Making Minorities History: Population Transfer in Twentieth-Century Europe
Oxford University Press
24 Nov 2016
Making Minorities History examines the various attempts made by European states over the course of the first half of the twentieth century, under the umbrella of international law and in the name of international peace and reconciliation, to rid the Continent of its ethnographic misfits and problem populations. It is principally a study of the concept of 'population transfer' - the idea that, in order to construct stable and homogeneous nation-states and a peaceful international order out of them, national minorities could be relocated en masse in an orderly way with minimal economic and political disruption as long as there was sufficient planning, bureaucratic oversight, and international support in place. Tracing the rise and fall of the concept from its emergence in the late 1890s through its 1940s zenith, and its geopolitical and historiographical afterlife during the Cold War, Making Minorities History explores the historical context and intellectual milieu in which population transfer developed from being initially regarded as a marginal idea propagated by a handful of political fantasists and extreme nationalists into an acceptable and a 'progressive' instrument of state policy, as amenable to bourgeois democracies and Nobel Peace Prize winners as it was to authoritarian regimes and fascist dictators. In addition to examining the planning and implementation of population transfers, and in particular the diplomatic negotiations surrounding them, Making Minorities History looks at a selection of different proposals for the resettlement of minorities that came from individuals, organizations, and states during this era of population transfer.