Summary

For the Western allies, 11 November 1918 has always been a solemn date - the end of fighting which had destroyed a generation and a vindication of a terrible sacrifice with the total collapse of their principal enemies: the German Empire, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. But for much of the rest of Europe, this was a day with no meaning, as a continuing nightmarish series of conflicts engulfed country after country.
In this highly original, gripping book, Robert Gerwarth asks us to think again about the true legacy of the First World War. In large part it was not the fighting on the Western front which proved so ruinous to Europe's future but the devastating aftermath, as countries on both sides of the original conflict were wrecked by revolution, pogroms, mass expulsions and further major military clashes. If the war itself had in most places been a struggle purely between state-backed soldiers, these new conflicts were mainly about civilians and paramilitaries, and millions of people died across Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe before the USSR and a series of rickety and exhausted small new states came into being. Everywhere there were vengeful people, their lives racked by a murderous sense of injustice, looking for the opportunity to take retribution against enemies real and imaginary. Only a decade later, the rise of the Third Reich and other totalitarian states provided them with the opportunity they had been looking for.
©2016 Robert Gerwarth (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Elaine on 04-01-17

excellent summary

A most enjoyable book. Succinct, well written, informative on a tangled era of european history.
Only negative is its sometimes prolonged and possibly unnecessary descriptions of extreme violence.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mr on 15-12-16

Now I get why there are so many problems in our world

Wow. A comprehensive study of the violent chaos in Europe and beyond following the cessation of hostilities on the western front. Real and direct resonance with the causes of today's turmoil in these same areas.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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