The scope of the encyclopedia is extensive. It contains 920 alphabetically arranged articles, beginning with Abortionand ending with Zyklon B.Entries range in length from approximately one to seven pages. Articles are signed and include cross-references. A bibliography concludes each entry. Contributors are primarily academics from Europe and North America. As demonstrated by the "Systematic Outline of Contents," found in volume 5, entries fall under 15 broad categories, including "Concepts and Ideas," "Law, Justice, and Crime," "Philosophy and Intellectual Life," and "Places." A significant portion of the encyclopedia is dedicated to topics related to war and international relations (Cold war, European Union, World War I, World War II); political history (Russian Revolution of 1917); and economic history (Capitalism). The work also contains biographies of major historical figures primarily in the areas of art and culture (Orwell, George) and political history (Gorbachev, Mikhail).
In addition to the main text, the encyclopedia contains other useful features. For example, volume 1 opens with a seven-page introductory essay that provides a snapshot of Europe's post-1914 history. Volume_1 also contains a chronology of important events arranged both by year and by topic (for example, "Literature and the Arts," "War and Armed Conflict"). In addition, each of the five volumes contains a set of nine maps, including ones depicting the "Versailles Settlement," "The Gulag at Its Zenith," and "Post-1945 Europe." The text is complemented by black-and-white illustrations. Additionally, an eight-page section of color plates with a particular theme (for example, "Popular Culture," "Soviet Union and Communism") is contained in each volume. Finally, volume 5 has a detailed index, which facilitates access to the main text.