Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict
Oliver Janz - The Long War
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Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
The Long War
Abstract: Recent scholarship on World War I is increasingly undergoing a shift in focus away from Western Europe and the Western Front towards Eastern Europe, the Near and Middle East, and other global dimensions of the war. Seen from this perspective, World War I was not only a truly pan-European and global war, but also a much longer war than hitherto conventionally acknowledged. This perspective is not to be confounded with the problematic thesis of the ‘Second Thirty Years War’ which emphasizes the continuities between the two world wars. It rather focuses on the numerous wars and civil wars which took place immediately after the Great War. In Eastern Europe, World War I was quickly followed by several conflicts between the new states emerging in the region, from Finland to Yugoslavia, and by the Russian Civil War which, presumably, cost more lives than the Great War itself. For the Near and Middle East, World War I was only one part of a more far-reaching conflict that began with the Italo-Turkish War in 1911, transitioned into the Balkan Wars, and only came to a final conclusion in 1922, a ‘greater war,’ which decimated the whole region, with long-lasting repercussions.
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