Spreading the News: The Protocols Triumphant
World War I was begun by the great powers without ideals or clearly defined interests, and it ended with a continent in ruins. Beyond the 38 million dead and maimed, beyond the previously unimaginable devastation, its victims included those upon whom the learned elders of Zion had promised to wreak their vengeance. Four empires were destroyed whose roots reached back more than a thousand years: the Austro-Hungarian, the German, the Ottoman, and the Russian. The war decimated the ancien régime. Established traditions were overturned and a corrosive cynicism was generated among much of the population. In an epoch marked by chaos and transition, it was little wonder that the Protocols should have gained such popularity.