The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of the Global Order

The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of the Global OrderOn The Centenary Of The Outbreak Of The First World War, Deluge Is A Powerful Explanation Of Why The War S Legacy Continues To Shape Our World From Adam Tooze, The Wolfson Prize Winning Author Of The Wages Of DestructionIn The Depths Of The Great War, With Millions Of Dead And No Imaginable End To The Conflict, Societies Around The World Began To Buckle As The Cataclysmic Battles Continued, A New Global Order Was Being BornAdam Tooze S Panoramic New Book Tells A Radical, New Story Of The Struggle For Global Mastery From The Battles Of The Western Front In To The Great Depression Of The S The War Shook The Foundations Of Political And Economic Order Across Eurasia Empires That Had Lasted Since The Middle Ages Collapsed Into Ruins New Nations Sprang Up Strikes, Street Fighting And Revolution Convulsed Much Of The World And Beneath The Surface Turmoil, The War Set In Motion A Deeper And Lasting Shift, A Transformation That Continues To Shape The Present Day Was The Year When World Affairs Began To Revolve Around The United StatesAmerica Was Both A Uniquely Powerful Global Force A Force That Was Forward Looking, The Focus Of Hope, Money And Ideas, And At The Same Time Elusive, Unpredictable And In Fundamental Respects Unwilling To Confront These Unwished For Responsibilities Tooze Shows How The Fate Of Effectively The Whole Of Civilization The British Empire, The Future Of Peace In Europe, The Survival Of The Weimar Republic, Both The Russian And Chinese Revolutions And Stability In The Pacific Now Came To Revolve Around This New Power S Fraught Relationship With A Shockingly Changed WorldThe Deluge Is Both A Brilliantly Illuminating Exploration Of The Past And An Essential History For The Present Finally done I learned a great deal about a period I ve never studied in any great detail I particularly liked the inclusion of China and Japan, given that so often books on these subjects skim over what was happening in non Western countries Fordetailed summaries, etc the reading notes will have to suffice This was an excellent and comprehensive examination of America s ascent to the center of geopolitics in the WWI and post WWI world Of course we all know how this song ends Depression, isolationism, rise of Fascism, WWII But the path to get there was muchinteresting than what we learned in school WWI Versailles Return to Normalcy Depression WWII There were genuine democratic revolutions occurring in Russia and China, the Entente were rarely on the same page as each other, and Americ This was an excellent and comprehensive examination of America s ascent to the center of geopolitics in the WWI and post WWI world Of course we all know how this song ends Depression, isolationism, rise of Fascism, WWII But the path to get there was muchinteresting than what we learned in school WWI Versailles Return to Normalcy Depression WWII There were genuine democratic revolutions occurring in Russia and China, the Entente were rarely on the same page as each other, and America s insistence of the full repayment of inter ally debt causedproblems then most history books give it credit This was a dense but rewarding read and opened my eyes to an fascinating period of history I was not very familiar with.I don t think our American educational system does a very good job in impressing on its students just how dynamic the first third of the 20th century was These was a massive remaking of the globe as centuries old empires Russia, Austria, Ottoman, Chinese were swept away and new powers were on the rise America, Japan to contend with the surviving Great Powers, Britain and France sorry Italy Butthan that that financial history of the period really alters how it is viewed To give you an idea of just how powerful America was right after the war But what no one disputed was that at the time of the Washington Naval Conference in November 1921, the British government owed the American taxpayer 4.5 billion, whilst France owed America 3.5 billion and Italy owed 1.8 billion Japan s balance of payments was seriously deteriorating and it was anxiously looking for support from J P Morgan At the same time, 10 million citizens of the Soviet Union were being kept alive by American famine relief No other power had ever wielded such global economic dominanceThe most powerful states of Europe were now borrowing from private citizens in the United States and anyone else who would provide credit Lending of this kind, by private investors in one rich country to the governments of other rich developed countries, in a currency not controlled by the government borrower, was unlike anything seen in the heyday of late Victorian globalization. The War exhausted the European powers winners and losers and provided America an unprecedented opportunity to remake the World Order But instead of having visionary leaders who could grasp this opportunity to make the world a better place we were stuck with Wilson and HooerFor all their forward looking vision, progressives both of Wilson s and Hoover s generation were fundamentally committed not to a radical overcoming of these limitations, but to preserving the continuity of American history and reconciling it with the new national order that had begun to emerge in the wake of the Civil War This then is the central irony of the early twentieth century At the hub of the rapidly evolving, American centred world system there was a polity wedded to a conservative vision of its own futureHowever, the world he Wilson wanted to create was one in which the exceptional position of America at the head of world civilization would be inscribed on the gravestone of European power The peace of equals that Wilson had in mind would be a peace of collective European exhaustion The brave new world would begin with the collective humbling of all the European powers at the feet of the United States, raised triumphant as the neutral arbiter and the source of a new form of international order Wilson s vision was neither one of gutless idealism nor a plan to subordinate US sovereignty to international authority He was in fact making an exorbitant claim to American moral supremacy, rooted in a distinctive vision of America s historic destiny Of course the European Powers did their part to stymie American goals and preserve their own share of power Basically the post war process was a giant clusterfuck with the Allies having difficulty agreeing to anything The French were out for blood, the Americans wanted a sustainable peace driven by disarmament, and the British wanted to regain their place as the preeminent world power Then you had the Spanish Flu, a world wide recession, a bunch of repayment crises among the Allies, political disruptions across the globe, and just a general sense of unease all led to a backlash against any sort of interventionalist American policySenator Warren G Harding had coined the phrase that was to define not only his campaign but his presidency America s present need is not heroics but healing not nostrums but normalcy But he went on to add another telling line What was called for was not submergence in internationality but sustainment of triumphant nationality Triumphant nationalism is as apt a description of the policies of the Republican administrations in the 1920 s as it was of Wilson s own administration Triumphant nationalism was not inward turning or isolationist It was by definition addressed to an outside world, but it spoke in terms that were unilateral and exceptionalist The European powers faced issues with their colonies and the economic disruptions the War economy caused them Nascent democratic movements in Russia and China withered on a vine from Western neglect, and France continued to put the screws to Germany, going so far as to seize the Ruhr and Rhineland, isolating them from the rest of Germany and reaping the benefits of its natural and industrial resources Things were a bloody mess As the book puts itWorld War I had seen the first effort to construct a coalition of liberal powers to manage the vast unwieldy dynamic of the modern world It was a coalition based on military power, political commitment and money Layer by layer, piece by piece, issue by issue, that coalition had disintegrated The price that the collapse of this great democratic alliance would exact defies estimation I am really only skimming the surface here I barely spoke at all about how contentious and devastating Inter Allied debt was or how things were unfolding during this time in East Asia but I cannot recommend this book highly enough It links together many important events and trends that seem to go ignored in most mainstream discussions of the period ignore I can assure you that you re view of the time period will be expanded and enriched greatly while giving you an new perspective of just how we got into the mess of the 1930 s and 40 s Also be sure to check out the many passages I have highlighted to get a good sample of some of the ideas and concepts I touched upon in my review Who would have thought that when Archduke Franz Ferdinand s hapless chauffer, Leopold Lojka, made a wrong turn with his covetable, convertible 1911 Gr f Stift 28 32 PS Double Phaeton onto Sarajevo s Franz Joseph Street on that fateful 28th day of June, 1914, unwittingly stopping before a waiting assassin, Gavrilo Princip, that a fuse had been lit to a calamitous future Mr Tooze has written an excellent account of how this nominally well ordered world descended into the chaos of ensuing years Who would have thought that when Archduke Franz Ferdinand s hapless chauffer, Leopold Lojka, made a wrong turn with his covetable, convertible 1911 Gr f Stift 28 32 PS Double Phaeton onto Sarajevo s Franz Joseph Street on that fateful 28th day of June, 1914, unwittingly stopping before a waiting assassin, Gavrilo Princip, that a fuse had been lit to a calamitous future Mr Tooze has written an excellent account of how this nominally well ordered world descended into the chaos of ensuing years Mr Tooze challenges the reader to reassess the standard accounts of the interwar years, whether viewed through interstate relations, economics, finance or internal politics there s plenty of condemnation and shame to go around.I had this thought that somehow, someway, from something akin to Fred Sanford s junkyard, the state of affairs following World War I, an atomic bomb and an iron curtain were assembled How this came to be is the story of an extra ordinary interplay of seemingly random, unforeseen and unbelievable events The years Mr Tooze examines, 1916 to 1931, were filled with wishful thinking, myopic and hypocritical behaviors, often heavily influenced by that most pernicious of human weaknesses, base emotion to boot, there were ample instances where leaders kicked the can down the road, either to delay an unpleasant day of reckoning or to avoid that day entirely To me, many global leaders were mortally infected with a historical bias for a world that no longer existed, which acted to hinder an appreciation for the new, technological, interconnected era in which they then lived I do really want to believe the politicians and technocrats steering our current ships of state have learned the lessons so painfully exposed in the 20th century Have they Outstanding Tooze has amassed and presented a tremendous amount of political and economic information to buttress his arguments about how complex the period between 1916 and 1931 was First he explains the financing and end game of the the war This forms the foundation for the real argument, that any view of the period from 1918 to the mid thirties as fairly consistent between the wars is missing the convulsions that played out as the war time loans between entente countries, the destruction Outstanding Tooze has amassed and presented a tremendous amount of political and economic information to buttress his arguments about how complex the period between 1916 and 1931 was First he explains the financing and end game of the the war This forms the foundation for the real argument, that any view of the period from 1918 to the mid thirties as fairly consistent between the wars is missing the convulsions that played out as the war time loans between entente countries, the destruction of northern France during the war, and the creation and destruction of nations that occurred in 1917 and during the Versailles conference led to impossible to resolve conflicts of interest The next fifteen years were a roller coaster of domino economic crises that fueled the nationalist movements and resulted in continuing instability of ministries and traditional parties.Tooze is particularly strong on the finance and economic aspects of this period He details how they influenced every political decision American banks had financed the war, and that let them call a lot of shots afterward But an isolationist Congress often blocked the logical soltuion Fans of Woodrow Wilson will come out black and blue, if not hemorrhaging Tooze cites dozens of instances of his blundering during the war, the Versailles conference, and back home.One can t hope to really cover this book in a short review I recommend it highly, as still very relevant If one were to be a fly against the wall of the Versailles palace in 1919 What were US president Roosevelt s reasons to design a new, liberal world order Which countries supported him and which were against It is clear that the seeds of WW II were sown during that time The Fourteen Points may have had some obvious good intentions, no doubt Roosevelt used them to push US on the front of the international political scene Stripping Germany and other Central powers geographically and financiall If one were to be a fly against the wall of the Versailles palace in 1919 What were US president Roosevelt s reasons to design a new, liberal world order Which countries supported him and which were against It is clear that the seeds of WW II were sown during that time The Fourteen Points may have had some obvious good intentions, no doubt Roosevelt used them to push US on the front of the international political scene Stripping Germany and other Central powers geographically and financially did not bring world peace nor were in line with the principle of self determination Sudeten Germany, Eupen, South Tyrol.The author highlighted the imbalance between president Wilson s liberal foreign agenda and his domestic Southern past More than that, I doubt whether his foreign agenda was as anti imperialistic as Mr Tooze states Several authors have pointed out that before the sinking of Lusitania, US government was preparing for war and already heavily engaged in support to the Entente.PS the Dutch edition has a lot of typos Ambitious, and with a breathtaking scope, I can t help but feel that Tooze bit off a bitthan he could chew even a 500 page book isn t adequate space to cover the development of the entire international order from 1916 through 1933 His characterization of Wilson as a man seeking to assert American fiscal hegemony may be criticized by some, but I find it hard to disagree with his thesis.The author often makes assertions that he seems to lack the time or space to fully explore, and there are Ambitious, and with a breathtaking scope, I can t help but feel that Tooze bit off a bitthan he could chew even a 500 page book isn t adequate space to cover the development of the entire international order from 1916 through 1933 His characterization of Wilson as a man seeking to assert American fiscal hegemony may be criticized by some, but I find it hard to disagree with his thesis.The author often makes assertions that he seems to lack the time or space to fully explore, and there are a few boggling factual errors that he or his editor really should have caught for example, he describes the Japanese battleship Mutsu as a cruiser, which may seem like nitpicking but, as Tooze himself asserts, battleships were seen as a sign of national pride and strength, and this error is therefore significant Despite these flaws,this is a well written and readable book, recommended to all serious history fans The simplified version of history I ve always heard goes something like this after WWI, the US retreated into isolationism, went through the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, and then got involved in WWII Of course, the real story is a lotcomplicated, and Tooze did a good job exploring the final years of the Great War up to the coming of the Great Depression The book covered a good portion of the world, focusing on the combatants from WWI, including Japan and China It also c The simplified version of history I ve always heard goes something like this after WWI, the US retreated into isolationism, went through the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, and then got involved in WWII Of course, the real story is a lotcomplicated, and Tooze did a good job exploring the final years of the Great War up to the coming of the Great Depression The book covered a good portion of the world, focusing on the combatants from WWI, including Japan and China It also covered events across the British Empire like what was happening in India and Ireland It shed light on how interconnected so many things were across borders and domestically for the various countries He talked a lot about diplomacy, treaties, and monetary policy subjects that, frankly, could have been really dry But he made it interesting Also, the audiobook had a good narrator I don t think this book is for everyone, but I enjoyed it This book is an ambitious interpretive history of WW1 and its impact The starting point is that claim that we have come to understand the war from the perspective of it being followed by WW2 and the Cold War, leading to a modern world that is hugely different from the world of 1914 and dominated eventually by the United States after the fall of the Soviet Union Adam Tooze s claim is that course of world history was far from certain after WW1 and that world observers saw matters very differentl This book is an ambitious interpretive history of WW1 and its impact The starting point is that claim that we have come to understand the war from the perspective of it being followed by WW2 and the Cold War, leading to a modern world that is hugely different from the world of 1914 and dominated eventually by the United States after the fall of the Soviet Union Adam Tooze s claim is that course of world history was far from certain after WW1 and that world observers saw matters very differently from how they eventually turned out The book then attempts to explain how the world got from 1916 to the present or really 1931 while steering clear of the story that has become accepted and often taken for granted.Tooze argues that the key players involved in this complicated story were not stupid or even narrow They all realized the important role of the US as the new super state that would soon dominate the world In response, the protagonists, including such extreme actors as Trotsky and Hitler, all sought an international solution that transcended narrow nationalism and provided a counterweight to the foreseen dominance of the US.Why didn t it work out Well, to the normal dynamics of politics and economics and chance, it is first necessary to add megatraumas that constrained what everyone else could do The first was the catastrophic slaughter of WW and the political crisis and each of the warring states had to surmount A second reason was the great depression, which threw stabilization plans out the window and ruined the efforts of moderate reasonable efforts to stabilize the world This left the door open for the extremist totalitarians Tooze provides an interesting perspective on Wilson here too and how he was constrained at home One of theinteresting ideas in the book is the linkage of Progressivism and Wilson with the reaction of the US attempt to adapt to modernity following the Civil War and the reactions to those efforts Another strength of the book is the author s command of the economic issues ranging from war loans, reparations, the hyperinflations, the gold standard, and the transatlantic role of Wall Street and JP Morgan in interwar finance.The book ends in 1931 1932, with the onset of the Great Depression, and the rise of Hitler and Roosevelt This makes the book a soulmate of the Ira Katznelson book Fear Itself which uses a similar analytic interpretive strategy to examine how FDR and the New Deal took the US from the depths of the depression to the Cold War The similarities are general The Katznelson book is focused, with a deep look at US Congressional history The Tooze book is broader in scope and breathtakingly complex, in that it is linking multiple levels of analysis both domestic and international, along with military, political, and economic for the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, USSR, China, and Japan and it works very well.This review only scratches the surface of this amazing book It is a dense history infused by a nice argument that the author keeps going and ocncludes well It is not for the timid but is very worthwhiile The move from the twenties to depression to the early 1930s is covered quickly and I am unsure I followed how the interpretive story was concluded I have to think about itIt is wonderful to finish a book the forces you to do that Great book hugely informative, with the material dramatically presented and almost no dull patches Some of the very fascinating events that Tooze describes are the following 1 Up to mid 1916 the Entente borrowed money through J.P Morgan mainly, from the US s private capital market, thereby committing a substantial part of the US economy to the Entente s war effort, without the US government s permission Wilson discouraged americans from buying any of the Anglo French bonds issued by J.P Great book hugely informative, with the material dramatically presented and almost no dull patches Some of the very fascinating events that Tooze describes are the following 1 Up to mid 1916 the Entente borrowed money through J.P Morgan mainly, from the US s private capital market, thereby committing a substantial part of the US economy to the Entente s war effort, without the US government s permission Wilson discouraged americans from buying any of the Anglo French bonds issued by J.P Morgan, in order to impose his vision of peace without victory The war may have ended then, if the Germans weren t convinced that too much was at stake for the US economy for them to remain neutral After the US entered the war, the Entente powers borrowed directly from the US government in an unprecedented scale.2 Nowhere did taxation keep up with rising war expenditure, so governments issued bonds to pay for the war effort Some of those were bought by banks, who later resold them to Central banks for cash Thus indirectly the supply of money was expanded leading to inflation The post war inflation all over the world, decreased the buying power of the workers, and thus led to strikes and renewed class war Powers like the US and Britain that had issued government bonds, got into a competition of who would deflatedrastically, to restore their credibility, and honour the people who had devoted their money to the war effort Plans to spend money on social welfare were scrapped in the UK Lloyd George wanted to make the Germans pay for widow s pensions through reparations What if they had resorted to a capital levy instead 3 The Great Deflation, as Tooze calls the squeeze on economic activity to fight inflation that the British and US governments carried out, had the effect of pacification both on the left and on the far right by decreasing military spending it resulted in the demobilization of the paramilitaries, and surging unemployment weakened the trade unions.4 Since the US did not commit itself to military collective security, the next best thing was to prevent knaves aggressive nationalists, socialists etc from coming into power by adherence to the gold standard Post WW1 economies thus falled into three categories a those who had aggressively deflated US, Britain b those that had just stabilized after the massive inflation France, Italy, Japan and c the basket cases or those who were experiencing hyper inflation.5 Nationalists had to break the fetters of economic liberalism to implement their plans Stalin , Hitler, Hirohito 6 What implications does this analysis have for Greece s options within the EU today I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.Adam Tooze s book The Deluge The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916 1931 is an impressive and, at times, intimidating examination of WWI I say intimidating because Tooze takes a deep dive into the history and minute events that make up the entire Great War period His focus is global, shifting between German offensives in Russia, to Lenin s writing, to Britain s social movements, to the American Congress, to I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.Adam Tooze s book The Deluge The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916 1931 is an impressive and, at times, intimidating examination of WWI I say intimidating because Tooze takes a deep dive into the history and minute events that make up the entire Great War period His focus is global, shifting between German offensives in Russia, to Lenin s writing, to Britain s social movements, to the American Congress, to Japan s Diet The work is dense and I think Tooze recognizes this, so each section is started with a general summary of the chapter, highlighting the important elements he ll discuss.But even though this book is about WWI, it is really an examination of America s entrance on the world stage Tooze does an excellent job of tracing the many different ways that virtually every other superpower or wanna be superpower of the time ended up falling apart, leaving the US as the dominant global voice He also illustrates how this emergence transmits a low, throbbing panic to many leaders and becomes part of the fanatical zeal of WWII tyrants like Hitler and Mussolini But the author also points out that the US felt a wariness about being a global participant and often operated as a silent or ghost leader in various negotiations and international disputes This book is definitely academic in nature, but if you are interested in the early history of the modern world, WWI, or global power relations, then The Deluge The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916 1931 will be an informative read It isn t light reading in any sense and you ll needthan a passing knowledge of world leaders and military events, but it is a book that will enlighten you and illustrates an important transition in world power that we tend to overlook

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  • Hardcover
  • 644 pages
  • The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of the Global Order
  • Adam Tooze
  • English
  • 07 August 2017
  • 184614034X