The Idea of a Comparative History of East Central Europe: the Story of a Venture
In this chapter I intend to relate the story of a trend in Hungarian historical research in the 1940s. Though relatively short lived, extending over not more than a couple of rather critical years, this trend could probably claim a certain international interest. It started as a venture advocating the use of comparative methods as a new and more promising approach to the history of the nations of east central Europe considered as a regional variant of European evolution. It had an organ of its own, a French periodical entitled Revue d’histoire comparée, published between 1943 and 1948 by the Teleki, later East European, Institute in Budapest. Instead of interpreting history from a traditional, nationalist point of view, it tried to analyse the development of nationalism from a historical point of view, outlining the nations’ social and political conditions, their rivalries and the parallel and, in many instances, the similar character of their conflicts. The review also made efforts to reveal their forms of co-existence and their contacts in the past and to define the ideas they and outside observers have had, at different times, of their problems. At the same time it also tried to promote a certain co-operation between historians of the nations concerned.
KeywordsComparative History East Central English Historian Young Specialist Landless Peasant
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