European Civil War

Mark Albertson

37 Russell Street,

Norwalk, Ct. 06855


Description:  World War I; the War to End All Wars; the Great War, have all been used to describe the 1914-1918 conflict.  In reality, it was, for all intents and purposes, a European Civil War; for it was fought for European issues—Colonialism, the Great Battleship Race, Regal competition among families who, in many instances, were associated through a tangled web of marriages of convenience. Yet . . .

. . . change was in the wind.  The Age of Reason/Enlightenment, ideas from which the American and French Revolutions would unleash upon a reactionary 18th and 19th century world, first suborning and then destroying institutions thought permanent, and upon which the Old World had been based.  This course will trace this progression of change, beginning with the Renaissance to the fiction of Versailles; with stops in between such as, The Industrial Revolution; Capitalism, Nationalism; rise of the Modern State; rise of Italy and Germany; impending decline of the European colonial powers and the rise of America. . .

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Week 1:  Renaissance to Revolution

Traces that progression of the Europeans emerging from medieval backwardness to the French Revolution:  Featuring the Age of Exploration; Protestant Revolution; the British Revolution; the Industrial Revolution; Age of Reason/Enlightenment, Capitalism. . .

Week 2:  Winds of Change

Commencing with the French Revolution, 1789 to 1847:  The ideas of the Age of Reason/Enlightenment were put into action:  Liberalism, Democracy, Republicanism, Secularism, Socialism, Nationalism, Parliamentarianism. . . Covered:  the Great French War, 1792-1815; Napoleon; Congress of Vienna; upheavals of 1820-21; 1830-31, up to 1847.

Week 3:  Springtime of Nations

Europe from 1848 to 1913:  Rise of Italy; Rise of Germany; Napoleon III; Crimean War; Bismarck and the new European Balance of Power; Colonialism; decline of the Ottomans; Congress of Berlin and the African tragedy, 1885; 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War; Triple Alliance and Triple Entente.

Week 4:  Guns of August

Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the Countess Sophie, June 28, 1914:  Mobilization and descent into war; the Schlieffen Plan; Plan XVII; the German offensive; the Marne; Tannenburg on the Eastern Front; stalemate in the West . . . trench warfare.

Week 5:  Monarchs and Empire

The Royal Houses of Europe and their Empires.  A number, such as the Romanovs and the Hapsburgs, had been in existence for centuries.  This session will explore their foundations of power; longevity of control of the Continent; and, their propensity to Empire.

Week 6:  Specter of Nationalism

As the Age of Monarchs hastened to its end, the specter of Nationalism reared its head, a powerful impediment to monarchical primacy.  For as regal control declined, the masses were, more and more, feeling their Nationalist roots, to the extent that Nationalism will be one of the overriding causes of the demise of the Houses of Royalty.

Week 7:  Jomini, Clausewitz, War and the Modern State

Two of the 19th century’s most influential interpreters of Napoleonic warfare were the Swiss-born Baron Antoine Henri de Jomini and the Prussian Carl von Clausewitz.  Based on Jomini’s The Art of War and Clausewitz’s On War, this session will trace the evolution of modern war in Europe and its effect on modern society.

Week 8:  The Promise of Peace

Versailles:  The biggest hoax ever perpetrated on Modern Man:  Myth of Democracy; continuation of Colonialism; Weimar Republic; rise of Fascist Italy; rise of Bolshevik Russia; rise of Nazi Germany; rise of militarist Japan; rise of America; Depression; Hitler and Stalin jumpstart the European Civil War; December 1941, the Turning Point; the United States and Soviet Union take over the war, 1942-1945.  End of European global dominance . . . the Cold War. - Norwalk community college