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13883Re: [S-R] Central Europe

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  • John Venham
    Dec 1, 2005
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      Almost all recent scholarly works discuss the
      difficulty of assigning a geographical label to this
      region. Technically, Europe is not a distinct
      continent, but rather a large peninsula on the western
      part of the Eurasian landmass. As such, it is
      impossible to draw a line to define the 'limit' of
      Europe, let alone the 'eastern half' of it. The same
      ambiguity arises in other dimensions, such as history,
      politics, economics and society. Citizens in all of
      the countries between Germany and Russia consider
      themselves as naturally belonging to 'the West' and
      all look down on the nations just to their east as
      less developed and more backward.

      Pjotr Wandycz, author of 'The Price of Freedom',
      prefaces his book with an essay on this topic.

      I've spent the best part of the past 5 years in the
      Czech Rep, Slovakia and Hungary. I must agree that as
      one proceeds eastward from Germany, there is an
      obvious gradation downward in terms of economic
      development. From brief visits to Germany and
      Austria, my impression was that there is a better
      business sense and smoother administration there than
      here. Rules tend to make logical sense, and are
      followed more willingly and consistently. Socially,
      the family unit is very strong here in CR, S and H.
      Small children are cared for by grandparents while the
      parents work during the day; and often adult children
      live at home up to the age of 30. While a positive
      element of the culture, this sense of community
      doesn't extend far beyond the family circle. In
      addition, this entails a tremendous influence from the
      distant past in terms of ways of thinking, problem
      solving, work ethic, etc. The result is a society
      that doesn't function very efficiently in the
      collective. This social dynamics has a direct
      influence on business development. The communist era
      is often cited, and justifiably, as the blame for much
      of the current condition here, but it is my opinion
      that the cultural influence from the past provides a
      necessary supplemental explanation. Rather than these
      societies waking up from the communist hang-over and
      getting back to 'normal' (was the period 1918-1939
      normal?), I feel they finally are on an open road to
      develop their potential more naturally. It remains to
      be seen, if this will match that acheived in the West,
      or even surpass it. And this aspect should carry more
      weight in the determination of east, west or central
      designations than rivers or mountain ranges. Right
      now, I'm living in eastern Europe. Perhaps when I
      retire, I'll be returning to simply visit 'Europe.'

      John Venham


      --- Bill Tarkulich <bill.tarkulich@...> wrote:

      > Jan,
      >
      > As you can see, it all depends on your point of
      > view. There is no
      > "official definition."
      >
      > I cited the URL to give you the source of this, not
      > to sanction it.
      >
      > Americans, as a group (and I am one) are incredibly
      > ignorant of this
      > region. Ask a few to place Slovakia on a map, or
      > tell you what countries
      > it is adjacent to. It's as bad as Sierra Leone.
      >
      > Bill
      >
      > On Thu, December 1, 2005 11:18 am, Jan Ammann said:
      > > Hello..........well I guess I have learned
      > something here......I have
      > > always thought Hungary was Eastern Europe.....in
      > fact, the friends I have
      > > in Hungary do identify themselves as "Eastern
      > Europe". So is this a wide
      > > misconception??
      > >
      > > Bill......I am curious. I see you gave a website
      > to back up the info.
      > > However, how does one become expert enough to be
      > able to identify
      > > regions.......is this done by mapping or what.
      > Would appreciate a
      > > viewpoint from you and others on this.
      > >
      > > Cheers,
      > > Aloysia (Jan)
      > >
      > > Bill Tarkulich <bill.tarkulich@...> wrote:
      > > According to http://www.tol.cz
      > >
      > > Central Europe is
      > > czech republic estonia hungary
      > latvia
      > > lithuania poland slovakia
      > slovenia
      > >
      > > Eastern Europe is
      > > belarus moldova russia ukraine
      > >
      > > Seems reasonable to me.
      > >
      > > Bill Tarkulich
      > >
      > >
      > > On Thu, December 1, 2005 9:23 am, amiak27 said:
      > >> Yes, it seems that "Eastern Europe" was redefined
      > for the cold war,
      > >> but now that that war is past the old use of
      > "Central Europe" is
      > >> coming back.
      > >>
      > >> On the location of the center of Europe, I also
      > visited one, but
      > >> this one is 25 km (15 miles) due north of
      > Vilnius, Lithuania. THat
      > >> distinctly puts Slovakia in western central
      > Europe. Our western
      > >> bend to history includes geography. Most people
      > report "the highest
      > >> European mountain" in France, I believe, where it
      > is really in the
      > >> southern Ukraine/ Caucauses.
      > >>
      > >> Perhaps we should start to collect locations of
      > all the
      > >> different "centers of Europe" that various people
      > have proclaimed.
      > >>
      > >> Ron
      > >>
      > >> --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, Joyce & Bill
      > <bhewlett@v...>
      > >> wrote:
      > >>>
      > >>> You are right in what you say. I think after
      > WW2 and during the
      > >> communist era, the American mind set was to
      > divide Europe into the
      > >> free West and the Communist East and the central
      > didn't exist. Now
      > >> that things have changed, unless one is
      > interested in those
      > >> countries, which are central, people still tend
      > to think of them as
      > >> Eastern Europe.
      > >>> Joyce
      > >>>
      > >>> From: maureen <maureen@d...>
      > >>> >Date: Wed Nov 30 23:34:56 CST 2005
      > >>> >To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      > >>> >Subject: [S-R] Central Europe
      > >>>
      > >>> >Janet,
      > >>> >On my most recent trip to Slovakia and Ukraine
      > I was amazed to
      > >> see the marker indicating the geographical center
      > of Europe - it
      > >> sits in the eastern part of Zakarpattia, Ukraine,
      > just across the
      > >> Tisa from Romania, almost to the town of Rahkiv.
      > Now, when I hear
      > >> anyone, on this list or others, refer to Slovakia
      > and Ukraine
      > >> as "Eastern Europe," the first thing I want to do
      > is to write a
      > >> reply to correct the misconception. But, I never
      > do it.
      > >>> >
      > >>> >You have given me the opportunity to send a
      > positive note on this
      > >> topic, because you correctly identify the places
      > of origin as
      > >> Central Europe. Thank you!
      > >>> >
      > >>> >Maureen Pulignano
      > >>> >www.deefalt.com
      > >>> >
      > >>> >
      > >>> >
      > >>> > >
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
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      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >
      > >
      > > --
      > > Bill Tarkulich
      > > http://www.iabsi.com
      > >
      > >
      > >
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      === message truncated ===



      "The Journey is the Reward"



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