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Europe in the 20 th Century Prof. Steven Wolinetz Europe in the 20 th Century What is Europe? The meanings of Europe Europe in the 20 th Century What is Europe? Geography The Continent

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europe in the 20 th century

Europe in the 20th Century

Prof. Steven Wolinetz

europe in the 20 th century2
Europe in the 20th Century
  • What is Europe?
    • The meanings of Europe
europe in the 20 th century3
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
europe in the 20 th century4
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
fin de si cle europe
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
political dimensions
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
some examples i
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
some examples ii
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
the multinational empires
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
interwar europe
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
postwar europe
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
but not without warts
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?
from 1989
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