By Dan Diner
Cataclysms is a profoundly unique examine the final century. drawing close twentieth-century historical past from the outer edge instead of the facilities of decision-making, the digital narrator sits perched at the mythical stairs of Odessa and watches as occasions among the Baltic and the Aegean go in overview, unfolding in house and time among 1917 and 1989, whereas evoking the 19th century as an interpretative backdrop. encouraged by way of continental historic, criminal, and social concept, Dan Diner perspectives the totality of worldwide historical past evolving from an jap and Southeastern ecu perspective. a piece of serious synthesis, Cataclysms chronicles 20th century historical past as a “universal civil warfare” among a succession of conflicting dualisms corresponding to freedom and equality, race and sophistication, capitalism and communism, liberalism and fascism, East and West. Diner’s interpretation rotates round cataclysmic occasions within the transformation from multinational empires into country states, observed via social revolution and “ethnic cleansing,” situating the Holocaust on the middle of the century’s crisis. not like different Eurocentric interpretations of the final century, Diner additionally highlights the rising pivotal significance of the U.S. and the effect of decolonization at the strategy of ecu integration.
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Extra resources for Cataclysms: A History of the Twentieth Century from Europe's Edge (George L. Mosse Series)
Nor can it be equated with the antagonism that kept the world in suspense for decades after the collapse of the anti-Hitler coalition. Indeed, the huge divide separating Western, liberal-democratic anti-Bolshevism from that of the Nazis is obvious. The former was political; it was fought out in the arena of differing views of social reality. The conflict between West and East was a confrontation between political systems that both espoused values rooted in the Enlightenment. As a conflict between factions on a global scale, their antagonism took on the trappings of a civil war.
This was, in fact, no battle but a massacre,84 for the charging Mahdi warriors refused to understand the machine gun’s enormous firepower. In light of later events on the Great War battlefields, it seems doubtful that the white man really understood his own weapon. How could the nature of his superiority in the colonies have 32 • escaped him? Was he unable to recognize that it was the automatic weapon that permitted the few to rule over so many, and not the natural blessings of race?
133 Both during the Second World War and especially in the postwar era, the principle of self-determination and the Western demand for self-government would lead to some tension between the United States, which was traditionally anticolonial, and Great Britain, which hoped to preserve its empire. 134 The dissolution of the colonial empires was an implicit motive in the shaping of America’s war policy. ”135 The peoples living under colonial rule understood this article as a commitment to their imminent independence; Churchill rejected such an interpretation.