2018, Publikationen

Otilia Dhand (2018): The Idea of Central Europe: Geopolitics, Culture and Regional Identity, I.B. Tauris: London, New York.

Central Europe is one of the key notions of classical geopolitics yet it has always been a somewhat elusive concept. Originally perceived as a plan for a German dominated political and economic union, it subsequently emerged to threaten leaders in the East and West in a variety of forms. Otilia Dhand provides a critical examination of the concept of Central Europe, from its early inception to the present day. Making extensive use of archival material, she shows how successive manifestations of Central Europe – of whatever vintage – have failed to bring about their intended changes on the international structure, and how customary claims about Central Europe are not supported by the original source material. The result is a work of outstanding scholarship that advances our understanding of regionalism and geopolitics in Europe.

Table of contents


Preface and acknowledgements

Introduction: The Puzzle of Central Europe
The emerging puzzle
The pivot of geopolitics
Approaching Central Europe

1 Germany: Mitteleuropa, the realm of the German nation
The narrative of German Central Europe
Shifting identities: from German to Central Europe
Nationalist dream or pragmatic customs union
Friedrich Naumann and wartime concepts
Unsuccessful agitators vs. unimpressed government
A tale of wartime Mitteleuropa
Central Europe in German imperial policy

2 Austria-Hungary: Pan-German paper dreams
The legacy of 1848
The pan-German movement
The Belvedere Circle
The pan-German revival
Central Europe, the Austrian way
Challengers: From Kramá? to Masaryk
The winding path to a dead end
Strengths and weaknesses of the Other

3 Britain and the United States: What the enemy covets
‚Seat of war‘
Shifting threat perceptions
The Foreign Office and Masaryk’s dismemberment plans
The view from across the Atlantic: the Inquiry
The stillborn mid-European Union of 1918
Construction of the Other

4 Central Europe1880-1918: Unsuccessful exercises in geopolitics
The battle for definition
Central Europe equates to a pan-German Europe
Central Europe in policy-makers‘ minds
Smart propaganda that failed

5 Variations in time and space
Interwar discourse: from Danubian Federation to Reich, 1919-1939
World War II: Return of the Middle Tier, 1939-1945
Cold War: a non-existent concept, 1945-1984
Breaking ice: The anti-politics of Central Europe, 1984-1989
A brand new game: Integration tautology, 1989-2004
Ebbs and flows of theorizing

Conclusion: Central Europe and beyond
The forging of Central Europe
Central Europe is back. Again!

Postscript: Beyond Central Europe