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About this book

The states and peoples of Southeastern Europe have been divided by wars over the twentieth century, but they have since worked to re-establish themselves into the European mainstream. This timely new edition has been revised, updated and expanded in the light of the latest scholarship and recent events. John R. Lampe now offers a comprehensive assessment of the full century from the Sarajevo assassination in 1914 through to EU membership and developments up to the present day.

Table of Contents

Introduction — Decades of War, Decades of Transition

Abstract
Once again there was trouble in the Balkans. The dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991–2 escalated from a skirmish over Slovenia to full-scale warfare in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The region’s reputation as an unstable, indeed un-European powder keg quickly resurfaced among European governments and the Western media. Had not a Bosnian Serb’s assassination of the heir to the Habsburg throne in 1914 triggered the First World War? Had not the two Balkan Wars of 1912–13 already shocked international observers and unsettled the European balance of power?
John R. Lampe

1. Balkan States and Imperial Borderlands before the Balkan Wars

Abstract
We begin with the Balkans generally regarded both as a single region and as one distinct from Europe. The five independent states of Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro were all making ethnic claims to the surrounding Habsburg or Ottoman borderlands before the First World War. Together with the constituent peoples of those imperial borderlands, they threatened the stability of what the European powers regarded as a common danger-zone by the last prewar decade. The Great Powers intervened to contain unrest in the borderlands while courting or confronting the independent states to contain their irredentist ambitions. But by then, the wider region, and especially its capital cities, had more in common than this reputation for instability. These common elements, some traditional and local, some modern and European, were struggling with their hasty juxtaposition. Disjunctures were also emerging between ethnic majorities and minorities, in the imperial provinces as well as the independent states. These conflicting claims to national rights would remain to trouble the single set of independent states that succeeded the divided pre-1914 Balkans.
John R. Lampe

2. Balkan Wars, First World War, Postwar Settlements, 1912–1922

Abstract
The region’s first wartime decade of the twentieth century started spectacularly well for the five independent Balkan states. By the summer of 1912 only Romania abstained from an alliance that would send off their apparently united armies against the Ottomans’ Balkan forces. The allied governments quickly mobilized massive reserves from an established system of conscripted service to supplement their standing armies, just as the European powers would do in 1914. Within a few weeks that October they overran all of Macedonia broadly defined and drove the Ottoman defenders back to within 20 miles of Istanbul. European observers compared the bravery and determination of Bulgarian and Serbian soldiers to Japanese troops, newly renowned for their defeat of Tsarist Russia in 1905. The prime Aegean port of Salonika, also the largest city in Ottoman Macedonia, surrendered to Greek forces on October 27. Montenegrin units were besieging the Ottoman’s Albanian stronghold of Shkoder. By December the Sultan’s government was obliged to sue for peace.
John R. Lampe

3. Struggling with Liberal and National Transitions in the 1920s

Abstract
Enter the standards of democracy and self-determination unfurled by the American President, Woodrow Wilson. Its liberal ideals were intended to serve national independence. The former imperial borderlands and the prewar Balkan states should combine and cohere into a single set of independent, representative governments. It was the lack of “complete independence” before 1914, Wilson told his European colleagues at the deliberations in Paris in 1919, that had invited wider international rivalry and led to the First World War. “One of the great results of this conference,” he concluded, “is to liberate the Balkan Peninsula from the intervention of the Great Powers.”’ It would, however, prove to be the powers’ political indifference and their own economic differences rather than the peace treaties that diminished intervention as the postwar decade progressed.
John R. Lampe

4. Illiberal Directions during the Depression Decade

Abstract
Neither political pluralism nor economic liberalism would survive the 193os in Southeastern Europe. Little ideological underpinning remained beyond national self-assertion, with its emphasis on the ethnic majority. The political examples of Mussolini’s Italy and then Hitler’s Germany stood between all of the states we would know as Eastern Europe after the Second World War and the multiparty electoral processes of Western Europe. Poland had already forsaken parliamentary government by 1926; the Southeastern European states would follow suit after 1930. The Depression also hit their economies hard. Although less vulnerable to industrial unemployment than Weimar Germany, they were heavily dependent on agricultural exports whose prices suffered the sharpest declines and whose markets contracted still further from their pre-1914 range.
John R. Lampe

5. World War, Civil War, and the Communist Advantage

Abstract
At the outset of the Second World War and at its end, the strategic interests of the major combatants once again did much to determine the fate of Southeastern Europe. During the course of the war, however, both the Allied powers and Nazi Germany concentrated on tactical demands that discouraged any of them from a major commitment of ground forces to the region. Only by 1945, with the Nazis gone, did the Anglo-American alliance and the Soviet Union see Southeastern Europe as a strategic crossroads whose location would make its loss to the other side, in whole or in part, unacceptable. Still, fateful consequences did follow from the initial German conquest and wartime reliance on the region’s resources, the subsequent British support for resistance or opposition, and the final approach of the Red Army in 1944 just as American engagement began.
John R. Lampe

6. Communist and Cold War Transitions, 1945–1963

Abstract
Newly draconian governance aside, the century’s second postwar transition would be less daunting for Southeastern Europe than its experience after the First World War in two other respects. The period did not begin with a major redrawing of international boundaries. Nor was it followed a decade later by a collapse of the international economy. During the 1920s the new states of Albania and the Yugoslav Kingdom had struggled over their common border, while the borders of Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania remained in dispute throughout the interwar period. This time the region’s prewar borders remained largely unchanged. Claims for their revision before 1989 were limited to the Yugoslav—Italian dispute over Trieste, resolved to mutual benefit, as we shall see, in 1954. Otherwise, the postwar map (Map 6.1) reveals only one addition in 1945, predominantly Slovene and Croatian Istria to Yugoslavia from Italy. Also ratified were Romania’s 1940 losses of the southern Dobrudja to Bulgaria, and Bessarabia and the Bukovina to the Soviet Union.
John R. Lampe

7. Continuity and Contradictions, 1964–1989

Abstract
Southeastern Europe’s second set of postwar transitions since 1918, uninterrupted this time by depression or world war, played themselves out over the next quarter-century. The massive socioeconomic shifts underway by the early 1950s continued into the early 1980s. Populations were increasingly urban and employed in industry or services, amounting at least to majorities everywhere but Albania. The share of foreign trade in national income also advanced, as did public interest in the wider world. Higher education and access to modern media were making urban youth into a new social class of their own. And youthful attraction to Western popular culture and consumer values challenged the socialist conformity of Communist ideology and the puritanism of the Greek Colonels’ regime.
John R. Lampe

8. New Trials of War and Integration, 1989–2014

Abstract
The Communist collapse of 1989 put “transition” into common, if sometimes, as noted in the Introduction, contended usage. Since then, a flood of scholarly analysis has poured out of and over what had been Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. For our region, however, the larger part of that outpouring neglected systemic post-Communist transition and concentrated on the wars of Yugoslavia’s dissolution. Back came the Western stereotype of endemic Balkan violence and disarray, requiring Western intervention to restore order. Now, more than a decade past the last warfare, the region’s fate turns instead on its own prospects for meeting the challenges of European integration, a transition both accelerated and now more problematic in the pre-2014 decade. The recent warfare remains a regional burden. It revived conflicting ethnocentric memories among the combatants and their neighbors from the two Balkan wars and two world wars of the twentieth century. Yet the televised spectacle of renewed carnage and displacement also served as an object lesson that sobered the region as a whole, Greece included. This public perception, as much as the international settlements imposed to stop the fighting, has prevented the warfare from resuming or paramilitary groups from surviving.
John R. Lampe
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