Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Post-1945 Europe

Our next phase in History 5 is the second world war and the resulting redefinition of Europe but first, and again, Munich 1938. In the previously mentioned lectures, Anderson ended with a short apology about Munich 1938. In the first we comment on here, she makes her case more solidly and the apology comes out more mixed. 1938 had the world in a conundrum. The fix was not easily found. Not found after all and the largest war ever erupted.

By the end of the war, Europe was in shambles. Not only that, Europe had lost central power in the world. If it was still center-stage, it was because the new powers flexed their muscles here. Europe was carved up in Soviet and American spheres of influence and in many ways, Europe turned from colonizers to colonies, two sets of colonies with Germany firmly stuck in the split middle, cut in two itself.

So was its capital Berlin and here the Cold War was played out in mere square kilometers. The Soviets blockaded West-Berlin, to no avail. They built the wall, with slightly more avail. And while we began to think the wall would last our life times, it crumbled, almost suddenly. Thus ended the three wars that tore Europe down, the cataclysms that reduced the center of the world to periphery. For now.

Lectures Circles of Hell (mp3) and The Colonialization of Europe (mp3).

More History 5:
The Great Dictators,
New Europe, Old Europe,
Women and Freud,
Romanticism and Bismarck,
Capitalism and Socialism.

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