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History Derailed

History Derailed: Central and Eastern Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century

IVAN T. BEREND
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 1
Pages: 404
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppcrp
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    History Derailed
    Book Description:

    There is probably no greater authority on the modern history of central and eastern Europe than Ivan Berend, whose previous work,Decades of Crisis,was hailed by critics as "masterful" and "the broadest synthesis of the modern social, economic, and cultural history of the region that we possess." Now, having brought together and illuminated this region's storm-tossed history in the twentieth century, Berend turns his attention to the equally turbulent period that preceded it. The "long" nineteenth century, extending up to World War I, contained the seeds of developments and crises that continue to haunt the region today. The book begins with an overview of the main historical trends in the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, during which time the region lost momentum and became the periphery, no longer in step with the rising West. It concludes with an account of the persisting authoritarian political structures and the failed modernization that paved the way for social and political revolts. The origins of twentieth-century extremism and its tragedies are plainly visible in this penetrating account.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93209-8
    Subjects: History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations (pp. vii-x)
  4. PREFACE (pp. xi-xviii)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pp. xix-xx)
  6. INTRODUCTION: THE EMERGING WEST AS AN IDEAL AND MODEL FOR THE EAST (pp. 1-4)

    IN THE LATE EIGHTEENTH and early nineteenth centuries, the Central and Eastern European elite, national prophet-poets, intellectuals, and enlightened aristocrats, looked to the West with the greatest admiration. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the state of their own “backward,” “underdeveloped,” “sleeping” countries, societies in their “childhood,” which lacked modern institutions, such as industry, railways, and educational systems, and lagged behind Western Europe by a century. Reformers warned of the danger posed by the inability of their countries to “sustain an independent state” and of the threat of being pushed back “to Asia.” They saw that their countries remained outside the...

  7. CHAPTER 1 THE CHALLENGE OF THE RISING WEST AND THE LACK OF RESPONSE IN THE “SLEEPING” EAST (pp. 5-40)

    THE EMERGENCE OF THE Western European model has a history at least three centuries long. On October 12, 1492, the Genoese Christopher Columbus reached America, initiating a period of European dominance. The Florentine Amerigo Vespucci explored the New World further with his voyages between 1497 and 1504. The Portuguese colonized Brazil in 1500. The Spaniard Hernando Cortés conquered Mexico in 1519–20. Jacques Cartier founded Montréal in 1536. Jamestown was founded in Virginia in 1607. These milestones in the European colonization of the New World signaled a new age. The rise of Western Europe, indeed, began with these risky adventures...

  8. CHAPTER 2 ROMANTICISM AND NATIONALISM IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE (pp. 41-88)

    THE POOR CENTRAL and Eastern European soil was neither fertile nor cultivated enough to nourish the fruits of the Enlightenment and the “dual revolution.” The modern science- and philosophy-based worldview was unable to penetrate the noble elite or take root among the illiterate masses. The Newtonian scientific revolution and the revolutionary ideas of the age had only a limited impact in the eighteenth century. The existing institutions, customs, biases, and superstitions were more or less frozen in place until the early to mid nineteenth century.

    Romanticism was primarily responsible for introducing the Western values of freedom, liberty, and nation. Romanticism...

  9. FIGURES (pp. None)
  10. CHAPTER 3 UPRISINGS AND REFORMS: The Struggle for Independence and Modernization (pp. 89-133)

    THE MODERN WESTERN ideals of freedom, liberty, and the independent nation-state gradually penetrated Central and Eastern Europe and sharpened the contrast between ideals and realities. Most of the countries of Europe experienced the frustration of remaining far behind the West in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Between 1800 and 1860, the Northwest European countries more than doubled their per capita gross national product—the most comprehensive parameter of the level of economic development. The Scandinavian and Mediterranean countries, as well as the Habsburg empire, however, increased their income level only by 40 percent. Russia and the Balkans experienced...

  11. FIGURES (pp. None)
  12. CHAPTER 4 ECONOMIC MODERNIZATION IN THE HALF CENTURY BEFORE WORLD WAR I (pp. 134-180)

    THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION affected all of Europe. The crucial concepts of modernity and progress were closely linked with railroads and industrial construction, which generated passionate patriotic feelings. Modernity became a central goal and a national program, and the economic modernization that resulted from failed revolutions and successful reforms from above in the second half of the nineteenth century, partial and circumscribed though it was, created a footing—reasonably firm in some countries, but unstable in others—for the nations of Eastern and Central Europe to join the economic rise of the West.

    Meanwhile, an unlimited Western market for food and...

  13. FIGURES (pp. None)
  14. CHAPTER 5 SOCIAL CHANGES: “Dual” and “Incomplete” Societies (pp. 181-234)

    REVOLUTIONS OR RADICAL sociopolitical reforms and industrialization caused dramatic changes in traditional societies. The nobility, the former leading elite, lost its privileges and had to adjust to a new capitalist market economy. Its “natural” political and military power was eliminated or severely weakened. Anew elite emerged in the form of the banking and industrial bourgeoisie, representing an overwhelming economic power. A similar transformation took place in the lower layers of the society: the peasantry became free, and its numbers and proportion in society rapidly decreased. The peasantry, which had made up two-thirds to three-quarters of the population of agrarian societies,...

  15. FIGURES (pp. None)
  16. CHAPTER 6 THE POLITICAL SYSTEM: Democratization versus Authoritarian Nationalism (pp. 235-284)

    SOCIOECONOMIC CONDITIONS and the burning, unsolved national question had lasting political consequences in Central and Eastern Europe. The preserved agrarian character of its peasant societies, lack of industrialization and urbanization, and unfinished nation-building in the region in comparison with the western half of the continent all influenced political institutions and practice alike. The political elite and intellectuals had faith in progress, however, and believed in the possibility of learning from the most successful countries, adopting their institutions, and changing their own destiny and history. The main goal of the nations of the region was to join “civilized Europe” (i.e., Western...

  17. FIGURES (pp. None)
  18. EPILOGUE: WORLD WAR I (pp. 285-290)

    EXPANSIONIST PLANS AND CONFLICTS in the “age of empire” (Hobsbawm 1987) between 1870 and 1914 led to bloody confrontations between the main players. According to Cecil Rhodes’s characterization of this epoch, “expansion was everything.” J. A. Hobson spoke of the “conscious policy of imperialism” (Hobson [1905] 1938, 19). The two rival groups had been formed and prepared by the 1880s. The overture to an international war—the Bosnian crisis and the two Balkan wars—sent repercussions through the explosive Balkans, the dangerous “powder keg” of Europe. That area was actually the topic of discussion between Wilhelm II, emperor of Germany,...

  19. BIBLIOGRAPHY (pp. 291-312)
  20. INDEX (pp. 313-330)
  21. Back Matter (pp. 331-331)