Mazower Reading (Notes)

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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 212
Professor
Hudson Meadwell

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POLI 212­ Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century (Mazower Reading­Notes) • Before WWI, there had been just 3 republics in Europe. By the end of  1918, there were 12.  o These republics were equipped with new constitutions drawn up  using the most up­to­date liberal principles • However, democratic values disappeared as political polarization brought  much of Europe to the verge of a civil war; ruling elites proved to be anti­ communist first, democratic second.  • We should not assume that democracy is suited to Europe… in it’s focus  on constitutional rights and its neglect of social responsibilities,  democracy seemed more fitted to the 19  rather than the 20  century th • During the 19  century the demand for constitutional gov’t became the  centerpiece for middle­class demands • Alas, the key to the future of democracy in Europe was Germany • Because of the previous personalized systems of rule, the new  constitutions naturally expressed a mistrust of executive authority o They set up parliamentary authorities to oversee the executive.  This pre­eminence of parliament became one of the main points of  criticism of the new democratic arrangements o The new constitutions reflected the diverse political  preoccupations of their makers; attempting to meet both liberal and  popular demands, mirroring the ambiguous post­war situation • The revolutionary wave of 1918­19 did demonstrate the political  conservatism of the land­owning peasantry • **Agrarian civil war paved the way for Mussolini • Outside observers were unimpressed by Italy’s brush with parliamentary  gov’t, and their approval of Mussolini’s achievement often carried  undertones about the efficacy of parliamentary democracy in the modern  world • “Fascism was the product of democratic decay” o “the greatest inefficiency of the Italian parliament coincided with  the application of proportional representation” • Political parties, highly organized and unique as they were, were often  accused of acting as intermediaries for sectional interests rather than  standing for the country as a whole • Weimar Germany ▯ “discussion becomes meaningless when one’s partner  has already decided on his position before the discussion has begun…As a  result the intellectual foundations o
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