Stokes argues that it gave them an accepted inferiority complex, which complicated their attempts to nationalise because the ideas emanating from the West stressed equality and it was ‘no longer acceptable psychologically to be peripheral. ‘8 It was in the creation of national spirit that the Balkan elite sought to prove their worth, but since the beautiful language they promoted, the literature they produced and the glittering past they conjured up did nothing to change their economic situation or give them the power to reach the level of the West, it was essentially instilling in the population dreams that could not be realised.In contrast to Stokes, Kohn suggests that Balkan dependence on the West wounded the pride of the native educated class and when their nationalisms were in their infancy they developed ideologies, which opposed ‘the ‘alien’ example and its liberal and rational outlook’9. Nationalism in practice in Eastern Europe certainly differed from Western models. Stokes claims that in the East the hierarchical formation of society under the Ottoman Empire had barely begun to be questioned when the nation-state ideal was first applied in the Balkans.She indicates that nationalism merely allowed power hungry elites of the native ethnic group to assume power in place of departed Ottoman upper classes. This is almost certainly what happened in Poland and Hungary, who experienced what Peter Sugar defines as ‘aristocratic nationalism.
’10 Having no real middle class, the aristocracy controlled both the agrarian economy and the local and central legislatures. Nobles looked at nationalism as a new, additional argument that could be used by them in their battle against their rulers.As far as they were concerned it was a further proof of the legitimacy of their belief that their class was the only valid source of power in the nation.
Sugar suggests that because the nobility did not consider participation in political life as a right but rather as a privilege based on historic feudal documents and tradition, their nationalism, though honestly patriotic and often revolutionary, remained exclusive, tradition bound and estate conscious. The second form of Eastern nationalism discussed by Sugar is bureaucratic, which he claims characterises the experiences of Turkey, Greece and Romania.In Greece, national awakening started among the merchants and middle classes but they were dispersed all over Europe and as a group they lacked leadership, which, in addition to factional feuding meant that they were unable to shape events during the Greek War of Independence. Having once achieved independence, as a result of Great Power intervention, the only way nationalist sentiment could be effectively conveyed was through government and bureaucratic channels.
In Serbia and Bulgaria Sugar suggests that a popular nationalism was aroused by the Enlightenment ideas.In these areas long years of Ottoman rule had had a levelling effect on the population and the nobility had all but disappeared from both countries, with the exception of several families in Bosnia and Macedonia who had been allowed to retain their wealth and prestige as a result of their conversion to Islam. This class was excluded from the Serbian and Bulgarian nation until the twentieth century when their differing linguistic and religious associations were not longer seen as a threat to nationalism. The middle class of Slav merchants was too small to offer leadership for the national movement.It was therefore left to the peasant classes to assume the leading role.
Their views of democracy were based on anti-landlord principles, which fitted in well with nationalist ideals, as most of the landlords they despised so much were foreigners. Popular nationalism was developed by the lower clergy and by Bulgarian and Serbian merchants who lived outside the borders of the Ottoman Empire. Although members of the aristocracy later diluted them, the initial involvement of the lower classes meant that the nationalisms of Serbia and Bulgaria never lost their basic approach and character.The nationalism that Sugar considers to have been most effective was bourgeois nationalism, which shaped the development of Czechoslovakia. The Czech aristocracy was foreign and therefore unable to participate in the national movement because, although it was powerful, it was unable to share the aspirations of the population.
Due to its proximity to Germany and Western Europe, Czechoslovakia shared the intellectual and economic progress of the West and was thus able to approach nationalism in an almost western manner.By the time nationalism became a viable force in Czechoslovakia the two most industrially developed regions, Bohemia and Silesia, had a middle class strong enough to assume leadership of a national movement. From the outset, Czech nationalism closely followed the example of the West and stressed the importance of a constitutional monarchy, parliamentarianism, federalism, paternalism, democracy and economic strength and efficiency. However there were significant differences between the situations in the West and in Czechoslovakia.
Firstly, as the Czechs had no state of their own, they were forced to include linguistic equality among the goals they tried to achieve within the framework of the Habsburg Empire. The lack of a state also made it essential for the Czechs to champion outdated rights and institutions to justify their other demands. Consequently their outlook became less realistic and more historical/traditional – in the manner of German Romantic nationalism – than the bourgeois nationalism of the West.It is therefore evident that, though they looked to the West and shared its traditions and development, geographic and political realities forced Czech nationalism into an Eastern cast. From this analysis of different kinds of East and Central European nationalism it is possible to see the difficulties involved in contrasting a specific Eastern brand of nationalism with a defined Western type. In order to come up with a so-called ‘characteristic’ form it is necessary to generalise to such a degree that the final definitions do not apply neatly to any nation building process.Every instance will differ in one way or another from the established norm.
It is far more valuable to examine each national movement individually, according to its own unique situation and to draw parallels that could potentially cut across restrictive geographic moulds. One of the essential concerns of this essay has been whether the West imposed a national format on the East or whether the growth of Eastern interest in nationalism increased the West’s economic, political and cultural influence in there.The most viable answer to this question is that nationalisms were formed on the basis of a complex interplay of the East’s aspiration to become more economically powerful and assert itself in the modern world and the West’s desire to see an ideology it had piloted take root in a region it was eager to increase its power over in the face of Russian encroachment.1 KOHN, H.
‘Western and Eastern Nationalisms’ in Nationalism ed. John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith, OUP, 1994, Page 163 2 Ibid3 HROCH, M ‘From National Movement to the Fully Formed Nation: The Nation Building Process in Europe’, in Mapping the Nation, ed. Gopal Balakrishnan, Verso, London, page 80 4 STOKES, G Three Cases of Political Change in Eastern Europe, Oxford, 1997, page 29 5 STOKES, G Three Cases of Political Change in Eastern Europe, Oxford, 1997, page 31 6 ISRAEL, F.
L, Major Peace Treaties of Modern History 1648-1967, New York, 1967, quoted in Gale Stokes, Three Cases of Political Change in Eastern Europe, Oxford, 1997, page 31 7 KOHN, H. ‘Western and Eastern Nationalisms’ in Nationalism ed.John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith, OUP, 1994, Page 164 This economic reorientation has led Gale Stokes to argue that Easter Europe was merely replacing subordination to Istanbul for subordination to European powers.
8 STOKES, G. Three Cases of Political Change in Eastern Europe, Oxford, 1997, page 33 9 KOHN, H. ‘Western and Eastern Nationalisms’, in Nationalism eds. John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith, Oxford University Press, 1994, page 164 10 SUGAR, P.
F. ‘Nationalism in Eastern Europe’, in Nationalism eds. John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith, Oxford University Press, 1994.