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Modern European History Essay

817 words - 3 pages

Modern European History

1. What did Paul Valery mean in saying that the mind of Europe doubted itself
profoundly?

     Before 1914, people in Europe believed in progress, peace, prosperity,
reason, and rights of individuals. During that time, people began to believe in
the Enlightenment, industrial developments were just starting and scientific
advances began to take place. People then really believed in progression and
further developments.

     Unfortunately, World War I broke out. Nevertheless, the optimistic
people of Europe still did not doubt the outcome and were so convinced that it
was not going to have any long term effects. They looked toward happier times
and hoped life will go back to where it was before. But little did they know,
as a result of the war, total war broke out and crushed all the hopes and
accomplishments that the people had established. This shocking reality was
unbearable and uncomprehending to the people's hopes and dreams. And as this
lasted over the years, the age of anxiety was created. People didn't know or
what to expect anymore. They did not know what was going to happen after the
war. They're so devastated by the war that many who were still alive lost faith
and all hopes. Many intellectuals began to doubt the Enlightenment and even the
future of Western civilization. This state of uncertainty and unpredictability
brought out many modern philosophers of that time. One of them was a French
poet and critic Paul Valery. He stated that "Europe was looking at its future
with dark foreboding." In his writings, he said that "The storm has died away,
and still we are restless, uneasy, as if the storm were about to break." The
storm in this case was the war. People were so terrified by it that they were
still in shock and unsure of its outcome and consequence and the possibility
that it might cause another war to break out. Valery saw that many people
suffered from anxiety. He argued that the people looked at the future with
great unease and discomfort for what the war had done and what the war will
cause. He also suggested that "Europe doubted itself profoundly" because of all
the lost of all optimistic ideas and accomplishments. People did not have to
strength or will to believe in themselves anymore. They were too devastated by
the war. They also saw no hope and thus doubted themselves for making any more
progress.

2. Why do you think many veterans felt that they were part of a lost generation?

     Veterans during the war were just realizing what the war is all about.
They saw...

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