They were heady days when the first issue of a new history journal was published. The cataclysmic disruptor, the Great War, had ended and many people in the western world were revelling in the moment on a giddy ride skimming the crests of a sea of change. Others were churning the waters in their desire to shed the old ways, to think and do differently. Everything was challenged.
While momentous change is flung in the face of people through stupendous events, the stirring of the sea that leads to such an upset can be seen in retrospect to have been developing long before the event. The publication of the new history journal, Annales d’histoire économique et sociale, in January 1929 formalised a profound change in the way history was written that can be traced back years before.
Western history was political history for much of the nineteenth century and…
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