Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia by Dominic Lieven

By Dominic Lieven

The Russian choice to mobilize in July 1914 could have been the only such a lot catastrophic collection of the trendy period. a few articulate, considerate figures round the tsar understood Russia's fragility, but they have been shouted down by means of those that have been confident that regardless of Germany's patent army superiority, Russian greatness required decisive action.

Russia's rulers suggestion they have been appearing to safe their destiny, yet in truth - after thousands of deaths and revolutions - they have been consigning their complete category to loss of life or exile and their state to a uniquely bad generations-long test less than a truly assorted regime.

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Irish nationalism was the precursor of these movements, drawing on historical myths and memories, hatred of the rule of alien landlords and governments, and questions of religion, language, and ethnicity. In Ireland as elsewhere, the sense of commitment, sacrifice, and intransigence that these issues evoked made many observers equate nationalism with a new form of religion. To short and humdrum individual lives, the nationalist faith could add a touch of the heroic and a sense that one belonged not just to a community but also in meaningful terms to the sweep of history.

Worse still, the Versailles order was constructed on the basis of both Germany’s and Russia’s defeat and without concern for their interests or viewpoints. Because Germany and Russia were potentially the most powerful states in Europe, the Versailles settlement was inevitably therefore very fragile. It was no coincidence that the Second World War also began in eastern Europe, with the invasion of Poland, one of the key creations of Versailles, by its German and Russian neighbours in September 1939.

The hold of nationalism appeared to strengthen as societies modernized. It was the product of civil society, mass literacy, and urbanization. 7 Eighteenth-century Ireland’s British rulers had known that they were hated by the native Irish. 8 In the nineteenth century, the modernization of Ireland’s economy and the emergence of a vibrant Irish civil society transformed the situation. British policy in nineteenth-century Ireland often combined repression and concession in intelligent fashion. It never attempted to simply ignore and repress the political implications of modernization.

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