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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Interwar Europe, and particularly its central and eastern regions, witnessed a clash between the hegemonic nationalism of so-called successor states such as Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia and the irredentist nationalism of defeated states like Hungary and Germany. The former interpreted the Wilsonian principle of national self-determination as the right of the dominant nationality to impose its culture on the minority populations living within a particular state territory. These nationalist policies caused a great deal of resentment among the populations (rather than merely the elites) of the revisionist states. While this fateful dynamic could build on pre-war ideological traditions of organic and expansionist nationalism, it was the radicalization they experienced after 1918 in a number of societies—above all Germany and Italy, but also Hungary and Romania—that rendered them a powerful device for fascist mobilization. For the leaders and supporters of fascist regimes, open threats and expansionist warfare were equally legitimate means to realize revisionist and expansionist goals.

Keywords: Nationalism, fascism, successor states, ethnic and national minorities, interwar Europe, national self-determination, irredentism, revisionism, expansionism

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