Chapter 6: The second post-war period: new borders, ethnic cleansing and the “double dimension” of the national question
The chapter begins with the militarily radical turning point marked by the Battle of Stalingrad. It reconstructs the agreements among the allies about the future peace settlements and the effects of the Soviet expansion toward Central Europe. Furthermore, the chapter discusses the highly controversial dynamics that characterized the nexus between the liberation from the Nazi-Fascist occupation and the Soviet second incorporations of the Baltic republics as well as the establishment of the Socialist Camp. Then, the reader is introduced to the painful post-World War II territorial settlements marked by the German partition, wide transfer of territories in the East, forced migrations and a new wave of ethnic cleansing. Special importance has been ascribed to the establishment of socialist federations, and particularly to the Yugoslav devolution, also in consideration of Tito’s attempt to create a Balkan federation before the Cold War imposed an apparent stabilization. The chapter’s narrative continues by juxtaposing the efforts for consolidating borders (as with the Ostpolitik and the Helsinki accords) with the turbulent events that affected the national relations between countries of the Socialist camp or within Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, despite the ideological legitimization of the “national roads to socialism”.
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