Debating the Past

Modern Bulgarian Historiography—From Stambolov to Zhivkov
ISBN: 
978-615-5053-00-9
cloth
$50.00 / €45.00 / £40.00
Publication date: 
2011
376 pages

The book is comprised of the four major debates on modern Bulgarian history from Independence in 1878 to the fall of communism in 1989. The debates are on the Bulgarian–Russian/Soviet relations, on the relations between Agrarians and Communists, on Bulgarian Fascism, and on Communism. They are associated with the rule of key political personalities in Bulgarian history: Stambolov (1887–1894), Stamboliiski (1919–1923), Tsar Boris III (1918–1943), and the communist leaders Georgi Dimitrov and Todor Zhivkov (1956–1989). The debates are traced through their various articulations and dramatic turns from their beginnings to the present day.


INTRODUCTORY WORDS


CHAPTER 1: STAMBOLOV, THE RUSSOPHILES AND THE RUSSOPHOBES IN BULGARIA
INITIAL INTERPRETATIONS OF THE STAMBOLOV EPOCH
THE MARXIST HISTORIANS ON STAMBOLOV'S REGIME
TOWARDS STAMBOLOV'S REHABILITATION
AFTER THE FALL OF THE COMMUNIST REGIME


CHAPTER 2: THE RULE OF THE BULGARIAN AGRARIAN NATIONAL UNION AND THE «WORKER-PEASANT ALLIANCE»
THE ROAD TO POWER
THE AGRARIAN RULE: IDEOLOGY AND REFORMS
INTERPRETATION AND ASSESSMENTS
ALEXANDUR STAMBOLIISKI
THE AGRARIAN UNION AND THE «UNITY OF ACTION» WITH THE BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY


CHAPTER 3: THE DEBATE ON FASCISM AND THE ANTIFASCIST STRUGGLES
THE LONG FASCISM AND THE BREACHES INTO IT
“MONARCHO-FASCISM”
BULGARIA AND HITLER’S GERMANY
THE STRUGGLE ANGAINST FASCISM AND THE ANTIFASCISM
AFTER COMMUNISM


CHAPTER 4: SEPTEMBER NINTH, “POPULAR DEMOCRACY” AND SOCIALISM
SEPTEMBER NINTH
“POPULAR DEMOCRACY” (1944-1948)
SOCIALISM IN PROGRESS
AFTER SOCIALISM ABOUT IT: SEPTEMBER NINTH REVISITED
THE POPULAR-DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION
GEORGI DIMITROV
THE MACEDONIAN QUESTION
THE REPRESSIONS
THE BULGARIAN TOTALITARIANISM
THE “ERA ZHIVKOV” AND DESCRIPTIONS OF THE SYSTEM
THE SOCIALIST MODERNIZATION
ASPECTS OF THE SYSTEM

ASPECTS OF THE SYSTEM
CONCLUSION: ON OBJECTIVITY AND TRUTH IN THE BULGARIAN HISTORICAL SCHOLARSHIP

"This fascinating book is a must-read for anyone delving into the ideological battles of twentieth-century Eastern Europe."
"From its birth as a modern state Bulgaria has lived under the shadow of either Tsarist Russia or the Soviet Union, both of which posed as the “liberator”, first from the Ottoman Turks, and then from fascism. Thus nationalistic history writing — which seems endemic among Bulgarians — bumped up against the political need to keep in lockstep with Russia. In Daskalov’s view, the communist era politicized historians in order to serve the rulers. But at the same time, the nationalists succeeded in 'liberalizing' history and making it capable of subverting 'official tenets and meanings, not least due to the power of language to displace meanings and shift perspectives'. Daskalov is a historiographer and writes about those who write history. Such books are very hard to review as, particularly in Bulgaria, there is hardly a turning point or a prominent personality that has not been interpreted, reinterpreted, revised, and/or condemned to temporary silence. And that... more