The idea of Central Europe. Geopolitics, culture and regional identity

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Publication Date 2018
ISBN 978-1-78453-853-8
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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.

This book provides a critical examination of the concept of Central Europe, from its early inception to the present day. Making extensive use of archival material, the author 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.


  1. Introduction: the puzzle of Central Europe
    The emerging puzzle | The pivot of geopolitics? | Approaching Central Europe
  2. Germany: Mitteleuropa, the realm of the German nation
    The narrative of German Central Europe | Shifting identities: from Germany 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
  3. Austria-Hungary: pan-German paper dreams
    The legacy of 1848: Austria goes its own way | The pan-German movement | The Belvedere Circle|  The pan-German revival | Central Europe the Austrian way | Challengers: from Kramář to Masaryk | A winding path to a dead end | Strength and weakness of the other
  4. Britain and the United States: what the enemy covets
    'Seat of war' | Shifting threat perceptions | The Foreign Office and Masaryk's dismemberment plan | The view from across the Atlantic: the Inquiry | The stillborn mid-European Union of 1918 | The construction of the other
  5. Central Europe 1880-1918: unsuccessful exercises in geopolitics
    The battle for definition | Central Europe equals pan-German Europe | Central Europe in policy-makers' minds | Smart propaganda that failed
  6. Variations in time and space
    Interwar discourse: from Danubian Federation to Reich, 1919-39 | World War II: return of the Middle Tier, 1939-45 | Cold War: a non-existent concept, 1945-84 | Breaking ice: the anti-politics of Central Europe, 1984-89 | A brand new game: integration tautology, 1989-2004 | The ebbs and flows of theorizing
  7. Conclusion: Central Europe and beyond
    The forging of Central Europe | Central Europe is back. Again!
  8. Postscript: beyond Central Europe
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