For the Western allies, 11 November 1918 has always been a solemn date - the end of fighting which had destroyed a generation and a vindication of a terrible sacrifice with the total collapse of their principal enemies: the German Empire, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. But for much of the rest of Europe, this was a day with no meaning, as a continuing nightmarish series of conflicts engulfed country after country.
In this highly original, gripping book, Robert Gerwarth asks us to think again about the true legacy of the First World War. In large part it was not the fighting on the Western front which proved so ruinous to Europe's future but the devastating aftermath, as countries on both sides of the original conflict were wrecked by revolution, pogroms, mass expulsions and further major military clashes. If the war itself had in most places been a struggle purely between state-backed soldiers, these new conflicts were mainly about civilians and paramilitaries, and millions of people died across Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe before the USSR and a series of rickety and exhausted small new states came into being. Everywhere there were vengeful people, their lives racked by a murderous sense of injustice, looking for the opportunity to take retribution against enemies real and imaginary. Only a decade later, the rise of the Third Reich and other totalitarian states provided them with the opportunity they had been looking for.
©2016 Robert Gerwarth (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
A most enjoyable book. Succinct, well written, informative on a tangled era of european history.
Only negative is its sometimes prolonged and possibly unnecessary descriptions of extreme violence.
Wow. A comprehensive study of the violent chaos in Europe and beyond following the cessation of hostilities on the western front. Real and direct resonance with the causes of today's turmoil in these same areas.
This is the best war in history I have listened to so far It explain more about the two wars and problems we have up to the present day today. The atrocity committed in Eastern Europe after fall of the Ottoman Empire. Carving up of the Middle East. And the new European map of Europe this is more than history lesson.
A well written corrective to the common belief that the First World War ended in 1918. The guns on the Western front may have fallen silent on 11th November but all across the eastern zone of the conflict they continued to fire. The end of the Romanov,Habsburg and Ottoman empire's and the birth of nationstates were paralleled by population exchanges and bloodshed. Anyone who is interested in history of any kind needs to read this book.
Yes, I now realise that my rather lazy and Anglo-centric view of the period following WW1, as a relatively peaceful era, was completely wide of the mark. Robert Gerwarth brilliantly describes how for many countries and regions, the Armistice on 11 November 1918, was just the start of five more years of violence and upheaval.
Perhaps the Anthony Beevor WW2 books - certainly in terms of its thoroughness and authority
A crisp, no nonsense but clear narration
The story of Europe in the years between 1917 and 1923 is crucial for understanding the cycles of violence that characterised the continent’s 20th century history
Four empires broke up in the aftermath of WW1: Austria-Hungary, Germany, tsarist Russia and the Ottoman empire. 'The Vanquished: Why the First World War Failed to End' is a fast-paced, fluent and authoritative analysis of the turmoil in the territories of the four shattered empires, as well as in Greece and Italy. Civil wars overlapped with revolutions, counter-revolutions and border conflicts between emerging states, many sowing the seeds for WW2. This turmoil was frequently characterised by extreme violence and political disorder, with racial and religious minorities often suffering more than most.
well written account and excellent analysis, put across in simple easy reading. I very much enjoyed this book and it bares the facts and confronts the truths of the war in a non partisan way.the narrator is serious and good.
This was a great listen on a wide range of related topics.I doubted one part when the author referred to Hitler as finishing WW1 as a Private and a despatch rider?! It is probably commonly known that he was a Corporal and a (message) runner.. But overall a fascinating listen.
Cleverly written and constructed account of European conflicts, uprisings and domestic slaughters beautifully read by John Banks. Not really a story, as it is very hard to follow all the names and dates and political upheavals but fascinating to anyone who likes war history.
A very interesting overview of the legacy of WW1 .Previous studies have focused on the impact of the Treaty of Versailles but this provides a broader analysis and helps to explain the subsequent rise of the dictators in Europe.
The narration is clear but sounds a little hurried .
One small quibble- the author refers to Constantinople when it was known as Istanbul
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