O. Pahiria, PhD in History

Memorial Museum of “Territory of Terror”, Lviv, Ukraine

ORCID: 0000-0003-2481-9769

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17721/1728-2640.2020.145.11


The article examines the place and the role of the Ukrainian question in the foreign policy of the Second Czecho-Slovak republic during the post-Munich period. The emergence of this question on the Czechoslovak diplomacy agenda in 1938-1939 was associated with the formation of autonomous Subcarpathian Ruthenia/Carpatho-Ukraine in the republic’s east, as well as with the active debate in international circles concerning Germany’s aggressive plans in Eastern Europe with the use of the Ukrainian card. Based on unknown documents from the Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ archives, the article analyses Prague’s attitude towards prospects of the formation of a “Great Ukraine” on the platform of Carpatho-Ukraine. Czechoslovakian government’s position in the Ukrainian question was ambiguous and was shaped by several international factors: 1) Germany’s policy that used the Ukrainian question as a “bargaining chip” in its diplomacy; 2) the aspirations of Poland and Hungary to establish a common frontier in the Carpathians; 3) the position of Romania as Czecho-Slovakia’s key ally, which until some point was strategically interested in retaining the land corridor with Prague through Subcarpathian Ruthenia; 4) the “appeasement policy” of the West, which sought to divert Hitler’s aggression to the East with the use of the Ukrainian card. If earlier Prague looked with suspicion at the Ukrainian question as a certain threat to its territorial integrity due to the factor of Subcarpathian Ruthenia, in 1939 it perceived the Ukrainian card as a possible salvation for Czecho-Slovakia itself. At the beginning of 1939, Czernin Palace developed a few projects which suggested to use the Ukrainian question for the sake of saving the republic. This plan was backed by certain circles of British diplomacy, who had the interest to direct Germany to the East, towards Ukraine’s natural resources. Unfortunately, this period was too short to produce any long-term strategies of Prague on the Ukrainian question. Eventually, Hitler decided to deliver a different verdict to the fate of Carpatho-Ukraine by having passed it to Hungary.

Key words: Carpatho-Ukraine, Second Czecho-Slovak republic, the Ukrainian question, the Czechoslovak crisis.

Received by the editorial board: 22.03.2020

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