The Life and Death of Multinational Empires in Central and Eastern Europe, 1848-1948 (HIH2230A)

StaffDr Nicholas Terry - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The era under examination in this module was especially tumultuous in Central and Eastern Europe, not only due to the rise of nationalism but also as a result of considerable social and economic change. Studying the history of Central and Eastern Europe will develop your skills in comparative historical analysis and familiarise you with a region of increasing significance in today’s Europe. The study of nationalism and totalitarianism both require a sensitive understanding of the role of ideas in history, the organisation and development of social movements, the impact of mass politics in the modern era, and the upheavals experienced by ordinary people during wars and revolutions. You will gain a deeper understanding of modern European history that will prepare you to study more specialised areas of history while also developing communication and analytical skills, both oral and written, that you will need to complete many of your modules and in a job after you graduate. It will also give you an opportunity to work in a team on a group presentation.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Evaluate the complex histories of multinational empires, national and ethnic minorities, nationalist ideologies and processes of state formation in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • 2. Use comparative historical analysis.
  • 3. Trace processes of imperial breakup and state formation as well as the development of forms of ethnic cohabitation and ethnic cleansing historically.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Analyse the key developments within a specific historical period and theme.
  • 5. Collate data from a range of sources.
  • 6. Trace long-term as well as short-term historical developments.
  • 7. Understand and deploy historical terminology in a comprehensible manner.
  • 8. Handle different approaches to history in areas of controversy.
  • 9. Work with primary sources under direction from the module tutor.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Carry out independent study and group work, including participating in oral discussions.
  • 11. Digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.

Syllabus plan





Introduction: Theories of Nationalism

Introduction: Nationalism


Springtime of Nations: the 1848 Revolutions



The Habsburg Monarchy after 1867

The Nationalities Question in the Habsburg Monarchy


Russification and Non-Russian Nationalities under Tsarism



Peoples without a Country: Poland under Partition

Mass Politics and Nationalism in The “Western Provinces” of Tsarist Russia


Peoples without a Country: the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe



Urban Life and Politics in Central and Eastern Europe before and after the First World War

Jews and Antisemitism in Central and Eastern Europe


Balkan Crises and the Origins of WWI



The Breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the Armenian Genocide during WWI

Balkan Crises and the Origins of WWI


The First World War in Central and Eastern Europe



The Great Powers and the Reordering of Central and Eastern Europe

Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide during World War One


The Russian Revolution and Civil War on the Borderlands



The Aftermath of the First World War in Central Europe

Violence after WWI in Central and Eastern Europe


Interwar Eastern Europe: Nationalism, Fascism and the Failure of Democracy



Interwar Eastern Europe: The Situation of Minorities

Fascism and Nationalism in Interwar Eastern Europe


Soviet Nationalities Policy: An Affirmative Action Empire?



Stalinist Terror and Soviet Expansion, 1937-1941

Soviet Nationalities Policy, 1921-1941


Nazi Expansion in Central and Eastern Europe



Collaboration and Resistance in Eastern Europe during World War II

Genocide, Collaboration and Resistance in WWII


The End of Multiethnicity: The Holocaust in Central and Eastern Europe



The End of Multiethnicity: Civil Wars, Expulsions and Population Transfers

Ethnic Cleansing and Sovietisation, 1943-48


The Sovietisation of Central and Eastern Europe, 1944-1948


Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Seminars; these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar and present on a given topic in groups of 4 on 4 occasions
Guided independent study256Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan500 words1-11Verbal and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay303000 words1-11Verbal and written
Exam502 questions in 2 hours1-11Written
Group presentation2025 minutes1-11Verbal and written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (3000 words)1-11Referral/deferral period
ExamExam (2 questions in 2 hours)1-11Referral/deferral period
Group presentationScript as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes1-11Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Berend, Istvan. History Derailed: Central and Eastern Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).

Berend, Istvan. Decades of Crisis: Central and Eastern Europe before World War II (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).

Bloxham, Donald. The great game of genocide : imperialism, nationalism, and the destruction of the Ottoman Armenians  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).

Gross, Jan. Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).

Liulevicus, Vejas. War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity, And German Occupation in World War II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

Martin, Terry. The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001).Prusin, Alexander. The Lands Between: Conflict in the East European Borderlands, 1870-1992 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

Roshwald, Aviel. Ethnic nationalism and the fall of empires central Europe, Russia and the Middle East, 1914-1923. (London: Routledge, 2002).Snyder, Timothy. The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003).

Vital, David. A People Apart: The Jews in Europe, 1789-1939 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).

Wolff, Larry. The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010).

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources (19th Century Eastern Europe documents) (Documents in Russian History) (Habsburg Source Texts Archive) (Hungary in 1948-9) (Writings of East European Marxists) (Balkan History documents) (Documents on Armenian Genocide) (memoirs of Central/East European politicians during interwar period) (Translations of yizkor books of Jewish communities) (Documents on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe) (testimonies in English of survivors of 1941 pogrom in eastern Poland)

Available as distance learning?


Origin date

June 2012

Last revision date


Key words search

History, Nationalism, National Identities,  Multinational, Empire, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Balkans, Habsburg Monarchy, Russia, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Ottoman Empire, Armenia, Antisemitism, Jews, Nazism, Holocaust, Ethnic Cleansing, USSR, Sovietisation, Violence, War, Genocide