The first decades of the 20th century witnessed an unprecedented crisis of governance in the region stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The gradual decline and then eventual collapse of three European empires brought by the Great War and the Russian Revolution spelled the end to the old imperial forms of government and unleashed a frenzy of new armed conflicts and nation-making. This wider crisis in East Central Europe has been described as the long-term continuous cycle of violence (Holquist, 2003). It was characterized by the initial weakness of new post-Versaillian state orders that competed among themselves and with various internal actors that claimed authority in the existing power vacuum and general disorder.
The collapse of state structures created a space for a variety of violence-oriented groups that tried to enforce their own political, social, religious, ethnic or simply criminal agendas on local populations. The conference will explore the complex relationship between state collapse and violence in East Central Europe by focusing on these violent groups: their leaders, memberships, aims, relations with state actors and their limits of power. Scholars from several countries will examine their activities (paramilitarism, warlordism, terror, pogroms, economic activities and population policies) to shed more light on the transformative moment of East Central Europe. Through comparative discussion and debate organized in themed subject panels, this conference will work towards a transnational understanding of the origins, nature and consequences of violence in the wider European region.
Der internationale Workshop wird vom Litauischen Historischen Institut in Zusammenarbeit mit der Außenstelle Vilnius des DHI Warschau organisiert. Die Veranstaltung findet am 13. November 2020 online statt.