"Nationalism as a national danger?" Early Romanian socialists and the paradoxes of the national question (1880-1914)

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This article traces the gradual accommodation of early socialists in Romania with the predicament of nationalism in the period between 1880 and 1914. The attitudes of Romanian socialists evolved from initial ambivalence toward nationalism to staunch commitment to internationalism in the 1890s, and an inadvertent but unmistakable growing engagement with nationalism after the turn of the century. Locating socialism in the broader political and cultural debates of the time, this article argues that belonging to the Romanian public arena forced socialists to become increasingly more sensitive to the challenges of nationalism. Especially after 1900, the rise of very influential competing nationalist ideologies, as well as the necessity to address the Jewish question and the problem of ethnic Romanians living abroad, turned Romanian socialists into opponents but also implicit partners of dialogue in debates on nationalism. In the long run, however, socialists failed to find a persuasive alternative to nationalism and eventually resorted to the same language, concepts, and imagery they were so vocally dismissing. Engaging the popular nationalist trends of the time required socialists to reevaluate their own theoretical tenets and to put forward different, but essentially no less nationalistic, projects for the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-336
Number of pages18
JournalNationalities Papers
Issue number2
Early online date25 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • Romania
  • Pre-WWI
  • Socialism
  • Nationalism
  • Internationalism


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