Characters

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 388

The Dark Continent by Mark Mazower is a book that explores how European colonial ambitions turned it into the dark continent of the 20th century. It is a work of nonfiction, and as such, it does not have characters. However, important names that appear throughout the book include:

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Thomas Masaryk who was a Czech politician. He described the First World War as “a laboratory atop a vast graveyard.” Eight million people died in the war, and the political map of Europe changed forever.

Woodrow Wilson, the US president who felt that the aftermath of the war was conducive for the development of democracies across the world.

Adolf Hitler, the German politician and Chancellor of the Nazi party, who wished to establish a new order based on racial purity. After WW II, democratic institutions gained strength in Europe, but were now facing a new ideological threat: communism.

Lloyd George who was the British PM from 1916 to 1922. A Liberal Party politician, he pushed for a common solution for uplifting the economies of Western and Central Europe.

Aristide Briand who was the French PM during WW I. He is remembered for signing the Locarno Treaties in 1925 that were aimed at fostering friendly Franco-German relations.

Winston Churchill, the British politician who was a eugenicist. The 9-day General Strike of 1926 was a result of Churchill linking the sterling to gold.

Ramsay MacDonald of the Labour Party who was twice the PM of the United Kingdom. He wanted Europe to unitedly combat America's transatlantic cultural and economic hegemony.

Leon Trotsky, the Marxist who was elected president of the Petrograd Soviet in 1917. He is credited with transforming the Red Army from a militia to a professional fighting force.

Josef Stalin, who was the leader of the Soviet Union following the death of Lenin. He pursued Communism instead of liberal democracy. In popular literature, he is portrayed as a paranoid despot. He made full use of the State's powers to run Gulags in the Soviet Union.

Odon von Horvath who was a playwright and wrote in German. He was of Austro-Hungarian extraction. The polyglot atmosphere of pre-war Europe shaped his youth and worldview as it did for millions of those who were born in the different kingdoms of Europe of the day.

The descriptions accompanying the names are contextual, having been derived from the book itself.

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