The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 / Edition 1

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Modern nationalism in northeastern Europe has often led to violence and then reconciliation between nations with bloody pasts. In this fascinating book, Timothy Snyder traces the emergence of Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and Belarusian nationhood over four centuries, discusses various atrocities (including the first account of the massive Ukrainian-Polish ethnic cleansings of the 1940s), and examines Poland’s recent successful negotiations with its newly independent Eastern neighbors, as it has channeled national interest toward peace.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The Reconstruction of Nations is a brilliant and fascinating analysis of the subtleties, complexities, and paradoxes of the evolution of nations in Eastern Europe. Snyder highlights the success of contemporary leaders of Poland in bringing an end to the centuries of war, conquest, and ethnic cleansing, which have plagued that part of the world. His study has major implications for all of us who want to understand the processes of state collapse and nation-building in the world.”—Samuel P. Huntington, Chairman, Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies

"[A] fresh and stimulating look at the path to nationhood."—Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs
In 1569, the new Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth encompassed virtually the whole of what is today Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and most of the Baltic states. For the Lithuanian and Polish nobles who constituted this first version of the "nation," it was a capacious notion, tolerating varied language, religious, and political loyalties. Its core character, Snyder contends, endured until the 1863 revolution, surviving even the eighteenth-century partitions that erased the commonwealth from the map. The rise of ethnic nationalism following 1863 undid the earlier openness, culminating in the mass killing of Jews in Vilnius and Jews and Poles in western Ukraine under the Nazis and after. Snyder's ultimate query in this fresh and stimulating look at the path to nationhood is how the bitter experiences along the way, including the bitterest — ethnic cleansing — are to be overcome. A wise contemporary Polish leadership has managed by accepting its borders to the east and letting go of the history that produced them, while seeking its future through integration into the West.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300105865
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 8/2/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 970,148
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy Snyder is assistant professor of history at Yale University.

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Table of Contents

Names and Sources
Introduction 1
Pt. I The Contested Lithuanian-Belarusian Fatherland
1 The Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1569-1863) 15
2 Lithuania! My Fatherland! (1863-1914) 31
3 The First World War and the Wilno Question (1914-1939) 52
4 The Second World War and the Vilnius Question (1939-1945) 73
5 Epilogue: Soviet Lithuanian Vilnius (1945-1991) 90
Pt. II The Embattled Ukrainian Borderland
6 Early Modern Ukraine (1569-1914) 105
7 Galicia and Volhynia at the Margin (1914-1939) 133
8 The Ethnic Cleansing of Western Ukraine (1939-1945) 154
9 The Ethnic Cleansing of Southeastern Poland (1945-1947) 179
10 Epilogue: Communism and Cleansed Memories (1947-1981) 202
Pt. III The Reconstructed Polish Homeland
11 Patriotic Oppositions and State Interests (1945-1989) 217
12 The Normative Nation-State (1989-1991) 232
13 European Standards and Polish Interests (1992-1993) 256
14 Envoi: Returns to Europe 277
Abbreviations 294
Archives 295
Document Collections 296
Notes 299
Acknowledgments 350
Index 355
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