Synopses & Reviews
The story of global cooperation between nations and peoples is a tale of dreamers goading us to find common cause in remedying humanity’s worst problems. But international institutions have also provided a tool for the powers that be to advance their own interests and stamp their imprint on the world. Mark Mazower’s Governing the World
tells the epic story of that inevitable and irresolvable tension—the unstable and often surprising alchemy between ideas and power.
From the beginning, the willingness of national leaders to cooperate has been spurred by crisis: the book opens in 1815, amid the rubble of the Napoleonic Empire, as the Concert of Europe was assembled with an avowed mission to prevent any single power from dominating the continent and to stamp out revolutionary agitation before it could lead to war. But if the Concert was a response to Napoleon, internationalism was a response to the Concert, and as courts and monarchs disintegrated they were replaced by revolutionaries and bureaucrats.
19th century internationalists included bomb-throwing anarchists and the secret policemen who fought them, Marxist revolutionaries and respectable free marketeers. But they all embraced nationalism, the age’s most powerful transformative political creed, and assumed that nationalism and internationalism would go hand in hand. The wars of the twentieth century saw the birth of institutions that enshrined many of those ideals in durable structures of authority, most notably the League of Nations in World War I and the United Nations after World War II.
Throughout this history, we see that international institutions are only as strong as the great powers of the moment allow them to be. The League was intended to prop up the British empire. With Washington taking over world leadership from Whitehall, the United Nations became a useful extension of American power. But as Mazower shows us, from the late 1960s on, America lost control over the dialogue and the rise of the independent Third World saw a marked shift away from the United Nations and toward more pliable tools such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. From the 1990s to 2007, Governing the World centers on a new regime of global coordination built upon economic rule-making by central bankers and finance ministers, a regime in which the interests of citizens and workers are trumped by the iron logic of markets.
Now, the era of Western dominance of international life is fast coming to an end and a new multi-centered global balance of forces is emerging. We are living in a time of extreme confusion about the purpose and durability of our international institutions. History is not prophecy, but Mark Mazower shows us why the current dialectic between ideals and power politics in the international arena is just another stage in an epic two-hundred-year story.
"Columbia University historian Mazower (Inside Hitler's Greece) is a knowledgeable guide to the dynamics of Nazi domination of Europe. His focus is on the ambitions and foibles of the Nazi leaders, who believed that all of Europe could be made to serve German interests. As Mazower shows so well, almost nothing about the occupation had been planned beforehand. The Nazis improvised as their armies raced through Poland, the Soviet Union and the Low Countries, and Nazi generals and old-line bureaucrats fought among themselves for power and spoils. Mazower's most interesting commentary comes at the beginning, when he compares the Nazi imperium to other European empires, and at the end, when he demonstrates its long-lasting consequences. The breadth of Mazower's study is remarkable, but while not diminishing the toll of the Nazi anti-Semitism, he claims, contrary to many scholars, that core of the Nazi worldview was not anti-Semitism, 'but rather... the quest to unify Germans within a single German state.' Pulitzer Prize winner Saul Friedlnder's coinage of 'redemptive anti-Semitism' is far more effective at evoking the realities of Nazi rule than any of Mazower's formulations. Maps. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Drawing on an unprecedented variety of sources, Mark Mazower reveals how the Nazis designed, maintained, and ultimately lost their European empire and offers a chilling vision of the world Hitler would have made had he won the war
Germanys forces achieved, in just a few years, the astounding domination of a landmass and population larger than that of the United States. Control of this vast territory was meant to provide the basis for Germanys rise to unquestioned world power. Eastern Europe was to be the Reichs Wild West, transformed by massacre and colonial settlement. Western Europe was to provide the economic resources that would knit an authoritarian and racially cleansed continent together. But the brutality and short-sightedness of Nazi politics lost what German arms had won and brought their equally rapid downfall.
Time and again, the speed of the Germans victories caught them unprepared for the economic or psychological intricacies of running such a far-flung dominion. Politically impoverished, they had no idea how to rule the millions of people they suddenly controlled, except by bludgeon.
Mazower forces us to set aside the timeworn notion that the Nazis worldview was their own invention. Their desire for land and their racist attitudes toward Slavs and other nationalities emerged from ideas that had driven their Prussian forebears into Poland and beyond. They also drew inspiration on imperial expansion from the Americans and especially the British, whose empire they idolized. Their signal innovation was to exploit Europes peoples and resources much as the British or French had done in India and Africa. Crushed and disheartened, many of the peoples they conquered collaborated with them to a degree that we have largely forgotten. Ultimately, the Third Reich would be beaten as much by its own hand as by the enemy.
Throughout this book are fascinating, chilling glimpses of the world that might have been. Russians, Poles, and other ethnic groups would have been slaughtered or enslaved. Germans would have been settled upon now empty lands as far east as the Black Seathe new Greater Germany. Europes treasuries would have been sacked, its great cities impoverished and recast as dormitories for forced laborers when they were not deliberately demolished. As dire as all this sounds, it was merely the planned extension of what actually happened in Europe under Nazi rule as recounted in this authoritative, absorbing book.
A history of the project of world government, from the first post-Napoleonic visions of the brotherhood of man to the current crisis of global finance.
The Napoleonic Wars showed Europe what sort of damage warring states could do. But how could sovereign nations be made to share power and learn to look beyond their own narrow interests? The old monarchs had one idea. Mazzini and the partisans of nationalist democracy had another, and so did Marx and the radical Left.
It is an argument that has raged for two hundred years now, and Mark Mazower tells its history enthrallingly in Governing the World. With each era, the stakes have grown higher as the world has grown smaller and the potential rewards to cooperation and damage from conflict have increased.
As Mark Mazower shows us, each age’s dominant power has set the tune, and for nearly a century that tune has been sung in English. He begins with Napoleon’s defeat, in 1815, when England, Russia, Austria, and Prussia formed the Concert of Europe. Against this, there emerged many of the ideas that would shape the international institutions of the twentieth century–liberal nationalism, communism, the expertise of the scientist and the professional international lawyers. Mazower traces these ideas into the Great War through to the League of Nations. He explains how the League collapsed when confronted by the atrocities of the Third Reich, and how a more hard-nosed approach to international governance emerged in its wake.
The United Nations appeared in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, and a war-fighting alliance led by Great Britain and the United States was ultimately what transformed into an international peacetime organization. Mazower examines the ideas that shaped the UN, the compromises and constraints imposed by the Cold War and its transformation in the high noon of decolonization. The 1970s ushered in a sea change in attitudes to international government through the emergence of a vision of globalized capitalism in the 1970s that marginalized the UN itself and utilized bodies like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization—the final acts of Anglo- American institution-building.
But the sun is setting on Anglo-American dominance of the world’s great international institutions. We are at the end of an era, Mazower explains, and we are passing into a new age of global power relations, a shift whose outcome is still very much in question.
Draw ing on an unprecedented range and variety of original research, Hitler?s Empire
sheds new light on how the Nazis designed, maintained, and lost their European dominion?and offers a chilling vision of what the world would have become had they won the war. Mark Mazower forces us to set aside timeworn opinions of the Third Reich, and instead shows how the party drew inspiration for its imperial expansion from America and Great Britain. Yet the Nazis? lack of political sophistication left them unequal to the task of ruling what their armies had conquered, despite a shocking level of cooperation from the overwhelmed countries. A work as authoritative as it is unique, Hitler?s Empire
is a surprising?and controversial? new appraisal of the Third Reich?s rise and ultimate fall.
About the Author
Mark Mazower is the Ira D. Wallach Professor of History at Columbia University. He is the author of Hitler’s Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44, Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century, The Balkans: A Short History (which won the Wolfson Prize for History), Salonica: City of Ghosts (which won both the Duff Cooper Prize and the Runciman Award), and Hitler’s Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe. He has also taught at Birkbeck College, University of London, Sussex University and Princeton. He lives in New York.
Table of Contents
Hitler's Empire List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Abbreviations and Acronyms
Preface: The View from Varzin
Part 1: For Greater Germany
1. Germans and Slavs: 1848-1918
2. Versailles to Vienna
3. Expansion and Escalation: 1938-40
4. The Partition of Poland
5. Summer 1940
6. War of Annihilation: Into the Soviet Union
7. Make This Land German for Me Again!
8. Organizing Disorder: 1941-2
Part 2: The New Order
9. Making Occupation Pay
11. Ersatz Diplomacy
12. The Final Solution: the Jewish Question
14. Eastern Helpers
16. Hitler Kaputt!
Part 3: Perspectives
17. We Europeans
18. The New Order in World History