Mastering Modern World History

Fifth edition, Palgrave Master Series

by Norman Lowe

Table of contents


1. The World in 1914: outbreak of the First World War

  1. Prologue
  2. The world in 1914
  3. Events leading up to the outbreak of war
  4. What caused the war, and who was to blame?
  5. Further reading
  6. Questions

2. The First World War and its aftermath

  1. 1914
  2. 1915
  3. 1916
  4. The war at sea
  5. 1917
  6. The Central Powers defeated
  7. The problems of making a peace settlement
  8. The Treaty of Versailles with Germany
  9. The peace treaties with Austria-Hungary
  10. The settlement with Turkey and Bulgaria
  11. Verdict on the peace settlement
  12. Further reading
  13. Questions

3. The League of Nations

  1. What were the origins of the League?
  2. How was the League organised?
  3. The successes of the League
  4. Why did the League fail to preserve peace?
  5. Further reading
  6. Questions

4. International relations, 1919-1933

  1. What attempts were made to improve international relations, and how successful were they?
  2. How did France try to deal with the problem of Germany between 1919 and 1933?
  3. How did relations between the USSR and Britain, Germany and France develop between 1919 and 1933?
  4. The ‘successor’ states
  5. United States foreign policy 1919-33
  6. Further reading
  7. Questions

5. International relations, 1933-1939

  1. Relations between Japan and China
  2. Mussolini's foreign policy
  3. What were Hitler's aims in foreign policy and how successful had he been by the end of 1938?
  4. What is meant by the term 'appeasement'? How could such a policy be justified, and what part did it play in international affairs between 1935 and 1939?
  5. Munich to the outbreak of war: September1938 to September 1939
  6. Why did war break out? Were Hitler or the appeasers to blame?
  7. Further reading
  8. Questions

6. The Second World War, 1939-1945

  1. Opening moves: September 1939 to December 1940
  2. The Axis offensive widens: 1941 to the summer of 1942
  3. The offensives held in check: summer 1942 to summer 1943
  4. What part was played in the war by Allied naval forces?
  5. What contribution did air power make to the defeat of the Axis?
  6. The Axis powers defeated: July 1943 to August 1945
  7. Why did the Axis powers lose the war?
  8. The Holocaust
  9. What were the effects of the war?
  10. Further reading
  11. Questions
7. The Cold War: problems of international relations after the Second World War
  1. What caused the Cold War?
  2. How did the Cold War develop between 1945 and 1953?
  3. To what extent was there a thaw after 1953
  4. The nuclear arms race and the Cuban missiles crisis (1962)
  5. Further reading
  6. Questions

8. The spread of communism outside Europe and its effects on international relations

  1. War in Korea and its effects on international relations
  2. Cuba: why did Castro come to power and how were Cuba's foreign relations affected?
  3. The wars in Vietnam, 1946-54 and 1961- 75
  4. Chile under Salvador Allende 1970-3
  5. More United States interventions
  6. Detente: international relations from the1970s to the 1990s
  7. The collapse of communism in eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War: international relations transformed
  8. Further reading
  9. Questions

9. The United Nations Organization

  1. The structure of the United Nations Organization
  2. How different is the United Nations from the League of Nations?
  3. How successful has the UN been as a peacekeeping organization?
  4. UN peacekeeping since the end of the Cold War
  5. What other work is the UN responsible for?
  6. Verdict on the United Nations Organization
  7. What about the future of the UN?
  8. Further reading
  9. Questions

10. The Two Europes, East and West since 1945

  1. The states of western Europe
  2. The growth of unity in western Europe
  3. The early days of the European Community
  4. The European Community from 1972 to Maastricht (1991)
  5. Communist unity in eastern Europe
  6. Why and how did communism collapse in eastern Europe?
  7. Civil war in Yugoslavia
  8. Europe since Maastricht
  9. The European Union in Crisis
  10. Further reading
  11. Questions
11. Conflict in the Middle East
  1. Arab unity and interference from the outside world
  2. The creation of Israel and the Arab-Israeli war 1948-9
  3. The Suez War of 1956
  4. The Six Day War of 1967
  5. The Yom Kippur War of 1973
  6. Camp David and the Egyptian-Israeli peace, 1978-9
  7. Peace between Israel and the PLO
  8. Conflict in the Lebanon
  9. The Iran-Iraq War, 1980-8
  10. The Gulf War, 1990-1
  11. Israelis and Palestinians fight again
  12. Further reading
  13. Questions

12. The new world order and the war against global terrorism

  1. The new world order
  2. The rise of global terrorism
  3. 11 September 2001 and the ‘war on terrorism’
  4. The downfall of Saddam Hussein
  5. The continuing war in Afghanistan
  6. The problem of Iran
  7. The Arab Spring
  8. Further reading
  9. Questions


13. Italy 1918-45: the first appearance of Fascism

  1. Why was Mussolini able to come to power?
  2. What did the term 'fascism' stand for?
  3. Mussolini introduces the fascist state
  4. What benefits did fascism bring for the Italian people?
  5. Opposition and downfall
  6. Further reading
  7. Questions

14. Germany 1918-45: the Weimar Republic and Hitler

  1. Why did the Weimar Republic collapse?
  2. What did National Socialism stand for?
  3. Hitler consolidates his power
  4. How was Hitler able to stay in power?
  5. Nazism and Fascism
  6. How successful was Hitler in domestic affairs?
  7. Further reading
  8. Questions

15. Japan and Spain

  1. Japan before the Second World War
  2. Japan recovers
  3. Spain
  4. Further reading
  5. Questions


16. Russia and the revolutions, 1900-24

  1. After 1905: were the 1917 revolutions inevitable?
  2. The two revolutions: March and November 1917
  3. How successfully did Lenin and the Bolsheviks deal with their problems (1917–24)?
  4. Lenin - evil genius?
  5. Further reading
  6. Questions

17. The USSR and Stalin, 1924-53

  1. How did Stalin get to supreme power?
  2. How successful was Stalin in solving the USSR’s economic problems?
  3. Politics and the Purges
  4. Everyday life and culture under Stalin
  5. Stalin’s final years, 1945-53
  6. Further reading
  7. Questions

18. Continuing communism, collapse and aftermath,1953 to the present

  1. The Khrushchev era, 1953-64
  2. The USSR stagnates, 1964-86
  3. Gorbachev and the end of communist rule
  4. The aftermath of communism: Yeltsin, Putin and Medvedev
  5. Further reading
  6. Questions

19. China 1900-49

  1. Revolution and the warlord era
  2. The Kuomintang, Dr Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek
  3. Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party
  4. The communist victory, 1949
  5. Further reading
  6. Questions
20. China since 1949: the communists in control
  1. How successful was Mao Zedong in dealing with China’s problems?
  2. Life after Mao
  3. Tiananmen Square, 1989 and the crisis of communism
  4. The changing face of communism in China
  5. Further reading
  6. Questions

21. Communism in Korea and South East Asia

  1. North Korea
  2. Vietnam
  3. Cambodia/Kampuchea
  4. Laos
  5. Further reading
  6. Questions


22. The USA before the Second World War

  1. The American system of government
  2. Into the melting pot: the era of immigration
  3. The USA becomes economic leader of the world
  4. Socialists, trades unions, and the impact of war and the Russian revolutions
  5. Racial discrimination and the Civil Rights Movement
  6. The Great Depression arrives: October 1929
  7. Roosevelt and the New Deal
  8. Further reading
  9. Questions
23. The USA since 1945
  1. Poverty and social policies
  2. Racial problems and the Civil Rights Movement
  3. Anti-communism and Senator McCarthy
  4. Nixon and Watergate
  5. The Carter-Reagan-Bush era, 1977-93
  6. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama
  7. Further reading
  8. Questions


24. The end of the European Empires

  1. Why did the European powers give up their Empires?
  2. Indian independence and partition
  3. The West Indies, Malaya and Cyprus
  4. The British leave Africa
  5. The end of the French Empire
  6. Holland, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Italy
  7. Verdict on decolonization
  8. Further reading
  9. Questions

25. Problems in Africa

  1. Problems common to the African states
  2. Democracy, dictatorship and military government in Ghana
  3. Civil wars and corruption in Nigeria
  4. Poverty in Tanzania
  5. The Congo/Zaire
  6. Angola: a Cold War tragedy
  7. Genocide in Burundi and Rwanda
  8. Apartheid and black majority rule in South Africa
  9. Socialism and civil war in Ethiopia
  10. Liberia – a unique experiment
  11. Stability and chaos in Sierra Leone
  12. Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe
  13. Confusion and civil war in Somalia
  14. The Sudan
  15. Africa and its problems in the twenty-first century
  16. Further reading
  17. Questions
26. Latin America
  1. The era of US domination
  2. South America: Brazil and Venezuela
  3. Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua
  4. The challenge to US domination
  5. Further reading
  6. Questions


27. The changing world economy since 1900

  1. Changes in the world economy in the twentieth century
  2. The Third World and the North-South divide
  3. The split in the Third World economy
  4. The world economy and its effects on the environment
  5. Global warming
  6. The world economy at the turn of the millennium
  7. Capitalism in crisis
  8. The world economies in 2012
  9. Further reading
  10. Questions

28. The world's population

  1. The increasing world population since 1900
  2. Consequences of the population explosion
  3. Attempts at population control
  4. The population increase and Islamism
  5. The HIV/Aids epidemic
  6. Further reading
  7. Questions