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The Nation Should Come First

Marxism and Historiography in East Central Europe

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Maciej Gorny

By the second half of the 1940s, newly conquered nations of Central and Eastern Europe were expected to adjust multiple professions, including those related to the historical sciences, to the Soviet model. However, Marxism, soon to become the only acceptable methodology, was no longer understood in the same way as in Bolshevik Russia. Its Soviet variation borrowed heavily from the tradition of Russian historiography and the Russian national tradition. The variations formulated in the satellite countries were also less likely to break away from existing traditions than to revise and re-evaluate them, along with the perspectives on Russia’s role in the history of Central and Eastern Europe.

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List of Abbreviations ............................................................................................ 7 Introduction Writing Comparative Histories of Historiography .......................................... 9 Chapter I Method ............................................................................................................... 15 Chapter II The Organisation of Historical Sciences and the Creation of Early Postwar Narrations ............................................................................ 31 Chapter III On the Lookout for Progressive Traditions ................................................... 87 At the Dawn of Feudalism .......................................................................... 88 The Anti-Feudal Social Revolution .......................................................... 105 Between the French Revolution and the Russian Tanks .......................... 133 The National Movements of the 19th Century ......................................... 148 The Impact of the Great Socialist October Revolution on the History of East Central Europe ...................................................... 178 Chapter IV The Marxist History of Historiography ........................................................ 189 Historiography and the Concept of the State – German Historical Sciences .................................................................................................... 190 Dilemmas of Polish Historiography since the Late 18th Century ............ 202 Czech Historiography in the Shadow of the National Revival ................. 216 A History Struggling for the Right to Exist – Slovak Historiography ..... 224 Poland: Criteria of Progressiveness and Pan-Slavism .............................. 234 Czechoslovakia: Defence of the Founding Fathers .................................. 240 GDR: Rather Treitschke than Ranke ........................................................ 246 Chapter V Four Historiographies in the Context of the Region ................................... 255 Bibliography ..................................................................................................... 263 Index ................................................................................................................. 297

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