Late Modern History in Europe (19th and 20th Centuries)

Contemporary History of Europe includes a period of maximum social, political and economic tensions. The break with the Old Regime and the expansion of capitalism and imperialism marked the nineteenth century. The tragedies caused by the two world wars are the protagonists of the history of the 20th century.
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| 24/05/2019 | Last update:



The Late Modern History of Europe comprises a period of maximum social, political and economic tensions. The break with the Old Regime and the expansion of capitalism and imperialism marked the nineteenth century. The tragedies caused by the two world wars are the protagonists of the history of the 20th century. From the late eighteenth century, the English industrial revolution and the French revolution, changed the economic, social and political structures of Europe. The absolute monarchies were replaced by liberal-constitutional regimes in which the national sovereignty resided in the town, represented in the Parliaments (elected with suffrages still very limited). The Old regime, suppressed in almost all of Europe during the nineteenth century, replaced the old structures of power for new liberal states where the subjects became citizens and the expansion of great capitalism took place. But the imperialist anxieties of the 19th century led to the disasters of the 20th century, with the outbreak of the First World War. The victory of the Allied Powers embodied in the Treaty of Versailles opened wounds to the losers, which, as in the case of Germany, were the germ because of the birth of totalitarian ideologies, which manifested their darkest side in the murder of millions of people, mainly Jews, to the camps of Nazi extermination and to a new devastating global war for all Europe. From that war the foundations will be born for the construction of a united Europe and in peace.

Articles of the course: Late modern History in Europe (19th and 20th Centuries)

Europe and the colonial world at the end of the 18th century
Europe and the colonial world at the end of the 18th century

 The crisis of the Old Regime led to the transformation of political, economic and social structures. The liberal revolutions extended in the main countries of the continent.

The Napoleonic era (1799-1815)
The Napoleonic era (1799-1815)

The Napoleonic era comprises a period of 15 years, in which Napoleon Bonaparte extended his Empire throughout Europe.

The Congress of Vienna and the Restoration of the European order
The Congress of Vienna and the Restoration of the European order

The Congress of Vienna was the conference that brought together the greatest powers in Europe at the time.

Social and economic changes on the 19th century
Social and economic changes on the 19th century

In the nineteenth century there were profound social, economic and political changes that marked the beginning of modernity in Europe and in its colonial possessions.

Liberalism and nationalism in the 19th century
Liberalism and nationalism in the 19th century

Liberalism and nationalism has been the two ideologies that marked the social, political, economic and cultural transformations throughout the nineteenth century. Since the fall of the Old Regime and the establishment of parliamentary regimes in North America and Western Europe until the triumph of industrialization and capitalism, as well as the configuration of the new […]

The Revolutions of 1820, 1830 and 1848
The Revolutions of 1820, 1830 and 1848

Europe lived several revolutionary cycles during the first half of the nineteenth century, among the most important in 1820, 1830 and 1848. The various revolutionary cycles that occurred in Europe during the first half of the nineteenth century— among the most important in 1820, in 1830 and 1848— had liberalism, nationalism, and democratic radicalism as […]

The expansion of the great industrial capitalism
The expansion of the great industrial capitalism

Industrial capitalism is a new phase of the capitalist economic system, which develops throughout the nineteenth century.

Bismarck’s Europe and the liberal nation-state
Bismarck’s Europe and the liberal nation-state

The new system of balance of power between the different European powers was devised by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.

Imperialism and colonial expansion in the 19th century
Imperialism and colonial expansion in the 19th century

Imperialism was a mainly European phenomenon led by Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Russia and Italy, but the United States of America and Japan also played a prominent role.

World War I (1914-1918)
World War I (1914-1918)

The First World War was the first global war, which took place mainly in Europe and the Middle East between 1914 and 1918.

Consequences of the First World War
Consequences of the First World War

Among the most important consequences of the First World War, the most tragic was the death of 12 million people, in addition to being the first war in which the civilian population was bombed.

The new territorial map of interwar Europe
The new territorial map of interwar Europe

The new world configuration after World War I was decided by the Allied Powers. Once the war was over, there were several events of great relevance to interwar Europe.

The Revolutions of Russia (1917) and Germany (1918)
The Revolutions of Russia (1917) and Germany (1918)

The First World War opened a new historical period in Europe: that of communist and social democratic revolutions. The revolutionary response to the war had as its main focus Russia in 1917 and Germany in 1918.

The democracies of interwar Europe: Britain, France and Germany
The democracies of interwar Europe: Britain, France and Germany

The twenty years separating the two world wars (1918-1939) marked one of the most politically and economically unstable times for the European continent.

Fascism's rise to power in Italy
Fascism's rise to power in Italy

Fascism was a nationalist and dictatorial ideology, born in Italy after the World War I. It took power with the march on Rome in 1922.

The revision of the Treaty of Versailles and the reopening of the conflict in Europe
The revision of the Treaty of Versailles and the reopening of the conflict in Europe

Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany and the end of the economic boom of the 1920s opened the door to questioning the peace of Versailles.

[Book] Capitalism and democracy 1756-1848
[Book] Capitalism and democracy 1756-1848

Book review: Capitalism and democracy 1756-1848. How this deception began, by Josep Fontana.

World War II (1939-1945)
World War II (1939-1945)

The escalation of pre-1939 tensions and the failure of France and Britain's policy of appeasement to Hitler's hostilities led to the greatest war in history.