By Bernard Wasserstein
Here's the definitive background of up to date Europe, a debatable yet authoritative and energetic narrative that's destined to develop into the normal account of the interval from 1914 to the current. during this wonderful quantity, esteemed historian Bernard Wasserstein bargains the 1st critical, full-length heritage of a century of convulsive swap. it's a historical past of barbarism and civilization, of cruelty and tenderness, of technological success and environmental blight, of imperial enlargement and withdrawal, of authoritarian repression and of person rebirth. Wasserstein presents either a story of the most contours of the political, diplomatic, and armed forces heritage and an research the underpinnings of demographic, financial, and social advancements. Drawing at the most modern scholarly findings, together with fresh disclosures of intelligence fabrics and archival revelations that the autumn of Communism in jap Europe, Wasserstein captures the essence of up to date eu historical past in a fascinating narrative that's by means of turns grim, funny, spectacular, and enlightening.
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Extra info for Barbarism and Civilization. A history of europe in our time
Scotland was more literate than England, the Baltic provinces and Poland more so than Russia. Northern Italy’s literacy rate was closer to that of France than to that of southern Italy: Piedmont, for instance was 89 per cent literate in 1911, whereas the rate in Calabria was only 30 per cent. The rate also varied between the sexes: almost everywhere men were more literate than women. And among national groups: in the Austrian Empire most Germans, Czechs, and Jews could read and write, but among other nationalities, particularly Serbs, Croats, and Ruthenians, illiteracy was widespread.
S. Nitti, who conducted an inquiry into social conditions among peasants in Calabria and Basilicata in the period 1906–10, wrote: ‘Emigration has lost its quasi-dramatic character. ’15 Peasants were heavily dependent on the vagaries of the agrarian cycle. When blessed with good harvests, as in Russia immediately before 1914, they might succeed in accumulating a small surplus. But if crops failed they would often be compelled by the threat of starvation to mortgage or even sell their land. In Russia and Prussian Poland, the expansion of land banks, credit unions and co-operatives in the years before 1914 helped peasants to acquire or retain title to their land, to buy farm implements, and to market products.
This triumvirate ruled Turkey until 1918. They were threatened not only by assault from without but also by dissidence within, particularly from the large Christian Armenian population who had suVered massacres by the Turks, the latest in 1909, and who looked to Russia as their protector and potential liberator. Russia had traditionally exploited the cause of the Christians in the Ottoman Empire in order to advance her ambition to control Constantinople and the Straits, control that would give her naval access to the Mediterranean.