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Chapter 1

HIS242_Paxton Summary Chapter 1

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1 Europe in the Twentieth Century Notes Chapter 1: Europe at Zenith, 1914 Europe since 1914  90 years of calamity  War  Revolution  Ethnic conflict  Economic crisis  Social ranking  Cultural climate  Popular attitudes  European consciousness of their place in the world Up to 1914: Europe’s role is important and disproportionate with its size in the world Possesses:  Dense population  25% of the world’s population on 7% of the earth’s surface  Highly skilled workforce  Massive industrial productivity  Culture that rewards creativity  Near monopoly on military forces  “Civility”  the rest of the world is influenced by European civility Europe and the World o Eurothan dynamism dominates the world in 1914 o 19 Century: Europeans are the first people to alter physical environment beyond natural recognition o European  Living in the world’s first industrial complex  Oldest in terms of time  First in rank A. European Traders, Travelers, and Investors o Europe is the hub of an increasingly single world economy o International Gold Standard  Standard at which governments exchange currencies for gold at fixed rate  Makes commercial/currency transferability a viable reality o London becomes the capital of a stable, unified world-trading system  First to adopt the Gold Standard  Most experienced, largest, cheapest shipping agents/insurance brokers/clearinghouses o Freer international trade is the capstone of classical-liberal system  1860-1879: virtually no restrictions or government regulation on trade/movement o 1914: Europe is the source of 83% of world’s foreign investments 2 B. Imperialism o Most British traders/investors are happy with “informal empire”/ “Free-trade imperialism”  But they need protection from international hostility th  Opt increasingly in the late 19 Century to safeguard access to  Markets  Raw materials  Investments  By direct military and political seizure (colonization) o First European colony: Ceuta (present-day Morocco) in 1402 o 1950s-1911: Europeans colonize most of the underdeveloped world o 1914  British Empire is 140 times its own size  Belgian Empire is 80 times its own size  Holland’s Empire is 60 times its own size  French Empire is 20 times its own size  Russia is a major Pacific Ocean Power  Trans-Siberian Railroad completed 1891-1903  Germany  Enters colonization late…  Has minimal territories  East and South-West Africa  China  Bits of Eastern Europe  1900: Extremely powerful navy buildup o Imperialism: Cultural phenomenon or Economic phenomenon?  Not a black and white issue  Acquired lands are rarely suitable for European living standards/colonization  Imperialist powers traded more with one another than colonies o A colony’s existence creates a strategic necessity to control access to it o 1914: Imperialism results in a world in which the Western powers are competitively established on every continent o 1914: Europeans are able to defend their world empires because of their near monopoly on military forces  Rising industrial powers outside of Europe do not even bother to compete  No equals amongst France, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia C. European Artists and Scientists o European art/science standards are the highest in the world European Landscapes: Urban and Rural o 1914: NW Europe  1 region to shift most working populations to industry  First region in which majority of population lives in towns/cities  Fastest growing cities are industrial ones  Most urbanized continent: 74% live in cities 3 A. Life in the City  To be European means to live in a city  Juxtaposition: most glamorous and more squalid  Critics:  Urban slums are squalor  Overpopulated  Grimy  Human indifference  Loss of purpose in life  Moral decadence  Loneliness  Physical misery  Proponents:  Cultural magnets  More opportunities for wealth and fame  A bad job is better than no job for rural poor  Source of variety/excitement for artists B. Life in Peasant Europe o Eastern/Southern Europe is primarily poor  Composed of vast aristocratic estates  Inefficiently cultivated  Landless labourers  Small middle class/gentry  Inefficient agriculture  Underemployed populations due to ancient cultivating techniques/seasonal tasks o Mediterranean Europe/Balkans  Remote hill residents practice primitive, subsistence agriculture  Beyond reach of modernity The Rich and the Poor A. Class and Social Rank o 1914: Society is highly stratified o Social differences are large and visible despite a century of middle class expansion o Society is even more stratified in Eastern and Southern Europe  Middle class is small and rare  Everyone else is peasant or aristocrat 4 B. The Poor o Most are poor in 1914 o NW Europe: first time a majority of the population could expect to earn more than bare necessities th o 19 Century increase in agricultural/industrial productivity shift problem from quantity to distribution o Dire poverty is still widespread even in the richest regions of 1914 o SE Europe: bare subsidence or less is the norm o Permanent insecurity is the plague of working-class life C. The Rich o Aristocracy  Strong in army  Social distinctions  No more legal distinctions  Church  Diplomacy  Weakened political roles o Upper Middle Class (Nouveau riche)  1900: titled and untitled are merged for every practical purpose  Gaudy, frivolous D. The Middle Class o Established/Solid  Business and professional men  Value respectability  Propriety > Gaudiness o Insecure  Shopkeepers  Rising skilled workers  Marginal professionals  Cling to outward signs of respectability  A bad break means poverty o Income tax payments as a standard for middle class  1914: only 1/170 pay income tax o Servant employment as a standard for middle class  1901: domestic service is the largest occupational group  One servant is the minimum o Control as a measure of middle class  Status is not a matter of wealth but of everyday relations  Who “makes law” for others o 1900: independent artisans reduced to 10%  carpenters, plumbers o 1900: 1/3 population are factory workers o 1900: white-collar workers become fastest growing element of society o SE: middleclass restricted to some few merchants/moneylenders 5 E. Upward Mobility o Not impossible but improbable in one generation o Title and upper-class birth is still advantageous but money is the key Women and Families A. Having Fewer Children o Traditional societies may pass through several demographic stages  1. Stable population  High birth rate  High death rate  2. Population soars  Improved health conditions  Better food supplies  Diminished death rate th  Nrd Europe reaches this in 17-19 Centuries  3 world reaches this post WWII  3. Population levels off  Birth rates decline  Having fewer children becomes advantageous  No guarantee that this stage will be rthched th N/W Europe reaches this in the 19 Century o Early 19 Century: French middle/lower classes practice mass birth control  This becomes a trend amongst the NW  A change in values  To attain middle-class, you must have fewer children  NW birth rate declines 50% in forty years after 1890  Traditional birth control  Late marriage/no marriage  Late pregnancies th  thore unmarried women in 19 Century Europe than ever  20 Century:  Earlier marriages  Earlier pregnancies  Longer life expectancies  Women look for other interests… B. Women’s Place o Napoleonic Code: reinforces traditional authority of husband and father o Wives cannot own property o Male authority becomes more absolute the lower the social scale o Women’s roles see political change pre 1914…  Vote in some countries  Employment  Huge increase during WWI  This is the beginning… more value shift needed to change tradition 6 Political Systems and Mass Movements 1914: Sovereign nation-state is the political unit  Designed to justify absolute monarchy  Quality of a state that springs from a single source of power  Answers to no external power  Accepts no legal sanctions from without  Opposition to natural law  Final judge of its own interests  Deals with other states according to said interests Great Power: States that command sufficient power to prevent external intervention in affairs in fact and in theory  Germany  Britain  France  Russia  Austria-Hungary  (Italy) A. The Monarchy o 1914: most states are monarchies o France is the exception amongst the Great Powers o Republicanism is radical outside of France and Switzerland o Monarchy was accepted as unquestionably fixed  But generally accepted there ought to be constitutional limitations  Gradation from NW to SE  Persistent trend toward constitutional limitation nonetheless o Political issue: how to replace hereditary authority with careers open to talent B. The Role of Parliaments o Transformed by two parallel developments pre WWI  States expand activities into new social/economic fields  Parliaments have more to do  More Europeans have the right to vote for members of parliament o This development lags in Central/Eastern
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