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Re-visiting World War I

Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict

Edited By Jarosław Suchoples and Stephanie James

This book discusses various aspects of World War I. It focuses on topics proposed by contributors resulting from their own research interests. Nevertheless, as a result of common efforts, re-visiting those chosen aspects of the Great War of 1914–1918 enables the presentation of a volume that shows the multidimensional nature and consequences of this turning point in the history of particular nations, if not all mankind. This book, if treated as an intellectual journey through several continents, shows that World War I was not exclusively Europe’s war, and that it touched – in different ways – more parts of the globe than usually considered.
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Aleksei I. Miller - World War I and Identity Construction in Eastern Europe. The Competition between All-Russian and Ukrainian Nationalisms


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Aleksei I. Miller

Department of History Central European University in Budapest, Hungary Department of History European University at Sankt Petersburg, Russia

World War I and Identity Construction in Eastern Europe. The Competition between All-Russian and Ukrainian Nationalisms1

Abstract: The article examines the impact of World War I on the competition between Russian and Ukrainian nationalisms in the Western Borderlands of the Russian Empire. Part 1 shows that Russian nationalism was on the offensive in the region before World War I. Part 2 names the following factors as important for changing the balance of power in the region: 1) Russia’s retreat in 1915, 2) the massive displacement of the population, particularly those loyal to empire urban elites, 3) separate camps for Ukrainian prisoners of war, organized by German and Austrian administrations, 4) occupational policy of Germans and Austrians in the Western borderlands which undermined Russian and favoured non-Russian identity projects; 5) Ukrainization of the military units of the Russian army in 1917 following orders from the Provisional Government. World War I is shown as a complex event, one which both transformed the region, but also launched the identification processes, which were later supported by the korenizatsia policy of the Soviets.

The western borderlands of the Russian Empire were a laboratory of nationalism over the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was here that the empire faced the earliest and most powerful challenge from Polish nationalism. It was...

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