How the demise of the Habsburg Empire, postwar sovereignty, and new diplomatic frontiers shaped the nature of citizenship, identity, and belonging across Europe
This book is a collective portrait of twenty-one key statesmen who came of age during the Habsburg Empire. They include the cofounder of Austro-Marxism and the Austrian republic’s first foreign minister, the cofounder of the European Union after the Second World War, the founder of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, and Mussolini’s ambassador to Vienna. Some survived the First World War and the resulting geographical divisions in their homelands, and some went on to serve in politics and governments throughout Europe.
Taken together, the stories of these men offer readers a window on broad issues of European history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—chiefly, how an imperial heritage, a shared vision of statehood and nationalism, and a commitment to peaceful conflict resolution helped establish enduring loyalty and unity despite the geographical fault lines resulting from the war. As Iryna Vushko explains, their stories also offer an increasingly nuanced understanding of the achievements and failures of the Habsburg Empire.
Iryna Vushko is assistant professor of history at Princeton University and the author of The Politics of Cultural Retreat: Imperial Bureaucracy in Austrian Galicia, 1772–1867, which won the Kulczycki Book Prize in Polish Studies. She lives in Kingston, NJ.
“Lost Fatherland powerfully shows just how fundamentally many of the key figures in twentieth-century Central European history were shaped by the achievements and failures of the Habsburg Empire and its successor states. Against the backdrop of Putin’s imperialist war of aggression against Ukraine, the book is also a timely reminder of the longevity of imperial legacies in the region.”—Robert Gerwarth, author of The Vanquished: Why the First World War Failed to End
“With gentle prose and deep research, Iryna Vushko gives us the inheritance of the Habsburg monarchy. In this study of political Europeans formed by it, she deepens our understanding of the nation-state and European integration. Few monographs work so profoundly to reshape the history of the twentieth century.”—Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
“Iryna Vushko does something remarkable: by telling the story of twenty-one men, political figures who came of age in the Habsburg empire, she reconceptualizes the entire modern history of Central Europe. These men were all unusually talented—they also all failed, each in his own calamitous way. Through them we understand history anew—the afterlives of empire; the endurance of political sensibilities; and the meaning of a homeland lost.”—Marci Shore, author of The Ukrainian Night: An Intimate History of Revolution
“Iryna Vushko gives us a beautifully crafted analysis that explains—through carefully drawn biographical studies—the very diverse and often constructive ways in which the legacies of the Habsburg empire shaped the subsequent development of not only different national ideologies and cultures in Central Europe, but also the way in which Europe is thought and dreamt.”—Harold James, author of Seven Crashes: The Economic Crises That Shaped Globalization
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