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Modern Europe History - Essay Example

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The whole scenario started with the economic depression of 1847, where most of the European countries suffered economically, creating a…
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Modern Europe History
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Modern Europe History Question Hobsbawm describes the outbreak of World War I as a constituent of the rise of capitalism and the struggle for the balance of power in Europe. The whole scenario started with the economic depression of 1847, where most of the European countries suffered economically, creating a stage for the struggle to recover from the depression (Hobsbawm, 83). While struggling to recover from the effects of this economic depression, the capitalist nations such as British recovered quickly, as opposed to the communists and the socialists. However, though the British economy was the dominant at the time, it was being threatened by the German and the American economy, which were also recovering pretty fast and growing immensely. This is where the British felt threatened by the Germans, since it was proving to be a major force in the struggle for the balance of power. The British perceptions of its own vulnerability forced it to start looking for support from countries that it felt were more friendly and supportive to it (Hobsbawm, 107). Thus, it ended up forming some alliances, which prompted other countries such as Germany and Italy, which were also struggling to emerge as dominant powers in Europe, to start establishing their alliances with the countries they found supportive and aligned to them. The creation of such alliances was the culmination of setting the stage for the First World War, since the dominant powers and their allies started preparing their armies to repel a possible attack to their allies by the antagonists (Hobsbawm, 92). Thus, when the conflict between Serbia and Austria-Hungary accelerated, it was the time for their allies to support them, sparking off the First World War.
Question 2
According to Hobsbawn, revolutionary developments and pressures on the periphery finally engulfed European nation states that had seemingly found ways to manage their own revolutionary movements. This is true, as exemplified by the case of France. The French revolution had occurred in 1789, causing radical social and political changes in France (Hobsbawm, 123). However, the country struggled through the upheaval and finally managed to stabilize towards the end of 1799. Nevertheless, the pressure that followed thereafter caused France to be engulfed in a struggle for power in Europe, mainly after Germany annexed some territory of Alsace-Lorraine, which was previously under the French control (Hobsbawm, 214). This created a feeling of resentment and animosity between France and Germany, with France feeling that it had to avenge itself, for the loss of territory and military might, which Germany had taken up and threatened to emerge as the new European power. Therefore, despite the fact that France had managed to contain its internal revolutionary movement, it was forced by the pressures on the periphery to engage in yet more external struggles. Similarly, Russia is yet another country that had managed to contain the Russian Revolution of 1905, which had seen the country experience strikes and military mutinies which threatened to paralyze the country. However, the country struggled and emerged with a new constitution settlement of 1906, which stabilized the country. Nevertheless, the external pressures from the periphery, after Russia failed to prove its support for Serbia in the First Balkan War, saw Russia engage in a military reconstruction, which played a great role in the rise of World War I (Hobsbawm, 156).
Works Cited
Hobsbawm, Eric. The Age of Empire, 1875-1914, (Revised ed.). New York: Vintage Books, 1989. Print. Read More
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