Contested Cities in the Modern West by A. C. Hepburn (auth.)

By A. C. Hepburn (auth.)

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By the 1860s the Russians had come to realise that some mild encouragement of Finnish vis-à-vis Swedish might help to weaken any vestigial attachment of the local elite to Sweden. Conversely, the fact that Russia rather than Sweden was the imperial overlord took at least a little of the edge off Finnish hostility towards Swedish culture while, as we shall below, giving rather more of a boost to Finnish national patriotism amongst Swedish-speakers. The Russification period is a little more difficult to assess.

We do not know what proportion of the population would have regarded themselves as ‘Polish’ during this period, although 16 per cent of Breslau university students were so described in 1817. Religion is a less reliable ethnic indicator in this case, but the Catholic proportion of the city’s growing population rose from 26 per cent to 39 per cent during the first half of the century (Davies & Moorhouse:250, 375, 244–45). This was primarily at the relative expense of Protestants, for the Jewish population remained at around 1 per cent until the later nineteenth century, when in rose to around 7 per cent.

Class, reinforced strongly by migration patterns over an 80-year period, has in fact operated as a powerful cross-cutting cleavage in Barcelona, and is one of several reasons why the city does not entirely meet our ‘contested city’ criteria. Objective linguistic difference, then, does not always lead to conflicts of the type studied in this book. Strasbourg, now a French city of some 250,000 people adjacent to the German border, has had a chequered political history. It was captured from the Holy Roman Empire and annexed by France for the first time in 1681.

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