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AftershocksGreat Powers and Domestic Reforms in the Twentieth Century$
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Seva Gunitsky

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172330

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172330.001.0001

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The Alchemy of War

The Alchemy of War

(p.60) 3 The Alchemy of War

Seva Gunitsky

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how the outcome of the Great War demonstrated democracy's effectiveness on both the battlefield and the factory floor, leading to a short-lived but intense period of democratization on the European continent and beyond. Between 1918 and 1922, over a dozen new states adopted democratic institutions including independent parliaments, civil liberties, and universal suffrage. At the same time, semi-democracies like Britain and Belgium expanded voting rights to previously excluded groups like women and working-class men. The chapter then looks at how the overstretch of the postwar wave contributed to the collapse of democracy and set the stage for a series of confrontations between rival institutional arrangements.

Keywords:   Great War, democratization, democracy, Europe, postwar wave

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