The Other Europe: Eastern Europe to 1945

By E. Garrison Walters | Go to book overview

4
History, 1848-1914

The Russian Empire, 1848-1914

ALTHOUGH the Russian Empire was not directly affected by the revolutions of 1848, the Crimean War of 1853-55 provided an experience as shatteringas a revolution. The Russians not only lost the war, but they were forced to realize that their system of government was corrupt, inefficient, and in need of a thorough overhaul. The 1860s were, therefore, years of reforms. In addition to the abolition of serfdom, the military, the legal system, local government, and other facets of the administrative structure were changed significantly. The drive for reform did not affect the status of the East European minorities (Poles, Ukrainians, and Jews). In fact, the Polish revolt of 1863 (see below) hardened not only the Russian governing circles but also the Russian revolutionary left against the minorities.

The Russians were now experiencing a strong nationalistic movement of their own. Although most reformers from the time of Peter the Great (d. 1725) had considered that Russia's future lay in modernization (synonymous with Westernization at least in this case), by the mid-nineteenth century an increasing number of official and unofficial thinkers saw Russia's future in her past. Accepting the West European concept of the peasantry as the heart and soul of the nation, they looked to the early communal form of village life as their ideal. The government itself tried to revive this tradition in the wake of the abolition of serfdom. Some revolutionary leaders went even further and claimed that Russia should renounce the evils of the industrial west in favor of a simple, harmonious, pastoral society. The government, anxious to strengthen Russia's stature as a world power (especially after the Crimean debacle), strongly opposed this; nevertheless, the ideology had considerable impact.

If one considers that the Russians, whose remote habitat had long fostered a sort of xenophobia, had now chosen to embrace traditional

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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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