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Mazower and the evolution of Europe

Watershed: "an event or period marking a turning point in a situation" - oxford


dictionaries.
1940s = a watershed moment?
Criticisms:
Mazower in this book is too Eurocentric and disregards the importance of
decolonisation, the role of the USA for exaple, Europe had dominated the first
half of the century perhaps, and however its role united in the second half of the
20th century had declined
Democracy:
With the ends of the ancien regime, "politicians promised the masses,
enfranchised and mobilized as never before, a fairer society and a state of their
own" (preface x). These perceptions of a new society differed, with Wilson who
preached a world "safe for democracy" - liberal democracy, communism and
fascism.
In this sense there is disunity in Europe between states, and societies.
Definition of empire is questioned
Mazower points out correctly that USSR switched to capitalism not democracy
therefore the disbandment of the Soviet Union was a not a win for liberal
democracy - USSR's disunion also starts off the rebirth of nationalism in Europe,
as well as class and religious tension which is indicated through the Yugoslavian
Wars. In these wars there was racial and religious tension between the Bosnian
Serbians and Bosnian Muslin Serbs and Croats. The nations who split up from the
Soviet Union also had to rediscover national identity.
Most assume that fascism and totalitarianism was something that slipped in out
of error, and was an outlier but it was in fact democracy which was an outlier.
Mazower shows that "liberal democracy was not universally accepted as the
normal and natural form of government in 20th century Europe, and that fascism
and Nazism were not simply aberrant deviations in otherwise steady growth of
democracy" Bojan Bugaric
There was actual competition between Nazism, facism and socialism and
liberalism.
Europeans accept democracy because they no longer believe in politics. (pg
404 - Mazower)
The military combat of fascism showed the weakness of fascism to the public
The fall of Communism according to Mazower was due to a loss of credibility due
to economic failure rather than nationalist ideology.

Comparison with other authors:


Hobsbawn indicates that state socialism failed due to the fact that it didn't stick
to the socialism vision it claimed to uphold, state socialism dispensed the
democratic element of the socialist vision, e.g. Lenin said "from the start that the
liberal horse was not a runner in the russian revolutionary race" (pg 58 age of
extremes).
According to Hobsbawn, socialism failed due to "...hardly anyone believed in the
system or felt any loyalty to it, not even those who governed it." p488, age of
extremes, whereas Mazower thinks that it was mainly a result of the weakness of
the party rather than the strength of the opposition. Perhaps there is a
correlation between the weaknesses of belief in the party. Due to the fact that no
one believed it, it soon became weak. This is much like democracy in the
interwar period where it did not thrive due to the lack of belief in the political
system.
Hobsbawn quotes that the popular appeal of fascism lay with its claims to
technocratic achievement: "Was not the proverbial argument in favour of fascist
Italy that 'Mussolini made the trains run on time'?"
The Russian revolution showed that "capitalism had proved far easier to
overthrow where it was weak or barely existed than in its heartlands." The Age of
Extremes, p.82
Future:
The EU may be the only viable option for the foreseeable future, but Mazower
sagely states that its significance will be economic rather than political or
cultural, and must be placed in the context of global economy and shifting
centres of world power (408-10).