Empire, War and the Nation-State in East Central Europe

  • Raymond Pearson


With European nationalism currently approaching its bicentenary, it bears emphasising from the outset that the nationalist upsurge of East Central Europe in the 1990s is not a novel sui generis phenomenon but only the latest — and emphatically not the last — phase in an ongoing historical process. Nationalist business may be unfinished; but the nationalist agenda is long-established. No balanced evaluation of contemporary nationalism in East Central Europe is possible without an appreciation of the cataclysmic impact of twentieth-century war upon the always complex, sometimes contradictory and often paradoxical relationship between empire and nation-state.


National Minority East Central Territorial Jurisdiction East Central EUROPE Minority Problem 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Gellner’s pithy definition constitutes the arresting first sentence of his Nations and Nationalism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1983), p. 1.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History: Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), pp. 96, 134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Johann Caspar Bluntschli, ‘Die nationale Staatenbildung und der moderne deutsche Staat’, quoted in Peter Alter, Nationalism (London: Edward Arnold, 1989), p. 95.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Max Weber also quoted in Alter, Nationalism, p. 92.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    For the geopolitical partition of pre-First World War Eastern Europe, see Martin Gilbert, Recent History Atlas: 1860 to 1960 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977), maps 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 22.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    For example, Frederick Hertz, Nationality in History and Politics (New York: Humanities Press Inc, 1944), pp. 217–23.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Anthony D. Smith, ‘War and Ethnicity: the role of warfare in the formation, self-images and cohesion of ethnic communities’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 4, no 4 (October 1981), pp. 390–1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    A classic exposition of the ‘cohesion thesis’ is G. Simnel, Conflict, and the Web of Group-Affiliation (London: Macmillan, 1964).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    See Gilbert, Recent History Atlas, for the impact on the geopolitical cartography and demography of Eastern Europe of the First World War (maps 32, 34, 36, 37, 38), Russian Civil War (maps 37, 39, 40, 45) and Versailles Settlement (maps 42, 43, 45, 46, 57, 61).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Unless otherwise indicated, all census statistics are cited from Stephan M. Horak (ed.), Eastern European National Minorities, 1919/1980: a handbook (Littleton, Co: Libraries Unlimited, 1985), passim, or Raymond Pearson, National Minorities in Eastern Europe, 1848–1945 (London: Macmillan, 1983), chapter 6.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    For statistics on the demographic impact of the Second World War see Eugene M. Kulischer, Europe on the Move: War and Population Changes, 1914–1947 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1948), and Joseph B. Schechtman, European Population Transfers, 1939–1945 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1946).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    For changes in geopolitical cartography effected by the Second World War, see Gilbert, Recent History Atlas, maps 53, 56, 58, 59, 60, 64, 72, 81, 86, 88, 89, 93, 94.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raymond Pearson

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