Online Encyclopedia Search Tool

Your Online Encyclopedia


Online Encylopedia and Dictionary Research Site

Online Encyclopedia Free Search Online Encyclopedia Search    Online Encyclopedia Browse    welcome to our free dictionary for your research of every kind

Online Encyclopedia


The 19th century movement Pan-Slavism was a movement in the mid 19th century aimed at unity of all the Slavic peoples. Its main center was in the Balkans where Southern Slavs had been ruled over by the two great empires, Austria and the Ottoman Empire, one way or another.



Pan-Slavism began much like Pan-Germanism, both of which grew from the sense of unity and Nationalism experienced within ethnic groups under the domination of France during the Napoleonic Wars. Like in other Romantic nationalist movements, Slavic intellectuals and scholars in the developing fields of history, philology, and folklore actively encouraged feelings of shared identity and ancestry.

Following the end of the Wars in 1815, Europe's leaders sought to restore the pre-war status quo. Austria's representitive in the Congress of Vienna, Metternich, felt the greatest threat to this in Austria was the pan-Slavic movement, which sought to establish the independence of the Slavic peoples in Austria-Hungary and Turkey. A successful Slavic uprising would result in the disintegration of the Austrian Empire; as a result, Austria was aggressive in response to Slavic challenges and pursued a deeply repressive domestic policy.

Pan-Slavism co-existed with Southern Slavic independence. The Southern Slavs were some of the first to revolt against the decaying Ottoman Empire. In 1806 and again in 1815, the Serbs secured their independence from the Ottomans. Almost immediately after Serbia's independence, the Serbs began seeking expansion and unity of all the southern Slavs under their own rule.

Commonly used symbols of the Pan-Slavic movement were the Pan-Slavic colours (red, white and blue) and the Pan-Slavic anthem, Hej Sloveni.

Northern Pan-Slavism

Pan-Slavism was often divided between the Northern and the Southern. The Northern Slavs, Czechs, Slovaks, and Poles, sought to create their own independent states free from Austrian rule. The first Pan-Slav convention was held in Prague in 1848 and was specifically both anti-Austrian and anti-Russian. The relationship of the Russians of the Russian Empire to the movement was always troubled. The northern movement was suppressed heavily by the three Empires, Austria, Prussia/Germany, and Russia.

Balkan Pan-Slavism

Pan-Slavism in the south was much different, being that it often turned to Russia for support. The Pan-Slavic movement was based around Serbs and Serbia. The Serbian people sought to unite all of the Southern, Balkan slavs under their rule. The problem was that Serbia was a tiny nation and the Austro-Hungarian Empire,though unstable, was still a strong opponent that could crush Serbia easily. The idea of Russia protecting Southern Slavic unity was favored.

Modern-day developments

Following World War I, the Pan-Slavic movement was, to an extent, successful. Czechoslovakia created a semi-northern Pan-Slavic state. In the south, the creation of Yugoslavia did unite most southern Slavs under the influence of the Serbs. The problem that Yugoslavia would face was the domination by the Serbs. The same was for Czechoslovakia where Slovaks resented Czech domination and majority. Domination and opposition ultimately led to their collapse in unity.

The idea of unity of the Slavic people is all but gone in the post-Communist era. The idea of uniting even a few Slavic peoples such as in Yugoslavia led to a horrific civil war. Because of failures in small-scale attempts at unification, the idea of unity on a large scale is considered unlikely. Resentment among ethnic groups (especially towards Russia) and the hardships in rebuilding Eastern Europe's economy have stifled the once influential idea of Pan-Slavism.


Slavic Peoples
Slavic languages

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45