Relations between Ukraine and Central states: uncommon occupation in 1918

  • Post category:Issue XXI

Iryna Matiash
Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, Head of the Scientific Society of History of Diplomacy and International Relations


Abstract. The review elucidates the contents of the monography by R. Pyroh with special attention paid to the relations between Ukraine and the Central Powers in 1918. It is noted that these relations are a multifaceted phenomenon of political, economic, and military ties caused by complicated vicissitudes of the final stage of World War I. It is observed that the signature of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk accelerated the independence of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and accorded it the status of an entity of international law.
The author shares his insight that in historiography military presence is most commonly term as ‘occupation.’ The comprehensive study of relations of Ukraine with the Central Powers enables singling out specific features of their development that is impossible to embody in legal norms, such as those defined by the 1907 Hague Convention. The territory occupied by German and Austrian troops had its central government and administrations; bilateral diplomatic relations were established, trade and economic agreements were concluded, etc.
The author stresses that the book is the first recorded survey of the operation of the German occupation zone, which covered various governorates and Crimea. The author also sets out its military and administrative structure, role of military and field justice, and clarification of the number of German armed forces in Ukraine.
Furthermore, the book offers a nuanced view of the operation of the German occupation zone and identifies the main promoters of Hitler’s Ostpolitik in Ukraine. The problem of their ambiguity and volatility in respect of Ukraine leaves many zeitgeisty aspects. The German and Austrian occupation was a by-product of World War I, which, however, fell out of its historical context. The modern historiographical image of the German and Austrian occupation as a holistic phenomenon is in need of some adjustment.
According to the review’s author, the launch of this monography gives grounds to hope that the 1918 Austrian and Hungarian occupation of Ukraine will be dealt with in further study. This book is intended for scholars, professors as well as those interested in the historical past of Ukraine.
Key words: monography, WWI, occupation, UPP, Central Powers, German and Austrian occupation, occupation zone.

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  1. Pyrih, R. (2018). Relations between Ukraine and Central states: uncommon occupation in 1918. Kyiv, Institute of History of Ukraine of NAS of Ukraine.