The Transformation of the Idea of Community in the Interwar Polish Discourse on the Polish-Ukrainian War for Eastern Galicia (1918-1919)
The paper will analyse the Polish discourse on the former Habsburg province of Eastern Galicia and the community of its inhabitants, developing after the restoration of Poland’s independence (1918) and the Polish victory in the Polish-Ukrainian War for Eastern Galicia (1918-1919). Before WWI, especially before the epoch of Galician autonomy (1867-1914), the prevailing discourse on the province was imbued by the ideas of multi- and transnationalism grounded upon the Habsburg political culture. In the 2nd half of the 19th century these ideas were undermined by intensifying national ideologies but, at the same time, supported by the Habsburg citizens’ sense of identification with the Habsburg Empire and their affiliation with various local circles. In the course of Polish-Ukrainian War for Eastern Galicia, the discourse pertaining to the region and, especially, to the regional community underwent a fundamental change. In the interwar Polish discourse, the idea of multi- and transnational Galicia was a subject of specific transfers: sometimes in a continuative, usually, however, in a deconstructive version. Namely, it was disassembled and its components, referring to a revised political context, were ideologically used to strengthen the representation of reality from the exclusive, Polish point of view. The paper will focus on discursive representations of the Polish-Ukrainian War for Eastern Galicia. It will discuss the stages of the aforementioned disassemblement, from the idea of “Polish-Ruthenian brotherhood” to the vision of Polish-Polish brotherhood, i.e. the homogenous Polish nation, from which the Others (Ukrainians, Jews and Austrians), depicted as enemies, were excluded with no exception. Such a vision prevailed in the Polish discourse up until 1939; it has also had its continuations nowadays.