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Challenging the common assumption that the Treaty of Versailles led to the opening of a second European war, this book provides an analysis of the attempts to reconstruct Europe during the 1920s. It examines the efforts that failed but also those which gave hope for future promise that are usually underestimated, if not ignored.
In 'The Lights that Failed', Steiner challenges the assumption that the Treaty of Versailles led to the opening of a second European war and provides an analysis of the attempts to reconstruct Europe during the 1920s.
In The Lights that Failed: European International History 1919-1933, part of the Oxford History of Modern Europe series, Steiner challenges the common assumption that the Treaty of Versailles led to the opening of a second European war and provides an analysis of the attempts to reconstruct Europe during the 1920s. She examines the efforts that failed but also those which gave hope for future promise that are usually underestimated, if not ignored. She also shows that a degree of stabilization was achieved even though it was fragile, incomplete, and did not last through the 1929-1933 period when nationalist remedies replaced international strategies on both the economic and political levels of European relations. A second volume, The Triumph of the Night, will examine the period from 1934 to 1941. - ;The peace treaties represented an almost impossible attempt to solve the problems caused by a murderous world war. In The Lights that Failed: European International History 1919-1933, part of the Oxford History of Modern Europe series, Steiner challenges the common assumption that the Treaty of Versailles led to the opening of a second European war. In a radically original way, this book characterizes the 1920s not as a frustrated prelude to a second global conflict but as a fascinating decade in its own right, when politicians and diplomats strove to re-assemble a viable European order. Steiner examines the efforts that failed but also those which gave hope for future promise, many of which are usually underestimated, if not ignored. She shows that an equilibrium was achieved, attained between a partial American withdrawal from Europe and the self-imposed constraints which the Soviet system imposed on exporting revolution. The stabilization painfully achieved in Europe reached it fragile limits after 1925, even prior to the financial crises that engulfed the continent. The hinge years between the great crash of 1929 and Hitler's achievement of power in 1933 devastatingly altered the balance between nationalism and internationalism. This wide-ranging study helps us grasp the decisive stages in this process. In a second volume, The Triumph of the Night , Steiner will examine the immediate lead up to the Second World War and its early years. - ;...indisputably the most detailed and authoritative single-volume account of European international history in the fifteen years following the end of the Frist World War...[this work] affirms Zara Steiner's status as the pre-eminent historian of inter-war international affairs. - Martin Conway, EHR 494;Zara Steiner has produced a splendid volume, chock full of detail and with many thought-provoking insights. It will remain a classic for many years to come. For those studying international business history it will serve as an excellent background reference manual to the period... If one were to ask for more it would be the second volume in the same vein. - Derek H. Aldcroft, Business History;Zara Steiner's work has ensured that we will have to treat that neglected decade [the 1920s] with proper respect. She has told the story with impeccable scholarship, clarity and compassion ... Her book will rightly become the definitive work on the period. - Margaret MacMillan, TLS;... impressive - David Stevenson, LRB;...majestic and authoritative volume...The Lights that Failed skillfully and judiciously deploys the fruits of extensive reading and long reflection ... Embedded in its comprehensive survey of the main protagonists and themes is a radical and fascinating argument... - Mark Mazower, BBC History;Any reader who wants to understand the inter-War period should consult this book and any serious student of the period should buy it. For there is simply nothing to compare with it in terms of erudition or exposition. Above all Zara Steiner ensures that we read history forward not backward. - The Independent;a dazzling account...This combination of human drama and a broad international perspective, shifting between western, eastern and Atlantic viewpoints, is a governing strength of the narrative, at once providing fascinating detail, balance, and vivid variety of pace and content. Steiner's long, wise view of international relations during the last epoch when western Europe confidently believed itself the centre of the world is compelling reading for anyone concerned with the continent's past - or future. - FT Magazine;...this is quite clearly a standard of work which is unique in the research landscape and will continue to hold this position for years to come. - Eckart Conze, German Historical Institute Bulletin, Vol. XXIX, No. 1
In this magisterial narrative, Zara Steiner traces the twisted road to war that began with Hitler's assumption of power in Germany. Covering a wide geographical canvas, from America to the Far East, Steiner provides an indispensable reassessment of the most disputed events of these tumultuous years. Steiner underlines the far-reaching consequences of the Great Depression, which shifted the initiative in international affairs from those who upheld the status quo to those who were intent on destroying it. In Europe, the l930s were Hitler's years. He moved the major chess pieces on the board, forcing the others to respond. From the start, Steiner argues, he intended war, and he repeatedly gambled on Germany's future to acquire the necessary resources to fulfil his continental ambitions. Only war could have stopped him-an unwelcome message for most of Europe. Misperception, miscomprehension, and misjudgment on the part of the other Great Powers leaders opened the way for Hitler's repeated diplomatic successes. It is ideology that distinguished the Hitler era from previous struggles for the mastery of Europe. Ideological presumptions created false images and raised barriers to understanding that even good intelligence could not penetrate. Only when the leaders of Britain and France realized the scale of Hitler's ambition, and the challenge Germany posed to their Great Power status, did they finally declare war.
How and why did Britain become involved in the First World War? Taking into account the scholarship of the last twenty-five years, this second edition of Zara S. Steiner's classic study, thoroughly revised with Keith Neilson, explores a subject which is as highly contentious as ever. While retaining the basic argument that Britain went to war in 1914 not as a result of internal pressures but as a response to external events, Steiner and Neilson reject recent arguments that Britain became involved because of fears of an 'invented' German menace, or to defend her Empire. Instead, placing greater emphasis than before on the role of Russia, the authors convincingly argue that Britain entered the war in order to preserve the European balance of power and the nation's favourable position within it. Lucid and comprehensive, Britain and the Origins of the First World War brings together the bureaucratic, diplomatic, economic, strategical and ideological factors that led to Britain's entry into the Great War, and remains the most complete survey of the pre-war situation.
James Joll's study is not simply another narrative, retracing the powder trail that was finally ignited at Sarajevo. It is an ambitious and wide-ranging analysis of the historical forces at work in the Europe of 1914, and the very different ways in which historians have subsequently attempted to understand them. The importance of the theme, the breadth and sympathy of James Joll's scholarship, and the clarity of his exposition, have all contributed to the spectacular success of the book since its first appearance in 1984. Revised by Gordon Martel, this new 3rd edition accommodates recent research and an expanded further reading section.
Did the arms race of the 1930s cause the Second World War? In Cry Havoc, historian Joseph Maiolo shows, in rich and fascinating detail, how the deadly game of the arms race was played out in the decade prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. In this exhaustively researched account, he explores how nations reacted to the moves of their rivals, revealing the thinking of those making the key decisionsÑHitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain, Stalin, RooseveltÑand the dilemmas of democratic leaders who seemed to be faced with a choice between defending their nations and preserving their democratic way of life. An unparalleled account of an era of extreme political tension, Cry Havoc shows how the interwar arms race shaped the outcome of World War II before the shooting even began.

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