The Soviet Circus Welcomes all Nationalities

The film Circus, produced by the Soviet Union in 1936, was made in order to propagate the Union’s ideals and acceptance of all nationalities. The main hero, Marion Dixon, is chased out of the United States because of racial intolerance against her black son, Jimmy. Marion stumbles across Fronk Kneishitz, a wealthy German, who offers to take her traveling around the world and conceal the identity of her son in order to avoid persecution. Marion and Fronk Kneishitz end up on tour in Russia, where she soon meets an exemplary Soviet man, Martinov, and falls in love with him.… Read the rest here

Propaganda by Rail

While the leaders of the Bolshevik revolution were made up highly educated revolutionaries who trained body and mind to overcome the constraints of the the capitalist bourgeois, most of the population (around ninety percent) was of the peasant class. Most of the peasants in Tsarist Russia were illiterate, uneducated, and knew little of the world outside the villages that dotted the countryside. These villages were scattered over the 6 million square miles of Russia making contact with all of them a challenge.… Read the rest here

Youth Delegates at the Moscow World Fair

Youth and children in general are widely known for being easily influenced and moulded. So why then, did the Soviet Union choose this particular demographic to represent the face of the nation? Was it because the party wanted to ensure delegates would only spout Soviet propaganda? If that it true, then the 1957 World Moscow Festival did, in fact, completed some of the goals it set out to accomplish. As Peacock notes in her article, The Perils of Building Cold War Consensus at the 1957 Moscow World Festival of Youth and Students, there were no organized protests during this particular festival.… Read the rest here

Sevastopol

Professor Qualls’s article, “Who Makes Local Memories?  The case of Sevastopol after World War II” discussed who created memories of Sevastopol and how they were created after World War II. In his piece, Professor Qualls argued that despite central authorities attempts to paint Serastopals history in a certain way, it was the “municipal and naval officers” who chose to write the history of Serastopal in a “deeper Russian Historical” way, thus creating a “localized mythology.”  ((Professor Karl Qualls, “Who Makes Local Memories?: The Case of Sevastopol after World War II”  Carlisle: Dickinson College Faculty Publications, Paper 1, 2011.… Read the rest here

The Age of Propaganda

“Propaganda can tip the scales,” claims Schivelbusch in regards to state influence in times of political turmoil in his Three New Deals. (85) The usual dialogue on the topic of interwar propaganda mostly elicits imagery associated with the USSR and Nazi regime, but what about the propaganda and control by the United States government? This is an example:

This blatantly racist imagery not only compares the Japanese to rats, it also depicts the rat with the physical stereotypes American’s gave the Japanese during the time.… Read the rest here

Commonalities vs. Sameness

In Three New Deals, author Wolfganf Schivelbusch  argues how three powerful states were all led by common ideals leading up to WWII.  This is not to confuse with ‘same’ ideals in any sense.  While these terms may seem alike, Schivelbusch clearly states there is a difference.  He argues that while the United States, Germany, and Italy had common features the three cannot be considered identical in any way.  It is difficult to place the United States, a democratic society, in the same category as two authoritative countries, but Schivelbusch continues to explain how they represent one another while being different at the same time.… Read the rest here

Children of Russia

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This photo depicts a Soviet child sleeping under a communist flag. The rough translation of the caption of this photo is “Grow, heroes! You will save the Soviet Army.” This pro-Natalist propoganda was distributed in Russia after World War II. The population of Russia had significantly declined after the war, and Russia wanted to increase their population. Although this piece of propaganda did not come about until after the Interwar Period, it connects to the thoughts of the Soviet Union during the Interwar Period.… Read the rest here

The “Seeds” of Eugenics

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In this overt example of interwar propaganda, the practice of eugenics is promoted through a poignant visual and textual analogy to agriculture.  The double meaning of the key term “seed” is utilized in a comparison between spreading healthy plant seed for a bountiful harvest and spreading healthy human “seed” for the purposes of procreation, specifically the creation of a physically fit, mentally proficient, racially pure population.

The first block of text that appears at the top of the poster, “Only healthy seed must be sown!”, alludes to the exclusionist principles of eugenics.  … 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

Two Portraits of Revolution (Re-post)

Revolution has proven to be an incendiary topic throughout history, thus becoming the subject of countless different interpretations across various mediums.  Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent, a rigorous portrait of early twentieth-century European governments, and Battleship Potemkin, a Russian propaganda film relating the story of a Russian sailing crew’s mutiny against the ship’s oppressive officers, present two equally informative images of the Russian revolution that vary drastically in perspective.

Mazower’s text revisits the topic of interwar European government from a perspective that does not presuppose the primacy of democracy.  … Read the rest here