Central Europe is the region lying between the variously and vaguely defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe. In addition, Northern, Southern and Southeastern Europe may variously delimit or overlap into Central Europe. The term and widespread interest in the region itself came back into fashion after the end of the Cold War, which had divided Europe politically into East and West, with the Iron Curtain splitting "Central Europe" in half.
- 1 States
- 2 Definition
- 3 Physical geography
- 4 Central Europe behind the Iron Curtain
- 5 German term
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
StatesThe Central European states
The understanding of the concept of Central Europe is an ongoing source of controversy, varying considerably from nation to nation, and also has from time to time. This region is usually considered to include:
DefinitionThis section does not citeany references or sources. (April 2008)
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Rather than a physical entity, Central Europe is a concept of shared history which contrasts with that of the surrounding regions. Immediately to the east and southeast lie regions which had for longer periods been under the Ottoman Empire and Imperial Russia, with relics of a strong Hellenic cultural influence (eg. Cyrillic descending directly from Greek). These phenomena collectively established religions such as Eastern Orthodoxy and Uniate Catholicism, with Central Europe generally defined as an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic area. Protestantism is also wide spread in Central Europe (especially in northern Germany, Switzerland, eastern Hungary and central Romania).Historical lands and provinces in Central Europe.
Up to World War I, it was distinguished from the region immediately to its west as an area of relative political conservatism opposed to the liberalism of France and Great Britain and the influences of the French Revolution.. In the nineteenth century, while France developed into a republic and Britain was a liberal parliamentary monarchy in which the monarch had very little real power, Austria-Hungary and Prussia (later Germany), in contrast, remained conservative monarchies in which the monarch and his court played a central governmental role, while still subject to some influence by religion.
In the English language, the concept of Central Europe largely fell out of usage during Cold War, overshadowed by notions of Eastern and Western Europe. However, the term is increasingly returning to everyday usage again, partly due to the recent expansion of the European Union, but mainly through the attempt by post-Communist governments in former Eastern European lands to create national images distancing themselves from their predecessors. An example is found in one of Europe's trading blocs - CEFTA - which is labelled Central European, and yet only includes nations which were previously Communist ruled. In 1992 the founding members were Czechoslovakia (now two countries in the EU), Poland and Hungary, followed by Slovenia in 1996, Romania in 1997 and Bulgaria in 1999, while its current members include Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Moldova) .
Between the Alps and the Baltics
Geography strongly defines Central Europe's borders with its neighbouring regions to the North and South, namely Northern Europe (or Scandinavia) across the Baltic Sea, the Apennine peninsula (or Italy) across the Alps and the Balkan peninsula across the Soča-Krka-Sava-Danube line. The borders to Western Europe and Eastern Europe are geographically less defined and for this reason the cultural and historical boundaries migrate more easily West-East than South-North. The Rhine river which runs South-North through Western Germany is an exception.Carpathian countries (north to south): AT, CZR, PL, SK, HU, UA, RO, SRB
Pannonian Plain and Carpathian BasinThe Pannonian Plain, between the Alps (west), the Carpathians (north and east), and the Sava/Danube (south)
Geographically speaking, Carpathian mountains divide the European Plain in two sections: the Central Europe's Pannonian Plain in the west, and the East European Plain, which lie eastward of the Carpathians. Southwards, the Pannonian Plain is bounded by the rivers Sava and Danube- and their respective floodplains. This area mostly corresponds to the borders of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The Pannonian Plain extends into the following countries: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.
FloraThe European floristic regions
Central Europe behind the Iron Curtain
Following World War II, large parts of Europe that were culturally and historically Western became part of the Eastern bloc. Consequently, the English term Central Europe was increasingly applied only to the westernmost former Warsaw Pact countries (East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary) to specify them as communist states that were culturally tied to Western Europe. This usage continued after the end of the Warsaw Pact when these countries started to undergo transition.
The German term Mitteleuropa (or alternatively its literal translation into English, Middle Europe) is sometimes used in English to refer to an area somewhat larger than most conceptions of 'Central Europe'; it refers to territories under German(ic) cultural hegemony until World War I (encompassing Austria-Hungary and Germany in their antebellum formations but usually excluding the Baltic countries north of East Prussia). In Germany the connotation is also heavily linked to the pre-war German provinces east of the Oder-Neisse line which were lost, annexed by People's Republic of Poland and the Soviet Union, and ethnically cleansed of Germans by national and communist authorities and forces (see expulsion of Germans after World War II). In this view Bohemia, with its Western Slavic heritage combined with its historical "Sudetenland", is a core region illustrating the problems and features of the entire Central European region.
- Central European Initiative
- Central European Time
- Geographical centre of Europe
- East-Central Europe
- ^ From Visegrad to Mitteleuropa; Central Europe.(The future of the Visegrad group) | Economist (US), The | Find Articles at BNET.com
- ^ For the Record - The Washington Post - HighBeam Research
- ^ Dark Series Research by Christine Feehan
- ^ www.icpdr.org/icpdr-files/14017
- ^ Wolfgang Frey and Rainer Lösch; Lehrbuch der Geobotanik. Pflanze und Vegetation in Raum und Zeit. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, München 2004
- ^ "Central versus Eastern Europe"
- Jacques Rupnik, "In Search of Central Europe: Ten Years Later", in Gardner, Hall, with Schaeffer, Elinore & Kobtzeff, Oleg, (ed.), Central and South-central Europe in Transition, Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2000 (translated form French by Oleg Kobtzeff)
- Article 'Mapping Central Europe' in hidden europe, 5, pp. 14-15 (November 2005)
- A journal in three languages (English, German, French) dealing with the region: http://www.ece.ceu.hu
External linksLook up Central Europe in
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