Debate 3 The most important historic events

What three  great,  historic events could could indicate as the most symbolic charakterstic od Central European Past? (they shouldn’t be only polish events)


22 replies

  1. I consider the fall of communism in Poland as one of the most important historical events. I am glad that my birth proceeded already after this event but sometimes I slightly regret that the stories of my parents, grandparents and books or movies are the only records of that time.

    It must be mentioned because people often forget about it that Polish transformation was not a bloody revolution but rather change that political leaders carried out very smoothly. Polish Round Table Talks resulted in elections that brought victory to Solidarność (founded as a trade union in the 70’s). Out of seats that were possible for them to win Solidarność got 99% of those in the Senate and 100% of those in the Sejm. These elections, commonly known as the 1st free ones (what is not fully true and requires more complex explanation) were held on 4th June 1989. It must be emphasized that Poland was the 1st country to defeat the Soviet regime.

    Another historical event that I would like to stress is martial law introduced in People’s Republic of Poland in 1981. Contrary to the fall of communism it was not a positive moment in our history. It may be considered as a move against Polish citizens in order to remove the possibility of any strikes or riots against communists. To avoid such an unpleasant scenario General of the Army Wojciech Jaruzelski drastically restricted normal life.

  2. There are many historic events that could indicate as symbolic characteristic of Central European Past. There were many positive event. Unfortunately I am conscious that all the tragedies, uprisings, wars also had big influence on the actions of politicians in history of Central Europe. It is almost impossible to choose three particular ones, but taking into consideration these events which made an enormous effect on that region and which, according to my opinion, are the most essential, I would like to point three events from the XX century.

    First of all, one of the most important event is the Yalta Conference which took place in 4-11 February in 1945. It was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and General Secretary Joseph Stalin, respectively, for the purpose of discussing Europe’s post-war reorganization. The future empires presented their opinions of the world and Central Europe. All in all, they considered it as the two great areas of influence, on the line between the ‘western’ and ‘eastern’ world, which shaped it’s later history.

    Secondly, another very essential event is the Versailles treaty which was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. Although the negotiations were not easy and Germans claimed that the whole decisions toward them were unworkable and harming. In spite of the initial perception that Germany would be subjected to territorial lose and heavy reparations, that was not the end result. By 1921 the total cost of reparations amounted to 132 billion marks, despite strong French opposition, which wanted reparations to amount to 200 billion marks. As France wanted to make sure Germany would never again be a threat and at the same time aimed to regain hegemony over Europe. Consequently, Versailles strengthen German sense of defeat and frustration. It was used by Hitler and, in consequence, led to the Second World War, which had a an enormous impact on history of central European countries – economically, socially and what is the most important politically because most of them became part of soviet block in the future.

    Last but not least, I would like to present an event which happened in Poland and also had a great influence on the creation of Central Europe. We all know about the agreement of the Polish Round Table Talks. This happening took place in Warsaw, Poland from February 6, to April 4, 1989. The government initiated the discussion with the banned trade union ,,Solidarność” and other opposition groups in an attempt to defuse growing social unrest. In that time Poland proved all the world the power of democracy. Eventually, the Round Table Talks gave the following results: legalization of independent trade unions, the introduction of the Office of President (the chief executive), the formation of a Senate, all these decisions had importance to the political and economic development in Poland.

    To conclude, the reason why I have presented those events is simple: only the last century shows how much struggle and problems Central Europe faced to be independent and to have more freedom. The events chosen by me were very meaningful not only for Central Europe, but they also had a big impact on the whole world and the people’s lives.

  3. It’s really difficult to choose 3 most important historical events. Mostly, because for the fact that every human stresses something else. The same situation, or in this case – event can be judged differently. The history of Central Europe is relatively young. Our region has a thousend year legacy. Before christianisation period we had a tribe-based society. There were no states, such as Persians or Parthians had – with one king/ruler, basic bureaucracy and one army. The communication between different groups was very poor. There were no good, big routes at this time. That’s why i choosed a christianisation as general factor to be my first most important historical event.

    1. Christianisation of Central Europe – Xth and Xth century.

    Accepting the new religion pushed Central Europe closer to the good organised, west states. With it came bureaucracy, which was based on the new elite – excellent educated Church officials. For a king ruling the state became less demanding – from now on he could depend on a new formed class, which was not only educated but what is more important – loyal. The unification process started. Europe became more friendly and opened (but still – dangerous for courageus travelers) for it’s citizens. Latin culture expanded. Thanks to the newly absorbed cult it was clear that the new era is emarging. Latin language became international – everyone could travel and communicate using it. We can say that in this time we had the first cultural renaissance on those lands. The dark side of the process was eliminating the former, paganic culture. There is no lie in saying that it was a complete anihilation – old beliefs, gods and temples were burned to the ground. The cons of this behaviour is visible nowadays. We know very little about our paganic ancestors, their beliefs and culture. The brutal fight for the hearts of the masses eliminated in some way the soul f the nations. All unified in one system of feudal state and one religion.

    2. Truce of Andrusovo – 1667 A.D.

    This truce was the first step to the partition of Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania. During the catastrophic total war from the fifties of XVIIth century. This was the firs time when great majority of our neighbours rose a sword against Commonwealth. When the war ended, country was devastated, left in miserable condition. Many people have died and a lot of cities and villages had been turned into ruins. The Poles considered this agreement as temporary – it had to last 13,5 years. It was enough time (polish elites thought) to rebouild the state and take back lost lands. Unfortunately, fate wasn’t so kind for this intention. As the timed showed this truce changed from temporary to permanent and was the first step to partition of the state. Mostly because of an entry, in which Russia was named „the protector of Orthodox in Commonwealth”. Of course, there was another notation in turn Commonwealth was also named the protector of Catholic people in Russia. The fact is that the numbers of those two societies weren’t equal. In Poland there were many Orthodox, the number incomparable with Catholics in our eastern neighbour. Second, crucial in my opinion fact was that the Kiev and a Sich has been occupied (and therefore – never returned to the Crown, in fact Russia was obliged to do this). Commonwealth lost very well-trained and loyal soldiers that casted fear to the enemy hearts because of their brutality and fighting skills. Some time later, after Russia crushed the Kozak’s rebellion – many of those who bended, fought against the Crown.

    3. The end of communism – 1989 – 1991.

    In this time period world has faced rapid and major geopolitical change, mostly in Central and Eastern Europe. The communist system had fallen and states in this region regained full independence. For many observers from the West it was quite a shock that Soviets had been defeated without a single drop of blood.” The victory of peace and human rights” – western press’ leads were shouting. The changes started in Poland, where the Solidarity – the social movement forced the Party to negotiate the terms of partly-free elections. When it took place – 4th June 1989 noone believed that they will change anything. The history showed different ending. Another countries, led by example started to push their officials. In the end, to 1991 almost every country in Central Europe declared independence from the Soviet influence. It was also the first step toward Europe, which was already formed into some kind of a union. In 2004 the process of unification of the region was granted by an access to EU system.

  4. In 2004 Poland, Czech, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and other countries became a members of the European Union. This act of integration with the rest of the continent helped in politics, economics, trans-cultural diffusion. The view of mentioned countries has changed in many ways and in my opinion if they had not joined EU, they would not have had such a lot of opportunities.

    Another, very popular in our discussion, is the event from Polish neighbours, Germany – the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989. It is connected with democritisation. Thanks to it Central Europe was able to have political transformations. This important historic event helped not only German people.

    I consider John Paul II as a person, who made a huge progress in promoting such Central countries like Poland. In 1978 Karol Wojtyła started giving citizens of the post-communist countries a hope for a better life. Without his strength and faith it would not be possible to succeed. This great pontificate for sure is a symbol of the fact that Central Europe took part in process of building a new world after Second World War.

  5. In order to answer this challenge, I have to go back to my proposed “definition” of Central Europe. I have said there that Central Europe is about people and their mentality, (political) culture, Weltanschauung. About values and habits. It is trans-national, trans-etatic since it appeared before the (present day) states in the region. It was created in a multi-national political structure.
    In this respect, I would say that the first shaking event was the Spring of Nations, in 1848. I will go back to a remark I made in my reply to debate1, namely the comparison to the Swiss cantons. In 1848, their inhabitants have had enough political intuition to reject the nationalistic bells and to fight for a formula to hold them together. Central Europeans, on the opposite, were already living in such a structure, they had it and neglected it. The mermaid’s temptations have been stronger than their political rationality and allowed borders to grow within the traditional communities, allowed politicians to cut these communities, to cut traditions and common values, allowed narratives, imagined agendas to replace reality. In 1848, people who managed to consolidate a strong multinational power decided they did not want it any more, preferring weak, small states, seeking to ethnical purity and differentiating paths to modernity. A multicultural community was destroyed for the sake of new ideologies that proved to be much more useful to the enemies of that community as a whole, seeking to abuse, to separate, to push this community out of the main European scene.
    A second tragic event was the World War I, especially in its end, with the Versailles Treaty. As for the region I am living in, the worst part was the Trianon Agreement, turning into de iure separation what was de facto started with the 1848 revolts. It was not only the decimation of Hungarian territory, but the end of the (at least) possibility to have all these small ethnic groups in a single political unit, be it a state, (con) federation or any other. In terms of Central Europe, it was the end of it as an embodied culture, leaving only the spiritual room as possible opened. I underline, possible, since in the interwar period, nobody was really willing to listen the voice of rationality and go for it. All the projects drawn by some politicians or their advisers had been neglected. The very start of the WW II is he proof that Treaties in Versailles had been a huge mistake, an unfeasible, engineered solution for a much too complex reality. I don t want to point who won at the end of such a game, but for sure, Central Europe lost. As for my region, Banat, it was moved in Eastern Europe, belonging now to Romania, but having to face a very different institutional culture and even, a postwar history different from Central Europe. What do I mean?
    It is about the third event I would like to underline here, namely the 1956 turning point. In Poland, it brought a soft liner back in power. In Hungary, with a huge human price of casualties, of refugees not to mention the unforgettable shock and fear from the Soviet tanks running on the streets, soft liners not only came into power but got constrained in their actions by the common memory. In this time, Romania proved worthy of being freed from Soviet troops, after a radical cleansing/ punishing of opposition, especially in the Western regions, mine included. This opened the way for a strong autarchic nationalism to replace the incipient civil society. In short, while in Poland and Hungary – later in Czechoslovakia – the coming into power of the soft liners was the very first chance of civil society to become a growing voice in the political arena, in Romania it was dramatically cut down.
    Central Europe, while ceasing to be a multinational entity, proved able to be a civic consciousness, a community with a sense of dignity and respect for human rights. In Romania, the hard liner nationalists, made all these, impossible (apart of some isolated and dramatical individual efforts). After 1956, Central Europe rediscovered its essence in what was later on, coined by Vaclav Havel as The Power of the Powerless. This is, in fact, its most proper definition!

  6. Summing up the discussion, it should be noticed that there is a big division among the participants of the course. Nevertheless, taking into consideration the democratic majority rule, according to the students, the most important events in the Central Europe’s history are the followings: the Autumn of Nations, the Treaty of Versailles, the Yalta Conference.
    It is very interesting that the most frequently indicated answer was the Autumn of Nations which, in fact, was not an event but the whole process. It is also very interesting that some students chose the events which happened in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, for example the Third Partition of Poland.
    At the beginning of our course it was said that the term “Central Europe” became popular in the second half of the twentieth century. Because of that, it seems to me that speaking about something which happened in the eighteenth and nineteenth century is in this case a little bit inadequate. I think that answering the question above we ought to consider the events which have taken place in the region of the Central Europe since last decades of the previous century.
    That’s why I would indicate: the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the NATO enlargement in 1999 and the EU enlargement in 2004. All of these events enabled the Central European countries (or some of them) to become independent and sovereign.

  7. In my opinion it is almost not possible to choose three particular events that made the greatest impact on Central European history. It is because, in my judgement , one event leads to another and so on.. History is a chain of incidents in which nothing happens without a reason. That is why it is awfully hard to choose that most significant ones.
    Without a doubt one of the most meaningfuls events in Central European history was an attack on Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28th of June in 1914. He and his wife were killed in Sarajevo by a terrorist- Gavrilo Princip. This event led to World War I. From there everything started- World War I, then Versailles treaty that ended it, which led to World War II.
    World War II was another very significant event in Cental Europe. It destroyed many countries and a huge amount of people was killed. But what is important it caused a beginning of the Soviet domination over Central Europe. Most of eastern and central European countries were in the Soviet sphere which led to Communist regimes. Countries as Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Albania and East Germany became Soviet Satellites.
    As a crucial incident I consider Revolutions of 1989 also known as Autumn of Nations. That is when the Communism collapsed. All of the communist states took a part in revolution. Events started in Poland and continued in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and East Germany. One of the results was fall of the Berlin Wall, which led to German Reunion in 1990. Another outcome was dissolution of Soviet Union.
    These events seems to me as maybe not the most meaningful but certainly the biggest ones that had the grates impact not only on Central Europe, but the whole world.

  8. It may present a great problem to choose just 3 ’the most’ important historic events. My fellow students have already listed many of them; those are all important events and the present Central Europe would probably be very different if even one of them had not happened. I strongly believe that those most important events should be tightly connected with the definition of ‘Central Europe’ per se. I’d like to support my choice with Ben Koschalka’s statement: “The concept of Central Europe is based on similarities emanating from historical, social and cultural characteristics”. While analyzing common identity of the citizens of Central Europe, I’ve decided to focus on the tumultuous 20th century.
    Therefore, the first event I’d like to mention is the Yalta Conference, where future empires presented their view of the world and Central Europe had found itself between two great areas of influence; on the line between the ‘western’ and ‘eastern’ world, which shaped it’s later history.
    The second most important event, is the construction of the Berlin Wall; a barrier built by the German Democratic Republic starting in the dead of night on 13 August 1961. In a meticulously planned operation, lasting just 24 hours, the streets of Berlin were torn up, barricades of paving stones were erected, completely cutting off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and East Berlin. The barrier (later changed into a wall made of reinforced concrete, 3.6 m high and topped with a smooth pipe) included guard towers with soldiers instructed to shoot on sight. For the whole population of Central Europe it was a sign of the enslavement of the people by the Soviet empire; the end of free thought and the enforcement of one, ‘the only right’ ideology. The citizens of all Central European countries under the influence of the Soviet Union, were united by a dream of a new ‘better’ western world, behind the ‘wall‘.
    The third most important event would be the fall of the Berlin Wall, on 9 November 1989; when, after many protests, everybody was allowed to exit through crossing points between East Germany and West Germany. All around Central Europe people have seen on TV, Berliners destroying the concrete walls with hammers and chisels. It was the symbol of the new beginning, breaking free from the influence of the USSR. The new era of democracy and freedom in Central Europe.
    During the period after the end of the World War II and the destruction of the Berlin Wall, all Central Europeans suffered the same political oppression, indoctrination and economic hardships, which formed their current sense of common identity.

  9. One could think that we, young people born in the end of the 80’s and the beginning of the 90’s are at least a bit more prepared the see the history of Europe in general. We are using the Internet a lot, we are meeting people from other states on almost regular basis; also the education underwent some changes, making it easier to see and understand regional historical processes. Still, some of my collegues seem to be much too absorbed with the history of Poland. For example, I don’t think that Third Partition of Poland was an event of such importance for the history of Europe; the Commonwealth did not play any important role since Great Northern War. We wouldn’t call the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire one of the most important events in the history, so why attach such importance to the dissappearance of our own state? I also cannot agree with my other collegue, who is underlining the creation of the Austria-Hungary. The old Habsburg Empire underwent some reforms (one of many in its history), but was that really that important? We, Poles, got our autonomy in Galicia, but would Czechs, Slovaks or Romanians agree on the importance of that event?

    For me the choice is quite simple: those two events, most important and symbolic are Yalta Conference and The Autumn of Nations. Why? Because they represent two types of changes in our region. First one is the Big Three meeting in Yalta (February 1945), when the post-war division of Europe into Soviet and American zones of influence had been agreed on. Even though such nations as Czechs and Poles were active fighting on the Allied side, they were not consulted – from their point of view, they were betrayed. Of course, one can discuss, whether to choose Yalta, or maybe the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact – it doesn’t change the symbolic meaning so much. But then comes 1989 – the Autumn of Nations. Started in Poland with the June Elections, it swept out communism from Central and Eastern Europe. Not because of Western intervention or Soviet decision, but because of German, Czech or Polish societes own actions. From being an pawn on the Great Powers chessboard to an sovereign player – those two events show the history and modernity of our states and region.

  10. European history has been rich and full of intricacies. That is why it is so hard to choose only three out of millions historic and the most symbolic for Europe. Both, smaller and bigger events have created our history and had influence on relations between European country.
    The first event I find significant is the Treaty of Versailles that was signed 28. June 1919. It was a peace treaty that ended the I World War. Although the negotiations were not easy and every country had its own aims there came new order. Germany did not have great power over Central Europe. Boarders and political situation has changed.
    Next important event is the Autumn of Nations – revolutions of 1989. In many European countries: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and East Germany. We should be proud that all that changes have beginnings in Poland. It was civil resistance to communism. Thanks to that changes many political reforms and market economy were introduced.
    Maybe not historic, but more current event that is significant for Europeans is establishing of European Union. It made travelling, finding job or studing abroad easier.

  11. What three great, historic events could indicate as the most symbolic characteristic od Central European Past? (they shouldn’t be only polish events)
    Throughout, Central European history, there were numerous events, that had significant effect on the region. Some had more obvious imitate effect, whilst others primarily viewed as trivial sparked future waves of revolutions. Obviously fishing out for these moments is no easy task, considering that historical occurrences aren’t stable, constant or free from life’s humour. Unlike science, where 1 + 1 will always equal 2, historical event are open to subjective influence of those who write it and those who learn it. More to the point, events in life, thus our history should not be regarded as single events, but rather as a sequence of happenings, which stemmed from past occasions and consequently lead, to countless, other proceedings, all unquestionably connected. However, few will dispute that some moments in our history had a move broader influence than others. As a result, I my view the three most important historical events that had most symbolic characteristic for Central European past are the post-Napoleonic wars era, Versailles treaty and Yalta conference.
    The first great historical event that holds huge symbolic meaning for central European history is the post-Napoleonic era. As a direct consequence of the French revolution, romantic nationalism swept thought out the continent. Nationalistic ideals contributed to revolts in Poland, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria as well as led to the unification of Germany and Italy. The revolution pawed the way for the modern nation-state. The traditional way of monarchical rule was questioned, as intellectuals across Europe began to spread the word of enlightenment and self-determination. Liberal slogans of “liberty, equality and brotherhood” began to transform the mentality of societies. 1815 brought about the end of Napoleonic wars, but in response began the struggles of central European ethnic groups towards liberation. Small groups of intellectuals and political radicals would not be silenced, strong resistance developed in Ireland, Italy, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Norway and many other regions on the continent. Nationalism came to be seen as the most effective way to create the symbols of resistance and to unite in a common cause. The first national revolution was in Serbian (1804–1817) it created the first nation-state in Central Europe, whilst in 1831 Belgium obtained independence from the Netherlands. Over the next two decades, slogans of national freedom, rippled throughout the continent, spread by nationalistic writers calling for liberation of in slaved people. By 1848, revolutions broke out across Europe, sparked by a severe famine and economic crisis and mounting popular demand for political change. In Hungary, Lajos Kossuth led a national revolt against Austrian rule; in Transylvania, Avram Iancu led the Romanian revolt against the Hungarian rule. However, despite the enthusiasm none of the nationalist revolts in 1848 were successful. Nevertheless, that era began the process of transformation, as it was the first step towards the collective historical mind that bonds central Europe today.
    The second, great historical event binding central Europe was the Versailles treaty signed on 28 of June 1919, ending World War I. The word binding might not be so appropriate here, if nothing else the treaty in fact brought to the surface deep divisions haunting central Europe. In many ways it was a total fiasco, instead of uniting against petty ambitions of England, France and Russia. They concentrated on acquiring, as much as possible by bonding with the bigger and more influential states. Moreover, despite the initial perception that Germany and its allies (Austria and Hungary) would be subjected to territorial lose and heavy reparations, that wasn’t the end result. As it all came down to the needs and wants of the two great powers France, led by Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and England, led by David Lloyd George. By 1921 the total cost of reparations amounted to 132 billion marks, despite strong French opposition, which wanted reparations to amount to 200 billion marks. As France wanted to make sure Germany would never again be a threat and at the same time aimed to regain hegemony over Europe. On the other hand, Britain fully aware of their aims, wanted to restore Germanys position in Europe in order to stabilize the balance of power in the region and by rebuilding Germany, revive the European economy. Consequently, in the fight for power, claims of smaller/weaker nations where cast a side.
    However, it’s also important look at some of the problems central European countries faced, when dealing with each other. Firstly, in case of Poland and its neighbours, there were many disputes over territory. For instance on Polands southern border disputes with Czechoslovakia, rose regarding Cieszyn Silesia (Śląsk Cieszyński), which ended peacefully. On the other hand, that wasn’t the case with Polands eastern neighbours. Already, by 1919 Poland was at war with Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, trying to gain as much land east ward as possible. Whether Polands actions, where motivated by weakening Russia or simply to gain more land, is a matter of dispute. Nevertheless, it’s a fact that during the time between 1919 – 1921, Józef Piłsudski tried on many different accessions to form a federation with Lithuania; a coalition with Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine and create an alliance with Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland, to cooperate against Russia. However, the region was apprehensive of such ideas and did not trust Poland. Consequently, by the end of 1921 all countries in the region signed treaties with Russia. The above analysis, clearly shows how complexity of dealings amongst central European nations. On one side subject to the will of western European states, whilst on the other hand, deep rooted conflicts amongst each other.
    The third, most relevant event in Central European history are the post World War II peace conferences from, which Yalta conference holds most symbolic significance. The Yalta conference took place in February 1945, its purpose was to discuss European’s post war reorganisation. Yalta was the second of three wartime conferences among the Big Three Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. The significance of this, conference is that it outlines the reoccurring pattern, when it came to central Europe. Just like after WWI central Europe, again was subjected to the will of greater powers. Although, this time around it was England, lead at the time by Prime minister Churchill, which pressed the matter of free and democratic elections in Eastern and central European region. Whilst, USA, lead by Roosevelt was more open to suggestions, as in 1945 the war with Japan had not finished yet and Soviet help was needed. Moreover, Russia held most of Eastern and central Europe occupied, with military forces three times that of the western Alliances, thus acted pretty much as it pleased. So as I have pointed out, the weak and divided eastern and central European nations had almost nothing to say as to its own sovereignty. Subjected to the good faith of those nations that could careless what happened in the world unless it directly influenced their business.
    The reason why I picked these three events from our common past is pretty straight forward. It shows without remorse, how little influence this region held over its our sovereignty. The last hundred years or so, are a unique time during which central/eastern Europe struggled to freedom and self identity, against all odds. I guess one could argue that it’s a romantic historical times as it presents how many ethnical groups, living outside of society for centuries, today have their own independent and sovereign states, which they can be proud off.

  12. To understand citizens of Central Europe, it is vital to investigate their common history. Their backwardness in comparison to Western Europe is connected with similar historical background. There are 3 the most significant common events for all countries of this part of Europe: XIXth century and rebirth of nationalism, 1918-regaining the independence as a result of Treaty of Versailles, and overthrowing communist regimes in 1989.
    XIX th century is one of the most valid periods for the whole Europe. It is a time of reborning of national thoughts especially on the territories of Central Europe. National movements which appeared in the half of the XIX th century as the Spring of Nations had a huge impact on the future of these countries. Even it was a failure, it was very important signal for the occupants (Greece, Russia, Ottoman’s Empire, Germany and Austria) that they are inhabited by separated nations which are able to fight for the independence. Revival of national awareness was caused by modernization, industrialization, urbanization, demographical growth or writing history.
    The Treaty of Versailles resulted in creating new national countries due to the failure of superpowers in WWI. It was a long-awaited event for all countries of Central Europe. It gave them the law to live in their own country, to have own government and finished discrimination of the occupant. Unfortunately, the Treaty of Versailles was cruel to some countries. The most suffered nation was Hungarians which lost 2/3 of their territory and 2/3 of their population. What is more, the Treaty of Versailles contributed to conflicts between newly created countries of Central Europe.
    The last significant event was the collapse of communist regimes in all countries of Central Europe in 1989. The revolution began in Poland and then was spread to other countries: Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Romania. Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country to overthrow its Communist regime violently. The collapse of communist regimes ended the isolation with Western Europe and started economic, social or political integration and in a consequence, contributed to entry to European Union.

  13. In my opinion one of the most important events in the history of the Central Europe was accession to NATO by the countries which were the members of the former Soviet bloc. As for me it was a proof of how deeply the Old Continent had changed during the period after 1989. That fact showed that the Central European Countries were and are still heading not only towards breaking all divisions among two sides of the Iron Curtain but also towards the world without so tragic periods in its history like the Word War II. Countries of the region have chosen to follow the path of the western part of the continent, which promoted democracy, independence, respecting the human rights, modernity and tolerance. They did not decide to join the Commonwealth of Independent States which meant that they want no more Russian influence over their territory and they were eager to close that chapter of their history. As for me it was a huge breakthrough for the abovementioned countries which marked the direction which they will follow in the next years.
    I reckon that the second one is the outbreak of the World War II. Its results – the division of the Europe and in consequence the further division of the world into two enemy forces- stamped the history of the Central Europe for decades and even now we can experience that the communist era not only created its own economic and political system or architecture there but also shaped people’s mentality.

  14. Thinking about the most important historic events in Central Europe, I immediately think of the revolutions of 1989. This was the most crucial moment of that time, which was important for all countries of Central Europe. The first step toward changes was “Solidarność”- in the 1980s it was a broad anti-bureaucratic social movement, using the methods of civil resistance to advance the causes of workers’ rights and social change, which was followed by Round Table Talks. We all agree that this (“Solidarność”) was the first sign of the coming changes in this part of Europe and the Round Table Talks However, many Europeans are not fully aware of it, and claim that the crucial historic event in Central Europe was the fall of the Berlin Wall, which in my opinion was the most “visible” mark of changes and introducing new rules in this part of Europe. That’s why people associate it with the end of the Iron curtain – era.

  15. In my opinion we should look even before the Yalta and Versaille happened. I think that the most important event for the history of Central Europe was assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austria, killed by the Serbian Gavrillo Princip described today as a terrorist. It directly led to World War I, the first total war in history of modern world which was ended by signing the Versailles treaty and made U.S.A. get involved in European politics (which was against isolation policy held by previous U.S. governments). This two events influenced modern Central Europe history in many ways. First of all Versailles strengthen German sense of defeat and frustration. It was used by Hitler and in consequence led to WWII which had a huge impact on history of central European countries – economically, socially and what’s most important politically as most of them became part of soviet block. On the other hand U.S. engagement in European politics which ended isolation policy made a ground for future actions in the region. And in fact (also because of rise of communism) there was and still is a huge U.S. influence in the region. In some way it helped to end communism in evolutionary not revolutionary way. This evolution led to today’s shape of Central Europe which still have some ethnic or political problems but is formed by independent countries of which most are part of EU and democracies.

  16. I surmise that the most important events are connected with either creation or annihilation processes of Central Europe.

    As a result, I suppose the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on the 28th of June 1919, ought to be the first major event of Central Europe’s past. Not only did the results of the treaty altered Germany’s geopolitical situation, but also It was followed by other peace treaties with Central Powers. That process lead to the downfall of 2nd Reich and Austria-Hungary .On their ashes new countries formed interwar Central Europe.
    That CE started to vanish since 1938, but I suppose that it’s symbolic decline could be linked mostly with the Hitler-Stalin pact from the 23rd of August 1939. Two great powers agreed to divide the region into two separate blocks, making no “middle” alternative. Such an partition was eventually replaced by the Europe’s postwar Iron Curtain.
    Fortunately, the two blocks’ division turned to ashes after the collapse of the Soviet Union (formally on the 26th of December 1991). Although the tendency rouse since 1989, It was the dissolution of the USSR which triggered new concepts how to classify geopolitically European countries. One of these was the notion of Central Europe.

    So as for me, three main events of Central Europe’s history would be: the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler-Stalin Pact and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

  17. It is not easy to choose one of the most important historic events because we all know how many events, conferences, uprising etc., had a significant influence on the history of Central Europe. I totally agree with the choice of events that have been already mentioned. However, the one that is the most important to me, is the one that is the most recent and so I had a chance to observe the consequences of what happened after the Revolutions of 1989.
    These revolutions which overthrew the communist regimes in various Central and Eastern European countries, called also the Collapse of the Communism, began in Poland and then they continued in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and the eastern part of Germany. I consider everything that occurred around this event as the most important in history of Europe, as I would say it was a signal to act and to change the reality. German reunification in 1990 and obviously the fall of the Berlin Wall were essential not only in history of Germany but also in history of all the countries that were desperately looking for freedom and democracy. The Gorbachev’s resignation in 1991 was another step to give the central European countries certain independence and enable them to become a democratic countries. The dissolution of Soviet Union by the end of 1991 and the abandonment of communism was a shock for people, not only because of political reasons but also because of market economy that were not stable at the beginning and brought low living-standards. It clearly shows, that simple citizens had to change their mentality and get used to life that turned out after long years to be better than the system they had lived before in. The last event worth mentioning is the agreement of the Polish Round Table Talks. The reason why it is important to me, is that Poland proved to all the world the power of democracy. The results of the talks: legalization of independent trade unions, the introduction of the Office of President (the chief executive), the formation of a Senate, all these decisions had importance to the political and economic development in Poland.
    All these events paved the way to the conditions we live in nowadays. I have chosen those that had rather positive influence on the following events but I am aware of the fact that all the tragedies, uprisings, wars, even if they have little in common to democracy, they also had big influence on the actions of politicians in history of Central Europe.

  18. At the risk of sounding like I’m repeating what has already been said, I am going to declare my support for the notion of the Yalta Conference in 1945 being among the most significant events of Central European past. This conference laid the groundwork for the future perception of Central Europe as being similar (if not part of) Eastern Europe by other countries. I would argue, however, that one should also take into account the Potsdam Conference in August 1945. Yalta may have set the stage, but it was at the Potsdam Conference that the Allied powers agreed to recognize the Soviet-dominated Provisional Government of National Unity, which had been created in June of 1945. By agreeing to recognize this government, the Allies ceased to recognize the authority of the Polish government-in-exile. The conferences of Yalta and Potsdam together should be taken as significant to Central European history, because it was the combined results of both which allowed the division of Europe and the widespread confusion and stereotyping about both Central and Eastern Europe which still exists in the rest of the world.

    Finally, I also agree that the dissolution of the Soviet Union and all the events incorporated into that larger occurrence are highly significant. This represented the first opportunity since the interwar period that most Central European countries had the opportunity to assert themselves and to control their own affairs, allowing them once again to emphasize both their diversity and the various ways in which they are distinct from Eastern European countries.

  19. As for me, I would like to concentrate on the period of not far past, because the geographical and political appearance of Central Europe was completely different in various centuries.
    So,in defining the first very important event I agree with previous commenter Ani Kotrikadze and state it is The Third Partition of Poland, that took place on October 24, 1795. This event divided Poland on three parts but also divided Europe and eliminated the region that could be called Central Europe, because there was only Austro- Hungarian Empire that belonged to Western World from the geopolitical point of view; Russian Empire that was for sure the Eastern Empire and Prussia – also a part of Western Europe.
    Second very important event from my point of view was Yalta Conference in the February of 1945. For Central Europe this event was specially important, because it designated the vision of Central Europe as more closer to Eastern Europe. The rule of communist parties has divided it from Western world and created a strong stereotype that is still present. Also it has a big influence on economic situation of those countries, because they are less developed than Western and this also separates them.
    The third in turn is not one event, but a period that has started with a Polish Round Table Agreement in 1989 and finished with a Dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. These events and strikes in other countries of Warsaw Pact meant that Europe is going to change. After those events we can see the second revival of Central Europe. All the countries of Central Europe started to show its individuality as a region.
    This calculation is made from my own subjective perspective and can easily be denied, because I also realise that there are many more events that are in the same level of importance and maybe even more, it depends on many aspects and different perspectives from which we look on the scale of importance.

  20. To be honest this essay made a little difficulty for me, started thinking about three great, historic events that are important for Central European past, I remembered all the interesting facts and events that took place in the past and found out the characteristic feature of this history: the fact, that every event of the country is bound up with each other.
    I should start with The Third Partition of Poland, that took place on October 24, 1795, as soon as the Polish Kościuszko Uprising was defeated. With this partition, the independent Polish state ceased to exist. The partitioning powers, seeing the increasing unrest in the remaining Commonwealth, decided to solve the problem by erasing any independent Polish state from the map. On 24 October 1795 their representatives signed a treaty, dividing the remaining territories of the Commonwealth among their three countries. This date: 1795 is quite important, because it had totally changed the map of Central Europe.
    Another essential event took place in 1815. The Congress of Vienna- a conference of ambassadors of European states. The Congress of Vienna settlement, despite later changes, formed the framework for European international politics until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The Final Act, embodying all the separate treaties, was signed on 9 June 1815 and its provisions had a big influence on Central Europe. (especially on Austria, Poland, Hungury)
    And the third event should mention the consequence of world war 2. The Yalta Conference called also the Crimea Conference. Even though it took in the Livadia Palace near Yalta, in the Crimea, its’ effects where essential for the whole Central Europe, The decisions of the Big Three changed the future for European countries. The map was changed, this conference gave a beginning to the new Central Europe. While the Soviet Union had already annexed several occupied countries as Soviet Socialist Republics other countries in eastern Europe that it occupied were converted into Soviet-controlled satellite states, such as the People’s Republic of Poland, the People’s Republic of Hungary,the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the People’s Republic of Romania.
    In my point of view, above mentioned facts indicate as the most symbolic Characteristic of Central European Past.

  21. History of Central Europe it’s a necklace plaited of different precious diamonds. Each event is exclusive but it pays big role for others. There are some aspects that can unite nations of Poland, Bulgaria and Latvia and other countries together, but there are some that separate them. Thinking about what 3 historical events to choose I stopped at three countries that have had huge influence in this region: Bulgaria, Austria and Poland.
    First key historical moment – October 1915, continuing the Balkan War, possessing the largest army in the Balkans, Bulgaria declared war on Serbia. In alliance with Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottomans, Bulgaria won military victories against Serbia. Unfortunately successes of Bulgaria turned into catastrophe for the World – I World War had happened.
    Secondly I’d like to mention year 1867 – appearance of the Austro-Hungarian Empire on maps. It was a multinational aria and one of the world’s great powers at the time. The Empire comprised modern-day Austria, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, large parts of Serbia and Romania and smaller parts of Italy, Montenegro, Poland and Ukraine. This monarchy plaid important role in world’s history till 1918, moreover it is the motherhood of automobile manufacture Skoda.
    And finally and like to choose the event connected with Poland, or more exactly the independence of Poland. Poland regained its independence in 1918, and it’s the start of counting out new stage of modern history of the country we live.

    • Are you sure we can call the Compromise of 1867 one of the most important events? It was just another reform of the Habsburg Empire, not so much more important than those of 1713 or 1804. We, Poles, are used to the vision that 1867 brought parts of modern Poland autonomy. But it changed something only for us and the Hungarians – what about the Czechs, Slovaks or Romanians, what about the Central Europe?


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