Readings in Twentieth-Century European History

Readings in Twentieth-Century European History

Readings in Twentieth-Century European History

Readings in Twentieth-Century European History

Excerpt

This book of readings in European history in the twentieth century is intended for all who may be interested in gaining some insight of the scope and understanding of the significance of the real revolution of our time--if by revolution is understood the tremendous transformations that European life has undergone during the brief span of less than two generations. The compilers hope that it will prove of special value to teachers and students who, in America as elsewhere, find themselves grappling with the problems two World Wars have inescapably posed.

Much of the material herein included has been exposed to the trying test of classroom experience during a war and its aftermath, when some of it was still the stuff of daily living and history itself was outstriding any attempt to give it full meaning in perspective. The compilers have learned much from this experience and they are grateful to all those young men and women who made it possible. They are, moreover, emboldened to hope that a wider audience will respond with reactions as various and instructive.

Like all such attempts, this is bound to appear more subjective than the variety of sources and the materials themselves should make it. The compilers are under no illusions about this and, since they believe that so-called scientific history is more in the nature of an aspiration than of a possibility or even a desideratum, they feel no need to apologize for it. The selections are personal--and one can easily imagine that other compilers would have chosen, in many instances, different materials--but they are not arbitrary. There is a logic that history itself imposes and an emphasis which its development makes inevitable. Finally, this is intended to be neither a source-book nor a collection of documents. It is a book of readings in the widest and most diversified sense, ranging from the solemn official proclamations of governments to the journalistic impressions of spectators--with much else in between.

A few years ago one of our students who had but shortly before left us, dropping in for a visit, casually remarked that within the month he had been in five of the six continents. Although we have focussed our lens principally on Europe, the interaction between the most distant parts of the world is today such as to compel us to draw our readers' attention frequently to Asia and America, and also to Africa, now believed by many to be on the eve of vast changes that are bound to affect our Western world. In an age when even oceans are rather connecting waters than isolating agencies, when one plots communication lines as an air pilot sees them, and when the two strongest powers are both largely extra-European, this has seemed to us natural and proper.

The compilers wish to thank all those publishers of books, pamphlets, newspapers and periodicals who were kind enough to grant their permission for the use of their materials in this book. They make their bow especially to the Foreign Policy Association, Current History, the Manchester Guardian and the New York Times, from all of whom they have drawn in large measure. Professor F. Lee Benns, of Indiana University, was gracious enough to make valuable suggestions, and to him we express our thanks. We are most grateful to Mr. C. W. W. Greenidge and the Aborigines' Protection Society, of London, for sending us pamphlets that are no longer easy to find. Mr. Henry R. Fuller, of New York, has been most thoughtful and kind in his suggestions. To a number of our colleagues in the Washington Square College of New York University we owe appreciation for their encouragement of our work. And Miss Toni Seeman and Mrs. Marie de L. Woods have aided greatly in the not inconsiderable correspondence involved in preparing this volume.

A.B. A.W.S.

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