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GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF EUROPE
From the French Revolution to the Second World War various sensational events have taken place in Europe. The French Revolution inculcated in people the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity. Men from the labor groups of the society rose to a high position of power. Marxism took the place of the Czarist regime in Russia. The Divine Rights of the King in England changed to the decentralization of power and the peopleís parliament became sovereign.
Personalities like Napoleon I, Metternich, Mussolini and Hitler emerged to change the course of history. Nationalism was very strong among these people. They lived and died for their nation. These great men carved their place in history and became the "Personalities" of history.
Excluding Russia, Europe occupies about 10,36,000-sq. km. of area. Europe has been the focal point of the world (history) since about 16th century. It was a successor to the civilization of Rome and inherited the basic tenets of the Roman Empire. When Joan of Arc coined the slogan "France for the French" the spirit of nationalism emerged. An understanding of this concept brought the people closer together. This apart, the Europeans developed the first naval fleet. With its help, they discovered new geographical locations of the world. The dynamic people of Europe also discovered and invented new scientific techniques.
The greatest drawback Europe has faced has been the lack of unity in its approach to various problems. There existed mutual suspicion, rivalry and hatred among them. In the 19th century, conventional weapons waged the conflicts. In this century, the rise of German nationalism and the invention of the latest means of mass slaughter have contributed to intensify the problems.
During the two World Wars, the limitations of some important European nations were exposed, and the importance of Germany was understood. Hitlerís ambition for power made him a world leader and through his desire to avenge the humiliation inflicted on Germany in the First Great War, millions died. Because of internal problems and civil wars, the leaders of some European nations weakened their positions. U.S.A and U.S.S.R became world powers. Somehow due to economic hardships the U.S.S.R broke up in December 1991.
Today Europe is on the brink of a reunion. It remains to be seen if all the states of Europe unite in the 21st century.