The Two Carnegie Reports: From the Balkan Expedition of 1913 to the Albanian Trip of 1921. A Comparative Approach.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 4:00pm
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Nadine Akhund (IRICE, Paris)





The Two Carnegie Reports:  From the Balkan Expedition of 1913 to the Albanian Trip of 1921. A Comparative Approach.




Among the significant features of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) was not only the study of the causes but also of the impacts of the wars on civilian populations. In 1913, the CEIP sent an international commission to the Balkans. The result was the well-known report of 1914, the first widely circulated description on civilian’s conditions in warfare. Seven years later, d’Estournelles de Constant, president of the CEIP Balkan Commission, sent a representative, Justin Godart to study the borders issues of Albania and to report on the crisis with Greece and Yugoslavia. Godart’s report emphasized the continuity with the one of 1913 and pointed out how Albania was a key element in the stabilization of the Balkans.


Drawing from the Carnegie archives, the paper offers an innovative reading of CEIP’s initiatives in the Balkans before and after World War I within the context of the last chapter of the Eastern Question. The CEIP believed that international conciliation should replaced the Great Power’s policy in the Balkans and proposed two strategies: first, to increase the role of public opinion, as the report of 1914 is an address to an international audience denouncing the massacres of the wars. Second, to support the role of the newly created League of Nations as an international platform. In 1921, the Albanian question and the report were discussed at the League of Nations in relation to the border issues and to confirm the 1913 decision establishing the Albanian state. The public opinion and the League of Nation were perceived as part of the emerging civil society. The two reports can be regarded as the CEIP’s answer to the perennial question of nationalities. Its Balkan Commission of 1913 denounced the crimes committed by all belligerents. The inquiry opted for an objective fieldwork approach, a method used again in 1921. The CEIP emphasized regional cooperation, integration between all Balkan actors as a way to stabilize the region. A CEIP report of 1914 insisted on economic prosperity as a guarantee of peace an argument also present in Albania 1921.


Although both reports felt short of their objectives as the one of 1914 coincided with the onset of the war and the fragile conditions of the new states post 1918 prevented the success of the second one; the principles of stabilization, integration and economic prosperity were visionary as they are still “on the table” in the Balkans today.





Biographical note.

Nadine Akhund is a research associate at IRICE (Paris-Sorbonne University) and has taught as adjunct professor (semesters 2001-2009, SIPA, Columbia University). She holds a PhD in History (Paris IV Sorbonne University) and has presented her research results at many academic conferences (USA and Europe). Her research interests refer to nationalism in modern Balkans. She is the author of The Macedonian Question 1893-1908: From Western Sources, New York: Columbia University Press, 1998 and co-author in: C. Chiclet & B. Lory: La République de Macédoine, Paris: L’Harmattan.

Dr. Akhund is a member of the International Commission of Historical Slavic Studies. Since 2010, she has been a member of the convention executive committee of the ASN, Columbia University. Dr. Akhund is currently working on a research project on the history of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Her latest article includes “The Work of the Carnegie Endowment in the Balkans after WWI: The University Library of Belgrade 1919-1926”, Infotheca, Belgrade 2011 and The Great Powers Policy in Macedonia before 1914  (in German) in J. Angelow (ed): Der Erste Welkrieg auf dem Balkan Berlin: Bebra Verlag, 2011.

Her forthcoming publication includes “Albert Malet (1864-1915), a French Historian in the Balkans”, S. Lascu (ed): Balkans. Contributions to History, Culture and Civilization, Université Ovadius, Constantza, Spring 2012 and Questions Nationales en Macédoine et les grandes Puissances, les limites de l’occupation internationale 1904-1908 in Occupations militaires et constructions nationales dans les Balkans 1821-1922, Conference EFA, Athens, to be published in 2012.