Dizzy with Success

In the late 1920s the Soviet government began to collectivize agriculture within the country. In this document Stalin boasts about the rapid success of this newly implemented program in regards to agricultural output. Since the program has had such a swift and unexpected success, Stalin attempts to dissuade the public from being lured into feeling of contentment and complacency. He wishes to promote further advancement of the the country’s agricultural potential in order to obtain the “full victory of socialism.”

Although the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union did succeed in several regards, it was a highly controversial program as well.… Read the rest here

What is Fascism, 1932

In Mussolini’s What is Fascism, he attempts to portray the fascist agenda and how these ideals can be applied to Italy society. He emphasized how fascism and socialism were opposites on the political spectrum. The nineteenth century overwhelmingly stressed liberal ideals and democratic initiatives towards government. Mussolini wished to break this trend and create an Italian collectivist society that views the state as an absolute; individuals would be regarded solely by their relation to the state.… Read the rest here

Ways to Strength and Beauty

Felix Hollaender’s “Ways to Strength and Beauty” focuses on the importance of the human body’s physical being. He stresses the interconnectivity of the human body and mind, and how they function synergistically. When one improves their physical abilities, he or she also improve their mental attributes at the same time. He frequently references the Greek and Roman perceptions surrounding physical fitness and the aesthetically appreciation of the human form, both male and female included. The human body should not be viewed in solely a sexual manner, but instead celebrated as another human sense that is a representation of the human soul and spirit.… Read the rest here

Orwell Readings

In George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London and chapter four of The Road to Wigan Pier he writes about groups of destitute people in Britain who live on the fringes of society under hideous circumstances. Down and Out in Paris and London focusses on the homeless epidemic that has afflicted the country. Orwell depicts how these so called “tramps” live a mundane existence that does not contribute in any way to the good of society.… Read the rest here

Cultural Organization

In Diane P. Koenker’s The Proletarian Tourist and Nancy Reagin’s Comparing Apples and Oranges, both authors describe how inter-war governments attempted to utilize cultural organizations to help shape and influence public behavior. Koenker’s work addresses the Soviet aim to foster tourism in order to serve the good of the state while at the same time enhancing the individualism of every person who participates in this endeavor. Reagin described the German housewives efforts to shape both the purchasing behavior and technological modernization within the household by doing it in a manner that was socially and economically responsible for Germany’s well being.… Read the rest here

Eugenics and Citizenship

In Leora Auslander’s ‘National Taste’? she explains how the German and French populations addressed questions about the conceptions of citizenship by examining the tastes and preferences of various citizens within specific regions and also the nation-state as a whole. Although each country had its own unique concept of citizenship; the French interpreted citizenship using a just soli policy (citizenship determined by region of birth), whereas in Germany citizenship was determined by ancestral lineage and blood lines, both cultures developed their own “language of goods.” This “language of goods” enabled citizens to look beyond the mere race or appearance of a person and instead focus on their material possessions to gain a cohesiveness between distinct social groups and form a national identity.… Read the rest here

Versailles Treaty

The Versailles Treaty ended the First World War and effectively left Germany in a state of disrepair. The allies viewed Germany as the aggressor, and thus required them to make full reparations for the damages that the war caused. From the allied perspective it is easy to understand why they came down so harshly on Germany for all the suffering that was caused, however the demands were unrealistic, prompting future conflict by creating an unsettled atmosphere that ultimately contributed to Hitler’s rise.… Read the rest here

Critical Summary of Mazower (Chapters 1-4)

The first four chapters of Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent are incredibly informative, original, and thought provoking in regards to twentieth century European history. In these chapters he primarily focuses on the contending issues that arose after the First World War and continued to linger until the onset of World War Two. His approach is unique because he does not recount the history in a chronological order, instead choosing to focus on developing specific issues and showing how they were interrelated throughout the entire continent in one way or another.… Read the rest here

Comparing Mazower and Battleship Potemkin

In the film Battleship Potemkin the sailors of the vessel revolt and over throw the command after being severely mistreated and abused. In the opening scene of the movie a caption appears saying “there’s a limit to what a man can take,” in reference to his constant struggle and pattern of harassment. The mutiny that takes place on the ship is representative of the same struggle that occurs on the soil of the Russian homeland. On the boat it is the common sailors vs.… Read the rest here