Borders in Contemporary History

Collaboratively written chapter for the open-access textbook The European Experience: A Multi-Perspective History of Modern Europe, 1500–2000.

Introduction: Political borders in twentieth-century Europe are usually thought of as lines on a map, separating one nation-state from another. In practice, however, there are many borderlands and border zones where belonging is ambiguous, arbitrary, or unstable. Throughout the twentieth century, European borders shifted repeatedly, and some have reemerged or continued to divide people long after being dismantled. What borders mean and how they are represented has also changed over time. This chapter examines how European borders changed over the course of the twentieth century, and analyses what they have meant at different times.

Lorena De Vita, Jaroslav Ira, Thomas Serrier, and Andrew Tompkins, “Borders in Contemporary History,” in Jan Hansen, Jochen Hung, Jaroslav Ira, Judit Klement, Sylvain Lesage, Juan Luis Simal, Andrew Tompkins (eds.),The European Experience: A Multi-Perspective History of Modern Europe, 1500–2000 (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2023), pp. 53–62. doi:10.11647/OBP.0323.06