The Road to the First Belarusian State: Nation-Building in the Context of the First World War and Revolution

Lizaveta Kasmach
This dissertation contributes to the study of the First World War in East Central Europe, providing an insight into the profound political, demographic, social, and cultural changes introduced by the Great War and deepened by the Revolution. Focusing on the Belarusian nation-building process in the early 20th century, this study treats the First World War as an important divide in the national politics of the Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian borderlands. Rather than emphasizing the framework of the
more » ... "rise of nationalism," Belarusian nationbuilding is analyzed with regard to the recent methodological trends of approaching the First World War as a mobilizational moment for stateless nations, demonstrating the ways in which the Great War catalyzed the growth of ethnic particularism in the region. With a broad comparative perspective on the entangled histories of the nation-building activities of Belarusian, Lithuanian, and Polish national movements, this dissertation addresses the problem of supporting and promoting national identity formation in a borderland region, where powers were changing frequently and people were maneuvering in their survival tactics. This study thus deals with the processes of overcoming indifference and creating allegiance to the new project of the Belarusian nation, uncovering the problematic roots of the Belarusian national identity and persisting patterns of national indifference and passivity, which still remain defining characteristics for contemporary Belarusian society. ii
doi:10.7939/r3vx06f83 fatcat:lurhnxwacvhpvh5t7fqx6ucax4