2014 marks the Centenary of the First World War, a war that changed Europe as it was and had huge consequences for millions of people. Once great and extensive multinational empires slowly shrank in the course of history and new nation states were created. People living on the very same territory sometimes changed their citizenships multiple times due to the often changing border-lines. Some decided to stay and accept their new citizenship, while others decided to migrate; to follow the sometimes very elusive border-line in order to once again live inside the borders of that country, which represents the fundamental part of their national identity.
In preparation of the centenary young Europeans met during seminars in Finland, Spain and Slovenia and discussed the consequences of WWI for their countries and its role for Europe today. Coming from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, they discussed their national experiences in a European perspective.
Our national border experts contributed to our knowledge and awareness about the meaning and influence of state borders. We realised how third-party’s (usually the war-winners) decisions about the size and shape of the losing states can cause severe consequences for the people living in territories. Nationalities changed, homes were lost, families separated…
What exactly happened with Poland, the Austro-Hungarian empire, focusing especially on the later established states of Austria and Slovakia and how Finland’s development into an independent state is presented by our participants in the following videos. Enjoy an interesting and original history lesson.