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Central Europe is an area of
Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both and , and is bordered by the to the ...

Europe
between
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. Beginning with foreign exploration during the Age of Discovery, roughly from the 15th century, the concept of ''Europe'' as "the W ...

Western Europe
and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of , geographical, ethnic, cultural, and connotations. , located in Eastern Europe, is both the ...

Eastern Europe
, based on a common
historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study and the documentation of the past. Events before the History of writing#Inventions of writing, invention of writing systems ar ...

historical
,
social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology The word "Social" derives fr ...

social
and
cultural identity Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression and affiliation * Cultural identity, a per ...

cultural identity
. The
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western ...
between
Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ri ...

Catholicism
and
Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Criticism of the Catholic Church, errors in the Catholic Church. Protestants originating in the Ref ...
was a significant shaping process in the history of Central Europe. The concept of “Central Europe” appeared in the
19th century The 19th (nineteenth) century began on January 1, 1801 (), and ended on December 31, 1900 (). The 19th century was the ninth century of the . The 19th century saw much social change; was , and the and s (which also overlap with the and centu ...
. Central Europe comprised most of the territories of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western, Central Europe, Central and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Age ...
and those of the two neighboring kingdoms to the east,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
and
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
. Hungary and parts of Poland were later part of the
Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Monarchy (german: Habsburgermonarchie), or Danubian Monarchy (german: Donaumonarchie), or Habsburg Empire (german: Habsburgerreich) is a modern umbrella term In linguistics, hyponymy (from Greek language, Greek ὑπό, ''hupó'', "u ...

Habsburg Monarchy
, which also significantly shaped the history of Central Europe. Unlike their Western European counterparts, only the Habsburgs, certain states of the Holy Roman Empire, and
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
had any notable overseas
colonies In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the metropole, metropolitan ...

colonies
due to their central location and other factors. It has often been argued that one of the contributing causes of both
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
and
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
was Germany's perceived lack of overseas colonies. After the
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
, Central Europe was divided by the
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continenta ...
(as agreed by the Big Three at the
Yalta Conference The Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference and code name, codenamed Argonaut, held 4–11 February, 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union to dis ...
and the
Potsdam Conference , Ernest Bevin, Joseph Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, William D. Leahy, Joseph E. Davies Joseph Edward Davies (November 29, 1876 – May 9, 1958) was an American lawyer and diplomat. He was appointed by President Wilson to be Commissioner of Co ...

Potsdam Conference
) into two parts, the
capitalist Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for Profit (economics), profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, a price s ...

capitalist
Western Bloc The Western Bloc, also known as the Anti-Communist Bloc, Capitalist Bloc and the American Bloc, was a coalition of the countries that were allied with the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United S ...
and the
communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communist
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ( ...
. The
Berlin Wall The Berlin Wall (german: Berliner Mauer, ) was a guarded concrete that physically and ideologically divided from 1961 to 1989. Construction of the wall was commenced by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, ) on 13 August 1961. The Wall ...

Berlin Wall
was one of the most visible symbols of these artificial and forced divisions. Specifically, Stalin had advocated the creation of Eastern Europe as the "
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovere ...
'
sphere of influence In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence (SOI) is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organization has a level of cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and ...
' in Central and Eastern Europe, starting with
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
, in order to provide the Soviet Union with a
geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...
buffer zone
buffer zone
between it and the western capitalist world". Central Europe began a "strategic awakening" in the late 20th and early 21st century, with initiatives such as
Central European Defence Cooperation The Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC) is a military collaboration consisting of the Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of ...
, the
Central European Initiative The Central European Initiative (CEI) is a forum of regional cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Eu ...
(CEI),
Centrope Centrope is an Interreg IIIA project to establish a multinational region in four Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of Western Eur ...

Centrope
, and the Visegrád Four Group. This awakening was triggered by
writers A writer is a person who uses written words in different styles and techniques to communicate ideas. Writers produce different forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, short stories, books, poetry, plays, screenplays, telepl ...

writers
and other
intellectuals An intellectual is a person who engages in critical thinking Critical thinking is the analysis of facts to form a judgment. The subject is complex, and several different definitions exist, which generally include the rational, skeptical ...
who recognized the societal paralysis of decaying
dictatorships A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature ...
and felt compelled to speak up against Soviet oppression. All of the Central European countries are presently listed as being "very highly developed" by the
Human Development Index The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of , (mean years of schooling completed and expected years of schooling upon entering the education system), and indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers ...
(see List of central European countries by development indexes).


Historical perspective


Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
and
early modern period The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, adve ...

Elements of cultural unity for Northwestern,
Southwestern The points of the compass are the vectors Vector may refer to: Biology *Vector (epidemiology), an agent that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism; a disease vector *Vector (molecular biology), a DNA mole ...

Southwestern
and Central Europe were
Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ri ...

Catholicism
and
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
. However Eastern Europe, which remained
Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
, was dominated by
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...

Byzantine
cultural influence; after the
East–West Schism The East–West Schism (also known as the Great Schism or Schism of 1054) was the break of communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eatin ...
in 1054, Eastern Europe developed cultural unity and resistance to the Catholic (and later also Protestant) Western Europe within the framework of the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
,
Church Slavonic Church Slavonic (''црькъвьнословѣньскъ ѩзыкъ'', ''crĭkŭvĭnoslověnĭskŭ językŭ'', literally "Church-Slavonic language"), also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative ...
language and the
Cyrillic alphabet , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is a ...
. File:Carolingian empire 843 888.jpg,
Frankish Empire Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks ( la, Regnum Francorum), Frankish Kingdom, Frankland or Frankish Empire, was the largest in . It was ruled by the during and the . After the in 843, became the predecessor of France, and b ...

Frankish Empire
and its tributaries (AD 843–888) File:Great Moravia.svg, alt=Moravia under Svatopluk, Certain and disputed borders of
Great Moravia Great Moravia ( la, Regnum Marahensium; el, Μεγάλη Μοραβία, ''Meghálī Moravía''; cz, Velká Morava ; sk, Veľká Morava ; pl, Wielkie Morawy), or simply Moravia, was the first major state that was predominantly West Slavs, West ...

Great Moravia
under
Svatopluk I Svatopluk I or Svätopluk I, also known as Svatopluk the Great (Latin: ''Zuentepulc'', ''Zuentibald'', ''Sventopulch'', ''Zvataplug''; Old Church Slavic: Свѧтопълкъ and Transliteration, transliterated ''Svętopъłkъ''; Polish language, ...

Svatopluk I
(AD 870–894) File:Church in poland 12-13c.svg,
Kingdom of Poland Historical political entities *Kingdom of Poland "Kingdom of Poland" ( Polish: ''Królestwo Polskie'', Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was orig ...
in late 12th–13th centuries. File:Karte Böhmen unter Ottokar II.png,
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geography, geographical areas which at some point in time had a culture, cultural, ethnic gr ...
in 1273 File:Europe mediterranean 1190 cropped.jpg,
Kingdom of Hungary The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy in Central Europe that existed from the Middle Ages into the 20th century (1000–1946 with the exception of 1918–1920) and existed for almost a millennium. The Principality of Hungary emerged as a Christ ...

Kingdom of Hungary
in 1190 File:Holy Roman Empire ca.1600.svg,
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western, Central Europe, Central and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Age ...
in 1600 superimposed on modern state borders
According to Hungarian historian Jenő Szűcs, foundations of Central European history at the first millennium were in close connection with Western European development. He explained that between the 11th and 15th centuries, not only Christianization and its cultural consequences were implemented, but well-defined social features emerged in Central Europe based on Western characteristics. The keyword of Western social development after millennium was the spread of liberties and autonomies in Western Europe. These phenomena appeared in the middle of the 13th century in Central European countries. There were self-governments of towns, counties and parliaments. In 1335, under the rule of the King
Charles I of Hungary Charles I, also known as Charles Robert ( hu, Károly Róbert; hr, Karlo Robert; sk, Karol Róbert; 128816 July 1342) was King of Hungary The King of Hungary ( hu, magyar király) was the ruling head of state A head of state (or c ...

Charles I of Hungary
, the castle of
Visegrád Visegrád () is a small castle town A castle town is a settlement built adjacent to or surrounding a castle in East Sussex East Sussex is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other p ...

Visegrád
, the seat of the Hungarian monarchs was the scene of the royal summit of the
Kings of Poland Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area o ...

Kings of Poland
,
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geography, geographical areas which at some point in time had a culture, cultural, ethnic gr ...
and Hungary. They agreed to cooperate closely in the field of politics and commerce, inspiring their post-
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
successors to launch a successful
Central European initiative The Central European Initiative (CEI) is a forum of regional cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Eu ...
. In the Middle Ages, countries in Central Europe adopted
Magdeburg rights Magdeburg rights (german: Magdeburger Recht; also called Magdeburg Law) were a set of town privileges File:Square of Spisska Sobota 6.jpg, 250px, Medieval square in Spišská Sobota, Slovakia (Now Poprad). The former name of the town literally ...
.


Before World War I

Before 1870, the industrialization that had started to develop in Northwestern and Central Europe and the United States did not extend in any significant way to the rest of the world. Even in
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of , geographical, ethnic, cultural, and connotations. , located in Eastern Europe, is both the ...

Eastern Europe
, industrialization lagged far behind.
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
, for example, remained largely rural and agricultural, and its autocratic rulers kept the peasants in serfdom. The concept of Central Europe was already known at the beginning of the 19th century, but its real life began in the 20th century and immediately became an object of intensive interest. However, the very first concept mixed science, politics and economy – it was strictly connected with the intensively growing German economy and its aspirations to dominate a part of European continent called ''Mitteleuropa''. The German term denoting Central Europe was so fashionable that other languages started referring to it when indicating territories from
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many si ...

Rhine
to
Vistula The Vistula (; pl, Wisła, , german: Weichsel) is the longest river in Poland and the 9th-longest river in Europe, at in length. The drainage basin, reaching into three other nations, covers , of which is in Poland. The Vistula rises at Bar ...

Vistula
, or even
Dnieper } The Dnieper or Dnipro () is one of the major rivers of Europe 400px, Main European drainage divides (red lines) separating catchments (green regions) This page lists the principal rivers of Europe Europe is a continent A co ...

Dnieper
, and from the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the , enclosed by , , , , , , northeast , , and the . The sea stretches from to and from to . A of the Atlantic, with limited water exchange between the two water bodies, the Baltic Sea drains through the int ...

Baltic Sea
to the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather ...

Balkans
. An example of that-time vision of Central Europe may be seen in Joseph Partsch's book of 1903. On 21 January 1904, ''Mitteleuropäischer Wirtschaftsverein'' (Central European Economic Association) was established in
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
with economic integration of Germany and Austria–Hungary (with eventual extension to
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
,
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
and the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
) as its main aim. Another time, the term Central Europe became connected to the German plans of political, economic and cultural domination. The "bible" of the concept was
Friedrich Naumann Friedrich Naumann (25 March 1860 – 24 August 1919) was a German liberal politician and Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived ...
's book ''Mitteleuropa'' in which he called for an economic federation to be established after World War I. Naumann's idea was that the federation would have at its centre Germany and the
Austro-Hungarian Empire Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exer ...
but would also include all European nations outside the
Triple Entente The Triple Entente (from French ''Entente (type of alliance), entente'' meaning "friendship, understanding, agreement") describes the informal understanding between the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic and the United Kingdom of Great B ...

Triple Entente
. The concept failed after the German defeat in
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
and the
dissolution of Austria-Hungary The dissolution of Austria-Hungary was a major geopolitical event that occurred as a result of the growth of internal social contradictions and the separation of different parts of Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro ...

dissolution of Austria-Hungary
. The revival of the idea may be observed during the .


Interwar period

According to , in 1927 the Central European countries included: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Switzerland. The author uses both Human and Physical Geographical features to define Central Europe, but he doesn't take into account the legal development or the social, cultural, economic, infrastructural developments in these countries. The
interwar period In the history of the 20th century, the Interwar period lasted from 11 November 1918 to 1 September 1939 (20 years, 9 months and 21 days), the end of the First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as t ...
(1918–1938) brought a new geopolitical system, as well as economic and political problems, and the concept of Central Europe took on a different character. The centre of interest was moved to its eastern part – the countries that have (re)appeared on the map of Europe:
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Rep ...

Czechoslovakia
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
and
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
. Central Europe ceased to be the area of German aspiration to lead or dominate and became a territory of various integration movements aiming at resolving political, economic and national problems of "new" states, being a way to face German and Soviet pressures. However, the conflict of interests was too big and neither
Little Entente The Little Entente was an alliance formed in 1920 and 1921 by Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , flag_p1 = Flag of Austria-Hungar ...

Little Entente
nor
Intermarium 's post-World War I Intermarium concept ranging from the Baltic Sea, Baltic sea in the north to the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean and Black Seas in the south. (In light-green: eastern parts of Ukrainian and Belarusian lands in 1922 incorporated ...

Intermarium
(''Międzymorze'') ideas succeeded. These matters were not helped by the fact that Czechoslovakia appeared alone as the only multicultural, democratic, and liberal state among its neighbors. The
events preceding World War II in Europe The events preceding World War II in Europe are closely tied to the bellicosity of Italy, Germany and Japan, as well as the Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the ...
-- including the so-called
Western betrayal Western betrayal is the view that the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for t ...
/
Munich Agreement The Munich Agreement ( cs, Mnichovská dohoda; sk, Mníchovská dohoda; german: Münchner Abkommen) was an agreement concluded at on 30 September 1938, by , the , the , and the . It provided "cession to Germany of the Sudeten German territ ...
were very much enabled by the rising nationalism and ethnocentrism that typified that time period. The interwar period brought new elements to the concept of Central Europe. Before World War I, it embraced mainly German states (Germany,
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
), non-German territories being an area of intended German penetration and domination – German leadership position was to be the natural result of economic dominance. After the war, the Eastern part of Central Europe was placed at the centre of the concept. At that time the scientists took an interest in the idea: the International Historical Congress in
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
in 1923 was committed to Central Europe, and the 1933 Congress continued the discussions. Hungarian historian Magda Ádám wrote in her study ''Versailles System and Central Europe'' (2006): "Today we know that the bane of Central Europe was the
Little Entente The Little Entente was an alliance formed in 1920 and 1921 by Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , flag_p1 = Flag of Austria-Hungar ...

Little Entente
, military alliance of
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Rep ...

Czechoslovakia
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
and
Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Li ...
(later Yugoslavia), created in 1921 not for Central Europe's cooperation nor to fight German expansion, but in a wrong perceived notion that a completely powerless Hungary must be kept down". The avant-garde movements of Central Europe were an essential part of modernism's evolution, reaching its peak throughout the continent during the 1920s. The ''Sourcebook of Central European avantgards'' (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) contains primary documents of the avant-gardes in
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
,
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Rep ...

Czechoslovakia
,
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
, and
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
from 1910 to 1930. The manifestos and magazines of Central European radical art circles are well known to Western scholars and are being taught at primary universities of their kind in the western world.


Mitteleuropa

''
Mitteleuropa (), meaning Middle Europe, is one of the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nat ...

Mitteleuropa
'' may refer to an historical concept, or to a contemporary German definition of Central Europe. As an historical concept, the German term ''Mitteleuropa'' (or alternatively its literal translation into English, ''Middle Europe'') is an ambiguous German concept. It is sometimes used in English to refer to an area somewhat larger than most conceptions of 'Central Europe'; it refers to territories under Germanic
cultural hegemony In Marxist philosophy, cultural hegemony is the Dominance hierarchy, dominance of a culturally diverse society by the ruling class who manipulate the culture of that society—the beliefs and explanations, perceptions, Value system, values, and mor ...
until World War I (encompassing Austria–Hungary and Germany in their pre-war formations but usually excluding the
Baltic countries The Baltic states ( et, Balti riigid, Baltimaad; lv, Baltijas valstis; lt, Baltijos valstybės), also known as the Baltic countries, Baltic republics, Baltic nations, or simply the Baltics, is a geopolitical term, typically used to group the ...

Baltic countries
north of
East Prussia East Prussia (german: Ostpreußen, ; pl, Prusy Wschodnie; lt, Rytų Prūsija; la, Borussia orientalis; russian: Восточная Пруссия, Vostóchnaya Prússiya) was a of the from 1773 to 1829 and again from 1878 (with the Kingdom ...
). According to
Fritz Fischer Fritz Fischer (5 March 1908 – 1 December 1999) was a German historian best known for his analysis of the causes of World War I. In the early 1960s Fischer advanced the controversial thesis that responsibility for the outbreak of the war rested ...
''Mitteleuropa'' was a scheme in the era of the Reich of 1871–1918 by which the old imperial elites had allegedly sought to build a system of German economic, military and political domination from the northern seas to the Near East and from the Low Countries through the steppes of Russia to the Caucasus. Later on, professor Fritz Epstein argued the threat of a Slavic "Drang nach Westen" (Western expansion) had been a major factor in the emergence of a ''Mitteleuropa'' ideology before the Reich of 1871 ever came into being. In Germany the connotation was also sometimes linked to the pre-war German provinces east of the Oder-Neisse line. The term "Mitteleuropa" conjures up negative historical associations among some elderly people, although the Germans have not played an exclusively negative role in the region. Most Central European Jews embraced the enlightened German humanistic culture of the 19th century. German-speaking Jews from turn of the 20th century
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, national capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, mos ...

Vienna
,
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the List of cities and towns of Hungary, most populous city of Hungary, and the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, ninth-largest city in the European Union by population with ...

Budapest
and
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
became representatives of what many consider to be Central European culture at its best, though the Nazi version of "Mitteleuropa" destroyed this kind of culture instead. However, the term "Mitteleuropa" is now widely used again in German education and media without negative meaning, especially since the end of communism. In fact, many people from the
new states of Germany The new states of Germany () are the five re-established States of Germany, states of the former East Germany, German Democratic Republic (GDR) that unified with the West Germany, Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) with its Old states of Germany ...
do not identify themselves as being part of
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. Beginning with foreign exploration during the Age of Discovery, roughly from the 15th century, the concept of ''Europe'' as "the W ...

Western Europe
and therefore prefer the term "Mitteleuropa".


Central Europe during World War II

During World War II, Central Europe was largely occupied by Nazi Germany. Many areas were a battle area and were devastated. The mass murder of the Jews depopulated many of their centuries-old settlement areas or settled other people there and their culture was wiped out. Both
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming Cha ...

Adolf Hitler
and
Joseph Stalin Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin . ( – 5 March 1953) was a Georgia (country), Georgian revolutionary and the ruler of the Soviet Union from 1927 until 1953. He served as both General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922 ...
diametrically opposed the centuries-old Habsburg principles of "live and let live" with regard to ethnic groups, peoples, minorities, religions, cultures and languages and tried to assert their own ideologies and power interests in Central Europe. There were various Allied plans for state order in Central Europe for post-war. While Stalin tried to get as many states under his control as possible,
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, Winston Churchill in the Second World War, during the Second World War, ...

Winston Churchill
preferred a Central European Danube Confederation to counter these countries against Germany and Russia. There were also plans to add Bavaria and Württemberg to an enlarged Austria. There were also various resistance movements around
Otto von Habsburg Otto von Habsburg (given names: ''Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius''; 20 November 1912 4 July 2011), was the last crown prince of Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, of ...

Otto von Habsburg
that pursued this goal. The group around the Austrian priest
Heinrich Maier Heinrich Maier, DDr. (; born 16 February 1908 in Großweikersdorf), was executed on 22 March 1945 as the last victim of Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Naz ...
also planned in this direction, which also successfully helped the Allies to wage war by, among other things, forwarding production sites and plans for
V-2 rocket #REDIRECT V-2 rocket #REDIRECT V-2 rocket#REDIRECT V-2 rocket The V-2 (german: Vergeltungswaffe 2, "Retribution Weapon 2"), with the technical name '' Aggregat 4'' (A4), was the world's first long-range guided ballistic missile. The missile, ...

V-2 rocket
s,
Tiger tankTiger tank may refer to: *Tiger I The Tiger I (), a German heavy tank of World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involve ...
s and aircraft to the USA. So Otto von Habsburg also tried to detach Hungary from its grasp by Nazi Germany and the USSR. There were various considerations to prevent German power in Europe after the war. Churchill's idea of reaching the area around Vienna and Budapest before the Russians via an operation from the Adriatic had not been approved by the Western Allied chiefs of staff. As a result of the military situation at the end of the war, Stalin's plans prevailed and much of Central Europe came under Russian control.


Central Europe behind the Iron Curtain

Following
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
, large parts of Europe that were culturally and historically Western became part of the
Eastern bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ...
. Czech author
Milan Kundera Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city in Italy after Rome. Milan served as the capital of the Western Roman Empire, the Duchy of Milan an ...

Milan Kundera
(emigrant to France) thus wrote in 1984 about the "Tragedy of Central Europe" in the
New York Review of Books New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. New or NEW may refer to: Music * New, singer of K-pop group The Boyz Boyz or The Boyz may refer to: Music Bands *The Boyz (German band), a German boy band of t ...
. The boundary between the two blocks was called the
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continenta ...
. 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 post-World War II period brought blocking of research on Central Europe in the
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ( ...
countries, as its every result proved the dissimilarity of Central Europe, which was inconsistent with the
Stalinist Stalinism is the means of governing and policies which were implemented in the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a Federalism, federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia tha ...
doctrine. On the other hand, the topic became popular in Western Europe and the United States, much of the research being carried out by immigrants from Central Europe. At the end of communism, publicists and historians in Central Europe, especially the anti-communist opposition, returned to their research. According to Karl A. Sinnhuber (''Central Europe: Mitteleuropa: Europe Centrale: An Analysis of a Geographical Term'') most Central European states were unable to preserve their political independence and became Soviet Satellite Europe. Besides
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
, only the marginal European states of
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
and
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...
preserved their political sovereignty to a certain degree, being left out of any military alliances in Europe. The opening of the
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continenta ...
between Austria and Hungary at the Pan-European Picnic on 19 August 1989 then set in motion a peaceful chain reaction, at the end of which there was no longer an
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
and the Eastern Bloc had disintegrated. It was the largest escape movement from East Germany since the Berlin Wall was built in 1961. After the picnic, which was based on an idea by
Otto von Habsburg Otto von Habsburg (given names: ''Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius''; 20 November 1912 4 July 2011), was the last crown prince of Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, of ...

Otto von Habsburg
to test the reaction of the USSR and
Mikhail Gorbachev Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (born 2 March 1931) is a Russian and former Soviet politician, lawyer, and statesman. The List of leaders of the Soviet Union, eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, he was the General Secretary of the C ...

Mikhail Gorbachev
to an opening of the border, tens of thousands of media-informed East Germans set off for Hungary. The leadership of the GDR in East Berlin did not dare to completely block the borders of their own country and the USSR did not respond at all. This broke the bracket of the Eastern Bloc and Central Europe subsequently became free from communism.


Roles

According to American professor Ronald Tiersky, the 1991 summit held in
Visegrád Visegrád () is a small castle town A castle town is a settlement built adjacent to or surrounding a castle in East Sussex East Sussex is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other p ...

Visegrád
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
and attended by the Poland, Polish, Hungary, Hungarian and Czechoslovakia, Czechoslovak presidents was hailed at the time as a major breakthrough in Central European cooperation, but the Visegrád Group became a vehicle for coordinating Central Europe's road to the European Union, while development of closer ties within the region languished. American professor Peter J. Katzenstein described Central Europe as a way station in a Europeanization process that marks the transformation process of the Visegrád Group countries in different, though comparable ways. According to him, in Germany's contemporary public discourse "Central European identity" refers to the civilizational divide between Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. He says there is no precise, uncontestable way to decide whether the Baltic states, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, or Bulgaria are parts of Central Europe.


Definitions

Rather than a physical entity, Central Europe is a concept of shared history that contrasts with that of the surrounding regions. The issue of how to name and define the Central European area is subject to debates. Very often, the definition depends on the nationality and historical perspective of its author.


Academic

The main proposed regional definitions, gathered by Polish historian Jerzy Kłoczowski, include: * West-Central and East-Central Europe – this conception, presented in 1950, distinguishes two regions in Central Europe: German West-Centre, with imperial tradition of the ''Reich'', and the East-Centre covered by variety of nations ''from
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
to Greece'', placed between great empires of Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union. * Central Europe as the area of cultural heritage of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth – Ukraine, Ukrainian, Belarusian and Lithuanian historians, in cooperation (since 1990) with Poland, Polish historians, insist on the importance of the concept. * Central Europe as a region connected to the western world, Western civilisation for a very long time, including countries such as the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Kingdom of Croatia (Habsburg), Kingdom of Croatia,
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western, Central Europe, Central and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Age ...
, later German Empire and the
Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Monarchy (german: Habsburgermonarchie), or Danubian Monarchy (german: Donaumonarchie), or Habsburg Empire (german: Habsburgerreich) is a modern umbrella term In linguistics, hyponymy (from Greek language, Greek ὑπό, ''hupó'', "u ...

Habsburg Monarchy
, the
Kingdom of Hungary The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy in Central Europe that existed from the Middle Ages into the 20th century (1000–1946 with the exception of 1918–1920) and existed for almost a millennium. The Principality of Hungary emerged as a Christ ...

Kingdom of Hungary
and the Crown of Bohemia. Central Europe understood in this way borders on
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
and South-Eastern Europe, but the exact frontier of the region is difficult to determine. * Central Europe as the area of cultural heritage of the Habsburg Empire (later Austria-Hungary) – a concept which is popular in regions along the river Danube:
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Slovenia, large parts of Croatia,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
and Serbia, also smaller parts of
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
and Ukraine. In
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
, the narrowing of Central Europe into former Habsburg lands is not popular. * A concept underlining the links connecting Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine with
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
and treating the Russian Empire together with the whole Slavic peoples, Slavic Eastern Orthodox Church, Orthodox population as one entity – this position is taken by the
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
n historiography. * A concept putting the accent on links with the West, especially from the 19th century and the grand period of liberation and formation of Nation-states – this idea is represented by the South-Eastern Europe, South-Eastern states, which prefer the enlarged concept of the "East Centre" expressing their links with Western culture. Former University of Vienna professor Lonnie R. Johnson points out criteria to distinguish Central Europe from Western Europe, Western, Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe: * One criterion for defining Central Europe is the frontiers of medieval empires and kingdoms that largely correspond to the religious frontiers between the Catholic Church, Catholic West and the Eastern Orthodox Church, Orthodox East. The pagans of Central Europe were converted to Catholicism while in Southeastern Europe, Southeastern and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of , geographical, ethnic, cultural, and connotations. , located in Eastern Europe, is both the ...

Eastern Europe
they were brought into the fold of the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
. * Multinational empires were a characteristic of Central Europe.
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
and
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
, small and medium-size states today, were empires during their early histories. The historical
Kingdom of Hungary The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy in Central Europe that existed from the Middle Ages into the 20th century (1000–1946 with the exception of 1918–1920) and existed for almost a millennium. The Principality of Hungary emerged as a Christ ...

Kingdom of Hungary
was until 1918 three times larger than Hungary is today, while Poland was the largest state in Europe in the 16th century. Both these kingdoms housed a wide variety of different peoples. He also thinks that Central Europe is a dynamic historical concept, not a static spatial one. For example, Lithuania, a fair share of Belarus and western Ukraine are in
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of , geographical, ethnic, cultural, and connotations. , located in Eastern Europe, is both the ...

Eastern Europe
today, but years ago they were in Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Johnson's study on Central Europe received acclaim and positive reviews in the scientific community. However, according to Romanian researcher Maria Bucur this very ambitious project suffers from the weaknesses imposed by its scope (almost 1600 years of history).


Encyclopedias, gazetteers, dictionaries

''The Columbia Encyclopedia'' defines Central Europe as: Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. The World Factbook uses a similar definition and adds also Slovenia. Encarta Encyclopedia and Encyclopædia Britannica do not clearly define the region, but Encarta places the same countries into Central Europe in its individual articles on countries, adding Slovenia in "south central Europe". The German Encyclopaedia ''Meyers Grosses Taschenlexikon'' (''Meyers Big Pocket Encyclopedia''), 1999, defines Central Europe as the central part of Europe with no precise borders to the East and West. The term is mostly used to denominate the territory between the Schelde to Vistula (river), Vistula and from the Danube to the Moravian Gate. Usually the countries considered to be Central European are
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
, Croatia, the Czech Republic,
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
, Liechtenstein,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
; in the broader sense
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
and Serbia too, occasionally also
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
, the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
, and Luxembourg. According to ''Meyers Enzyklopädisches Lexikon'', Central Europe is a part of Europe composed of
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
,
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
,
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Rep ...

Czechoslovakia
,
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
, Luxembourg,
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
and
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
, and northern marginal regions of Italy and Yugoslavia (northern states – Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia), as well as northeastern France. The German (Standing Committee on Geographical Names), which develops and recommends rules for the uniform use of geographical names, proposes two sets of boundaries. The first follows international borders of current countries. The second subdivides and includes some countries based on cultural criteria. In comparison to some other definitions, it is broader, including Luxembourg, Croatia, the Baltic states, and in the second sense, parts of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Italy, and France.


Geographical

There is no general agreement either on what geographic area constitutes Central Europe, nor on how to further subdivide it geographically. At times, the term "Central Europe" denotes a geographic definition as the Danube region in the heart of the continent, including the language and culture areas which are today included in the states of Croatia, the Czech Republic,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and usually also
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
and
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
, but ''never'' Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union towards the Ural mountains.


Governmental and standards organisations

The terminology EU11 countries refer the Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern and Baltic states, Baltic European member states which accessed in 2004 and after: in 2004 the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, and the Slovak Republic; in 2007 Bulgaria, Romania; and in 2013 Croatia.


Map gallery

File:Central Europe Katzenstein.png, Central Europe according to Peter J. Katzenstein (1997)
File:Visegrad group countries.png, According to ''The Economist'' and Ronald Tiersky, a strict definition of Central Europe means the Visegrád Group File:Central Europe (Lonnie R. Johnson)2.PNG, Map of Central Europe, according to Lonnie R. Johnson (2011) File:Central-Europe-Encarta.png, Central European countries in Encarta Encyclopedia (2009)
File:Central Europe (Meyers Grosses Taschenlexikon).PNG, The Central European Countries according to Meyers Grosses Taschenlexikon (1999):
File:Central Europe (Brockhaus).PNG, Middle Europe (Brockhaus Enzyklopädie, 1998) File:Central-Europe-SwanseaUniv.png, Central Europe according to Swansea University professors Robert Bideleux and Ian Jeffries (1998) File:Central Europe (by E. Schenk).PNG, Central Europe, as defined by E. Schenk (1950) File:Central Europe (by A.Mutton).PNG, Central Europe, according to Alice F. A. Mutton in ''Central Europe. A Regional and Human Geography'' (1961) File:Central Europe (Mayers Enzyklopaedisches Lexikon).PNG, Central Europe according to Meyers Enzyklopaedisches Lexikon (1980)


States

The comprehension of the concept of ''Central Europe'' is an ongoing source of controversy, though the Visegrád Group constituents are almost always included as ''de facto'' Central European countries. Although views on which countries belong to Central Europe are vastly varied, according to many sources (see section #Definitions, Definitions) the region includes the states listed in the sections below. *
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
*Czech Republic *
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
*
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
*Liechtenstein *
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
*Slovakia *Slovenia *
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
Depending on context, Central European countries are sometimes grouped as Eastern or Western European countries, collectively or individually but some place them in Eastern Europe instead: for instance Austria can be referred to as Central European, as well as Eastern European or Western European and Slovenia can sometimes be placed in either Southeastern or Eastern Europe.


Other countries and regions

Some sources also add neighbouring countries for historical reasons (the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austro-Hungarian and German Empires, and modern Baltic states), or based on geographical and/or cultural reasons: *Croatia (alternatively placed in Southeast Europe) *
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
(Transylvania, along with Banat, Crișana, and Maramureș as well as BukovinaKlaus Peter Berger
The Creeping Codification of the New Lex Mercatoria
Kluwer Law International, 2010, p. 132
) *
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
(Kaliningrad Oblast) *Serbia (primarily Vojvodina and Zemun, Northern Belgrade) *Ukraine (Zakarpattia Oblast, Transcarpathia, Galicia (Eastern Europe), Galicia and Northern Bukovina) *Luxembourg. The Baltic states, geographically in Northern Europe, have been considered part of Central Europe in the German tradition of the term, ''
Mitteleuropa (), meaning Middle Europe, is one of the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nat ...

Mitteleuropa
''. Benelux countries are generally considered a part of Western Europe, rather than Central Europe. Nevertheless, they are occasionally mentioned in the Central European context due to cultural, historical and linguistic ties. Some regions of neighbouring states may sometimes be included in Central Europe: *Italy (South Tyrol, Trentino, Trieste and Gorizia, Friuli, Veneto full or in part, occasionally Lombardy or all of Northern Italy) *France (Alsace, German Lorraine, Franconian Lorraine, occasionally the whole of Lorraine, Franche-Comté, the Ardennes and Savoy) *
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
(the Ardennes).


Geography

Geography defines Central Europe's natural borders with the neighbouring regions to the north across the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the , enclosed by , , , , , , northeast , , and the . The sea stretches from to and from to . A of the Atlantic, with limited water exchange between the two water bodies, the Baltic Sea drains through the int ...

Baltic Sea
, namely Northern Europe (or Scandinavia), and to the south across the Alps, the Apennine peninsula (or Italy), and the Balkan peninsula across the Soča-Krka (Sava), Krka-Sava-Danube line. The borders to
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. Beginning with foreign exploration during the Age of Discovery, roughly from the 15th century, the concept of ''Europe'' as "the W ...

Western Europe
and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of , geographical, ethnic, cultural, and connotations. , located in Eastern Europe, is both the ...

Eastern Europe
are geographically less defined, and for this reason the Culture, cultural and historical boundaries migrate more easily west–east than south–north. The river
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many si ...

Rhine
, which runs south–north through Western Germany, is an exception. Southwards, the Pannonian Plain is bounded by the rivers Sava and Danube – and their respective floodplains. The Pannonian Plain stretches over the following countries:
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
, Croatia,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia, and touches borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ukraine ("peri- Pannonian states"). As southeastern division of the Eastern Alps, the Dinaric Alps extend for 650 kilometres along the coast of the Adriatic Sea (northwest-southeast), from the Julian Alps in the northwest down to the Šar-Korab massif, north–south. According to the Free University of Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, this Dinaric Alps, mountain chain is classified as Alps, South Central European. The city of Trieste in this area, for example, expressly sees itself as a città mitteleuropea. This is particularly because it lies at the interface between the Romance languages, Latin, Slavs, Slavic, Culture of German-speaking Europe, Germanic, Culture of Greece, Greek and Jewish culture on the one hand and the geographical area of the Mediterranean and the Alps on the other. A geographical and cultural assignment is made. The Central European Phytochorion, flora region stretches from Central France (the Massif Central) to Central
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
(Carpathians) and Southern Scandinavia.


Demography

Central Europe is one of the continent's most populous regions. It includes countries of varied sizes, ranging from tiny Liechtenstein to Germany, the largest European country by population (that is entirely placed in Europe). Demographic figures for countries entirely located within notion of Central Europe ("the core countries") number around 165 million people, out of which around 82 million are residents of
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
. Other populations include:
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
with around 38.5 million residents, Czech Republic at 10.5 million,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
at 10 million,
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
with 8.8 million,
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
with 8.5 million, Slovakia at 5.4 million, and Liechtenstein at a bit less than 40,000. If the countries which are occasionally included in Central Europe were counted in, partially or in whole – Croatia (4.3 million), Slovenia (2 million, 2014 estimate),
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
(20 million), Lithuania (2.9 million), Latvia (2 million), Estonia (1.3 million), Serbia (7.1 million) – it would contribute to the rise of between 25 and 35 million, depending on whether regional or integral approach was used. If smaller, western and eastern historical parts of Central Europe would be included in the demographic corpus, further 20 million people of different nationalities would also be added in the overall count, it would surpass the 200 million people figure.


Economy


Currencies

Currently, the members of the Eurozone include Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland use their currencies (Croatian kuna, Czech koruna, Hungarian forint, Polish złoty), but are obliged to adopt the Euro.
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
uses its own currency – Swiss franc, Serbia too (Serbian dinar), as well as Romania (Romanian leu).


Human Development Index

In 2018, Switzerland topped the HDI list among Central European countries, also ranking #2 in the world. Serbia rounded out the list at #11 (67 world).


Globalisation

The Globalisation index, index of globalization in Central European countries (2016 data): Switzerland topped this list as well (#1 world).


Prosperity Index

Legatum Prosperity Index demonstrates an average and high level of prosperity in Central Europe (2018 data). Switzerland topped the index (#4 world).


Corruption

Most countries in Central Europe tend to score above the average in the Corruption Perceptions Index (2018 data), led by Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.


Infrastructure

Industrialisation occurred early in Central Europe. That caused construction of rail and other types of infrastructure.


Rail

Central Europe contains the continent's earliest railway systems, whose greatest expansion was recorded in Austria-Hungary, Austro-Hungarian and German Empire, German territories between 1860-1870s. By the mid-19th century Berlin, Vienna, and Buda/Pest were focal points for network lines connecting industrial areas of Saxony, Silesia, Bohemia, Moravia and Lower Austria with the Baltic (Kiel, Szczecin) and Adriatic (Rijeka, Trieste). Rail infrastructure in Central Europe remains the densest in the world. Railway density, with total length of lines operated (km) per 1,000 km2, is the highest in the Czech Republic (198.6), Poland (121.0), Slovenia (108.0), Germany (105.5), Hungary (98.7), Serbia (87.3), Slovakia (73.9) and Croatia (72.5). when compared with most of Europe and the rest of the world.


River transport and canals

Before the first railroads appeared in the 1840s, river transport constituted the main means of communication and trade. Earliest canals included Plauen Canal (1745), Finow Canal, and also Begej, Bega Canal (1710) which connected Timișoara to Novi Sad and Belgrade via Danube. The most significant achievement in this regard was the facilitation of navigability on Danube from the Black sea to Ulm in the 19th century.


Branches

Compared to most of Europe, the economies of Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland tend to demonstrate List of countries by economic complexity, high complexity. Industrialisation has reached Central Europe relatively early: The Czech lands (1797), Luxembourg and Germany by 1860, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland by 1870, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia by 1880.


Agriculture

Central European countries are some of the most significant food producers in the world. Germany is the world's largest hops producer with 34.27% share in 2010,Gnel Gabrielyan,
Domestic and Export Price Formation of U.S. Hops
'' School of Economic Sciences at Washington State University. PDF file, direct download 220 KB. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
third producer of rye and barley, 5th rapeseed producer, sixth largest milk producer, and fifth largest potato producer. Poland is the world's largest triticale producer, second largest producer of raspberries, Ribes, currants, third largest of rye, the fifth apple and buckwheat producer, and seventh largest producer of potatoes. The Czech Republic is world's fourth largest hops producer and 8th producer of triticale. Hungary is world's fifth hops and seventh largest triticale producer. Serbia is world's second largest producer of plums and second largest of Raspberry, raspberries.http://pod2.stat.gov.rs/ObjavljenePublikacije/G2012/pdf/G20122007.pdf Slovenia is world's sixth hops producer.


Business

Central European business has a regional organisation, Central European Business Association (CEBA), founded in 1996 in New York as a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting business opportunities within Central Europe and supporting the advancement of professionals in America with a Central European background.


Tourism

Central European countries, especially Austria, Croatia, Germany and Switzerland are some of the most competitive tourism destinations. Poland is presently a major destination for outsourcing.


Outsourcing destination

Kraków, Warsaw, and Wrocław (Poland),
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
and Brno (Czech Republic),
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the List of cities and towns of Hungary, most populous city of Hungary, and the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, ninth-largest city in the European Union by population with ...

Budapest
(Hungary), Bucharest (Romania), Bratislava (Slovakia), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Belgrade (Serbia) and Zagreb (Croatia) are among the world's top 100 outsourcing destinations.


Education


Languages

Various languages are taught in Central Europe, with certain languages being more popular in different countries.


Education performance

Student performance has varied across Central Europe, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment. In the 2012 study, countries scored medium, below or over the average scores in three fields studied.


Higher education


Universities

The first university established east of France and north of the Alps was in
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
in 1348 by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor. The Charles University was modeled upon the University of Paris and initially included the faculty of law, medicine, philosophy, and theology.


Central European University

In 1991, Ernest Gellner proposed the establishment of a truly Central European institution of higher learning in Prague (1991-1995). Eventually, the Central European University (CEU) project is taken on and financially supported by the Hungarian philanthropist George Soros, who had provided an endowment of US$880 million, making the university one of the wealthiest in Europe. For example, during the academic year 2013/2014, the CEU had 1,381 students from 93 countries and 388 faculty members from 58 countries. Consequently, the CEU becomes one of the leading graduate-level, English-language universities in Europe promoting a distinctively Central European perspective whilst emphasizing academic rigor, applied research, and academic honesty and integrity. In 2019, the Central European University leadership announced their preparatory work on moving CEU to Vienna due to socio-political and cultural constraints in Hungary.


Culture and society


Research

Research centres of Central European literature include Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Purdue University, and Central European Studies Programme (CESP), Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.


Architecture


Religion

Central European countries are mostly Catholic Church, Catholic (Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia) or historically both Catholic and Protestant, (Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland). Large Protestant groups include Lutheran, Calvinism, Calvinist, and the Moravian Church, Unity of the Brethren affiliates. Significant populations of Eastern Catholicism and Old Catholicism are also prevalent throughout Central Europe. Central Europe has been the center of the Protestant movement for centuries, with the majority of Protestants suppressed and annihilated during the Counterreformation. Historically, people in Bohemia in today's Czech Republic were one of the very first Protestants in Europe. As a result of the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western ...
following the Bohemian Revolt, many Czechs were either killed, executed (see for Old Town Square execution), forcibly turned into Roman Catholics, or emigrated to Scandinavia and the Low Countries. In the aftermath of the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western ...
, the number of inhabitants in the Kingdom of Bohemia decreased from three million to only 800,000 due to multiple factors, including devastating ongoing battles such as the significant Battle of White Mountain and the Battle of Prague (1648). However, in recent years, most Czechs report as overwhelmingly non-religious, with some describing themselves as Catholic (10.3%). Before the Holocaust (1941–45), there was also a sizeable Ashkenazi Jewish community in the region, numbering approximately 16.7 million people. Currently, a number of Central European countries present themselves as more secular or non-religious, including a growing number of self-identified atheists, undeclared, and irreligion, non-religious people. For example, people in the Czech Republic report the following figures (non-religious 34.2% and undeclared 45.2%), meanwhile persons in Germany (non-religious 38%), and Slovenia (atheist 14.7%), Luxembourg (23.4% non-religious), Switzerland (20.1%), Hungary (27.2% undeclared, 16.7% "non-religious" and 1.5% atheists), Slovakia (atheists and non-religious 13.4%, "not specified" 10.6%) Austria (19.7% of "other or none"), Liechtenstein (10.6% with no religion), Croatia (4%) and Poland (3% of non-believers/agnostics and 1% of undeclared).


Cuisine

Central European cuisine has evolved through centuries due to social and political change. Most countries share many dishes. The most popular dishes typical to Central Europe are sausages and cheeses, where the earliest evidence of cheesemaking in the archaeological record dates back to 5,500 BCE (Kuyavia region, Poland). Other foods widely associated with Central Europe are goulash and beer. The list of countries by beer consumption per capita is led by the Czech Republic, followed by
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
and
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
.
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
comes 5th, Croatia 7th and Slovenia 13th.


Human rights

Generally, the countries in the region are progressive on the issue of human rights: death penalty is illegal in all of them, corporal punishment is outlawed in most of them and people of both genders can vote in elections. Nevertheless, Central European countries struggle to adopt new generations of human rights, such as same-sex marriage. Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland also have a history of participation in the CIA's extraordinary rendition and detention program, according to the Open Society Foundation.


Literature

Regional writing tradition revolves around the turbulent history of the region, as well as its cultural diversity. Its existence is sometimes challenged. Specific courses on Central European literature are taught at Stanford University, Harvard University and Jagiellonian University The as well as cultural magazines dedicated to regional literature. Angelus Central European Literature Award is an award worth 150,000.00 PLN (about $50,000 or £30,000) for writers originating from the region. Likewise, the Vilenica International Literary Festival, Vilenica International Literary Prize is awarded to a Central European author for "outstanding achievements in the field of literature and essay writing."


Media


Sport

There is a number of Central European Sport events and leagues. They include: *Central European Tour Miskolc GP (Hungary)* *Central European Tour Budapest GP (Hungary) *Central Europe Rally (Romania and Hungary)* *Central European Football League (Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey) *Central European International Cup (Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Switzerland and Yugoslavia; 1927–1960) *Central Europe Throwdown* Football is one of the most popular sports. Countries of Central Europe hosted several major competitions. Germany hosted two FIFA World Cups (1974 FIFA World Cup, 1974 and 2006 FIFA World Cup, 2006) and the UEFA Euro 1988. Yugoslavia hosted the UEFA Euro 1976 before the competition expanded to 8 teams. Recently, the UEFA Euro 2008, 2008 and UEFA Euro 2012, 2012 UEFA European Championships were held in Austria & Switzerland and Poland & Ukraine respectively. The UEFA Euro 2024 will be hosted by Germany.


Politics


Organisations

Central Europe is a birthplace of regional political organisations: *Visegrád Group *
Central European Defence Cooperation The Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC) is a military collaboration consisting of the Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of ...
*Three Seas Initiative *
Centrope Centrope is an Interreg IIIA project to establish a multinational region in four Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of Western Eur ...

Centrope
*
Central European Initiative The Central European Initiative (CEI) is a forum of regional cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Eu ...
*Middleeuropean Initiative *Central European Free Trade Agreement Visegrad group countries.svg, Visegrád Group CEDC.svg,
Central European Defence Cooperation The Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC) is a military collaboration consisting of the Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of ...
Three Seas Initiative.svg, Three Seas Initiative CEI members.svg, Central European Initiative CEFTA 1992.PNG, CEFTA founding states CEFTA 2003.PNG, CEFTA members in 2003, before joining the EU Europe-cefta-map.png, Current CEFTA members


Democracy Index

Central Europe is a home to some of world's oldest democracies. However, most of them have been impacted by totalitarianism, particularly Fascism and Nazism. Germany and Italy occupied all Central European countries, except Switzerland. In all occupied countries, the Axis powers suspended democracy and installed puppet regimes loyal to the occupation forces. Also, they forced conquered countries to apply racial laws and formed military forces for helping German and Italian struggle against Communists. After
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
, almost the whole of Central Europe (the Eastern and Middle part) was occupied by Communism, Communists. Communism also banned democracy and free elections, and human rights did not exist in Communist countries. Most of Central Europe had been occupied and later allied with the Soviet Union, often against their will through forged referendum (e.g., 1946 Polish people's referendum, Polish people's referendum in 1946) or force (northeast Germany, Poland, Hungary et alia). Nevertheless, these experiences have been dealt in most of them. Most of Central European countries score very highly in the Democracy Index.


Global Peace Index

In spite of its turbulent history, Central Europe is currently one of world's safest regions. Most Central European countries are in top 20%.


Central European Time

The time zone used in most parts of the European Union is a standard time which is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time. It is commonly called Central European Time because it has been first adopted in central Europe (by year): * Hungary * Slovakia * Czech Republic * Germany * Austria * Poland (1893) *Serbia (1884) * Slovenia * Switzerland * Liechtenstein


In popular culture

Central Europe is mentioned in the 35th episode of Lovejoy, entitled "The Prague Sun", filmed in 1992. While walking over the well-regarded and renowned Charles Bridge in
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
, the main character, Lovejoy says: " I've never been to Prague before. Well, it is one of the great unspoiled cities in Central Europe. Notice: I said: "Central", not "Eastern"! The Czechs are a bit funny about that, they think of Eastern Europeans as ''turnip heads''." Wes Anderson's Oscar-winning film The Grand Budapest Hotel a fictional grand hotel located somewhere in Central Europe is in actuality modeled on the Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. The film, a generous and yet fantastic celebration of the 1920s and 1930s Central Europe with its artistic splendor and societal sensibilities.


See also

*Central and Eastern Europe *
Central European Initiative The Central European Initiative (CEI) is a forum of regional cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Eu ...
*Central European Time (CET) *Central European University *East-Central Europe *Eurovoc *Geographical midpoint of Europe *Life zones of central Europe *Międzymorze (Intermarum) *
Mitteleuropa (), meaning Middle Europe, is one of the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nat ...

Mitteleuropa


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * *
Shared Pasts in Central and Southeast Europe, 17th–21st Centuries. Eds. G. Demeter, P. Peykovska. 2015


Further reading

* Ágh, Attila. ''Declining Democracy in East-Central Europe: The Divide in the EU and Emerging Hard Populism'' (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019). * Baldersheim, Harald, ed. ''Local democracy and the processes of transformation in East-Central Europe'' (Routledge, 2019). * Brophy, James M. "Bookshops, Forbidden Print and Urban Political Culture in Central Europe, 1800–1850." ''German History'' 35.3 (2017): 403–430. * Case, Holly. "The strange politics of federative ideas in East-Central Europe." ''Journal of Modern History'' 85.4 (2013): 833–866. * Centre of Central European Studies, ''Agrarianism in Central and Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries'' (2013
online review
* Donert, Celia, Emily Greble, and Jessica Wardhaugh. "New Scholarship on Central and Eastern Europe." ''Contemporary European History'' 26.3 (2017): 507-507. DOI
New Scholarship on Central and Eastern Europe
* Gardner, Hall, ed. ''Central and South-central Europe in Transition'' (Praeger, 2000) * * Kenney, Padraic. "What is the history of 1989? New scholarship from East-Central Europe." ''East European Politics & Societies'' (1999), 13#2 pp 419–431. * Lederer, David. ''Early Modern Central European History'' (2011
online review by Linnéa Rowlatt
* Margreiter, Klaus. "The Notion of Nobility and the Impact of Ennoblement on Early Modern Central Europe." ''Central European History'' 52.3 (2019): 382–401. * Tieanu, Alexandra. "Shared Culture, Peace and Bridging: Western Influences on the Dissident Idea of Central Europe in the Communist States during the 1980s." ''Valahian Journal of Historical Studies'' 20 (2013): 215–232. * Vachudova, Milada Anna. "From competition to polarization in central Europe: How populists change party systems and the European Union." ''Polity'' 51.4 (2019): 689–706
online
* Vachudova, Milada Anna. "Ethnopopulism and democratic backsliding in Central Europe." ''East European Politics'' 36.3 (2020) pp: 318–340
online
* Zimmerman, Andrew. "Race against Revolution in Central and Eastern Europe: From Hegel to Weber, from Rural Insurgency to “Polonization”." ''East Central Europe'' 43.1-2 (2016): 14–40. * 'Mapping Central Europe' i
hidden europe
5, pp. 14–15 (November 2005)


External links


''Journal of East Central Europe''Central European Political Science Association's journal "Politics in Central Europe"CEU Political Science Journal (PSJ)Central European Journal of International and Security Studies

Central European Political Studies Review
*
Maps of Europe and European countriesCENTRAL EUROPE 2020Central Europe Economy
{{Authority control Central Europe, Regions of Europe