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"A Report on the Center for Historical Studies' Lecture by Dr. Mark Mazower"
Jason R. Koepke

On September 19, 2000 the Center for Historical Studies launched its third year of existence (first year of activities) with its first lecture of the 2000-2001 series. The lecture was given by Dr. Mark Mazower, faculty member at the University of London and author of the well-reviewed book Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century (Random House, $16). His speech, "The Roots of War and Peace in the Balkans: An Historical Perspective," while excellently delivered and making us, as Dr. Lampe declared, "pleased as punch," ought to have been entitled, "The Myths of Violence in the Balkans."

By using the three main "myths" for Balkan violence, Mazower presents an outline that not only explains that the Balkans are not violent "creatures" but also that there is hope for peace and stability in the future. The first "excuse" he presented for the horrific events that mark the region's recent history is the "it is our (the Great Powers) fault" scenario; this is the revisionist's argument. It suggests that the Great Powers intervened too often and too much without a clear and long-term plan. Mazower's reaction to this "alibi for the politicians" is that the Great Powers were attempting to deal with "the sick man of Europe," the declining Ottoman Empire, in an effort to maintain some sort of stability in the region. Mazower suggested that the decline of the Ottoman Empire had much more to do with the ideas born out of the French Revolution than any intentionally harmful actions by the Great Powers.

An example he used to counter this "irresponsible poking around" by the Great Powers was the historically reoccurring appeal by Serbs for Russian assistance, both morally and militarily (1806 and 1999 are two specific cases), thus illustrating that often times it was the Balkan people who requested. Mazower points out that this is typical of

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