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Leon Trotsky 19390906 The War and the Ukrainian Question

Leon Trotsky: The War and the Ukrainian Question

September 6, 1939

[Writings of Leon Trotsky, Vol 12, 1939-1940, New York ²1973, p. 86]

Our Ukrainian friends in Canada proposed that my recent articles on the Ukrainian question be published as a separate pamphlet. Of course I agreed to this proposal with great pleasure. I ask only that Ukrainian readers remember that they have before them, not a systematic exposition of the Ukrainian question in its entirety, but simply an attempt to establish, on a sound basis, the central political task of the moment.

These articles were written before the German attack on Poland. But that has not made them outdated, in my opinion. In a certain sense the opposite is true: Poland's transformation into a theater of war and Berlin's rapprochement with Moscow have given the Ukrainian question exceptional urgency. The pro-German orientation of a section of Ukrainian opinion will now simultaneously reveal both its reactionary character and its utopianism. Only the revolutionary orientation remains. The war will add a furious pace to the course of developments. In order not to be caught unprepared, it is necessary to take a timely and clear stand on the Ukrainian question.