The origins of this book are in a course on east European history since 1918 which I taught at the University of Kent at Canterbury between 1981 and 1990. Since then I have taught the same subject in somewhat different guise in the University of Oxford. In both places the enormous joy of teaching this subject has been due in no small measure to the enthusiasm and dedication of the students concerned. I thank them for the intellectual stimulus they have provided. I have also to thank a number of colleagues, former and present, in particular David Turley who persuaded me to concentrate my teaching on the twentieth century. There are also those who have taught with me and I thank them for their inspiration and sometimes their indulgence; they are Leslie Holmes, now of the University of Melbourne, Katy Pickvance in Kent, and in Oxford Timothy Garton Ash, Alex Pravda, and Michael Hurst. Other friends and colleagues whose conversation and friendship I have benefited from include Zbyněk Zeman, Jim Naughton, John Dunbabin, Dmitri Obolensky, Charles King, Michael Kaser, and Archie Brown. I should also like to give especial thanks to a number of friends whose company continues to enrich my personal life as well as my scholarship: they are Colin Seymour-Ure, Antony Copley, Alfred P. Smyth, Blair Worden, Ian Gregor, Chris Taylor, Richard Langhorne, Sasho Shûrbanov, Stefan Troebst, David Mendel, Stevan K. Pavlowitch, and Richard Clogg, the last named of whom is perhaps the most exhausting and therefore the most rewarding of travelling companions.
In the process of publication Claire L’Enfant and Heather McCallum of Routledge have shown superb, unobtrusive efficiency. No author could ask for more sympathetic or more helpful guides. I would also like to thank Jayne Lewin for drawing the maps.
Scholarship is a great joy but it pales in significance beside the comforts of home life. My sons, Will and Ben, are now old enough to provide constructive comment on my work and for this I thank them, and I thank Ben, too, for his invaluable help in finding the cover illustration. But, in all I do, my debt to one person overshadows all other obligations. My wife, Celia, is the one who not only makes everything possible but also makes it worthwhile.
St Edmund Hall, Oxford