The 20th century alternative history is discovered in Mazower’s book Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century, in which democracy seemed to fail, while fascism offered the opponent solutions that fought and succeeded sometimes in an attempt to settle the course that would be taken by the continent. In this chapter, Mazower shreds away mythology that have calmed us since the Second World War, enlightening Europe as a body involved continually in a gory scheme of self-innovation. This chapter narrates history not of predictable triumphs, but of thin squeals and unanticipated turns, where towns proudly established a bronze statue of Mussolini on the horse one time, only to dissolve and fuse it into a couple of aristocratic supporters the next. This chapter provides a challenging view of Europe’s history in the past, as well as in present times, and future.
Mazower forms his committed European twentieth century history as a conflict among fascism, communism, and liberal democracy. He illustrates the breakdown of liberal democracy following the Second World War, which resulted in experimenting with fascism, overpowered mainly by the Communists at an enormous costs, as he avoids the drawbacks of Marxist explanation on the one hand, and capitalist victorious tendency on the other. He says that between 60 and 70 million Europeans cruelly were lost in wars or civic turbulences in the first half of this century, although, the figure of the period that followed the conquest of fascism is below one million. Mazower uses this to proof that the Cold War was an economic and social conflict, rather than a military one.
Despite the fact that this assertion might be true for the Cold War in Europe, Mazower fails to take into consideration the surrogate wars fought by the superpowers in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Nonetheless, this omission does not detract from the general excellence of Mazower’s work concerning this chapter. The defeat of fascism and the decline of communism paved the way for liberal democracy, which is currently facing the problem, which it failed to solve at the beginning of the century – the development of a practicable relationship between the representative government and capitalism. Mazower disputes that Europeans can work this out in a best way, supposing they realised that their national peculiarities are heavier than any similar culture and Europe has reveled its greatest era of an affluence and peace, specifically in the course of the age in which it has lost its dominance over the world affairs.
Significance of democracy
This chapter is of great significance not only to ancient people, but to any person who reads it. This is due to the fact that while Mazower talks about the cause, end, and impact of fascism and democracy, he also highlights the need and significance of democracy and unity. He argues the fact that Europe is safe with the current democracy asserting that it has not developed workable relationship between capitalism and representative government. According to this chapter, capitalism is still on high pitch in Europe with every person trying to protect their cultural beliefs and practices. Mazower says that it was the main factor that has been preventing democracy since the Second World War up to now.
As far as peace and unity are the key factors to success and wellbeing of any nation, Mazower urges Europeans in this chapter to do away with their cultures and ensure that there are peace and unity first. He also enables us to know that political and military conflicts are not the only cause of wars of early times but even currently. This is evident as he associates Cold war with the social and economic conflicts. Hence, every factor that affects our lives ought to be taken seriously and solved as soon as possible if we want to maintain peace and security.