So much of European history is taken up with wars that we tend to concentrate on the destructive aspects of human life. Indeed, Professor Geoffrey Barraclough tells us that we should stop talking about the causes of wars and revolutions altogether and turn to their effects. Perhaps future historians, Barraclough maintains, will regard the two world wars as negative phenomena, which provided the peoples of Africa and Asia with an opportunity of asserting their own emerging culture and national identity. Barraclough is certainly right in maintaining that we should judge the negative aspects of human life in terms of the positive, and it has not evaded his notice that the effect of one conflict is frequently the cause of a second.1 The conclusion to be drawn is that World War I may have been European in its theatre of action, world-wide in its effects; World War II was world-wide in both respects.
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- Introduction: World War II: The Historians and their Materials
E. M. Robertson
- Macmillan Education UK
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