Decades of Crisis: Central and Eastern Europe Before World War II

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University of California Press, 1998 - History - 437 pages
Only by understanding Central and Eastern Europe's turbulent history during the first half of the twentieth century can we hope to make sense of the conflicts and crises that have followed World War II and, after that, the collapse of Soviet-controlled state socialism. Ivan Berend looks closely at the fateful decades preceding World War II and at twelve countries whose absence from the roster of major players was enough in itself, he says, to precipitate much of the turmoil.
As waves of modernization swept over Europe, the less developed countries on the periphery tried with little or no success to imitate Western capitalism and liberalism. Instead they remained, as Berend shows, rural, agrarian societies notable for the tenacious survival of feudal and aristocratic institutions. In that context of frustration and disappointment, rebellion was inevitable. Berend leads the reader skillfully through the maze of social, cultural, economic, and political changes in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Austria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and the Soviet Union, showing how every path ended in dictatorship and despotism by the start of World War II. Only by understanding Central and Eastern Europe's turbulent history during the first half of the twentieth century can we hope to make sense of the conflicts and crises that have followed World War II and, after that, the collapse of Soviet-controlled state socialism. Ivan Berend looks closely at the fateful decades preceding World War II and at twelve countries whose absence from the roster of major players was enough in itself, he says, to precipitate much of the turmoil.
As waves of modernization swept over Europe, the less developed countries on the periphery tried with little or no success to imitate Western capitalism and liberalism. Instead they remained, as Berend shows, rural, agrarian societies notable for the tenacious survival of feudal and aristocratic institutions. In that context of frustration and disappointment, rebellion was inevitable. Berend leads the reader skillfully through the maze of social, cultural, economic, and political changes in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Austria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and the Soviet Union, showing how every path ended in dictatorship and despotism by the start of World War II.
 

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DECADES OF CRISIS: Central and Eastern Europe Before World War II

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Inspired by the example of historian Eric Hobsbawm's grand syntheses of European history, Berend (History/Univ. of Calif., Los Angeles) applies a similar method to exploring the tumultuous history of ... Read full review

Contents

Latecomers in an Internationalized
11
The Awakening Giant
17
2
23
The Incomplete Societies and the Bureaucratic
40
Fascism
70
Revolution in Art and the Art in Revolution
84
Ornamentation Is Sin
91
Revolt against Traditional Beauty and Harmony
100
Merging Socialism in One Country and
219
Economic Slowdown and Structural Crisis
227
The Principle and Practice of Nationalist
234
The Decline of International Trade
241
The Great Depression and
247
A Distinctive Great Depression in Central
253
The Debt Crisis and the Golgotha
259
From the Great Depression to Nazi
266

II
113
Class RevolutionsCounterrevolutions
119
Bulgarias One and a Half Revolutions
130
The Wave of Counterrevolutions
138
Belated National Revolutions
145
Versailles and the Great Powers
151
The Independent Baltic States
159
The Making of Yugoslavia
168
National
178
From National Revolution
185
The Link to Right
194
From Bolshevik Revolution to a NationalImperial
203
The Creation of a GermanLed Isolationist
273
12
283
The Emergence of a Confused
294
The Dirty Torrent of Dictatorships
300
14
358
NaziFascist
366
Mandatory
373
Conservative Academism and the Impact
383
CONCLUSION
396
BIBLIOGRAPHY
407
INDEX 473
423
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Ivan T. Berend, Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles, is former President of the International Committee of Historical Sciences and former President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1995-2000). He has published widely on the economy and culture of Central and Eastern Europe.

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