The Assassination of Europe, 1918-1942: A Political History
Published: October 2014© 2014
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 480 Pages
Dimensions: 5.98 x 8.99
480 Pages, 5.98 x 8.99 x 0.92 in
In this fascinating volume, renowned historian Howard M. Sachar relates the tragedy of twentieth-century Europe through an innovative, riveting account of the continent's political assassinations between 1918 and 1939 and beyond. By tracing the violent deaths of key public figures during an exceptionally fraught time period—the aftermath of World War I—Sachar lays bare a much larger history: the gradual moral and political demise of European civilization and its descent into World War II.
In his famously arresting prose, Sachar traces the assassinations of Rosa Luxemburg, Kurt Eisner, Matthias Erzberger, and Walther Rathenau in Germany—a lethal chain reaction that contributed to the Weimar Republic's eventual collapse and Hitler's rise to power. Sachar's exploration of political fragility in Italy, Austria, the successor states of Eastern Europe, and France completes a mordant yet intriguing exposure of the Old World's lethal vulnerability. The final chapter, which chronicles the deaths of Stefan and Lotte Zweig, serves as a thought-provoking metaphor for the assassination of the Old World itself.
1. Social Democracy's White Terror
2. The Death of Giacomo Matteotti
3. A Posthumous Imperial Vengeance
4. Who Killed Sergei Kirov?
5. "Richard III" in Germany
6. A Return Visit from Austria's Tatterdemalion Son
7. All Roads Lead to Rome
8. Gallic Fraternité under the Third Republic
9. The Hunt for Leon Trotsky
10. Gallic Fraternité under Vichy's Armistice
11. The Humanist of Yesterday
Howard M. Sachar focuses on the role of political assassinations in shaping the history of twentieth-century Europe. His novel and intriguing approach to historical explanation will challenge serious scholars and delight all history buffs. Readers will rarely find a book as instructive and at the same time as readable as The Assassination of Europe. Karl A. Schleunes, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
A vivid and gripping narrative of 11 major twentieth-century political assassinations, coupled with a master historian's shrewd analysis of causes and consequences. A hard book to put down. Jacques Kornberg, University of Toronto
Sachar takes the reader on a wide-ranging tour of Europe in the decades between the two World Wars, focusing on key figures whose lives were cut short by assassination or suicide. His deftly crafted portraits highlight broader political developments across the continent, so that the death of these individuals becomes a metaphor for the death of the humanist tradition that culminated in World War II. This is a highly readable account of a tumultuous period in European history. Cecile E. Kuznitz, Bard College