A major new history of post-war Europe
'Excellent ... much to ponder' - Financial Times
In 1945, Europe lay in ruins - its cities and towns destroyed by conflict, its economies crippled, its societies ripped apart by war and violence. In the wake of the physical devastation came profound moral questions: how could Europe - once proudly confident of its place at the heart of the 'civilised world' - have done this to itself? And what did it mean that it had?
In the years that followed, Europeans - from politicians to refugees, poets to campaigners, religious leaders to communist revolutionaries - tried to make sense of what had happened, and to forge a new understanding of civilisation that would bring peace and progress to a broken continent. As they wrestled with questions great and small - from the legacy of colonialism to workplace etiquette - institutions and shared ideals emerged which still shape our world today.
Drawing on original sources as well as individual stories and voices, this is a gripping and authoritative account of how Europe rose from the ashes of the Second World War, forging itself anew in the process.
Paul Betts is Professor of Modern European History at St Antony's College, University of Oxford. He is the author of Within Walls: Private Life in the German Democratic Republic and The Authority of Everyday Objects: A Cultural History of West German Industrial Design, along with seven co-edited volumes. He has long been interested the relationship between European culture and politics over the course of the 20th century, with special focus on material culture, photography, memory, human rights and private life. His new book is the culmination of many years of reflection on Europe's fundamentally new place in the world since 1945.
Paperback - B format