Central Europe, Mitteleuropa

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Summary

Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe. The term and widespread interest in the region itself came back after the Cold War by the end of the Cold War, which had divided Europe politically into East and West, splitting Central Europe in half.

Details

The German term Mitteleuropa (or alternatively its literal translation into English, Middle EuropeJohnson, p. 165) is an ambiguous German concept. It is sometimes used in English to refer to an area somewhat larger than most conceptions of 'Central Europe'; it refers to territories under German(ic)-Slavic cultural hegemony until World War I (encompassing Austria–Hungary and Germany in their pre-war formations but usually excluding the Baltic countries north of East Prussia). According to Fritz Fischer Mitteleuropa was a scheme in the era of the Reich of 1871–1918 by which the old imperial elites had allegedly sought to build a system of German economic, military and political domination from the northern seas to the Near East and from the Low Countries through the steppes of Russia to the Caucasus. Later on, professor Fritz Epstein argued the threat of a Slavic "Drang nach Westen" (Western expansion) had been a major factor in the emergence of a Mitteleuropa ideology before the Reich of 1871 ever came into being.

In Germany the connotation was also sometimes linked to the pre-war German provinces east of the Oder-Neisse line which were lost as the result of World War II, annexed by People's Republic of Poland and the Soviet Union, and ethnically cleansed of Germans by communist authorities and forces (see expulsion of Germans after World War II) due to Yalta Conference and Potsdam Conference decisions. In this view Bohemia and Moravia, with its dual Western Slavic and Germanic heritage, combined with the historic element of the "Sudetenland", is a core region illustrating the problems and features of the entire Central European region.

The term Mitteleuropa conjures up negative historical associations among some elder people, although the Germans have not played an exclusively negative role in the region.Johnson, p. 6 Most Central European Jews embraced the enlightened German humanistic culture of the 19th century.Johnson, p. 7 German-speaking Jews from turn of the 20th century Vienna, Budapest and Prague became representatives of what many consider to be Central European culture at its best, though the Nazi version of "Mitteleuropa" destroyed this kind of culture. instead. However, the term "Mitteleuropa" is now widely used again in German education and media without negativ meaning, especially since the end of communism. In fact, many people from the New states of Germany do not identify themselfes as being part of Western Europe and therefore prefer the term "Mitteleuropa"

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External Links

  • WikipediaMap of EuropeMaps of Europe and European countriesCENTRAL EUROPE 2020Central Europe Economy

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