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Warfare and Society in Europe, 1898 to the Present

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Warfare and Society in Europe, 1898 to the Present
By Michael S. Neiberg. Warfare and History Series. (London & New York, Routledge: 2004. Pg. viii, 199.) ISBN: 0-415-32719-9.

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - March 8, 2004

Warfare and Society in Europe, 1898 to the Present, by Michael S. Neiberg is the newest edition to the monumental Warfare and History Series, edited by Jeremy Black. Covering the contentious period from 1898 to 1989, this deceptively small book (only 199 pages) provides a comprehensive overview of the major issues relating to 20th century warfare in Europe.

The text is divided in seven, chronologically organized chapters, including:
  1. From Fashoda to Sarajevo
    Covering the period from 1898 through the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
  2. World War I, 1914-1917
  3. World War I, 1917-1919
  4. The interwar years, 1919-1939
  5. World War II, 1939-1942
  6. World War II, 1942-1945
  7. War and society in Europe 1945-1989
    Including information on the Cold War.
Suitable as a supplemental or primary text in university courses on warfare, political science, and European history survey courses, this text provides an outline of the period concentrating on warfare as a manifestation of Europe's political intrigues and social instabilities. The interweaving of social issues into the scope of a traditional military history text helps to make the events, and their consequences chronicled in Warfare and Society in Europe more comprehensible for undergraduate students who may lack a firm grounding in European history, and who might not otherwise understand the causal factors that led to the various conflicts that blazed across Europe throughout the 20th century.

Throughout this text, Neiberg has taken care to show how European society has been influenced by 20th century warfare, and how the methods of warfare, both in terms of strategic planning and technology, have changed over time. Neiberg also investigates the role that the United States has played in European politics, and its wars, throughout the 20th century. In addition to the 'western' wars, warfare in Eastern Europe, including the Russian Civil War and the 1919-1922 Greco-Turkish War, are also covered within the scope of this text. External conflicts involving the European powers, such as the Boer Wars, are only lightly touched upon in this text.

Warfare and Society in Europe, 1898 to the Present is a compelling text. Concise, yet comprehensive in scope, the text offers an outstanding introduction to the study of modern European warfare and the impact that the wars of the 20th century have had on the development of modern European political, economic, and social policies, including the drive toward European cooperation that has led to the formation of the European Union.

For students wishing to pursue this subject in more depth endnotes are included. Also each chapter ends with an annotated Further Reading list that will guide you to the most influential books on the topics covered within the text.

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