Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2021

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History and American Studies

Department Chair or Program Director

Ferrell, Claudine

First Advisor

Harris, Steven

Major or Concentration



The scholarly debate surrounding the American diaspora’s involvement in setting the foundation for myths about nationalist fighters used in Eastern European memory wars today places responsibility for these myths with the Displaced Person (DP) wave of immigrants. However, ethnic newspapers during World War II reveal that nationalist sentiments and favorable feelings toward nationalist movements existed before the DPs arrived. As expressed in such newspapers, these sentiments pushed those of Lithuanian and Ukrainian descent in America to advocate for Eastern European nations’ independence from the Soviet Union. Consequently, a nationalist foundation was already set for the DP population to build upon when they arrived, enabling them to withhold information on the violence of the nationalist movements to portray the nationalists as patriotic victims. This paper argues that the pre-DP American diaspora helped build the modern myth of the tragic nationalist hero by de-emphasizing the violence of nationalist movements in ethnic newspapers.

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