From the Journal of Cold War Studies, Volume 5 Issue 3Journal of Cold War Studies Forum on Redrawing Nations: Ethnic Cleansing in East-Central Europe, 1944-1948
edited by Philipp Ther and Ana Siljak
(Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001. 343 pp. $79.00 hardcover, $34.95 softcover)
Carol Skalnik Leff
The Cold War involved sovereign states and their simulacra, many of them created, shifted, or enlarged in the closing months and immediate aftermath of the Second World War. Although these political units have been understood in terms of the high politics of ideology and diplomacy, their creation involved massive ethnic cleansing. Redrawing Nations, which collects studies of the forced migrations of Germans, Poles and Ukrainians, is thus a logical beginning to the Harvard Cold War Book Series.
The use of the term ethnic cleansing opens our eyes to national atrocities that fall short of absolute physical extermination and allows us to see such events as part of a class. Introductory chapters by Mark Kramer and Philipp Ther provide coherent reconsiderations of twentieth-century history along these lines. Although Ther is unsure of foot in discussing events before 1939, his proposal of three "waves" of twentieth-century cleansing is convincing. Kramer's chapter is one of the best introductions to the subject we have and offers an excellent bibliography (although some of the footnotes seem not quite complete). The contributors to the volume do not operate according to an agreed definition of ethnic cleansing. A general definition will no doubt emerge; this book's comparative approach invites attempts.
As the conclusion by Ana Siljak makes clear, the episodes discussed here took place within a permissive context of wartime devastation and great-power participation or complicity. This conclusion unites the entire book. The period from 1944 to 1948 is a particular historical moment, one in which the permissive conditions for ethnic cleansing had been created by war. Of course, this forces us to consider what came before 1944. As Kramer notes, Adolf Hitler's policies provided a model. The Final Solution has naturally attracted more scholarly attention than Hitler's preceding and concurrent policies of ethnic cleansing. Yet ethnic cleansing seems to have been the more pertinent template in 1944-1948. The Holocaust was special in its aspiration to murder an entire group and in its waste of wartime resources. For these reasons it was a less practical model than ethnic cleansing.
By 1943, for example, Polish and Czech politicians across the political spectrum were convinced of the desirability of the postwar expulsion of Germans. After 1945 a democratic Czechoslovak government and a Communist Polish government pursued broadly similar policies toward their German minorities. The chapters on Czechoslovakia, by Eagle Glassheim and Benjamin Frommer, are exemplary treatments of political decision making. More than any other chapter, Glassheim's provides a political explanation of an episode of ethnic cleansing. Frommer judiciously selects evidence to support his thesis that the expulsion of the Germans was logically and practically antecedent to prosecution for collaboration. Taken together, and in comparison to the chapters on the Polish expulsion of the Germans, these essays remind us of the importance of politics in the decision to engage in ethnic cleansing. It will not do, for example, to explain the similar Polish and Czechoslovak policies by similar experiences of occupation. The occupation of Poland was incomparably harsher, yet the Czechoslovak policy was (if anything) more vengeful. The chapters by Frommer and Glassheim allow us to see the ethnic cleansing of Germans from postwar Czechoslovakia in light of a certain political opportunity: the example of Hitler, the support offered by Josif Stalin, and the possibility of national support. As Glassheim has the courage to suggest, the Czechs' "embarrassment" at six years of German occupation perhaps helped create the basis of such support. Revenge is a broad and complex set of motivations and is subject to manipulation and appropriation. The personal forms of revenge taken against people identified as Germans or collaborators were justified by broad legal definitions of these groups, a connection made here and in other work by Frommer.
The Polish historian Krystyna Kersten has long drawn attention to the national politics of early Communism. Her chapter and subsequent ones by Stanislaw Jankowiak, Claudia Kraft, and Bernard Linek concentrate on the practical difficulties as well as the political value of ethnic cleansing. Also valuable in this connection are the chapters by Jerzy Kochanowski (on eastern Poles resettled to postwar Poland), Zdènek Radvanovsk_ (on Czechs who replaced Germans in northwestern Bohemia), and Manfred Wille, Arnd Bauerkämper, and Rainer Schulze (on the assimilation of German expellees). From these chapters one realizes that to see assimilation as only a matter of national identity is to accept an impoverished image of society. Nevertheless, one is struck by the overall success of national assimilation in the two Germanys and Poland. Here is another possibility for comparisons. Just as ethnic cleansing was universal, so was the national assimilation that followed, despite differences of political system, economic development, and so on.
The expulsion of the Germans placed millions of expellees in Cold War Western Europe, and the transfers could be debated within the framework of the justice of the postwar settlement. Less tractable within familiar categories was the ethnic cleansing of Poles and Ukrainians. This process began in March 1943 when a Ukrainian Insurgent Army sparked a Polish-Ukrainian civil war by murdering thousands of Volhynian Poles. Within less than eighteen months—from the Soviet army's victory at Stalingrad in February 1943 to its triumph at L'viv in July 1944—Ukrainian and Polish units cleansed each other's populations (the Ukrainian insurgents did so with greater numbers, determination, and success). This preceded and conditioned Stalin's policy of "evacuations" of Poles to Poland and Ukrainians to Soviet Ukraine in 1944-1946. The absence of a chapter on (or at least a discussion of) Volhynia is one of the few structural weaknesses of the book. The 1943 Volhynian cleansings provide a link between Hitler's and Stalin's projects, an indication that prewar nationalism is a poor predictor of wartime cleansing, and a reminder that ethnic cleansers are often not states but political actors determined to create states.
These Volhynian events are controversial, and had received little scholarly attention before this book's conference was held in 1997. Important studies by Grzegorz Motyka and Ihor Il'yushyn have since appeared, as have eight volumes of the Trudne pytannya series. The Polish-Ukrainian chapters here provide a necessary if modest supplement to this emerging European literature. Orest Subtelny's chapter on the resettlement of Ukrainians from Poland in 1944-1946 is a gloss of earlier Polish historiography. Marek Jasiak's treatment of Operation Vistula, the forced resettlement of Ukrainians from southeast to northern and western Poland in 1947, reminds us how many questions remain unanswered. He suggests that the assassination of General Karol Swierczewski—presented by the Communist regime as the reason for Operation Vistula, but seen by many historians as merely a pretext for accelerating an operation planned for fall 1947—might have been an integral part of a larger plan.
This book is an impressive achievement. It defines postwar ethnic cleansing in East-Central Europe not only as part of separate national histories but as a political and social foundation of Cold War Europe. It treats the expulsions not only as a moment of horror for millions of survivors but as a process involving political decisions and social consequences. The book is among other things an early contribution to the social history of East European Communism. It is the first book of its kind in English. One appreciates the effort involved in coordinating, translating, and editing such a multinational collaboration. For very reliable (if not quite flawless) spelling and transliteration, the editors and publishers are to be thanked, as they are for the useful figures and extensive footnotes.
Reading this collection of essays—the first volume in what promises to be a very useful series—one is struck by an interesting parallel between the Cold War writ large and the narrower subject at hand, ethnic cleansing at the end of World War II. One tenet of Cold War diplomacy was that good fences between ideological systems would lead to a kind of peace rather more preferable than close ideological combat. Good neighbors they might not have been, but they could learn to live apart.
The same era saw similar conclusions being reached about ethnic integration in Europe. Arguably, the early postwar years saw the pinnacle of Wilsonian ethnic cleansing—that is, ethnic cleansing regulated to some extent by international agreement—which sought to create peace through a semblance of cultural homogeneity. It is useful to be reminded that ethnic cleansing was not suppressed by the ideological stalemate (only to resurface in Yugoslavia and elsewhere after Communism's fall, as is often assumed), but was indeed an integral part of it.
The volume at hand is drawn from a 1997 conference in Gliwice, Poland, and includes thirteen articles on aspects of ethnic cleansing in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Germanys, plus two substantive introductions and a conclusion by the book and series editors. The authors represent the Central European and Anglo-American scholarly communities; most (though not all) offer fruits of the kind of post-Cold War archival research that has been the hallmark of the Cold War International History Project and the Harvard Project on Cold War Studies (of which the Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series is a worthy outgrowth).
A promised comprehensive bibliography on the topic (p.21) is missing, but the copious footnotes to Mark Kramer's introductory essay should more than suffice. Kramer's essay nicely complements Philipp Ther's introductory chapter; or perhaps it is the other way around, for Ther's discussion of the theoretical issues surrounding ethnic cleansing is simply masterful, and essential reading. Ther draws a distinction between structural and psychological factors making ethnic cleansing a possibility, while reminding the reader of the importance of contingency. Because it has been easy (a là the Wilsonian perspective mentioned above) to regard ethnic cleansing as inevitable, this reminder is extremely useful.
The contributors take us beyond mere numbers (which is fortunate, since one or two small errors creep in: the figure given by Ther for Hungarians expelled from Slovakia, on p.57, is slightly off; the correct breakdown is provided by Kramer on pp.15 and 38) to a broader sense of the complexities of population transfers at war's end. Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, Czechs, Hungarians, and others were moved into, within, and out of the region. The basic story all the chapters present could be generalized as follows: What the Allied powers decreed did not always happen, especially because the decisions often came well after expulsions and transfers had already begun. Second, what the Central European governments ordered often had little to do with what actually occurred on the ground. Although they aimed for a "legible" society (to use James Scott's term for the "high modernist" agenda), cleansed of cultural pluralism, the ideal proved elusive. Local officials routinely found themselves swamped by refugees and unable to provide transport, housing, food, or security. Some were unwilling to extend any protection to expellees or new arrivals; others fought to retain expellees (Germans in particular), even if this meant violating quotas and timetables handed down from above. The cold numbers—somewhere around 15 million, with 1.5 million casualties (p.2)—underestimate both the terror that expulsion meant and the good will sometimes shown in the region. The story of ethnic cleansing in East-Central Europe is a good introduction to the ambiguities of Communist rule.
It is hard to avoid the unfortunate conclusion that, more than a decade after the end of the Cold War, divisions between scholars East and West are still quite entrenched. Thus, for example, only one of the nine contributors from Central Europe cites even a single work in English; and in that lone case, the most recent English-language citation dates from 1974. Scholars from Central Europe who are familiar with the work produced in the United States and Britain are not quite as rare as that; an opportunity has thus been missed to engage in a serious scholarly dialogue, beyond the confines of a two-day conference, on the meanings of ethnic cleansing and the postwar fate of Central Europe. What is lost is not only some interaction between literatures (all four scholars based in Britain and North America cite scholarship and archives from Central Europe), but also some theoretical depth. One wishes, for example, that more of the contributors had addressed the uncertain nature of ethnic identity in the mid-1940s. That the Czech-ness of Sudeten Germans and the German-ness of Eastern expellees were matters for debate is shown in the relevant essays; the reader will not discover the same uncertainty about the Polish-ness of Warmians, Silesians, or Belorussians, though such a debate is crucial to understanding Polish identity since 1945.
Redrawing Nations offers a useful overview of a difficult part of the Cold War puzzle, thanks to two excellent introductions and several highly instructive essays. Although the quality of the contributions varies, all of them are of value; this cannot always be said of edited volumes. If the book fails to complete its mission, it will certainly help to spur further research and, one hopes, further scholarly interaction.
Padraic Kenney is an assistant professor of history at the University of Colorado, Boulder
This handsome volume is an important reminder that ethnic cleansing did not begin in the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia. Although the term was not common earlier, Eastern and Central Europe had previously experienced genocide, often in the name of ethnic purity. Yet, as Mark Kramer points out in his comprehensive introduction, the study of ethnic cleansing, primarily meaning forced migration, has become an important area of research only in recent years.
The focus of this book is on the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Poland and Czechoslovakia after World War II. The circumstances are well-known; the details, until now, have rarely surfaced. The basic circumstance was the support of probably most German-speaking Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks for Nazi Germany's war effort, and the subsequent retaliation against [End Page 107] all ethnic Germans by postwar governments. The Germans were forced to repatriate to Germany (a country some of them had never even visited and certainly did not know well or consider home), but in a moment of understandable fury and revenge this was a relatively small detail that could be, and was, overlooked.
On a much smaller scale, this is what happened to ethnic Hungarians as well. Mentioned but not discussed in this volume is that many ethnic Hungarians, notably in Slovakia, were returned to Hungary. This policy was odd in light of the Slovak government's enthusiastic support for Nazi Germany, very possibly more enthusiastic than the support for Adolf Hitler extended by Hungary until the spring of 1944. It would have been interesting to deal with this particular case because it points to a curious political circumstance that obtained after World War II. Somehow, Czechoslovakia—including Slovakia, which was ruled as a Nazi puppet regime during the war—ended up as an "ally" and a "winner," whereas Hungary, a loyal ally of Germany that had nevertheless attempted in some small ways to distance itself from the Germans, was not treated much better than Germany itself.
Of course, Czechoslovakia was a victim of Nazi Germany, and therefore it was entitled to decent treatment by the Allies, but its postwar success in making the expulsion of its German-speaking citizens acceptable and legitimate owed much to the efforts of Edvard Benes. A politician of seemingly unlimited energy, a man given to intrigues, who became Czechoslovakia's president after World War II, Benes had worked tirelessly during the war to convince not only the Anglo-Saxons but the Soviet Union as well that the transfer of minority populations was fully justified. His efforts greatly contributed to the Allied decision around 1944 to accept that all ethnic Germans should be removed en masse from Central and Eastern Europe. Yet Benes, guided by his hatred toward ethnic Germans and Hungarians, might have devoted too much energy to dealing with the past rather than the future. The past suggested an interest in expelling ethnic Germans from the Czech lands and ethnic Hungarians from Slovakia, but the critical issue at hand with respect to the future was the urgent need to resist Josif Stalin's plans for Central and Eastern Europe. Eagle Glassheim rightly notes: "As Soviet armies pushed their way west, Benes prepared to enter his liberated country with Allied support for a policy of large-scale expulsion of Sudeten Germans" (p.201). Because his (past-oriented) priorities were misplaced, Benes's government was in no position to resist the Soviet Union, and his country is still paying a price for the policies of collective guilt incorporated into the Benes decrees of 1945.
The volume offers ample documentation on what happened to the ethnic Germans of Poland and Czechoslovakia. Scholars will greatly benefit from the extensive research presented here about how the expulsion of Germans was carried out in the Polish provinces of Pomerania and Olsztyn. Relying on solid archival research, as do all contributors to this volume, two authors, Stanislaw Jankowiak and Claudia Kraft, describe in great detail the bureaucratic problems encountered in organizing ethnic cleansing in these provinces. Particularly important were jurisdictional disputes among a variety of Polish government agencies, as well as between Polish and Soviet authorities. In this climate of bureaucratic infighting there was little possibility for consideration of individual cases.
For this reader the volume treats too briefly the role of the Soviet Union in encouraging Prague's and Warsaw's pursuit of ethnic cleansing. It would have been useful as well to call more attention to the misery of the expellees. Description of their life should not be left to them and their supporters. Such topics might of course go beyond the scope of this fine book. The material presented here stands up as an informative, well-edited, and in many ways pioneering treatment of what was, in the final analysis, an ugly era of understandable revenge.
Charles Gati is a senior adjunct professor of European Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.
As befits the inauguration of the Harvard Cold War Studies book series, this volume is an object lesson in the value of access to newly declassified archival resources in the former Soviet bloc. The scope of the study of postwar deportations and expulsions in Poland and the Czech lands is quite comprehensive, encompassing the forced relocation of two million Poles from the Soviet Union, millions of Germans from western Poland, 700,000 Ukrainians from southeastern Poland (and the reciprocal expulsions of Ukrainians from Poland to Soviet Ukraine), and the forced resettlement of Hungarians from Slovakia, as well as the expulsion of some three million Germans from the Czech lands. A third section deals with the resettlement of Germans in East and West Germany. These massive population transfers—involving in some regions "the most far-reaching demographic changes since medieval times" (p.16)—are truly one of the sensitive blank spots in the region's history. Serious scholarship has long been frustrated by the sensitivity of the issue and the previous inaccessibility of records.
The provocative subtitle, "Ethnic Cleansing," is a reflection of one of the volume's central arguments: that the estimated death toll of 1.5 million or more, coupled with the forfeiture of property, malnutrition, and stunted life chances, was not an unfortunate misstep. Instead, it was the inevitable concomitant of the massive deportations and expulsions, including those carried out in the postwar period "with the full approbation of the international community" (p.4). For scholars contemplating partition and population exchange as a solution to protracted ethnic conflict, these postwar cases demonstrate "how extraordinarily hard—not how easy" (p.22) forced separation really is. Examinations of individual localities across the region repeatedly show that, even after the brutal "wild expulsions" in the final months of the war and immediately afterward were halted, formal directives to humanize the transfers—mandating adequate notice, protection from theft and abuse, provision of basic medical and support services, and the like—were seldom enforced or enforceable. The general hardships of postwar shortages, severe weather, disruption, and inadequate transportation faced by the general population redounded even more decisively to the detriment of the targeted minorities. Thus a core message is the innately coercive character of supposedly "voluntary evacuations."
The volume is framed by Philipp Ther's introductory historical review of the precedents set earlier in the twentieth century and in World War II itself, a review that places ethnic cleansing within the context of the rise of the modern state and modern nationalism that created the preconditions for efforts to achieve an ethnically homogeneous state. The subsequent case studies vary in the balance between analysis and empirical findings; the result, however, is an illuminating mix of broader surveys and textured discussions of the workings of the expulsion mechanisms in localities and regions. The studies are replete with extensive and frequently vivid quotations from the written reports of political officials and soldiers that document conditions at assembly and control points, disagreements between central and local officials, and variations in local sentiments (hostility and ambivalence), all in the context of different regional strategic settings.
As a group however, these studies do more than document the fate of the transferred populations. They also shed light on the entrenchment of the new Communist regimes—the precedent of state coercion, the incentives Communists could offer by doling out the confiscated property of the expellees, and the greater malleability of newly transferred populations whose social networks and property rights had been fractured by the relocation. All these conditions provided fertile ground for industrialization and collectivization campaigns. Also highlighted are the tensions between sometimes contradictory goals. Some of the Germans who eventually became forced migrants were briefly spared from expulsion so that they could be used as scarce labor in agriculture, industry, and infrastructure reconstruction. Also in tension, as Benjamin Frommer most clearly shows in the Czechoslovak case, was the contradiction between the impulse to expel and the decision to retain Germans for the exaction of local and national retribution under the so-called "Great" and "Small" decrees.
A final theme, one that might have merited even more systematic attention and that certainly should give pause to policymakers, is the extent to which identity in this critical situation could not be taken for granted. Scholars have begun to explore this issue in the context of the Nazi occupation regimes' attempts to assign fixed ethnic identities. This volume documents some of the regional ambiguities of identity—for example, with regard to the attainment of citizenship in the Third Reich as a marker of identity in the Czech lands. Ambiguity of a more complex fashion was evident in the Polish provinces of Olsztyn and Upper Silesia, where re-Polonization not only referred to the expulsion of Germans but also encompassed identity reinforcement and the suppression of any residual use of German language and names. One could also say in the case of the Ukrainians that they experienced identity definition by the act of forced migration.
The collection integrates existing studies with new archival material in generous footnotes. This is just one of the reasons that the volume is a necessary starting point for subsequent researchers. In studies such as this that deal with population movements, some more detailed regional maps would have been welcome in addition to the general one provided before the introduction. The scope of coverage necessarily precludes comprehensiveness on all issues. Although this volume is not definitive, it is better than that in some respects: It is a challenge and an incentive to further exploration of the agenda, and standard, it sets.
Carol Skalnik Leff is an associate professor of political science at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Every society has some dark periods in its history, some tragic events that go largely unmentioned for many years afterward. But unless the society eventually comes to terms with these sore points, they lurk in the shadows, haunting future generations. A few countries have designed reconciliatory mechanisms for dealing with traumatic episodes in their past, as South Africa did with its Truth and Reconciliation Committee, but more often they attempt to gloss over those episodes and to delete them from textbooks and popular memory. Not until the past has been candidly addressed and a national "soul- searching" has taken place is it likely that scholars will be able to explore earlier misdeeds with the thoroughness they deserve.
One such traumatic historical event in the history of Central and Eastern Europe is surely the ethnic cleansing that followed the Second World War. The massive transfers of populations happened with the blessing of the Western allied powers and with vigorous Soviet backing. With remarkable speed, Poland and Czechoslovakia transferred over ten million ethnic Germans from the "formerly German territories" in Poland and from the Sudetenland in Bohemia to the German occupation zones, and the Czechoslovak government shipped more than eighty thousand Hungarians from southern Slovakia into Hungary in exchange for tens of thousands of Slovaks who supposedly were "returning" to replace the ousted Hungarians. The small number of Germans and somewhat larger number of Hungarians who were left in Czechoslovakia were denied their citizenship rights for three years, a period that was dubbed by the survivors as the "homeless years." In Central and Eastern Europe the topic of forced migration was taboo in academic research throughout the Communist period. Only a handful of relevant publications appeared in theregion, and these were mostly written without access to archival materials locked away in East-bloc archives.
After the downfall of East European Communism in 1989 one might have expected that the population transfers would be a widely discussed topic in the region, but that has not been the case. Most people were reluctant even to bring up the subject, and new scholarship on the forced migration was produced mostly by researchers from abroad. Within the region the population transfers were still an open wound, too sensitive to touch. Besides, there was the more immediate past that needed to be dealt with. The publications that appeared in the region were mostly case studies or partial summaries of events that took place in a particular country, patched together from declassified archival materials and from oral accounts that helped illuminate the effects of the forced migration on local communities. What was lacking, though, was a comprehensive comparative study that would put the population transfers into a historical and political perspective.
Such a study has now finally appeared with the book Redrawing Nations: Ethnic Cleansing in East-Central Europe, 1944-1948, published as the first volume in the Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series. It is a valuable compilation of essays on the forceful policies of ethnic homogenization in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and western Ukraine. The authors draw extensively on documents that have emerged from the former East-bloc archives as well as from Western archives. The book begins with a superb introduction by Mark Kramer explaining the international situation that led to the transfers, the logistics of forced migration, and the uneasy legacy of these events for current international relations. Kramer also provides a valuable summary of the book's scope and achievements, including the special attention given to the way the Soviet Union and indigenous Communist parties in the region used the ethnic cleansing to consolidate Communist rule. In the next chapter Philipp Ther discusses the theory behind the ethnic cleansing and offers athorough historical background of the circumstances that were conducive tosuch harsh treatment of minorities. Subsequent chapters cover the forcedtransfers of Germans from Poland and Czechoslovakia and the policiesadopted to assimilate those who remained: de-Germanization; re- Polonization of Upper Silesia; and resettlement of domestic populations in the territories vacated by the Germans, a phenomenon highlighted with particular vividness in the case study of northwestern Bohemia. The forcible "exchange" of populations between Poland and Ukraine in 1944-1947 is covered in great detail as well, illustrating the way ethnic cleansing backfired in some instances and produced greater ethnic tension. The overall picture is completed by essays examining the personal and social difficulties facing the expellees in their integration into German society. Although studies of this last topic were produced in West Germany during the Cold War, it has received very little attention outside Germany.
There are a few things that Redrawing Nations does not include. Most striking, although the "voluntary exchange" of populations between Czechoslovakia and Hungary that uprooted more than 150,000 Slovaks and Hungarians against their will is mentioned by both Kramer and Ther, it is not treated in separate chapters. The exchange was followed by two waves of further resettlement of Hungarians from Slovakia to the Czech lands, a policy that was justified by the Communist regime as "voluntary aid for agriculture." Other removals of populations took place, albeit on a smaller scale—for example the forced "co-optation" of some 20,000 of the Ukrainians living in Slovakia to move to Soviet Ukraine surely deserves a spot in the tragic history of the region. These cases are egregiously underresearched. Only a few publications on the forced transfers of Hungarians from Slovakia, making use of archival research, have appeared since the fall of Communism. (They are cited by Kramer in his introduction.) Until those studies came out, only one lengthy account, published in 1978 by an ethnic Hungarian writer, Kalman Janics, was available. It was put out in a Slovak translation in the mid-1990s, but with a print run of only five hundred. Some oral histories of the surviving Slovak and Hungarian expellees who returned to their previous homes a few years after the transfers have been collected, but not in a systematic way. Even less is available on the other cases of forced population movements in Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. This gap in Redrawing Nations is therefore understandable, and one can only hope that further research will fill in the gaps in our understanding of these largely unknown events. Despite this omission, Redrawing Nations is an essential publication for any scholar interested in the events of the mid- to late 1940s, including the settlements reached by the great powers and the advent of Communism in Central Europe. The book is a thorough survey of the problematique of ethnic cleansing, and it offers a multitude of case studies on the politics of specific regions. Thus it is of great value to scholars from various disciplines, including historians, political scientists, and anthropologists.
The book is especially valuable because it includes contributions by Central and East European authors as well as leading Western experts. Unfortunately, only rarely do we find authors from Central and Eastern Europe joining with Western scholars to produce large comparative studies. The research that is being done by individual scholars in Central Europe is often kept from wider circulation by too narrow a focus, by linguistic barriers, or by a lack ofcooperation with other Central European researchers writing about essentially the same topics in their own countries. Luckily it seems that an up- and-coming generation of researchers in Central and Eastern Europe will beable to fill in this gap by taking part in such crucial projects as Redrawing Nations.
Dagmar Kusa is a doctoral candidate in political science at Boston University and an associate of the Institute of Ethnic Studies of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.