Little Dictators by Antony Polonsky
Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on the little dictators by antony polonsky. Although the mentioned period in history is by many standards turbulent, with Great Depression, the rise of fascism and Nazi movement in Germany and development of Soviet Russia, for peoples of Eastern Europe that same period is a simple struggle for prosperity and a time to mold new countries that were a consequence of World War I.Bloody WWI ended one era in European history. When it ended the monarchies of Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey seized to exist and gave way to a score of new countries in the European East. Those new nations differed in many ways. Some, like Czechoslovakia, were to some extent industrialized and developed. Others, and especially Bulgaria were on the opposite end of the spectrum. There was no religious unity in the region- Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia were Catholic, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia predominantly Orthodox. Finally, in a political sense, Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria were monarchies and Poland and Czechoslovakia republics. All those would prove to be serious obstacles in two decades that followed the formation of new countries.Polonsky, while acknowledging these differences, emphasizes the importance of serfdom in the economic development of Eastern Europe. Before WWI the areas that would become new nations were highly agricultural with distinct differences between landlords and serfs. The system that existed for centuries prior was in many ways a tradition that persisted even after serfdom was abolished in Russia, Prussia and Austria in the mid-19th century. The boundary between wealthy landowners and poor peasantry was very sharply drawn and there was no crossing over. In those circumstances, the middle class was non-existent and it only began forming when new states needed people to run governmental offices. .All six countries Polonsky talks about tried to undo the consequences of serfdom through land reforms that, in the end, did not work.