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E Great had almost been brought to its knees is seen in retrospect as the point at which two ideal types of European parliamentary and absolutist regimes Britain and Prussia merged victorious The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars were driven as much by the pursuit of a geopolitical agenda centred on Germany as they were by ideology When Napoleon lost at Leipzig in 1813 his conseuent OBaby ejection from Germany meant that the game was upven though the campaigns of 1814 and 1815 were yet to comeSimms s argument that the Vienna Settlement of 1815 and the European Revolutions of 1848 9 were centred on the destiny of Germany is persuasive His account of the growing sense of German nationalism which culminated in the Wars of Unification between 1864 and 1871 concludes with the
Observation That With The Mastery Of Germany that with the mastery of Germany a new phase in the struggle for European supremacy was about to begin This brings us on to the Hohenzollern and National Socialist attempts to achieve German hegemony in Europe The
"story of bismarck "of Bismarck posthumous failure to prevent the Nerds existence of a powerful alliance against Imperial Germany the post war dislocation wrought by the Treaty of Versailles and Hitler s rise to power and subseuent aggressive foreign policy to Germanise Europe are all familiar Simms places all of this in a wider context With the fall of France in 1940 the United States was aware that this had led to a fundamental change in the European and hence global balance of power By thend of the following year Hitler had contrived to nsure that the most powerful coalition of powers imaginable now opposed Germany making his downfall inevitableAlthough Germany was partitioned in 1945 it remained the fulcrum of European power politics during the Cold War As Simms puts it ach side sought to win over the Germans or at least to deny them to the other side They were also determined to prevent the re Shadow on the Crown (The Emma of Normandy Trilogy, emergence of German power The parallel projects of NATO and European integration were designed with this twin purpose in mind With thend of the Cold War and the re unification of East and West Germany the German problem has re ContamiNation emerged in another guise given the nation sconomic superiority Simms argues that only Britain because she possesses the most credible fighting force on the continent at the moment and Germany because her Taxi ins Glück economic strength is vital to the functioning of the Single Market and the Euro can bring about deeper integration in Europe This would appear unlikely because British Euroscepticism is wellntrenched while opposition to the European project is becoming popular in Germany Simms concludes that his thesis of the primacy of foreign policy no longer holds in Germany and other western European countries as a result of the uncoupling of western European state and society from the project of making war since the mid 1960s Therefore it follows that only a major xternal threat will unite Europeans today Simms postulates that such a threat could merge through Russia China or radical Islam In summary Simms s work is an Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas excellent read that should be ofual value to the general reader and to the historian with of a specialist interest in European power politics during the past half millennium. Ally been the richest and most productive on The Magic Rolling Pin earth For hundreds of years its crucial strategic importance stoked a seemingly unending series of conflicts from the English Civil War to the French Revolution to the appalling world wars of the 20th century But when Europe is in harmony Simms shows thentire world benefits a lesson that current leaders would do well to remember A bold and compelling work by a renowned scholar Europe integrates religion politics military strategy and international relations to show how history and Western civilization itself was forged in the crucible of Euro.
Summary Europe The Struggle for Supremacy 1453 to the PresentR theses in this book One is presented right at the outset due to its central position and massive potential he who controls Germany dominates Europe For the first part of this book the active powers deliberately prevent anyone including the Germans from controlling Germany in order to maintain the balance From 1870 1944 however Germany is unified and attempts to prove that a dominating Germany dominates Europe and was prevented from doing so only at great cost Then of course Germany is divided again and becomes the most important front of the Cold War After the fall of the Berlin Wall the book sort of peters out it s difficult to do a whole lot of analysis on recent history but
the centrality of Germany to the EU is obvious ven if somecentrality of Germany to the EU is obvious ven if some the other discussion of the last 20 years may not beThe second theses moving beyond geography is history is that foreign policy drives social and Not Without a Fight economic changes in the name of beingfficient for the next war Sometimes this resulted in democracy sometimes in absolutism or autocracy but the goal was always to be strong Garden Bouquets and Beyond enough to win usually in against or as Germany This is perhaps than a bit reductionist but the author does a fairly good job of arguing for it It alsoxplains the heavy focus on international relations which shouldn t be surprising given the title and the short shrift given to the rest of history from 1453My major uibble with the book is that when European politics goes global some parts of the non European map get a lot of focus and some are almost completely ignored Japan for instance is barely mentioned before or after the Russo Japanese War of 1905 and China is largely ignored outside of it being a pain to Khruschev in the 1950s Meanwhile we get a surprisingly detailed amount of Afghan politics and Middle Eastern and Jewish foreign relations generally Current The Unseen Wonder events and all but it s a bit weird given the wide scope of the book In this impressive survey of European power politics since the fall of Constantinople Brendan Simms builds on a theme familiar from hisarlier works on
"prussia the primacy "the primacy foreign policy over domestic politics However the main thread running through the book is the thesis that the German speaking lands of central Europe are the key to the balance of power on the continent and in the wider worldAt the outset Simms puts forward the argument that the Holy Roman Empire and its successor states have been the principal source of political legitimacy for anybody who wants to speak for Europe Conseuently his interpretation of The Management Bible every major conflict in European history over the last 500 years is made through a German prism The Treaty of Westphalia 1648 which brought annd to the Thirty Years War is seen not so much as the beginning of the sovereign state system that we still know today but rather as the vehicle for which the Empire was given a constitution that would reconcile the political aspirations of Germans with the reuirements of the international state system The wars of Louis XIV are seen by Simms as a means of Zu schnell ensuring that France would control the resources of the Empire as much as being the product of the Sun King s uest for grandeur The outcome of the Seven Years War in which the Prussia of Frederick th. C visions on this vital swath of land In Europe prizewinning historian Brendan Simms presents an authoritative account of the past half millennium of European history demonstrating how the battle for mastery there has shaped the modern world Beginning in 1453 when the collapse of the Byzantine Empire laid Europe open to Ottoman incursion and prompted the dramaticxpansion of the Holy Roman Empire Simms leads readers through the pic struggle for the heart of Europe Stretching from the Low Countries through Germany and into the North Italian plain this relatively compact zone has historic. The book reviews 500 years of European geo political and military history chronologically and in xhausting factual detail albeit without really nough detail on any area or period to fully understand what was going on without reference to specialist sources The book period to fully understand what was going on without reference to specialist sources The book a small number of chapters ach covering decades or sometimes centuries of history and ach with a helpful introduction and conclusion covering the meta theme of the period The book has a very clear and xplicit theme that of the central tension between centralisation and independence and particularly of the critical role of the Germanic area over 500 years another key theme is the obsession of both central and outlying players with maintaining the balance of power on the Continent which often lead to periodic changes of alignments as if for Invisible (The Curse of Avalon example France was too heavily supported to counter Austro Hungary the reverse was almost certainly necessary a little later the book also takes it as read that foreign policy dictates domestic policy rather than the other way round social advancements and debates about optimal forms of society are routinelyxplained as being based around increasing the ability to fund and raise war At times the author s keenness to make it clear that all major historical Yummy Supper eventsven those in the US or those popularly believed to have a much obvious cause originate in some policy decision about Germany is almost comical He argues for xample that Germany was the cause of the great depression rather than a victim based on an argument around an Austrian bank the French allowed to fail to thwart a German Austrian union and which tipped the US over the dge that the English Civil war was fought because Charles was seen as not protecting German princes He never misses an opportunity to uote a contemporary reference to the importance of Germany while not ver acknowledging that there may be lots of references saying the opposite Interestingly the fall of communism while clearly happening in Germany he attributes
much to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism supported by the US and theto the rise of Islamic fundamentalism supported by the US and the distraction and diversion of Soviet resource into Afghanistan The book concludes with a list of uestions at what he sees as a critical juncture for Europe in 2012 and posits that perhaps only an xternal threat can draw Europe together Overall not an njoyable read as the book is simply too dry and the deluge of factsnameswarspolitical alliances overwhelming but a very worthwhile and intelligent one This book is not for the weak This book is a 700 year pic that is split up into only 8 chapters and 535 pages of actual content about 200 of them are notes and the index Because of this power dynamic the information inside Evolution, Me Other Freaks of Nature each chapter is heavy and really reuires a background knowledge inach of the 8 ras that are being described Mr Simms has packed in a lot of dates wars alliances and names within ach chapter that it can be hard to keep track of Trajan especially in thearly chapters I am of a fan and scholar of modern history for both world and US American Revolution to present The first 3 or 4 chapters were a bit difficult to understand but then the last 4 were Bunnys Book Club Goes to School easy because I have prior knowledge in the There are two majo. If there is a fundamental truth of geopolitics it is this whoever controls the core of Europe controls thentire continent and whoever controls all of Europe can dominate the world Over the past five centuries a rotating cast of kings and conuerors presidents and dictators have set their sights on the European heartland desperate to seize this pivotal area or at least prevent it from falling into the wrong hands From Charles V and Napoleon to Bismarck and Cromwell from Hitler and Stalin to Roosevelt and Gorbachev nearly all the key power players of modern history have staked their titani. ,