Totalitarianism as a concept has made something of a comeback in recent years.
If any era deserves the epithet 'tragic' then it is the 1940s in Greece. Conquered in spring 1941, its people were subjected to a brutal occupation regime, enduring famine, forced labour, deportation and terror. In 1942, armed resistance to the occupying powers of Germany, Italy and Bulgaria and the collaborationist government began in earnest.
Labour's First Century is a good barometer of the state of intellectual Thinking within and about Labour as it looks forward to its second century. Its tone differs from that of the fiftieth anniversary histories.
Research into the origins of the First World War, like the work undertaken on most controversial historical topics, is subject, at least to some extent, to the dictates of scholarly fashion. Thus, it was that, not so long ago, much of the writing on this issue focused on the cultural factors that, it is said, predisposed the people of Europe to rush headfirst towards the precipice.
'We historians are dull creatures', A.J.P. Taylor once wrote, 'and women sometimes notice this.' One woman who obviously thought Taylor far from dull was Kathy Burk, the last of his postgraduate students.
This book is committed to two main propositions, one general and one more particular.
Arthur C. Clarke once remarked that the time would come when nothing of the twentieth century would be remembered except the moon landing in 1969. Clearly that time has not come. Indeed we seem to be in danger of forgetting Neil Armstrong's small step altogether. More than half of the planet's inhabitants today have been born since a man walked on the moon.
The reviewer's first duty is easily accomplished. This is a feast of entertainment and instruction to the diplomatic historian (and even more to the undiplomatic historian) of Ireland, Britain, Europe, Israel, India, Burma, the British Commonwealth in general, South America, the U.S.A., and the United Nations.
It has been fashionable to downplay the importance of battles in medieval military history. 'Most campaigns did not end in battle largely because both commanders were reluctant to risk battle', was John Gillingham's verdict. He pointed out that Henry II never fought a battle, yet had a great military reputation.
Sweden, Prussia, and Russia. Three great powers were forged in the fire of the Northern Wars. The military monarchies fed on weaker neighbours where such existed. In the sixteenth century, Poland-Lithuania, Brandenburg and Sweden carved up the small Baltic empire left by the crusading knights of the Teutonic Order.