Ukraine and its Habsburgs
Another wave of the national idea spreading initiated by Taras
Shevchenko formed the Ukrainian intellectual elite in the second half of
the XIX – early XX centuries. It included the part of the left-bank nobility
formed by the Cossack ofﬁcers. Lesya Ukrainka and Pavlo Skoropadskyi
also came from this community, whereas Mykhailo Hrushevskyi and
Simon Petliura came from the clergy in Naddnipryanshchyna (the
territory on either side of the middle course of the Dnipro River).
Khlopomanstvo movement brought many prominent ﬁgures from the
Polish environment, including Volodymyr Antonovych and Tadej Rylskyi.
Ivan Franko had Galician noble roots and Andrey Sheptytsky that
became Metropolitan belonged to the Russian aristocracy.
However, even in this multicolored background of extremely gifted
and original personalities and the giants of the Ukrainian Renaissance
stands out one ﬁgure that is unique in his experience of personal
Ukrainization and political potential – the archduke of the Habsburg
family, who entered the history of the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917-1921
as Vasyl Vyshyvanyi. In fact, several representatives of the Austrian
Habsburgs were Ukrainophiles, but thanks to Vasyl Vyshyvanyi, the
Habsburgs are the only monarchic family in the world with a Ukrainian
among its members, who once took the arms to ﬁght for an independent
This exceptional personality was Wilhelm von Habsburg-Lothringen
– the great-grandson of Emperor Leopold II and the third cousin of Franz
Josef I. He was born on February 10, 1895, near Pula (Istria, modern
Croatia) and graduated from the Military Academy in 1915 in Austria.
His military career dates back to World War I when the
Austro-Hungarian Monarchy underwent major changes. In 1916, his
uncle-emperor died, and the throne was taken by Charles I. At the end of
1918, Austria-Hungary split into several states. It was the time when the
nations started building their states on the ruins of the empires. Wilhelm
von Habsburg-Lothringen, who was just over twenty years old, fought at
the helm of the Legion of Ukrainian Sich Riﬂemen in particular,and that’s
when he imbued with Ukrainian culture and outlook. This Habsburg