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A Companion to International History 1900–2001 by Gordon Martel

By Gordon Martel

Valuable compilation of essays overlaying the key occasions of the 20 th century. status out from this total remarkable physique of labor are the contributions at the undertones and motives of WW I (Martel's distinctiveness) and 3 chapters on often-overlooked advancements resulting in WW II.

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By 1950, Europe and some parts of Asia were roughly divided into two blocs, one supporting the western liberal democratic capitalist system, the other pursuing the creation of a pan-communist world. Each side feared the expansionist aims of the other, a fear which was fed by mutual misperceptions and a lack of understanding of each other. This meant that each side tended to depict the other in the worst possible light, which in turn created a situation whereby both sides misread the other’s intentions and overestimated each other’s capabilities.

It was not until 1949 that Whitehall formally adopted Atlanticism with Anglo-American relations at its core. This was the framework on which Britain’s strategies were constructed throughout the Cold War years. 8 France was another proud nation, but was in most Cold War years obsessed with the possible adversarial effects on its national security if a defeated Germany, once recovered, began to flex its muscles in Europe. France believed that the wartime Big Three had divided up Europe in the absence of France, and was even more resentful at the domination of postwar Europe by the superpowers.

These European powers regarded the US as an isolationist country, which could not be relied upon in peacetime. ”6 After 1945, European leaders foresaw a competitive and anarchic world system where national and territorial rivalries would continue, and in the process they feared that they might be forced to take up arms again against Germany and/or the rising power, the Soviet Union. 7 The two devastating world wars, which had ruined the European continent, were constantly in the minds of the Europeans.

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