My Courses

Modern Europe in War and Revolution

Alessandro Bruschetti,  Sintesi Fascista (Fascist Synthesis), 1935.The first fifty years of Europe's twentieth century were racked by violence, bloodshed and extraordinary political, economic, and socio-cultural changes. Between 1914 and 1918, an estimated 37 million people perished on Europe's battlefields. The Old Regime, too, crumbled beneath the weight of four years of unyielding industrial warfare and, in Eastern Europe, revolutionary upheavals. Amidst the ashes of the old Europe, a number of contending visions for a new politico-economic order began to appear. Old ideologies, such as Communism in Russia, and new ones, such as Fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany, emerged as challengers to Liberal Democracy. By 1939, Europe's destiny lay anxiously in the crosshairs between these three diametrically opposed contenders. The Second World War would wipe Fascism and Nazism, as well as an additional 60 million human beings, from the socio-political and demographic maps of the continent, paving the way for the last "great" ideological battle of the twentieth century: the Cold War. By mid-century, then, the continent's political, economic, and demographic makeup had changed dramatically. But why, one must ask, was Europe's twentieth century so fraught with unprecedented violence, revolutionary upheavals, and earth-shattering changes? Read More >