By Bernard Wasserstein
Here's the definitive historical past of up to date Europe, a debatable yet authoritative and vigorous narrative that's destined to turn into the normal account of the interval from 1914 to the current. during this amazing quantity, esteemed historian Bernard Wasserstein deals the 1st severe, full-length background of a century of convulsive swap. it's a heritage of barbarism and civilization, of cruelty and tenderness, of technological fulfillment 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 army heritage and an research the underpinnings of demographic, monetary, and social advancements. Drawing at the newest scholarly findings, together with contemporary disclosures of intelligence fabrics and archival revelations that the autumn of Communism in jap Europe, Wasserstein captures the essence of latest eu historical past in an enticing narrative that's through turns grim, funny, spectacular, and enlightening.
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Extra resources for Barbarism and Civilization: A History of Europe in Our Time
12 Although Britain and Belgium had large urban majorities and Germany a somewhat smaller one, the bulk of the population almost everywhere else lived in small rural settlements. This was particularly true of southern and eastern Europe and European Russia where the population was more than four-Wfths rural. The peasant was consequently the representative European social type in 1914 and the village the basic social milieu. Country life in most parts of Europe had changed vastly over the previous century.
In Germany, for example, real wages in industry are estimated to have doubled between 1871 and 1913. They varied greatly, however, by area: wages in Hamburg and Berlin were more than double those in Silesia. Average earnings of rural day-labourers in the same period also increased—but only by about three-quarters. Continuity of employment for unskilled urban workers was far from assured but in 1913–14 unemployment was low. 1 per cent in Britain (we have no exact Wgures because governments hardly yet recognized the concept of unemployment, often seeing it as a moral rather than an economic problem; consequently regular statistics on the unemployed were not collected).
In this as in other respects the impact was greatest in north-west Europe but even there organized religion maintained powerful redoubts. In Britain, where urban working-class attendance at church declined steadily, the churches retained signiWcant social inXuence in rural areas and the non-conformist conscience continued to hold part of the governing Liberal Party, in power since 1905, in thrall. In many countries the Church retained authority over much of the educational system; in others it contested the state for control over it.
Barbarism and Civilization: A History of Europe in Our Time by Bernard Wasserstein