MODERNISATION AND AVANT-GARDE IN CENTRAL-EASTERN EUROPE (1918–1939)
The establishment of new independent states in Central and Eastern Europe after 1918 not only brought changes in European geopolitical reality, but also initiated many cultural processes, stimulated by the need for modernisation of the region. They aimed at strengthening the identity of individual states based on their civilizational advancement. It was possible thanks to political independence, which many central European nations gained for the first time in their history. Their expected
... heir expected growth was not only to confirm their right of existence, but also of being among the leading states in Europe. Within the Old Continent the central and eastern part of Europe turned out to be a domain of modernisation par excellence. Here its progression, on the one hand, was most awaited, on the other – raised the greatest controversy. Arts and artists had their particular role in this process; it was their mission to spread the new ideas, calling for a change of the status quo. Instead of simply adopting the already existing patterns of modernity they tried, however, to work out their original concepts of reforms, based on an attempt to reconcile modernity with traditional values, which were found worth preserving within individual cultures. These processes were supported by representatives of both the avant-garde and the more moderate modernisation, which resulted in peaceful coexistence of radical programmes and endeavours to find conservative definitions of modernism. "New Europe" in the years 1918–1939 was in favour of modernity, pursuing consistently civilizational advancement, with the good use of tools brought about by the new political reality and, first and foremost, the national independence gained by many states in the aftermath of World War I.