Bringing home the extraordinary waves of transformation that washed across Europe in the second half of the twentieth century, this book interprets the trends, developments, and issues which were of major importance in East and West Europe in the latter half of the twentieth century. Mary Fulbrook's Introduction to this volume begins with a vivid contrast setting the struggle for survival in a devastated rubble-strewn street of East Berlin in 1945 against the same location in the reunited city at the end of the century, unrecognisable in its gleaming, confident, cosmopolitan affluence. The book then provides a clear overview of the broad patterns of change: from nationalism to integration; from imperialism to decolonization; from division between capitalism and communism to striking convergence of systems; from regional differences to an increasingly homogeneous, urbanised cosmopolitan society. Each chapter is enlivened by a wealth of illustrative detail as local themes and variations in different parts of Europe are explored. Chapters trace the character, causes, and consequences of general trends and specific developments in politics, society, the ecomy, and culture, before turning to relations within Europe and with the n-European world. The result is an illuminating and engrossing account of European history since 1945.
Mary Fulbrook is Professor in the Department of German at University College London