Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Susanna Schrafstetter


In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists(OUN) was highly connected with Nazi Germany. After a failed declaration of statehood, their position towards Germany ostensibly changed, marking a shift from collaboration to resistance. The main organ of this resistance was the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). However, the OUN and UPA did not openly resist the German occupation of Ukraine as strongly as they claimed. They were more focused on slowing the advance of the Red Army and a violent campaign of ethnic cleansing against Poles in Volhynia. After the war, millions of displaced Ukrainians found shelter in Displaced Persons camps. Most of these DPs were apolitical workers deported to Germany for forced labor during the war. However, interspersed among their ranks were agitators from the OUN who fled Ukraine during the German retreat. These agitators successfully made nationalist politics part of daily life in the camps, proliferating a mythicized image of the OUN and UPA as heroic resistors of totalitarian rule. This narrative travelled with the postwar émigrés to their new homes, including the United States. Another factor that helped spread this perception of the OUN and UPA was the clandestine relationship between American intelligence agencies and the former members of the OUN. The Americans used Ukrainian émigrés to spread anti-Soviet and nationalist news throughout Soviet Ukraine, and their Ukrainian collaborators used this opportunity to reinforce the heroic image of the OUN and UPA. This study uses the monuments dedicated to the OUN and UPA in the United States to show how the resistance myth was canonized within the Ukrainian Diaspora, and investigates the methods of narrative building that led to this commemoration.



Number of Pages

146 p.