three provinces (Vitebsk, Mohilev, and Minsk) known as White Russia (present-day Belarus). The book includes sections on physical and political geography, political history, social and political conditions, and economic conditions. The total population of Russian Poland in 1914 was 13,335,400, of whom more than 75 percent were Polish. Minority populations in the country included Jews, Germans, Lithuanians, and Ukrainians (Ruthenians). In Lithuania and White Russia, the population of some 12,000,000 consisted mainly of Belarusians, Jews, and Lithuanians. Much of the study concerns the future of this ethnically and linguistically diverse region. The Lithuanian National Council, at a convention in Petrograd (Saint Petersburg) in May 1917, had issued a call for complete Lithuanian independence, while the Polish political parties had issued a declaration calling for the creation of a Polish-Lithuanian union. The study examines the merits of these conflicting positions, and the potential for conflict with Russia should the Polish proposals be adopted. Following the Paris Peace Conference, Poland and Lithuania were reconstituted as separate sovereign states. The appendix includes the texts (in French) of the Lithuanian and Polish statements on postwar independence.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

H.M. Stationery Office, London


Type of Item

Physical Description

148 pages : tables ; 22 centimeters


  • From the series: Peace Handbooks



  1. Norus, T., and J. Zilius, Lithuania’s Case for Independence, Washington: B.F. Johnson for the Lithuanian National Council of America, 1918.

Last updated: November 14, 2017