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Review Essay

The War to End All Wars? Lessons of World War I Revisited

In This Review

14-18: Understanding the Great War

14-18: Understanding the Great War
By Stephane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker, translated by Ca
Hill and Wang, 2002, 272 pp. $24.00 Purchase

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
By Margaret Macmillan
Random House, 2002, 560 pp. $24.50 Purchase

The role of World War I in shaping the twentieth century is becoming ever more obvious. It triggered the collapse of the three major empires of eastern Europe and central Asia: Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey. It gave rise to the Russian Revolution and to the Soviet Union; it prompted the first major U.S. incursion into world affairs; and it both failed to resolve the problems of the Balkans and generated new ones in the Middle East. These perspectives on World War I have become even more immediate since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is small wonder, then, that in a 1998 opinion poll, French students ranked the war as the second most important event of the last century, trailing behind only its successor. In fact, the agenda in 1914 was so important that much of it is still on the table.

As commonplace as that realization may now be,

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In This Review

14-18: Understanding the Great War

14-18: Understanding the Great War
By Stephane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker, translated by Ca
Hill and Wang, 2002, 272 pp. $24.00 Purchase

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
By Margaret Macmillan
Random House, 2002, 560 pp. $24.50 Purchase

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