Treaty of Versailles

Main Points:

1. Territory– The following territories were taken away from Germany:

  • Alsace-Lorraine (given to France)
  • Eupen and Malmedy (given to Belgium)
  • Northern Schleswig (given to Denmark)
  • Hultschin (given to Czechoslovakia)
  • West Prussia, Posen and Upper Silesia (given to Poland)

Germany must relinquish power over any overseas colonies to the League of Nations as well as any additional territory seized in the war not mentioned above.

2. Military– Germany’s army was reduced to 100,000 men and no tanks were allowed.… Read the rest here

Keynesian Economics

3 Points:

Keynes compares the livelihood of Europe before and after the war. He boasts about how self-sufficient Europe was, with the population secured for itself with dedicated organization and steady income of supplies. He believes the disruption of this system has contributed to the decline in livelihood.

To follow his first point, Keynes warns the population of the lurking danger of the rapid decline in the standard of living that will leave people starved, as well as mentally and physically disabled.… Read the rest here

Wilhelm, Bismarck, and Fichte on Austria

Fichte, Wilhelm and Bismark all had similar ideas regarding the unification of Germany; their ideas of why and how to do that varied, however. Fichte wrote about how Germany was divided by foreign imperialists who failed to see and value the unity of the German people under one state. He believed that the primary reason to seek German unification was to unify the German people, not to bolster the power of the German Empire or that of Prussia.… Read the rest here

Silesian Weavers

Heinrich Heine’s poem, “Silesian Weavers” was inspired by a protest over the working conditions of weaving laborers in Silesian, Prussia. The poem confronts the issue of workers’ rights and their continuous exploitation and oppression by the rich and, along with worker riots, served as a key asset for the revolution that subsequently forced the King of Prussia to allow his people a constitution.

Heine’s poem, which pays sympathy to the working class, was intended to inspire and even arouse anger amongst his lower-class compatriots.… Read the rest here

Einstein’s Science and Religion

The reading “Science and Religion” consists of two articles written by Albert Einstein. They both argue science and religion are interdependent.  Einstein wrote that science could not exist without the questioning of one’s surroundings and pushing the boundaries of knowledge and fact, which are fundamental principles accompanying any religion. Likewise, religion could not exist without knowledge and fact, as knowledge lays the groundwork for ethics and rules.

Throughout the reading, Einstein made a couple of references to the Church.… Read the rest here

Berlin Stories

In The Berlin Stories, Christopher Isherwood explains the daily life of a British ex-patriot living in Germany during the early 1930s. His section called “A Berlin Diary: Autumn 1930” explores the daily life and activities of the protagonist and his friends/acquaintances. Within this chapter, the reader is introduced to daily life, seeing a glimpse of how an everyday person may have lived during that time.
One line within this chapter was especially surprising given the financial and economic difficulties of the time.… Read the rest here

Cinematography and Youth in Triumph des Willens

Triump des Willens (1935) succeeds in convincing the viewer that Adolf Hitler’s rise—and the rise of the Nazi party, was an enthusiastic national movement that served as the core of Germany’s ascension to dominance. The camera work is marvelous. The cameras spend the majority of time with their lenses pointed upwards at Hitler’s face or the structure upon which he stands, a subtle yet effective tactic to generate a larger than life feel. The long shots used in Trimph des Willens are the longest I have seen done in a film so aged, and are strategically placed to absorb as much of the parade or rally as possible.… Read the rest here

The Role of the Youth in Triumph of the Will

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

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

Mr. Norris and Communism

Christopher Isherwood’s The Berlin Stories consists of two novellas set in Berlin right before and during the rise of the Nazi party in the 1930s, the first of which is The Last of Mr. Norris.  This stories chronicles the friendship between William Bradshaw and Arthur Norris.  Mr. Norris proves to be a mysterious and interesting character, as he is a communist during a time which it is dangerous to be so in Germany.

While Norris holds onto his communist beliefs despite the political dangers they cause him, there are some aspects of his personality that do not completely fit with the communist ideology. … Read the rest here