From: Zagreb, Croatia
I believe Europeans have a fundamentally different geo-political outlook than Americans. In a nutshell, Americans have no real issues with their neighbors; they don't covet regions of other countries.
A few years back I spent some time in Budapest. In the national museum, there is a huge wall map of Hungary - this map includes regions such as Transylvania and Croatia - territories they ceded at the end of WW I.
Hungarians still believe these areas are rightfully theirs. As a consequence, they really dislike Romania (owns Transylvania!); they cannot stand Croatia (that's Hungarian land, not an independent country!); and they're really annoyed with the Czech Republic over some piece of land (Upper Hungary, maybe?); and of course they hate the Austrians, who essentially held Hungary in vassalage for some hundreds of year; and don't even think about the Russians (i.e. Soviets).
Essentially, they have issues with all their neighbors. Consider, for a moment, the other countries of Europe - many, if not most also have issues over some past land realignment or problems about ethnic minorities. What a powder keg, waiting for a spark to set it off.
Not take somebody like Hitler, and drop him into this witch's brew. There's the spark, and boom!
That trip to Hungary was definitely an eye-opener in international relations to me.
Ordinary people don't think that way any more... if you ask, for example, ordinary citizen of Hungary and Croatia if there is some huge rivalry still existing they would deny it...
Also, please note that Croatia was never "Hungarian land" and that Hungarians never settled Croatia or were majority there. Croatia was kingdom under Hungarian kings (but with Croatian with viceroy and Croatian parliament for centuries) only because when last true Croatian king died without children in late 11th century Hungarian kings claimed the Croatian throne because the last king's wife was Hungarian born princess (their son died as a child so there was no Croatian king of Hungarian blood)...
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