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How did the world of nation-states come about? What happened to the world of empires that preceded it? How did the transition take place and how inevitable was it? These may seem (and indeed are) old questions.
One might be forgiven for thinking that British defence policy between the Napoleonic era and the outbreak of the First World War was always geared towards a large, continental commitment.
The cover of Jan Rüger’s Heligoland shows a small, forbidding and desolate rock surrounded by inclement seas and with no sign of human habitation. This unwelcoming glimpse of land from afar – as so often the case with islands – will prove to be misleading. It gives no sense of the history on a grand scale that is to come.
The comparative history of empires has become a very popular subject in recent years, provoking interesting debates on the origins of the globalization process and on the future of post-Cold War international relations.(1) The focus on empires has also provided a constructive way to reassess the role of Europe in world history, going beyond the traditional great narrat
200 years on, the figure of Napoleon Bonaparte continues to fascinate, and it is therefore no surprise to find that the bicentenary of his downfall has seen the publication of a number of major works by leading specialists in the Napoleonic epoch.
Wellington: The Path to Victory, 1769-1814 is the first of two volumes based on exhaustive research on Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, by Rory Muir – to be precise, it is based on 30 years work on the subject.
The publication of H.M. Scott’s The Rise of the Eastern Powers marks the culmination of three decades of distinguished scholarship in international history from the Seven Years War to the American Revolution. It is, as we might expect, an elegant and learned book, and its significance is apparent from the outset.
In reviewing Mark Cornwall's monumental study of 'front propaganda by and against the Habsburg Monarchy in the First World War, I feel I ought to register a certain personal interest.
Research into the origins of the First World War, like the work undertaken on most controversial historical topics, is subject, at least to some extent, to the dictates of scholarly fashion. Thus, it was that, not so long ago, much of the writing on this issue focused on the cultural factors that, it is said, predisposed the people of Europe to rush headfirst towards the precipice.