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A year ago we marked rather than celebrated the centenary of the outbreak of what was at the time the most terrible war in history. Then this year we not only marked but also celebrated the 70th anniversary of the end of an even more terrible war. Hobsbawm, itself one of a number of attempts to write a synoptic or panoramic history of that century. How to make sense of this seemingly inexplicable regression into barbarism — and also of that other astonishing story, the recovery of Europe after ? One thing Jarausch can provide in his own telling is an unusual personal perspective.

German by origin, born in Magdeburg during a war in which his father was killed on the Russian front, he belongs, as he too truly says, to the last generation with a traditional Gymnasium education, instructed in Greek and Latin as well as modern languages. When the 20th century began, the age of European empire was reaching its apogee, and imperial rivalry is one of many reasons often advanced for the catastrophe of As much ink has been spent on the question of how the Great War started and who bore responsibility for it as on any other historical topic, and to not much effect if that means finding a conclusive answer.

One thing we may safely say is that none of the European powers would have embarked on the war if they had known how it would be waged, what its cost would be and how it would end: in exile for the kaiser, death for the czar and his family, over 1. No consequence was so direct as the Bolshevik conquest of Russia, which would never have taken place without the war. Was Bolshevism modern?

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Was Fascism? Add your rating. Once, humanity thought it was unique in the cosmos. Now, its legacy will wish it was. In most real-time strategy games, the bulk of battles are usually small skirmishes between a limited number of troops.

Woman of the Ashes

This mainly happens because it's difficult to manage the actions of large groups of units. As a result, RTS games generally lack the epic scope of their turn-based brethren. Ashes of the Singularity , on the other hand, manages to keep battles huge, thanks to a unique features that let players collect different units together in a group, but treat them as a single entity. After forming an army and giving it an order, the game's A. This way, players can send waves of units at opponents and still focus on a larger overall strategy, instead of worrying about whether or not the long range cannons are positioned to give infantry covering fire.

This kind of streamlining makes it much easier to command massive forces, sometimes leading to epic onscreen warfare of hundreds of units at once. As great as it is to see all those units fighting each other in such a grand scale in Ashes of the Singularity , it's not enough to make up for the rest of the game's mediocrity. Take away the ability to control swarms of troops at once, and you're left with a fairly basic and bland RTS experience. While it's definitely a good looking and highly detailed game, that all gets lost once you're forced to zoom away from the action to manage larger groups.

The epic sci-fi battle you saw a second ago quickly becomes little more than trying to micromanage a glorified ant farm. Not only that, but the campaign just feels underwhelming on the whole, almost as if it's an afterthought hurriedly tacked on to the multiplayer experience.

On the positive side, the multiplayer matches do a lot to make up for the single player shortcomings. Matches, especially large scale face-offs, feel like they have to be won through tactics and strategy versus luck and speed. Also, from a technical standpoint, multiplayer games tend to run smoothly, despite the number of units on the screen.


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Still, it's not quite enough to keep Ashes of the Singularity from buckling under the weight of its own potential. Families can talk about violence in gaming. Which has more impact: small scale skirmishes with small numbers of characters depicting the violence, or large scale battles where the overall destruction and body count is larger but the carnage is more implied than explicit? Talk about advancements in technology. While the game is set in a fantasy future where humans are more machine than man, what are some real-life ways that technology has been used to improve our way of life?

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners. See how we rate. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase.

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Thank you for your support. Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential. Learn how we rate. See our cookie policy Accept cookies. Inspired by resentment of America's Cold War support for Third World dictatorships, much postcolonial scholarship continues to excoriate the nefarious consequences of imperialist racism and white oppression.

The intensity and longevity of the normative debate about imperialism underlines the centrality of empire in modern European history.

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For centuries, the quest for resource-rich overseas possessions dominated the politics of western states, while the eastern monarchies similarly sought to acquire adjacent territories. Much of the raw material used by Europe's industries came from the colonies, while finished products were exported to the captive colonial markets. Many European attitudes reflected a sense of superiority over foreign "natives," while precious objects of imperial culture graced the drawing rooms of the European elite.

As a result of this unequal interaction, empire was omnipresent in the metropolitan countries. At the same time, non-Europeans encountered whites first in the guise of imperial explorers, traders, missionaries, officials, or officers. Their understanding of and feelings about Europeans were therefore profoundly shaped by their experiences with imperial control and economic exploitation.

At the turn of the twentieth century imperialism characterized not only Europe's domination over the world but also the world's reaction to Europe. Both as a cause and as a result, modernization was deeply involved in the imperial project, testifying to the ambivalence of its dynamism. On the one hand, European military superiority over indigenous peoples rested on the technological advances in weapons and organization that modernity offered. The restlessness that propelled exploration, the greed that motivated risk taking, the individualism that encouraged emigration, and the rule of law that made contracts enforceable were fundamentally modern.

On the other hand, the imperial imprint on colonized societies was profound, spreading an exploitative form of modernization by force and persuasion around the entire globe. By creating plantations, trading houses, government offices, and military barracks as well as establishing schools, hospitals, and churches imperialists disrupted traditional patterns of life.


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  • While imperial possession reinforced the European sense of arrogance and confidence in progress, it imposed a perplexing mixture of oppression and amelioration on the colonized. It is therefore essential to recognize the deeply problematic connection between empire and modernity.

    enter European overseas expansion had begun in the fifteenth century with daring Portuguese and Spanish explorers like Vasco da Gama, later joined by Dutch, British, and French seafarers. This initial wave of colonialism was by and large coastal and commercial, driven by private concessions such as the Dutch East India Company. It concentrated on extracting precious metals such as silver, which were getting scarce in Europe, or on collecting spices, tea, and coffee that could not grow there. Much of the trade was also in involuntary labor, reduced to slavery, for plantation agriculture in the Caribbean or the Americas.

    In more hospitable regions of North America and Australia, where the climate was moderate and there were no diseases like malaria, settlement colonies also developed; these attracted religious dissidents, land-hungry peasants, and criminal outcasts. This older colonialism established vast transoceanic empires, but with the rise of free trade and the abolition of the slave trade around the first third of the nineteenth century, its energy was largely spent.

    From the s on a new imperialism developed, based on the dynamics of European modernization, that built on earlier trends but intensified penetration and control. The term "imperialism" originally criticized Napoleon III's adventurous policy of building the Suez Canal, but once the shorter shipping route to India had turned into a "life-line of the British empire," the word assumed a more positive ring. In the ensuing "scramble for Africa" that divided the continent among European powers according to the boundaries laid out in the —85 Congo Conference in Berlin, the new imperialism acquired a different character from the older pattern of colonialism.

    Though still propelled by scientists, missionaries, and traders, it was quickly taken over by governments and involved claiming entire territories, penetrating the back country beyond the coastlines, and establishing military security as well as bureaucratic control. This more invasive form of domination allowed plantation owners, mining companies, financial investors, and shipping lines to pursue their profits within a framework of European hegemony.

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    In the s the American political scientist Parker T. Moon tried to define the essence of this "new imperialism" by highlighting its political aspects. He considered it "an extension of political or economic control by one state over another, possessing a different culture or race, supported by a body of ideas, justifying the process.