Date of Thesis

Fall 2020


This thesis is a comparison of armed anarchist uprisings during the Interwar Period. Specifically, this thesis examines the political ideology and manifestations of it shared by the Free Territory of Ukraine (1918-1921), and Revolutionary Catalonia in Spain (1936-1939). This thesis argues that because of a shared political genealogy based on individuals, the revolutions are essential one. These individuals including Kropotkin and Durruti met each other in person and shared advice on their experience, which led to the similar expression of anarchism. This argument follows anarchist discourse of the mid and late 1800s and its direct implementation by way of Nestor Makhno in the Ukraine, and the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist trade union, the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). At every phase of anarchist history in this era, anarchists came into conflict with authoritarian communists, who evolved to be more pragmatic and centrist.

These anarchist societies were able to not only seize control of territory but protect it and allow a functioning society free of vertical control to flourish. By exploring the military of the anarchists, the Revolutionary Army of Ukraine and the CNT militias, similarities are apparent in terms of the unorthodox makeup of the military, and its success against conventional armies. In a similar vein, studying these periods offers a glimpse at a truly classless society. These two uprisings were the only cases of stateless territory in Europe that sustained for an extended period. The experience in Ukraine was transplanted to the Spanish Revolution, from which the likes of George Orwell were greatly influenced. This period of anarchism is significant in uniqueness, two modern stateless societies. There has been no previous scholarship directly comparing these revolutions or synthesizing the individual anarchists into a continuous lineage based on relationships.


Makhno, CNT, Free Territory, Revolutionary Catalonia, Black Army, Anarchism

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



Minor, Emphasis, or Concentration

Religious Studies

First Advisor

David Del Testa