The United States and It Place in World Affairs, 1918-1943

The United States and It Place in World Affairs, 1918-1943

The United States and It Place in World Affairs, 1918-1943

The United States and It Place in World Affairs, 1918-1943

Excerpt

From two different points of view it is imperative that Americans should have a fuller knowledge of world affairs. Events have demonstrated that the United States can in no way insulate itself from other nations; that the play of forces in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and Australasia deeply affects the life of every man, woman, and child in North America; and that nobody can understand what is occurring in the United States unless he has some real knowledge of what has occurred abroad. But this is not all. Americans are not citizens of the United States alone. To an increasing extent they must also be citizens of the world. International institutions, as recent history proves, cannot root themselves firmly except in a soil provided by international knowledge; they cannot grow except in a soil enriched by international understanding.

This book, surveying the broad field of American and world affairs from the First World War onward, could not have been written until now. The Second World War, with some account of which the book closes, has plainly ended an era, and has thrown all preceding events into new perspective. This period between the shot at Sarajevo in 1914 and the collapse of Italy in 1943 is a crowded, complex, and somewhat confused period. But we can now see that it has a distinct unity. The authors of this book have tried to reduce the complexities of the era to order by studying it according to a careful plan; by assigning each of its important parts to an expert; and by dealing with all of it from a fixed point of view.

This point of view is strictly American; the book attempts to interpret the history of the period primarily according to its significance to the American people. Not that the spirit of the book is nationalistic or parochial. On the contrary, the authors have sought to infuse into it an international and catholic spirit. But the first question in their minds has always related to the meaning of the forces and events they review to the United States. A tremendous variety of matters is necessarily covered here. The global consequences of the First World War, political, economic, social, and moral; the postwar revolutions in Europe and Asia; the rise of new national states on these continents; the temporary popularity of democratic ideas in countries previously closed to them; the establishment of powerful dictatorships in Russia, Poland . . .

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