Global Violence and Nationalizing Wars in Eurasia and America: The Geopolitics of War in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

TitleGlobal Violence and Nationalizing Wars in Eurasia and America: The Geopolitics of War in the Mid-Nineteenth Century
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsGeyer, Michael, and Charles Bright
JournalComparative Studies in Society and History
Volume38
Issue4
Pagination619-657
Date Published10/1996
Abstract

The histories of Germany and the United States became deeply entangled in the century of total war. After (re)unification on the battlefield in the mid-nineteenth century, both countries underwent rapid transformations through national programs of industrialization based on new products and technologies and emerged as great powers with global pretensions at the beginning of the twentieth century. An initial, and somewhat hesitant, confrontation in World War I was followed by a period of oscillation and confusion during the 1920s and 1930s, as leading elements in the two economies sought grounds for collaboration even as the political development of the two nations diverged, one moving toward fascism, the other toward a liberal democratic renewal. This produced the deeply ideological collision of the Second World War, which resulted in an equally dramatic turnabout, as the Germans endured what Americans then most feared, a grim (albeit partial) communist takeover, and the United States became the staunch ally of the German west in its faceoff with the east. Recently this close partnership has turned into a more perplexed and occasionally suspicious friendship, as the familiar terrain of the cold war is ploughed up. This history of extreme reversals is tied inextricably to war and preparations for war. This article attempts to seek the origins of these parallel histories in the wars that remade Germany and the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century.

URLhttps://www.jstor.org/stable/179194
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211287121

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