Founded in 1929 in Poland as a party pursuing an independent Ukraine, the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) engaged in armed anti-Soviet resistance as soon as the Soviet Union occupied Eastern Poland in 1939. This article, based on documents issued by the top OUN agencies, discusses the political affiliation of Ukrainian nationalists. It concludes that the OUN’s ideology, structure, objectives and practice identify it as a national-socialist version of a fascist party. From OUN’s inception and until its very end, its members continued to think and act as fascists. Unlike the OUN, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army was not a fascist agency, but it nevertheless served as a reliable tool of its fascist OUN superiors. Fascists elsewhere met their demise as soon as their respective countries had been overrun by their enemies, whereas OUN resistance lasted for six years after the Red Army had reconquered Western Ukraine in 1944. The struggle for Ukrainian independence waged by the OUN was thus a unique case of fascist-led resistance. Fascists survived longer in Western Ukraine than elsewhere in Europe, with the exception of Spain, but in the end they suffered a total defeat.
The end of the Second World war did not mean the end of violence for many regions in Eastern Europe. The establishment of Communist-led governments often met not only civil but also armed resistance. These actions were taken by partisan groups and paramilitary forces which in some cases had been formed already during the war to support axis forces. In other cases – like Poland’s Armia Krajowa – they fought Nazi and Soviet occupiers with the same fervour. The aims of the ﬁghters were the end of Communist rule and – like in the Baltic region – independence from the Soviet Union. Diﬃculties in accessing sources and research taboos as well as a focus on other aspects of the Cold War are reasons why violent resistance in Europe after the Second World War is a topic yet rather underestimated and comparably little investigated by historiography. This book gives a comprehensive ﬁrst overview of the ultimately futile attempts to end the rule of Moscow and her proxies.