Central and South East Europe: 1945-1948

Central and South East Europe: 1945-1948

Central and South East Europe: 1945-1948

Central and South East Europe: 1945-1948

Excerpt

This study has been written for the Royal Institute of International Affairs in order to provide a handy record of those political and economic events in central and southeastern Europe which, since its liberation from the Germans, have transformed society and government there. The story of events during three fateful years has been recounted for each country in turn in the order of their liberation, that is, starting with Roumania, and proceeding by way of Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Poland, to Czechoslovakia, which was the last to be freed. Each chapter has been written by a British student who has a direct as well as an academic knowledge of the country of which he or she treats. Mr E. D. Tappe, lecturer in Roumanian at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in the University of London, has written the chapter on Roumania; Miss Phyllis Auty, lecturer in the history of southeastern Europe in the same School, has written the chapters on Bulgaria and Yugoslavia; Miss Elizabeth Wiskemann the chapter on Hungary, and Mr Brian Ireland that on Poland. I have contributed the chapter on Czechoslovakia as well as the concluding chapter, in which I have attempted to present a general picture of events in the whole area and to see whether any pattern of cause and event is discernible.

We have confined ourselves as much as possible to narrative, but, in so far as what is told and the manner of the telling is itself a commentary, we are individually and separately responsible for any judgements which emerge in the course of the story.

The book is strictly limited to the years 1945 to 1948, and makes no attempt to deal with events since the end of 1948. The manuscript was completed in January 1949, but unavoidable delays in publication have inevitably made the narrative incomplete. Much has happened in central and southeastern Europe during 1949, notably the exacerbation of the struggle between State and Church and the elimination from the ruling Communist groups of dissidents like Gomólka, Kostov, and Rajk. The nationalization of economy has been pushed much further; the progress towards industrialization and the communalization of agriculture has continued; Yugoslavia has successfully persisted in its defiance of the Cominform. But though trends and policies which were noticeable in 1948 have become clearer, and more sharply marked, I do . . .

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