Cover image for The vanquished : why the First World War failed to end / Robert Gerwarth.
Title:
The vanquished : why the First World War failed to end / Robert Gerwarth.
ISBN:
9780374282455
Edition:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.
Physical Description:
446 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
General Note:
"Originally published in 2016 by Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, Great Britain"--Title page verso.
Contents:
Part I: Defeat -- 1. A Train Journey in Spring -- 2. Russian Revolutions -- 3. Brest-Litovsk -- 4. The Taste of Victory -- 5. Reversals of Fortune -- Part II: Revolution and Counter-Revolution -- 6. No End to War -- 7. The Russian Civil Wars -- 8. The Apparent Triumph of Democracy -- 9. Radicalization -- 10. Fear of Bolshevism and the Rise of Fascism -- Part III: Imperial Collapse -- 11. Pandora's Box : Paris and the Problem of Empire -- 12. Reinventing East-Central Europe -- 13. Vae Victis -- 14. Fiume -- 15. From Smyrna to Lausanne -- Epilogue: The "Post-War" and Europe's Mid-Century Crisis.
Abstract:
"A pathbreaking account of the continuing ethnic and state violence after the end of WWI--conflicts that more than anything else set the stage for WWII"--Provided by publisher.

"An epic, groundbreaking account of the ethnic and state violence that followed the end of World War I--conflicts that would shape the course of the twentieth century. For the Western allies, November 11, 1918 has always been a solemn date--the end of fighting that had destroyed a generation, and also a vindication of a terrible sacrifice with the total collapse of the 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 nightmarish series of conflicts would soon engulf country after country. In The Vanquished, a highly original and gripping work of history, 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 that proved so ruinous to Europe's future, but the devastating aftermath, in which countries on both sides of the original conflict were savaged by revolutions, pogroms, mass expulsions, and further major military clashes. In the years immediately after the armistice, millions would die across central, eastern, and southeastern Europe before the Soviet Union and a series of rickety and exhausted small new states came into being. It was here, in the ruins of Europe, that extreme ideologies such as fascism would take shape and ultimately emerge triumphant. As absorbing in its drama as it is unsettling in its analysis, The Vanquished is destined to transform our understanding of not just the First World War but the twentieth century as a whole"--Provided by publisher.
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Summary

Summary

A Times Literary Supplement Best Book of 2016

An epic, groundbreaking account of the ethnic and state violence that followed the end of World War I--conflicts that would shape the course of the twentieth century

For the Western Allies, November 11, 1918, has always been a solemn date--the end of fighting that had destroyed a generation, but also a vindication of a terrible sacrifice with the total collapse of the 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 The Vanquished , a highly original and gripping work of history, 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 that proved so ruinous to Europe's future, but the devastating aftermath, as countries on both sides of the original conflict were savaged by revolutions, pogroms, mass expulsions, and further major military clashes. In the years immediately after the armistice, millions would die across central, eastern, and southeastern Europe before the Soviet Union and a series of rickety and exhausted small new states would come into being. It was here, in the ruins of Europe, that extreme ideologies such as fascism would take shape and ultimately emerge triumphant.

As absorbing in its drama as it is unsettling in its analysis, The Vanquished is destined to transform our understanding of not just the First World War but the twentieth century as a whole.


Author Notes

Robert Gerwarth is professor of modern history at University College Dublin and the director of its Centre for War Studies. He is the author of The Bismarck Myth and Hitler's Hangman , a biography of Reinhard Heydrich. He has studied and taught in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this controversial, persuasive, and impressively documented book, Gerwarth (Hitler's Hangman), professor of modern history at University College Dublin, analyzes a war that was supposed to end war, yet was followed by "no peace, only continuous violence." The war's nature changed in its final years: Russia underwent a revolution, and the Western Allies committed themselves to breaking up the continental empires. The postwar violence was "more ungovernable" than the state-legitimated version of the preceding century. Gerwarth establishes his case in three contexts. The Central Powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary, enjoyed a taste of victory in the winter of 1917-18, only to suffer the shock of seeing their military, political, and diplomatic positions quickly collapse. Russia's revolution immersed Eastern Europe in what seemed a "forever war" of only fleeting democratic triumphs. Fear of Bolshevism in turn stimulated the rise of fascism. And the Versailles negotiations proved unable to control the collapse of prewar empires, much less guide their reconstruction along proto-Wilsonian lines. The period of relative stability after 1923 was a function of exhaustion rather than reconstruction, Gerwarth ruefully notes, and by 1929 Europe was "plunging back once again into crisis and violent disorder" that set the stage for the Great War's second round. Maps & illus. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Historian Gerwarth (modern history, Univ. Coll. Dublin; Hitler's Hangman) writes an accessible and astute account of the interwar period, specifically the post-World War I years between 1918 and 1923. The author effectively details changes in violence after the end of World War I as postwar Europe devolved into interstate wars between Poland and the Soviet Union, Greece and Turkey, and Romania and Hungary along with several civil wars (e.g., Finland, Ireland, and Germany). The result of this bloodshed emerged in the 1920s as two radically different ideologies, Bolshevism and Facism, both of which led to violence in several countries such as the Red Terror in Russia and the rise of Benito Mussolini in Italy. Gerwarth succeeds in describing the sectarian violence, economic insecurity, and blame of "the other" (more often than not, Jewish communities) that was born out of the Great War and led to an even bloodier battle. Readers of European history will find much to contemplate. -VERDICT This work does not have the glamour of World War theater, but it adequately provides an important bridge between two massive conflicts that still resonate with us today.-Keith Klang, Port Washington P.L., NY © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

List of Mapsp. ix
List of Illustrationsp. x
Introductionp. 1
Part I Defeat
1 A Train journey in Springp. 19
2 Russian Revolutionsp. 24
3 Brest-Litovskp. 37
4 The Taste of Victoryp. 41
5 Reversals of Fortunep. 48
Part II Revolution and Counter-Revolution
6 No End to Warp. 69
7 The Russian Civil Warsp. 77
8 The Apparent Triumph of Democracyp. 101
9 Radicalizationp. 118
10 Fear of Bolshevism and the Rise of Fascismp. 153
Part III Imperial Collapse
11 Pandora's Box: Paris and the Problem of Empirep. 171
12 Reinventing East-Central Europep. 187
13 Vae Victisp. 199
14 Fiumep. 220
15 From Smyrna to Lausannep. 227
Epilogue: The 'Post-War' and Europe's Mid-Century Crisisp. 248
Notesp. 268
Bibliographyp. 356
Acknowledgementsp. 419
Indexp. 424

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