Einstein’s writing on the contradictory nature of science and religion explains the limits of human knowledge and use of the scientific method. He believes that only religion can give us the sense of “ultimate and fundamental ends.” In addition, he adds that this is directly related to the democratic ideals and therefore with the discarding of religion, the democratic spirit is being set aside as well.
The part of this excerpt I found most intriguing was Einstein’s focus on ends and means.… Read the rest here
The 1935 documentary, Triumph of the Will, by Leni Riefenstahl, portrays powerful propaganda images of the Nazi regime. It focuses in on speeches made by both high-ranking Nazi officers and Hitler himself. In between every scene change are minutes of marching and rejoicing in the German nation. The film encompasses many facets of Nazi ideology.
In one scene in particular, we see the mobilization of the children in the Nazi youth. There is a seemingly endless sea of kids, both boys and girls, in uniform listening to the Fuhrer speak.… Read the rest here
Wilson T. Bell’s article on Gulag historiography does not seek to define what a Gulag is. Instead, it is a fascinating effort to clarify the several definitions of Gulag in addition to the speculated reasons they existed. He states that there is no clear agreement among scholars and proceeds to list several definitions and contexts that have been explored. Bell also goes through the often debated economic and political motives behind the Gulags. His last statement, and perhaps his the most important, is that there is far more research needing to be done on this topic to add to the motives, goals, and contexts of a Gulag.… Read the rest here
Ignazio Silone’s novel Bread and Wine, is an honest work about the totalitarian regime’s in Italy. It follows the character of Pietro Spina, a communist party leader who has returned from hiding to revolutionize the peasant population. In the pages, Silone writes a fascinating story about several different populations in both North and South Italy and how the are reacting to the Fascist regime and living their lives.
A major theme of the Fascist movement is the rebirth of Italy’s greatness.… Read the rest here
The Irish War of Independence, which lasted from 1922 to 9123, was fought in order to determine whether or not the country would remain a part of the British Empire. The Free State forces won (as opposed to the IRA) and the country was kept in the Empire. However, at a cost that that divided the country so deeply that these debates are still going on today.
The documentary, The Madness from Within, broadcasted in 1998, showed the lasting impacts on the country and different personal views from children whose parents’ lived through the wars themselves.… Read the rest here
Fritz Lang’s 1927 science-fiction masterpiece Metropolis depicts a futuristic dystopia ridden with class-struggle. Made in Weimar Germany, the films follows Freder, the son of the city’s overlord, and Maria, his love interest, as they try to disenfranchise the classist nature of this urban society. Throughout the film, there is a stark contrast between the scene’s of the workers slaving endlessly to power the city, and the pleasured lives of rich. The city eventually crumbles due to the rocky internal nature and ends with a reconciliation (despite total destruction) of “head” and “heart.”… Read the rest here
Both the Surrealist and Futurist Manifestos preach straying from the conventional and praising the artist. Written by F.T Marinetti in 1909, the Futurist Manifesto is a rejection of the past and a celebration of the present. It glorifies war, danger, and speed. Although it is an Italian document, It almost foreshadows the upcoming Russian Revolution with all the talk of crowds, revolt, militarism, and patriotism. The manifesto is in essence looking forward to the modern state.… Read the rest here
(Image courtesy of “Politicizing Pronatalism: exploring the Nazi Propaganda of Women through the Lens of Visual Propaganda”, by Katherine Rossy)
This image, taken from the Nazi party’s magazine for women, Frauen Warte, depicts a mother taking care of her baby daughter while her husband goes off to war. This particular image is from a 1937 issue, two years before World War II began. At this point in history, Germany is Nazi-occupated and Hitler’s power is rising.… Read the rest here
Tara Zahra’s book, The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe’s Families after World War II is a heartbreaking account of displaced and impoverished children lacking national identities. In the introduction and first chapter, parallels are drawn between both the physical reconstruction of post-war Europe and the reconstruction of childhood identity. These children were at the center of political conflicts and were the social problem that dominated Europe from the onset of World War I. The state of Europe’s children represented the civilization itself in chaos.… Read the rest here
The first four chapters of Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent proves to be both an informative and transformative excerpt from this book. The chapters clear up all misconceptions that, through a series of certain calculated events, fascism somehow prevailed over democracy and therefore World War II was inevitable. However, it is discovered that fascism was not a dark blip in Europe’s modern history. These chapters take a thematic approach, rather than a territorial approach, to explain exactly what was happening in both Western and Eastern Europe that led to both the development and breakdown of the democratic system and the rise of authoritarian powers.… Read the rest here