Questions About Ivan IV

1.) Ivan IV reigned over a period in Russian history where the growth of the central government was rapid and intrusive to local administrators. Was centralizing Russia a positive or negative idea?….regardless of whose in charge?

2.) What was the role of the Zemskii Sobor? The “Assembly of Land” took place centuries after Ivan IV, what does this reveal about Russian culture?

3.) How does The Reign of Terror represent Ivan’s irrational approach to ruling over Russia?… Read the rest here

Ivan IV Questions

Was Ivan well-liked or at least tolerable in the 1540s and 1550s, prior to his institution of the oprichnina? Does the oprichnina mark the period in which Ivan’s mental health deteriorated or was he extremely paranoid throughout his entire rule? What exactly was the oprichnina? I know it was a second, separate administration instituted by Ivan but what was its intended goal? Did the oprichnina have any other function besides its infliction of a reign of terror?… Read the rest here

Mussolini: Rome Revived or Rome Reviled?

Is a politician’s image imposed externally, by admirers and critics located domestically as well as abroad, examining the politician within his respective surrounding context and time period? [Bottom-up] Or, on the other hand, does a ruler paint his own political picture, a self-created phenomenon, descending internally from the ruler himself? [Top-down] This is the question that R. J. B. Bosworth examines in a chapter of his 1998 publication, “Mussolini the Duce: Sawdust Caesar, Roman Statesman or Dictator Minor?”.… Read the rest here

The Mussolini Myth

Mussolini’s legend remains comparatively shrouded alongside Stalin and Hitler in the context of understanding the evolution of dictatorship and the perception of state leaders throughout interwar Europe. Historians consistently credit these leaders with having tremendous amounts of charisma favorably coupled with an appeal that the masses embraced with certainty. Mussolini’s mythic status, however, proves increasingly “hollow” in its analysis relative to his German and Russian counterparts. (60) Why?

B.J.B Bosworth, author of “Mussolini the Duce,” claims Mussolini’s status as Italy’s padreterno or eternal father merely reflected the superficial nature of the original Fascist regime; that the spirit of Mussolini materialized from the desires of Italians themselves and his self-perpetuated image manifested as a Ceasar esque figure.… Read the rest here

Mussolini: Master Propagandist or Savior of Italy?

Mussolini ha sempre ragione, loosely translated to Mussolini is always right, in many ways perfectly embodies the complicated identity of the Italian fascist dictator.1  As B.J.B Bosworth explored the various biographies put forth about Mussolini in “Mussolini The Duce: Sawdust Caesar, Roman Statesman or Dictator Minor?” several key themes emerged in his analysis.  The local and international idolization of Mussolini coupled with the external pressure of several wars partially explained the downfall of the Italian Fascist regime and Italy after the Second World War.… Read the rest here

Mussolini: What is he?

“Mussolini the Duce; Sawdust Caesar, Roman Statesman or Dictator Minor?” by B.J.B Bosworth discussed the different views of Mussolini. Mussolini was fascist Italy. There cannot be one without the other. He was imbued with mythical even biblical status by his followers. He was a hero to Italians across the globe, he offset the negative Italian stereotype many faced. Each dictatorial nation created a myth of the leader, and Italy was no different. Mussolini was initially welcomes and praised as fascism led Italy out of the Great Depression.… Read the rest here

By What Modes? Politicism Under Stalin and Hitler

In traditional examinations of the totalitarian regimes of Hitler and Stalin, the singular point of focus is the complete domination that the two leaders exerted over their people. However, one particular that is often left out of the comparison is how the regimes functioned in conjunction with the respective parties of the two states. Similar arguments are found in Schivelbusch’s Three New Deals – a comparison of Roosevelt, Hitler, and Mussolini’s state-building practices – and Yoran Gorlizki and Hans Mommsen’s article “The Political (Dis)Orders of Stalinism and National Socialism”, an in-depth look at the striking differences between the Nazis and the Soviets.Read the rest here

Knowing Your Surroundings

Although the two texts this evening certainly convey their historical narratives in different manners, they both strike a remarkably similar theme. Throughout Yoram Gorlizki and Hans Mommsen’s rather exhaustive comparison of Nazism and Communism’s unique implementations and Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s analysis of Hitler and FDR’s ability to garner public adoration and support, you can see how each leader deliberately and continuously tailored their actions to their environment.

In the second chapter of Three New Deals, Schivelbusch identifies more than just FDR and Hitler’s common interaction with the people.… Read the rest here

Political Leadership

The desire to make such historical comparisons is especially evident when examining the political systems of systems of Europe and the United States in the period surrounding World War II. Yoram Gorlizki and Hans Mommsen’s article “The Political (Dis)Orders of Stalinism and National Socialism” and Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s book Three New Deals make comparisons between the political systems of Hitler, Stalin and Roosevelt.

Both the pieces look at the leadership qualities of Hitler and compare them to another notable leader during the same time.… Read the rest here

Culture In Post Kievan-Rus’- The Minstrels

One of the more overlooked aspects of culture of post- Kievan Rus’ was the role of the minstrel.  The minstrel, or skomorokhi, was a musician, actor, and all-around entertainer that operated in a wide variety of venues.  These could range from small villages to large cities such as Novgorod.  The minstrel sub population moved Northeast in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries into the region more known as Russia.

It is very surprising to note that Minstrels often played secular music and preformed secular entertainment.  … Read the rest here