Thursday, March 26, 2009

Compare the contrast the Soviet regime with the Italian and German regimes.

Compare the contrast the Soviet regime with the Italian and German regimes.

I think it's pretty funny to look at the Soviet, Italian, and German dictatorships without checking myself for pro-democracy indoctrination and go "wow, they had tons in common, they were all so evil! I wonder why they didn't get along!?" But, with that aside, while the Soviet, German, and Italian regimes all had their similarities (attempt at total control), they were greatly different. In Soviet Russia, totalitarian dictatorship was a means to an end, an unhappy stepping stone on the way to proletariat (or peasant, whatever it was in Russia) self-governance and popular control of national industry. In both Germany and Italy totalitarianism was the end. Both regimes accepted (in their minds) that, in order to live to the fullest, the popular "sheep" had to be dominated by a few wolves, and thus decided on totalitarianism till the bitter end. Even there, however, the German and Italian regimes had inherent differences because, as Fascist governments, they were based intensely on nationalism. And since the manifestation of nationalism is radically different from country to country, the regimes themselves stood for different things.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Compare the political responses to the Great Depression in the U.S., Britain, France and Germany.

Both the United States and Britain stuck to the system of parliamentary representation and democracy and even France went along with the idea of republic. In all three countries, socialist idea advanced rapidly, and indeed socialists led the countries for a period of time. In the end, however, they were all sticking to their basic structure of the political system. In Germany, on the other hand, people were desperate of a leader who would order and "solve" the problems for them. They were so desperate that they were willing to sacrifice some liberty and other "isms."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Anna Akhmatova, Requiem

Requiem was a banned cycle of poems written at the time of Stalin's Great Terror, during the endless months she spent waiting outside the St. Petersburg prison for news of her son's fate.

I threw myself at the hangman's feet,

You are my son, my horror.

Everything's mixed up for me forever,

And who is a man and who a beast

Will never now be clear ...

That was when the ones who smiled

Were the dead, glad to be at rest.

And like a useless appendage, Leningrad

Swung from its prisons.

The late Dante would have
created a tenth circle of hell

—Anna Akhmatova, Requiem, 1937

More information:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Why didn't liberalism take root in Russia between 1815 and 1917?

It was almost impossible for Russia to have any type of liberal movement because of the tsar and multiple communist movements taking place. The government was very extreme and most “liberal” movements or strikes were forced to be eliminated. Russia did at one point (I think that this was when Alexander I was tsar) seem to try and blend both autocracy and liberalism, but obviously this didn’t work as the Dumas were overpowered. The government just didn’t work for a liberal movement even though one tried to take place.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Could WWI have been avoided?

I think WWI could only have been avoided in the sense that everything in history could have been avoided if the humans involved had been able to better control their various animalistic/emotional urges. The problem with the events leading up to WWI is that a lot of the friction between nations was not just coming from the individual dislike of each of the rulers, but the nationalistic disdain that involved every member of each society. As competition in the industrialized west got harsher and the race for empire became more desperate, the both the effects of this economic scramble and the feelings of the investors, capitalists, and politicians involved trickled down to the masses. The pride in country, etc etc etc that founded a "we're on top" mantra (in the case of the English), a "we should be on top" (in the case of the Germans) and a "They may be on top but we're posh" (in the case of the French)was something easily manipulated by politicans as a way to further their empire. I think WWI was unavoidable as the culmination of all those national frictions.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What if the U.S. had not entered the war?

Simple. If the U.S. had not entered the war then WWI would have dragged on for a couple more years until finally either Britian or Germany was starved out and could no longer support itself for war. The destruction would have even more terrible and the casualties still more astronomical. It is possible that the influenza pandemic would have caused even more trouble with the soldiers had they still been fighting trench warfare in 1919. I also feel that if the U.S. never entered the war that Germany would have succeeded in taking Paris (since the Brits and French had grown so weak) and woulod therefore have won the war. As it was the German Army was only 37 miles to Paris at the moment the Americans joined the War. With a German victory the Versailles Treaty would have been completely in their favor and they would gain numerous territory across the globe as well as demand extremely unreasonable indemnities of the Allies (exactly the opposite of what the Allies did to Germany in the actual Versailles Treaty) All-in-all, without American support the Brits and the French would have fallen to the German/Central Alliance and suffered the exact way the Germans did when they didn't win.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Could WWI have been avoided?

I do not think that WWI could have been prevented. Europe had a bit of a war mentality, so naturally a war would have started and at the time there was so much going on (a lot of new technology, odd alliances…), so it was a matter of time before a war started. I think that the assassination of Ferdinand set off the time bomb and was a good excuse to start war and it just happened to be in 1914. I think it could have started earlier, but there wasn't really enough reason.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Why did the U.S. not enter the war?

One main reason that the United States took so long to enter the war was that it really wasn't clear which side we belonged on. A significant percentage of the population were first or second generation immigrants, and therefore still felt some sort of loyalty to their country of origin. So opinions on the war varied-of course those of German descent or origin were often in sympathy with Germany's plight. Those of Irish descent or origin were usually anti-British...but not necessarily pro-German. American idealism sided more with the British and French, but they had allied with the Russians. There was also a wave of pro-English feeling throughout the country at the time, and the U.S. had been producing war material for the Allies. The United States took so long to enter the war because the population was not clearly for one side or the other. The U.S. did not get involved until it was clear which side we belonged.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why did political and territorial domination of colonial areas become necessary for the European powers?

Wow. I think that after reading Cote's view on this I can only hope to back it up since he really did answer the question well. I think that the main reason had to have been for expansion of certain countries and people. Populations were growing and as Cote said it wasn't just a two or three person game anymore. Everywhere in Europe many more than just a few countries were flourishing. Seeing as taking over colonial territories was relatively cheap in comparison to the other options, it's no wonder that it became a habit for these countries. They needed to expand their land, their economy, and their people. And the difference between that imperialism and the imperialism of the earlier centuries was that religion was no longer the motivation for colonization. This was about the race for power and success.

Russia, Japan, and China

What occurred during the Russo-Japanese War was basically just a prelude to how each country was to behave politically for the next century. First off Russia. I feel really bad for Russia during this section. I mean their government is already on extremely weak foundations and this war just hits them like a Richter topping earthquake. This war led partially to the end of the tsarist rule and the revolutions of 1905 and 1917. The russians were pissed off at their incapable leader who lost to non-Europeans.. of all the catastrophes! Its one thing to lose a war, its another to be flat out destroyed and its another to be flat out destroyed by an "inferior" race. It was pretty much a fork stuck in russia, they're done. It had just the opposite effect on Japan, however. For the first time in history a European power was defeated by a un-European nation. They felt unstoppable and after their great victory with the Portsmouth treaty its understandable. The only thing about Japan is that after the destruction of Russia their attention became much more focused on China (Manchuria). Even though I feel bad for Russia I have to admit that China had it worse. Their land was being chopped away in chunks, they had random foreign businesses inside their country that they could gain no profit from, their Summer Palace was burned to the ground, and on top of all that their country was run amuck with bandits and convicts. China was pissed and upset as Japan just kept prodding and prodding.... the terrible actions that occurred in Manchuria in the years prior to WWII were the result of this frustration and excited jabbing.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Why did political and territorial domination of colonial areas become necessary for the European powers?

For a few reasons. The high standards of living acquired over the years by the West, especially during the industrial growth of the 19th century, made many people want more things. . . more tasteful, popular, and expensive things. It was during the second half of the 19th century that workers were drinking coffee and tea in the morning, a sure sign of class raise. This 19th century rise was accompanied by another rise in population, not to mention more child-conscious parents. This high class style of thinking was felt in different ways throughout all of Europe. To put it metaphorically:

The 19th and early 20th century world was a garden of growing flowers. For a while there had just been two or three flowers getting all the sunlight, Britain, France and the Dutch. Now the flower of Germany had grown and it's stem was big and strong; it wanted the sunlight just like all the other flowers. As I said before, the leaves on these flowers were hungrier and more numerous, and only the flowers that got the most light from the colonial sun got to grow tall enough to become one of the Great Flowers, a title of significant honor and repute throughout the garden. Aside from Germany, Japan's Flower was growing taller, ever since the American Rain Storm, which had once been in the sky shining on Britain, had fell down on it and helped it bloom. The garden was growing higher and wider than it had ever grown before, because every plant needed cheap and ethnically inferior sunlight to quench the maw of its leaves.