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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Europe Since 1945

A Concise History

Edition 5th Edition
ISBN 9781403917904
Publication Date October 2006
Formats Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave

As Europe has expanded its influence in world economic and political affairs, there has been an increased need to understand how Europe recovered from the devastation of World War II to become a major world player. This concise history offers a comprehensive overview of Europe's political, social, economic and cultural developments since 1945.

J. Robert Wegs and Robert Ladrech balance a narrative of the major events and personalities of the post-war political scene with a critical assessment of key issues and themes, such as:
- the development of the welfare state
- European integration and the European Union
- the Cold War
- the rise and fall of the Soviet Empire
- the political-economic turmoil in eastern Europe since 1989
- the place of Europe in the globalisation of the world's political-economic affairs.
The text also features further reading sections at the end of each chapter to aid more detailed study, and is enhanced throughout with tables, maps and illustrations.

Written for students and general readers alike, this thoroughly revised, updated and expanded new edition is an ideal introduction for anyone with an interest in the history and politics of post-war Europe, east and west.

J. ROBERT WEGS was formerly Chair of the History Department at the University of Notre Dame, USA.

ROBERT LADRECH is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Keele University, UK. He is also Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium.

List of Maps
List of Tables
List of Illustrations
A Bipolar World
From Left to Right: European Politics, 1945-1948
Economic Recovery in Western Europe
Western European Politics, 1948-1960s
The End of European Empire
The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the 1950s and 1960s: The New Course and Polycentrism
European Unity
Postwar European Society: A Consumer Society and Welfare State
Economics and Society in the Communist World
1968: Year of Crisis and Its Legacies
Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1970s, 1980s, and Beyond: Decline, Fall and Transition
Western European Political and Economic Trends since the 1960s
Thought and Culture since 1945
Europe Enters the Twenty-First Century


I welcome the new edition of this book. Europe Since 1945 has much to be praised for: its structure and style are very clear, its coverage is comprehensive, and it is well documented.' - Dario Gaggio, University of Michigan, USA
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