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About this book

The development of Europe accelerated from the middle of the seventeenth century with the formation of the nation states and the growth of empires. By the beginning of the twentieth century, European empires dominated most of the world's surface - however, the two world wars brought the continent down from its peak of power. From 1945 to 1989, Europe lost its empires and fell under the influence of the two superpowers, the USA and the USSR; but with the decline and fall of the latter, Europe has since moved towards a new unity.

Paths to a New Europe considers the development of the continent from its origins through premodern to postmodern times, and provides a balanced treatment of Europe and of its wider global setting. Within the overall division of East and West Europe, each section is given due attention and Paul Dukes shows how cultural traditions, along with socio-economic differences and realignments of political power, have evolved over the centuries, still exerting influence as Europe moves towards unity after the collapse of the Eastern bloc and the end of the Cold War.

Table of Contents

1. Origins: Europe before 1648: Mid-century Crisis

Abstract
The idea of Europe first took shape where so many of the origins of civilisation are to be found, in the eastern Mediterranean. However, the origins of the name itself are uncertain. One possible derivation is from the Semitic ereb, meaning ‘evening’ or ‘west’. Certainly from the Greeks, via the Romans, we have received the name as Europe.
Paul Dukes

2. The French Challenge: Responses East and West, 1648–1721

Abstract
Louis XIV was 16 years old when he was crowned in Rheims Cathedral in July 1654. Still learning the craft of kingship, however, he was to defer to his advisers — Mazarin especially — until the cardinal died in 1661. As far as foreign policy was concerned, the major problem of these still early years was to bring to a conclusion the war against Spain. During the troublesome years of the Fronde, the French had suffered some reverses, which persuaded Mazarin that final victory could not be won without allies. Having recognised Cromwell’s Commonwealth in 1652, he made a treaty of friendship with it in 1655, expanding commerce and expelling the Stuarts. In 1657 he agreed to co-operate in the conquest of Dunkirk and other cities in Flanders, then part of the Spanish Netherlands. A joint force was successful at the Battle of the Dunes and the allied aims were achieved in the summer of 1658. At this time, Mazarin also obliged Leopold I at his election as Holy Roman Emperor to forswear further assistance to Spain against France. An alliance with Brandenburg—Prussia which had been arranged at the beginning of 1656 was now supplemented by a League of the Rhine in which France combined with Sweden and a number of German associates in order to force Leopold I to keep his word. A beleaguered Spain had no alternative but to make peace, and in the Treaty of the Pyrenees of November 1659 agreed to make that mountain range the south-west frontier of France while also making concessions in the north-east and allowing Lorraine to move further into the French sphere of influence. France agreed to abandon support for the Catalans beyond the Pyrenees and the Portuguese by the Atlantic, and to give up most claims in Italy and some of them in the neighbourhood of Switzerland. In 1660, peace with Spain was consolidated by the marriage of Louis XIV to Maria Theresa, daughter of Philip IV, and France on its side of the Pyrenees was strengthened by the final pacification of Provence. Mazarin was able to avoid any clash with the restored Stuart King Charles II and to contribute to peace in the Baltic before his death in March 1661.
Paul Dukes

3. The Growth of Empire, 1721–1763

Abstract
Empire had been expanding the horizons of Europe for several centuries. As we have already seen, voyages of exploration laid the foundations of colonial acquisitions which were sufficient by the beginning of the sixteenth century for the Spanish and the Portuguese to have made several attempts at dividing the world between them. However, before the sixteenth century was over, there had been many assaults on this Iberian dominance, especially by the Italian city states and, from the north-west of Europe, by the French, the British and the Dutch. Moreover, the movement of Europe outwards was by no means confined to the sea. At a time when Drake, Hawkins and their like were voyaging on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, an equally doughty Cossack named Yermak was penetrating deep into Siberia in the name of Ivan the Terrible, while the footsteps of Marco Polo overland to China were also being followed.
Paul Dukes

4. Enlightened Governments, their Conflicts and their Critics, 1763–1789

Abstract
The consequences of the Seven Years War and of later conflicts were of considerable importance, since both those who did well out of them and those who did not were obliged to examine the degree to which their systems of government matched up to the demands of the times. To an extent greater than ever before, politicians from Lisbon to St Petersburg were persuaded to have recourse to ideas being put forward by a wide variety of thinkers in the vast and many-sided intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment, which we will examine more broadly in the next chapter. The outstanding examples of such adoption were made by those monarchs who became known as enlightened despots or absolutists — Catherine II (the Great) of Russia, Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia and Joseph II of Austria (remarkable enough if never dubbed the Great). The Enlightenment also exerted its influence on a number of statesmen in Europe as well as crossing the Atlantic to the British mainland colonies in particular. There, ideas both new and old were used to assert the independence of the United States of America in 1776. Later, they were employed at the beginning of an even greater upset, the French Revolution of 1789. To trace the manner in which the Enlightenment was used to support monarchy as well as to overthrow it will be a major purpose of this chapter.
Paul Dukes

5. Europe before 1789, and the Origins of the French Revolution

Abstract
Although travel was established as a normal practice for a young gentleman in the seventeenth century and even in the sixteenth century and before, it did not develop into the Grand Tour until the eighteenth century. The English poet Cowper described the experience of a typical youth going from school to Cambridge or Oxford University, and then on the Tour:
Returning, he proclaims by many a grace, By shrugs and strange contortions of his face, How much a dunce that has been set to roam, Excels a dunce that has been kept at home.1
Paul Dukes

6. The French Revolution and Napoleon, 1789–1815

Abstract
The French Revolution and Napoleon introduced a new era not only for France but also for Europe and beyond. A considerable part of the message of 1789 and succeeding years had already been announced in the British and American Revolutions, but now it was to come over in complete form and at full blast. The rights of man were now given wider publicity than ever before, as was the vocabulary of modern politics. Admittedly, the rhetoric outweighed the implementation, and there is even a case for saying that the revolution turned full circle, for France in 1815 in many respects resembled the France of 1789. On the other hand, the weight of the past is such that high hopes for immediate and complete reversal of an old order can never be fully realised, and in the space of a few years absolute monarchy and many of its feudal trappings were swept away. Just as the sons of Charles I had found it impossible to make the Stuart restoration complete, so the brothers of Louis XVI discovered enormous obstacles in the path of restoring the inheritance of the Bourbons. While there is some truth in the argument that Napoleon developed tendencies towards centralisation and even the increase of state power that were already implicit under the old regime, they could not be maintained by absolute monarchy. If the myth of the French Revolution has been greater than the thing itself, the myth grew from the happenings of 14 July 1789and their sequel. Before we return to an assessment of the great days, therefore, we must attempt to describe the manner in which they unfolded. As we do this, moreover, we must not forget that they would not have taken place in the way they did had not France been affected by developments beyond its borders. Bearing this wider setting in mind, let us now consider events in France under the following headings: Constitutional Monarchy, 1789–92; Republic and Terror, 1792–4; Thermidor and the Directory, 1795–9. Late in 1799, the opportunity presented itself for Napoleon Bonaparte to assume power as first consul. Before briefly examining his domestic policies, we will look at the French Revolution and Napoleon’s rule in the international context.
Paul Dukes

7. From Reaction Towards Liberalism, 1815–1848

Abstract
In exile at St Helena, Napoleon talked of the aims for which he had worked while in power. He said that he had tried to merge the peoples of Europe into nations joined together by ‘unity of codes, principles, opinions, feelings, and interest’. He had thought of setting up a central assembly on an ancient Greek or a modern American model, to take care of ‘the great European family’ with the guidance and protection of his empire. In spite of his defeat, he still believed that what he had worked for would ultimately be realised: The impulse has been given, and I do not think that, after my fall and the disappearance of my system, there will be any other great equilibrium possible in Europe than the concentration and confederation of the great peoples. The first sovereign who, in the midst of the first great struggle, shall embrace in good faith the cause of the peoples, will find himself at the head of all Europe, and will be able to accomplish whatever he wishes.1 Even in the long run, Napoleon’s alleged dream was to fall somewhat short of realisation. More immediately, the Congress of Vienna, on which his remarks might well have been intended as a critical comment, did very little to order the affairs of the continent in anything like the manner he envisaged. Then, as if realising their own shortcomings, the principal signatories of the Treaty of Vienna worked from 1815 to 1822 to build up at least the beginnings of collaboration in what became known as the Congress System.
Paul Dukes

8. Nationalism, Socialism, Imperialism, 1848–1878

Abstract
Nationalism in one form or another had been around in Europe for several centuries. Yet, during the period following the 1848 revolutions it became a powerful force in many parts of the continent — in Austria-Hungary, Germany, Italy, and in the ‘sick man of Europe’ — the declining Ottoman Empire. From region to region, nationalism took on different forms, and in turn these were affected by socialism and imperialism. Moreover, all three movements were influenced by the process of industrialisation that was making itself increasingly felt throughout Europe, and by the changing nature of the relationship of Europe to the rest of the world.
Paul Dukes

9. The Clash of Empires and Classes, 1878–1914

Abstract
In July 1879, Mr Goldie Taubman (later Sir George Goldie) formed a United African Company in order to manage the British infiltration of Nigeria. In 1880, the French explorer Count de Brazza returned to the north bank of the River Congo to make treaties with Makoko, a local chief. These treaties were ratified by the French government in the summer of 1882. The race for Africa had begun. Henry Morton Stanley, famous for his meeting with the missionary David Livingstone, was to write about the Congo of
the novel mission of sowing along its banks civilised settlements to peacefully conquer and subdue it, to remould it in harmony with modern ideas into national states, within whose limits the European merchant shall go hand in hand with the dark African trader, and justice and law and order shall prevail, and lawlessness and the cruel barter of slaves shall be overcome.1
Paul Dukes

10. Europe before 1914: Origins of World War and the Russian Revolution

Abstract
Before 1914, six European great powers — Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Austria—Hungary and Russia — along with two others from outside the continent — the USA and Japan — ‘had brought the greater part of the earth’s surface, resources, and population within their respective spheres of administration, control, or influence’.1 This in spite of the fact that the total population of the eight powers was little more than a quarter of a world population approaching 1,700 million. In five of the six European great powers, between seven and nine out of every ten persons lived on the land. Even in the exception, Great Britain, the landed interest was far from insignificant, while in the other cases it vied with the urban middle class — the bourgeoisie — in an almost exclusively male struggle for supremacy. However, nearly everywhere the bourgeoisie was on the rise, as there was a considerable movement from rural areas to the cities as peasants became proletarians. For the migrants to become competent cogs in the ever expanding industrial machine, they were obliged to change their culture, for example to work regular hours, and to master the three Rs, reading, writing and arithmetic. Male dominance was marked at all levels of European society before the First World War, one of the few positive consequences of which was to be a move towards female emancipation.
Paul Dukes

11. The First World War and the Russian Revolution, 1914–1921

Abstract
The plans for action of both sides depended on attack. The most famous of them, the German Schlieffen Plan, called for a quick strike at Paris after outflanking the French defences through Belgium and Luxembourg, while on the Eastern Front the army would mark time until reinforcements could be brought over from the West. However, as Hew Strachan makes clear, Schlieffen had retired in 1905, and by 1914 ‘There was no single solution, no one plan’, and more concern for French intentions.1 The French Plan 17, which replaced others responding more directly to German intentions, concentrated on mobilising much more efficiently than in 1870, stopping the German attack from Lorraine or through Belgium and demonstrating flexibility in both defence and counter-attack. Meanwhile, the Russians hoped to move rapidly to secure their flanks in East Prussia and Galicia before advancing from their Polish salient towards Berlin. For their part, the Austro-Hungarians were intent on advance from Galicia against the Russians as well as on completion of the punishment of insubordinate Serbia. Britain was in a somewhat exceptional position, preoccupied by imperial concerns and by no means as committed to the continent as its allies. The small professional army was to cross the Channel to assist the French while the navy was to concentrate on keeping the high seas free of the enemy. In such a manner, the British government hoped that the enemy would be denied participation in international trade and thus be starved into submission.
Paul Dukes

12. Through Depression and Isolation towards Another World War, 1921–1939

Abstract
In the decade or so that followed Versailles and the immediately accompanying treaties, relations between European states and with other powers beyond Europe were essentially shaped by the agreements made in the years 1919–21. Even though the greatest world power, the USA, did not sign the treaties or enter the League of Nations, in spite of all Woodrow Wilson’s valiant efforts, American interest in maintaining post-war stability remained constant. In July 1921, President Harding signalled his desire to support what he called ‘normalcy’ by inviting Japan, China, Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal to a conference in Washington on the limitation of naval armaments with special reference to the Pacific and the Far East. After a series of negotiations from November 1921 to February 1922, some significant treaties were signed. A ratio was instituted of 5:5:3 for the capital or larger warship tonnage of the principal naval powers, the USA, Britain and Japan respectively. The ‘Open Door’ in China was reasserted through a collective guarantee of its independence and the withdrawal of Japan from its foothold in Shantung. However, the Soviet government protested vigorously at its exclusion from the discussions in Washington, as well as at the continued presence of Japanese troops in Vladivostok, which they did not leave until October 1922. From the strategic point of view, the Washington conference did for the seaborne concept of Mahan what Versailles and other treaties did for the land-based idea of Mackinder.
Paul Dukes

13. The Second World War and the Division of Europe, 1939–1945

Abstract
During the period leading up to the Second World War, nearly everybody in Britain and France was hoping that it would not come, or at least would take place elsewhere. Encouragement for such hopes was provided by the mass media, old and new. Until towards the end of the 1930s, many of the newspapers asserted that peace was secure. Similarly, radio broadcasts and cinema newsreels did not sound many notes of alarm before the final fateful years; nor did television, which was still in its infancy and reaching no more than a small number of viewers.
Paul Dukes

14. The Cold War and Decolonisation, 1945–1968

Abstract
As well as the vast losses, there were the huge costs. For example, the British foreign debt was six times as great as before — the largest in the world, while trade had shrunk to a third of its former level. France was faced with the formidable problem of how to regain its stature after the years of occupation. Germany and Italy had to begin again from scratch after their comprehensive defeat. Indeed, Europe as a whole had completely lost the dominance that it had enjoyed before the First World War. There could be no more talk of a balance of power arranged exclusively by European diplomats. For now, by a wide margin, the USA was the global power, with the Soviet Union in second place largely because of its occupation of a vast amount of strategically situated land.
Paul Dukes

15. Globalisation: Collapse in the East, Readjustment in the West, 1968–1991 and After

Abstract
Before the arrival of early civilisations, so-called primitive peoples were great travellers, and moved freely around and between Eurasia, Africa and Europe. In a sense, therefore, the process of globalisation began early. The classical and medieval periods saw significant connections, too. The Greeks and the Romans penetrated central Asia, for example, while the Vikings crossed the Atlantic Ocean. From the point of view of European discovery and colonisation in particular, however, the sixteenth century marked an acceleration in awareness of the world as one, and this realisation developed along with the expansion of empire in later years. In turn, the two world wars of the twentieth century both began in Europe but then exerted a powerful globalising influence, as did the Cold War and the decolonisation that followed. As we have just argued, the events of 1968 and the ensuing debate promoted the idea that ‘local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa’.1 An extremely important feature of this new stage in the process was the spread of news by television. For example, the fact that the Vietnam War was the first to be widely shown as well as reported had much to do with its growing unpopularity throughout the USA, Europe and the rest of the world.
Paul Dukes
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