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Introduction: 1918 and the Ambiguities of “Old-New Europe”

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 July 2021

John Paul Newman*
Affiliation:
National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Lili Zách
Affiliation:
National University of Ireland, Maynooth
*Corresponding
*Corresponding author. Email: johnpaul.newman@nuim.ie

Abstract

Our special issue discusses different perspectives on the important changes that took place in the transition from empire to nation-state at the end of the First World War, focusing especially on transnational connections, structural and historical continuities, and marginal voices that have been fully or partially concealed by the emphasis on a radical national awakening in 1918. Specific articles broach topics such as the implications of 1918 on notions of gender and ethnicity, 1918 and the violence of the “Greater War,” and the legacies and memories of 1918 across the 20th century. Our approach treats the “New Europe” of 1918 as a largely coherent geopolitical and cultural space, one which can be studied in an interdisciplinary fashion. We contend that 1918 is not simply a clean break in which one epoch cleanly makes way for another, but rather it is an ambiguous and contradictory pivot, one which created an “Old-New Europe” caught between the forces of the imperial past and those of the national future. Our intention is not to dismiss entirely the importance of the transformations of 1918 but rather to show how there exists a tension between those changes and the many continuities and legacies that cut across the traditional chronology.

Type
Special Issue Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Association for the Study of Nationalities

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References

Anderson, Benedict. 1983. Imagined Communities: Reflection on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
Gerwarth, Robert. 2016. The Vanquished: How the First World War Failed to End, 1917–1923. New York: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
Krleža, Miroslav. 1956. Davni dani: zapisi 1914–1921. Zagreb: Zora.Google Scholar
Manela, Erez. 2007. The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

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