By Bernard Wasserstein
Here's the definitive heritage of latest Europe, a arguable yet authoritative and vigorous narrative that's destined to turn into the traditional account of the interval from 1914 to the current. during this amazing quantity, esteemed historian Bernard Wasserstein bargains the 1st critical, full-length historical past of a century of convulsive switch. it's a historical past of barbarism and civilization, of cruelty and tenderness, of technological success and environmental blight, of imperial enlargement and withdrawal, of authoritarian repression and of person rebirth. Wasserstein presents either a story of the most contours of the political, diplomatic, and armed forces historical past and an research the underpinnings of demographic, fiscal, and social advancements. Drawing at the most up-to-date scholarly findings, together with fresh disclosures of intelligence fabrics and archival revelations that the autumn of Communism in jap Europe, Wasserstein captures the essence of latest ecu historical past in a fascinating narrative that's through turns grim, funny, astonishing, and enlightening.
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Additional resources for Barbarism and Civilization: A History of Europe in Our Time
This was the fall in fertility rates that, particularly when combined with the eVects of the high death rate during the First World War, reduced population growth in the inter-war period to little more than replacement level in many countries. The drop in fertility was already reXected before 1914 in shrinking absolute numbers of births, particularly in richer societies. In England and Wales, where fertility rates had diminished by more than a quarter since the 1870s, the number of live births declined from 945,000 in 1904 (an absolute level never surpassed before or since) to 882,000 in 1913.
Europe at 1914 15 The basic economic structure of Europe was, with few exceptions, reXected in demographic patterns. During the period 1900 to 1914 population growth had been faster than in almost any other period in modern European history. The population of the continent in 1914 stood at an unprecedented 450 million. Growth was most rapid in eastern Europe, somewhat less so in north-west Europe, and particularly slow in France and Spain. Infant mortality in many countries was still high: in Russia and Romania 200 out of every thousand children died before the age of one year; in most other countries, even Britain and Germany, the rate was above 100 per thousand.
Coitus interruptus, abortion, and various crude forms of contraception were common but by the early years of the century the rubber contraceptive sheath was becoming available in western Europe. ArtiWcial birth control was still, however, largely restricted to the bourgeoisie. ’11 If population increase in general may be regarded as a crude index of optimism, the decline in fertility is open to varying interpretations and should perhaps alert us to the dangers of deWning the Zeitgeist by reference only to the views expressed by writers and publicists.