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Neighbours or enemies?

Germans, the Baltic and beyond

Series:

John Hiden and Martyn Housden

This is the first attempt to redress the injustice done to the memory of German minorities by the popular equation of ‘Lebensraum’ and Nazism; minorities, many of whom chose to be neighbours rather than enemies and who over time peacefully shared with other nationalities the territorial space east of the Reich. Their borderland experiences, particularly in the Baltic region, the historic interface between East and West, are all the more relevant as Hitler’s regime recedes into the past and Europe seeks to renew itself in the wake of the Cold War.

Lithuania 1940

Revolution from Above

Series:

Alfred Erich Senn

In June 1940, as Nazi troops marched into Paris, the Soviet Red Army marched into Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia; seven weeks later, the USSR Supreme Soviet ratified the Soviet takeover of these states. For half a century, Soviet historians insisted that the three republics had voluntarily requested incorporation into the Soviet Union. Now it has become possible to examine the events of that tumultuous time more carefully.
Alfred Erich Senn, the author of books on the formation of the Lithuanian state in 1918-1920 and on the reestablishment of that independence in 1988-1991, has produced a fascinating account of the Soviet takeover, juxtaposing a picture of the disintegration and collapse of the old regime with the Soviets’ imposition of a new order. Discussing the historiography and the living memory of the events, he uses the image of a “shell game” that focused attention on the work of a supposedly “non-communist” government while in the hothouse conditions of military occupation Moscow undermined the state’s independent institutions and introduced a revolution from above.

Lost and Found

The Discovery of Lithuania in American Fiction

Series:

Aušra Paulauskienė

Aušra Paulauskienė’s book Lost and Found: The Discovery of Lithuania in American Fiction targets American as well as European scholars in the fields of literature, ethnic studies and immigration. The author discovers obscure texts on Lithuania and alerts Western and Eastern academia to their significance as well as the reasons for their neglect. For the first time, Abraham Cahan’s autobiography The Education of Abraham Cahan and Ezra Brudno’s autobiographical novel The Fugitive receive an extensive coverage, while Goldie Stone’s My Caravan of Years and Margaret Seebach’s That Man Donaleitis (sic) receive their first scholarly consideration ever. The author argues that misrepresentations, misattributions and exclusions of Lithuanian legacy in the U.S. were produced by major political events of the twentieth century.

Making Russians

Meaning and Practice of Russification in Lithuania and Belarus after 1863

Series:

Darius Staliūnas

Making Russians is an innovative study dealing with Russian nationalities policy in Lithuania and Belarus in the aftermath of the 1863 Uprising. The book devotes most attention to imperial confessional and language policy, for in Russian discourse at that time it was religion and language that were considered to be the most important criteria determining nationality. The account of Russian nationalities policy presented here differs considerably from the assessments usually offered by historians from east-central Europe primarily because the author provides a more subtle description of the aims of imperial nationalities policy, rejecting the claim that the Russian authorities consistently sought to assimilate members of other national groups. At the same time the interpretation this study offers opens a discussion with western and Russian historians, especially those, who lay heavy emphasis on discourse analysis. This study asserts that the rhetoric of officials and certain public campaigners was influenced by a concept of political correctness, which condemned all forms of ethnic denationalisation. A closer look at the implementation of discriminatory policy allows us to discern within Russian imperial policy more attempts to assimilate or otherwise repress the cultures of non-dominant national groups than it is possible to appreciate simply by analysing discourse alone.