Sitch -- January 01, 1930The Ties between the Sitch Organization and the United States National Guard
In our last issue the Sitch Central Committee announced the confirmation of ties between the Sitch organization and the United States National Guard. Even before this many of our members had joined the 132nd Infantry so as to become American soldiers and thereby acquire more military training. Today our aim is to explain to our readers why we should join the United States National Guard.
It is not beyond possibility that some will think that this is unreasonable, saying: How can one remain a Ukrainian patriot and still join the ranks of another country's army, thereby so seriously obligating himself to serve the interests of another commonwealth, when military service with all its burden and eventualities is only for war?
Such a question might justly be raised among all honest people who have 2become accustomed to the serious outlook on life. Therefore we must answer in this manner: By joining the United States National Guard nobody impairs his patriotism, even as nobody harms it by becoming an American citizen. But by becoming a citizen of this country one is obligated to protect its interests against the enemy. If one were to become a citizen of the United States only because of the material and political advantages which this citizenship offers and was not willing to carry any of its burdens and obligations, it would be a contemptible procedure, and such a man never could be considered a good citizen.
A Ukrainian has no country of his own as yet, and when he takes the oath on becoming an American citizen, he does not betray any one except the Austrian, Polish, Russian, or Roumanian government. Therefore, if you join the United States National Guard as a citizen of the United States, you do not gamble on raising the sword against your own country, as it might have happened to those of certain other nationalities who have entered the ranks of the American Army.3
become accustomed to the serious outlook on life. Therefore we must answer in this manner: By joining the United States National Guard nobody impairs his patriotism, even as nobody harms it by becoming an American citizen. But by becoming a citizen of this country one is obligated to protect its interests against the enemy. If one were to become a citizen of the United States only because of the material and political advantages which this citizenship offers and was not willing to carry any of its burdens and obligations, it would be a contemptible procedure, and such a man never could be considered a good citizen.
A Ukrainian has no country of his own as yet, and when he takes the oath on becoming an American citizen, he does not betray any one except the Austrian, Polish, Russian, or Roumanian government. Therefore, if you join the United States National Guard as a citizen of the United States, you do not gamble on raising the sword against your own country, as it might have happened to those of certain other nationalities who have entered the ranks of the American Army.4
First of all we must consider this special aspect of our subject. The United States is the only country in the world in which a person can become a citizen and still not betray the nation of his birth or lose its spirit, for the simple reason that the American nation is composed of people of many nationalities who compose this mutually governing and working commonwealth. There is no other country in the world of which you may become a citizen and still remain a son of your European Fatherland, so that you can actually help it and fight for it. As an example we have here the Irish, who through a few hundred years of Americanization,have acquired all the necessary material resources and have carried on a fight against England for their independence and gained it.
As another instance take the Poles, who with their American comrades gained the freedom of Poland. The Czechs achieved the same end through American soldiers who at the same time were Czechs and patriots, and the same thing happened to the Slovaks and the Lithuanians.5
The nature of the American state usually favors the endeavors to attain freedom of those countries which are oppressed or abused and which have nationals among the citizens of the United States. We can maintain with absolute certainty that no other country in the world has this spirit, for not one of them would permit immigrants to found national societies or create military units to serve their oppressed native lands.
America cannot have any colonizing intentions regarding the European countries; therefore it does not have them in regard to the Ukraine. Its intentions are clear and honorable. The American love of freedom is universally known. This love inspired America to help in forming national legions for the oppressed nations, and many who joined these legions were found to be good American citizens.
It is true that we often hear Americans say that only that immigrant can make a good and patriotic citizen of the United States who was and is a 6good patriot with respect to his native land. This is true, for how can you love the country in which you were not born and be true to it if you do not love and honor the country in which you were born? But it is not difficult for our Ukrainian patriots to join the United States military service. There is no difference between Ukrainian and American patriotism.
There is one important fact which influences the majority of our people, and that is that the United States does not have compulsory military service. The American Government does not force you to render military service as other countries do, and that is why it appears to Ukrainians that the United States does not regard such service as obligatory. Therefore, any one may say, "My home is on the border," and he may carry on his business in the hope that the army which he was not forced to join will defend him from the country's enemies. But he who truly accepts American citizenship and knows what it means to be a member of a commonwealth should understand that in return for all the benefits which he enjoys as a citizen of this vast American country he should help to carry certain burdens. Of these 7obligations the most important is that every normal and healthy man should help to defend the country in which he enjoys privileges and of which he receives benefits. He who does not care to defend this country came here only seeking something for nothing. The mere fact that we are American citizens should impel us to enter the United States military service so as not to hide behind the backs of other citizens, dwelling as peaceful inhabitants who seek only our own comfort, when instead we should be ready to give our lives for the country of which we have vowed to be loyal citizens.
The United States maintains the so-called National Guard, the military organization which accepts all men who care to enlist voluntarily. This same service sent some millions of soldiers to the French front, thereby determining the outcome of the great war. Soldiers of all the [subjected] nations were enlisted in this military service, and as a result they now may boast of having their own countries.8
Where were the Ukrainians then? Some of us called ourselves Austrians, others Magyars; and those who considered themselves Russians rejoiced because the Russian mobilization could not reach them here in the United States. Those Ukrainians, almost thirty thousand of them, even in the time of the war might have made their way into the United States Army, thereby getting to the front, but they did not form any fighting unit and did not have any political influence. They therefore had no effect on the destiny of our native land, for they were unorganized, and they had no prestige; hardly any one knew about them.
Is it not time that we corrected this infirmity? We do not know whether there may not shortly be a new World War, which again will change the map of Europe, and in which again the fate of the Ukraine will be involved. No one can guarantee that it will not come to this. Let us suppose that this will not take place in our generation; is it not nevertheless worth while to have our own American-Ukrainian military unit here in the country where we are allowed to have such things?9
As we mentioned above, the reason why the United States did not speak up for us Ukrainians is that we lacked Ukrainian-American soldiers in the World War. Now we may say, to console ourselves, that the will to found our own country was too weak at that time; the idea of a free Ukraine was limited to Ukrainians in Germany or Austria because the rest of our fighting men were in the same encampment with Russia, and therefore even America would have [been against any attempt of theirs to attain independence]. The result is that our politicians did not adjust themselves in time and came to their senses too late as usual, though the fact that it was too late was hardly our fault.
We now see that America will be the one to decide the future conflicts of the world. Therefore whom should we conciliate for our cause if not America?
There are two different advantages in creating a Ukrainian military unit in America: first, the national and political advantages for the Ukraine; 10second, the advantage for the individual Ukrainian-American, who will be benefited by it later on.
The first advantage is political. If we have military unites in the American Army, Washington will officially recognize us as a nation. The American Government and its laws do not recognize those peoples who have countries of their own unless they declare themselves as nations striving to gain their independence, [demonstrating their purpose by] forming separate units in the American Army. The historic examples of this are the above-mentioned Polish, Czech, and Lithuanian legions; through them America recognized their peoples as nations--nations deprived of their countries. To put it briefly, in order that America may recognize us as a nation even before we have our own country, we must form at least one unit of the American National Guard. Therefore the first goal is that the Government of the United States shall acknowledge our national existence and the legitimacy of our efforts to attain independence.
If the best and the largest unit of our potential Ukrainian Army shall be 11created and formed in America, then when it comes to founding our country, America and her Ukrainian citizens as soldiers of this army will have the right to say the deciding words, and no other Ukrainian formation will have that right.
We, members of the Sitch organization, can and must achieve our aim because we are Americans! We must prove to America and to the whole world that we are a race fit to rule by our nature and by our cast of thought, even if only because we want to receive the confidence of American governing circles; and by enlisting in the National Guard we shall achieve the most important aim of our organization. If we do not achieve our aim, our Sitch organization will be merely a set of toy soldiers. Therefore, to put it briefly, the members of the Sitch organization have the opportunity to become real soldiers and to acquire all the military training requisite for modern warfare.
Let us now view the individual and private advantages which the American 12Army offers. A member of the Sitch organization who enlists in the military service of the United States will be grateful to the United States for all the benefits which he has received and which he is to receive by living in this country. Every one knows what these benefits are, especially if he compares the misery and the political oppression from which he came with the life in America. A member of the Sitch society by enlisting in the Army has the opportunity to become a true patriot among honorable Americans and a full-fledged citizen. He ceases to be a foreigner and becomes a real American. Every one can understand how this may prove advantageous in future years. A Ukrainian who enlists in the National Guard has the opportunity to learn something, to broaden his education by pursuing many technical studies, very profitable for him and for the group which he frequents outside the service. The member of the Sitch organization who enlists in the National Guard finds himself in the company of good people who are conscious of their governmental and social obligations; therefore such a member has the opportunity to utilize his free moments culturally at the proper 13educational gatherings. Ukrainians enlisting in the National Guard also have a chance to learn dicipline and order, which our people sadly lack.
Besides all the above-mentioned opportunities the founding of a Ukrainian military unit has one more advantage, perhaps the most important of all, namely, that these Sitch soldiers will play the principal part in the liberation of the Ukraine; therefore they will be the founders of a large and important Ukrainian army which under the leadership of Hetman Skoropadsky will create a new, invincible commonwealth of Cossacks and forever defend the freedom and the liberty of our native land.
III D, III H
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