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War in Peace: Paramilitary Violence in Europe after the Great War (The Greater War) [Paperback]

Robert Gerwarth , John Horne
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

3 Oct 2013 The Greater War
The First World War did not end in November 1918. In Russia and Eastern Europe it finished up to a year earlier, and both there and elsewhere in the world it triggered conflicts that lasted down to 1923. Paramilitary formations were prominent in this continuation of the war.

Paramilitary violence was an important ingredient in the clashes unleashed by class revolution in Russia. It structured the counter-revolution in central and Eastern Europe, including Finland and Italy, which in the name of order and authority reacted against a mythic version of Bolshevik class violence. It also shaped the struggles over borders and ethnicity in the new states that replaced the multi-national empires of Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Ottoman Turkey. It was prominent on all sides in the wars for Irish independence. Paramilitary violence was charged with political significance and acquired a long-lasting symbolism and influence.

War in Peace explores the differences and similarities between these various kinds of paramilitary violence within one volume for the first time. It contributes to our understanding of the difficult transitions from war to peace, re-situates the Great War in a longer-term context, and explains its enduring impact.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; Reprint edition (3 Oct 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019968605X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199686056
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


The quality of the individual essays is for the most part high, and a majority of the essays engages productively with each other, particularly those by the editors, and those on Russia, Italy, the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire. (Pieter M. Judson, Slavonic and East European Review)

About the Author

Robert Gerwarth was born in Berlin and educated at Oxford where he also held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship. He has been Professor of Modern History at University College Dublin and Director of UCD's Centre for War Studies since 2009. He is the author of several monographs and edited books on modern European history, most recently of a biography on Reinhard Heydrich.

John Horne was educated in Australia and Britain, and has taught modern European history for many years at Trinity College Dublin. He has published extensively on French history and on the comparative and transnational history of the Great War. He is a member of the board of the Centre for Research at the Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne, a founder member of EurohistXX, the research consortium in contemporary European history, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Warfare Did Not End In 1918 16 April 2014
By Dr Barry Clayton TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Contrary to popular belief 1918 did not mark the end of violence throughout Europe. In fact, some of the bloodiest fighting took place between 1918 and 1923. Paramilitary violence occurred, for example, in Finland, Germany, Poland, Russia and Turkey.

This superb book details what happened in these territories as well as in other European states.This edited book comprises 13 separate chapters each by an expert in a particular country. For example, John Horne writes about paramilitary politics in France, and Anne Dolan about the violence in the Irish War of Independence.

One of the most interesting accounts is by Pertti Haapala and Mark Tikka who describe the revolution, civil war and terror in Finland in 1918. They detail what happened after the Russian Empire collapsed in 1917. The civil war that ensued led to 36,000 deaths in just 6 months. The war was one of the deadliest internal conflicts in Europe in the 20th century, yet it is unknown by many.One third of the victims were killed by paramilitary groups.

John Newman analyses paramilitary violence in the Balkans. Violent rivalries predated the war but from 1917-23 this entered a new phase. The disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the creation of Yugoslavia led to waves of violence throughout the region. As Churchill said; 'The war of the giants is over; the wars of the pygmies have begun'.

Paramilitary violence occurred in the vacuum left by collapsing states; as an adjunct to state power; in yet others it was used against states. It comprised revolutionary and counter-revolutionary violence and ethnic violence. The term paramilitary was not used before the 1930's.
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