Book Review: John Connelly, From Peoples into Nations: A History of Eastern Europe, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020Journal: NETSOL: New Trends in Social and Liberal Sciences (Vol.7, No. 1)
Publication Date: 2022-05-24
Authors : Iñaki Tofiño Quesada;
Page : 39-42
Keywords : Race; Eastern Europe; Racism; Nationalism;
John Connelly's history of Eastern Europe or Eastern Central Europe as he sometimes calls it, is divided into five parts. Part I, “The emergence of national movements”, presents the scope of the book and introduces his thesis about the strength and resilience of ethnic nationalism in the region, linked to linguistic nationalism, indicating that in many cases there was a national consciousness before the dawn of modern nationhood, a notion which challenges the more common idea that links mass national consciousness to modernisation, specially to the advent of print culture. Part II, “The decline of empire and the rise of modern politics”, goes through different moments in nineteenth century European history, which affected the future of the region and its eventual organization into nation-states, such as the 1848 revolutions or the 1878 Berlin Congress. Particularly interesting is chapter nine, on the origins of National Socialism, where Connelly explains the response of ethnic Germans of Austria and Bohemia for being left out of unified German nation-state led by chancellor Otto Von Bismarck. Many Germans of Bohemia and Austria, as Connelly states, saw their natural space in the infamous Lebensraum. Later on, in only three allied states did the Nazi agenda coincide well with the mind-sets of the governing elites: Romania, Croatia, and Slovakia. Not coincidentally, these were the places where nationalists were most insecure about their nationalism.
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