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THE Great War has often demonstrated how little the Western World really knows about Slavic Europe. The causes of this profound ignorance or indifference are not difficult to find. A glance at the historical evolution of Europe will help to explain why Western Europe, though always strongly often decisively influenced by events in Eastern Europe, showed little interest in that part of the world.
It will be remembered that European civilization shifted with the discovery of the Americas from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic basin. Slavic Europe thereby became less accessible to the new West and its creative ideas it is, in fact, farther removed geographically from the Atlantic Ocean than from the Mediterranean Sea.
Contemporaneously with this great change occurred others which still further weakened whatever desire Western Europe had to know about Slavic Europe. Among these may be mentioned the gradual decay of medieval Slavic states or their conquest or absorption by the Teutons (Germans and Swedes) and the Asiatics (Magyars, Mongols, and Turks). The old trade routes between Europe and Asia which traversed Slavic Europe were abandoned, and the Slavs were forced to an inland existence by the expansion of the Teutons and the Asiatics. Thus the information which Western Europe obtained about the Slavs came through German or Asiatic sources which were naturally unfriendly. With the exception of the rising Muscovite empire, one by one the Slavic states of the medieval epoch disappeared. Bulgaria and Serbia fell before the Turk in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Croatia was gradually absorbed, first by Hungary and then by Austria. Bohemia, forced to seek protection against the Turks in a feudal alliance in 1526 with the Habsburgs, soon found her rights disappearing before the absolutist power of that dynasty until, after the battle of White Mountain
in 1620, she became a mere province. The Polish empire was partitioned at the end of the eighteenth century. Thus, while there was left behind among the Slavs the memory of a glorious past, Western Europe soon forgot that the early Russians had once knocked at the very gates of Constantinople and had helped to carry enlightenment across the limitless plains of Russia; that the Bulgarians and the Serbs had fought valiantly to stave off the Turkish flood; that the Croats had once founded a progressive state on the shores of the Adriatic; that the Slovenes and the Slovaks had been overwhelmed, the former by the Germans from the north, the latter by the Asiatic Magyars from the south; that the Bohemians under the Hussite general Žižka, had won their religious independence, and through Hus and Comenius had scattered to the ends of the world the beginnings of a new order of things; and that the Poles had not only checked the expansion of the Germans by union with the Lithuanians, but had helped to stop decisively the advance of the Turks into the very heart of Europe. All this is an undying remembrance for the Slavs themselves, but for most Westerners today this historical evolution is a new study, detailed knowledge of which, if it ever existed in the West, had been obliterated.
The English and the Dutch were more interested in modern times in transmaritime enterprises than in the Continent, and their foreign policy has remained preponderantly colonial and, especially in the case of the English, insular. For them, Slavic Europe virtually did not exist. The French, who hesitated between the two goals of policy - colonial empire and the domination of Europe · - were interested, until the beginning of the nineteenth century, in a diplomacy which gave them allies against the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs, namely in an alliance with Sweden, Poland, and Turkey. Thus, excepting for Poland, Slavic Europe was of little interest to the French until the decay of this eastern barrier and the growth of the power of Prussia forced French diplomacy to ally itself with Russia. From that time, French scholars have studied Slavic Europe and have rendered inestimable services to historical science. The Spanish were interested in Central Europe (what is now Austria-Hungary)
largely owing to the claim which their branch of the Habsburg dynasty had, by a secret treaty, to the inheritance of the possessions of the German branch. When this ended, Spanish interest likewise ceased.
With the expansion of Russia, the Anglo-Russian rivalry in the nineteenth century became a decisive factor in determining the character of the information which the average Englishman had about Slavic Europe — a point of view which the Agreement of 1907 only partially removed and which the results of the Russian revolution have once more exposed. Some day, perhaps, it may be scientifically determined that it was the lack of knowledge of Slavic Europe which caused a long series of mistakes in the diplomacy and military strategy of the Allies.
And we, in America, though always cherishing a platonic interest in Russia, because of the similarity of our problems, have really known very little about the Slavs. It was with the coming of Slavic emigrants that the American first realized the need of knowing more about the Slavs in Europe. And this realization, now in existence, may ultimately lead in the course of time to a more accurate knowledge of and a more disinterested sympathy for Slavic Europe. From the point of view of the Western World, it is vital that the history, the political, economic, and social conditions, and the national aspirations of the Slavs be not only sympathetically understood but utilized for the higher purposes of mankind.
Strange to say, we, in the Western World, have arrived at this conclusion at a moment when Slavic Europe lies prostrate at the feet of the Germans. Now, at last, it is felt how little is known about that part of the world, and more important still, how vital it is that we should understand existing conditions in their proper setting so that a new Slavic Europe may be regenerated and rebuilt on the basis of the just national aspirations of the Slavs. In the minds of the Slavs, a new Russia, a regenerated Poland, a Czecho-Slovakia, and a Jugo-Slavia are not necessarily dreams of the future but very real possibilities. To help in this reorganization of Central and Eastern Europe on a basis which will be at once rational and sound, free from hostility on the one side or
from extremes of chauvinism on the other, and to harmonize this process with the liberation of other peoples and with the problems connected with the creation of some sort of world order, is the task of enlightened men.
It was with a hope that a bibliography of Slavic Europe might help in this great problem of the future that the present volume was prepared.
This bibliography aims to give a selected list of the most fundamental works on virtually all phases of life in Slavic Europe. It cannot be exhaustive for that reason. As originally planned,1 it would have listed the most important works for a given topic no matter in what language, thus including all the Slavic languages. But insuperable difficulties in printing and sale were found to exist for such a work in America. After all, the Slavic languages are known only to a few outside of the Slavs or their descendants. It is to be hoped that in a future revision of this work this important addition will be made. The titles found in this volume are, therefore, in the Western European languages. Such titles as have been transliterated from the Slavic are for the most part bibliographies which list works in the Western European languages or sources which contain documents in these languages. It is hoped, through this small beginning, to introduce the Western scholar and publicist to a slight acquaintance with the Slavic languages- an acquaintance accurate enough to allow him to understand the fact that a vast storehouse of material in the Slavic remains sealed to him as long as he is unacquainted with these languages.
The fundamental basis of this bibliography is primarily ethnic. The Slavic nations are treated bibliographically as ethnic units. The territorial or regional aspects of the problem, while important and treated in detail, are not conclusive in any scientific treatment of the subject. The ethnic basis gives a firmer scientific foundation on which to build. The nation is always likely to remain, but the state, which it founds, may disappear or the
1 For the outline and sources of such a work see: The foundations of Slavic bibliography by R. J. Kerner (reprinted from the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, vol. x, no. 1, Jan. 1916). Chicago, 1916. 40 p.