Polish statesman's biography teaches lessons about today's Ukraine

Polish statesman’s biography teaches lessons about today’s Ukraine

NEW YORK (AP) — A hundred years ago, a revolutionary Polish patriot argued that Russia’s thirst for territory would continue to destabilize Europe unless Ukraine could gain independence from Moscow.

Polish Marshal Józef Piłsudski never succeeded in realizing his hope for an independent Ukraine connected to Europe. But the farsighted and analytical statesman succeeded in wresting his own homeland from the grip of Tsarism and from two other powers, Austria and Prussia.

At a time when many Poles had abandoned the dream of full independence, Piłsudski put a sovereign Polish state back on the map of Europe at the end of World War I, after more than a century of oblivion.

Piłsudski’s story, with its flaws, achievements and echoes of today’s war in Ukraine, comes to life in a recent biography, “Józef Piłsudski, Founding Father of Modern Poland”, by Joshua D. Zimmerman , professor of Holocaust studies and Eastern European history. at Yeshiva University in New York. The book, published by Harvard University Press, also revisits Piłsudski’s relationship with Ukraine.

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