Modules for History Lessons
Edited By Uta Fenske, Daniel Groth, Klaus-Michael Guse and Bärbel P. Kuhn
Inner-European Colonialism: An Introduction
Usually the history of colonialism focuses on overseas relations among European empires as well as their attitudes towards the spatially remote territories with allegedly racially distinct populations. Only for the last several years has historical research (in particular “New Imperial History”) started to treat the history of (not only European) empires and of colonialism in a more inclusive manner, thus underlining the entanglements and similarities of imperial and colonial domination outside and within Europe.1 In an inner-European context such a perspective seems to be particularly appropriate for the areas of Central and Eastern Europe since for centuries they were ruled by vast continental empires, namely the Habsburg, Ottoman, Russian and Prussian empires and also, from 1871 onwards, the German Empire which can be regarded as an empire only to a limited extent. However, it ruled large regions with non-German-speaking majorities after the partitions of Poland. Although imperial domination ended with the breakdown of all of these empires during or after World War I, imperial legacies loomed large in European history; occasionally, older traditions of imperial domination acquired new forms, as was the case with the short-lived but extremely radical expansion of the “Third Reich” during World War II or with Soviet hegemony over Central and Eastern Europe until 1989/1991.2 In recent years, historiography has been discussing whether these imperial laminations which involved hierarchies of domination, i.e. processes of political and cultural oppression and economic exploitation, could also be investigated as phenomena of colonialism. Although researchers are very careful...
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