Sidney Pollard addresses a period of growth beginning with the roots of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain in 1760, up to the conclusion of the Second World War. This book, intended primarily for students of history and lay readers with an interest in European economic development, provides a useful survey across Europe with original trade and tariff data that help to explain the economic reasons for the growth, stagnation and increasing nationalism in Europe in the periods studied.
As Pollard notes, this period also marks the significant economic progress of Germany and the U.K., which seemed to outdistance the other European powers of that time.
What makes Pollard's view particularly interesting is the historical context in which he wrote this analysis. In 1981, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a war of the superpowers, with regional wars being fought in Vietnam (1964-1975) and Afghanistan (starting in 1979). Both countries had experienced, or were about to experience, limits to imperial power. Both countries had undergone long and painful economic stagnation. And both countries had focused on industrialization as a key to economic growth; indeed, the US and other major countries at that time were much larger industrially than they are today, when manufacturing is taken as a percent of GNP.
Pollard's fundamental argument is that the changes in tariffs had significant follow-on effects on the flow of trade and the increase in nationalism amongst the nations of Europe. ...