Europe on the Path to Self-Destruction

Nationalism and the Struggle for Hegemony, 1815–1945


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About the Book

Between the years 1815 and 1945, Europe achieved unrivaled global dominance, only to see it shattered by two world wars. This frenetic rise and fall was attended by immense societal change. In 1815, Europe remained largely agricultural and dependent upon horsepower. By 1945, the power of the atom had been unleashed. Two industrial revolutions occurred in the interim—the first founded upon coal, iron and steam, the second upon oil, steel, electricity and internal combustion. The implications for humanity were profound.

This concise yet comprehensive study is divided into three sections. In section one, the map of Europe emerges in its modern visage as unrestrained nationalist fervor gives rise to an assemblage of new nation-states. In section two, the continent attains global hegemony as massive industrialization fuels a mad scramble for colonial markets and raw materials. In section three, a cauldron of national, ethnic and class hatreds spawn the rise of totalitarianism and the overthrow of European hegemony in two calamitous world wars. By tracing the events and undercurrents of this vital period in European history, this book offers trenchant insights for the lay reader and the student of history alike.

About the Author(s)

Jack L. Schwartzwald is a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Brown University’s Warren Alpert School of Medicine in Providence, Rhode Island.

Bibliographic Details

Jack L. Schwartzwald

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 515
Bibliographic Info: 104 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8340-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4685-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Section I. Evolution: The Nations Take Form
1. Reaction and Revolution, 1815–1848 7
2. Nationalism Triumphant, 1848–1870 47
3. Societal Achievements, 1815–1870 87

Section II. Natural Selection: The Nations Take Sides
4. The Domestic Affairs of France and Germany, 1870–1914 101
5. Great Britain After Palmerston, 1865–1914 121
6. Domestic Affairs of the Hapsburg Empire, Russia and Italy, 1870–1914 150
7. International Affairs, 1870–1914 173
8. Societal Achievements, 1870–1914 198

Section III. Survival of the Fittest: The Nations Collide
9. The First World War and the Treaty of Versailles, 1914–1919 231
10. Domestic Affairs Between the Wars, 1919–1939 273
11. International Affairs Between the Wars, 1919–1939 306
12. World War II: Axis Blitzkrieg, 1939–1942 335
13. World War II: Allied Victory, 1942–1945 369
14. Societal Achievements, 1914–1945 414

Chapter Notes 443
Bibliography 481
Index 489

Book Reviews & Awards

• Winner, History non-fiction—National Indie Excellence Awards

• Bronze Winner, War and Military non-fiction—Foreword Indies Book Awards

• “A sweeping history of the conflicts and rivalries for dominance in Europe after the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. Schwartzwald writes with verve and clarity chronicling the birth of European nations and the endless conflicts between them until the cataclysm of two devastating world wars.”—Gavin Weightman, author of The Industrial Revolutionaries: Makers of the Modern World

• “Exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented…an impressive work of exhaustive scholarship and unreservedly recommended”—Midwest Book Review