Hist1025,Paper - Sweazey 1 From the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century Europe flourished as a continent by making huge advances due

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Sweazey From the 18 th century to the beginning of the 20 th century, Europe flourished as a continent by making huge advances due to the 1 st and 2 nd Industrial Revolutions. However, as countries in Europe established themselves as the dominant forces in the world, an age of chaos was on the brink. The forward progress of Europe turned a full 180 degrees in the early 1900s. European leaders saw no end to their expansion and gain of power and they efficiently worked against each other to bring their era of dominance to an end. Europe deteriorated and lost its once absolute supremacy starting with World War I, followed by The Russian Revolution, the Great Depression and finally devastation of World War II, which left Europe in shambles and led to decolonization as a manifestation of European decline. Europe began its self-destruction with what has come to be known by many as The First Great War. This war brought horrors unforeseen to the young men of Europe. One soldier described what he saw, “We didn’t feel sure that a single one of us would come through alive… I myself can hardly believe that such bestial barbarity and unspeakable suffering are possible.” (Lualdi 187) This was only the beginning of the disaster to come and writing like these helped to demonstrate the new era the European continent had entered. Leaders of powerful countries such as Germany were motivated by the need to expand and conquer. World War I led to severe economic, political, and international consequences. Economically, the war led to a demographic crisis, which completely ruined the market for goods being manufactured in Europe. Not only were there severe repercussions due to the demographic loss, but countries in Europe also suffered quite severely from a physical standpoint. The infrastructural damage in many 1
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Sweazey countries from World War I was huge. Railroads as well as roads were left in ruins. In addition, there was just simply not enough manpower in the countries that had been devastated by the war to produce the raw materials needed to run the country. Due to this lack of raw materials and remaining tensions between countries, the national economy in Europe crumbled and as a result, trading went down. This absence of strong economies in Europe allowed for Japan and the United States to move to the front of the world economy. Europe’s economic catastrophes caused by the war were only the beginning of Europe’s downward spiral of power from 1914 to the 1950s. Politically, countries in Europe were left unstable and disorganized after the war. Not only were individual countries broken up and territory lost, but major, longstanding empires were broken up as well. Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire were left in pieces and suffered huge blows to the amount of territory they controlled. With these empires broken up into separate countries, nationalism became a priority among Europeans and it became especially important to German people. From this nationalism,
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2008 for the course HIST 1025 taught by Professor Funk,merle during the Fall '07 term at Colorado.

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Hist1025,Paper - Sweazey 1 From the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century Europe flourished as a continent by making huge advances due

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