The Menace From Within and the Art of Obfuscation

I found the Madness from Within deeply misleading. The documentary begins with the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which ended the Irish War of Independence, created the Irish Free State, and gave Northern Ireland the permission to remain under British rule. At first, this may seem reasonable, considering the high concentration of Ulster Unionist Protestants in Northeastern Ireland. We must consider this event’s relation to the spirit of the times, reflected by the redistribution of territory halfway around the globe, in the Balkans and the Middle East.… Read the rest here

Changes in inter war society

In both Koenker’s article on Soviet tourism and Reagin’s article on German housewives we see a similarity in the attempts made by both governments to sway their citizenry to a specific ideology. In Russia the communist party decided to control all forms of tourism. They were determined to change the view of tourism from the “bourgeoise” experience of knowing “only one street in a new city, the street from the train station to the hotel.” To the Soviet of idea of a tourist on a bicycle who “could observe al parts of a city, from its outskirts to its bridges…” This proletarian shift dominated all aspects of Soviet tourism in the interwar period.… Read the rest here

Influencing Culture

“The Proletarian Tourist in the 1930s: Between Mass Excursion and Mass Escape” by Diane P. Koenker and “Comparing Apples and Oranges: Housewives and the Politics of Consumption in Interwar Germany” by Nancy Reagin both focus on the politicization of different aspects of daily life and leisure. Koenker’s article illustrates the way in which the Soviet government propagated tourism as a means to turn this leisure activity into a political action and elevate the proletariat culturally. Similarly, Reagin’s article highlights how the various housewife organizations in Interwar Germany politicized daily activities, like grocery shopping, and changed how German culture was perceived and remembered.… Read the rest here

Eugenics in Interwar Europe

“Eugenics is the science which deals with all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race; also with those that develop them to the utmost advantage,” states Francis Galton in his article, Eugenics: It’s Definition, Scope, and Aims in July 1904. Eugenic ideas spread through out Europe following the First World War. While eugenics is supposed to be about race quality, it became prevalent in interwar Europe mainly due to fear, and the need to transfer blame.… Read the rest here

National Identity: the Role of Eugenics and Culture

Leora Auslander’s “’National Taste?’ Citizenship Law, State Form, and Everyday Aesthetics in Modern France and Germany, 1920-1940” described the way in which the French and German nations had dealt with the issue of identity and citizenship, specifically in terms of the Jewish populations. This text illustrated the similarities between Parisian and Berliner Jews and the larger French and German populations. These groups were marginalized in various and different ways in each country, but, through analyzing personal belongs and furnishings, Auslander discovered a cultural cohesion throughout the groups.… Read the rest here

Dark Continent Critical Summary

The first four chapters of Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent cover a vast range of topics pertaining to democracy, and general forms of leadership throughout the inter-war years.  Several countries struggled to reform their own government, while simultaneously attempting to find a system that would work for the entire continent.  According to Mazower, the inter-war period in Europe was a time of great instability, and a constant struggle between democracy and absolutism, and each country has its own specific history that ultimately impacted the continent as a whole.… Read the rest here

Critical Summary of Chapters 1-4 of Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent

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