"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Likely a good read

If I have time ...

Coloring the thinking leading into WWII and management of the world afterwords.

Britain between the wars | A sense of dread | The Economist: "The period between the two world wars was a time of anxiety and foreboding. Much like our own age—only more so"

"During this period something strange happened. After the horrors of the first world war, many people were convinced that another global conflict would unleash forces of barbarism that decaying liberalism would be powerless to resist and that the inevitable result would be the dawning of a new dark age.

But as the prospect of war drew closer, pessimism and defeatism were replaced with a grim determination to confront the manifest evil of Nazism. In the three years between the crises in Spain and central Europe, Mr Overy writes, “the balance between saving civilisation through peace and saving civilisation by war swung decisively in favour of the latter.” When war eventually came, it was for many people almost a relief—a climax in the patient’s condition after which would come either death or recovery.

“The Morbid Age” is history at its best. It tells us not just what people did, but what were the social and intellectual influences that caused them to do what they did. With elegance and erudition, Mr Overy opens a window into the mind of a generation—a generation with anxieties both very different from and yet surprisingly similar to those of our own today."

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