BY ROBERT HOWARD LORD
Among the political problems that came before the Peace Conference, the problem of the reconstruction of Poland was one of the first to be taken up and one of the last to be finished. Indeed, it is not altogether finished even yet. It was also one of the gravest and thorniest questions with which the Conference had to deal.
It was difficult because the eastern frontiers of Poland could not be settled without reference to the Russian Soviet Government, whose existence the Peace Conference could not pretend to ignore but never felt able to recognize; and because the western frontiers of Poland could not be fixed without taking a good deal of territory from Germany; and taking territory from Germany is very serious business. How serious it is may be judged from the fact that German statesmen, from Bismarck to Billow, have been unanimous in declaring that Prussia's very existence depended upon maintaining her established frontier in the east. Prince Lichnowsky wrote, not long before the armistice, that: "The Polish question constitutes for Germany the gravest question of the war and of the peace--far graver than the fate of Belgium. . . . With it stands or falls the position of Prussia as a great power, and therefore that of the Empire." And it may as well'be remarked at once that no other part of the territorial arrangements made at Versailles has