War in a European Borderland examines the many regime changes that took place in occupied Ukraine during World War I. The decimation of people living between Austria-Hungary and the Russian empire – specifically Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, Belorussians, and the population of the Baltic states – extended to the destruction of their homeland as well, where most of the fighting occurred. Russian, German, and Austrian occupiers all worked to shape regimes in these borderland territories and the wartime policies and discriminatory legislation enacted upon this region exacerbated ethnic tensions.
Mark von Hagen looks at the main occupations of Galicia and Bukovyna between 1914 and 1918, particularly the Austrian rule of 1914; the Russian occupation between 1914 and 1915; the German- Austrian reoccupation of Galicia, Bukovyna, and the Russian provinces of Volynia and Kholm in 1915 and 1916; the second Russian occupation in 1916 and 1918; and, finally, the second German-Austrian occupation of most of Russian Ukraine in 1918. He traces the similarities among the various occupying forces as well as the important differences that shaped the individual regimes.
War in a European Borderland provides vital historical background to current events in Ukraine, and offers lessons on the problems faced by occupying powers. Further, the problems of the past remain sadly relevant for occupied civilian populations today.