The Price of Freedom: A History of East Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present

The Price of Freedom: A History of East Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present

The Price of Freedom: A History of East Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present

The Price of Freedom: A History of East Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present

Synopsis

The second edition of this distinguished book brings the history of the region up to date. Discussing the events of the post-communist decade of the 1990s and the problems resulting from the transition to democracy and market economy, this fascinating subject is made accessible by all students of modern European history. The Price of Freedom surveys and explains the fascinating and intricate history of East Central Europe - the present day countries of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia and, taking a thematic approach, the author explores such issues and controversies as the tension between the industrial developed West and the agrarian East Central Europe, the rise of modern nationalism, democracy, authoritarianism and Communism.All students and researchers in the field will find this an infinitely useful resource.

Excerpt

This book came out almost a decade ago. During these years Polish, Lithuanian, Bulgarian and Czech translations followed, each of them permitting small changes and corrections. In the year 2000 the consequences of the fall of communism in East Central Europe can be ascertained and evaluated better than in 1992, especially as new sources become available. This necessitated a rewriting of the last section, bringing up to date the chronological tables and the list of readings, and making small revisions in the text.

The ongoing debate about the terminology (East Central, Central or Eastern Europe) has been enriched by new interpretations and trends. The name “East Central Europe” became more widespread in literature, and in some instances has been used to include the present day Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, indeed Latvia and Estonia, i.e. those countries which have become independent of Russia. A good example of this approach is represented by the Institute of East Central Europe (Instytut Europy środkowo-wschodniej) in Lublin. Under its auspices a huge collective two-volume history of East Central Europe in Polish has appeared in 2000 under the general editorship of Jerzy Kłoczowski—the authors are: N. Aleksiun, D. Beauvois, E. Ducreux, J.Kłoczowski, J. Samsonowicz, P. Wandycz. The French version, to be published by the Presses Universitaires de France in the collection “Nouvelle Clio”, will follow shortly.

In turn the appellation “Central Europe” has been favored by some Czech circles which insist that the Czech lands have always been westward oriented. Prague, they point out, lies farther to the west than Vienna and roughly at the same longitude as Berlin. Hence, the term Central Europe is the only appropriate one. The use of this name has also been noticeable in political discourse, particularly after Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary became parts of NATO, and are in the process of being admitted to the European Union.

Still another trend is noticeable. For those who justified a separate treatment of this region because of its inclusion into the Soviet Bloc, the

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