East Central Europe in the First Half of the 20th Century – Transnational Perspectives

Traditionally the decades of the first half of the 20th century appear as a period of nationalization
and de-globalization, and seems to be true also for the region East Central Europe. After World War I (Nation)states such as Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia were (re)established after the monarchies of the Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns, and Romanovs had fallen apart. Wilsonian idealism, promoting national self-determination, gained a fertile ground. The 1930s were dominated by the Great Depression, autarkic economic policies and nationalist ideologies. Following World War II and in an ex-post perspective, these “national” lines of development were made more prominent in historical narratives
so that the whole period seemed as a “road from war to war”. In this reductionist view, aspects of continuities across the apparent historical breaks of 1914 / 18 or 1939 / 45 often are marginalized. What about the sense for the beginning of a “New Europe” in a “New World” after the break-up of the empires, or the openness of the moment felt by contemporaries once the wars were over? How changed the conditions under which people migrated? How enterprises gained new markets? How cultural exchange was revived? How territorialization processes were globalized? A transnational perspective can help to find answers concerning the region and the period under question in the conference.

Program (PDF)


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Frédéric Clavert

Docteur en histoire contemporaine, Frédéric Clavert a étudié les sciences politiques et l'histoire contemporaine à Strasbourg et à Leeds. Ses recherches touchent aujourd'hui de plus en plus aux sources de l'historien.ne à l'ère numérique. Passé par Strasbourg, Paris-Sorbonne et Lausanne, il est désormais chercheur au Center for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) de l'Université du Luxembourg.