By John Lukacs

ISBN-10: 0674725360

ISBN-13: 9780674725362

The historian John Lukacs deals a concise background of the 20 th century--its global wars and chilly conflict, its countries and leaders. the good issues woven via this lively narrative are inseparable from the author's personal highbrow preoccupations: the fading of liberalism, the increase of populism and nationalism, the achievements and risks of expertise, and the ongoing democratization of the globe.

The historic 20th century begun with the 1st global warfare in 1914 and ended seventy-five years later with the cave in of the Soviet Empire in 1989. the fast century observed the tip of eu dominance and the increase of yankee energy and impact during the global. the 20th century used to be an American century--perhaps the American century. Lukacs explores intimately the phenomenon of nationwide socialism (national socialist events, he reminds us, have outlived the century), Hitler's sole accountability for the second one international battle, and the the most important roles performed through his made up our minds rivals Churchill and Roosevelt. among 1939 and 1942 Germany got here toward profitable than many folks suppose.

Lukacs casts a difficult eye on the results of the second one international War--the frequently misunderstood Soviet-American chilly war--and on the transferring social and political advancements within the some distance and center East and in other places. In an eloquent last meditation at the passing of the 20 th century, he displays at the enhance of democracy during the global and the constraints of human knowledge.

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Altogether, British and pro-Â�British proÂ�paÂ�ganda in the United States was much more effective than the often clumsy German proÂ�paÂ�ganda efforts. Yet the ranking of evidence and of factors that led to the American declaration of war against Germany in April 1917 is necessarily inadequate. For the sentiments (and also some of the opinions) of the American people were not simple. Most Americans believed in the superiority of the New World to the Old. Many of them also believed that it was the proper thing, if not America’s duty, to send an army “over there” and teach the Old World a lesson.

Their careful calculations, including those of their military planners, turned out to be wrong. The German Schlieffen Plan, sensible and convincing, laid down the principle that Russia was much more powerful than France, so that in the event of a two-Â�front war the French armies would need to be defeated first, and soon; France would then have to sue for peace. In 1914 (and also thereafter), the opposite occurred. The French may scarcely have “won” the Battle of the Marne, but the Germans certainly lost it.

I have agonized about my choice of almost evÂ�ery word of it. The reason for this is my conviction that hisÂ�tory consists of words, even more than of “facts,” because “facts” are inseparable from their statements, and these amount to more than the wrapping of facts; that the use and the choice of evÂ�ery word is not only a stylistic but a moral decision for a historian (as it is for evÂ�ery human being speaking). But of course the above summary leaves a lot of things out. And many of the matters I have left out contain, explicitly or implicitly, the meanings of certain events.

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A Short History of the Twentieth Century by John Lukacs


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