The origins of the conflict lie in the complex nationality situation in Galicia at the turn of the 20th century. As a result of its relative leniency toward national minorities, the Habsburg monarchy (see: Austria-Hungary) was the perfect ground for the development of both Polish and Ukrainian national movements. During the 1848 revolution, the Austrians, concerned by Polish demands for greater autonomy within the province, gave support to a small group of Ruthenians (the name of the East Slavic people who would later adopt the self-identification of "Ukrainians") whose goal was to be recognized as a distinct nationality. After that, "Ruthenian language" schools were established, Ruthenian political parties formed, and the Ruthenians began attempts to develop their national culture. This came as a surprise to Poles, who until the revolution believed, along with most of the politically aware Ruthenians, that Ruthenians were part of the Polish nation (which, at that time, was defined in political rather than ethnographic terms). In the late 1890s and the first decades of the next century, the populist Ruthenian intelligentsia adopted the term Ukrainians to describe their nationality. Beginning with the 20th century, national consciousness reached a large number of Ruthenian peasants[clarification needed].
Multiple incidents between the two nations occurred throughout the latter 19th century and early 20th century. For example, in 1897 the Polish administration opposed the Ukrainians in parliamentary elections. Another conflict developed in the years 1901–1908 around Lviv University, where Ukrainian students demanded a separate Ukrainian university, while Polish students and faculty[clarification needed] attempted to suppress the movement. In 1903 both Poles and Ukrainians held separate conferences in Lviv (the Poles in May and Ukrainians in August). Afterwards, the two national movements developed with contradictory goals, leading towards the later clash.
The ethnic composition of Galicia underlay the conflict between the Poles and Ukrainians there. The Austrian province of Galicia consisted of territory seized from Poland in 1772, during the first partition. This land, which included territory of historical importance to Poland, including the ancient capital of Kraków, had a majority Polish population, although the eastern part of Galicia included the heartland of the historic territory of Galicia-Volhynia and had a Ukrainian majority. In eastern Galicia, Ukrainians made up approximately 65% of the population while Poles made up only 22% of the population. Of the 44 administrative divisions of Austrian eastern Galicia, Lviv (Polish: Lwów, German: Lemberg), the biggest and capital city of the province, was the only one in which Poles made up a majority of the population. In Lviv, the population in 1910 was approximately 60% Polish and 17% Ukrainian. This city with its Polish inhabitants was considered by many Poles to have been one of Poland's cultural capitals. For many Poles, including Lviv's Polish population, it was unthinkable that their city should not be under Polish control.
The religious and ethnic divisions corresponded to social stratification. Galicia's leading social class were Polish nobles or descendants of Rus' gentry who had become polonized in the past, whereas, in the eastern part of the province Ruthenians (Ukrainians) constituted the majority of the peasant population. Poles and Jews were responsible for most of the commercial and industrial development in Galicia in the late 19th century.
Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries the local Ukrainians attempted to persuade the Austrians to divide Galicia into Western (Polish) and Eastern (Ukrainian) provinces. These efforts were resisted and thwarted by those local Poles who feared losing control of Lviv and East Galicia. The Austrians eventually agreed in principle to divide the province of Galicia; in October 1916 the Austrian Emperor Karl I promised to do so once the war had ended.
Continuing Counter Reformation is extremely interested in further information upon the Austrian-suspected Jesuit creation of the 'West Ukrainian' nationalist movement, particularly anything connecting it with the figure of Mieczyslaw Ledochowski as preparation for the 20th century shift of Poland to the west.
This is what the NY Times published in 1892: The New York Times On the Papacy and Cardinal Mieczyslaw Ledochowski
It is very well understood, however, that Monaco is entirely under the control of Ledochowski, that proud, imperious, and able Pole who made Bismarck such worlds of trouble in the old Kulterkampf day and who has been able to impose his will very often upon even the present Pope. This powerful man was in a German prison when Pius IX created him a Cardinal in 1875. Next year he was released and banished, and he has since lived in Rome, devoting his great wealth and talents to building up a militant Ultramontagne party about him. His wrath at the treatment he received at the hands of Bismarck has colored all his political views. He has hated both Germany and Italy and has looked unceasingly forward to the time when French bayonets should restore the temporal power of the Vatican in the old Roman States.If we assume that this spirited and resolute prelate will shortly be ruling the Church through its nominal head, it becomes a most anxious question how he will accept the existing political conditions of Europe which have so radically changed since 1875. The new rulers of the Germans have been at pains to show their desire to abolish the last traces of the Kulterkampf. When the pending Prussian Education bill is passed, the German Catholics will be actually stronger than they were before the May laws. During the last half year these dispatches have frequently reflected the new interest which William and his immediate entourage are displaying in the Polish question. Of course a good deal of this has arisen naturally from the contemplation of the necessity of sooner or later fighting Russia: but even more it represents the effort to allure Ledochowski into friendship with Germany by an appeal to his national sentiment. How far this has successor will be, as has been said, a most anxious question.In any event under this new regime there would be an abrupt cessation of pastorals on Socialistic and labor problems and of poems about St. Thomas Aquinas. We should instead see the Vatican boldly embark upon the troubled waters of European diplomacy, seeking alliances and taking desperate risks upon the fortune in the next war.
Such religious chessboard geopolitical planning would by definition include an anti-Polish 'West Ukrainian' political movement to anchor a smaller Poland in accordance to counter reformation goals- e.g. destroying Prussia-Eastern Germany for the 'crimes' of Bismarck in defying the Vatican;plus the countless treasures of Poland's State Libraries and Archives, maliciously destroyed by retreating German forces in late 1944 under Himler's orders practically as Soviet forces stood by- perhaps as if they had some documents to add to this destruction- an atrocity that served no military purpose, yet made perfect sense in accordance with this grand 20th century 2nd 30 years war (WW1&2)