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Underestimated Ally: Ukraine during the Polish–Soviet War of 1920 in Polish Underground Publications (1976–1989) (05.2023)

Open Access
Vitalii Borymskyi
Type of publication
Article / Artikel / Artykuł

This article examines Polish underground publications (samizdat) interpreting Ukraine’s role in the Polish–Soviet war of 1920. The research analyzes a large number of underground journals, newspapers, and books. It shows the relationship between the political thought of Polish émigrés and the opposition within the Polish People’s Republic. The article argues that the Polish oppositionists considered rethinking the history of relations with Poland’s eastern neighbors an essential precondition for gaining its sovereignty. They regarded the Polish–Soviet war of 1920 as one of the most critical episodes in Polish–Ukrainian–Russian relations in recent history. A common feature of most opposition publications on the Polish–Soviet war was emphasizing the joint struggle of Ukrainians and Poles against the Bolsheviks. The authors often emphasized the combat value of Ukrainian units and stressed that Poland did not correctly appreciate their contribution to the common struggle. They also believe that the conditions of Polish aid were too painful for Ukraine. The defeat of the project for an independent Ukraine laid the foundations for the Soviet attack on Poland in 1939. The main conclusion from this historical episode, for most Polish oppositionists, was that supporting Ukraine’s independence was of strategic interest for Poland. In turn, Poland must abandon competition with Russia for Ukraine as a sphere of influence in the future. Only equal relations with its eastern neighbors will give Poland lasting security.

From the publisher's website.

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