The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century

The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century

Language: English

Pages: 544

ISBN: 0393351289

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century

Language: English

Pages: 544

ISBN: 0393351289

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Winner of the 2014 PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for the Best Work of History. "If you only read one book about the First World War in this anniversary year, read The Long Shadow. David Reynolds writes superbly and his analysis is compelling and original." ―Anne Chisolm, Chair of the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize Committee, and Chair of the Royal Society of Literature.

One of the most violent conflicts in the history of civilization, World War I has been strangely forgotten in American culture. It has become a ghostly war fought in a haze of memory, often seen merely as a distant preamble to World War II. In The Long Shadow critically acclaimed historian David Reynolds seeks to broaden our vision by assessing the impact of the Great War across the twentieth century. He shows how events in that turbulent century―particularly World War II, the Cold War, and the collapse of Communism―shaped and reshaped attitudes to 1914–18.

By exploring big themes such as democracy and empire, nationalism and capitalism, as well as art and poetry, The Long Shadow is stunningly broad in its historical perspective. Reynolds throws light on the vast expanse of the last century and explains why 1914–18 is a conflict that America is still struggling to comprehend. Forging connections between people, places, and ideas, The Long Shadow ventures across the traditional subcultures of historical scholarship to offer a rich and layered examination not only of politics, diplomacy, and security but also of economics, art, and literature. The result is a magisterial reinterpretation of the place of the Great War in modern history.

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conscription complicated rearmament until it was abandoned in April 1939 after Hitler devoured all of Czechoslovakia. The respectability of conscientious objection to war was a major reason for the distinctive strength of the British peace movement. But equally important was Britain’s geopolitical position. On the Continent, where land borders were porous and ever-changing, pacifism was deemed a dangerous political luxury, eroding the country’s capacity for self-defense. Britain, by contrast,

of World War I battles. For Turks, Australians and New Zealanders, Gallipoli is something apart—a significant event in the self-development of their individual nations.”32 This more inclusive view of Gallipoli owed a good deal to domestic pressure from Australia’s Turkish community—a tiny fraction of the post-1945 Turkish diaspora compared to their presence in West Germany but still politically significant in cities such as Melbourne. Arriving in growing numbers from 1968 under Australia’s

38.James Hinton, Protests and Visions: Peace Politics in Twentieth-Century Britain (London, 1989), p. 111. 39.See the insightful study of his changing reputation by David Dutton, Neville Chamberlain (London, 2001), quoting pp. 52–53. 40.Neville Chamberlain to Ida, August 18, 1937, NC 18/1/1015; see also David Reynolds, Summits: Six Meetings that Shaped the Twentieth Century (London, 2007), ch. 2. 41.Robert Paul Shay Jr., British Rearmament in the 1930s: Politics and Profits (Princeton, 1977),

2012); pp. xxvi–xxvii; Barbara Korte et al, eds., Der erste Weltkrieg in der populären Erinnerungskultur (Essen, 2008), p. 9; Winston S. Churchill, The World Crisis: The Eastern Front (London, 1931), p. 7; Gerhard P. Gross, ed., Die vergessene Front. Der Osten 1914/15: Ereignis, Wirkung, Nachwirkung (Paderborn, 2006). A pioneering exception to this neglect in English was Norman Stone, The Eastern Front (London, 1975). 14.Hew Strachan, The First World War, vol. I, To Arms (Oxford, 2001), p. xvi;

rule five new states were created on putatively national lines—Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, and Transjordan. From empire to nation—the pattern seemed similar to Europe, except that in the Near East the “nations” were even more artificial and they existed only within a new imperial framework, imposed by Britain and France. In this story the United States, despite its “Wilsonian moment,” was largely a bystander. Although Wilson’s slogans about self-determination and democracy spurred

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