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In which John looks at what it even means to live in a global age, as we've been talking about Europe's role in the gobal community for 47 episodes now. But, pedantry aside, the world is more connected than ever, and that has had effects in Europe. Today we'll investigate how trade, communications, and disease have changed the continent.

Sources
-Ault, Julia E. “Defending God’s Creation? The Environment in State, Church and Society in the German Democratic Republic, 1975–1989.” German History 37 (June 2019): 205–26
-Bess, Michael. Light-Green Society: Ecology and Technological Modernity in France, 1960-2000. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
-Murdock, Caitlin E. “Public Health in a Radioactive Age: Environmental Pollution, Popular Therapies, and Narratives of Danger in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1949–1970.” Central European History 52 (March 2019): 45–64.
-Smith, Bonnie G. Europe in the Contemporary World, 1900 to the Present, 2nd ed. London: Bloomsbury, 2020.
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#crashcourse #history #europeanhistory
Hi I’m John Green.

Welcome to Crash Course European History still filming in my house. So, by now you’ve learned enough to know that you should be suspicious when people talk about our age being a uniquely global one.

I mean, in episode one of this series we saw the Black Death hop continents and devastate the European population. Just three episodes later the Spanish and Portuguese were crossing oceans and circumnavigating the entire world. and from then on European history comprised an endless series of globalisms: the Catholic. Church became a worldwide phenomenon; food, textiles, and other products traveled around the world; empires and businesspeople operated globally; slavery was a global system, as was war.

I mean, it’s just not possible to unglobalize human history, because the history of globalism doesn’t date back, like 50 or 500 years, it dates back to 40,000 years ago, when humans first entered the Americas. Or more than 100,000 years ago,when humans entered what is now Europe. Still, Europe and the world are often said to be experiencing a new global age, and there are some ways in which our interconnectedness and interdependence have increased.

In fact, that’s why I’m filming from home. [Intro] In part, the idea of a new globalization came from a growing awareness of environmental threats, which were and are truly global in scope. A stark example of this occurred in 1986, when a nuclear plant at Chernobyl in the USSR republic of Ukraine exploded and hurled radioactive dust into the atmosphere. An estimated 28 people died in the explosion’s immediate aftermath; but an unknown number died slowly from the effects of radiation.

How many? We really don’t know. Like, Estimates range from as few as a dozen people to as high as 200,000.

And the impact wasn’t limited to the USSR, of course. Scandinavian agencies announced intensifying radioactivity hundreds of miles from Chernobyl. So what does it mean to live in a world where one country’s mistakes can poison another country?

It means we can’t entirely separate ourselves via borders-- I mean, for one thing, climate change doesn’t know about borders, but neither do microbes or viruses, as we have lately found out. and so the international implications of one nations choices remains a huge problem for humanity in the 21st century. Another example: The burning of fossil-fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal combined with atmospheric moisture to produce acid rain that destroyed forests—including more than 70 percent of Europe’s Norway spruce trees. In eastern Europe, the landscape looked like fires had raged through forests.

And chronic bronchial disease spread through the human population. At the same time, the world’s rain forests were hacked down at an alarming rate to provide land for cattle grazing or growing cash crops. And as forests declined and more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases were emitted into the atmosphere by industry and vehicles, human activity began to reshape the climate, with the world warming at a dangerous pace and an increase in extreme weather like hurricanes, and drenching rains, and droughts.

In the 1990s this global warming led to the breaking up of the Arctic pack ice, which allowed Finland, Russia, and Canada passage for trade routes, later leading to competing claims of the passage being their national waters. Global warming! Good for certain trade routes...and bad for humans.

And other species. Now, development of smaller cars curbed the use of fossil fuels—a major cause of the climate emergency. And cities like Frankfurt, Germany installed car-free zones.

In Paris, where the pollution reached dangerous levels, cars were temporarily banned. Venice disallowed cars altogether. Paris and Amsterdam developed bicycle lanes on major city streets. and by 2017, close to 20 percent of German electricity came from wind power.

Even as global carbon emissions rose, Europe’s emissions began to slow, albeit not nearly quick enough to meet global targets. Disease also operated on a global terrain--and a devastating new disease pandemic began spreading through the world in the early 1980s. Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, is a disease caused by infection with the retrovirus HIV, and it has killed tens of millions of people in the last 40 years.

In 1983 researchers at the Pasteur Institute in France isolated the HIV-virus, discovering that the mysterious ailment effectively shut down the body’s entire immune system. In the 21st century, HIV infection rates have declined in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA), but not in eastern European nations. Let’s Go to the Thought Bubble 1.

Other diseases, often beginning in non-human animals and then jumping over to humans, emerged and posed global threats. 2. In 2002, an avian flu virus appeared in Asian chickens, 3. and there were isolated cases in Europe as well,including in Turkey and Romania. 4. Corporate and international “megasystems” were slow to respond to that disease outbreak, 5. showing that global institutions were not always great substitutes for the nation-state’s protection of its citizens’ health and safety. 6.

And then in 2009, another flu pandemic of a virus called H1N1 7. hopped from pigs to humans and spread throughout the world, 8. eventually infecting more than 10 percent of humans and killing more than 100,000 people. 9. We are recording this video amid the greatest global disease pandemic in over a century. 10. The emergence of Covid-19 is a reminder that history is what we live through, not just what we look back upon. 11.

And it’s worth thinking about what the archive of this pandemic will contain-- 12. not just written records of newspaper reporting, 13. but also archives of press releases, and facebook posts, and memes, and TikToks. 14. This pandemic has utterly changed contemporary life-- 15. hundreds of millions of children home from school, 16. governments locking down entire nations, 17. closed borders, 18. and millions sickened or killed. 19. Philip Roth called history “everything unexpected in its own time,” 20. and the Covid-19 outbreak indeed caught the world flat-footed, 21. but we could’ve seen these dark days coming. 22.

From Cholera to Smallpox, infectious disease has long been an underrated historical force. Thanks, Thought Bubble. In the 21st century global migration also accelerated.

Of the 551,000 asylum seekers applying for admission to industrial nations, 391,000 applied to the countries of the European Union. This growing free movement of people has often been blamed for social ills, including disease outbreaks, but that’s nothing new:. Britain’s 1832 cholera pandemic was blamed on Irish immigrants, for instance.

And incorrectly, as it turned out. Just as it was incorrect to blame New York’s COVID-19 cases on Chinese migrants, when in fact most cases from New York came from Europe. Regardless, immigrant communities reshaped many cities in

Europe: Temples, mosques, ethnic food stores and restaurants globalized cityscapes. Immigrants often viewed Europe as a refuge with good governments and stable workplaces, but others were exploited. Many others. Including by organized criminal gangs.

Beginning with Margaret Thatcher and her imitators across Europe, social services declined in the late 20th century and beyond as a consequence of neoliberal policies. The belief was that governments shouldn’t help people who wouldn’t or couldn’t help themselves, and that true “freedom” meant being able to starve or make a profit in any legal way. Neo-liberalism revived the concept of “liberty” being freedom from government regulation, but at the cost of everyday well-being among the lower classes.

And local residents often blamed immigrants for these neo-liberal cuts in services. In 2002 a conservative candidate for the chancellorship of Germany, where unemployment was high, argued that “With 4.3 million unemployed, we can’t have more foreign workers coming to Germany.” In 2004, on the eve of EU expansion, major British periodical The Economist whipped up hatred using an ethnic slur to claim that Britain was being “overrun” by people from Eastern Europe. Indeed, Anti-immigrant politics flourished in the global age.

In Austria, the Austrian Freedom Party of Jörg Haider took office in 2000 after attacking immigrants as mixing the races. Haider’s parents had both been Nazis while his family enjoyed an estate stolen from Jewish owners during the war. And these sentiments both informed and were informed by art and culture and music as well.

Moscow rock band “Corroded Metals” supported phobic policies with anti-Semitic and immigrant-hating songs. Chants of “Kill, kill, kill, kill the bloody foreigners” accompanied its performances. There were also many who protested this extremism, of course, and immigrants fought back with their own music, rousing hope with lyrics like, “No time for prejudice just time to unite. . . .” Of course one of the major features of globalization was the internet, which expanded economic connections for businesses and personal connections for individuals.

Global call desk services sprang up in Ireland, which had pushed education for computer literacy, while customer service jobs were set up in Estonia, and Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Legal, publishing, and payroll services for global customers provided jobs, including in Europe with its high level of literacy and polylinguism. Supranational organizations--the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank--also became more influential.

Using funds contributed from many nations, the International Monetary Fund or IMF would for instance loan money to developing or indebted nations on the condition that they adopt neo-liberal policies for their economies. Opponents argued that these policies harmed individual well-being by cutting education and healthcare in favor of supporting business development. Indeed as a result of IMF guidelines, some deeply impoverished nations had as little as five or ten dollars per person per year to spend on healthcare.

And non-profit organizations or NGOs often operated globally. To cite just one example, the French-based Doctors Without Borders received global financial contributions and used them to provide medical attention in battle zones. Critics, however, argued that some of these NGOs were replacing the wishes of local communities.

A kind of neo-colonialism. And just as global organizations like The World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and International Monetary Fund were forcing poor nations to adopt free trade practices, rich nations were using tariffs to prevent the goods from those poor countries getting in to compete with rich countries’ goods. And so by the early 21st century, humanity was at once one world and many nation-states, a tension with all kinds of repercussions.

Of course, we’d ALWAYS been both one people and many states, but the growing movement of people, and goods,, and yes disease meant that more than ever we were a profoundly interdependent human community. Whether we can recognize that interdependence and cooperate more effectively will be one of the great tests of the 21st century, because the biggest challenges we face--from climate change to disease pandemics--are truly global. Thanks for watching.

I’ll see you next time.