History of Central Europe
objectives: This course explores the
many attempts to find political stability in Central Europe and the
beginning with the events which ultimately delegitimated the
principle: the French Revolution. This
course traces nationalism and socialism, as philosophies of the ideal
through reform and world war to the catastrophes of national socialism
soviet communism. The course ends with a
theoretical discussion of nationalism as a historical phenomenon. After successfully completing this course,
students will understand:
Essential Central European
The importance of the
Revolution in inspiring nationalism and socialism
How nineteenth century
monarchies attempted to curb nationalism
The significance of Nazi
Germany and Soviet Russia in Central European nationalism
Detailed knowledge of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Macedonia as case
Basic historical theories
Why contemporary political
theorists stress multi-culturalism
Course description: The
readings for this course are all
available online; there is no textbook.
Most of the readings are primary source documents, but often
supplemented with brief essays which provide a narrative for discussion. Students are expected to read the web
documents listed in full. The readings
are short for the second class period of the week; I assume you have
to read over the weekend.
Students must also think
about the questions posed on the syllabus, and
write a brief response paper (1 page hand-written) using information
documents. This is graded on a pass/fail
basis, and is the main variable in the attendance grade.
semester, each student will also be expected to present her or
his thoughts on the weekly question before the class in a brief (~10
presentation. ONE WEEK after the
presentation, students must hand in a six-page written version of their
not counting a bibliography. (Students who present the second week have
weeks to write their papers, this is the bonus for going early.
present the last week of class will hand in their papers the same day
presentation; this is the penalty for being late.)
If a student so desires,
this six page paper can be replaced by a
10-page research paper on a topic chosen by the student and the
jointly. This research paper requires
significant extra work, and is intended for especially dedicated and
self-motivated students. Note: the ten
page paper option is NOT available to students who complete the six
and are not happy with their grades.
As a distance-learning syllabus, students must write a 2500 word essay for every class period on one of the questions listed at the bottom of the page. Students will recieve feedback from the instructor each week.
Attendance (including response papers)
25% – Presentation/six page paper
25% – Midterm (fill in the blank ID questions)
25% – Final exam (fill in the blank ID questions)
Week 1 – Monday - Intro to
Explanation of the course,
assign presentation topics.
Week 1 –
Wednesday - States
and Languages of Central Europe
The population of Europe can be divided into
collectives based on state borders or language groups.
Both methods have their problems. This
class provides an overview of modern
borders and minority populations.
Please print out and study
Do you understand this map?
Impress me by finding the
Week 2 – Monday - The French
The French Revolution took
place in Europe’s greatest power
and enjoyed many military success before being overthrown.
Most contemporaries focused the social
radicalism implicit in the idea of the ‘nation.’
Sieyes “what is the 3rd
Picture of Fr. Constitution
de Gouge (rights of women)
Declaration of rights of man
Discussion of citizenship
Discussion of female clubs
Chaumette on women
Sieyes, what social classes are part of the nation?
suppression of women’s clubs in 1793 consistent with the “Rights of
Week 2 –
Reactionary Europe: The Monarchical Principle
After Napoleon’s defeat, the
powers attempted to return to a Europe of monarchies:
the goal of the Congress system was to prevent another French
Burke on the French
Nicholas I on Poland
Mazzini’s ideals (post-1848)
______________ What would
Burke say about the arguments Nicholas I used
to justify his rule?
______________ Contrast the
origins of political legitimacy and power
in Mazzini and Metternich.
Week 3 – Monday
Marxism and Socialism
When the French Monarchy was
definitively overthrown in 1848, the
Congress system collapsed. Social conflict became important in politics
across Europe. The Communist
Manifesto, written when Marx
was a journalist, proved the most important pamphlet in the history of
Marx: Communist Manifesto -
______________ Have modern
“capitalist” European societies remedied the
injustices Marx discussed?
______________ What is the
role of a “people” [Volk] in Marx’s view of history?
Week 3 –
Wednesday - 1848:
Nationalism: Hungary and the Austrian
The idea of the nation
proved a transformed social struggle in France and Germany, but in the
multi-ethnic states of central Europe, the principle of
nationality had divisive consequences between different linguistic
Essay on Hungarian
Pekacz on Prague Congress
Ferdinand’s proclamation to
Hung. declaration of
Sandor Petofi’s Nepdal
Freifeld on Hungarian Crowds
______________ How did
Ferdinand’s proclamation resemble the ideas of
the Slavic congress?
______________ What role did
class divisions play in the Hungarian
Week 4 – Monday
in Austria and Hungary
In the second half of the
nineteenth century, the forces of nationalism
seemed so strong that the Habsburg government attempted to satisfy
aspirations within the monarchy. An
endless stream of federalization schemes resulted.
Bogdan: “Aust-Hung Experiment” -
Beust: Memoirs of the
Text of the Nagdoba
Essay on Popovici
Note! This final text is difficult, but you are only
responsible for Popovici’s biography.
______________ Comment on
the fact that both Beust and the Nagdoba
claim to have created unity.
Popovici’s plan for regional government improved
ethnic relations in the Empire?
Week 4 –
Wednesday - Reform
and Dissent in the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman government also
attempted to reform itself as a defense
against internal divisions. However, its
efforts proved much less successful. The resulting Balkan Wars
destabilized Europe, and eventually
led to World War.
Sowards on Macedonia
Sowards on Bosnia
Young Turk Manifesto
Foundation of IMRO
______________ How do the
Young Turk reforms differ from Austrian
______________ Could any
Turkish policy have satisfied IMRO’s members?
What policy should Turkey have
followed to cope with emerging nationalism?
Week 5 – Monday
catastrophe: World War One
All of Europe’s major monarchies –
Hohenzollern, Romanov, Ottoman, and Habsburg – had collapsed by 1919. The national principle triumphed, but
implementing its claims led to endless problems.
Losses – statistics
Wilson’s 14 points
From Masaryk “indep. Bohemia”
Bonsal on Armenia
Bonsal on Slovakia
Keynes on Versailles
Pictures of western front
Note: The Keynes
an entire book! You are only responsible for chapter 3 “the conference.”
______________ Is Masaryk’s
program consistent with the principle of
national self determination?
______________ Did the Paris peace treaties
fulfill Wilson’s points X and
XII? Why or why not?
Week 5 –
Communism in Russia
The Soviet Union was the first state
organized by committed socialists. The bosheviks claimed to have a
system of government, and justified harsh measures with the promise of
communist utopia in the future.
Bolshevik platform 1903 -
Lenin on nationalities
At <http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/intro.html>, read ‘Repression and Terror: Stalin in
Control,’ ‘The Gulag,’ the first two ‘Attacks on Intelligentsia,’
Famine’ and ‘Deportations.’ Be sure and read the primary source
each page! (e.g. for ‘The Gulag,’ read “translation of letter to
______________ How did Lenin
justify the Gulag? Explain the change
from the 1903 platform to Gorky’s letter.
______________ Contrast the
motives for the Ukrainian requisitions and
the Tatar deportations.
Week 6 – Monday
Format of the exam: You must
write short-answer paragraphs on key terms. You’ll get a list of 12
must choose 8. Your answers should define the term and
state its wider historical significance. (5
You will also get a base map
of Central Europe, on which you will be
asked to draw the European borders of 1914, (including the internal
between Austria and Hungary) and the cities of Belgrade, Berlin,
Budapest, Istanbul, Prague, Sofia, Warsaw, Vienna, and Zagreb (one
Week 6 –
Wednesday - National
Italian Fascism and German
National Socialism attempted to unite
nationalism and Socialism: class differences would be overcome through
unity. Both movements also shared a distinctive political style.
Mussolini on Fascism
Goebbels on National Socialism
Nazi view of the USA
______________ How do Nazi
ideas of socialism resemble previous
______________ How do Nazi
concepts of nationality resemble previous
______________ What is the
importance of “spirit” in Nazisim and
Week 7 – Monday – The Second
World War and the Holocaust
During the Second World War,
death and destruction came both from four
years of mechanized warfare, but also from state-sponsored massacres of
civilians. The word ‘genocide’ was first
used in 1944. This class will examine the massacre of civilians.
Just for fun: Animated
Battle Front -
Various Propaganda Leaflets
Casualties - Map
Edeiken on the Einsatzgruppen
Brustein on Hitler voters
Himmler’s orders for Secrecy
White: Discussion of death
Also click on White’s “Percentages” chart
and read “Proportionality.”
Edeiken and Brustein’s approach to the question
of psychological motive.
______________ Why did
Himmler order secrecy in the Holocaust, and why
did he forbid looting?
Week 7 –
Wednesday – Postwar
The horror and destruction
of the war led many states in central Europe to seek ethnic
homogeneity. The destruction of the Nazi regime transformed Germans
privileged caste into victims.
Map of expulsions
Turnwald on Beneš decrees
Janics on Czechoslovakia, 1848
Some Sudeten German
______________ Contrast the Beneš decrees with the Nuremburg laws.
______________ How do Czech
justifications of the expulsion differ from
Week 8 – Monday – The spread
of Soviet-style Communism
After the Second World War,
many countries in Central Europe acquired
Communist governments. Most of these
were Soviet client states, but communist parties in many countries
significant popular support.
Bogdan on “popular
See also site on mass
______________ How did the
Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia differ from those
elsewhere in Central Europe?
______________ What role did
the Soviet Army play in the Communist
seizures of power?
Week 8 – Wednesday – The
Soviet Empire: Czechoslovakia in 1968
In 1968, the year of a
student uprising in Paris, the armies of
the Warsaw pact invaded Czechoslovakia to maintain the
Soviet socialist system. This marked the practical end of sincere
communism, as distinct from Socialism.
Dikobraz (Czech magazine)
Brezhnev and Dubček
The Plastic People
of the Universe
Site on Hungary, 1956
______________ What ideological
justification did Brezhnev give for the Soviet intervention?
______________ Comment on the
Anti-German sentiment of the Dikobraz pamphlet.
9 – Monday - Conflicting
Nationalist claims: the case of Macedonia
throughout central Europe make incompatible
claims. This class explores the various claims to Macedonia made by Greeks,
Bulgarians, and (Slavic) Macedonians.
to Macedonian questions
Macedon. source (read conclusion)
Petition of Macedonian Refugees
Description of legal conflict
“Real Macedonia” (Greek)
What ideas do
the Greek, Macedonian and Bulgarian histories have in common?
______________ How are the
historical arguments of “Real Macedonia” relevant to the “Rainbow
Week 9 –
Wednesday - Yugoslav
the collapse of Communism, Yugoslavia collapsed in a
series of civil wars, providing the world with the term “ethnic
describe an activity practiced almost a century earlier during the
great powers have changed their attitude toward what was once called
exchange of populations.”
on Ethnic Cleansing
Dayton Peace Plan § 7
______________ The Dayton plan calls for the return of populations,
previous international agreements did not. Why?
______________ Is the Dayton plan essentially
similar to Wilson’s 14 points, or
Week 10 – Monday - Habsburg
conflict has proved so destructive that some scholars have
started looking back with nostalgia to the large, multi-ethnic states
Kardos (in 1969)
Charles Ingrao (a distinguished American Historian)
______________ Does the EU meet
the Federalist Critera Kardos proposes?
______________ Do you think
proposals would be effective?
10 – Wednesday – Theories of Nationalism
causes nationalism in the first place? Primordial
or modern? Objective or
Hobsbawm, Hroch, Anderson, Renan -
______________ Hroch and
Hobsbawm disagree. Who do you think is more convincing, and why?
______________ Is Renan’s
description consistent with Anderson’s? Why or why