All Wars Are Civil Wars

One side brings a knife, the other brings a gun. One side invades Poland, the other runs down Berlin while destroying anything in its path. One side begins systematically destroying its own citizens, the other does the same. Edele and Geyer describe a concept they dubbed as “interior and exterior fronts”,1 and further categorize the conflict between Russia and the Soviet Union as a multi front war, fought both on the line between the two nations, and within the respective countries.… Read the rest here

Know Your Enemy

Fitzpatrick’s chapter regarding the Great Purges of the Soviet Union reads like a dystopian novel. Even the epigraph at the beginning stirs thoughts of “Big Brother”; it reads “You know they are putting people in prison for nothing now”.  Fitzpatrick attributes this quote to an anonymous “local official”, circa 1938, the temporal heart of the Great Purge.1  This epigraph highlights a concept touched on throughout the rest of this chapter: no one in the Soviet Union, whether they be members of the communist party or ordinary citizens, escaped the wrath of the purge.… Read the rest here

Public Works- How Well Did Government Intervention Work? Could The Private Sector Have Done It Better?

The economic collapse in 1928 left the United States close to ruin. Jobs didn’t come easily, and when they did, workers often found themselves over worked, under paid, and without viable options for social and economic upward mobility. The same can be said for Nazi Germany. Suffering both from the crushing debt accumulated after the First World War and the global effects of the American economic collapse, the German people found themselves in a similar situation to the Americans.… Read the rest here

Italy: A State in Need of Control

Evolve e·volve (ēˈvälv/) verb 1. To develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form.

The evolution of the Corporations in Mussolini’s fascist state lends to a larger discussion of the Duce’s leadership strategy leading up to and during the Second World War. Although much of Mussolini’s strategy of government changed, the shift that the national Corporations went through highlights one of the major inconsistencies that helped solidify Mussolini’s ineffectiveness as a ruler. The Corporations, in addition to the Constitution of the National Fascist Party (drafted in 1932), show Mussolini’s attempts to streamline his power through economic, political, and social means.… Read the rest here

A Crisis of Leadership

Gorlizki and Mommsen along with Schivelbusch present information regarding the political rise and eventual control of the Nazi Party in Germany under Hitler, and the Communist Party in the USSR under Stalin. Mommsen and Gorlizki conclude that, in addition to a variety of economic, agricultural, and social reasons, Stalin and his party maintained control over its subordinates so well through the “centralized and institutionally integrated party”1 which essentially formed the core of the state. Gorlizki and Mommsen go on to discuss the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany, and they contend that “the state
and ideology relied to a far greater extent for what coherence they had on the
cult of the Fuhrer.”2 This concept of a “cult of the Fuhrer” is a concept touched upon (and explained in detail) by Schivelbusch.… Read the rest here

The Gulag- Labor Camp, Cultural Divider, and Implement of Mass Murder

Wilson Bell presented multiple interpretations of the Gulag (a soviet work camp) in his article. These interpretations ranged from describing the Gulag as a simple work camp, to the extreme of comparing the death and destruction wrought by the institution to be on the same level as the Nazi Final Solution. The comparison between the Gulag work camp system during the Second World War, and the infrastructure driven Holocaust which occurred at the same time, made me reconsider the role of the Soviet Union in the conquest of Nazi Germany.… Read the rest here

Hoffman on Europe, The Soviets, and Socialism

Hoffman presents the Soviet Union much like any other state in Europe during the post enlightenment era of the 19th and 20th centuries: development oriented, with a focus on medical and industrial innovation, especially among the peasant class. Hoffman points out, however, that Russia (first Imperial, then Soviet) arrived “late to the party” so to speak when compared to their European counterparts. The peasants in France took it upon themselves to cast off the shackles of the monarchy at the end of the 18th century, while Great Britain systemically phased out the power of the monarchy through a series of elections, rendering the King all but a figurehead by the beginning of the First World War.… Read the rest here

The Late Tsarist Multi-ethnic Empire Between Modernization and Tradition

Focusing on the 1897 General Census, Kappeller goes deep into the ethnic background of Russia. Having known very little about the ethnic composition of Russia during the 19th century before reading this chapter, I came away with a better understanding of the makeup of the country, as well with a significant amount of questions, specifically with regard to the Jewish population of the country. Kappeller points out that minority populations are better represented in urban areas, something that alludes to the inadvertent ethnic ghetto-creation seen frequently in other European and American cities during this time period, something that, perhaps, looking forward 20 years, helped contribute to the overthrow of the Tsar in 1917.… Read the rest here

Paper Review

This paper deserves an A because of its cohesive and direct treatment of the question posed to us by Professor Qualls. The author’s direct thesis coupled with paragraphs that are used to support it, all wrapped up in an elegantly written piece show a firm understanding of the prompt, as well as a strong command of the rubric for writing for Professor Qualls.

The author of this paper did a good job of keeping his/her argument direct and straightforward by using information directly related to the points he/she intended to prove in the paper.… Read the rest here

The Rise of Muscovy

Today’s reading focused on the rise of the Russian people after the influx of the Mongol hordes, in particular, the law code drafted by Ivan Vasilievic, the Grand Prince of Rus, which first made an appearance in 1497. Vasilievic, along with his children and nobles, comprised this code for the purpose of governing his nation, and for the purpose of administering justice in the most efficient manner possible.  This law code, which is significantly larger than the others previously examined in our reading, is entitled “The Sudebnnik”(roughly translated to “code of law”) lines out 68 key commandments of Ivan’s Rus society, commandments which he believed would unite his people and make his lands easier to govern. Read the rest here