Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists

Question: Soviet Union and Nazi Germany:  Allies or Foes?




Allies and partners in crime in the first phase of World War II, 1939-1941.


— On August 23, 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed the Non-Aggression Pact, which also partitioned the eastern part of Europe in their respective “spheres of influence”.


—  On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the west, which marked the start of World War II, and, on September 17, 1939, Soviet Russia invaded Poland from the east.  As a result, Eastern Europe was partitioned between Moscow and Berlin, as agreed upon by the two powers on August 23, 1939.


— On September 22, 1939, Soviet and Nazi troops met in the city of Brest-Litovsk (today’s Belarus) for a Joint Victory Parade after the defeat and partition of the Polish state.


— On September 28, 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed the Treaty of Friendship and Borders recognizing the “legitimacy” of each other’s claim to the territories they had just jointly overrun, and their division of Eastern Europe into respective “spheres of influence”.


— In all, during the first phase of World War II (1939-1941), 13 European countries were overrun: 8 by Hitler, 5 by Stalin.


— Moreover, long before the start of World War II, elements of Germany’s armed forces trained in the Soviet Union, which, in turn, the latter also  provided the German armament industry with military-grade  goods and supplies. This arrangement between the Nazis and the Soviets allowed Berlin to circumvent the limitations on Germany’s rearmament imposed by the victors after its defeat in World War I.


— The second phase of World War II began on June 22, 1941, when Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union  – possibly upstaging a coming attack by the Soviet Union on Nazi Germany.


— These twin totalitarian superpowers did have a rich history of learning from each other on how best to oppress and commit genocide.  After all, Hitler’s National Socialism (NAZI) and Stalin’s own brand of “Socialism in One Country” (that is, National Socialism) were two sides of the same coin.


After Ukraine’s loss of its War of Independence in 1918-1921, the country fell again under the control of neighbouring powers, namely: Soviet Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania. This set the stage for the emergence of a massive Ukrainian Liberation/Resistance Movement spearheaded first by the Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO) and then by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which during World War II directed its struggle against Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. Ukraine became the main battlefield between those two totalitarian superpowers, and where their violence was especially and unprecedentedly extreme.


According to Ukrainian government statistics, Ukraine’s human losses in World War II were up to 10 million dead: 4.1 – military and 5.9 – civilian, which remains the highest casualty rate among all combatant nations in World War II.


During the German occupation of Ukraine (1941-1944) up to 10,000 members of the Ukrainian Resistance Movement (OUN and UPA members) and hundreds of thousands of its supporters were killed by the Nazis.


Disinformation: The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) was “totalitarian” , “xenophobic”, “extremist”, “fascist”, “anti-Semitic”.




— At its founding Assembly in Vienna (28 January- 2 February 1929) the OUN adopted a farsighted resolution (No 7) defining the concept of what constitutes a nation.  In a time of ethnocentric understanding of nationhood in Europe between World War I and World War II, the founders of the OUN provided perhaps the first modern definition of apolitical nation: “On the road to its self-realization in a […] historical sense, a given nation numerically increases its biophysical strength […by] an intrinsic process of continuous transformation of diverse ethnic components into a synthesis of organic national unity. From this functional perspective, a nation continually finds itself in a state of its own growth.”


The above definition of nation unmistakably reflects the motto inscribed in the Great Seal of the United States: “E PLURIBUS  UNUM – FROM MANY ONE”.


— The Ukrainian Resistance Movement, spearheaded  by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) during World War II, remained true to the above principle, as reflected in the composition of its vast membership: besides ethnic Ukrainians, there were Ukrainians of diverse ethnic ancestry – Polish, Russian, Jewish, Greek, Crimean Tatar, Swedish, et al., who inhabited Ukraine for centuries. Moreover, the UPA welcomed into its ranks fighting units organized on a nationality basis, among them Uzbek, Azerbaijani, Georgian, and Crimean Tatar. The OUN-UPA Liberation Movement never defined its enemies on racial, religious or ethnic grounds, but whether a given individual or group supported Ukraine’s struggle for independence and freedom – or not, by siding with Ukraine’s oppressors. To be sure, among the enemy’s casualties in this fight were also ethnic Ukrainians who found themselves on the wrong side of history. 


— The  OUN-UPA Ukrainian Liberation Movement applied the same standard methodology in its struggle as any other of the many national liberation movements across the world, among them:  The Maquis (French Resistance), the Polish Military Organization and the Home Army (AK), the Irish Republican Army, the 26th of July Movement (Cuba), the Sandinista National Liberation Movement (Nicaragua), Haganah (Israel), the African National Congress (South Africa), the Vietnamese Nationalist Party and the Viet-Cong.