Alexander Watson at Literary Review:
The year 1918 was an extraordinary historical moment. As the Great War roared to an end after four long years of blood and horror, it appeared briefly that the future of the world lay wide open. The old order was overthrown. States were collapsing. Monarchs, the sons of dynasties that had ruled eastern and central Europe for centuries, abdicated and fled. Noisy, violent crowds of hungry civilians and grim, weary soldiers flooded grey city streets, demanding peace and a better life. In the countryside, peasants chased away the lords who had ruled over them and seized their land. Mad, bad and dangerous revolutionaries pushing radical ideals and preaching utopia saw that their hour had struck. The German theologian Ernst Troeltsch aptly named this time, when no one had a firm grip on power and anything appeared possible, ‘the dreamland of the armistice period’. These excellent books by Jonathan Schneer and Robert Gerwarth both show just how much was at stake and capture the breathless excitement and mortal fear that the upheaval generated.