Revenge in World War II (L145)

In what ways did revenge figure into the strategies of the countries fighting in World War II?

During World War II, many officials justified atrocious attacks and invasions by stating that they were counterattacks; even in cases which they were however, two wrongs do not make a right. The people were rallied together for their countries for the simple reason of uniting against other countries. Many of the world’s countries fell into an endless cycle-like-black-hole of needing to have the last word, and so the revenge was relentless, limitless, and continuous. It involved innocent peoples, and became a very personal war for the families and soldiers involved. Revenge killings, not only carried out by plans on the masses, were happening on an individual basis; soldiers themselves were taking the war into their own hands, and handling men in their own ways. Bombs were being aimed at people, not only soldiers and military officials; constantly there were displays on all sides of vengeful attacks, rather than simply ‘doing what needs to be done’. When armies could’ve been blocked off and delayed, etc., towns were instead incinerated. Attacks became emotional, and personal, and less strategic and defensive. A bomb for a bomb quickly became the law of the land under warfare.

Bibliography
Looking deeper into resources outside of what the RPC offers, I have found some very interesting articles and videos. This short 3 minute clip really reinforced how deeply war was affecting the entire world on such a personal scale at once. Pain was widespread, and on a large scale, but it affected us all the same. 

US Soldier Revenge Killing in WWII. N.d. Military.com. Military Advantage, 28 Mar. 2012. Web. 11 June 2015. <http://www.military.com/video/operations-and-strategy/second-world-war/us-soldier-revenge-killing-in-ww2/1535018978001/&gt;..

Global Brutality (L140)

Did World War II become more brutal as time went on? In what ways? Was the brutality on only one side?

As time swept through the world during WWII, it brought with it brutal war fronts on all sides. Planes, ships, and countless tanks from all corners of the world were armed and ready. Bombs fell without remorse across the lands of innocent people; men, women, children, politicians and soldiers all targets alike. Hospitals became frequent bomb-site targets, as did large villages and towns. In the Bombing of Dresden (13-15 Feb. 1945) for example, the British attacked with a series of evening air raids. They were dropped in such a manor to produce massive fire storms, something the likes of tornadoes from hell. In other words, the attack was designed specifically to kill as many civilians as possible.
Aside from the war on innocent people for governmental power-thirst (and/or revenge), there was also an ethnic war being imposed on the people. Nazi concentration camps swelled with overpopulation in an attempt for Hitler to complete his “purification” process; millions of gypsies, homosexuals, political prisoners, Jews, German socialists, and many others were thrown into work camps to die. In Poland, those who did survive were evacuated, and sent on death marches in the dead of winter; people who walked too slow throughout the endless journey were shot, some others starved. About 250,000 prisoners were lost to the death marches alone. Global brutality shook the Earth with a vengeful ripple effect during World War II, and the world fell cold.

World War II Across The Globe (L135)

From the readings and lectures, in what sense did World War II become more “global” during its first two or two-and-a-half years?

World War II began in 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland. Having divided it, and most of the rest of eastern Europe, the Germans then decided to  move into western Europe. Blitzkrieg, or “lightning war” is what they called it. As Hitler ravenously attacked the west, he gained control of northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, half of Poland, a chunk of Lithuania, and a piece of Czechoslovakia.
In 1940 Italy got involved and declared war on France, happily taking a piece that was next to Italy. (Mussolini had found himself sympathizing with Hitler in the 30s.) Then, from August to November of 1940, the Battle of Britain raged. The Germans attempted to bomb the British into submission (even though they had agreed not to assemble an air-force in the Versailles Treaty). In April of 1941 there was made a Soviet – Japanese Non-Aggression Pact, so when the Germans attacked the Soviets a few months later in June, it really marked the beginning of brutal war. 3,000 miles of fronts, and millions of troops; Operation Barbarossa was the largest military campaign in history.
December 7th, 1941, FDR dangled the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, after having cut off trade with Japan. Both of these being considered acts of aggression, FDR was not in a position to have to fire the first shot (as he hoped he would not have to be).  December 11th, Germany declared war on the United States.
Things turned tumultuous quickly, and many parts of the world were drawn into war in just the first two years. Global war became contagious, and death was the price.

The Russian Revolution & It’s Aftermath (L125)

1.) What are the primary differences discussed in this week’s videos between Marxism and Marxism-Leninism?
The primary difference(s) between Marxism and Marxism-Leninism discussed this week were that Marx believed communism was bound to happen; that it was inevitable by the laws of history. He believed that it possibly be accelerated or slowed, but never stopped. However, communism could not happen until after the point which capitalism had come to term; after reaching it’s peak, it would become “a fetter on the productive forces”. Marx believed that this is how and when capitalism would give way to communism. Lenin on the other hand believed that fall of capitalism alone was not going to be enough to cause the emergence of a revolutionary proletarian class. Lenin called for a “vanguard of the proletariat”; a class of professional revolutionaries. It was required that they be intellectuals, not workers; it was their duty to guide a violent uprising against capitalism, which would then lead to the proletariat’s dictatorship. Lenin believed that this dictatorship would be the first stone on the pathway to communism.

2.) Historian Richard Pipes wrote, “Soviet Russia was the first society in history to outlaw law.” What did he mean by that?
Being a judge during this period became easy for most anyone to apply for; there was not formal education required, and there were no fixed rules one would be required to study. Rather, judges were instructed to rule according to their “revolutionary conscience”. The court system in fact, according to Lenin, was “not to eliminate terror”, but to “substantiate and legitimize” it.

3.) What was the Russian government under Lenin like? What kinds of tasks did it attempt to achieve?
The Russian government under Lenin was manipulative, untrustworthy, and malevolent. Among the many atrocities he orchestrated in his time, Lenin attempted to wipe out the church as his opponent; he ordered that sacred vessels be seized, and then had them melted for weaponry cash. Even nearing his death bed, Lenin had not yet caused enough destruction. In 1922, he ordered hundreds of opposing people exiled without explanation; these people were for the most part economists, scholars, and even philosophers. Even still, neither of those things tops the time that he was the cause of the starvation of 5.2 million people.

World War I (L120)

1.)  Based on Lesson 117 and the reading, how has it been argued that Woodrow Wilson followed a double standard in his treatment of the British hunger blockade and the German submarine warfare? What policy did he take regarding Americans sailing on ships flying belligerent flags?

Ultimately, Woodrow Wilson exercised a double standard in his dealings with the British hunger blockade and German submarine warfare by punishing the Germans, for reacting to having not only their military, but their men, women, and children starved out by the British. Wilson seemed simply to forget the fact that submarine warfare was an act of self defense and preservation among the Germans. And so, in the name of “influencing the peace”, the United States sent out a ship armed with weapons and civilians, into a war-zone to be demolished (as an excuse to enter the war). All the while, Wilson was claiming he wanted “peace without victory”, but when all was said and done, Germany was broken up and handed out like a winners’ prize; punishing the Germans for defending themselves.
Woodrow Wilson believed that every American had the right to travel (carrying weapons of war) on an armed belligerent ship, during wartime through a declared submarine zone; and that should they be harmed, the United States would step in to deal with the problem.

2.)  Explain five of the major ideas outlined in Wilson’s Fourteen Points.

I. “Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.”
This was to mean that there should be no closed-door negotiations; everybody’s business was out in the open for all to know. This however, was not the path followed, and there were many secret negotiations held between Britain, France, Italy, and the United States.

V. “A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.”
This meant that there was to be an impartial reviewing and deciding of colonial claims. However, in reality what happened was, Germany lost all of it’s colonies.

XIV. “A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.”
This meant that there was to be the formation of a “league of nations” of sorts. This was crucial to Wilson, and ultimately his dependence on it’s success lead to his manipulation within the higher powers.

Aside from actual points in the speech, Wilson makes large of both the fact that he has no grudges against the Germans, and no ill will, and also the fact that he wants world peace and justice. Both of these statements being inherent lies.

Bibliography
“Avalon Project – President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points.” Avalon Project – President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points. 2008 Lillian Goldman Law Library, n.d. Web. 14 May 2015. <http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/wilson14.asp&gt;.

Modernism & The Coming of World War I (L115)

1.) What are the values of Modernism that we see reflected across different fields, and how do they represent a departure from neoclassicism and the Enlightenment?

Values of Modernism were reflected across fields of science, literature, art and music through influential figures such as Scientist Neils Bohr claiming that the universe can only be understood as far as random chance. Art was suddenly flooded with personal interpretations, as the camera was now more available and landscapes could be captured as the artist wanted, not only as the artist saw them.

2.) What factors contributed to the coming of World War I?

Many factors contributed to the coming of World War I, and it is easy to get bogged down in the details of diplomacy. Basically, France and Russia made a military alliance in 1894; German foreign policy, pushing Britain closer towards France, creates it’s own worst enemy. The trio of France, Britain, and Russia, against Germany alone. Then, the Bosnian Crisis of 1908-09 forced the Russians to back down from supporting the Serbs in war against Austria, and pushed Russia to the edge of it’s limits; no longer will she be told to back down. This led to an arms race between Germany and Britain, and the situation only escalated from there.

The Struggles of an Empire (L110)

1.) What was the Kulturkampf?

Translating to “culture struggle” in English, the Kulturkampf refers to a time period in which German policies carried out by Prussian Prime Minister Otto van Bismarck were inclined to reduce the voice of the Roman Catholic Church in Prussia in order to push his new Empire into a single whole.

2.) Discuss the arguments advanced in favor of and against the British Empire in the two articles you read.

Throughout both articles, many important points were brought to light pertaining to the actions taken to preserve the British Empire. Most appallingly, and most well known, the back story goes that “the chicanery employed by the British authorities to evict the 1,500 islanders of Diego Garcia from their home in the Indian Ocean to make way for a U.S. military base in 1970” (James). However, what was left out were the 8,800 papers held at high security that detailed the accounts of relentless, shameful and horrific attacks on hundreds. Accounts in the previously withheld papers also included the frequent torture and murder of Mau Mau insurgents (Cobain). Yet, despite these blatant facts, James went on to finish his piece by stating “the Empire was a dynamic force for the regeneration of the world. It brought peace, security and stability to people who had lacked them; it delivered the products of science and technology to vast tracts of the world; and showed their inhabitants how they could master their environment” (James). This is true, I suppose, if you’re willing to ignore the mutilation of an entire civilization of people. The British, it could be said by James, had to first master the people before they could teach them to master their surroundings; the despicable acts carried out in this time are nothing to be proud of. According to James, the British took the “do as I say not as I do” route to “peace”. No societal advance should be made at the expense of another person or society; James is incorrect to believe the acts carried out were necessary to attain peace, stability and security.

Bibliography

James, Lawrence. “Yes, Mistakes Were Made, But We Must Never Stop Being Proud of The Empire.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 18 Apr. 2012. Web. 31 Mar. 2015. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2131801/Yes-mistakes-stop-proud-Empire.html&gt;.

Cobain, Ian, Owen Bowcott, and Richard Norton-Taylor. “Britain Destroyed Records of Colonial Crimes.” The Guardian. Guardian News, 17 Apr. 2012. Web. 31 Mar. 2015. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fuk%2F2012%2Fapr%2F18%2Fbritain-destroyed-records-colonial-crimes>.