This volume provides an historical overview of the relationship between Germany, German speakers, and successive waves of German colonists with their eastern neighbors over the period from the Middle Ages to the present. The collection of essays by 28 leading experts includes the most recent scholarship together with fresh perspectives on the subject. The problems and issues raised in this volume come as a result of different understandings of ""German"" and ""Germany"" from the Germanic tribes and German ""stem-duchies"" of the Middle Ages to the highly decentralized and multi-ethnic Holy Roman Empire of late medieval and early modern times and the German Confederation of the 1815-1866 period to the various forms of the German state from 1871 to the present. The relationship of German-speakers to their eastern non-German speaking neighbors, as well as that of ""Germany"" both to those neighbors and to German-speakers living beyond the borders of the modern German state are covered. In addition, some attention is given to the German perception of the ""East"" during this unfolding relationship. ""The Germans and the East"" is divided into five sections. The first section covers the medieval period which saw the first German colonial expansion eastward. The second section, devoted to the early modern period, reviews the role of German speakers in the development policies of enlightened absolutism. The third section looks at the problem during the age of emerging nationalism in the ""long"" nineteenth century from 1789 to 1914. The fourth and longest section covers the era of the two World Wars, including their aftermaths, which saw the expulsion of German-speakers from Eastern Europe. The final section addresses the relationship of Germany and Austria and their eastern neighbors from the Cold War to the new era of European integration.
Franz A.J. Szabo is Professor of Austrian and Habsburg History and Director of the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He has published widely in Europe and in North America on the subject of Habsburg enlightened absolutism, and is the author of the award-winning Kaunitz and Enlightened Absolutism, 1753-1780 (1994). In 1999, he was awarded the Austrian Order of Merit for the Arts and Sciences for his contributions to central