Role of Five Countries - post WWI Poland

The most important question a journalist can ask is “Why?”  The answer to “Why” has always driven my curiosity in stories and experiences – nothing happens in a vacuum.  This desire to understand the “why” of the Polish experience, and essentially Henry’s story, has driven the research portion of this project. 

While visiting Poland I realized there is a second critical piece of history to understand in terms of understanding the uniquely disastrous position of Poland from 1939 – 1945, namely her diplomatic relationship to several key countries especially Russia. The important and complicated, cross-undercurrents of anti-Semitism and religion are also important – but a separate discussion due to its complexity.  With apologies to European history scholars, here is my high-level summary of the cast of characters leading up to 1939.  If you see errors please let me know.
Germany – Henry equated the historical relationship of Germans to Poles to the same kinship that Arabs and Israelis share for each other.  During World War I, Germany suffered huge losses. The Treaty of Versailles (1919) then handed Germany the vindictive humiliation, responsibility and war debt for World War I. The Allies expected a full payment for war reparations. Germany loses territory to both Poland and France. Border changes leave 7 million ‘Germans’ in Austria, 3 million ‘Germans’ in Czechoslovakia, and 1 million ‘Germans’ in Poland. 
France – At Versailles, France was the single most vindictive force against Germany, urging the harshest penalties. In 1920 France sends troops to aid Poland in a fight against Russia in the Polish-soviet war of 1920. Three pacts – Political, military and economic – are signed between France and Poland.  In case of aggression by Germany, France will aid Poland.  
Britain – During the Polish-Soviet war in 1920 – Britain also supported Poland against Russia.  Otherwise Britons were fairly ambivalent towards Poland. In May 1927 Britain breaks diplomatic relations.  On March 31, 1939, fearful of Nazi Germany, the UK makes a guarantee of freedom to Poland, should Germany invade her. 
Russia –Joseph Stalin rises to power and uses terror to maintain his dominant position. Large American corporations like Ford Motor Company build factories in Russia. The U.S. sees Russia as a dominant power that could fight Germany and establishes diplomatic ties. Simultaneously  ‘corrective labor camps’ and forced labor are an established part of the Soviet system.  Hundreds of thousands are arrested and executed under Stalin’s rule, including Poles now inside Russian borders.  Stalin’s equivalent to the Nazi Gestapo, the NKVD, would eventually deport 1.5 million Poles to the Gulag system.  
United States – In 1917 Woodrow Wilson was the key proponent of an independent Poland as a desired outcome of WWI. The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington D.C., was established in 1919 as one of Poland’s first foreign missions after 1918. The quote about WWI “The War that will End War”, though first coined by British author H.G. Wells, is most closely associated with Woodrow Wilson. 
Sources:  Gellately, Robert, The Age of Social Catastrophe; Johnson, Lonnie R., Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends