From Academic Kids

Missing image
National flag of all Slavs approved on the Pan-Slav convention in Prague in 1848

The 19th century movement Pan-Slavism was a movement in the mid 19th century aimed at unity of all the Slavic peoples. Its main center was in the Balkans where Southern Slavs had been ruled over by the two great empires, Austria and the Ottoman Empire.



Pan-Slavism began much like Pan-Germanism, both of which grew from the sense of unity and Nationalism experienced within ethnic groups under the domination of France during the Napoleonic Wars. Like in other Romantic nationalist movements, Slavic intellectuals and scholars in the developing fields of history, philology, and folklore actively encouraged feelings of shared identity and ancestry.

Following the end of the Wars in 1815, Europe's leaders sought to restore the pre-war status quo. Austria's representative in the Congress of Vienna, Metternich, felt the greatest threat to this in Austria was the pan-Slavic movement, which sought to establish the independence of the Slavic peoples in Austria-Hungary and Turkey. A successful Slavic uprising would result in the disintegration of the Austrian Empire; as a result, Austria was aggressive in response to Slavic challenges and pursued a deeply repressive domestic policy.

Pan-Slavism co-existed with Southern Slavic independence. The Southern Slavs were some of the first to revolt against the decaying Ottoman Empire. In 1806 and again in 1815, the Serbs secured their independence from the Ottomans. Almost immediately after Serbia's independence, the Serbs began seeking expansion and unity of all the southern Slavs under their own rule.

Commonly used symbols of the Pan-Slavic movement were the Pan-Slavic colours (red, white and blue) and the Pan-Slavic anthem, Hey, Slavs.

Pan-Slavism in the 19th century

The first Pan-Slav convention was held in Prague in 1848 and was specifically both anti-Austrian and anti-Russian. The relationship of the Russians of the Russian Empire to the movement was always troubled. The northern movement was suppressed heavily by the three Empires, Austria, Prussia/Germany, and Russia.

Pan-Slavism at the beginning of the 20th Century

Following World War I, the Pan-Slavic movement was, to an extent, successful. Czechoslovakia created a semi-northern Pan-Slavic state. In the south, the creation of Yugoslavia did unite most southern Slavs under the influence of the Serbs. The problem that Yugoslavia would face was the domination by the Serbs. The same was for Czechoslovakia where Slovaks resented Czech domination and majority. Domination and opposition ultimately led to their collapse in unity.

Pan-Slavism in the Balkan Countries

Pan-Slavism in the south was much different, being that it often turned to Russia for support. The Pan-Slavic movement was based around Serbs and Serbia. The Serbian people sought to unite all of the Southern, Balkan Slavs under their rule. The problem was that Serbia was a tiny nation and the Austro-Hungarian Empire,though unstable, was still a strong opponent that could crush Serbia easily. The idea of Russia protecting Southern Slavic unity was favored.

Pan-Slavism in Poland

Poland is a country that generally has been the most hostile towards Pan-Slavism given its long struggle for freedom from Russia. The only time in history when it attempted to create a state with other Western Slavic nations was in the 11th century when the king of Poland Boleslaw Chrobry annexed Bohemia and Moravia attempting to incorporate them into the Polish kingdom. It did not work and those entities soon regained autonomy. Poland often preferred to ally itself with non-Slavic nations such as Hungary or Lithuania as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1569 to 1795. Poland also tended to polonize the Slavic and non-Slavic populations on territories it controlled rather than discuss any potential deals on a possible all-Slavic state. The 19th century Pan-Slavism influence had little impact in Poland except for sympathy towards the other oppressed Slavic nations in regaining independence (but not to the extent of creating a Pan-Slavic state or even federation). After Poland regained its independence (from Prussia, Austria and Russia) in 1918 no major or minor force considered Pan-Slavism as a serious alternative, even despite the constant danger of Germanization. During Poland's communist era the USSR used Pan-slavism as propaganda tool to justify its control over the country. After 1989 the issue of the Pan-Slavism has completely fallen out of the political agenda, and is widely seen as ideology of Russian imperialism.

Modern day developments

The idea of unity of the Slavic people was all but gone after World War II. Because of failures in small-scale attempts at unification such as in Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia, the idea of unity on a large scale is considered dead. Countries in the Slavic Europe generally tend to have good relations and sympathy towards one another but nothing except for culture and heritage oriented organizations is currently considered as a form of approachment among the countries of Slavic Europe.

See also

External links

nl:Pan-Slavisme pl:Panslawizm sv:Panslavism


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