Political Cartography in East Central Europe during World War I

in Mapping Europe's Borderlands

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780226744254
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226744278 | DOI:
Political Cartography in East Central Europe during World War I

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter examines the power of cartographers who expressed competing political views of European Russia and the East Central European borderlands, in the wartime context of contested territories from 1914 to 1919. It focuses on Eugeniusz Romer (1871–1954), who advanced a grand geographic synthesis for the sake of Polish territorial reconstruction. At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, Romer crafted new scientific models and graphically represented propaganda for Poland's Second Republic. Emerging from provincial Galicia, he availed himself of Austro-Hungarian institutional support and in the latter stages of the war found geopolitical sponsorship from Britain, France, and the United States. For Romer, World War I did not represent a death of European civilization, as West European narratives would claim; it was an opportunity for avowed national exceptionalists—at the expense of rivals real and imagined—to recover and move forward with what Europe had lost.

Keywords: cartographers; Russia; Central European borderlands; Eugeniusz Romer; Poland

Chapter.  9245 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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