East/Central Europe

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Eastern Europe, Central Europe, East Central Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, etc. are variously defined and often overlapping geographic, historical and political regions occupying eastern and central portions of Europe.

Sourced[edit]

Tell me where Central Europe is, and I can tell who you are.
— Jacques Rupnik
  • I have visited most parts of the Central European country, and am familiar with people from every district. Shall I picture them all to myself? Then in thought I am in a peasant's cottage in Lower Germany, in a country house in Upper Germany, in an Alpine inn, in a little town in Bohemia, in the industrial region in Upper Silesia, in a shop in Posen, in an hotel in Tatra, with friends in Budapest, at the port at Triest, at home in Berlin, in the splendid old cathedral of St. Stephen in Vienna, in the silence of the Böhmerwald, on the shore at Rügen; and so on continually forms arise of men, women and children, and I hear every German accent, from the broad Frisian Plattdeutsch to the Tyrolean Mountain German, from the softness of the Lower Rhine to the sharpness of East Prussia, from the Mecklenburg calm to the Viennese liveliness, and in addition there is the sound of Danish in the North, French in the West, Italian and Croatian in the South, Tzechish in Bohemia, Magyar, Roumanian and Polish in the South-East and East. (...) And nowhere are limits or divisions sharply fixed.
    • Naumann, Friedrich (2009). Central Europe: A Translation. BiblioBazaar.  Original title: Mitteleuropa (1915)
  • We, representing together more than fifty million people constituting a chain of nations lying between the Baltic, the Adriatic and the Black Seas, comprising Czecho-Slovaks, Poles, Jugoslavs, Ukrainians, Uhro-Rusyns, Lithuanians, Roumanians and Italian Irredentists, Unredeemed Greeks, Albanians, Zionists, and Armenians, wholly or partly subject to alien domination (...) We have suffered destruction of our cities, violation of our homes and lands, and have maintained our ideals only by stealth, and in spite of the tyranny of our oppressors. We have been deprived of proper representation and fair trial. We have been denied the right of free speech, and the right freely to assemble and petition for the redress of our grievances. We have been denied free and friendly intercourse with our sister states, and our men have been impressed in war against their brothers and friends of kindred races.
  • Who rules East Europe commands the heartland, who rules the heartland commands the world.
  • If you ask me what is my native country, I answer: I was born in Fiume, grew up in Belgrade, Budapest, Pressburg, Vienna and Munich, and I have a Hungarian passport; but I have no fatherland. I am a very typical mix of old Austria-Hungary: at once Magyar, Croatian, German and Czech; my country is Hungary, my mother tongue is German.
    • Ödön von Horváth
    • Quoted in: Kort, Michael (2001). The handbook of the new Eastern Europe. Twenty-First Century Books. 
  • From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.
    • Winston Churchill, speaking in 1946 at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, United States
    • Sinews of Peace. (2009, July 29). In Wikisource, The Free Library.
Over Central Europe there rises the heavy smell of boiled cabbage, stale beer, and the soapy whiff of overripe water melons...
— Josef Kroutvor
  • (...) There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration. (...) I don't believe (...) that the Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Rumanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union.
  • Over Central Europe there rises the heavy smell of boiled cabbage, stale beer, and the soapy whiff of overripe water melons (...) The frontiers are vague and irrational; and it is only the smell which permits one to identify [the region] with absolute certainty.
    • Josef Kroutvor, Potíže s dějinami
    • Quoted in: Davies, Norman; Moorhouse, Roger (2003). Microcosm: A Portrait of a Central European City. Pimlico. 
  • (...) Three fundamental situations developed in Europe after the war: that of Western Europe, that of Eastern Europe, and, most complicated, that of the part of Europe situated geographically in the center – culturally in the West and politically in the East.
  • I assume there is such a thing as Central Europe, even though many people deny its existence, beginning with statesmen and journalists who persist in calling it "Eastern Europe" and ending with my friend Joseph Brodsky, who prefers to reserve for it the name of "Western Asia." In these decades of the 20th century, Central Europe seems to exist only in the minds of some of its intellectuals.
  • In the work of Havel and Konrád there is an interesting semantic division of labour. Both authors use the terms "Eastern Europe" or "East European" when the context is neutral or negative; when they write "Central" or "East Central," the statement is invariably positive, affirmative, or downright sentimental.
  • Every Central European family has its own stormy history in which family catastrophes and national catastrophes are mingled. History is more than erudition here, it is the inner meaning of actions, a validating tradition, a largely unconscious norm and parameter for conduct today.
    • György Konrád
    • Quoted in: Kumar, Krishan (2001). 1989: Revolutionary Ideas and Ideals. 
  • Europe is living through an exceptional period. Part of our continent torn up from its roots almost half a century ago is now aspiring to return. Back to Europe! This expression is gaining currency these days in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
    • Tadeusz Mazowiecki in his speech to the Council of Europe on 30 January 1990
    • Quoted in: Stützle, Walther; Rotfeld, Adam Daniel (1991). Germany and Europe in transition. Oxford University Press. 
Is it only an accident that the four most enduring popular culture villains, Frankenstein, Count Dracula..., the Morlak and the Golem... are connected somehow to Eastern European regions?
— László Kürti
  • Tell me where Central Europe is, and I can tell who you are.
    • Jacques Rupnik
    • Quoted in: Johnson, Lonnie (1996). Central Europe: enemies, neighbors, friends. Oxford University Press US. 
  • Central Europe is a dynamic historical concept, not a static spatial one; therefore its frontiers have shifted throughout the ages.
    • Johnson, Lonnie (1996). Central Europe: enemies, neighbors, friends. Oxford University Press US. 
  • In the late nineteenth century, the concept of a German-dominated Mitteleuropa was launched to coincide with the political sphere of the Central Powers. In the inter-war years, a domain called "East Central Europe" was invented to coincide with the newly independent "successor states" – from Finland and Poland to Yugoslavia. This was revived again after 1945 as a convenient label for the similar set of nominally independent countries which were caught inside the Soviet bloc. By that time the main division, between a "Western Europe" dominated by NATO and the EEC and an "Eastern Europe" dominated by Soviet communism seemed to be set in stone. In the 1980s a group of writers led by the Czech novelist, Milan Kundera, launched a new version of "Central Europe", to break down the reigning barriers. Here was yet another configuration, another true "kingdom of the spirit".
    • Davies, Norman (1996). Europe: A History. Oxford University Press. 
  • For all the participants in this fascinating debate, "Central Europe" was defined, not by geography, but by values. "Central Europe" was, in György Konrád's words, a Weltanschauung, not a Staatsangehörigkeit (i.e., a way of looking at the world rather than a question of citizenship); for Leszek Kołakowski it was a "culturally connected area"; for Stefan Kaszyński a "state of mind"; for Czesław Miłosz "a way of thinking".
    • Hyde-Price, Adrian G. V. (1996). The International Politics of East Central Europe. Manchester University Press ND. 
  • No one writing about Transcarpathia can resist retelling the region's favourite anecdote: A visitor, encountering one of the oldest local inhabitants, asks about his life. The reply: "I was born in Austria-Hungary, I went to school in Czechoslovakia, I did my army service in Horthy's Hungary, followed by a spell in prison in the USSR. Now I am ending my days in independent Ukraine." The visitor expresses surprise at how much of the world the old man has seen. "But no!," he responds, "I've never left this village!"
    • Batt, Judy; Wolczuk, Kataryna (2002). Region, state and identity in Central and Eastern Europe. Taylor & Francis. 
Who to look to better than Central European countries that 20 years ago acted with such courage and resolve, and over the last 20 years, have made such sustainable progress?
— Joe Biden
  • Concernant en tous les cas les pays candidats, (...) honnêtement, je trouve qu'ils se sont comportés avec une certaine légèreté. Car entrer dans l'Union européenne, cela suppose tout de même un minimum de considération pour les autres, un minimum de concertation. Si, sur le premier sujet difficile, on se met à donner son point de vue indépendamment de toute concertation avec l'ensemble dans lequel, par ailleurs, on veut entrer, alors, ce n'est pas un comportement bien responsable. En tous les cas, ce n'est pas très bien élevé. Donc, je crois qu'ils ont manqué une bonne occasion de se taire.
    • Concerning, after all, the candidate countries, (...) I honestly think that they have behaved with a certain lightness. Because entering the European Union still requires a minimum of consideration for others, a minimum of consultation. If, on the first difficult subject, you begin to express your point of view independently of any consultation with the body which you incidentally want to join, then it is not very responsible behavior. In any case, it is not well brought-up behavior. So I believe that they missed a good opportunity to keep quiet.
    • Jacques Chirac at a press conference in Brussels on 17 February 2003, following a European Council emergency summit on Iraq
    • Conférence de presse de M. Jacques Chirac, Président de la République, à l'issue de la réunion informelle extraordinaire du Conseil européen. Présidence de la République. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  • There are several kinds of monsters in western popular culture today: werewolves, vampires, morlaks, the blood-countess and other creatures of the underworld. (...) Vampirism, and (...) monstrosity has been fundamentally intertwined with Eastern Europe (...) [I]s it only an accident that the four most enduring popular culture villains, Frankenstein, Count Dracula (Nosferatu), the Morlak and the Golem had emerged in Europe during modernity (...)? That all four creatures are connected somehow to Eastern European regions?
  • In Eastern Europe, countries still struggle to fulfill the promise of a strong democracy, or a vibrant market economy. Who to look to better than you? Who to look to better than Central European countries that 20 years ago acted with such courage and resolve, and over the last 20 years, have made such sustainable progress? You can help guide Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine along the path of lasting stability and prosperity. It's your time to lead. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus can benefit from your personal experiences.
  • Twenty-five years ago we [Poland] were eastern Europe. When we joined Nato and the EU, we became central Europe. Now, because of our resilience in the face of the financial crisis, we are northern Europe.

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