The Limits and Divisions of European History

The Limits and Divisions of European History

The Limits and Divisions of European History

The Limits and Divisions of European History

Excerpt

It seems paradoxical to say that European history has always been a neglected subject, but if we accept Professor Halecki's definition of European history as "the history of all European nations considered as a whole, as a community clearly distinct from any other", we shall find that of the vast number of books nominally concerned with European history very few indeed satisfy the definition. We have books by the hundred thousand dealing with the history of the nationalities and states which belong to the European community; we have books dealing with world history from a European standpoint; but the histories of Europe itself as a distinct and autonomous community are so few that they can be counted on one's fingers.

It is easy to understand this state of things in the past when Europe was regarded as the civilized world, so that the history of Europe became merged in a universal history of human progress as we see in the case of Gibbon or Condorcet. But this attitude was already out of date in the nineteenth century, and the immense advance of historical studies in that age provided no lack of material for a comprehensive study of Europe as a whole. Unfortunately the growth of political nationalism and the romantic cult of nationalist ideologies proved as fatal to the study of European history as they were to the hope of a European order. Every people was so intent on asserting the uniqueness of its historical achievement and the self-sufficiency of its cultural tradition that they had no time to understand the nature of Europe herself or to appreciate the common European achievement.

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.