By Lonnie Johnson
In the course of the chilly battle period, the Iron Curtain divided important Europe right into a Communist East and a democratic West, and we grew conversant in this a part of the area in bipolar ideological phrases. but many of us residing on each side of the Iron Curtain thought of themselves primary Europeans, and the belief of important Europe used to be one of many riding forces in the back of the innovative 12 months of 1989 in addition to the deterioration of Yugoslavia and its resulting wars. Central Europe offers a wide assessment and comparative research of key occasions in a historic sector that encompasses modern Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia. beginning with the preliminary conversion of the ''pagan'' peoples of the zone to Christianity round a thousand A.D. and concluding with the revolutions of 1989 and the issues of post-Communist states this present day, it illuminates the distinct nature and peculiarities of the old improvement of this quarter as a cohesive entire. Lonnie R. Johnson introduces readers to primary Europe's historical past of range, the interaction of its cultures, and the origins of its malicious ethnic and nationwide conflicts. heritage in important Europe, he indicates, has been epic and tragic. through the a long time, small international locations struggled valiantly opposed to a chain of imperial powers--Ottoman Turkey, Habsburg Austria, imperial Germany, czarist Russia, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union--and they misplaced on a regular basis. Johnson's account is present-minded within the most sensible feel: in describing genuine ancient occasions, he illustrates the methods they've been remembered, and the way they give a contribution to the nationwide assumptions that also force eu politics this day. certainly, the consistent interaction of fact and myth--the approaches of myth-making and remembrance--animates a lot of this heritage. because the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, the unanticipated difficulties of remodeling post-Communist states into democracies with industry economies, the wars within the former Yugoslavia, and the demanding situations of eu integration have all made relevant Europe the main dynamic and afflicted zone in Europe. In Central Europe, Johnson combines a brilliant and panoramic narrative of occasions, a nuanced research of social, monetary, and political advancements, and a considerate portrait of these myths and stories that experience lives in their own--and effects for all of Europe.
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Additional info for Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends
All four of Central Europe's political nations also were multiethnic, in the contemporary sense of the word. " But none of these nobles was a "nationalist" in the nineteenth-century sense of the word. The "national interest"—to use a modern term—consisted of the interests of the nobles. "National freedom" referred to the rights of this privileged group, and the "nation" was coextensive with their domains, which were unified by their common allegiance to a king. Poles, Czechs, and Hungarians find it easy to look back over long spans of time, because they identify more readily with distant and idealized eras of "national freedom" than they do with the intervening histories of foreign subjugation, regardless of how long they may have lasted.
For each of them, the deterioration of Yugoslavia after 1989 represented an opportunity to restore national freedoms that had been long lost. After the death of Zvonimir, the Croatian king, in 1089, the Croatian nobility elected the king of Hungary to the Croatian throne. The personal and dynastic union of these two kingdoms extended the domains of the kingdom of Hungary to the Adriatic and is viewed as a windfall in Hungarian history. The Croats, however, tend to interpret it as an early and tragic loss of national independence which took 900 years to 30 CENT RAL EUROPE reestablish.
Poles, Czechs, and Hungarians find it easy to look back over long spans of time, because they identify more readily with distant and idealized eras of "national freedom" than they do with the intervening histories of foreign subjugation, regardless of how long they may have lasted. The feudal kingdoms of Poland, Bohemia, and Hungary may seem historically remote, but the apex of each of them—a "golden age" before the Turks and the Austrians or the Germans and the Russians came and conquered—have played a vital role in each of these nations' historical imaginations right up into the twentieth century.