Ukrainian Attempts at State Building in 1917–1921 and the Idea of Intermarium: A Historiographical and Archival Note
Keywords:Ukrainian National Republic, Polish Eastern Policy, Intermarium, Józef Piłsudski
AbstractThis paper aims to shed light on the historiographical and archival component of an important topic – the efforts to build an independent Ukrainian state in the period 1917–1921. It also scrutinizes Polish Eastern Policy of that period to provide background for further research. The issues touched upon in this brief review indicate the need for further research in this thematic realm. The historiography given in this article captures the views of Polish political elites at the turn of the twentieth century. It could be argued that these elites were strongly focused on the resurrection of an independent Polish state. One of the strongest positions was formulated by the National Democrats, the so-called Endeks, led by the well-known political figure Roman Dmowski, who in his Thoughts of a Modern Pole (1903), or in Germany, Russia, and the Polish Problem (1908), as well as in his Polish Politics and the Rebirth of the State (1925) and other works stressed the idea of incorporating Ukrainian lands into the Polish state, and called Ukrainians an “ahistorical,” “non-state” nation, i. e. a nation with no right to have a state of their own. The Endeks believed that only those lands along its eastern border should be incorporated. These were lands that Poland could “digest” and gradually Polonize completely, thus becoming a monoethnic state. He considered Eastern Galicia, Volhynia, and Podillia to be such territories. Other Ukrainian lands according to the Endeks should belong to Russia and act as a counterweight to German hegemony. Simultaneously the idea of antemurale, of Poland being a bulwark of Christianity confronting the East, was seen as part of the great mission to protect Western civilization from the Bolshevik threat. Thus, in this part of the Polish political elite’s vision there was no place for an independent Ukraine.
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