Intentionalist v. Structuralist and the Final Solution

Both Nicholas Stargardt’s “The Holocaust” and Ian Kershaw’s “Hitler and the Holocaust,” address the various interpretations surrounding Hitler and his ideology, and how (and to what extent) this translated into the “Final Solution,” the mass extermination of the Jewish people in the name of achieving an ideal race. The two main categories of classification for scholars studying this topic include “intentionalist” versus “structuralist” responses.

Also referred by Kershaw as “Hitlerism,” intentionalists believe that Hitler was at the forefront of anti-Semitic ideology and its execution.… Read the rest here

Mass Violence in the Soviet Union and Germany

In “State Violence- Violent Societies,” authors Christian Gerlach and Nicolas Werth discuss mass violence in both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. They preface their discussion with an analysis of this field of study leading up to the modern day. According to the authors, most existing studies on mass violence focus on the Soviet and German camp systems (the concentration camps and the Gulag) and the methods of violence used as their sources of evidence. However, the authors believe that in order to gain a holistic understanding of mass violence in both states, one must look to the actual perpetrators and functionaries, since scholarly knowledge regarding this aspect of the subject is fairly fragmentary.… 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

Social Engineering and Bonds in the USSR and Nazi Germany

In Beyond Totalitarianism, edited by Sheila Fitzpatrick and Michael Geyer, two chapters discuss the framework and implementation of social engineering, and then the creation and destruction of bonds in both the USSR and Nazi Germany. Specifically, in chapter six, “Frameworks for Social Engineering,” authors Christopher R. Browning and Lewis H Siegelbaum focused on the trajectories of dictated social identities within both political systems. No attempt was made to homogenize the two systems; rather, differences regarding the criterion ascribed, the methodology of implementation, as well as what portion of each population was affected were all noted.… Read the rest here

Fascism v. Nazism

Fascism and Nazism have often been grouped together with little, if any differentiation. In reality, there are significant differences between the two ideologies, which are clearly seen by examining Benito Mussolini’s What is Fascism, and Hitler’s The 25 Points 1920: An Early Nazi Program. Reading these two sources in conversation with each other reveals that the reasoning was different for both ideologies.

Mussolini’s What is Fascism was written in 1932 with the help of Giovanni Gentile.… Read the rest here

Three New Deals

Wolfgang Schivelbusch opens in his book “Three New Deals” by discussing the history of 1930s monumental architecture and its varying reception in the decades after 1945. Specifically, the author notes that in studying the monumental architecture initiatives of the United States, Germany, Italy, and Russia, one can find striking similarities between these various projects, an observation that was taboo to mention in the generations following World War II. Talking about this topic allows Schivelbusch to make two general declarations derived from this specific example. … Read the rest here

The Modernity Debate

In the article “European Modernity and Soviet Socialism,” David Hoffman strives to eradicate the notion of Russia being unique in comparison with other European countries (and therefore backwards and uncivilized).  While Russia did not follow the path of “…liberal democracy and industrial capitalism which characterized the political and economic systems of England, France, and the United States,” (Hoffman, 245) Russia certainly can be perceived as modern, if only the very definition of modernity be broadened.

Hoffman notes that in Western Europe, the definition of modernity and what constitutes as “modern” is very specific.… Read the rest here

Emancipation Manifesto (1861)

The Emancipation Manifesto was established in 1861 during the reign of Alexander II. While this appeared to be a sudden, rash decision, in reality, the movement was quite logical. Russia’s pitiful defeat in the Crimean War revealed to officials the blatant inadequacies in the Russian governmental system. Eager to grow and develop industry and subsequently the military and political power, the abolishment of serfdom seemed a practical option. This would allow people who had been previously tied to the land to branch out and help jumpstart a market economy in Russia.… Read the rest here

Gogol- The Overcoat

As an author, Gogol has often been considered one of the most famous writers in Russia, and seen as a champion of the everyday man. In his short story “The Overcoat”, Gogol focuses on that particular type of character in depicting the story of Akaky Akakievich, a penniless government clerk and copyist in the city of St. Petersburg. Akaky is blatantly overworked and overlooked by everyone in his life.

In the story, the reader learns how Akaky is a timid, alienated individual whose sole perceived purpose is copying.… Read the rest here

Essay Analysis

This essay certainly warranted an A grade for a myriad of reasons. Primarily, the paper deserved its grade because it followed not only the Writing Rubric, but also adhered to the “Tips for Writing For Me”  document. More specifically however, I believe that the greatest strengths of this paper lie with the author’s effective thesis statement, his or her logical organization, the literary and grammatical aspects, and the topic sentences for each paragraph.

Regarding the introduction, several important factors serve to establish not only the author’s thesis statement and argument, but also provide enough context to adequately enable an uninformed but intelligent reader to understand the material.… Read the rest here