Chapter

The Political System

Ivan T. Berend

in History Derailed

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520232990
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932098 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520232990.003.0007
The Political System

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This chapter illustrates that arising out of the region's legacy of autocratic regimes, authoritarian systems became the rule in Central and Eastern Europe. Fundamental nationalism penetrated politics and became the leitmotiv of foreign policy. Central and Eastern Europe became a hotbed of hostile, fundamental nationalism. Ottoman rule in the Balkans remained autocratic right to the end: notwithstanding efforts to recentralize the empire and transform its superstructure, it remained essentially unchanged, and the decline became unstoppable. Authoritarian power, fundamental, violent nationalism, and the expansion of the nation-state at the expense of its neighbors characterized the politics of the Balkans. Autocratic Russian rule had a strong impact on Central and Eastern Europe. Nationalism was a leading concept even for Polish socialism. Nationalism was the triumphant political mainstream that legitimized authoritarian regimes. The workers' struggle for political rights and better working conditions established them as an important political force.

Keywords: authoritarian systems; Central Europe; Eastern Europe; fundamental nationalism; Ottoman rule; Balkans; Russian rule; Polish socialism; democratization

Chapter.  20229 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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