US Exclusionary Policy Post-1989

As the Berlin Wall fell, historian Mary Sarotte argues that the then exclusionist US Policy in Europe formed an ‘ordering point’ upon which the excluded Soviet Union forms its foreign policy to this day. The ‘ordering point’, according to Sarotte, is “the historical evidence now available from both Eastern and Western countries shows what alternatives ‘seemed real at the time’, and what chances they had of becoming actual outcomes of the upheaval of 1989.” What we can now see was not clear to individuals at the time, but the way in which these events played out now shapes our understanding of European-US and US-Russian relations.… Read the rest here

Che Guevara and American Economic Imperialism

Che Guevara was your stereotypical revolutionary. Raised in a rich household, he was trained to be a doctor before he realized his interests were helping the poor. The son of a leftist father, he grew up listening to socialist ideologies from Spanish Republicans. After allying with the Cubans Fidel and Raul Castro, he helped to liberate Cuba from Batista’s rule and gained political influence within Cuba society because of his role within the revolution. In 1964, he was sent to address the UN in regards to Africa and Caribbean decolonization.… Read the rest here

Armenia & Poland & Russia & The Middle East

In Peter Gatrell’s article, Displacing and Re-Placing Population in the Two World Wars: Armenia and Russia, he argues that the two ethnic groups sought protection both Post-World War I and II in order to establish the legitimacy of their state; however, the Armenians supported Russian “protection” while the Poles chose to abandon their homeland because of ideological differences. Gatrell is a Professor of Economic History at the University of Manchester in the U.K. His specialty is analyzing the economic influence of refugees and their movement after both World Wars.… Read the rest here

Darwinism and its Implications in Other Fields

Charles Darwin, the son of a wealthy doctor/financier, originally studied medicine before developing a fascination with natural history. While traveling aboard the HMS Beagle as a “self-financed naturalist”, he collected flora and fauna from many different parts of the world, one of which, the Galapagos Islands specifically influenced his work On the Origin of Species. The island had species that, although geographically isolated, shared similar traits with species from nearby South America. His idea was that although they shared similar ancestors, each of these species had developed traits beneficial to their survival in their own respective environments.The slow and methodical transformations resulted in drastic changes over millenniums (which humans cannot see) and the creation of two distinct species.… Read the rest here

Fleeing Franco

Hywell Davies Fleeing Franco delivers an interesting perspective on the Spanish Civil War, showing the tight relationship between Wales and the Basques. Davies does an excellent job communicating the children’s viewpoint in addition to that of the Welsh, but due to his background, it is possible that there is a bias. Davies was born and raised in Wales and teaches there. In addition, Fleeing Franco was published by the University of Wales Press. He relies on interviews and newspapers to get a sizable amount of information and uses his secondary sources to frame that information and create a narrative.… Read the rest here

Military Technology in Things to Come

The military technology reflects in Things to Come reflects that of World War I, only occasionally showing new developments in the context of a World War I-style conflict. H.G. Wells reflected pre-war conceptions of how the next war would occur, showing masses of troops crossing trenches into no-man’s land, tanks massed and charging across rough terrain, as well as gas attacks. It is interesting to note that Wells’ pre-war conceptions versus how the war actually occurred are similar to how pre-World War I writers envisioned the Great War; both were able to determine the technology that would make a difference on the battlefield, but both failed to realize how it would be used and how much of an impact these technologies had.… Read the rest here

Gender Roles in Goodbye to BerlinThere

In Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin, the characters reflect the gender roles of Nazi Germany by exemplifying the ideal male and female roles in German society. To start, Sally is allowed to focus on meeting a man as her “full-time job” while Chris is expected to go out and work, secure sustainable employment and at some point marry one of these women like Sally. These young adults, while having fun amongst themselves, are expected to form the relationships that will allow the state to succeed by the couples producing offspring.… Read the rest here

Norris and the Role of Luxury in Communism

When readers are first introduced to the character of Arthur Norris, he is offered a cigarette by William Bradshaw, a luxury reserved more or less “for the common folk”. As we see his character develop, the amount of wealth he flaunts becomes greater and greater, bragging about having a bedroom in Paris that he customized himself and worth a small fortune. Later he goes on to show this wealth with the amount of servants and the quality of decoration his house has to Bradshaw, which in turn helps characterize him for the reader.… Read the rest here

The Role of Tobacco in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich places an inordinate amount of emphasis on the role of tobacco in the Gulag, a luxury one normal does not consider readily accessible to convicts stuck in the middle of Siberia. The main character, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov exemplifies the obsession with this drug, even to the point that he takes a loan out for it. After an unusually large portion for lunch, Shukhov cites an insatiable craving for it, a craving which is odd seeing how this man was previously just worrying about whether or not he would get extra food.… Read the rest here

Housing the Poor in England

In the documentary Housing Problems, directors Elton and Anstey attempt to document the living conditions of workers in the slums of England. As they document the current conditions and the current/proposed changes, there is an interesting trend to note: the involvement of the private sector in solving the poor’s issues. Rather than leave the government to design, build and construct new buildings designed to improve the living conditions of the poor, businesses such as cement firms and gas companies were promoting contests in which new living quarters were developed.… Read the rest here