Women in Nazi Germany

In The Berlin Stories, Christopher Isherwood tells the story of Sally Bowles, a beautiful young woman who aspired to become an actress. Isherwood’s relationship with Bowles was first and foremost paternal, though near the end of the story his feelings for her grow stronger. Despite his romantic feelings for her, it is clear from the start that she is concerned with finding a man who will be able to support her lavish lifestyle.  Based on Isherwood’s descriptions of women in “Sally Bowles,” the majority of them are considered to be dependent, immature and incapable of making their own decisions. … Read the rest here

Spread of Nazism Throughout Europe

In Dark Continent, Mazower briefly discusses Germany’s view of Europe as a racial entity.  The movement to eradicate Jews from the population did not exist only in Germany—it was a genocide that aimed to span the entire continent. Mazower argues that racism was the driving force behind World War II, and the desire to improve and cleanse the population occurred throughout Europe. As the power of the Nazi party strengthened, it expanded outside of Germany and ultimately led to one of the greatest genocides in history.… Read the rest here

Stalin’s Industrialization of the Country

In Stalin’s Industrialization of the Country, 1928, he states, “Look at the capitalist countries and you will see that their technology is not only advancing, but advancing by leaps and bounds, outstripping the old forms of industrial technique.” This statement refers to Stalin’s fear that the Soviet Union’s industry was lagging behind other European countries, and as a result, the country will be unable to achieve socialism. In this statement, he argued that the reason for the success of various capitalist countries was due to the fact that they were far ahead of the Soviet Union in terms of technological advancement.… Read the rest here

Mussolini’s Fascism

In “What is Fascism” Benito Mussolini states his beliefs in the benefits of a fascist government, and argues why it would be fitting for Italy. Fascism, he argues, is quite different from democracy because it emphasizes sacrifice and struggle, and acknowledges that mankind is naturally unequal.  Fascism does not follow the opinions of the majority, but promotes authoritarian leadership. Mussolini then argued that Italy was more in need of an authoritarian figure than ever before, and that fascism would provide the stability that had been lacking throughout the early 1900s.… Read the rest here

Future of German Film

In Fritz Lang’s “The Future of Feature Film in Germany,” he describes the various forms of expression that were utilized in German film. Lang states that German filmmakers and directors continued to push the limits, and continued to push for creative success. He then argues that Germans, unlike Americans, had a special ability to create film that had a deeper meaning, and resonated with the audience.

When comparing this description to the films we have watched in class, it is clear that the intent of German filmmakers was to make the viewing experience thought-provoking for the audience.… Read the rest here

Orwell’s Description of Poverty in Britain

In the excerpts from The Road to Wigan Pier and Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell describes the daily struggle of living in poverty in England—particularly for men.  In Down and Out in Paris and London, he strives to depict “tramps,” or vagabonds in a more positive way, and offer the reader an opportunity to overlook former prejudices. He describes tramps as Englishmen with broken spirits; they are not dangerous or manic. … Read the rest here

The Impact of German and Soviet Organizations

In Koenker’s The Proliterian Tourist in the 1930s, and Reagin’s Comparing Apples and Oranges, both authors place emphasis on specific societal institutions.  Tourism in the Soviet Union became very politically focused during the inter-war period.  In Germany, the ideals of consumption were promoted by housewives.  Both articles provide basic insights into each organization and their various contributions to society.  It is clear that in both the Soviet Union and Germany, tourism and housewife organizations were utilized for the promotion of political and social ideologies.… Read the rest here

Eugenics and National Identity

In Breeding Superman, Dan Stone aims to describe and resolve the confusion that still surrounds eugenics in inter-war Britain.  Many people are under the impression that the study of eugenics in Britain was based primarily on class, and was less focused on race.  However, Stone argues vehemently against this belief, stating that race and class eugenics were virtually interchangeable in Britain.

Stone notes several influential British eugenicists, including Robert Reid Rentoul, Charles Armstrong, and C.P.… Read the rest here

Dark Continent Critical Summary

The first four chapters of Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent cover a vast range of topics pertaining to democracy, and general forms of leadership throughout the inter-war years.  Several countries struggled to reform their own government, while simultaneously attempting to find a system that would work for the entire continent.  According to Mazower, the inter-war period in Europe was a time of great instability, and a constant struggle between democracy and absolutism, and each country has its own specific history that ultimately impacted the continent as a whole.… Read the rest here

Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles was presented by the allied powers, and was clearly devastating for Germany.  Throughout World War I, Germany strove to be an authoritarian power, and France suffered as a result.  Following Germany’s loss, France was in the position of power over Germany, and fully took advantage of this opportunity by limiting their access to land and weakening their military.

Following World War I, France’s aim was primarily to weaken Germany’s power as much as possible. … Read the rest here