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Setting out for democracy and nationhood in the border triangle of Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia after the Great War (1918-1923)

Research field:Transformation
Period: 01.2018 - 06.2021
Coordination:PD Dr. habil. Steffen Kailitz
Editing:  Dr. Matthäus Wehowski, Barbara Zippelius, Josefine Matzig, Sebastian Paul, Katja Pietrusky, Nicole Vivian Wezel

CURRENT

Webseite des Projektverbundes Chiffre 1918 geht online

27/02/19

Am 21. Februar 2019 ging die Webseite des Projektverbundes „Chiffre 1918“ online. Die unter der Koordination des HAIT Projektes „Aufbruch zu Demokratie und Nationalstaatlichkeit im Dreiländereck Deutschland – Polen – Tschechoslowakei nach dem „Großen Krieg“ (1918-1923)“ entstandene Webpräsenz stellt die vier beteiligten Institute und ihre Projekte zu den gemeinsamen Themenfeldern Umbrüche und Kontinuitäten des Jahres 1918 vor.

Erforscht werden aus den geschichts-, kultur-, und politikwissenschaftlicher Perspektive die Folgen des Kriegsendes auf Sachsen und seine Nachbarn im östlichen Europa. Die Webseite informiert nicht nur über die Arbeit der Projekte, sondern zusätzlich über aktuelle Veranstaltungen der beteiligten Institute und erklärt zentrale Stichworte rund um das Umbruchsjahr 1918.

Beteiligt sind das Sorbische Institut (SB) aus Bautzen, das Institut für Sächsische Geschichte und Volkskunde (ISGV) aus Dresden, das Hannah-Arendt-Institut für Totalitarismusforschung (HAIT) aus Dresden und das Leibniz-Institut für jüdische Geschichte und Kultur – Simon Dubnow (DI) aus Leipzig.

Gefördert werden die Projekte durch das Sächsische Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst (SMWK).

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The research project examines, as part of a multi-level analysis (on the local, national and trans-national levels) how the processes of democratisation and nationalisation interwined and interacted with one another within the trans-national region comprising Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1923. Following Rogers Brubaker, we consider the three countries as ‘nationalising states’ whose political elites wanted to achieve national hegemony in language, culture and economics. This ‘top-down’ policy of nationalisation ordered on the national level and intertwined with a policy of democratisation was to suppress and override regional and social conceptions of identity. Specifically, the project examines the local levels in Upper Silesia (Weimar Republic andPoland), Cieszyn (Poland and Czechoslovakia) and the Orava region (Poland and Czechoslovakia). After 1918 these regions became the subject of border disputes and contained ethnically, religiously and socially diverse populations. Also heterogeneous were the democratic traditions in existence after the First World War, which themselves greatly differed between the Austrian and Hungarian halves of the Habsburg monarchy. To analyse processes of nationalisation and democratisation at the local level, we assess the records of the local governments as to the extent to which communications with the central authorities (such as situation reports) as well as communications directed at the local populations (such as proclamations) broached aspects of democratisation and nationalisation. We contrast the nationally and socially diverse activities of parties, the press and voluntary associations in the region against the narrative from government institutions. We examine the roles of workers, peasants, soldiers and national councils and committees during the upheaval of 1918-1919 within the tri-national region as the institutional bearers of the processes of democratisation and nationalisation. These groups temporarily performed the functions of the local authorities and prepared the development of national and democratic structures. As of 1919, the development of democratic institutions (such as the župy in Slovakia) and the local organisation of elections and plebiscites then moved to the foreground as interfaces between democratisation and nationalisation.

The project is being financed with funds from the Saxon State Ministry for Science and Art.

COOPERATIONS

Sorbische Institut (SB) aus Bautzen

Institut für Sächsische Geschichte und Volkskunde (ISGV) aus Dresden

Leibniz-Institut für jüdische Geschichte und Kultur – Simon Dubnow (DI) aus Leipzig