Europe between Democracy and Dictatorship, 1900-1945

Europe between Democracy and Dictatorship, 1900-1945

Europe between Democracy and Dictatorship, 1900-1945

Europe between Democracy and Dictatorship, 1900-1945

Synopsis

Fischer offers a captivating analysis of Europe's turbulent history during the first half of the twentieth century, from the optimism at the turn of the century to the successive waves of destruction of the First and Second World Wars.
  • Written by a leading authority in this field, the book draws upon his areas of expertise
  • Reflects the most recent scholarship in this period of history
  • While laying stress on Europe's major powers and the seminal events of the earlier twentieth century, Fischer pays due attention to the smaller European countries from the Atlantic to the Black Sea and the Baltic to the Mediterranean
  • Extends beyond the political, sociological, and economic paradigms to include extensive references to the European cultural scene
  • Organized both as a broad chronology and thematically, in order to allow for historical insights and entry into the key debates and literature

Excerpt

Between 1900 and 1945 two world wars and a string of murderous dictatorships called time on an age of European global preeminence, material and moral. They form the main subject matter of this book, but do not dominate it entirely. Interwar Europe also experienced deep-seated and far-reaching changes that testified to human society’s powers of innovation and renewal and laid many foundations of the post-1945 world. Contrasting paradigms therefore compete for our attention: an abysmal story of conflict, economic crisis, dictatorship and slaughter which had by 1945 left much of the continent a smouldering wasteland, but against this the fruits and legacy of constructive diplomacy, cultural vibrancy, political and social emancipation, prosperity and technological advance.

The labyrinthine complexity of the European story prevents easy generalization or the full and equal treatment of all themes, places and events. Each author will bring their own perspectives, enthusiasms and expertise to a general history and this work is no exception, laying a degree of emphasis and sometimes a revisionist take on the international diplomacy of a turbulent and warlike age. The book adopts a broadly chronological approach to the general European story, embedding the two great wars within the narrative, but foregrounds selected major events and themes, such as the post-1918 peace settlements, the key revolutionary upheavals, economic crises, and also cultural change. Brief national histories appear at appropriate points and, as far as space has allowed, the “peripheral” and smaller nations of Europe are not ignored. They were no less caught up in the events of the earlier twentieth century than the great powers, even if they more often ended up as victim or prey rather than predator.

Referencing is denser than in many general histories, but the sheer scale of firstrate scholarship on this period must leave the attribution selective. It serves essentially as an entry into a range of specialist and general works. Quotation has been used widely both to provide a flavour of other authors’ writing and to lend life and colour to this fascinating period in Europe’s history, sometimes exploiting nonacademic sources, occasionally to be taken with a good dash of salt.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.