The Causes of Peasant Violence and Antisemitism

The Triple Frontier between Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Romania, 1880–1914

  • Irina Marin
Keywords: Peasant violence, antisemitism, Romania

Abstract

This paper explores the potential and actuality of social violence within the borderlands between Austria-Hungary, Romania and Tsarist Russia, namely the provinces of Transylvania and Bukovina for Austria-Hungary and Bessarabia for the Tsarist Empire, alongside Moldavia and Wallachia, the former Danubian Principalities, which merged to form the Romanian state in 1859. In so doing it proposes a comparative, transnational examination of the ways in which the Jewish question and the peasant question were intertwined in this region and inquires into the causes that led to social unrest and anti-Semitic violence in some provinces but not in others. Given that these borderlands shared striking similarities in terms of patterns of land tenure (mainly dominated by latifundia), ethnic composition, considerable numbers of Jewish population, low levels of development (literacy rates, taxation, investments), the main thrust of the paper is to account for the dissimilarities in social combustibility which affected how the Jewish population fared on the three sides of the border and how rebellious the peasantry was in this region. The paper looks comparatively at the legislative framework of the polities around the triple frontier and the place occupied by the Jewish population in the process of economic modernization and in relation to nation-building.

Published
2018-07-25