East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Learning my history


“By 1937 almost 75 per cent of European trade was on a barter basis.”

Not bad, as a snippet of historical info, when you’re planning a story with a smuggler as the main character.

Researching historical details as background and framework for stories can be great fun.
In this case, it’s also long overdue.

When I was in high school, history stopped with the First World War.
This, for two main reasons
. the post-WWI history of our country is still a politically sensitive area
. post-WWI history is part of the second half of the last year, and it normally gets sacrificed to make room for more hours in the subjects that will be covered in the final exam.

9780582894143As a result, I feel terribly ignorant about European history between the wars.
Much of what I learned comes from novels, and from what my granparents and parents told me – and which is obviously biased and lacking scope.
It feels sort of weird when you realize you know more about political coming and goings in Mongolia in the ’30s than about what actually happened on your doorstep.

So, I got me a 1 eurocent, used but good copy of Martin Kitchen’s Europe Between the Wars, a Political History.
And I’m learning.
Apart from the striking parallels with the current post-crisis situation, I’m learning a lot.

And then, doing research, I found this animated map – which is just great.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “Learning my history

  1. The parallels of that time with our current situation are very strong indeed, and that’s why I’m a bit worried about the possible outcomes that we might get.


  2. When I think about Europe today the word “Weimar” often surface on my mind. And if I look to Hungary, it looks like we already cross the line with 1933.


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