East-Central Europe

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Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch

(I'm not Russian at all, I come from Lithuania, a true German)

T.S.Eliot, early 1920s



East-Central Europe (or Middle Europe)[edit]

East-Central Europe (or Middle Europe, Median Europe, fr. Europe médiane) – a term defining the countries located between German-speaking countries and Russia[1][2]. Those lands are situated “between two”: between two worlds, between two stages, between two futures[3]. Median Europe is opposed to the Western and Eastern Europe, is one of the “Three Europes”[4]. Differing from ideas of Eastern Europe, Central Europe, and Mitteleuropa, the concept is based on different criteria of distinction and has different geographical spread.[5].

This region is a liminal and transitional space between the powers in the west and the east, a long but relatively narrow strip stretching from the Baltic countries in the north to Macedonia in the south. To the west it is clearly bounded by the hegemonic German cultures of Germany and Austria; to the east it is hemmed in by Russia’s political and cultural sphere, but the border is, admittedly, less distinct, for the Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldavia were both part of Russia’s hegemonic power and suppressed by it.

The Avant-Garde in the Shadow of Yalta. Art and Politics in Central-Eastern Europe, 1945-1989 [Polish] (Piotrowski)[edit]

East-Central Europe, i.e. Europe in the shadow of Yalta, is a historical discursive construct of a purely political character, which came into being as a result of World War II. This term refers to the territory between the "iron curtain" and the USSR - that part of the continent which in consequence of an agreement between the West and the USSR fell under the political control of the latter. The USSR itself did not fall under the "shadow of Yalta" since it remained one of the powers deciding about Europe's future, which is why - apart from other reasons - its art has not been taken into consideration in the present study. East-Central Europe is not what used to be called Central Europe ("Mitteleuropa"), though the latter remains in part one of its components: East-Central Europe consists of the eastern segment of the former Central Europe (without Austria, but with the eastern provinces of Germany) and the western segment of the former Eastern Europe. In short, East-Central Europe included the following countries which since the mid-1940s till 1989, under the terms of the Yalta treaty, remained more or less strictly dominated by the USSR: Czechoslovakia, the GDR, Poland, Hungary, and - to some extent - Bulgaria, where the avant-garde tendencies were, however, rather insignificant. Besides, the area includes two countries which for various reasons and with different consequences broke the "friendly" relations with the USSR: Yugoslavia and Romania.[6]

The territory of the German Democratic Republic and Poland in the North, Czechoslovakia and Hungary in the middle, and Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Romania in the South was not a uniform region either in terms of its political history, or economic condition, or, for that matter, cultural traditions. What is more, the countries in the middle of the continent, politically dominated by the Soviet Union, were all trying, in one way or another, to manifest their independence, even under the communist rule. In some cases, independence was political, as, most distinctly, in the case of Yugoslavia ruled by Jozif Broz-Tito and later of Nicolae Ceaucescu's Romania, where the end turned out much more tragic, but also, if only for a short time, in Władysław Gomułka's Poland and Imre Nagy's Hungary of 1956, or Dubcek's Czechoslovakia with its "socialism with a human face" of 1968. However, in the first place, the search for local identities was manifest in culture, particularly that created on the margins of the official cultural policy of each state, or even in overt opposition to it. Thus, most likely, any common Central European tradition is hardly conceivable.
In spite of that, though, looking for some common denominator of the artistic strategies of resistance against the ideological indoctrination of communism identified with the socialist realism, we should point to neo-constructivism which was widespread in Central Europe since the political "thaw" of the late fifties. Neo-constructivism was recognized everywhere, perhaps with the exception of Bulgaria. Of course, many artists all over the world would refer to the constructivist heritage, but here, in Central Europe, the role of such references was unique. Notably, its high status related to the mythology of the art persecuted in the times of Stalinism in the Soviet Union. The great masters of the Soviet avant-garde, such as Malevich or Rodchenko, whose artistic achievements are unquestionable, were recognized (not always and not in all cases quite correctly) as the victims of Stalinism, which endowed neo-constructivism with the aura of resistance against the official art associated with the communist regime that contributed to the fall of the avant-garde in Russia. [4]

The fucking 20th century [Slovak] (Štrauss)[edit]

Jednotlivé eseje z rôznych aspektov skúmajú vplyv ideológie a politiky na umenie, najmä v priestore stredovýchodnej Európy, pričom autor s nadhľadom komentuje východiská a ciele avantgardných umeleckých aktivít od dvadsiatych rokov 20. storočia až po súčasnosť.[7]

Jeno Szucs[edit]

In little-known article of 1983, the Hungarian historian Jeno Szucs develops ideas from Bibó’s study on the small states of Eastern Europe. Both Bibó and Szucs were concerned with the (lack of) democratic traditions in the region. Bibó, writing on the eve of the Cold War, speaks of Eastern Europe, while Szucs, writing on the eve of perestroyka, wants to peel off an East-Central segment from the East, admitting that it fell behind the West in developing its democratic traditions but claiming that it is, nevertheless, more democratic than the Europe east of it. In Szucs’s view, East-Central Europe remains a region of Western Europe, though the inclusion of “East” in its name suggests that “modification of the structure of the Western types of models and norms could be detected in almost everything”. Szucs’s subtle and densely argued historical essay was severely attacked in Maria Todorova’s book for promoting a tripartite division of Europe: an occidental Europa, a “truncated” Eastern and South-Eastern Europe under the sphere of influence of Byzantium, and an “East-Central Europe.”

Paul Robert Magocsi[edit]

East Central Europe according to Paul Robert Magocsi

(Canadian professor of history and political science)
Magocsi described this region in this work Historical Atlas of East Central Europe. He distinguished 3 main zones:

  • The northern zone, located between the Baltic Sea (@north) and the alignment Ore Mountains-Sudetes-northern Carpathians-Prut river (@south) and the Dnieper (@east). The countries located by the author in this zone are: former East Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine (west of the Dnieper river) and Moldova.
  • The Alpine-Carpathian zone, located on the south of the northern zone, bordered in the south by the rivers Kupa-Sava-Danube. This area roughly coincides with the former Habsburg Empire (minus Galicia) before the mid 19th century and the Danubian Principalities (Wallachia and Moldavia). The countries located by the author in this zone are: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia (north of the Kupa-Sava rivers), Serbia (Vojvodina) and notheast Italy.
  • The Balkan zone, located on the south of the Alpine-Carpathian zone and matching with the Balkan peninsula. The countries located by the author in this zone are: Croatia (south of the Kupa-Sava rivers), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Central Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece and European Turkey.

Michael Foucher[edit]

Michael Foucher[8] defined Middle Europe as an intermediate geopolitical space between the West and Russia, a space of historical transitions between these two organizational poles; political and territorial heirs imposed from the East, i.e. Kremlin; nowadays streamlining process imposed by the West.. According to this author, the following sub-regions form Median (Middle) Europe:

  • in the North – Central Europe stricto sensu (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia)
  • in the South – Romania, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Albania, the region “overflows towards Ukraine and Belarus”
  • Greece is cited as not being a part of Median Europe but playing an important role there

Oscar Halecki[edit]

(1891-1973; Polish historian, social and Catholic activist; expert on medieval history of Poland and Lithuania, and history of Byzantine Empire.)
Oscar Halecki, who distinguished four regions in Europe (Western, West Central, East Central and Eastern Europe) defined East-Central Europe as a region from Finland to Greece[9], the eastern part of Central Europe, between Sweden, Germany, and Italy, on the one hand, and Turkey and Russia on the other[10]. According to Halecki, in the course of European history, a great variety of peoples in this region created their own independent states, sometimes quite large and powerful; in connection with Western Europe they developed their individual national cultures and contributed to the general progress of European civilization[11].

Polish plans for East-Central European federation during WW2[edit]

During the Second World War there was great interest and enthusiasm among the Polish exile communities in Britain (prime minister Władysław Sikorski, his éminence grise Józef Retinger, etc) and the United States in the possibility of a federated East Central Europe after the war, which would ultimately join with other regional federations to form a European union. The first step in trying to bring this about was an agreement between the Polish and Czechoslovak governments in exile in London which was concluded in January 1942. This attempt proved to be abortive since the Czechoslovaks placed greater value on friendship with the Soviet Union than close association with the Poles. The Soviets were implacably opposed to the idea of a federation on their western borders, and the British government's support crumbled in the face of Soviet and United States' opposition. [12]

United Nations[edit]

United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) was set up to consider the technical problems of domestic standardization of geographical names. The Group is composed of experts from various linguistic/geographical divisions that have been established at the UN Conferences on the Standardization of Geographical Names[13].

  • Eastern Europe, Northern and Central Asia Division: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russian Federation, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
  • East Central and South-East Europe Division: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic,Greece, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine.
  • Romano-Hellenic Division: Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Greece, Holy See, Italy, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey.
  • Baltic Division: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

New Europe[edit]

The Violence of Participation (ed. Miessen)[edit]

In an interview, Hans-Ulrich Obrist asks Karl Schlögel, professor for Eastern European history, whether he understands idea of Europe as a geographical, cultural, or political construct. Schlögel says Europe has formed with diffuse transitions on the margins--in the Mediterranean world, in the eastern zone of the Mediterranean or the Levant, and also in the Caucasian space, and in what is called European Russia, or the Urals, and adds that the New Europe that is now coming into being now in a certain way is simply the reactivation of a Europe that I do believe already existed before the extreme and violent 20th century. I have to tell you--my point of reference for this integral Europe is really the Europe before 1914. Now, you can say that this is a nostalgic view, but I think that it developed a cultural density and a civilizatory power that really is the benchmark of Europe, unrivalled to this day. On Eastern European history he says it is predominantly history of those countries or peoples or societies that were captive or caught up in the Eastern Bloc, and to that extent the history of the Eastern Bloc--which is to say, the fifty or sixty years of forced cohabitation in that block--is in fact a part of the history of Eastern Europe, but only one part of it. If we go beyond the bloc divide, things immediately look very different. It is the history that played out between the Northeast, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea, where the old empires clashed--those of the Tsar, the Ottoman Empire, the Hapsburg Monarchy, and fundamentally also the German Empire.[14]

Central Europe[edit]

Idea of Central Europe reemerged in the 1980s when the writers and intellectuals from both sides of the Iron Curtain envisioned it as an intermediate zone between East and West with a tradition and culture of its own. Central Europe was reinvented in order to define a cultural and political space between Western Europe and the Soviet Union.

Jacques Rupnik[edit]

"Kundera svého času definoval střední Evropu takto: kulturně je to Západ, politicky Východ a geograficky leží ve středu, což je její dilema i dvojí pokušení zároveň. To bylo v 70. letech, kdy jsme se snažili nabourat ten zjednodušený pohled na Evropu rozdělenou jednoduše na dvě strany. Chtěli jsme dát najevo, že část „východní“ Evropy má jinou historii a kulturu. A po pádu železné opony mnohá ministerstva zahraničí na Západě začala zřizovat středoevropské odbory. Jenže my jsme se toho chtěli zase rychle zříci a volali jsme: Ne, zrovna my jsme Západ, my jsme Evropa jako vy. Jako by to, že jsme něco jiného, bylo cosi negativního. Vždyť existuje jižní Evropa, severní Evropa, a všem to připadá normální. Nelze si stěžovat, že nás dost neoddělují, a současně chtít, aby byli všichni stejní.

Co má vlastně střední Evropa společného?
Střední Evropa je společná historie a identita, zděděná z Rakousko Uherska. V tom smyslu je Evropská unie „náhradní říše“. Rakousko mělo dvojí úkol: neutralizovat napětí mezi národnostmi a vyvažovat vztah mezi Slovany a Němci. Unie tak trochu supluje i tenhle úkol.

Možná existuje společná středoevropská identita, ale existuje taky střední Evropa?
Ano, ty země se nechovají stejně. Ani v ekonomice, ani v zahraniční politice. Slovinsko bylo ekonomicky nejopatrnější, ale nejvíc uspělo. Češi mají jiný vztah k Rusku než Slováci, Poláci jsou taky jiní. Maďarsko představuje něco mezi. Jiný byl také vztah k USA nebo NATO. Ani v Unii se střední Evropa nechová jako blok. Pro některý návrh se spojí Poláci s Francouzi, proti nim jsou Češi s Holanďany. A čím víc bude tohle postupovat, tím víc se budou mazat zděděná dělítka." [5]

Between worlds: A Sourcebook of Central European Avant-gardes, 1910-1930 (eds. Benson and Forgács)[edit]

Contains primary documents of the avant-gardes in Austria, the Czech lands, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia.[15]

Central European Avant-Gardes. Exchange and Transformation, 1910–1930 (ed. Benson)[edit]


The tragedy of Central Europe [article] (Kundera)[edit]

In the first half of the 1980s, the Czech writer Milan Kundera described Central Europe as a kidnapped Occident, a piece of the Latin West which has fallen under Russian domination...[and] which lies geographically in the centre, culturally in the West and politically in the East. Geographic Europe, Kundera argued, had long been divided into two culturally distinctive parts, one rooted in Rome and one in Byzantium; and when a slice of its western part was kidnapped in 1945, its identity was continuously abused and manipulated -- hence the recurrent revolts, insurrections, rebellions. He suggested that his Europe, this uncertain zone of small nations between Russia and Germany, a site of wars, conquests and occupations, distrusted politics and history and ought to be looked upon not as a geopolitical entity but as a state of mind, a worldview, and a mindset. Not having a geography, this thriving Kingdom of the Spirit was a resilient realm of autonomous culture where music, poetry, the arts, and philosophy ruled. Its immaterial existence generated a culture of fate, focused on the task of preserving its western-ness. At the same time, Kundera observed, the beloved western Europe had lost touch with the values it once stood for, lost touch with itself, and therefore did not even notice that it had lost a part of its very own soul, as well. In such a situation, felt Kundera, it was Central Europe that was the real crucible of Europe. [17]

Czeslav Milosz[edit]

Czesłav Miłosz's 1981/82 Harvard lectures (Witness) remark “I was born and grew up on the very borderline between Rome and Byzantium”, refers only to the contested religious identity of his childhood environment, but there were similar ethnic strips of liminality. Miłosz admitted that Central Europe was no clearly-defined geographical entity, but claimed that even if one could not easily trace its boundaries on a map, one could draw sufficiently clear “mental lines” that seem more durable than the borders of states. These “mental lines” connect Miłosz’s “baroque Wiłno” with the “differently baroque Prague or the medieval-Renaissance Dubrovnik.” They also foreground certain ways of feeling and thinking, “a tone and a sensibility not to be found elsewhere”. Miłosz found this unique tone and sensibility in an “awareness of history,” in the cultivation of “irony” as a response to “self-pity,” in a skepticism towards a Marxist philosophy of history, and in “dark visions of the future” — but also in “civic commitment” and “utopianism”.

Charles Ingrao[edit]

(American professor of history; specialization Early Modern Europe, Habsburg and Central European History)
Charles Ingrao wrote a historical perspective of Central Europe from the Habsburg point of view.[18] He associates Central Europe with the nations comprising Austria-Hungary, both geographically and culturally. Ingrao suggests that the cultural imprint of the Habsburg rule over these nations is deeply rooted within their respective identities. Some of these nations were divided between the nation-states and the Habsburgs; Ingrao thus points out to the Italian-, Romanian- and Serbian questions. The peoples comprising the Dual Monarchy were the following (Census 1910):[19] Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Poles, Ruthenians, Romanians, Croats, Slovaks, Serbs, Slovenes and Italians.

István Bibó[edit]

In 1946, István Bibó lucidly analyzed the predicament of the small countries of the region in A kelet-europai kisállamok nyomorusága (The Misery of the East-European Small States).

Milan Hodža[edit]

Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia between 1935 and 1938. While in the US, he developed a project for a Central European Federation (published as the book Federation in Central Europe, 1942). Although his plan received attention from American intellectuals and the Department of State officials, his plan could not materialize due to the beginning of the Cold War.[6]

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk[edit]

At the end of World War I, T. G. Masaryk argued in his November 1, 1918 memorandum to Woodrow Wilson and in his book The New Europe: The Slav Standpoint (1918)[20] for the political integration of the many small nations located between the Germans and the Russians.

František Palacký[edit]

In 1848 the Czech František Palacký called for a federalized Habsburg Monarchy, for he was convinced that only such a Central European federation could withstand a Prussian- German domination and a Russian expansion (see our section on 1848).

Eastern Europe[edit]

Eastern Europe, mainly “invented” by the French philosophes of the Enlightenment, acquired a new meaning during the Cold War (1945–1989), when the region, including the GDR, became associated with the Iron Curtain and often labeled as the “Soviet bloc.” While the Iron Curtain is now finally lifted, the term “Eastern Europe” remains highly problematic because historical usage associated it with the hegemonic aspirations of Russia and the Soviet Union.

Larry Wolff[edit]

As Larry Wolff has shown, the term was introduced in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when east/west distinctions became more important in Europe than the traditional north/south ones: it was the intellectual work of the Enlightenment to bring about that modern reorientation of the continent which produced Western Europe and Eastern Europe. Poland and Russia would be mentally detached from Sweden and Denmark, and associated instead with Hungary and Bohemia, the Balkan lands of Ottoman Europe, and even the Crimea on the Black Sea.

Primary Documents: A Sourcebook for Easterns and Central European Art Since the 1950s (eds. Hoptman and Pospiszyl)[edit]

The concept of "Eastern Europe," as it has been understood in the past several decades, is neither geographic nor social; it is economic and political. A product of the Yalta Conference of 1945, it was created with the intention of outlining zones of influence in Europe. Subsequently, the territory between Germany and Russia fell under the influence of the Soviet Union and soon became isolated from the rest of the world, and, in the eyes of the world, politically homogenized. [..] For several decades, artistic freedom in Eastern Europe was singularly suppressed, creating conditions for the development of artistic expression markedly different from those of the West.[21] In the scope of the book included post-Communist European countries, including former Yugoslavia and Russia.

East Art Map: Contemporary Art And Eastern Europe (eds. Irwin)[edit]

Sometimes ex-socialist Central, Eastern and South-Eastern countries, elsewhere Eastern Europe (also known as the former communist countries, East & Central Europe, or New Europe)[22] is mentioned as the area of the focus. Included countries: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, former East Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania.

Leap Into the City: Chișinău, Sofia, Pristina, Sarajevo, Warsaw, Zagreb. Cultural Positions, Political Conditions. Seven Scenes from Europe. (eds. Klingan and Kappert)[edit]

The term "eastern Europe" is associated both with a polarization between East and West and with the synthesizing of a geopolitical space.[23]

Body and the East: From the 1960s to the Present (Badovinac and Briški)[edit]

Book contains essays on eighty artists from fourteen countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, the former GDR, Hungary, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Yugoslavia.[24]

Modern Art in Eastern Europe: From the Baltic to the Balkans, Ca. 1890-1939 (Mansbach)[edit]

Six chapters: 1. The Czech Lands, 2. Poland and Lithuania, 3. The Baltic States of Latvia and Estonia, 4. The Southern Balkans of the Former Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia, 5. Romania and 6. Hungary. Many places are left out (Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Slovak part of Czechoslovakia).[25]


This term represents a German perspective on both the eastern part of Europe and on German culture itself. Whenever Germans conceived of themselves as Mitteleuropäer, they claimed a middle ground between East and West. The German interest in eastern Europe manifested itself already in the German religious and commercial penetration of north-eastern Europe during the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries, in the form of a series of individual, unplanned, and often accidental events that nineteenth-century historians have reinterpreted as a systematic imperial Drang nach Osten (a kind of Eastward ho!).

Art as a Political Machine (Suvakovic)[edit]

The term “Mitteleuropa” usually designates a cultural, not a geographical, space. “It does not quite correspond to the English phrase ‘Central Europe.’ Mitteleuropa suggests something that resonates in historical mystique; it is a cultural idea and cannot be reduced to geo-political definitions.”1 It points to the complex relation of cultures, national cultures, communities, and states that occupy the center of the European continent: not only Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, but also Poland, Slovenia, northern Italy, Croatia, and Vojvodina (northern Serbia). The idea of Mitteleuropa embraces countries and cultures that have built their cultural identity under the influence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.After the Second World War, with the exception of Austria and Italy, they became socialist and a part of the East or Soviet bloc. During the Cold War, they were most often identified by the less geographical and more political term “Eastern Europe.”

Today, the idea of Mitteleuropa is determined by the myth of the unity of European culture, the myth of the enduring integrative nature of Austro- Hungarian culture, and the ambivalent idea of the shared socialist past.[26]

Jacques le Rider[edit]

Le Rider[27] suggests that Mitteleuropa became significant whenever German culture experienced a crisis or underwent a deep transformation of its geopolitical identity, such as after the Thirty-Year War, after Napoleon, and after the creation of a German Reich in 1871.

Friedrich Naumann[edit]

The term occasioned a hot debate during World War I, when Friedrich Naumann envisioned a post-war Mitteleuropa that would unite Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and all the nations “that belong neither to the Anglo-French western alliance nor to the Russian Empire”. He predicted that two new post-war trenches would emerge, one stretching from the Lower Rhine to the Alps, the other from Courland to either the right or left of Romania. The trench dividing Germany and Austria-Hungary would disappear. The book sold more than 100,000 copies within a year. Naumann is regarded today as a father of German liberalism (the cultural foundation of the German liberal party, the FDP, carries his name), yet his ideological vision is troubling, even if (or precisely because) his leading principle — emphasizing large-scale industry and super-national organization — resonates in our age of globalization. Naumann thought that in economics, politics, and the struggle for survival bigger was better, more beautiful and more efficient. “The spirit of large-scale industry and super-national organisation has seized politics,” he writes: a Czech army, a Croatian Chief of Staff, an exclusively Hungarian Foreign Ministry, a Slovenian economic policy, or a Galician treasury would be unimaginable to him. Today’s globalization tolerates all these formations (except for the Galician treasury), though they are economically inefficient; the current economic globalization is partly balanced by a principle of political self-determination that tore Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia apart. Naumann thought little of self-determination: since the German Empire was founded on the German national ideal, the Prussian Poles were “neither so numerous nor so powerful as to come into consideration as partners in the Government”. He recognized but vastly underestimated the threat that the ethnic minorities of the Monarchy represented to his envisioned Mitteleuropa. The Hungarians, he thought, knew that they had to rely on a major non-Slavic power to remain quasi-independent; the Slavs and the Romanians had less to expect than the Hungarians from a merger of Germany and the Monarchy, but he hoped that their dislike of Russia would drive them into the arms of a Mitteleuropa (Central Europe 20). Naumann insisted to the end of his life that Germany’s capitulation did not kill his vision. And, indeed, Mitteleuropa was captured in the 1930s and 1940s “by the pseudo-science of German geopolitics, and fortified with a strong injection of race theory,” proving right all those who considered it as the slogan of a political force that “sought control of the European continent from its German center”. For the non-German East-Central European peoples, Mitteleuropa became synonymous with German expansionism, suppression, and annexation.


For Metternich, who had no interest in expanding the Habsburg Empire eastward, Mitteleuropa meant a European balance of power with a Danubian Habsburg territory in the center. But Prussia’s growing hegemony forced Austria to shift eastward in the compromise of 1867, at the cost of creating a problematic multicultural state.

Hugo von Hofmannsthal[edit]

The writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal envisioned an Austrian-centered spiritual Mitteleuropa even before the publication of Naumann’s book, and in his speech of October 31, 1916, Österreich im Spiegel seiner Dichtung (Austria in the Mirror of its Literature), he presented an Austrian alternative to Naumann’s concept. During the 1920s, he supported this idea by initiating the Salzburg Festivals and through a steady stream of speeches and essays. But if his intellectual and artistic Mitteleuropa was preferable to Naumann’s political vision, it was naïve and seriously flawed for turning away from politics altogether. Hofmannsthal innocently considered the Salzburg Festivals as the cultural expression of a “Bavarian-Austrian tribe” (Stamm), and he hoped that the crisis of the twenties would be overcome by a “conservative revolution,” followed by a new Reich.

(look up)[edit]

Boris Buden[edit]

Timothy Garton Ash[edit]

Avant-gardes Connections from Prague to Bucharest 1907-1930 [Hungarian] (Passuth)[edit]

Does not discuss the historical context of the Europe of the 1910s and 1920s. [28]

Notes and other resources[edit]

  • in 1992, the Wall Street Journal wrote that the State Department had instructed its embassies worldwide that the term “Eastern Europe” was banished from the lexicon of the agency, and that the region would now be referred to as Central Europe
  • Piotr Piotrowski, "Post-War Central Europe: Art, History and Geography", 1998, [7]
  • Jacques Rupnik, "Central Europe or Mitteleuropa." In: Eastern Europe…Central Europe…Europe. Daedalus. Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 119 (Winter 1990). 249-78.
  • Timothy Garton Ash. "Does Central Europe Exist?" In: George Schöpflin and Nancy Wood, eds. In Search of Central Europe. Totowa, NJ: Barnes and Noble, 1989. 191-215.
  • Art Histories, plural. The Polish art historian Piotr Piotrowski about his recently published book “Avant-gardes in the Shadow of Yalta. Art in Central and Eastern Europe 1945–1989". 2006. [8]
  • Piotr Piotrowski on constructivism in CE, autonomy of the work of art, universalism, [9]
  • 50 Years of Art in Central Europe 1949-1999, essays/timeline/exhibition [10] [11] [12]
  • Robin Okey, "Central Europe / Eastern Europe: Behind the Definitions", in: Past & Present, No. 137, The Cultural and Political Construction of Europe (Nov., 1992), pp. 10 [13]
  • Larry Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment, 1994. [14]


  1. Palmer, Alan (1970)The Lands between: A History of East-Central Europe Since the Congress of Vienna, New York: Macmillan
  2. J. Kłoczowski (ed.), Central Europe Between East and West, Lublin 2005, ISBN 83-85854-86-X
  3. François Jarraud [1]
  4. F. Braudel, Preface to Szucs J., Les trois Europes, Paris 1990
  5. I. Loucas, The New Geopolitics of Europe & The Black Sea Region, Naval Academy, UK National Defence Minister’s Staff, p. 8 [2]
  6. Piotr Piotrowski, Awangarda w cieniu Jałty. Sztuka w Europie środkowo-wschodniej w latach 1945–89, Poznan: Rebis, 2005 (online), (review)
  7. Tomáš Štrauss, Toto posrané 20. storočie, Kalligram, 2006, (online)
  8. M. Foucher (dir.), Fragments d’Europe – Atlas de l’Europe mediane et orientale, Paris, 1993, p. 60
  9. O. Halecki, The limits and divisions on European history, Sheed&Ward, New York 1950, p. 120
  10. O. Halecki, Borderlands of Western Civilization: A History of East Central Europe, Fordham University (1952, 1980) (online)
  11. O. Halecki, Borderlands of Western Civilization: A History of East Central Europe, Fordham University (1952, 1980) (online)
  12. Thomas Lane, "Integrating East Central Europe: Polish-Czechoslovak Plans and the Opposition of the Great Powers, 1939-1945", 2007, [3]
  13. [http://unstats.un.org/unsd/geoinfo/ungegndivisions.htm United Nations Statistics Division - Geographical Names and Information Systems
  14. Markus Miessen (ed.), The Violence of Participation, Sternberg Press, 2007, (online)
  15. Timothy O. Benson, Éva Forgács (eds.), Between worlds: A Sourcebook of Central European Avant-gardes, 1910-1930, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002, (online), (google books)
  16. Timothy O. Benson (ed.), Central European Avant-Gardes. Exchange and Transformation, 1910–1930, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002, (online), (google books)
  17. Milan Kundera, "The tragedy of Central Europe", New York Review of Books, 26 April 1984, pp.33-8 (The article was initially published in French under the title "Un Occident kidnappe ou la tragedie de l'Europe centrale", Le Debat, november 1983, no 27) overview
  18. Ten Untaught Lessons about Central Europe-Charles Ingrao
  19. Anstalt G. Freytag & Berndt (1911). Geographischer Atlas zur Vaterlandskunde an der österreichischen Mittelschulen. Vienna: K. u. k. Hof-Kartographische. "Census December 31st 1910"
  20. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, The New Europe: The Slav Standpoint, 1918
  21. Laura Hoptman and Tomas Pospiszyl (eds.), Primary Documents: A Sourcebook for Easterns and Central European Art Since the 1950s, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2002
  22. Irwin (eds.), East Art Map: Contemporary Art And Eastern Europe, Afterall Books, 2006, (online), (online), (google books)
  23. Katrin Klingan and Ines Kappert (eds.), Leap Into the City: Chișinău, Sofia, Pristina, Sarajevo, Warsaw, Zagreb. Cultural Positions, Political Conditions. Seven Scenes from Europe, Cologne: DuMont, 2006, (online), (google books)
  24. Zdenka Badovinac, Mika Briški, Body and the East: From the 1960s to the Present, Ljubljana: Moderna galerija, (google books)
  25. Steven A. Mansbach, Modern Art in Eastern Europe: From the Baltic to the Balkans, Ca. 1890-1939, Cambridge University Press, 1999 (google books) review
  26. Misko Suvakovic, "Art as a Political Machine. Fragments on the Late Socialist and Postsocialist Art of Mitteleuropa and the Balkans"
  27. Jacques le Rider, Mitteleuropa. Auf den Spuren eines Begriffs (Central Europe: Tracing a Concept)
  28. Krisztina Passuth, Avantgard kapcsolatok Prágától Bukarestig 1907-1930, Budapest: Balassi Kiadó, 1998 review