This analysis of the origins of the Second World War in Europe challenges several key ideas of the historiography: the ‘thirty years war’ thesis, the notion of a European civil war, and the stereotyping of the 1930s as a seemingly unstoppable rush to war after the internationalism of the 1920s. There was no sharp contrast between decades—the period only makes sense as a whole. Churchill’s ‘unnecessary war’ was preventable. Alternatives to appeasement existed. Though the study of war origins starts with Hitler, his policies were decisively shaped by the actions of others and the instability of an international system, heavily impacted by the Great Depression and ideology. Miscalculation rather than design explains the war of 1939. The outbreak of war should not obscure the significance of the 1930s as a laboratory for ideas and institutions that came to fruition after 1945 and which continue to shape international society.
Helen Graham and Alejandro Quiroga
What Spain, Greece, and Portugal have in common in the twentieth century is the manner in which their internal processes of change – rural to urban, agrarian to industrial – were intervened in and inflected at crucial moments and with enduring effect by the force of international political agendas. By the 1960s, in all three countries, the fearful imaginaries of traditionalists still saw a disguised form of communism in the ‘godlessness’ of Americanisation, social liberalisation, and anti-puritanism. This article adopts a tripartite structure (1945: survival; 1970s: transition; after 1989: memory) in order to explore why, how, and with what consequences Southern European political establishments with clear Nazi links or empathies not only survived the collapse of Adolf Hitler's new order, but were also able to persist as dictatorial and authoritarian regimes into the 1970s. It then interrogates the nature of the subsequent transitions to parliamentary democracy, paying particular attention to the continuities. It is remarkable, even today, how few Western European or North American commentators understand the brutality beneath the burlesque of dictatorship in Southern Europe.
This chapter deals with the vast territories east of the Elbe river, including Poland–Lithuania, the Czech lands, Brandenburg–Prussia, and Russia. There are two primary and interlocking themes, first the westernization of these lands, secondly, the origins and development of the ‘second serfdom’ in the agrarian East. Westernization of the agrarian East came largely through the introduction and expansion of the ‘Frankish agrarian system’, which began around 1200 with Western colonization east of the Elbe. Westernization was essentially a repetition of basic agrarian developments that had already taken place in much of north-west Europe in the period 600–1000 AD. One of the most important of these developments was manorialism, and the so-called ‘second serfdom’ in Eastern Europe was thus not a deviation from westernization, but rather an integral part of it.
The main developments in western European agrarian society and economy are surveyed at the outset in a regional analysis which stresses the degree of variety within quite small areas and by the same token the irrelevance of national boundaries. The survey considers employment and production beyond tillage and pastoralism: fishing, hunting, mining, or local crafts and manufacturing are treated as part of the rural economy. There follows a detailed thematic analysis which examines crop yields, credit, share-cropping, landholding, labour, and total factor productivity. The conclusion briefly takes up the debate over the transition from feudalism to capitalism, initiated by Robert Brenner, to argue that the regional variations in landholding and inheritance practices which might emerge from an initially similar environment, while casting doubt on aspects of Brenner’s general thesis, nevertheless were shaped as much by power or class relations as by natural endowment, ecology, or technological innovations.
D. W. Ellwood
The First World War cost Europe the leadership of the world. But the United States of Woodrow Wilson was not ready to take its place. The 1920s brought Europe to a crossroads where mass democracy, mass production, and mass communications—the latter two dominated by American innovations— transformed ideas of sovereignty, modernity, and identity everywhere. The financial crash of 1929 destroyed illusions about the United States as the land of the future, and helped legitimize the totalitarians. European democrats looked to the 1930s New Deal as their last best hope. During the Second World War Roosevelt rebuilt the global order, with the United Nations and other new institutions. But the United States was now looking to ‘retire’ Europe from the world scene, and build a new universe based on America’s experience of the link between mass prosperity and democratic stability.
An “Epistolary Reformation”: The Role and Significance of Letters in the First Century of the Protestant Reformation
Letter exchange occupies a significant and growing role in the activities of the Protestant Reformers. This chapter offers explanations for its growing significance in the evolution of the Protestant Reformation. It analyses what over a century of investment in editing the correspondence of the magisterial Reformers has achieved. It offers a yearly profile of the surviving editorial correspondence. At the same time, it underlines the limitations of our concentration on the letters of magisterial Reformers by examining the role of letter exchange in the political evolution of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, and especially in the context of the coalitions at a distance that sustained it. It ends by evoking martyr letters, as found in the martyrologies of John Foxe and Jean Crespin, but also in a devotional context in Hutterite and Anabaptist dissenting traditions.
In contrast to traditional historiography, which insists on the absence of organization within the anarchist movement and on the individual character of propaganda by the deed, this chapter situates anarchist attacks in the context of a more structured movement that operated on a local, regional, national, and international scale. This movement was not, however, identical to the “Black International,” the fantasy of a small group giving orders to disciplined operatives that was dreamt up at the time by, among others, police informants and journalists. The chapter shows how, although some attacks were indeed individual and spontaneous, others were carefully prepared by local, regional, national, and cross-border networks whose members benefited from active solidarity within the movement and together managed to terrorize the Third Republic.
This chapter suggests ways in which the military history of the civil war might be developed and widened to win over new audiences. It examines the social profile and composition of armies in the three kingdoms, the nature of soldiers’ recruitment and mobilization, along with their finance and supply. It explores how armies influenced politics, often feeding their grievances into factional politics, side-changing and infighting within both parliamentarian and royalist coalitions. It points to new directions for future research such as developing understanding of how the historical landscape influenced campaigning and battlefield encounters, as well as the provision of welfare for soldiers and their widows. It connects the identity of the rank and file to their battlefield performance and the strategies available to their commanders, demanding a greater appreciation of how the mobilization of resources was related to success on the battlefield.
T. K. Rabb
This chapter traces the revolution in style and taste that swept over the visual arts as a result of the movement we call the Renaissance. Not only was there a transformation in subject matter, which was almost entirely religious at our starting-point, around 1450, but also in style, in the status of the artist, in the types of art that were produced, in patronage, and in the market for paintings and engravings. To follow these changes, the period has been divided into four broad periods: 1350–1520, the age of the Renaissance; 1520–1600, the age of Mannerism; 1600–70, the age of Baroque; and 1670–1759, the age of Rococo. In each segment the main developments in painting, sculpture, and architecture are outlined; the principal figures are identified; and changes discussed.
This chapter considers the ideological and material struggle over art and architecture from the outbreak of the civil war to the Restoration. Loss of patrons and the removal of collections are linked to an exodus of artists and a depressed art market, although the presence of connoisseurs and virtuosi among the supporters of parliament is also noted. The widespread destruction of ‘idolatrous’ artworks and the many architectural casualties of war are seen to be counterbalanced by the appearance of new enthusiasms such as the growth of illustrated book production and uncompromising classicism in architecture. The struggle between king and parliament is also detected within art itself, with royalist imagery achieving even greater potency after the regicide.
R. Bin Wong
Many of early modern Europe’s connections to Asia were commercial in nature, in contrast to the colonial relations forged by Europeans in the Americas. This chapter considers the ways in which the connections that Europe had with Asia and the Americas provide a context for comparing the early modern political economies of China and Europe. Similarities and differences highlighted by this exercise help make clear both the dynamics of economic change common within both world regions as well as the character of their connections, illustrating important differences between them. The intellectual limitations of identifying historical parallels according to traits first observed in Europe is suggested by noting features of early modern Chinese political rule that are not observed in Europe until a later historical era. These topics illustrate various ways in which comparisons and connections to other world regions helps to place early modern Europe in a global history perspective.
In the twenty-year lifespan of the First Republic, there were three contenders for the label of fascist: the Austrian Nazi Party, the Heimwehr, and the Corporate State. In Austria, one is not comparing like with like, however: the Heimwehr and the Austrian Nazis constituted movements that existed from the outset of the new republic, the Nazis with origins reaching back to the turn of the century. The Corporate State, on the other hand, was a short-lived regime that incorporated and reacted to (and against) these movements. One can best compare the opening phases of fascism in the case of the Heimwehr and the Nazis: the Heimwehr only accrued partial power, and was ultimately incorporated into the Corporate State, and the ultimate Nazi victory in 1938 was ambiguous given that it was under German party leadership.
Samuel K. Cohn, Jr
Divisions between Marxist and non-Marxist historians have fuelled debate of late medieval and early modern popular protest over the past fifty years. Yet, an underlying consensus has arisen with two broad forms of popular revolt, a ‘pre-modern’ (encompassing the Middle Ages to as late as the mid-nineteenth century) and a ‘modern’ one. Supposedly, high bread prices sparked the former, women filled their ranks, the leaders came from the elites and not the rank-and-file of peasants or artisans, their ideologies were primitive and backward looking, and these revolts ended in repression, not revolution. With modernity the characteristics changed. This chapter challenges this ‘pre-modern’/’modern’ divide, arguing that late medieval popular revolts differed profoundly from those of the early modern period across all of these characteristics. The changes depended on a growing gap in power between rulers and the ruled that had begun in places by the closing decades of the fourteenth century.
Common characteristics and objectives united the Axis alliance, composed of Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and imperial Japan. All three were ‘latecomers’ to the great power rivalries of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and all attacked the Wilsonian-inspired global order enshrined after the First World War. Hostile to liberalism, ‘open door’ capitalism, socialism, and communism, the Axis championed authoritarianism, autarky, and a variant of capitalism that integrated state management and investment. Finally, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and imperial Japan sought empires as essential to eliminating social divisions. Although wary of the power of their enemies, they accepted that only war would accomplish that aim. Unable to match the resources of the Allies, the Axis powers resorted to murderous occupation practices that contributed to their defeat.
Bruno De Wever
On the eve of the First World War, Belgium boasted a long tradition of stable civil democracy. Between the two wars, however, its government was challenged by fascist movements, which nevertheless did not succeed in destabilizing the country. In that respect, fascism in Belgium developed in a similar way to that in other West European democracies. Belgian liberal democracy and its nation state came under the pressure of two movements that were at odds with Belgian society as it developed after the First World War. In the first place, there was a reactionary Catholic and French-speaking Belgian nationalist movement that could not resign itself to the increased power of anticlerical and left-wing political forces in general, and of the socialist labour movement in particular. In the second place, there was a Flemish nationalist movement that was looking for confrontation with the Belgian state.
Mack P. Holt
‘Belief and its Limits’ outlines five major themes: (1) the transformation started by the Protestant and Catholic reformations of the sixteenth century that refashioned the way most people understood Christianity; (2) the slow emergence of peaceful co-existence among rival confessional churches after the violence of the Reformation that accompanied the disintegration of the Roman Church into dozens of different Christian churches; (3) the growing and protracted efforts of both church and state to control and regulate popular beliefs, practices, and behaviours, albeit with only limited success, with a particular focus on confessionalization, witchcraft beliefs, and printing; (4) the emergence of new ideas and belief systems by 1800 that historians have traditionally referred to as Enlightenment, that ultimately challenged the beliefs of the past; and (5) the continuation and even strengthening of belief in gender hierarchy and patriarchy in European cultures.
Did Europe’s ‘age of catastrophe’ (1914–1945) represent a break with the past or did it amplify the tensions of the preceding era? Was it a ‘parenthesis’ or a ‘revelation’? Historians have usually taken the latter view and have dismissed popular nostalgia for the period before 1914 as mere hindsight. Yet Europeans had good reason to be nostalgic. The period 1900–1914 had its moments of crisis and ominous trends (e.g. anti-Semitism), but it was essentially defined by stability, democratization, and significant improvements in social conditions. Nor should one exaggerate the desire for war in society or among Europe’s political elites. Prior to the July Crisis, a great Continental war seemed neither inevitable nor likely, all of which has implications for our understanding of Europe’s later descent into barbarism. Simply put, the dynamics of violence and instability that characterized the ‘age of catastrophe’ were largely generated during that period.
Church discipline and the ways in which it was implemented offers an important window on to the relations between churchmen and lay people. But historians need to understand what ‘discipline’ meant within a medieval context: rather than seeing it solely as to do with repression, it was a key concept in the productive government and shepherding of the Christian community, directed toward salvation. This chapter examines the historiographical challenges of understanding church discipline across the whole middle ages, focussing particularly on the role of the bishop; and it argues that aspects which are often thought to date only from the later middle ages can in fact be found much earlier.
This chapter explores the physiology of Protestant inner emotion. Drawing on recent studies on the practice of piety and on rhetoric and medicine, it briefly sets out the period’s Aristotelo‒Galenic theory, its views on the faculties of the soul, and their role in literally moving the believers’ hearts when incited by the ministers’ affective art of preaching. I conclude with a tentative comparison with the Catholic art of preaching, looking at the outer sense of touch in particular. The continuities and resemblances are striking, both in terms of affective rhetoric and physiological theory. The major difference seems to relate to the period’s sensory anxiety. The Reformations queried the most proximate of the outer senses, that of touch.
The article examines religious changes in Bohemia and Moravia from the age of Emperor Charles IV (1346–1378) through the first half of the seventeenth century. It begins by considering the vibrant ecclesiastical landscape in the generation before Hus. After reviewing the tumultuous events of the Hussite era, it evaluates both the radical and more conservative legacy of this movement with the development of the Utraquist Church and the Unity of Brethren. Entering the sixteenth century, the article analyzes the impact of Luther and Calvin on the Bohemian churches, the dynamics of confessional cooperation and conflict. The essay closes with an investigation of the early seventeenth century, events leading to the outbreak of the Thirty Years War, the re-Catholization of the region, the exile generation of John Comenius, and the survival of Protestant enclaves within the kingdom.