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Europe in the 20 th Century

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  1. Europe in the 20th Century Prof. Steven Wolinetz

  2. Europe in the 20th Century • What is Europe? • The meanings of Europe

  3. Europe in the 20th Century What is Europe? • Geography • The Continent • Changing internal (and external) boundaries http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/europe/02/euro_borders/html/2.stm • Demise of nationalism and erosion of boundaries? • From the center of the world to a part to emulate? • Religious heritage • Christianity (Catholic and Protestant branches and Roman and Eastern Orthodox traditions) • Jewish heritage and growing Muslim population • Common political evolution • from feudalism and absolute monarchy, to liberal democracy

  4. Europe in the 20th Century • The governments (the democratic trajectory) • The expansion of the state • The changing economic (industrial) structure • The changing social structure • From emigration to immigration

  5. Fin de siècle Europe • Caps off period of rapid social & economic change in some parts of Europe – Victorian England, France, Germany • Other parts of Europe – Russia, Southern Italy – barely removed from feudalism • Spread of the industrial revolution • improves standards of living • Accentuates class and religious divisions

  6. Political dimensions • Monarchs still rule, multinational empires hold sway • Liberalization and democratization incomplete --if they have begun at all • Mobilization along class, religious, and ethno-nationalist dimensions • Intense arguments about who should participate, on what basis, and what the units of government should be

  7. Some examples - I • UK • Most working men but no women vote • Parliamentary government but the House of Lords is co-equal with the House of Commons, often blocking reforms • The Irish question festers • France • Parliamentary government but deep-seated division about the role of the Church

  8. Some examples - II • Imperial Germany: • An unbalanced federation dominated by its largest state, Prussia • ‘Monarchial constitutionalism’ as the dominant mode of governance • Universal but unequal manhood suffrage • Deep-seated class and religious conflicts

  9. The multinational empires • Austria-Hungary • a liberal empire, but a patchwork of nationalities and nationalist movements, festering demands • Russia: • An autocratic empire grappling with pressures for liberalization, democratization, fundamental reorganization • The Ottoman Empire • decaying and crumbling

  10. Interwar Europe • Map is redrawn • Multinational empires broken up • new ‘successor’ states created • In several instances, new liberal democracies are established • But, a period of democratic decay • Italy • Portugal • Germany • Spain…. • The Great Depression and the dirty thirties

  11. Postwar Europe: • Many political leaders, political forces, countries, come out of World War II determined to create something different or better • not to repeat either the dirty thirties or the war • Astoundingly, they manage to do so, despite -- or perhaps because of -- the Cold War • United Nations • OECD • European Union… • Postwar welfare state

  12. But not without warts • Cold War: • Iron Curtain • Division of Europe into ‘free’ and ‘communist blocs • Diminished international position • Loss of overseas empires • Less central in world politics: • Second fiddle to US?

  13. From 1989 • Fall of Communism & end of cold war • Broader, if not necessarily deeper European Union • Large swatch of territory in which war, at least in the core, is unthinkable • Decreased and diminished nationalism: war & aggression banished to fringes • Prosperity, sense of well-being • but not everywhere • And not necessarily everyone