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South Eastern Europe, covered by mountain ranges with deep indented river valleys, is arguably the most heterogonous part of Europe. It had been a crossroads, a zone of Imperial borderlands since antiquity: A contact zone between the Roman and the Greek cultures, Europe and Asia, Christianity and Islam, Western and Eastern Christianity – and finally one of the most violent regions in the world, with a sheer endless series of political, military, cultural, and economic clashes. The struggles in the Balkans were already proverbial, when Rudyard Kipling wrote in his first novel in 1891: »Never mind the trouble in the Balkans. Those little states are always screeching.« Even more: For centuries, the »powder keg of Europe« had the potential to provoke and ignite great power clashes – from the early modern conflicts between the Ottoman, Habsburg and Romanov Empires up to the present-day geopolitical rivalries between the European Union, the Russian Federation, Turkey, and the United States.
The course examines the history of war and organized violence in the Balkans in South Eastern Europe in the longue durée. It deals with the bloody shifts of influence, borders, rulers, and belief systems in the region from the 19th to the late 20th century, from the anti-Ottoman revolts to the First World War, from the Second World War to the violent break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Questions discussed (but not necessarily answered) in the course are:
- Were there similarities and common patterns in wars and military campaigns fought in South Eastern Europe in the examined time frame?
- What was the impact of topography, climate, and other natural conditions?
- What was the impact of political and socio-economic structures, of demography, cultural patterns, and historical experiences?
- Was there a special way of war in the Balkans? A way of war usually associated with irregular warfare by guerrilla fighters called chetniks, hajduks, kaçaks, klephts, komitadjis, komitis, partisans, or zeybeks?
The language of instruction is English. To pass the course, active participation and – depending on the number of attendees – at least one presentation is obligatory.
||- Angelow, Jürgen Gahlen, Gundula Stein, Oliver (Hrsg.) (2011): Der Erste Weltkrieg auf dem Balkan : Perspektiven der Forschung. Berlin: Bebra Wissenschaft.
- Elvert, Jürgen (Hrsg.) (1997): Der Balkan : Eine europäische Krisenregion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Stuttgart: Steiner (Historische Mitteilungen : Beiheft, Bd. 16).
- Hall, Richard (2000): The Balkan wars 1912–1913 : Prelude to the First World War. London: Routledge (Warfare and History).
- Mazower, Mark (2002): The Balkans : From the end of Byzantium to the present day. London: Phoenix Press.
- Melčić, Dunja (Hrsg.) (2007): Der Jugoslawien-Krieg : Handbuch zu Vorgeschichte, Verlauf und Konsequenzen. 2., aktualisierte und erweiterte Auflage. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
- Tomasevich, Jozo (2001): War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941–1945. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
- Yavuz, M. Sluglett, Peter (Hrsg.) (2011): War and diplomacy : The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 and the Treaty of Berlin. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (Utah series in Middle East studies).