By 1945, the European continent, which in 1900 appeared increasingly prosperous, reasonably ordered, and increasingly civilised, had torn itself apart. On the way, its societies had suffered inflations and depressions, vicious dictatorships, and the most destructive wars in modern history. This book provides a thought-provoking and wide-ranging history of the whole of Europe in this period. Six lively and stimulating chapters have been written especially for this volume. They focus in turn on political, economic, social, and cultural aspects of the period, as well as international relations within Europe and with the wider world. Particular care is taken to integrate developments in southern and eastern Europe (including the USSR) into the more familiar story of what happened in western and central Europe.