War Before Wars: Nationalism and Violence in the Balkans, 1912-1913

Propaganda postcard depicting the capture of Prilep by the Serbian Army during the Balkan War in 1912. Credit: Wiki Commons

Cathie Carmichael, a professor of European History at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, discusses the political unrest that plagued the Balkans on the eve of the First World War. Professor Carmichael took part in an international workshop organized by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, entitled, “Nationalism in the History of the Holocaust, Genocide and Mass Violence.”



This season of the Tel Aviv Review is made possible by The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, which promotes humanistic, democratic, and liberal values in the social discourse in Israel.


Tel Aviv Review is also supported by the Public Discourse Grant from the Israel Institute, which is dedicated to strengthening the field of Israel Studies in order to promote knowledge and enhance understanding of modern Israel.

1 comment on “War Before Wars: Nationalism and Violence in the Balkans, 1912-1913

  1. Greg Pollock says:

    One thing I got out of this is that incipient nationalism could be not an affirmative statement but nullifying prospect to loyalties which seemed to be increasingly tenuous or personally harmful. So one asserted being of Italian heritage to escape demands of Empire. Initially, mouthing this new identity was an attempt to create a protected null space for the speaker.

    Others, quite proactive, use nationalism, or other loyalty, to assassinate or do physical harm to others outside of any personal context; as your guest pointed out, this was common in the years up to WW I and in the intrawar years in Germany. Here asserting the identity motivates action against prevalent structures and loyalties. As we see presently in the US, a rather small group employing such tactics can have disproportionate impact to their numbers; as well, as we have seen evolving for decades, a growing part of the population is retreating into a null space where loyalties are not affirmed.

    This leaves only global (for the State) loyalties to regain avowed connection–being patriotism and nationalism, the ground Trump is trying to command. Classic law and order: your protected, nullified space requires my control.

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