Whittaker- The Dual Autocratic Identity

Whittaker’s thesis and stance on the reforming of Russia encompasses the two mentalities of Russia: the conservative history under autocracies and the desire for progress. She mentions that because Russians had only ever truly been governed under a strong, authoritarian leadership that there was an expectation of that way of societal structure (as nothing else had ever been implemented) where the state always came before the individual. However, she importantly notes the contrast that was brought about by reforming tsars.… Read the rest here

Peter the Great

Peter the Great strived to shape Russia into a systematic state focused on gaining nationalism through order. Inn 1722 after the Table of Ranks was established to clearly define roles in society however, Peter’s intentions never really formed. Russia’s theme of orderliness is exemplified here. Whether it be house-hold as seen in Domonstroi or general customary law such as the Pravda Russkaia; Russia has always been concerned with the well being of citizens and this was reinforced by the idea of orderliness.… Read the rest here

Peter the Reformer

In general, Peter’s desire to modernize and Europeanize Russia led him to enact changes too quickly without enough thought of the effects on the peasantry. By focusing only on the upper classes of society, Peter created an even sharper division between the elites and the general population. While the elites were forced to embrace modern practices and assimilate these into everyday life, the general population had no understanding of why changes were being enacted, and found the changes to be irrelevant to them.… Read the rest here

Back to the Land

Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s chapter, “Back to the Land” in Three New Deals discusses the concept of a “back-to-the-future movement” with the revival of “the region” (p 111). Fascism, National Socialism, and the New Deal all had reforms focusing on the decentralization of the state’s population. I found Stuart Chase’s perspective of this movement particularly intriguing. He argued decentralization was ideal for “maintaining and encouraging the handicrafts”(p 118). The main idea behind this movement was to restore the unity between nature and economy.… Read the rest here

Back to the Land: Restoring “Balance” and Morale

In Chapter 4 of Three New Deals, Wolfgang Schivelbusch discussed how the return to and the love for the land was an important component of Hitler’s Third Reich, Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, and FDR’s presidency. The Great Depression and the First World War devastated all three of the nations and balance and morale was completely destroyed. All three of these countries were in search for a response to both events to would build up the economy, as well as the collective community.… Read the rest here

Autarky & Nationalism

In Schivelbusch’s fourth chapter titled “Back to the Land,” the author discussed the term “autarky,” or national economic self-sufficiency, which became the watchword of the 1930s. More than just an economic concept, the idea of autarky was applicable to nationalism as well. Schivelbusch noted that by 1933, nationalism was more than one hundred years old, and its popularity rose and fell in cycles corresponding in contrast with cosmopolitanism.1 However, the Great Depression led to the rediscovery of the nation and its embodiment (the state).… Read the rest here

Autarky Envisioned

The idea of autarky was present throughout all of Europe as each nation was affected by the Great Depression.  As the Depression impacted each nation’s economy, a new ideology needed to be introduced to the capitalist society.  Individuals were against the rapidly growing materialistic and capitalistic world as it could be the only explanation for the Depression.  But how was autarky envisioned in the totalitarian state such as Germany and Italy, alongside the democratic United States?  … Read the rest here

Blut und Boden — Primordialism in Schivelbusch’s Three New Deals

Primordialism is an ancient form of nationalism that is rooted in mono-ethnic relations. As opposed to modernists who promote an imagined, mental conception of nationalism that is possible between multiple ethnic groups, primordialists assert that nationality is based on a common gene pool which creates physical attachments in a singular people. Beyond imagined community asserted by modernists, primordialists believe blood relations tie individuals together through the bonds of kinship, clanship, and tribalism founded on communal inheritance.… Read the rest here

The Age of Propaganda

“Propaganda can tip the scales,” claims Schivelbusch in regards to state influence in times of political turmoil in his Three New Deals. (85) The usual dialogue on the topic of interwar propaganda mostly elicits imagery associated with the USSR and Nazi regime, but what about the propaganda and control by the United States government? This is an example:

This blatantly racist imagery not only compares the Japanese to rats, it also depicts the rat with the physical stereotypes American’s gave the Japanese during the time.… Read the rest here

New Man the Hero?

The composition and fate of the hero has been the subject of culture and literature since antiquity.  The idea of one individual, surpassing common constraints and achieving greatness has long held an important place in the human psyche.  The creation of the New Man, by both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, transformed the concept of a new , modern human being into their own unique ideal.  Peter Fritzsche and Jochen Hellbeck argued in Beyond Totalitarianism that the Nazi hero exemplified the optimal Aryan purity and perfection, while Soviet Russia allowed every individual to achieve greatness through self-reformation into the proletarian socialist.… Read the rest here