World War I has been the great divide that sets the world in which we live-with its global policy, its rise of non-European nations, its transformation of life through science and technical advances, its rapid changes of customs and habits, and its new forms of social or ganization-apart from all previous centuries. New historiographical tendencies that became strong and dominant after the war had their roots in previous developments. The conjunction of liberalism and nationalism which had favored the rise of historical studies in the nineteenth century formed the justification for the political exist ence of those new independent states which emerged from the collapse of the Austrian, Russian and Ottoman Empires. Historical studies were encouraged but they developed strictly in the national framework of nineteenth century historical scholarship. The achievement of national unity and of a national state represented a necessary historical event, the attainment of an absolute and final value.