In this article, we will look at twentieth century Germany s eastern border studies. According to the traditional border studies of the 19th and early 20th centuries, borders were exclusive lines with the function of protection, disconnection, control, and interdiction. The eastern border of Germany was understood to be the stronghold of a civilized territory where Germanic inheritance and advanced culture had spread since the High Middle Ages. The loss of the border would have been understood as the defeat of civilization by barbarism, and it was a sacred boundary that must be defended. New borderlands research in the 1970s revealed that the notion of the border in the premodern era was not as a definite line. Germania Slavica, the contact zones between medieval Germany and the Slavic culture, was not a fault line but hybrid zones of cultural encounters and inter-ethnic relations. Some Slavs moved into German-speaking areas where they were employed in, and integrated into, German domains: there were significant processes of entanglement and accommodation, and also of powerful contest. In Germania Slavica, there was no ethnic hatred that scholars later imagined, and so the conflicts between medieval German- and Slavonic-speaking people should not be projected as the nationalistimages. Social interactions cut across ethnic lines. Overall, Germania Slavica research emphasizes the harmonious birth of a new hybrid culture, and it can be highlighted that the process of conflict and exclusion is relatively neglected in the field. Moreover, the subject and direction of Germania Slavica research has combined with West Germany’s Neue Ostpolitik of the 1970s. In particular, the research group led by Christian Lüdtke in Leipzig was related to the European integration movements of the late 1990s and the expansion of the European Union in Eastern Europe. These efforts to dismantle the prejudice and politics of nationally-driven historiography also face the dilemma of corresponding to the realpolitik.
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