In Peter Gatrell’s article, Displacing and Re-Placing Population in the Two World Wars: Armenia and Russia, he argues that the two ethnic groups sought protection both Post-World War I and II in order to establish the legitimacy of their state; however, the Armenians supported Russian “protection” while the Poles chose to abandon their homeland because of ideological differences. Gatrell is a Professor of Economic History at the University of Manchester in the U.K. His specialty is analyzing the economic influence of refugees and their movement after both World Wars.
What Gatrell keyed in on in the article but did not specifically mention is larger state’s influence on the movement of refugee and migrant groups based on ethnicity. The Soviet influence on both states is critical to understanding how well each ethnic group functioned within its own nation-state: Poland dealing with a complex egalitarian relationship, while Armenia relied on Russia for the creation and establishment of their “republic”. The implications that Gatrell’s piece has for modern day politics is astonishing to me. How do we deal with the refugee crisis in regards to international politics, because like the article states, while each group had their “state”, there were many issues that they struggled with because of their benefactor’s own political agendas.
Peter Gatrell is a professor of economic history at the University of Manchester. In his work Introduction: World Wars and Population Displacement In Europe in the Twentieth Century, he speaks about the World Wars as well as the Russian Revolution. He spends much of the work talking about how there millions of refugees after the Russian Revolution, World War I, and World War II. While the number of people who were displaced after the wars is not agreed upon, all of the potential numbers were in the millions.  Gatrell mentions that after some time, sociologist Edward Shils wrote about “a widespread psychological regression, i.e. a collapse of adult norms and standards in speech, behavior and attitude, and a reversion to less mature patterns.” He says that this was due to a loss of “original community and family connections.” Gatrell talks about how in postwar Europe, relief workers thought that showing compassion towards the refugees was critical in restoring “moral order” for the displaced people.
We see a large number of refugees today due to events like the war in Syria, as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are still millions of refugees and displaced people all over the world. While the problem was more obvious after the World Wars and the Russian Revolution, it is still a major problem in the world today. Do you agree that a loss of community and family connections could cause the phenomenon that Edward Shils wrote about? Do you believe that the relief workers had the right idea when thinking that compassion is the key to restoring “moral order” for refugees? Or do you think that they were wrong in thinking this?
 “Introduction: World Wars and Population Displacement in Europe in the Twentieth Century,” Peter Gatrell, 419.
 Ibid, 421.
Peter Gatrell is a Professor of Economic History at the University of Manchester. He has demonstrated a great interest European cultural history. His publications focus on population displacement and state-building following World War I and World War II. When considering his extensive experience studying European history, it is evident that his projects correlate with his interests.
While reading Gatrell’s work, “Displacing and Re-placing Populations in the Two World Wars: Armenia and Poland Compared,” I was captivated by his comparison between these two ethnic groups’ histories. Although I have been exposed to the histories of World War I and II, I have not had the chance to learn about the many ethnic groups that were left stranded after these wars. Many Armenians chose to live in “Soviet Armenia” following World War I because it was seen as one of the best options for resettlement. Although this was one of their better options, the Soviets worked to “’keep [them] for the Armenian nation’ to develop ‘loyal citizens of Red Armenia.’” Rather than supporting their cultural differences, Armenians were expected to adopt Soviet values following World War I. Although these sentiments were stressed, Armenians established repatriation following World War II during the 1940s. They were focused on maintaining their cultural differences from the Soviet Union while establishing this state. The Armenians’ desires for separation from the Soviets were quite strong due to the homogeneity among the population. (Image of Polish refugees:http://www.firstworldwar.com/photos/refugees.htm)
Although the Poles were also refugees following these wars, they went through a different experience than the Armenians. After World War I, Poles were very focused on returning back to Poland. However, after returning home, they discovered that “’home’ looked very different.” This negative viewpoint showcased that their desire to reestablish a strong Poland was less desirable compared to the nationalistic Armenians. Additionally, establishing a stable Poland during the interwar period proved more difficult for Poland because of the tumultuous relations compared between Poles, Ukrainians and Jews. The Armenians and Poles certainly shared the desire to find a country for establishment; however, it appears that the Armenians’ desire was more unified than the Poles.
What are your thoughts on these displacements? What other differences and similarities between these two ethnic groups’ reestablishments do you find interesting?
 “Displacing and Re-placing Population in the Two World Wars: Armenia and Poland Compared,” Peter Gatrell, 514.
 Ibid, 520.
 Ibid, 521.
The turn of the twentieth century saw the end of the Victorian Era in Europe, and the disciplines of literature, natural science, philosophy, and psychology spearheaded a backlash against formerly dominant middle class ideals. The psychologists Ivan Pavlov and Sigmund Freud studied conditioned reflexes and human instinct, bringing into question mans’ own agency, and thus his ability to marshal infinite progress. Freud’s “Civilization and Die Weltanschauung” was written in the waning days of World War I in 1918. The piece, much like the world at that time, sought peaceful rationality in the wake of violent chaos. According to Freud, the biggest threat to man’s intellect was religion, which both inhibited thought and threatened the objectivity of science. Religion seeks control over the “sensory world,” just as science does, but religion employs the “wish-world” within each person to harness this control. ((Freud, Civilization & Die Weltanschauung, 1918)) Man should remain faithful to reason rather than religion, Freud asserted, because “reason—is among the forces which may be expected to exert a unifying influence upon men” ((Freud, Civilization & Die Weltanschauung, 1918)) —an attractive prospect for those who had witnessed four years of bloody war.
The influence of World War I is further seen in Freud’s work through his discussion of human aggression. Freud claimed that man is naturally aggressive and that this aggression is the biggest impediment to the evolution of civilization. His emphasis on instinct is not surprising given the context of his writing; attributing the horrors of World War I to an instinctual element of man was easier than blaming moral failings and poor decisions. Freud ends his piece with the statement: “evolution of civilization may therefore be simply described as the struggle for life of the human species.” ((Freud, Civilization & Die Weltanschauung, 1918)) Freud himself had just witnessed conflict that feasibly could have actualized the extinction of the human species and his explanation for this conflict was the inescapable aggression of man.
In 1920, after the first World War, John M. Keynes wrote “The Economic Consequences of the Peace” on his dissatisfaction with the Treaty of Versailles and calls out to those who are drafting the treaty to think of the potential economic consequences it would have on Germany and Europe as a whole. Keynes was an established economist in England and most notably would revolutionize the ideas seen in macroeconomics. Throughout the chapter Keynes writes in a style of urgency and fear as he sees the stability of Europe at risk.
Right from the beginning of the chapter, Keynes believes the treaty does not promote the idea of ‘good neighbors’ for the defeated states. He believes the arrangement reached in Paris was not based on the future of economics in Europe, but rather on political folly ((Keynes, Economic Consequences of Peace)) . After such a dramatic and long war, it seems that the victorious states wanted to extensively punish those who stood against them in the so called ‘heat of the moment’, without taking account of its long-term effects. Keynes goes on to express how European countries have become economically interdependent on each other and how this treaty would disrupt each country’s economy ((Keynes, Economic Consequences of Peace)) . With declining trade and commerce comes a lower standard of living, or even the possibility of starvation. On the topic of starvation, Keynes makes the statement, ” Men will not always die quietly”, inferring that revolution and instability could develop in certain countries.
Keynes is very concerned with how the treaty will specifically effect Germany, stating that those who sign this treaty will be responsible for the death of millions of Germans. The treaty would cause Germany to lose all of its colonies, merchant fleet and foreign investments ((Keynes, Economic Consequences of Peace)) . In basic economic terms, the demand of the German people will become greater than what can be supplied according to Keynes. He predicts that Germany will regress in its industrial development, and as a result negatively impact the rest of Europe.
I find this reading to be related to the discussion we had in class about the effects of propaganda. It seems that the allied powers could not forgive the countries they had defeated and still viewed them as barbarians or inhuman.
Were the conditions in the Treaty of Versailles towards Germany too harsh after WWI? Do wars need propaganda?
John Maynard Keynes was an economist in Great Britain during World War I. Keynes also served as a representative of the Treasury of Great Britain and was an outspoken member at Versailles. Since Keynes was an economist he saw the consequences that the sanctions on Germany would do not only to their economy but what it would do to the rest of the world economy. He saw that since Germany would have to pay large sums of money they would not be able to provide for their people and Germany was already facing food shortages because of the Allied blockade. The food shortages and debt sanctions would not allow Germany to import goods, most of Germany’s economy is industrial, and cause the other surrounding economies to suffer the consequences of peace. Keynes stated that instituting this treaty, which would not only force Germany to take drastic measures but would result in the endangering of millions of German people. We can look at Keynes’ argument and know it is strong because of our hindsight that tells us what kind of state Germany becomes in the future.
John Maynard Keynes, as stated in the beginning of the article was an English Economist famous for his economic theories called Keynesian economics. After the treaty of Versailles was published, he became very depressed about the state in which Europe would be in as a result of the treaty. In the Treaty of Versailles, Germany is essentially cut off from all trade which Keynes states will make it difficult for a rising Industrial country. He states that by agreeing with the treaty it will be similar to signing over the lives of millions of German men, women and children. In his writing he talks about the destruction that will occur across Europe because of the Treaty that is tearing apart the Industrial societies across Europe apart. Prior to World War One, many countries across Europe we rapidly expanding as a result of Industrialization. Boarders were changing, and technology was becoming more advance. World War One however, brought to surface the growing tensions within nations regarding misrepresented populations as well as conflict between larger nations. I believe Keynes was upset by the Treaty because prior to the war he saw millions of people across Europe finally putting an end to suffering, middle classes were being formed, and people’s lives were seemingly better. After the war and the Treaty of Versailles, it seemed as though Europe would be taking a step back.
Why was Keynes so upset by this treaty? Do you think the treaty was a good idea? Could the situation have been handled better? Should Germany have been involved in the process
The Treaty of Versailles, signed June 28 1919 at the Paris Peace Conference, was a treaty created by the Allied powers that ended the war five years after it started. The treaty reprimanded and condemned Germany for its overt aggression that started the war. The Allied powers—specifically the Big Three of the United States, Great Britain, and France—sought reparation for damages resulting from the war. The treaty disallowed Germany from entering the League of Nations for fifteen years, gave France certain territories back, created a demilitarized zone, and weakened Germany’s armed forces. ((From The Treaty of Versailles and After: Annotations of the Text of the Treaty)) The language in the treaty is demanding and forthright, as it does not resist in expressing its desire for reparations; Germany views many of the demands as impossible to meet or simply too strict. However, having lost significant amounts of resources, troops, and money as a result of the war, Germany subsequently forced to agree to the demands of set forth in the treaty as they had no choice. However, after ratification, the treaty was eventually revised, giving Germany much more breathing room.
The treaty was created not only to reprimand Germany, but to send a message to Germany and its allies that over-aggression is not accepted in the international community. Any disregard of the law would result in significant punishment. However, the Treaty of Versailles backfired on the Allied powers and the rest of the world, as the strict demands inspired German nationalism. In effect, the Treaty of Versailles inspired Germany to reignite its military, leading to the rise of Hitler and Germany’s power during World War II.
I’m interested to potentially look into this more in the future, whether that be personal research or through taking a World War I class. Though Germany deserved its punishment for starting the war, (some people may disagree) I’m wondering if the Allied powers envisioned such an angry response. Do you think the demands listed in the Treaty of Versailles were too much, or not? Why was Germany so angry? How could Germany have responded in a much more peaceful way? Or, do you think Germany really shouldn’t have been punished much at all? I’m curious to see your responses to this.
John Maynard Keynes, an English economist, wrote his piece ‘The Economic Consequences of the Peace’ in 1920. It was a reaction to the Treaty of Versailles which ended World War I. Keynes seems adamant in his prose that Europe was excessively punished following the Great War, seen when he wrote “This treaty will sign the death sentence of many millions of German men, women and children” ((Keynes, ‘The Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1920)). Keynes wrote with the Allies as his audience as they were the authors of this treaty and should be held responsible for these ramifications. The intent of this work was to underscore how excessively the treaty would reduce Europe’s power economically, with “no provisions for the economic rehabilitation of Europe” ((Keynes, ‘The Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1920)). This statement alludes to Keynes’ message that not only will Germany be set up for future failure, but also the whole of Europe.
After shifting from agricultural to industrial with the Industrial Revolution, Europe was no longer capable of supporting its population’s food demands in its own; it required outside help through the purchase of food through trade. And without the financial assets to do so, Keynes predicted the future prevalence of famines and the death of millions of Germans.
Keynes writes in defense of Germany mainly because he is a European. With the livelihood of one of Europe’s largest powers in jeopardy and so much on the rest of the continent at stake, Keynes’ only option is to make the Allies aware of the drastic measures enforced and their implications across Europe.
As we see shortly after the Treaty of Versailles, the United States was struck by the Great Depression which affected Europe in some critically negative ways as well. Would have or could have these effects on Europe lessen if the doctrine of the Treaty of Versailles were less debilitating and shown a little more forgiveness towards Germany? Do you have any thoughts as to why these reparations and reductions were so excessive?
Vladimir Lenin was born into a wealthy upper-middle class family in 1870. His parents were monarchists who supported the tsarist regime. When Lenin was 16, his brother was executed for joining a revolutionary group dedicated to assassinating Tsar Alexander III. Lenin was influenced by his brother’s left wing ideas and became involved in a socialist revolutionary cell at Kazan University. Lenin was one of the first to translate Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto into Russian and became interested in Marxism. The influence of Marx and Engels is apparent in Lenin’s What is to be Done?. In this piece, Lenin goes even further than Marx did by describing the type of organization necessary to succeed in a revolution. He writes that a successful revolutionary organization will have dedicated leaders and will be experienced professional revolutionaries. These people must be steadfast and dedicated to their cause and well organized to make a change in Russia ((Lenin, Vladimir. What is to be Done?. 1902)).
Lenin wrote this piece in 1902, fifteen years before he would be instrumental in the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. He was able to implement many of his organizational ideas and strengthen the revolutionary party in a way that made them able to have a successful takeover of the Russian government in 1917. Once Lenin was in power he implemented many of the ideas discussed by Marx and Engels and strengthened communism in Russia.
The revolution in Russia took place in the middle of World War I, did that contribute to the success of Lenin’s ideologies? Was he able to take advantage of the turmoil throughout Europe to strengthen his political position? Why didn’t many other countries have similar working class revolutions?