Against the World: Deglobalization in Interwar Europe

For decades before the First World War, the world seemed to shrink. Millions of migrants crossed the globe. The railway and steamship accelerated their journeys, reducing the cost and risk of travel. The world also arrived on the doorsteps of those who stayed at home, via the telegraph, radio, newspapers, cinema, exhibitions, and foreign goods. To many observers, the growing interconnection of people and states seemed unstoppable. They believed that it would produce progress, prosperity, and peace. These illusions were shattered in 1914 when the First World War ushered in a quarter-century of anti-global retrenchment. This talk explores why so many Europeans rejected globalization after the First World War, and the effects of this anti-global revolution on European politics, culture, and society.


Tara Zahra is Homer J. Livingston Professor of History at the University of Chicago. She is most recently the author of “The Great Departure: Mass Migration and the Making of the ‘Free World’” (Norton, 2016). Her previous books include “The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe’s Families after World War II” (Harvard University Press, 2011) and “Kidnapped Souls: National Indifference and the Battle for Children in the Bohemian Lands” (Cornell, 2008). Her current projects include a co-authored history of World War I in the Habsburg Empire (with Pieter Judson), and a history of deglobalization in interwar Europe.


This event is sponsored by the Institute of European Studies, the Center for German and European Studies, the Department of History, and the Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington.


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