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Margaret MacMillan

  • Nast Huertaцитує4 місяці тому
    In the first years of the peace, fresh afflictions fell on European society: the influenza epidemic (perhaps as a result of churning up the rich microbe-laden soil in the north of France and Belgium)

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  • Nast Huertaцитує4 місяці тому
    It was Europe’s and the world’s tragedy in retrospect that none of the key players in 1914 were great and imaginative leaders who had the courage to stand out against the pressures building up for war.
  • Nast Huertaцитує4 місяці тому
    The coming of war took most Europeans by surprise and their initial reaction was disbelief and shock. They had grown used to peace; the century since the end of the Napoleonic Wars had been the most peaceful one Europe had known since the Roman Empire. True there had been wars, but these had been far-off colonial ones like the Zulu wars in southern Africa, on the periphery of Europe like the Crimean War, or short and decisive like the Franco-Prussian War.

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  • Nast Huertaцитує4 місяці тому
    The guide to the Exposition was patronizing about the small exhibit of Japanese art which showed, it said, how Japanese artists stuck doggedly to their traditional styles but a new generation of European artists found inspiration in the arts of other, non-European cultures. When Vincent van Gogh used the styles of Japanese prints in his paintings or Picasso drew on African sculpture they and other European artists did not see these as charmingly primitive or old-fashioned but as different and containing insights that European art lacked.
  • Nast Huertaцитує4 місяці тому
    For centuries ownership of agricultural land had been the chief source of wealth and influence in virtually all European countries. In Britain some 7,000 families, from the minor gentry with estates of 1,000 acres or more to the great aristocrats with estates of more than 30,000 acres, owned most of the agricultural land and often urban land, mines, and industries as well. For all the gradations of wealth among them, collectively they made up the polite society which Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope described so well. With their wealth and status came power. The upper levels of the civil service, the Church, the armed forces, the House of Commons, and of course the House of Lords were all dominated by the landed classes. Even in 1897, after successive reforms had widened the franchise and brought new sorts of men into politics, 60 percent of Members of Parliament still came from those classes. Men such as Salisbury felt it was right that they should. “Every community has natural leaders,” he wrote in an article in the Quarterly Review in 1862,
  • Nast Huertaцитує4 місяці тому
    At the same time, though, the upper classes across Europe, particularly those whose income came mainly from their rural estates, were feeling a chill as the world changed around them. Industrialization and the spread of European power around the world combined to make agriculture in Europe less important and less profitable. Cheap food from the Americas and such parts of the world as Australia was good for the working classes and their employers, not so good for landowners. Incomes from agriculture in Europe fell precipitously in the last two decades and the value of agricultural land dropped correspondingly.
  • Nast Huertaцитує4 місяці тому
    Landowners were sometimes fortunate enough to own urban property, which was going up in value. Salisbury derived only a quarter of his income from agricultural land; the rest came from urban property or investments. The bigger among them also saved themselves by opening businesses or investing in industry or by marrying money outside their own circles as the French Prince de Polignac did with the heiress to the Singer sewing-machine fortune. An increasing number did not survive.
  • Nast Huertaцитує4 місяці тому
    The powers, and their publics, measured their importance in the world in terms of the number of colonies they possessed but the supply of unclaimed land was running out. Africa had been pretty much divided up by the 1890s, as had the Far East and the Pacific islands. That left the parts of the world where the old orders were collapsing: China, for example, Persia or the Ottoman Empire.
  • Nast Huertaцитує4 місяці тому
    Grover Cleveland, President in the mid 1880s and then again between 1893 and 1897, and a leading opponent of the United States acquiring colonies, famously said in his first inaugural address that his country would remain true to its revolutionary origins and that it had no ambitions towards other continents. Yet the United States was already predisposed to intervene in its own backyard in the Caribbean and was shortly to take over the Philippines, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
  • Nast Huertaцитує4 місяці тому
    Even before he formally stepped down as Foreign Minister in 1900, Salisbury was already ceding a large role in foreign affairs to his nephew Arthur Balfour, who was Leader of the House of Commons, and his Colonial Secretary, Joseph Chamberlain.
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