"Dzieje Najnowsze", ISSN 0419-8824, nr 2/1998

Tomasz Wituch,
Bałkany w Europie XX wieku, s. 3-13

The last stage in the battle waged for the emancipation of Christian nations of the Orthodox (Byzantine) rite was inaugurated by the outbreak of the Macedonian uprising, the Young Turk revolution and the so-called annexation crisis of 1908-1909. This was the origin of the term"Balkan cauldron", whose contents included, on the one hand, a struggle for the ejection of remnants of Ottoman Turkish) domination from Europe, and, on the other hand, an unusually harsh confrontation of imperial rivalry in this region, entailing the dramatic conflict between Russia and Germany. In 1914, competition for political domination in the Balkans became the direct reason for the outbreak of the first world war. The postwar pacification of the peninsula was also the most difficult, and never completed task of the post-1918 period. In 1919, Serbs and Rumanians seized territories which exceeded far beyond the traditional boundaries of the Balkans. The struggle for the new shape and frontiers of Turkey coincided with the Greek-Turkish war of 1919-1922. The peace treaty signed by the victorious coalition and the Ottoman Empire in SŹvres on 10 August 1920 was the first fragment of the entire "Versailles system" which succumbed to revision under the pressure of the prevailing situation. Already on 24 July 1923 it was replaced by the Lausanne treaty. From that time on, the Balkans unnoticeably but swiftly and decidedly lost their rank in European politics - the problems of the Peninsula became reduced and relegated to the margin. This tendency was not altered either by the second world war, the collapse of the communist bloc nor the disintegration of Yugoslavia.

Krystio Mančev,
Rola stereotypów narodowych w historii narodów bałkańskich, s. 15-25

In contrast to the era of great empires (Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman) when the boundaries between particular nations followed the Byzantine versus barbarian, believers versus infidels, or Catholics versus Orthodox line. In conditions of national consolidation greater significance is ascribed to ethnic origin, history, language, national consciousness and identity. That what is regarded as national is usually praised while that what belongs to "the others", i. e. neighbours, carries the burden of a negative characteristic. This is the source of assorted national stereotypes, myths and prejudice which, similar to a crooked mirror, provide a false reflection of historical reality
National stereotypes, myths and prejudices are a vital part of public opinion and play the role of objectively acting factors in the development of the historical process. Every nation cherishes its own vision of itself and "the other", every nation possesses its own way of elevating itself, depicts itself as great and operates with maximalistic claims, in this way constantly contrasting particular nations. The final result of these factors are conflict-prone situations and civil wars. The creation of small, hermetic national states, located in close proximity and engaged in conflicts.
The author concludes that the role played by national stereotypes in the growth of the historical process is to a much greater degree negative than positive.

Irena Stawowy-Kawka,
Ludność Macedonii - zmiany struktury narodowościowej w XX wieku, s. 27-41

The determination of the precise national structure of the population of Macedonia at the beginning of the twentieth century comprises a difficult and controversial task. The existing statistics and maps from that period are tendentious and express the interests of particular countries, intent on providing historical arguments as regards the affiliation of Macedonia.
The greatest changes in the national structure took place during the inter-war period in Aegean (Greek) Macedonia. In a keynoter dominated by a Slav and Muslim population, where the Greeks totalled only 30-5% to 43% of the inhabitants, mass - scale resettlements conducted in 1913-1928 granted the latter the status of a dominating nationality, comprising more than 80% of the overall population.
The colonisation of Vardar (Serbian) Macedonia, where the Serbs remained a national minority, did not produce such sizable results.
The greatest difficulties are connected with the establishment of the national structure of Pyrinian (Bulgarian Macedonia) due to the absence of pertinent statistics and the Bulgarian non-recognition of a distinct Macedonian nation.

Małgorzata Willaume,
Nicolae Titulescu (1882-1941) - polityk i dyplomata, s. 43-48

The person of Nicolae Titulescu, one of the best known Rumanian politicians of the inter-war years, remains the object of interest on the part of researchers. This politician, active prior to the first world war, during its course and in its wake, belonged to a group of people who granted shape to the postwar future of Rumania. In 1919, Titulescu was a member of the Rumanian delegation to the peace conference. Soon afterwards, he received the portfolio of Minister of Finances (1920-1921) and subsequently acted as the representative of Rumania in the League of Nations, where in 1930 and 1931 he fulfilled the function of chairman of the Assembly; in 1928-1932 Titulescu was the Rumanian envoy to London, and the peak of his activity on the international arena was the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs (1932-1936).
N. Titulescu was an extremely energetic politician who cherished his own vision of the postwar political order, albeit he was incapable of realising all of his original projects. He took an indubitably active part in work on the definition of the aggressor, which stemmed from the conception of maintaining permanent peace by means of the principle of collective security. Accordingly,Titulescu aimed at safeguarding the position of Rumania in Central-Eastern Europe with the aid of bilateral treaties. He assigned the main role to France and the Soviet Union and thus strove systematically at regulating political relations with the latter of the two states. Such a trend of Rumanian foreign policy caused a considerable deterioration of Polish-Rumanian diplomatic contacts.
N. Titulescu attached particular attention to the role played by the League of Nations on the global scale, his contribution was recognised in the diplomatic world and highly regarded in both Great Britain and France.

Andrzej Essen,
Czechosłowacja wobec powstania Ententy Bałkańskiej (1933-1934), s. 49-61

The article outlines Czechoslovak policy in the Balkans during the 1920s, with particular attention paid to Yugoslavia and Bulgaria and the stand of the Republic of Czechoslovakia towards the diplomatic turmoil concerning the establishment of the Balkan Entente in 1933 and 1934. In the Balkans, Czechoslovak strivings at reinforcing political stability in Central and South-Eastern Europe encompassed predominantly relations between Rumania, and in particular Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria. Efforts made in Prague aimed at achieving considerable detente between Belgrade and Sofia which would strengthen both the Little Entente and the Yugoslav position vis a vis Italy. Great significance was attached also to the perspective of the development of trade relations. In the 1920s, the effects of this policy were slight. Projects of a regional security pact, which appeared at the beginning of the 1930s, were greeted in Prague with satisfaction and hope that they would contribute to the achievement of the goals of Czechoslovak policies in this region. For those reasons, diplomatic " good services" were rendered in order to attract Bulgaria to the emergent bloc of Balkan states. The failure of this campaign was not interpreted in Prague as a threat for the cohesion of the Little Entente and the international position of Czechoslovakia in the subsequent period.

Anna Garlicka,
Nowy kurs w polityce jugosłowiańskiej a Wielka Brytania (1936-1937), s. 63-77

Yugoslavia was the first Balkan state to embark upon efforts at discovering additional security guarantees. Belgrade perceived treaties signed with Bulgaria and Italy, which up to then pursued an anti-Yugoslav policy, as an element introducing stability and rectification into the conflict-prone relations in this region. The same purpose was to be served by the subjectivisation of Yugoslav politics and the ejection of the threat of an armed conflict.
Great Britain was pleased by the Yugoslav-Bulgarian rapprochement, albeit without undue enthusiasm. British interests aimed at rendering the agreement with Bulgaria into a stage on the path towards encouraging Bulgaria to cooperate with all the Balkan states.
London followed with considerable anxiety the negotiations conducted by Yugoslavia with Italy and, in contrast to the negotiations with Bulgaria, did not shy from offering minute advise. It was feared that Yugoslavia could sign an agreement that would contain overly far-reaching obligations. Finally, Great Britain expressed its official satisfaction with an agreement concerning relations between heretofore hostile states. Nonetheless, the Foreign Office continued to harbour certain reservations and doubts. In the first place, the Italian-Yugoslav treaty was not the outcome of an agreement reached by the powers, nor did it bring such an agreement any nearer. On the contrary, it created a potential hazard of a reinforcement of the impact of Germany and Italy in the Balkans, not upon the basis of an arrangement with London, but as a result of the offensive policy of the Axis states.

Zbigniew Klejn,
Postawy Polonii bułgarskiej w dwóch wojnach światowych, s. 79-91

The article discusses the stand of Polish emigres in Bulgaria vis a vis those events of both world wars which pertained to Poland. During the time of trial, this small environment, composed of several hundred persons, made an unproportionately great effort. In 1914-1918, Polish emigres achieved discharges from camps and obtained employment and accommodation for Poles-Russian citizens who found themselves in wartime Bulgaria or were captured by the Bulgarian armed forces. In 1920-1921, extremely efficient help was provided for about 10 000 Polish refuges from revolution-torn Russia and Ukraine.
During the second world war, the uniform Polish environment established a clandestine anti-Nazi organisation offering assistance to Poles fleeing occupied Poland in order to join Polish troops in the West. Despite the fact that the leaders of this organisation were sentenced to death, underground activity was continued also after the capture of Bulgaria by the Soviet army.
At the time of the first world war, the overwhelming majority of the Polish emigres in Bulgaria, despite the activity pursued by the Polish centre in Cracow and its pro-Central Powers orientation, supported the Polish policy of the Western allies. A considerable part of the article is devoted to the confrontation between those orientations within the emigration environment in Bulgaria.

Andrzej Koryn,
Kwestia federacji na Bałkanach i w basenie dunajskim po II wojnie światowej, s. 93-107

The conception of creating a Balkan federation, initiated and propagated by London up to the middle of 1943, was part of wider British plans of establishing unions of states located between Germany and the Soviet Union, perceived as an element of a postwar balance of forces on the Old Continent. An initial step aiming at the realisation of those plans in reference to the Balkans were agreements with the emigre governments of Yugoslavia and Greece (January 1942). In 1943, within the framework of the policy of "turning over" Eastern Europe to the sphere of Soviet influence, and in the face of the negative attitude revealed by Moscow, London abandoned its support for federational projects (a step made finally at the Moscow conference of ministers of foreign affairs of the three powers in October 1943). Nonetheless, plans for a Balkan or Danube federation were not rejected but from that time on they remained completely dependent on the Soviet Union, which controlled them; references to those projects were made chiefly by communists seizing power in states of the region (Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Rumania and Hungary).
In the years 1944-1947, Stalin permitted the retention of the plans as one of the possible future options but did not allow a transition to the state of their realisation. He was uninterested in consolidating the cohesion of this region at a time when it was succumbing to expanding Soviet domination. He also avoided conjectures about the creation of an Eastern European bloc in order to avoid provoking analogous processes in the western part of the Continent.
The year 1947, however, witnessed far reaching changes. On the one hand, a distinct reorientation of the policy pursued by the U. S. (the Truman doctrine, the Marshall Plan) closed routes for further Soviet expansion beyond the heretofore sphere of influence; on the other hand, states situated in this sphere, especially in the Balkans, showed strong integration (and perspectively federation) tendencies, and even initiated suitable undertakings without earlier consultations with Moscow.
In January 1948, Moscow responded by decidedly opposing those tendencies which it regarded as contrary to the Cominform line that from the autumn of 1947 was the guide line of relations within the sphere of Soviet influence. Stalin created a bloc of subordinate states and ceased tolerating the conception of the emergence of closer ties within the bloc, which would violate its structure, loose but strongly subjugated to Moscow. This policy was applied successfully in relation to all the satellite states with the exception of Yugoslavia, the prime spokesman of pro-federation plans, which in a conflict with the Soviet Union embarked upon building its independent political line.

Michał Jerzy Zacharias,
Kwestia tzw. Systemu samorządowego w jugosłowiańskim modelu ustrojowym w latach 1954-1964, s. 109-134

The article presents the functioning of the so-called self-government system in Yugoslavia. The author maintains that in the years 1954-1964, i. e. between the ousting of Milovan Dzilas and the inauguration of reforms, self - governments were more of an ideological postulate than an actual component of the Yugoslav political system. Their significance was accentuated predominantly by that part of the apparatus which aimed at reforms and opposed the Party "hard liners", headed by Alexander Rankovic. The self-governments were also used on the international arena, chiefly to demonstrate that in contrast to the Soviet system, the Yugoslav one was the outcome of a "true" application of the Marxist-Leninist principles in praxis. This tendency was tantamount to an attempt at presenting Yugoslavia as a model of system solutions for those states which decided to enter the path of "socialist construction". Only the decisive support given to the pro-reform group of Edvard Kardelj by Josip Broz Tito, leader of the Union of Yugoslav Communists and President of Yugoslavia, created conditions conducive for the consideration of certain self-government postulates by the reforms initiated in 1964-1965.

Tomasz Wituch,
Bałkany - szkic definicji, s. 135-143

The conception of "the Balkans" made a late appearance in the vocabulary of European politics, and remained unknown to the majority of diplomats present at the Congress of Berlin in 1878. The term became universally used during the period from the so-called Bulgarian crisis of 1886-1888 to the Young Turk revolution and the annexation crisis (Bosnia) of 1908. The conception in question never corresponded to the geographic range of the Balkan peninsula, and its contents and definition are composed rather of cultural and political criteria. The Balkans comprise an area dominated by the impact of Byzantine civilisation and a region of struggles waged by Christian nations (of the Eastern rite) against Ottoman (Turkish) domination. From this point of view, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Bosnia, Rumania (in frontiers prior to 1919), Albania and the European part of Turkey are regarded as components of the Balkans.

Jacek Knopek,
Nowożytna Grecja w najnowszej historiografii polskiej, s. 145-154