The Other Europe: Eastern Europe to 1945

By E. Garrison Walters | Go to book overview

History to 1800

EASTERN EUROPE is an area of considerable ethnic diversity. The population of some one-hundred million people is composed of fourteen major nationality groups and nine smaller ones. The absence of natural features that presented serious barriers to population movements, together with the historical predominance of multinational political organizations, ensured that the various ethnic groups were mixed together over much of Eastern Europe. The savagery of the Second World War and the political decisions that followed the end of the fighting did much to simplify the ethnic map, but considerable complexity remains.

Since it is almost impossible to describe the peoples of Eastern Europe without also discussing the historical events that formed them, this section will survey the period from the beginning of history to about the year 1400. By the start of the fifteenth century, the last of the presentday nationalities was firmly established in the area, and the history of Eastern Europe began to be integrated into European history as a whole.

The first historical records about Eastern Europe were provided by Greek chroniclers. 1 In addition to their own Hellenic tribe, these writers recorded the presence of six other groups: Germanic, Celtic, Scythian, Illyrian, Thracian, and Dacian. Of this group, contact with the first three was sporadic. The Germanic tribes were weak and scattered in early times, and their usual habitat was far to the north of the Greek world. The Celts, who appear to have ruled once over most of Europe, were in decline at the beginning of recorded history, with their remaining strength shifting westward. Evidence of their earlier importance in Eastern Europe is to be found in the name of Bohemia, which is of Celtic origin.

The Scythians, who did not inhabit Eastern Europe proper, were loosely settled in the steppe land of southern Ukraine (from about the eighth to the first centuries B.C.). A semi-nomadic people, the Scythians

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The Other Europe: Eastern Europe to 1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction - What Is Eastern Europe? xi
  • 1 - The Lands of Eastern Europe 1
  • 2 - History to 1800 16
  • 3 - History, 1800-1848 32
  • 4 - History, 1848-1914 47
  • 5 - Why is There an Eastern Europe? 110
  • 6 - The Great War 132
  • 7 - Interwar Eastern Europe an Overview 150
  • 8 - Interwar Poland 171
  • 9 - Interwar Czechoslovakia 189
  • 10 - Interwar Hungary 205
  • 11 - Interwar Romania 219
  • 12 - Interwar Yugoslavia 237
  • 13 - Interwar Bulgaria 251
  • 14 - Interwar Albania 261
  • 15 - Eastern Europe in World War II 270
  • 16 - The Soviet Example 308
  • 17 - The East European Communist Parties to 1945 325
  • Afterword Eastern Europe on the Eve of A New Vassalage 359
  • Appendix - Maps 365
  • Notes 393
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 407
  • Index 417
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