Ukraine in World War II

Ukrainians in the World War II. Facts, figures, persons. A complex

pattern of world confrontation in our land and Ukrainians on the all

fronts of the global conflict.


Victims and heroes

During the Second World War, Ukraine lost more people than the combined losses of Great Britain, Canada, Poland, the USA and France. The total Ukrainian losses during the war is an estimated 8-10 million lives. The number of Ukrainian victims can be compared to the modern population of Austria.

The Ukrainians in the Transcarpathia were the first during the interwar period, who in March 1939 did not wait for the annexation of their region by foreign powers but stood up with arms for their freedom against the aggression of foreign countries.

From 1 September 1939 onwards, the Luftwaffe bombed Galicia and Volhynia.

During the Second World War, the front passed the whole of the Ukrainian territory twice. Through Kharkiv, the second largest city in the country, the front passed by four times.

Ukrainians became cannon fodder for two dictators – Hitler and Stalin. Every third man in the Red Army was lost (compared to every 20th in the British army). The reason for this terrible situation was simple – Stalin did not count the losses because, as he said: “Women can give birth to more children!”

The victims of this clash of two totalitarianisms were both the military and civilian Ukrainians, the area between the Carpathians and the Don River became known as the “Bloodlands.” That was the price Ukrainians paid for a lack of their own independent state.

The Ukrainians fought against Hitler and his allies in the Polish, Soviet, Canadian and French armies along with those of the American and Czechoslovakian and in the European, African and Asian theatres of war and on the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Ukrainian Alexei Berest was one of those who put the Soviet flag on the Reichstag in Berlin, the Ukrainian Michael Strank – was one of the American Marines who raised the American flag at Iwo Jima. But only one army formation fought under the Ukrainian flag during the war – the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).

Ukrainians in the Armies of the Second World War

Ivan Kozhedub

Soviet fighter pilot. The most effective Allied ace. Had 64 air victories. Awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union three times.

Peter Dmytruk

Canadian military pilot. He was shot down and joined the French Resistance. Saved civilians from German repression. Awarded the Cross of War.

Nicholas Oresko

Master Sergeant U.S. Army. For a daring attack on the enemy’s fortified position in Germany, he was awarded the highest American honours: the Medal of Honour, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Stepan Vaida

Lieutenant of the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps. Participant in the Battle of the Dnieper and the battles in the Carpathian Mountains. Killed in Poland. He was awarded the Czechoslovak War Cross 1939-1945 and the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Michael Oparenko

Polish bomber pilot. He participated in the battles against the Nazi aggressors in Poland and later in France and the UK. Was awarded the Polish Cross of Valour twice.

Alex Diachenko

Sailor U.S. Navy. By the price of his own life tried to save captured german ship from destruction. For his feat of arms he was rewarded by the Silver Star. American military transport ship was named after him (USS Diachenko (APD-123).

Olena Viter

Mother Superior of a convent in the Lviv province. During the German occupation, she hid people against severe repression. By saving the Jews during the Holocaust, she was awarded the title of a “Righteous Among the Nations.”

Kateryna Zarycka

Organizer of the Women’s underground activities network, Head of the Ukrainian Red Cross for the UPA. Awarded the Silver Cross of Merit.

Читати далі