Central Europe  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Central Europe is the region lying between the variously and vaguely defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe. In addition, Northern, Southern and Southeastern Europe may variously delimit or overlap into Central Europe. The term has come back into fashion since the end of the Cold War, which had divided Europe politically into East and West, with the Iron Curtain splitting "Central Europe" in half. The understanding of the concept of Central Europe varies considerably from nation to nation, and also has from time to time.

The region is usually used to mean:

Rather than a physical entity, Central Europe is a concept of shared history, in opposition to the East represented by the Ottoman Empire and Imperial Russia, as well as the associated religions of Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam—with Central Europe generally defined as an overwhelmingly Catholic area, and up to World War I distinguished from the West as an area of relative political conservatism opposed to the liberalism of France and Great Britain and the influences of the French Revolution.Template:Fact In the nineteenth century, while France developed into a republic and Britain was a liberal parliamentary monarchy in which the monarch had very little real power, Austria-Hungary and Prussia (later German Empire), in contrast, remained conservative monarchies in which the monarch and his court played a central governmental role, along with some influence of religion. Following World War I, nations in Central Europe, with exception of Czechoslovakia, rapidly fell under authoritarian regimes while Western European countries maintained their parliamentary systems, and although the divide between Western and Central Europe became somewhat obsolete after World War II and the fall of Nazism, it remains as a historic and cultural boundary.

In the English language, the concept of Central Europe largely fell out of usage during Cold War, shadowed by notions of Eastern and Western Europe. It may be seen in historical and cultural contexts. However, the term is being increasingly used again, with the recent expansion of the European Union.

It is sometimes joked that Central Europe is the part of the continent that is considered Eastern by Western Europeans and Western by Eastern Europeans.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Central Europe" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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