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Home‐rule versus non‐territorial autonomy? Western European national movements and their views on the minority question, 1919–1939

Nations and Nationalism

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["Nations and Nationalism, EarlyView. ", "\nAbstract\nThe leading elites of the ethnonationalist movements that developed in the aftermath of World War I in Western Europe usually refused to see their nations and territories as ‘national minorities’. In their view, they were stateless nations or nationalities. However, in the aftermath of World War I, the prior international discussion on the nationality principle was increasingly replaced with the notion of ‘minority rights’, enhanced by the implementation of the Minorities Treaties by the League of Nations. Thus, the term ‘national minority’ emerged as a label that permitted ethnonationalist activist to present their claims on the international stage. This became evident in the participation of some Western European national movements in the activities of some transnational non‐governmental organisations, such as the Congress of European Nationalities (1925–1939). However, the general programme advocated by the most influential leaders of East‐Central ethnic minorities, based on the extension of the personal principle and the implementation of non‐territorial autonomy all over Europe, was hard to accept for ethnonationalist elites from Western Europe, which were interested in territorial home‐rule and believed that their homelands did not fit in the category of ‘minority’. This article explores the modalities and limits of that cultural and political dialogue.\n"]