Stepan Bandera was born into the family of a Greek Catholic priest in the village of Stary Uhryniv, not far away from Kalush in Galicia. Upon graduation from the Ukrainian Gymnasium in the town of Stryi, Bandera entered the department of agronomy of Lviv Polytechnic School. When a student, he joined the underground Ukrainian Military Organisation (UMO), and in 1929 became a member of the newly born Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the primary objective of which was the struggle for the independent unitary Ukrainian state.
S. Bandera was one of the participants and leaders of a number of civil disobedience actions that took place in Galicia in the early 1930 s. The Polish government responded with violent suppression of the Ukrainian movement – “pacifiation,” which never brought peace to this land and only stirred up the OUN activities and added to their radicalism. In 1934, a battle group headed indeed by S. Bandera, the OUN regional leader in Galicia, made an attempt on the life of General Peratsky, the then Minister of Internal Affairs of
Poland. All accomplices of this attempt were arrested and sentenced to different terms in prison. As for Bandera, they commuted his death penalty to life imprisonment.
After disintegration of Poland in 1939, Stepan Bandera was set at liberty. A radically minded opposition group of the OUN members rallied round him. Upon failing to reach understanding with the OUN
board with A. Melnyk at the head of it, he became the leader of the newly formed Revolutionary Board of OUN, which in 1940, at their congress in Krakow, established the Revolutionary OUN
At the beginning of World War II S. Bandera, as a leader of
He focused most of his attention on consolidation of the nationalist forces in emigration and formation of underground structures in Ukraine. He became a symbol of the Ukrainian underground struggle.