What is understood by the term ‘The Balkans’ and why is this categorisation occasionally disputed? Which countries, peoples and states belong to the Balkans? What do they have in common, and where do they differ? What was Balkan Socialism (ca. 1890-1914) and what were its intellectual and organisational ties to the Second International? Who were its leading thinkers and how does their theoretical output highlight a distinct, although largely forgotten, Balkan Marxism? What were the two ‘Balkan Wars’ that are often seen as a precursor to World War I? And why did the anti-imperialist Rosa Luxemburg actually support the first of these conflicts?
In this fascinating podcast discussion, I had the pleasure of interviewing the historian Stefan Gužvica and exploring some of these questions – and many more. Stefan is based in Serbia and is currently editing his PhD dissertation into a book provisionally entitled Sickle without a Hammer: Revolution and Nation-Building in the Balkans, 1900s-1930s. We had actually planned to talk more about the 1920s and 1930s, but there was so much material that we did not really get beyond 1914. Hopefully we can do so in the near future, perhaps in the form of an All-Patron meeting.
If you are interested in Stefan’s brilliant research then you can reach out to him via his website: https://stefanguzvica.su/
Significant Figures of Balkan Socialism mentioned in the pod:
Jozsef Pogany/John Pepper
Josip Broz Tito
Georges Haupt, “Model Party: The Role and Influence of German Social Democracy in South-East Europe,” in Aspects of International Socialism, 1871-1914
Pavlos Hatzopoulos, The Balkans Beyond Nationalism and Identity: International Relations and Ideology
George D. Jackson, Comintern and Peasant in East Europe, 1919–1930
Maria Todorova, The Lost World of Socialists at Europe’s Margins: Imagining Utopia, 1870s – 1920s
Hilde Haug, Creating a Socialist Yugoslavia: Tito, Communist Leadership and the National Question
Dragan Plavšić and Andreja Živković, The Balkan Socialist Tradition and the Balkan Federation 1871-1915
Mark Mazower, The Balkans: A Short History