Post-Cold War Consumerism; Mary Elise Sarotte

Mary Elise Sarotte’s book, The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe, aptly depicts the status of West/East Germany and how it was the centerpiece for the recreation of Europe after the Cold War.  Sarotte begins the book by discussing five major changes that occurred in the summer of 1989 which opened up the Berlin Wall. 1) The failure of events like Tiananmen to transfer over to a European context; 2) the choice of the American government to remove itself from the issue; 3) East Germans taking on the status quo; 4) an increase in East German self-confidence; and 5) the impact of television at this pivotal moment.  … Read the rest here

Unfulfilled Promises to Women

Wendy Z. Goldman’s article explained how the regime hid behind an elaborate mask which portrayed them as women’s rights activists, however in reality strived for a single-minded approach to production and progress.  The focus of Goldman’s article began with an analysis of Soviet legislature concerning beznadzornost, and how to solve the problem of homeless soviet children through the strengthening of the Socialist family.  It then shifted towards the effects of abortion and divorce on women and how the steps toward a more equal woman and man were taken under false pretense.  … Read the rest here

Sputnik Generation and Gender Roles Regarding Interviews

The interviews of Natalia and Gennadii were similar in the way the interviewer approached each question, however also extremely different in terms of the answers provided by both interviewees.  Natalia and Gennadii, though they had different upbringings, were both citizens of the Soviet Union with relatively similar class status in a classless state.

Both Natalia and Gennadii recognized the type of family or social class that was drawn to their town and School No. 42.  Natalia stated that many of the school children had parents who were “of the party or a party official” and the questions asked of her seemed to be much more social and cultural related.  … Read the rest here

Sevastopol – Mythmakers

The extreme hubris of  municipal and naval officers created difficulties faced by party officials who tried to redefine the traditional Russian past of Sevastopol and conform it to a more acceptable past dictated by the central authority.  Professor Qualls argues that party members were unable to force conformity among the people of Sevastopol, at least in their traditions, and instead the city held fast to its roots to the motherland. His use of the word “mythmakers” to describe party official designated to re-invent Sevastopol’s past is absolutely applicable because they tried to do exactly that.  … Read the rest here

Indirect Correspondence between Stalin and Churchill

Winston Churchill speaks extremely highly of the Ally powers in his speech discussing the Iron Curtain and his desire to unite the English speaking commonwealth with the United States.  Although his main goal appears to be a peaceful settlement with the Soviet Union and elimination of their “expansionist” policies, he focuses much more on global security and the strength of the United States and England.  For instance, he opens his speech with the phrase “The United States stands at this time at the pinnacle of world power.”  Churchill does so not as a warning or criticism, but rather offers praise and strategic help.  … Read the rest here

Tsirk (1936), Soviets Avoid “Backwardness”

The film Tsirk (1936), though a skillfully crafted story, was without a doubt a propaganda vehicle for the Soviet Union.  The main character Mary appears to be an escapee of an apparently backwards society where she was chased out by an angry mob for having an interracial child. In order to escape from the mob, she jumped on a train where she met what appeared to be a circus actor who took her under his wing.… Read the rest here

Is the One State Practical?

Yevgeny Zamyatin’s “We” is an iconic example of a dystopian society that is threatened by individuality.  The One State and its inhabitants were a supposed perfect population who had found happiness through conformity and rationality.  The citizens of the One State were kept under the watchful eye of the Benefactor as well as his secret police force, the Guardians.  In order to eliminate individuality, people were given numbers instead of names (D-503 and I-330), as well as a large sum of rules and regulations to abide by throughout their lives.  … Read the rest here

Abdication and The Provisional Government

By 1917, the Russian war effort was categorized as a disaster.  Food shortages, terrible army living conditions, and trouble at home away from the front left the people of Russia desperately searching for a scapegoat.  The citizens found the perfect scapegoat in their Tsar Nikolai II. Once the Russian army began to crumble under German forces, Tsar Nikolai II was named commander in chief of the army, and began The Great Retreat. As Russian morale dissipated, Tsar Nikolai II stepped down and named his brother, Grand Duke Mikhail, the new Tsar.  Read the rest here