Extraordinary in its detail, Marcel Jesenský's work chronicles the story of Orava and Spiš in the 1918-1947 period, an 'unusually difficult and complex' subject in relations of the Slovaks, Czechs and Poles. Jesenský provides a compelling account of how the 'beauty contest' between Czecho-Slovakia and Poland for primacy in Central Europe, the legacy of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference and a lack of understanding on both sides led to a failure to reconcile mutual strategic objectives with territorial claims. The book is structured to lead the reader chronologically through the events, decisions and dilemmas related to the delimitation of the Slovak - Polish border. Today, as in the post-WWI era, the concept of self-determination defers to domestic and foreign policy interests and deals with conflicting and irreconcilable claims. This work, invaluable for readers interested in Central Europe, presents its subject in its historical context and provides answers to assist its understanding.
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