Berlin Stories

The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood, are a collection of short stories that are based on the experiences of Isherwood when he lived in inter-war Germany. Each different chapter consists of a variety stories, that share the same characters, and settings. Isherwood’s different stories seem to focus on a specific aspect of the Weimar culture. Weather it be the story of the narrators relationship with Sally Bowles, or in a later section when his vacation is concentrated on a very harmful relationship between two people living in his house.… Read the rest here

Nazis 25 points: Modern eugenics taken to the extreme.

The 25 points, is a document which outlined the main goals of the burgeoning Nazi party in the 1920’s. The party gained mass support for there extreme combination of nationalist,  militarist, and socialist ideas throughout Germany. The party was seen as an organization that would be able to rise Germany from the destruction that followed after the end of World War One. At this time the liberal minded government of the Weimar Republic was seen as weak.… Read the rest here

Industrialization of the Country

This article written by Joseph Stalin in 1928 is a examination of Soviet economic development, and the issues it faced in comparison to other western powers. Stalin wanted to combine the “backward” economy of the peasants with a “large scale and united socialist industry”. Stalin was aware of how far behind Russia was in relation to Germany, France and other large western countries, in regards to the technological advances in each country. Stalin believed that a combination of the Soviet system and Soviet power with advanced technology would trump any nation.… Read the rest here

Mussolini’s View on Fascism

Benito Mussolini, the “founder” of the modern fascist idea, gives us in this article “What is Fascism” his definition of this form of government. Mussolini views Fascism in comparison to Marxism as ideologies that are on the complete opposite of the political spectrum. In Mussolini’s view the state holds complete control over the rights and ideas of the individual. In contrast to Marxism, which has the goal of creating a workers paradise, run by the workers.… Read the rest here

Weimar Sourcebook

The various articles, written by a number of Weimar intellectuals provide us with a snapshot into the cultural life of inter-war Germany. The final article on the death penalty written by E.M. Mungenast, is a pointed criticism of the death penalty that existed in most “civilized” European countries and in the United States. Mungenast calls the death penalty “a remnant of past times.” He argues against the death penalty not from a religious or even a humane standpoint; Mungenast states that the death penalty “contradicts all principles… of a modern civilized state.” He goes on to theorize that the death penalty not only unfairly takes the life of a citizen of the state, but it costs the state any of the “reparations for his misdeed” this inmate would have to preform which might help the state.… Read the rest here

Orwell on Britain

In both Road to Wigan Pier and Down and Out in Paris and London the writer Orwell focuses on a portion of society that has been unfairly treated by both the government and the upper classes. In the excerpt we read from Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell paints a rather bleak picture of the culture and society of the English industrial towns at the time. These cities over crowded and unsanitary are prime examples of the squalid living conditions members of the working classes were required to live in.… Read the rest here

Changes in inter war society

In both Koenker’s article on Soviet tourism and Reagin’s article on German housewives we see a similarity in the attempts made by both governments to sway their citizenry to a specific ideology. In Russia the communist party decided to control all forms of tourism. They were determined to change the view of tourism from the “bourgeoise” experience of knowing “only one street in a new city, the street from the train station to the hotel.” To the Soviet of idea of a tourist on a bicycle who “could observe al parts of a city, from its outskirts to its bridges…” This proletarian shift dominated all aspects of Soviet tourism in the interwar period.… Read the rest here

Eugenics Post

The theory of eugenics can be described as a battle of survival of the fittest between human beings. It’s origins are Darwinist in nature, and they came to fruition in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It took the first world war to make many of the leading intellectuals in both Western Europe and USA believe in such a ideal. With the loss of population after world war one it was theorized that the only way to develop into a strong powerful country would be by artificially modifying a certain population to make sure that it was as strong and healthy as possible.… Read the rest here

Critical Summary

Mark Mazower’s text Dark Continent gives readers a panoramic view of the conflicts that Europe faced during the turbulent inter war period. The first four chapters cover a plethora of topics including racism, religion, eugenics, and many more. Mazower’s ability to tie these issues together is a testament to his skill as a writer and its what makes this book such a fascinating read. Throughout the book Mazower seems to tie all of his points to the larger idea that Europe’s inability to adapt to the idea of democracy led to the rising radicalization of almost all of Europe, with countries on the right like Germany, and Italy, or the left like Russia, and Hungry experiencing many of the same issues.… Read the rest here

Treaty of Versailles Post

What struck me when reading the selected articles of the Treaty of Versailles was how the Allied Powers used the treaty as an instrument of revenge. This feeling of anger had much to do with the rather aggressive nature that Germany took when the war began. They were quicker to mobilize than the other Western Powers, and they made the opening move in the war with their invasion of France through neutral Belgium. Germany’s decision to go through Belgium made sense tactically, but they did not realize the political ramifications that it would cause in the long run.… Read the rest here