War, Peace, and Power: Diplomatic History of Europe, 1500-2000 : The Great Courses: Modern History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
  • Series: The Great Courses: Modern History
  • 18 hrs and 41 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

For much of the past five centuries, the history of the European continent has been a history of chaos, its civilization thrown into turmoil by ferocious wars or bitter religious conflicts - sometimes in combination - that have made and remade borders, created and eliminated entire nations, and left a legacy that is still influencing our world.
This 36-lecture series from an award-winning teacher and honored scholar pursues an explanation for this chaos that goes beyond the obvious ones of political ambition, religious intolerance, the pursuit of state power, or the fear of another state's aspirations. In pursuing that explanation, Professor Liulevicius offers everyone interested in the "why" of history a remarkable look into the evolution of the European continent and the modern state system. His provocative lectures allow us to peer through the revealing lens of statecraft to show us its impact on war, peace, and power and how that impact may well be felt in the future.
As you learn to examine key points on history's diplomatic timeline in the context of attempting to establish - successfully and not - a lasting idea of order in the European world, you'll begin to grasp the key Professor Liulevicius offers to understanding the dynamics of international politics. And you'll see how such key concepts as the balance of power, power itself, sovereignty, and "reason of state" - the raison d'état first enunciated by France's powerful Cardinal Richelieu - fit into those dynamics.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A real quick-paced ovrview

What did you love best about War, Peace, and Power: Diplomatic History of Europe, 1500-2000?

The back references to earlier occurring events and how those might have influenced more current decisions.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Interesting that this course covers roughly the time up to about 2007, the post-cold-war time.

What aspect of Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius’s performance would you have changed?

In some cases I wished for more details, to make the "stories" more personal or connectable to.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

not much about "being moved" in a "course".

Any additional comments?

compared to "The Development of European Civilization". Covers a similar topic and time-span but with a completely different focus. I suggest having both. I have the feeling the this course here ("Diplomacy") should be heard first and the "Development" later -- for some reason I think that goes more into some interesting details and it's good to have the overview first.

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- Torsten Will

500 Years That Shook the World

Professor Liulevicius gives an engaging overview of 500 years of the politics that changed the course of world history. From the Holy Roman Empire, to the rise of Napolean (and his not so successful nephew) to the emergence of the United States as the dominant "European power". The professor spruces up his lectures with plenty of biographical information and historical anecdotes. Stories about Charles V's obsession with clocks or Frederick the Great's excessive coffee consumption, or even retellings of bizzare events such as the "defenestration of Prague" make the course that much more exciting. Liulevicius is obviously obsessed and his passion for diplomatic history is infectious.

One of the new things I learned from this course was the crucial role of the ubiquitous Hapsburgs in European affairs. It seemed that behind every major turning point in European history there stood a Hapsburg; the family played a major role in events first as Holy Roman Emperors, then as kings of Spain. In addition, the French-Mexican War, the Seven Year’s War and even WWI all started or ended because of tragedy in the family.

My only complaint is that I wish the course had been longer; treatment of WWII and the Cold War seemed a bit rushed in comparison to his recounting of prior periods. However, at 18 hours, this course is already considerably longer than many of The Great Courses, we can at least be thankful for that.
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- Jeff

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses