Balkans into Southeastern Europe: A Century of War and Transition
Ethnic conflict, disputed borders, forced migration and foreign intervention scarred the countries from Romania south to Greece during the decades surrounding the two world wars. The bloody break-up of the former Yugoslavia, and the region's wider struggles with a post-Communist transition, suggest continuing Balkan burdens for the peoples and states of a region which has traditionally been seen as separate from Europe. Yet the advance of Bulgaria and Romania to join Slovenia and Greece as members of the European Union, with prospects now pending for Croatia and the rest of the region, is the latest and most positive in a series of larger connections to the Continent. John R. Lampe traces the history of Southeastern Europe across the twentieth century, from the explosive mixture of Balkan states and imperial borderlands before the First World War, through the trials that their successors faced during two world wars, the Cold War, and finally the wars of Yugoslavia's dissolution. His fresh look at the full twentieth century connects these wartime decades to the postwar transitions that followed, finding their main features, for good or ill, distinctly European. Lampe argues that not only the destructive ethnic nationalism and authoritarian regimes of the 1990s, but also the more recent rise of political pluralism and liberal market reforms, have their roots in European ideologies and institutions. Readable and authoritative, this is an essential introduction to the recent history of a troubled region.