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Fragmentation vs. Integration

Fragmentation in East-Central Europe: Poland and the Baltics, 1915-1929
By Klaus Richter
Reviewed by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz

Throughout history, empires have been the norm in international relations, while nation- states a rarity. Small and even medium nation-states exist at the whim of the imperial powers that be either as their temporary satellites or subordinates of an international order or both. Therefore, the drive for integration is the most permanent and predictable fact of international affairs.

Yet, as excited or unhappy as small actors may be in their subaltern roles, they often react to overweening imperial appetites by countering it with self-assertion of sovereignty. The powerful see that as “fragmentation,” “particularism,” “nationalism,” and other signs of making trouble in the world dominated by empires. It is also annoying from the point of view of the imperial players’ economic efficiency, who prefer to deal with likewise huge economic units rather than fragmented, small areas. Large economic units are much more viable than small ones. Still, they tend to disregard the interests of smaller units, riding roughshod over them to pursue profits and efficiency. Let us keep this in mind as we delve into yet another study of the Intermarium.

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