reflection

I NEED HELP WITH MY REFLECTION
history
ATTACHED FILE(S)
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.

Final Exam: 20th Century Ideological Conflict

Remember the recommendations for completing response papers:
1. Read each step of the assignment carefully and be sure to complete the bullet points for each step.
2. Complete each bullet point with detailed explanations. Don’t just list information quickly. Show
your mind working by providing explanations which prove you studied and understood the details
of the lectures.
3. Don’t copy my sentences. Don’t use my sentences with just a few word changes. Write your own
sentences. You may use words, phrases, and concepts from the lectures. But the sentences should
be your own. That means your sentences should clearly be distinct from mine – in order to show
your mind working.
4. Re-read your writing before submitting your work. Look for mistakes and unclear sentences to fix.
The more time you invest in your writing, the more your writing will express your intelligence.

Here’s the Final Exam:

Write an essay completing the five steps below. Make sure your essay is based exclusively on studying
the assigned lectures on Blackboard in the “20th Century Ideological Conflict” folder. Do not use the
Internet or other sources.

1) Write a paragraph on World War I. Identify the dates and two sides of the war. Be sure to explain
• why the war was unlike any previous war in history
• why the war led to the creation of new countries, and to uncertainty and turmoil in many countries
• how Wilson and Lenin both saw the war as an opportunity to transform world politics
o Base your discussion exclusively on the lectures “World War I – Destruction & Opportunity” and
“First Russian Revolution 1917 – Wilson & Lenin.” That means do not use the Internet or other
sources. Focus on the assigned lectures. Show that you studied these lectures.

2) Write a paragraph on the Bolsheviks’ revolutionary socialist policies. Be sure to include dates and to
explain
• three socialist political policies
• three socialist economic policies
• how socialist economic policies relate to the Terror Famine and Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize
o Base your discussion exclusively on the lecture “Second Russian Revolution 1917 – Lenin & the
Bolsheviks.” That means do not use the Internet or other sources. Focus on the assigned lecture.
Show that you studied this lecture.

3) Write a paragraph on Fascism. Be sure to include dates and to explain
• why Fascism was considered progressive and was appealing to many
• three specific Fascist policies in Italy after identifying the Italian Fascist leader
• three specific Fascist policies in Germany after identifying the German Fascist leader
o Base your discussion exclusively on the lectures “Fascism” and “World War II – National Socialist
War.” That means do not use the Internet or other sources. Focus on the assigned lectures. Show
that you studied these lectures.

4) Write a paragraph on World War II. Identify the dates and two sides of the war. Be sure to explain
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.

• how the war was two separate wars combined into one – provide details
• why the war was a racial war – provide details
• why the war was an ideological war – provide details
• who won the war and why Stalingrad and D-Day were important
o Base your discussion exclusively on the lecture “World War II – National Socialist War.” That means
do not use the Internet or other sources. Focus on the assigned lecture. Show that you studied this
lecture.

5) Write three paragraphs on the Cold War. Be sure to include dates and to explain
• the beginning of the Cold War – where, when, and why it began
• the spread of the Cold War – how and when it spread to Asia
• the spread of the Cold War – how and when it spread to Latin America
• the end of the Cold War – when and why it ended
o Base your discussion exclusively on the lectures “Cold War part 1” and “Cold War part 2.” That
means do not use the Internet or other sources. Focus on the assigned lectures. Show that you
studied these lectures.

This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 2 – 1

The Cold War (1945-91)
part 2

The Cold War Spreads – Asia

We ended the last lecture by discussing the spread of the Cold War to Asia. The Soviet Union
won a significant victory over the United States in the ideological conflict of the Cold War when
the Chinse Communist Party took control of China in 1949.

From there, both the Soviets and the Chinese sought to spread revolutionary Socialism into
other parts of Asia, including Korea and Vietnam.

Let’s backtrack a bit to understand the context:

• During World War II (1939-45), Japan built a Japanese Empire in East Asia and the Pacific.
Japan occupied many East Asian countries, including Korea and Vietnam. See a map of the
Japanese Empire here (Vietnam is listed as French Indochina).
• After the United States defeated Japan in August 1945, Korea and Vietnam were both
divided. Each had a communist government in the north and a non-communist government
in the south.

Communist Non-Communist Maps
North Korea South Korea here or here
North Vietnam South Vietnam here or here

In both cases, the communists in the north sought to overthrow and conquer the non-
communist governments in the south. And in both cases, the United States defended the non-
communist governments in the south in order to “contain” the spread of communism.

Let’s look at each case. As we do so, consider the following:

• We’ve said the Cold War was an ideological conflict between the United States and the
Soviet Union. The Soviets tried to spread revolutionary Socialist ideas (communism) and the
U.S. tried to spread Liberal democratic ideas.
• In some cases, though, the United States supported non-communist governments which
were authoritarian, not Liberal democratic. This was the case in South Korea and South
Vietnam.
o The U.S. logic was this: Although an authoritarian government is not good in itself, it is
better than a communist government – the least bad of two bad options.
o Also, an authoritarian government might, over time, develop more Liberal and democratic
practices, whereas a communist government would not. This turned out to be true of
South Korea (as well as Taiwan).

https://www.ww2classroom.org/sites/default/files/maps/wip046.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QKq7hPPrUmM/T9VV7_cFCII/AAAAAAAAKaI/jJshprH3DJg/s1600/38.jpg
https://cdn.history.com/sites/2/2018/02/GettyImages-678110560.jpg
http://436836471817256981.weebly.com/uploads/1/5/4/5/15450636/2124834.jpg?368
https://www.militaryringsonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/history-of-the-vietnam-war.gif
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 2 – 2

Korea

The Communist Party of North Korea said it promoted “the revolutionary goals of national
liberation and the people’s democracy.”

• We’ve seen this kind of language before. Revolutionary Socialists use the rhetoric of
liberation and democracy to gain power. They become a government elite who rule over a
mass population stripped of individual rights.
• We saw this back in 1917. The original Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin promoted his
revolutionary Socialism as “democracy for the poor, democracy for the people.”
• We saw it again in the late 1940s. The Soviet Union described its spread of revolutionary
Socialism into Eastern Europe as building “people’s democracies.” Critics of Soviet policy
were rounded up and sent to the concentration camps known as the Gulag.

The Soviet Union continued to spread revolutionary Socialism in Asia by supplying the North
Korean Communist government with money and military equipment. In 1950, with Soviet
support, North Korea invaded South Korea. North Korea’s goal was to conquer South Korea and
place it under communist rule. In addition to the Soviets supplying North Korea, the Chinese
Communists entered the war on the side of North Korea. So the two major revolutionary
Socialist systems – the Soviet Union and China – both helped North Korea try to conquer South
Korea.

The United States responded with its Cold War strategy of Containment. President Truman sent
troops to defend South Korea and thus contain the spread of revolutionary Socialism.

The Korean War was 1950-53. It’s a good example of the Cold War between the Soviet Union
and the United States. The Soviet and American militaries did not directly fight each other. But
the Soviets supported the North Korean attempt to conquer South Korea and the Americans
sent troops to defend South Korea. About 33,000 Americans died defending South Korea.

When the Korean War ended in 1953, South Korea remained independent. Its government was
authoritarian. Though over decades, South Korea became democratic and is a thriving
democracy today. It’s a good example of American support in the Cold War for an authoritarian
government which became more democratic over time. Today, South Korea produces all kinds
of familiar products such as Samsung and LG. There would be no South Korea today without the
Korean War of the early 1950s. North Korea remains communist. Its population lives in poverty
and under oppression.

Vietnam

Vietnam’s Communist Party was founded in 1930. Its leader was Ho Chi Minh. Ho was a
follower of Joseph Stalin and an agent of the Soviet “Comintern.” The word “Comintern” stood
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 2 – 3

for Communist International. It was the Soviet organization in charge of spreading
revolutionary Socialism around the world.

Like Korea, Vietnam was divided after World War II. Ho Chi Minh’s Communist Party controlled
North Vietnam. Since Vietnam had been a French colony before World War II, the French tried
to re-establish a non-communist government in South Vietnam after the war.

Ho Chi Minh’s communist forces – called Vietminh – sought to drive the French out of South
Vietnam. Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao’s Communist China supported Ho and the Vietminh.
Like their support of North Korea, the two major revolutionary Socialist systems – the Soviet
Union and China – both helped North Vietnam try to conquer South Vietnam.

The United States responded with its Cold War strategy of Containment. Presidents Truman
(1945-53) and Eisenhower (1953-61) sought to prevent the spread of communism by sending
financial aid to support the non-communist government in South Vietnam.

Through the 1950s, Ho Chi Minh tightened his control of North Vietnam by using political
terror.

• In 1954-55 alone, Ho had about 50,000 peasants executed. Most were chosen at random in
order to spread terror through the rest of the population of North Vietnam.
• Ho had about 100,000 people thrown into prison camps.
• 1958 was the year Mao Zedong began the Great Leap Forward in China. It was part of Mao’s
plan to build a “classless society.” It put the State in control of agriculture production in
order to promote equality. The result was mass food shortages and mass starvation. Ho Chi
Minh followed Mao’s lead. Ho also launched a Great Leap Forward in North Vietnam. The
results were the same – mass shortages and mass starvation. The number of North
Vietnamese who starved to death remains unknown.
• Estimates for the total deaths in North Vietnam from executions, prison camps, and
starvation range from 300,000 to 900,000 in the 1950s alone. Another 800,000 escaped
Ho’s terror by fleeing North Vietnam as refugees. By the end of the 1950s, North Vietnam
was becoming an impoverished police state, kept alive by massive aid from the Soviet
Union and China.

In the early 1960s, with continued Soviet and Chinese support, Ho increased his efforts to
conquer South Vietnam. He promoted a revolutionary guerrilla force called the Vietcong and
began sending combat units of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) into the South.

In 1965, the United States under President Lyndon Johnson sent 200,000 American marines to
defend South Vietnam. By 1968, that number increased to over 500,000.

From the American perspective, the Vietnam War was 1965-73. It’s another good example of
the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. The Soviet and American
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 2 – 4

militaries did not directly fight each other. But the Soviets supported the North Vietnam’s
attempt to conquer South Vietnam and the U.S. sent troops to defend South Vietnam.

In 1973, “An Agreement Ending the War” was signed called the Paris Peace Accords. It included
the withdrawal of U.S. forces and a promise by North Vietnam not to try to conquer South
Vietnam. U.S. troops withdrew. The North Vietnamese then violated the agreement and
launched a massive invasion which conquered South Vietnam by 1975.

• North Vietnam’s communist government then rounded up more than one-third of South
Vietnam’s population and sent them to prison camps called “re-education camps.” See
image here.
• Between 100,000 and 200,000 died of disease and starvation in the camps. Over 50,000
more were simply murdered as opponents of the communists’ “people’s democracy.”
• Hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese also fled the communist government in
crowded, home-made boats which they sailed across the South China Sea hoping to find
other countries to settle in. See map here. See images here, here, here, and here. These
Vietnamese refugees from Ho’s revolutionary Socialism were called the “boat people.”
Their numbers continued to increase in the 1980s and eventually reached well over one
million, and perhaps as many as 2 million.

Unlike in Korea, the American attempt to contain the spread of revolutionary Socialism in
Vietnam failed. About 58,000 Americans died defending South Vietnam.

The Cold War Spreads – Latin America & Africa

The Cold War also spread to Latin America and Africa. Let’s look at Latin America, particularly
Cuba.

On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro tried to overthrow the Cuban government led by the dictator
Fulgencio Batista. Castro failed. He and a hundred members of his guerrilla force were arrested
and put on trial. Twenty-four lawyers defended them. Castro, who had a law degree, defended
himself. Only one-third were convicted. Castro and his brother Raúl received a 15-year prison
sentence, but were granted amnesty after less than 2 years. They were released from prison
and began planning another attempt to overthrow the Cuban government.

On January 1, 1959, Castro and his guerrilla force tried again. This time Castro succeeded and
seized power in Cuba. At first, Castro pretended not to be a revolutionary Socialist interested in
power. He pledged, “I am not interested in power nor do I envisage assuming it at any time.”
Castro hired a public relations firm to promote his image as a man of the people. Many
Americans hoped Castro’s revolution was the beginning of a democratic government in Cuba.
Castro was greeted by a parade on his first trip to New York City in the spring 1959. See the
parade here.

https://alphahistory.com/vietnamwar/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/reeducationcamps.jpg
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c9/c2/bd/c9c2bda43690a8a52a2d3bdb048bc37a.png
https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3409/3219223326_4272422455_b.jpg
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-aAerRPmGgPU/Wpv6uTNYkkI/AAAAAAADBj0/7RMXmK5N0y03zQpI6hD98j9yKO_v3M8XwCLcBGAs/s1600/vietnamese-boat-people-12.jpg
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7LKi4Io4t9s/VEq0kuuDkEI/AAAAAAAABpw/78AzU8–BDU/s1600/Boat%2B12b.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c6/35_Vietnamese_boat_people_2.JPEG

This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 2 – 5

Unfortunately, the image of Castro was a lie. Two years later, Castro acknowledged that he had
been a revolutionary Socialist all along. He proclaimed: “I believe absolutely in Marxism! Did I
believe on January 1st,” 1959? “I believed on January 1st! Did I believe on July 26th,” 1953? “I
believed on July 26th!”

Back in 1953, when Castro was arrested, his trial was not completely fair. But he was allowed to
defend himself in court. He was allowed to speak in his own defense for as long as he wanted –
he spoke for four hours. All the defendants had lawyers. Most defendants were acquitted. And
Castro received amnesty after less than two years in jail.

Castro did not offer the same opportunities to his political opponents. As soon as he took
power in 1959, he began arresting, torturing, and killing his political opponents.

• Castro’s government established “revolutionary tribunals.” These were not regular courts
with due process for the accused. Instead, they were show trials which assumed the guilt of
the accused. They were staged in front of howling spectators. As Castro said, “revolutionary
justice is not based on legal precepts,” meaning not based on legal due process like
evidence, an impartial jury, and innocence until proven guilty.
• Castro’s “revolutionary tribunals were sending a steady stream of men to the firing squad,”
wrote Glenn Garvin. Garvin co-authored Diary of a Survivor: Nineteen Years in a Cuban
Women’s Prison.
• The Inter-American Human Rights Commission explained another element of Castro’s
“revolutionary justice”: Many Cubans were “submitted to medical procedures of blood
extraction of an average of seven pints per person. This blood is sold to Communist
Vietnam at a rate of $50 per pint.” “Extracting this amount of blood . . . produces cerebral
anemia and a state of unconsciousness and paralysis.” “By 1995, blood exports were Cuba’s
5th largest export product.”

Castro established the first revolutionary Socialist state in the Western Hemisphere. He spread
the Cold War to Latin America. He built close ties with the Soviet Union. By the early 1960s,
Cuba was increasingly dependent on the Soviets for economic and military aid. Cuba thus
became another location for the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States.
The Cold War – the ideological conflict between the Soviets and the U.S – grew particularly
tense in the early 1960s.

• Bay of Pigs, April 1961. Thousands of Cubans fled Castro’s Socialism. The United States
trained some of these Cuban refugees and helped them return to Cuba with the aim of
overthrowing Castro. The plan was called the Bay of Pigs and it failed in April 1961.
• The Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962. American intelligence discovered that Soviet
nuclear missiles were being constructed in Cuba, 90 miles from Florida. U.S. President John
Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba to prevent Soviet ships from delivering additional
missiles. As Soviet ships approached the U.S. blockade, a direct military confrontation
between the Soviets and the U.S. appeared increasingly possible. Soviet leader Nikita
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 2 – 6

Khrushchev blamed Kennedy for pushing humankind “to the abyss of a world missile-
nuclear war.”
o After a 13-day standoff, Khrushchev agreed to turn the Soviet ships around and to remove
the nuclear missiles from Cuba, against the wishes of Castro.

Fidel Castro brought the Cold War to Cuba. He also helped spread the Cold War beyond Cuba as
he supported socialist guerilla movements from other Latin American countries. A socialist
guerrilla force called the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) modeled itself after
Castro’s earlier guerrilla force of the 1950s. FSLN trained in Cuba. It eventually brought
revolutionary Socialism to Nicaragua when it overthrew the government there and established
a new socialist state in 1979.

The U.S. responded to the spread of the Cold War into Latin America by trying to contain the
spread of revolutionary Socialism.

• In 1965, the president of the Dominican Republic requested the Organization of American
States (OAS) – the U.S. and other Latin American countries – to provide troops to help
suppress a socialist insurrection in the DR.
• In 1983, a revolutionary socialist guerrilla force murdered Grenada’s primes minister. The
Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) requested troops – U.S., Jamaican, and
Barbadian troops – to restore order and suppress the socialist insurrection.
• In the 1980s, the U.S. also supported the opponents of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua called
the Contras.
• In these ways, the U.S. tried to contain the spread of revolutionary Socialism in Latin
America.

In building a socialist economy, Castro abolished private businesses in Cuba. His government
took control of the Cuban economy, including industries like oil refining as well as farming and
housing. The result of such government control was shortages, especially shortages of housing
and consumer goods. With few opportunities for their own advancement, hundreds of
thousands of Cubans fled the island. This included large numbers of professionals and
technicians who fled to the United States and who, given economic freedom, contributed to the
American economy.

By the 1970s and ’80s, only aid from the Soviet Union kept the Cuban economy from collapsing.
In return for Soviet aid, Cuba’s government farms exported sugar to Soviet satellite nations.

• The Soviets also used Castro’s army to spread revolutionary Socialism in Africa.
• Castro’s army was sent to Ethiopia and Angola.
• In Angola, Cuban troops supported a Marxist guerrilla force called the Popular Movement
for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). In 1975, MPLA announced a new socialist state called
the People’s Republic of Angola.
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 2 – 7

• Cuban and MPLA forces then began attacks on other non-communist movements such as
the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The U.S. supported
UNITA while the Soviets used Cuban forces to support MPLA. Fighting between these
various groups in Angola continued after the Cold War was over in 1991.

There are many myths surrounding Fidel Castro. These myths are largely the products of Soviet
and Cuban propaganda. Some have repeated the claim for a long time that Castro increased
literacy in Cuba. Such claims usually fail to note that literacy was relatively high in Cuba before
Castro seized power. And such claims fail to consider that other Latin American countries like
Costa Rica increased literacy without destroying the economy and denying individual rights, and
without the arbitrary arrests, torture, and executions which were central parts of Castro’s
revolutionary Socialism.

Another myth regards health care. Some have repeated the claim that Castro provided quality
care to the Cuban people. Consider, though, how human behavior reveals quality. Every year
thousands of Canadians travel to the United States and pay out of pocket for U.S. health care in
order to avoid long waits in Canada. There has been no such travel to Cuba for health care. The
claims of Cuban health care depend upon health statistics provided by Cuba’s communist
government.

• Statistics from communist governments are rarely accurate. When the Soviet nuclear power
plant at Chernobyl exploded in 1986 because of faulty design, the Soviets knowingly and
repeatedly reported false-radiation statistics.
• We see a strange parallel today. Some have believed the statistics provided by the Chinese
Communist Party about the number of coronavirus deaths in China. New York Times
reporter Ginia Bellafante tweeted the following on February 27, 2020: “I fundamentally
don’t understand the panic: incidence of disease is declining in China.”

Despite the myths surrounding Fidel Castro, the following two people provide a clear picture of
Castro’s rule – Huber Matos and Armando Valladares. Matos supported Castro’s seizure of
power in 1959. He participated in Castro’s revolution, believing the original myth that Castro
was not a revolutionary Socialist, but wanted a democratic government. When Matos realized
too late who Castro was, Matos criticized the imposition of revolutionary Socialism on Cuba. He
expressed his ideas. For this, he was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Matos later
wrote:

• “I had to go on hunger strikes, mount other types of protests. Terrible. On and off, I spent a
total of sixteen years in solitary confinement, constantly being told that I was never going to
get out alive, that I had been sentenced to die in prison.”

Another Cuban Armando Valladares also expressed his ideas. He also criticized revolutionary
Socialism in Cuba. He was also arrested as a political “criminal.” Valladares spent 22 years in
solitary confinement in Castro’s prisons. He lived to write a classic prison memoir, Against All
Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag.

This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 2 – 8

Just like the Cuban economy depended on Soviet aid, so too the Cuban system of political
prisons – Castro’s Gulag – reflected the Soviet system of political prisons – the Soviet Gulag.
These prison systems were concentration camps. The Soviet system was fully exposed to the
world in the 1970s with the publication and translation of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag
Archipelago.

In the end, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Its socialist economy could not generate enough
wealth to sustain its socialist system. This brings us back to the validity of statistics from
communist governments. Just like Castro could publish his own health statistics, so too the
Soviets published their own economic statistics. Recall the difference between official Soviet
statistics in blue and the reality of the Soviet economy in green in the chart here. The Soviets
manipulated their statistics from the start of the Soviet Union in the 1920s to the end of the
Soviet Union in 1991.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 ended the Cold War. It also ended Soviet aid to Cuba.
The terrible state of the Cuban economy became more obvious at that point. Castro continued
his rule by trying to convince the Cuban people that it was the U.S., not his revolutionary
Socialism, which kept the island from prospering.

https://www.thevintagenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/graph_of_soviet_national_income_growth-640×430.jpg
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 1 – 1

The Cold War (1945-91)
part 1

The Cold War was an ideological conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. It
lasted from the end of World War II in 1945 until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

The Cold War was an ideological conflict because it was a competition of ideas – a competition
about whose ideas were better for human begins and society. The United States promoted
Modern Liberal democratic ideas. The Soviet Union promoted revolutionary Socialist ideas.

This ideological conflict was global. It occurred in many places across the world, including

• Eastern Europe
• Asia
• Middle East
• Africa
• Latin America

It is called the “Cold” War because the militaries of the United States and the Soviet Union
never directly fought each other. The militaries of the U.S. and the Soviets did fight in wars, just
not directly against each other. And the governments of the U.S. and the Soviet Union
supported various groups who fought to contain or to spread revolutionary Socialism, such as
the communists and non-communists in Korea, Vietnam, and Angola.

Since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and lost the Cold War, it is easy to think that such an
outcome was inevitable. But it didn’t appear that way at the time. For much of the 20th century,
the Soviet Union presented its revolutionary Socialist ideas as superior to Liberal democratic
ideas, as the basis for a more just society.

Also, many western intellectuals thought the Soviet Union would continue to exist, and even
thrive, in the 21st century. Paul Samuelson was a highly influential economist in the United
States. He won a Nobel Prize in economics, was a professor at MIT, and an economic adviser to
several American presidents. He wrote the following in his 1989 economics textbook:

• “The Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, a
socialist command economy can function and even thrive.”

Samuelson was wrong. Within two years, the Soviet socialist economy collapsed. It could not
generate enough wealth to sustain its socialist system (see the difference between official
Soviet statistics in blue and the reality of the Soviet economy in green here). The reality of the
Soviet’s socialist economy was evident in the quality of life of Russians living outside of
Moscow. They had a standard of living similar to what Americans had generations earlier.

The Yalta Conference & the Iron Curtain: Eastern Europe Falls

Because the Cold War started right after World War II (1939-45), it is important to remember
that the United States and the Soviet Union were allies during the war. They fought on the
same side against the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan.
https://www.thevintagenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/graph_of_soviet_national_income_growth-640×430.jpg
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 1 – 2

But the United States and the Soviet Union were allies of convenience. That means they were
allies only because they shared a common enemy – National Socialist Germany.

The United States and the Soviet Union did not share similar political systems or ideas. The
United States was evolving into a Modern Liberal democracy. In contrast, the Soviet Union was
developing revolutionary Socialism.

The differences between the United States and the Soviet Union go back to the early years of
the 20th century. Recall our earlier discussion of Woodrow Wilson and Vladimir Lenin in 1917.
Here’s a quick review:
• Woodrow Wilson was the American President in 1917. When the first Russian Revolution of
1917 happened, Wilson hoped Russia would evolve into a democracy as part of a
democratic transformation of world politics.
• Vladimir Lenin rejected Wilson’s democratic ideas. Lenin was a revolutionary Socialist who
led the second Russian Revolution of 1917. His Bolshevik party seized power in October
1917 and began to transform Russia into a revolutionary Socialist society.
o In the 1920s and ’30s, the Bolsheviks then built a “union” or empire of 15 socialist
countries called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R) – the Soviet Union.
o Click to see maps of the Soviet Union here or here or here or here.

This review highlights how the United States and the Soviet Union had fundamentally different
political systems long before the start of World War II in 1939. They were allies of convenience
during the war because they shared a common enemy – National Socialist Germany.

The U.S. President during most of World War II was Franklin Roosevelt. The Soviet premier was
Joseph Stalin. Roosevelt and Stalin, along with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, met
together during the war. Their last meeting was the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Yalta is
a town on the Black See, which you can see here or here. You can also see a famous picture of
the three leaders at Yalta here– Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin are seated left to right.

World War II was not quite over when Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill met at Yalta. The Soviet
military was pushing toward Germany from eastern Europe. And the American and British
militaries were pushing toward Germany from western Europe. The point of the Yalta
Conference was to discuss postwar plans for Europe after the final defeat of Germany, which
came in May 1945.

The three leaders discussed the countries of Eastern Europe – Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary,
Romania, and Bulgaria. These countries had been run over twice during World War II. They
were battlegrounds early in the war as the German military moved east and occupied these
countries for much of the war – see map here. And they were battlegrounds again later in the
war when the Soviet army pushed the Germans back towards Germany. The Soviets then
occupied these countries at the end of the war.
https://thestateofthecentury.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/former-ussr-republics.gif
https://www.worldatlas.com/r/w728-h425-c728x425/upload/bc/48/f7/shutterstock-290167274.jpg
https://thepeoplescube.com/images/various_uploads/Map_USSR_Republics.jpg
https://letustalk.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/map-of-soviet-union.gif
http://aventalearning.com/content168staging/2008AmHistB/unit11/images/HIS02-107.47617.jpg
http://dickschmitt.com/travels/black-sea/overview/large_Images/map-yalta-gnu-wiki.jpg
https://cdn.britannica.com/99/118399-050-5D3B61A2/Winston-Churchill-Franklin-Roosevelt-Joseph-Stalin-Yalta-1945.jpg
https://i.pinimg.com/736x/90/ec/54/90ec54cb60123f29a7796ca10e88a4cc–isis-europe.jpg
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 1 – 3

Roosevelt and Churchill wanted the countries of Eastern Europe to become democratic after
the war – to have free and fair elections to choose their own leaders. But at the time of the
Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Soviet military controlled much of Eastern Europe.
Stalin promised to hold democratic elections, but instead sought to spread revolutionary
Socialism in Eastern Europe. Spreading revolutionary Socialism meant the Soviets took the
following actions in the countries of Eastern Europe after the war. The Soviets
• arrested politicians who were not pro-Soviet
• abducted activists who were not pro-Soviet
• took over radio stations
• created phony political parties to give the appearance of what they called “people’s
democracies”
• forced large groups of people – Poles, Hungarians, Germans – out of their homes so loyal
Soviets could move in.

What was really happening was this: Stalin had the Soviet military help install revolutionary
Socialist governments in Eastern Europe. These governments were largely controlled by the
Soviet Union. The following are the dates when the Soviets helped install pro-Soviet
governments in the countries of Eastern Europe:

• Bulgaria – 1946
• Poland – 1947
• Hungary – 1947
• Romania – 1947
• Czechoslovakia – 1948
• East Germany – 1949

For maps of Eastern Europe after World War II click here or here or here.

This is where the Cold War began – in Eastern Europe after the war.

Winston Churchill warned about Soviet control of Eastern Europe as early as 1946. He did so in
a famous speech called the “Iron Curtain” speech. Churchill warned that “an iron curtain has
descended across” Europe. The iron curtain meant Soviet control of Eastern European peoples.
Behind the iron curtain, Churchill explained, “all are subject in one form or another not only to
Soviet influence but to a very high and increasing measure of control from Moscow” – i.e.,
control by the Soviet government. The map here shows the “Iron Curtain” as a white line
dividing Europe.

The Soviet military helping install pro-Soviet governments in Eastern Europe in the late 1940s
was part of the Soviet strategy of spreading revolutionary Socialism.
• Recall that from the beginning, the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 was never just about
Russia. It was about using Russia as a basis to spread revolutionary Socialism across
boundaries.
• That process began when the Bolsheviks constructed the Soviet Union in the 1920s and
’30s.
• That process continued after World War II when the Soviets helped install socialist
governments in Eastern European countries. These countries became Soviet “satellite
https://stuffmyboyfriendtellsme.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/iron-curtain-map.png
https://alphahistory.com/coldwar/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/coldwarmap.png
https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.timetoast.com/public/uploads/photos/6557536/EuropeBehindAnIronCurtain.jpg?1477485093
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UPDV_UPxUdk/USz9Kg8MeeI/AAAAAAAAAr0/eimzly7TzlI/s1600/cold_war_mp.jpg
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 1 – 4

states.” Each was “a lacky of the Soviet Government,” in the words of Jan Masaryk, Foreign
Minister of Czechoslovakia.

The Truman Doctrine – Containment

America President Franklin Roosevelt died in April 1945. His vice president Harry Truman
became president. Truman was thus president when World War II ended and the Soviets began
spreading revolutionary Socialism in Eastern Europe. Truman responded to Soviet expansion by
announcing a new American foreign policy in 1947 called “Containment.”

Containment meant containing the spread of socialism. The idea was that the Soviets were
already spreading revolutionary Socialism into Eastern Europe and that the United States must
use its power – money, intelligence, and military – to contain the Soviets from spreading
revolutionary Socialism even further.

Truman’s Containment policy shows how the Cold War was an ideological conflict between the
United States and the Soviet Union. Truman described this ideological conflict – this
competition of ideas – as a need to “choose between alternative ways of life.”
• He described Modern Liberal democratic ideas as a “way of life” based on “free elections,
guaranties of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion.”
• He described revolutionary Socialist ideas as a “second way of life” which “relies upon
terror and oppression, a controlled wireless and radio, fixed elections, and the suppression
of persons freedoms.”

As an example of Containment, Truman asked Congress in 1947 for $400 million of aid for the
governments of Greece and Turkey. Notice in the map here how Greece and Turkey are at the
southern boundary of the spread of revolutionary Socialism. The goal was to help those two
governments prevent revolutionary Socialism from taking over their countries too. There was
already a communist guerrilla force in Greece trying to overthrow the Greek government.

In the following year, 1948, the United States developed the Marshall Plan. This was also part of
Containment. The Marshall Plan included over $13 billion of aid to help rebuild Europe after the
destruction of World War II. The logic of the Marshall Plan was this:
• Revolutionary Socialism has a better chance of spreading when people feel a sense of
economic and social crisis.
• Providing economic and social stability by helping rebuild Europe after the war with
Marshall Plan money would contain the spread of socialist revolution.

Stalin understood this logic. He prevented Eastern European countries from receiving any
Marshall Plan money. He knew the money would help improve the economies in these
countries which would make it harder to spread revolutionary Socialism.

https://alphahistory.com/coldwar/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/coldwarmap.png
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 1 – 5

So as of the late 1940s, the ideological conflict of the Cold War was underway – the
competition of ideas between the United States and the Soviet Union had begun. It began as
the Soviet Union led by Joseph Stalin sought to spread revolutionary Socialism in Eastern
Europe. The United States responded with Truman’s policy of Containment and the Marshall
Plan. The U.S. also developed an alliance system with other countries seeking to contain Soviet
Power. The alliance was called NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The original member
states of NATO are in blue in the map here.

1949 – Two Big Events

In 1949, two big events happened. One was the Soviet Union developed atomic weapons.

Let’s backtrack for a moment to understand the context:
• After Germany was defeated in May 1945, President Truman faced a decision about Japan,
which was another Axis Power still fighting the U.S. in the Pacific.
• The U.S. military presented Truman with various plans to defeat Japan. These plans
projected an ongoing war with hundreds of thousands of casualties. Faced with this
prospect, Truman decided to use an atomic bomb.
• The U.S. had developed the technology of atomic weapons during the war as part of its
secret research project code-named the “Manhattan Project.”
• The first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
Japan did not surrender, so a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9. The
Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender on August 15.

U.S. leaders did not think the Soviet Union possessed the advanced technology to develop
atomic weapons for many years. Yet in 1949, the Soviets had developed an atomic weapon.
This was a shock. The Soviets developed atomic weapons technology through espionage – i.e.,
spies who stole American technology.
• As early as the 1930s, the Soviets secretly recruited members of the American government
to spy for the Soviet Union. Spies included Alger Hiss in the State Department, Harry Dexter
White in the Treasury Department, and Lauchlin Currie in the White House as an economic
adviser to President Roosevelt.
• In the 1940s, the Soviets recruited American spies in the U.S. research project to develop
atomic weapons – the Manhattan Project. Such spies included Klaus Fuchs, Theodore Hall,
David Greenglass, and William Perl among others. The Soviets were able to build an atomic
bomb by 1949 by stealing American technology.

The second event of 1949 was also a shock – revolutionary Socialism spread to China.
• Back in 1921, the Russian Bolsheviks helped establish a communist party in China as part of
their attempt to spread revolutionary Socialism beyond Russia.
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Tt07ydo1Plk/maxresdefault.jpg
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Cold War part 1 – 6

• In the 1930s and ’40s, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) fought a civil war against Chinese
Nationalists for control of China. The Soviets supported the Communists. The Americans
supported the Nationalists.
• In 1949, the Chinese Communist Party defeated the Chinese Nationalists and took control
of China. The Nationalists fled to Taiwan, which to this day seeks to maintain its
independence from China.

The leader of the Chinese Communist Party was Mao Zedong. Like most revolutionary socialists,
Mao promised to build a “classless society.” This included what Mao called the “Great Leap
Forward,” a policy he began in 1958. The “Great Leap Forward” meant was State control of the
economy, particularly control of agriculture. The State took over the farms. It planned
production and managed supply chains and food distribution. The goal was equality. The result
was mass food shortages and mass starvation. In 3 years – 1958-61 – over 30 million Chinese
people starved to death. 30 million is a conservative estimate. Some estimates are higher.
Either way, think about that – more than 4 times the population of New York City starving to
death in just 3 years.

These two events of 1949 – the Soviets developing atomic weapons and the CCP takeover of
China – were major developments in the Cold War. The Cold War – the ideological conflict
between the Soviet Union and the United States – began with the Soviets spreading
revolutionary Socialism into Eastern Europe. The United States responded under President
Truman with the Containment policy. But with the CCP takeover of China, it was clear that
revolutionary Socialism had spread beyond Europe to Asia.

The next lecture will pick up with Cold War events in Asia and beyond.
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.World War II – 1

World War II (1939-45)
The National Socialist War

The two sides of World War II were:

Allied Powers (victors)
Soviet Union
France
Great Britain
United States (1941)
China
Axis Powers
Germany
Italy
Japan

Background

World War II was actually two separate wars for several years. These two wars were then
combined into one war in late 1941 when Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor.

One war was in the Pacific. Imperial Japan sought to build a Japanese Empire in East and
Southeast Asia. This war began when Japan invaded China in 1937.
• The Japanese called their empire the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.”
• Click here, here, and here to see maps of the Japanese empire.

The other war was in Europe. Fascist Germany sought to build a German Empire in Central and
Eastern Europe. This war officially began in September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland.
• Click here and here for maps showing how far the Germans got in building their empire.

The two wars were combined into one world war when Japan attacked the United States at
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. This meant Japan and the United States were at war
in the Pacific. Four days later, Germany declared war on the United States. This meant the
United States was involved in the European war as well, making the two wars one world war.

Our focus in this lecture will be on the European part of the war. This war is often called Hitler’s
war because the German Fascist leader Adolph Hitler wanted to build a German Empire in
Central and Eastern Europe.

Germans Fascism is National Socialism

The name of Hitler’s Fascist party in Germany was the National Socialist German Workers’
Party. The term “Nazi” comes from the “Na” in National and the “zi” in the German spelling of
Socialism (Sozialismus). The Fascist party promoted National Socialism – in the name of the
country’s workers. Other prominent leaders of the German National Socialists included
https://www.ww2classroom.org/sites/default/files/maps/wip046.jpg
https://www.thetrumpet.com/files/W1siZiIsIjIwMTcvMDMvMDcvNm9yNW02cXd1ZF9maWxlIl0sWyJwIiwidGh1bWIiLCIxMjAweD4iXSxbInAiLCJlbmNvZGUiLCJqcGciLCItcXVhbGl0eSA4NSJdXQ/5839286a8c16eb34.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b7/Japanese_Empire_-_1942.svg/2000px-Japanese_Empire_-_1942.svg.png
https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-f01b38bba3b442d4e23030fcd4e372a9-c
https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/images/ww2-germany-map01.gif
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.World War II – 2

• Joseph Goebbels
• Heinrich Himmler
• Reinhard Heydrich
• Hermann Göring
• Martin Bormann
• Heinrich Müller
• Eberhard Schöngarth
• Otto Hofmann
• Adolph Eichmann
• Rudolph Lange
• Roland Freisler
The following quotes are from the National Socialists’ party platform. Read the quotes carefully.
They highlight why the leaders of National Socialism called their ideas Socialism.
• The party wanted “all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, to
be abolished.” The party clearly criticized a major feature of capitalism, which is making
money from interest and investments – “income that does arise from work.” The National
Socialists wanted this capitalist income “to be abolished.”
• The party wanted guaranteed jobs and a guaranteed standard of living: “the State shall
above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently
and earning a livelihood.”
• The party wanted to promote “a sound middle-class” by taking over large stores and renting
them cheaply to less wealthy workers – “the immediate communalization of large stores
which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople.”
• The party wanted to guarantee higher education: The State shall “make it possible for every
capable and industrious German to obtain higher education.” This included paying for the
education of talented children from poor families: “talented children of poor parents,
whatever their station or occupation, shall be educated at the expense of the State.”
• The party wanted “the nationalization of all trusts,” meaning government ownership of
large corporations which have merged together into trusts.
• The party wanted a “generous increase in old age pensions.”
• The party wanted “profit-sharing in large industries,” meaning companies sharing profits
with workers.
• The party wanted “to raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare
centers.”

As the party program indicates, the National Socialists viewed themselves as progressive –
guaranteed jobs and living standards, cheap rents, profit sharing, pensions, welfare centers, etc.
Recall the discussion of Fascism in the last lecture. Many in the early 20th century viewed
Fascism as a progressive movement promising to replace old ideas and older ways of doing
things with new and more just policies.

The German National Socialists viewed themselves as progressive because they promised to
replace selfish ways of thinking with service to the community. They focused on the “national
community,” not the individual. We see this in the National Socialist program of abolishing
“unearned income” and “income that does not arise from work.” This kind of income –
capitalist income from interest and investments – was considered selfish. In contrast, Fascists
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.World War II – 3

promoted the “right distribution” of wealth to benefit “all the classes of the nation.” They
promoted profit sharing between workers and companies and national health centers.

Replacing old ideas and selfish ways of thinking was part of the Fascists’ new kind of politics.
Their new politics sought to overcome the loneliness many feel in modern mass society. The
goal was to use the power of the State to create an “authentic” community – a national
community of total belonging. In this community, people were to find fulfillment not by
pursuing self-interest or exercising individual rights, but by committing themselves to the
nation.

So the German National Socialists viewed themselves as brining progress, building a better
society with guaranteed jobs, higher education, generous pensions, and raising the standard of
national health. But they also thought progress required eliminating what they viewed as
“corruption” in society.

Let’s think through this notion of “corruption.” The notion that there is corruption in society
which must be eliminated in order to create unity was important in the thinking of both
revolutionary Socialists and National Socialists. The revolutionary Socialists and the National
Socialists simply disagreed on who represented the corruption and thus who had to be
eliminated:
• Recall that revolutionary Socialists promised a better future of unity and cooperation. But
they argued that it was necessary to destroy a particular group in society in order to create
unity. That group – the “corruption” which needed to be eliminated – was the
“bourgeoisie” or “capitalist.”
• The German National Socialists also promised a better future of unity and cooperation. And
they also argued that it was necessary to destroy particular groups in society in order to
create unity. The primary group – the “corruption” which needed to be eliminated – was
Jews.
o The party stated: “Only those of German blood, whatever their creed, may be members of
the nation. Hence, no Jew may be a member of the nation.”
o The National Socialists’ attempt to eliminate Jews led to the mass genocide of the
Holocaust, discussed below. The National Socialist also identified other “corrupt” groups
including Slavic peoples like Poles and Russians.

What we’re seeing here is a basic logic that many revolutionary ideologies use. The logic is that
1) current society includes corruption; 2) it is necessary to eliminate this corruption; 3) once
that is achieved, we will have unity and cooperation. For revolutionary Socialists, unity will
follow the destruction of capitalists. For National Socialists, unity will follow the destruction of
Jews, as well others like Slavs.

This type of revolutionary logic has often been enticing in the modern world. It promises to
build an inclusive society by scapegoating specific groups.

This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.World War II – 4

The National Socialist War – The Early Years

World War II was a racial and ideological war.

The National Socialist goal was to build a German Empire in Central and Eastern Europe – i.e.,
for Germany to expand by taking over Central and Eastern European nations. As the party
stated: “We demand land and territory.”

Most European Jews lived in Central and Eastern Europe. So as Germany expanded, it had
increasing control over European Jews. The ultimate goal of German expansion was the
invasion of the Soviet Union – the Socialist empire of 15 nations led by the Russian Bolsheviks.
• This is why World War II was a racial and ideological war.
• Hitler and the German National Socialists sought to destroy the “race” of European Jews.
• The National Socialists also sought to destroy the ideology of Socialism by conquering the
Soviet Union.

National Socialists argued that destroying Jews and revolutionary Socialists would bring
progress, a better future. They viewed Jews and revolutionary Socialists as the most corrupt
elements of Europe. Destroying this corruption, they argued, would lead to a healthier society
of unity and cooperation.

As part of building a German Empire in Central and Eastern Europe, Hitler and the German
National Socialists took the following actions leading up to the beginning of World War II in
September 1939. View a map of Europe here as you review the following events:
• March 1938, the German army moves into and takes over Austria.
• September 1938, Germany threatens to take the western part of Czechoslovakia known as
the Sudetenland.
o Leaders from Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany meet at the Munich Conference
in Munich, Germany.
o These leaders agree to give the Sudetenland to Germany in return for Hitler’s promise
not to invade other countries.
• March 1939, Hitler’s violates his promise by invading and conquering the rest of
Czechoslovakia.
o In response, Great Britain and France promise to defend Poland if Poland is invaded.
• August 1939, Germany concludes a Non-Aggression Treaty with the Soviet Union. The two
sides agree that each side will take parts of Eastern Europe soon and they promise not to
attack each other.
o Hitler already plans on violating this Treaty at some point in the future. Remember, a
National Socialist goal is to destroy revolutionary Socialism by invading the Soviet Union.
o But Hitler is not prepared for this yet. So he signs this Non-Aggression Treaty with the
Soviets until he is ready to break the Treaty in a few years.
http://www.emersonkent.com/images/europe_1919.jpg
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.World War II – 5

• September 1939, World War II begins in Europe when Germany invades Poland.
o In response, Great Britain and France declare war on Germany, but do not actually
engage in fighting at this point.
• Spring 1940, Hitler reluctantly moves westward by invading Denmark, Belgium, and France.
o This westward movement is reluctant because the National Socialist goal is to move east,
to build a German Empire in Central and Eastern Europe.
o Nevertheless, Germany defeats France in only 6 weeks and controls much of Europe.
o Hitler considers an invasion of Great Britain. The British and German air forces battle
over Britain in the summer 1940. This air battle is called the Battle of Britain, but it leads
to a stalemate.
o Hitler then decides to leave Britain alone and focus on invading the Soviet Union.
• June 1941, the German invasion of the Soviet Union begins. This is the main event of the
war, what makes the war an ideological war. The National Socialists seek to destroy the
ideology of revolutionary Socialism, which means trying to destroy the Soviet Union.

The first several months of the German invasion of the Soviet Union go well for Germany. The
German military conquers a lot of Soviet land, and captures and kills a lot of Soviet soldiers.

The Holocaust

It was after the invasion of the Soviet Union that the German National Socialists decided on the
“Final Solution” for European Jews. The National Socialists’ targeting of Jews is what makes the
war a racial war.

The “Final Solution” refers to the National Socialists’ decision to build death camps for Jews.
The National Socialists rounded up Jews into a network of extermination camps where millions
were gassed to death and then cremated in ovens.

This is called the “Final Solution” because the National Socialists had previously considered
other ways of removing Jews from society. One idea was to round up Europe’s Jews and ship
them somewhere else – to the African island of Madagascar (see map here) or far east of the
Ural Mountains (see map here).

But senior National Socialist leaders like Reinhard Heydrich decided that transporting millions
of Jews such long distances was impractical. So they decided on genocidal murder.

When Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and then the Soviet Union in 1941, special German
forces called Einsatzgruppen (“deployment groups”) accompanied the Germany military. The
Einsatzgruppen were mobile killing units. They were separate from the Germany military and
had a special task – round up Jews in every town and city the German military conquered and
murder them. Jews were often marched to the edge of town, forced to dig their own mass
http://ontheworldmap.com/madagascar/madagascar-location-map.jpg
https://iakal.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/map-of-ural-mountains.jpg
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.World War II – 6

grave, and then shot. These episodes, repeated over and over throughout Eastern Europe, were
literal bloodbaths.

But senior National Socialists decided this approach was too inefficient. It was also too public.
Others could see what was happening and the genocide of the Jews was supposed to be secret.

So in early 1942, senior National Socialists organized a conference at Wannsee, a suburb of
Berlin. It was at this Wannsee Conference that National Socialist leaders like Heydrich, Müller,
Eichmann and others decided on the Final Solution – the building of extermination camps, a
network of concentration camps where Jews would be sent to be gassed to death.
• Remember, the idea of concentration camps is not new. Revolutionary Socialists in Russia –
the Bolsheviks – had built concentration camps for their political opponents shortly after
the second Russian Revolution of 1917.
• What’s new in the Final Solution is the use of concentration camps as extermination camps
for a particular group, places constructed specifically to murder Jews.
• The Germans built many of these death camps in Poland after they conquered Poland. The
camps included Auschwitz, Belzec, Treblinka, Warsaw, Sobibor, and Chelmno. See map here
(camps are marked by red squares) or here (camps are marked by skulls).
• The National Socialists rounded up Jews from all over Europe and shipped them via train to
these and other extermination camps (image here and here). The camps were huge
complexes (image here) where millions of Jews were forced to work. See here the sign
above the Auschwitz camp which gruesomely reads, “Work Shall Set You Free.”
• Millions of Jews were murdered in the camps. Some were murdered shortly after arrival.
Others died of disease and starvation. See image here.

The term Holocaust refers to all the ways the National Socialists killed Jews. The term Final
Solution refers to the extermination camp phase of the Holocaust.

Turning Point & Defeat

Although the German invasion of the Soviet Union initially went well for Germany, the German
army eventually bogged down. The battle of Stalingrad (late 1942/early 1943) was a turning
point.
• See a map showing Stalingrad here or here (Stalingrad is on the far right).

At Stalingrad, the Soviet Red Army stopped the German advance and began the long, slow
process of forcing the Germans to retreat.

From late 1943 through early 1945, the Soviet army forced the German military to retreat,
eventually out of the Soviet Union and back through the countries of Easter Europe that
Germany had earlier conquered such as Poland.

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/images/maps/polandmaps.gif
https://breslauniederschlesien.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/2-concentration-camps1.png
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/15/WW2-Holocaust-Europe-2007Borders_DE.png/1200px-WW2-Holocaust-Europe-2007Borders_DE.png
https://cdn.britannica.com/42/67842-004-612246D6.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/PLASZOW-German_concentration_camp_near_Krakow_PL.jpg
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8d2J5ZcnoPY/WDFq_s7sgRI/AAAAAAAAXAs/vxJ6MwBHxBU_arccUg5O6w7HjRbYv0mmQCEw/s1600/20160918_163812-001.jpg
https://i.pinimg.com/564x/df/53/c8/df53c8037d80d6d75e34a8b1de819b34.jpg
https://pixfeeds.com/images/41/609747/640-operation-barbarossa.png
https://image.slidesharecdn.com/wwii-europeanperspective-110405192359-phpapp02/95/wwii-european-perspective-62-728.jpg?cb=1302033585
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.World War II – 7

In June 1944, the United States and Great Britain launched the D-Day invasion of German
occupied France. From the summer 1944 through early 1945, the Americans and British forced
the Germany military to retreat out of France and other countries Germany had conquered
such as Belgium.

By the spring 1945, the Soviets had invaded Germany from the east, and the United States and
Britain had invaded Germany from the west. The German National Socialist regime collapsed
and Hitler committed suicide in his bunker in Berlin with the Soviet army just blocks away.

The Fascist ideology of German National Socialism was defeated, though at a terrible cost of
lives – over 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and over 50 million people were
killed in World War II.

Given the destruction of the War, and the intense racism against Jews and other groups that
fueled much of the violence, it is easy to forget that German National Socialists viewed
themselves as a progressive movement. They had promoted generous old age pensions, profit
sharing between workers and companies, health and welfare centers, and they promised to
abolish the unearned income of capitalists.

The National Socialists viewed other ideologies we’ve discussed – Modern Liberalism and
revolutionary Socialism – as outdated ways of thinking. They presented their Fascist ideology as
the wave of the future. They argued that unity and inclusion could be achieved by scapegoating
and removing certain groups – Jews, Slavic people like Poles, revolutionary Socialists. They
sought to destroy peoples and ideologies they viewed as standing in the way of progress. In the
end, though, much of Germany was destroyed, as were large portions of other countries. Over
50 million people died in World War II. And at least 6 million Jews were murdered in the
genocide of the Holocaust.

This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Fascism – 1

Fascism

World War II was 1939-45. The four decades before the war were an “age of ideology.” The
phrase “age of ideology” refers to new ideas and new events. It also refers to new cultural
attitudes in the first half of the 20th century. Many promoted these new cultural attitudes as
representing progress. The new attitudes celebrated
• new ideas over older ideas
• youth over elders
• crisis over calmness
• action over deliberation
• energy, speed, passion, and commitment over compromise
• cooperation over competition – the collective over the individual
• “authentic” community over capitalism
• liberation over middle class life styles
• the analogy of war

In this lecture, we explore how the new cultural attitudes were expressed in the new ideology
of Fascism. As we explore Fascism, keep in mind that
• the first Fascist leader was Benito Mussolini, prime minister of Italy beginning in 1922.
• the second Fascist leader was Adolph Hitler, prime minister of Germany beginning in 1933.
Also keep in mind that before World War II, many viewed Fascism as representing progress, a
new set of ideas designed to create a new and better society, a more just society.

Fascism eventually became a dirty word associated with the murderous acts of German
National Socialism – “Nazi.” But that was during and after World War II. Before WWII, many
viewed Fascism as progressive. Fascism promoted the new cultural attitudes – youth, action,
energy, cooperation, community, and liberation. For many, especially intellectuals, Fascism was
a fresh set of ideas which would help build a better society, a better future.

New Ideas: Fascism

Throughout the first four decades of the 20th century, many intellectuals, politicians, journalists,
artists, poets and others celebrated new ideas. They argued that inherited ideas and practices
no longer worked; new ideas and new ways of doing things were needed. They wanted the
“new generation,” which they were part of, to lead society and to chart a “new course” for the
future.

One new way of thinking was Fascism.

Historians often describe Fascism as a totalitarian ideology. Totalitarian means a State or leader
with total power. Fascists certainly sought to increase the power of the State. But Fascism
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Fascism – 2

didn’t just mean total power. It meant something like total belonging or total community.
Fascists wanted a State powerful enough to bring society together, to organize society into a
total community so people felt like they belonged to something bigger than themselves. The
idea was to make people feel like they belonged to a real community. This community would be
the nation – the national community led by a powerful State.

The idea of belonging to something bigger than oneself was crucial. Humans throughout history
always sought to belong to something bigger than themselves. Religion often served that
purpose. Societies across the world had religions which served to create a sense of community,
a sense of belonging.

But many intellectuals and political leaders in the early 20th century – the age of ideology –
sought to replace traditional religion with politics. They sought to create a new politics that
functioned as a religion, requiring a person’s total commitment to the cause. These intellectual
and political leaders were progressive in their thinking, like Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens in
the United States, and Mario Palmieri in Italy.

Fascism, in other words, was considered progressive. It promoted a new, progressive politics. It
rejected as outdated a politics of free speech, political parties, and compromise. Fascists argued
that these practices – expressing different opinions through free speech and forming different
political parties – divide society rather than brining society together. Fascists viewed the idea of
passing laws through compromise as selling out, abandoning principle, the opposite of
“commitment.”

In place of these older ideas, Fascism promoted a progressive politics of youth, energy, and
commitment – a politics of total belonging. The idea was for members of society to participate
together in the same collective action. Fascists argued the following:
• a person could not be truly fulfilled by practicing traditional religion, pursuing self-interest,
or exercising their individual rights
• a person could find true fulfillment only by their “commitment” to a new kind of politics, a
politics of energy and youth which provided life with meaning
• the new politics promoted collective progress by using the power of the State to organize
society and create a sense of cooperation and togetherness – an “authentic” community
• the new politics also promoted personal progress – personal fulfillment or “liberation”
came by actively contributing one’s talents and skills to this national community led by the
State.

These Fascist arguments expressed many of the new cultural attitudes: new, youth, action,
commitment, cooperation, authentic, liberation. You might notice that these Fascist arguments
resembled the arguments of the revolutionary socialists in the last lecture – i.e., Lenin and the
Bolsheviks. That is not surprising since
• Fascism and Socialism are related ideologies.
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Fascism – 3

• They both massively increase the power of the State, favor the collective over the
individual, and promote the idea that a person finds true fulfillment by participating in a
new progressive kind of politics.
• Though as we’ll see at the end of this lecture and in the next lecture, supporters of these
related ideologies viewed each other as adversaries. They were like siblings. Their closeness
to each other led to competition and conflict.

Let’s dig deeper to understand why Fascism was appealing to many.

The Appeal of Fascism

In the 1920s and 1930s, Fascism built upon something all humans desire – a sense of belonging,
being part of a community. The ideology of Fascism emerged in response to the new mass
society of the early 20th century. Since we are so used to living in a mass society today, it is hard
to imagine how new the experience of mass society was in the early 20th century. The newness
of mass society included things humans had not experienced before. It included
• new mass living environments – modern cities
• new mass working environments – large corporations
• new mass communications – radio
• new mass crowd entertainment – movies and professional sports
• new mass politics – campaign rallies, media politics via radio

Sociologists at the time like Ferdinand Tönnies and Max Weber wrote about this new mass
society. They worried that people in mass society might feel lonely, isolated, or empty, living
without a genuine sense of community. Some individuals were not sure where or if they “fit in.”
Others tried to fit in by joining a religion, a political party, or a labor union.

Tönnies and Weber wrote about people’s feelings of isolation in mass society before World War
I. But then the experience of World War I adding to these feelings. The war was the first large
scale industrial war in history, with technology used to increase humans’ ability to kill each
other. The war increased feelings of disorientation and disillusionment.

Fascism emerged as a new ideology in this context of a new mass society and the experience of
World War I. Fascism promised a sense of belonging to people living in mass society, a sense of
orientation and purpose. Supporters of Fascism promised to build an “authentic” community
beyond traditional religion, beyond traditional politics, and beyond traditional labor unions.
Fascism promised a sense of belonging – with every group, every class, and every individual
being equally part of the community – the national community led by a powerful State.

This equal belonging required each person’s commitment to collective action – each person
committing their talents and skills to the national community and, as a result, each person
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Fascism – 4

being accepted and taken care of. It was an attractive message – appealing to an innate desire
for cooperation and togetherness.
• This sense of belonging – all classes as equal members of the community – is what Mario
Palmieri meant in his book The Philosophy of Fascism (1936). He wrote: “More important
than the production of wealth is its right distribution, distribution which must benefit in the
best possible way all the classes of the nation.”
• When Palmieri said “More important than the production of wealth,” he meant that older
generations were selfish, simply concerned with making money. The new generation, he
argued, was pursuing progress by developing less selfish ways. They would chart a new
course for society based on social justice – the “right distribution” of wealth to benefit all
classes.

Fascism was thus a new ideology which many considered progressive. It promised progress by
replacing older ideas and overcoming selfish thinking. Fascists promised to replace the
alienation many feel in modern mass society and the disorientation many felt with World War I
with a new kind of politics. The new politics used the power of the State to create an
“authentic” community – a national community. In this community, people would find personal
fulfillment or “liberation” not by pursuing self-interest or exercising individual rights, but by
fully committing themselves to the national community led by a powerful State.

It is no coincidence that the artistic movement associated with Fascism was known as Futurism.
That name captured the sense that this new ideology represented a new way of thinking, a new
departure in history – the wave of the future!

New Events: Italy’s Fascist Revolution

The age of ideology was not just about new ideas, but also new events. One such event
happened in Italy when Benito Mussolini became the first Fascist leader in the world in 1922.

World War I was 1914-18. When the war ended, Italy was a democracy. It had political parties,
campaigns, elections, and an Italian Parliament led by a prime minister.

Italian Fascists criticized this kind of democracy as old and outdated. They promised to replace
it with a “new politics” of “liberation,” words which throughout modern history have often
meant more State power. The promise of a “new politics” has often meant outlawing political
parties. “Liberation” has often meant no legal protections for individual rights like free speech,
freedom of assembly, and due process for those accused of a crime.

Below are a couple examples of how supporters of Fascism criticized the democracy of free
speech, political parties, elections, and due process. Fascists argued that
• democracy divides society rather than bringing people together. Democratic politicians run
petty campaigns, divide the people, and don’t bring progress like redistributing wealth to
benefit all classes.
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Fascism – 5

• democracy is too slow. It requires discussion, deliberation, and compromise, and thus takes
too long to get things done. Politics requires energy, speed, passion, emotion, and action –
above all, action. Fascists argued that there is no more time for deliberation and discussion
– action is needed now to create a more just society.

Mussolini had been a Socialist before World War I and fought as a soldier in the war. When he
returned home to Italy after the war, he and other veterans criticized Italian democracy like in
the examples above. They argued that society was in a “crisis” which required a new
progressive politics of passion and energy, not calm deliberation.

Mussolini’s new politics included a para-military group called the “fasci di combattimento.”
“Fasci” was an ancient term which referred to a band which ties a bundle of wheat together –
i.e., the fasci is what keeps things together; it represents unity. The name of Mussolini’s group
could be translated as the “unity of combat.”

Mussolini’s politics was based on what is called the “analogy of war.” This analogy means using
the experiences of World War I as a blueprint for society after the war. The analogy means
• taking the fellowship and togetherness soldiers in the same combat unit feel and applying
that sense of togetherness to everyone in society – i.e., thinking of society as a kind of
combat unit requiring organization and cooperation
• requiring all members of society – everyone in the unit – to have a passionate commitment
to serve the nation like soldiers have in war
• taking the power of the State to direct the economy during war – directing factory and farm
production, directing transportation and communications – and using that same power of
the State to direct the economy and society after the war

Once Mussolini came to power in 1922, he began the Fascist revolution in Italy. The revolution
embodied passion, commitment, and action – above all, action in the name of progress. Italian
Fascists wanted the State to achieve the following six goals:
1. create a cooperative economy led by the State –
o Mussolini said he wanted “a cooperative system in which divergent interests are
coordinated and harmonized in the unity of the State.”
o A cooperative system meant that businesses would not compete with each other as in
capitalism, but cooperate under State direction. The State determined production, prices,
and wages – how much businesses produced, what prices they charged, and what wages
they paid.
o This was not Socialism because the Fascist State did not own the businesses. It simply
managed them by directing their production, prices, and wages. As Palmieri explained in
The Philosophy of Fascism (1936), “The proper function of the State in the Fascist system
is that of supervising and regulating.”
2.establish health and social service centers to serve the national community
3. establish old age pensions for seniors and profit sharing between corporations and workers
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Fascism – 6

4. create youth organizations which emphasized exercise, health, and vigor – part of the
celebration of youth and youth culture
5. abolish political parties and arrest their leaders – they represented the divisions and
debates of outdated democracy. They slowed things down and prevented the type of
immediate action needed to create progress – a more just society.
6. abolish freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of assembly – these too
represented debate and deliberation, the selfish rights of individuals which interfered with
creating a new community of cooperation and togetherness.

Fascism was a new set of ideas and Italy’s Fascist revolution was one new event in the age of
ideology. The ideas and the event reflected new cultural attitudes in the first half of the 20th
century.

A second Fascist revolution occurred in Germany in the 1930s, which we’ll discuss in the next
lecture. Before doing so, let’s understand why supporters of Fascism and Socialism viewed each
other as enemies, even though their ideologies are related.

Fascism & Socialism

Both Fascism and Socialism promise a future of unity and cooperation. But they seek to build
this future in different ways.

For revolutionary Socialism, the promised future is supposed to occur after a violent socialist
revolution.
• To provoke this revolution, revolutionary Socialists promote resentment and hatred
between classes in society.
• In promoting this class hatred, revolutionary Socialists seek to destroy feelings of national
unity.
• They seek to convince the working class (proletariat) to hate wealthier members of the
nation (bourgeoisie).
• They thus hope to persuade the working class to rise up in violence to destroy wealthier
classes.

Fascists view Socialists as tearing society apart by promoting resentment and hatred among
members of the same nation.
• Fascist oppose this revolutionary Socialist attempt to divide society with feelings of class
hatred.
• Instead, Fascism promises a future of unity and cooperation by creating a powerful State
which creates a total community – the togetherness or unity of all classes in the nation.
• That is why Palmieri in his book The Philosophy of Fascism (1936) promoted progress and
social justice through the “right distribution of wealth” in society to benefit all classes.

This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Fascism – 1

Fascism

World War II was 1939-45. The four decades before the war were an “age of ideology.” The
phrase “age of ideology” refers to new ideas and new events. It also refers to new cultural
attitudes in the first half of the 20th century. Many promoted these new cultural attitudes as
representing progress. The new attitudes celebrated
• new ideas over older ideas
• youth over elders
• crisis over calmness
• action over deliberation
• energy, speed, passion, and commitment over compromise
• cooperation over competition – the collective over the individual
• “authentic” community over capitalism
• liberation over middle class life styles
• the analogy of war

In this lecture, we explore how the new cultural attitudes were expressed in the new ideology
of Fascism. As we explore Fascism, keep in mind that
• the first Fascist leader was Benito Mussolini, prime minister of Italy beginning in 1922.
• the second Fascist leader was Adolph Hitler, prime minister of Germany beginning in 1933.
Also keep in mind that before World War II, many viewed Fascism as representing progress, a
new set of ideas designed to create a new and better society, a more just society.

Fascism eventually became a dirty word associated with the murderous acts of German
National Socialism – “Nazi.” But that was during and after World War II. Before WWII, many
viewed Fascism as progressive. Fascism promoted the new cultural attitudes – youth, action,
energy, cooperation, community, and liberation. For many, especially intellectuals, Fascism was
a fresh set of ideas which would help build a better society, a better future.

New Ideas: Fascism

Throughout the first four decades of the 20th century, many intellectuals, politicians, journalists,
artists, poets and others celebrated new ideas. They argued that inherited ideas and practices
no longer worked; new ideas and new ways of doing things were needed. They wanted the
“new generation,” which they were part of, to lead society and to chart a “new course” for the
future.

One new way of thinking was Fascism.

Historians often describe Fascism as a totalitarian ideology. Totalitarian means a State or leader
with total power. Fascists certainly sought to increase the power of the State. But Fascism
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Fascism – 2

didn’t just mean total power. It meant something like total belonging or total community.
Fascists wanted a State powerful enough to bring society together, to organize society into a
total community so people felt like they belonged to something bigger than themselves. The
idea was to make people feel like they belonged to a real community. This community would be
the nation – the national community led by a powerful State.

The idea of belonging to something bigger than oneself was crucial. Humans throughout history
always sought to belong to something bigger than themselves. Religion often served that
purpose. Societies across the world had religions which served to create a sense of community,
a sense of belonging.

But many intellectuals and political leaders in the early 20th century – the age of ideology –
sought to replace traditional religion with politics. They sought to create a new politics that
functioned as a religion, requiring a person’s total commitment to the cause. These intellectual
and political leaders were progressive in their thinking, like Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens in
the United States, and Mario Palmieri in Italy.

Fascism, in other words, was considered progressive. It promoted a new, progressive politics. It
rejected as outdated a politics of free speech, political parties, and compromise. Fascists argued
that these practices – expressing different opinions through free speech and forming different
political parties – divide society rather than brining society together. Fascists viewed the idea of
passing laws through compromise as selling out, abandoning principle, the opposite of
“commitment.”

In place of these older ideas, Fascism promoted a progressive politics of youth, energy, and
commitment – a politics of total belonging. The idea was for members of society to participate
together in the same collective action. Fascists argued the following:
• a person could not be truly fulfilled by practicing traditional religion, pursuing self-interest,
or exercising their individual rights
• a person could find true fulfillment only by their “commitment” to a new kind of politics, a
politics of energy and youth which provided life with meaning
• the new politics promoted collective progress by using the power of the State to organize
society and create a sense of cooperation and togetherness – an “authentic” community
• the new politics also promoted personal progress – personal fulfillment or “liberation”
came by actively contributing one’s talents and skills to this national community led by the
State.

These Fascist arguments expressed many of the new cultural attitudes: new, youth, action,
commitment, cooperation, authentic, liberation. You might notice that these Fascist arguments
resembled the arguments of the revolutionary socialists in the last lecture – i.e., Lenin and the
Bolsheviks. That is not surprising since
• Fascism and Socialism are related ideologies.
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Fascism – 3

• They both massively increase the power of the State, favor the collective over the
individual, and promote the idea that a person finds true fulfillment by participating in a
new progressive kind of politics.
• Though as we’ll see at the end of this lecture and in the next lecture, supporters of these
related ideologies viewed each other as adversaries. They were like siblings. Their closeness
to each other led to competition and conflict.

Let’s dig deeper to understand why Fascism was appealing to many.

The Appeal of Fascism

In the 1920s and 1930s, Fascism built upon something all humans desire – a sense of belonging,
being part of a community. The ideology of Fascism emerged in response to the new mass
society of the early 20th century. Since we are so used to living in a mass society today, it is hard
to imagine how new the experience of mass society was in the early 20th century. The newness
of mass society included things humans had not experienced before. It included
• new mass living environments – modern cities
• new mass working environments – large corporations
• new mass communications – radio
• new mass crowd entertainment – movies and professional sports
• new mass politics – campaign rallies, media politics via radio

Sociologists at the time like Ferdinand Tönnies and Max Weber wrote about this new mass
society. They worried that people in mass society might feel lonely, isolated, or empty, living
without a genuine sense of community. Some individuals were not sure where or if they “fit in.”
Others tried to fit in by joining a religion, a political party, or a labor union.

Tönnies and Weber wrote about people’s feelings of isolation in mass society before World War
I. But then the experience of World War I adding to these feelings. The war was the first large
scale industrial war in history, with technology used to increase humans’ ability to kill each
other. The war increased feelings of disorientation and disillusionment.

Fascism emerged as a new ideology in this context of a new mass society and the experience of
World War I. Fascism promised a sense of belonging to people living in mass society, a sense of
orientation and purpose. Supporters of Fascism promised to build an “authentic” community
beyond traditional religion, beyond traditional politics, and beyond traditional labor unions.
Fascism promised a sense of belonging – with every group, every class, and every individual
being equally part of the community – the national community led by a powerful State.

This equal belonging required each person’s commitment to collective action – each person
committing their talents and skills to the national community and, as a result, each person
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Fascism – 4

being accepted and taken care of. It was an attractive message – appealing to an innate desire
for cooperation and togetherness.
• This sense of belonging – all classes as equal members of the community – is what Mario
Palmieri meant in his book The Philosophy of Fascism (1936). He wrote: “More important
than the production of wealth is its right distribution, distribution which must benefit in the
best possible way all the classes of the nation.”
• When Palmieri said “More important than the production of wealth,” he meant that older
generations were selfish, simply concerned with making money. The new generation, he
argued, was pursuing progress by developing less selfish ways. They would chart a new
course for society based on social justice – the “right distribution” of wealth to benefit all
classes.

Fascism was thus a new ideology which many considered progressive. It promised progress by
replacing older ideas and overcoming selfish thinking. Fascists promised to replace the
alienation many feel in modern mass society and the disorientation many felt with World War I
with a new kind of politics. The new politics used the power of the State to create an
“authentic” community – a national community. In this community, people would find personal
fulfillment or “liberation” not by pursuing self-interest or exercising individual rights, but by
fully committing themselves to the national community led by a powerful State.

It is no coincidence that the artistic movement associated with Fascism was known as Futurism.
That name captured the sense that this new ideology represented a new way of thinking, a new
departure in history – the wave of the future!

New Events: Italy’s Fascist Revolution

The age of ideology was not just about new ideas, but also new events. One such event
happened in Italy when Benito Mussolini became the first Fascist leader in the world in 1922.

World War I was 1914-18. When the war ended, Italy was a democracy. It had political parties,
campaigns, elections, and an Italian Parliament led by a prime minister.

Italian Fascists criticized this kind of democracy as old and outdated. They promised to replace
it with a “new politics” of “liberation,” words which throughout modern history have often
meant more State power. The promise of a “new politics” has often meant outlawing political
parties. “Liberation” has often meant no legal protections for individual rights like free speech,
freedom of assembly, and due process for those accused of a crime.

Below are a couple examples of how supporters of Fascism criticized the democracy of free
speech, political parties, elections, and due process. Fascists argued that
• democracy divides society rather than bringing people together. Democratic politicians run
petty campaigns, divide the people, and don’t bring progress like redistributing wealth to
benefit all classes.
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Fascism – 5

• democracy is too slow. It requires discussion, deliberation, and compromise, and thus takes
too long to get things done. Politics requires energy, speed, passion, emotion, and action –
above all, action. Fascists argued that there is no more time for deliberation and discussion
– action is needed now to create a more just society.

Mussolini had been a Socialist before World War I and fought as a soldier in the war. When he
returned home to Italy after the war, he and other veterans criticized Italian democracy like in
the examples above. They argued that society was in a “crisis” which required a new
progressive politics of passion and energy, not calm deliberation.

Mussolini’s new politics included a para-military group called the “fasci di combattimento.”
“Fasci” was an ancient term which referred to a band which ties a bundle of wheat together –
i.e., the fasci is what keeps things together; it represents unity. The name of Mussolini’s group
could be translated as the “unity of combat.”

Mussolini’s politics was based on what is called the “analogy of war.” This analogy means using
the experiences of World War I as a blueprint for society after the war. The analogy means
• taking the fellowship and togetherness soldiers in the same combat unit feel and applying
that sense of togetherness to everyone in society – i.e., thinking of society as a kind of
combat unit requiring organization and cooperation
• requiring all members of society – everyone in the unit – to have a passionate commitment
to serve the nation like soldiers have in war
• taking the power of the State to direct the economy during war – directing factory and farm
production, directing transportation and communications – and using that same power of
the State to direct the economy and society after the war

Once Mussolini came to power in 1922, he began the Fascist revolution in Italy. The revolution
embodied passion, commitment, and action – above all, action in the name of progress. Italian
Fascists wanted the State to achieve the following six goals:
1. create a cooperative economy led by the State –
o Mussolini said he wanted “a cooperative system in which divergent interests are
coordinated and harmonized in the unity of the State.”
o A cooperative system meant that businesses would not compete with each other as in
capitalism, but cooperate under State direction. The State determined production, prices,
and wages – how much businesses produced, what prices they charged, and what wages
they paid.
o This was not Socialism because the Fascist State did not own the businesses. It simply
managed them by directing their production, prices, and wages. As Palmieri explained in
The Philosophy of Fascism (1936), “The proper function of the State in the Fascist system
is that of supervising and regulating.”
2.establish health and social service centers to serve the national community
3. establish old age pensions for seniors and profit sharing between corporations and workers
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Fascism – 6

4. create youth organizations which emphasized exercise, health, and vigor – part of the
celebration of youth and youth culture
5. abolish political parties and arrest their leaders – they represented the divisions and
debates of outdated democracy. They slowed things down and prevented the type of
immediate action needed to create progress – a more just society.
6. abolish freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of assembly – these too
represented debate and deliberation, the selfish rights of individuals which interfered with
creating a new community of cooperation and togetherness.

Fascism was a new set of ideas and Italy’s Fascist revolution was one new event in the age of
ideology. The ideas and the event reflected new cultural attitudes in the first half of the 20th
century.

A second Fascist revolution occurred in Germany in the 1930s, which we’ll discuss in the next
lecture. Before doing so, let’s understand why supporters of Fascism and Socialism viewed each
other as enemies, even though their ideologies are related.

Fascism & Socialism

Both Fascism and Socialism promise a future of unity and cooperation. But they seek to build
this future in different ways.

For revolutionary Socialism, the promised future is supposed to occur after a violent socialist
revolution.
• To provoke this revolution, revolutionary Socialists promote resentment and hatred
between classes in society.
• In promoting this class hatred, revolutionary Socialists seek to destroy feelings of national
unity.
• They seek to convince the working class (proletariat) to hate wealthier members of the
nation (bourgeoisie).
• They thus hope to persuade the working class to rise up in violence to destroy wealthier
classes.

Fascists view Socialists as tearing society apart by promoting resentment and hatred among
members of the same nation.
• Fascist oppose this revolutionary Socialist attempt to divide society with feelings of class
hatred.
• Instead, Fascism promises a future of unity and cooperation by creating a powerful State
which creates a total community – the togetherness or unity of all classes in the nation.
• That is why Palmieri in his book The Philosophy of Fascism (1936) promoted progress and
social justice through the “right distribution of wealth” in society to benefit all classes.

This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Russia’s Socialist Revolution – 1

The Second Russian Revolution of 1917
Lenin & the Bolsheviks

In April 1917, the American President Woodrow Wilson praised the first Russian Revolution of
that year – he did not know that there would be a second Russian Revolution later in 1917.

Wilson praised the first Russian Revolution of 1917 because it led to a provisional government
which instituted reforms in Russian politics. Wilson thought this first Russian Revolution in early
1917 signaled the spread of democratic ideas. Remember, Wilson’s goal in entering the United
States into World War I (1914-18) was to lead a democratic transformation of world politics –
“to make the world safe for democracy.”

Vladimir Lenin was a Russian revolutionary socialist. He rejected Wilson’s idea of spreading
democracy. And he rejected the first Russian Revolution of 1917. Remember, Lenin’s goal in
withdrawing Russia from World War I was to lead a socialist transformation of world politics –
“the victory of socialism”

Lenin called his trained revolutionaries Bolsheviks. As we saw in the last lecture, Lenin and the
Bolsheviks used slogans about democracy. They said “it is through us” that the people speak; “it
is through us” that society will achieve “democracy for the poor, democracy for the people.”
Yet as we also saw in the last lecture, Lenin’s revolutionary socialists did not want
• free speech and a free press
• political parties, campaigns, and elections
• due process

Lenin’s revolutionary socialists did not view individuals as possessing individual rights like free
speech, peaceful assembly, and due process. They thought the idea of individuals possessing
individual rights was outdated. They thus called it a “bourgeois” or “capitalist” way of thinking.
They viewed the idea of
• an individual having an individual right to free speech as a “capitalist” idea
• a free press as a “capitalist” press
• due process as “capitalist” legal thinking
• political parties and elections as “capitalist” democracy

The Bolsheviks viewed these ideas of a democracy with individual rights as requiring too much
discussion and compromise, and preventing the immediate achievement of social justice.

Revolutionary socialists like Lenin insisted that individuals should be viewed not as individuals
with individual rights, but as members of groups. And there were only two groups in society –
oppressor and oppressed. There is no way, Lenin argued, for these two groups peacefully to co-
exist in society. One was going to oppress the other. Lenin and the Bolsheviks claimed to speak
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Russia’s Socialist Revolution – 2

for the oppressed “people.” They sought to seize power and crush the “capitalist” and
bourgeois” oppressors. They planned to seize power in a second Russian Revolution of 1917.

What was required for this second Russian Revolution, Lenin believed, was the energy and
passion to create a more just society now, to pursue social justice without compromise or
hesitation. The Bolsheviks promised “liberation” from oppression and the creation of a new
socialist society. Liberation for the Bolsheviks meant
• increasing the power of the State
• outlawing political parties
• ending “capitalist” rights like freedom of speech, press, assembly, and due process
• outlawing freedom of religion since revolutionary socialism is an atheist ideology.

Through the summer 1917, the Bolsheviks planned for a second Russian Revolution. They
planned to overthrow Russia’s provisional government – the one Wilson praised – and establish
a socialist State in its place.
• In planning for this second revolution, the Bolsheviks had to compete with other socialist
revolutionary parties in Russia. Two other revolutionary parties were the Social
Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks.
• The Bolsheviks thus not only sought a second Russian Revolution in 1917, but they also
wanted to make sure that their party was the one that seized power, not other socialist
parties.

After a failed attempt in July, the Bolsheviks seized power in the fall 1917 – the famous October
Revolution (by the Russian calendar). At first, some members of other socialist parties wanted
to cooperate with the Bolsheviks. But shortly after seizing power, the Bolsheviks
• outlawed all other political parties and arrested their leaders
• shut down the free press and banned free speech
• described these “capitalist” rights as obstacles to creating the new socialist society

In fact, Lenin and the Bolsheviks created policies which were similar to the Jacobins’ policies
during the French Revolution back in the 1790s. Lenin had studied the Jacobins. He liked how
they had used violence and terror to promote their vision of progress.
• For the Jacobins, progress meant creating a society with a General Will.
• For Lenin and the Bolsheviks, progress meant building a socialist society.
• Both groups viewed themselves as pursuing social justice.

The Jacobins’ General Will and the Bolsheviks’ revolutionary Socialism shared this in common:
Both thought social justice requires people to commit themselves to a larger collective purpose
– to put a new vision of society ahead of their own individual rights.

Let’s think this through. The Jacobins and the Bolsheviks believed the following:
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Russia’s Socialist Revolution – 3

• Individuals could not find fulfilment and meaning by focusing on their private lives. They
could not find fulfilment and meaning by
o exercising individual rights
o pursuing their own self-interest or personal improvement
o developing relationships in family, business, or religion.
• Rather, people could only find fulfillment and meaning by being “liberated” from focusing
on their personal lives. “Liberation” meant surrendering individual rights and fully
committing oneself – one’s talents, skills, and resources – to building a new kind of society.
• Remember, this fully committing oneself to a new society is what the Enlightenment
philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau meant by “freedom.” He said people being “forced to
obey” the General Will meant they were being “forced to be free.”
• Lenin and the Bolsheviks further developed this kind of thinking about “liberating” people
from focusing on their personal lives and instead serving a larger project of social justice.

With these ideas in mind, let’s now consider what the Bolsheviks did after they seized power in
the second Russian Revolution of 1917. Let’s look at the Bolsheviks’ policies to bring liberation
to the Russian people.

Bolshevik Political Policy

Bolshevik political policies included

1.creating secret police
2.building concentration camps
3.holding show trials
4.creating the U.S.S.R. – the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics

Secret Police – the Bolsheviks developed a secret police force called the CHEKA to spy on the
Russian people. The word CHEKA was short for The All Russian Extraordinary Commission for
Combatting Counter-Revolution and Sabotage.
• The purpose of the CHEKA was to criminalize political opposition to the Bolsheviks. Think
about this.
o In a real democratic system, multiple political parties compete. The party which wins an
election possess political power until the next election.
o But members of the losing party maintain their individual rights of free speech, free press,
freedom of assembly, etc. Members of the losing party do not become criminals simply
because they oppose the party in power.
o In contrast, the Bolsheviks criminalized their political opponents. This is what they meant
by “democracy for the poor, democracy for the people.” The Bolsheviks characterized
anyone who opposed them as criminals.
• The point of the CHEKA was to find individuals who opposed the Bolshevik vision of social
justice.
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Russia’s Socialist Revolution – 4

• Once these individuals were found, they were labeled “counter-revolutionaries” and
arrested – just like the Jacobins had labelled their political opponents “counter-
revolutionaries” during the French Revolution.
• The crime of “counter-revolutionaries” was opposing or even questioning the Bolsheviks’
plans for building the better future of socialism.

Concentration Camps – the Bolsheviks created a system of concentration camps. This is where
they sent counter-revolutionaries found by the CHEKA. They built an elaborate system of
concentration camps known as the Gulag.
• Note: the Bolsheviks built their concentration camps before Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist
Party later developed concentration camps in the 1930s and ’40s, mostly during World War
II.
• The Bolsheviks’ system of camps was fully exposed to the world in the 1970s with the
publication and translation of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book, The Gulag Archipelago.

Show Trials – the Bolsheviks developed “show trials” to put counter-revolutionaries on trial.
These “show trials” were not real trials with due process for the accused. Remember, due
process was one of those “capitalist” rights the Bolsheviks rejected.
• In a real trial, the accused is presumed innocent. The prosecutor – the government – has to
persuade a jury with evidence that the accused is guilty.
• A “show trial” is the opposite. The accused is assumed to be guilty at the start. The trial’s
purpose is not to prove with evidence that the accused is guilty. Rather, the purpose of a
show trial is to “show” the rest of the population what happens if you oppose or even
question the Bolsheviks promise of building a socialist society.
• Show trials were a means of terror, striking fear in the hearts of the Russian people. These
trials “showed” you what would happen if you criticized the Bolsheviks version of social
justice.

In addition, the Bolsheviks also began to create the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – U.S.S.R.
This was a “union” (or empire) of socialist countries led by Russia. Though not created all at
once, this Union would eventually include 15 socialist countries throughout Eurasia. The U.S.S.R
lasted from 1922 to 1991, when it collapsed because the Soviet socialist economy had failed.

Bolshevik Cultural Policy

Revolutionary socialism promotes atheism because people are supposed to seek redemption in
building the socialist society, not in religion. “Every religious idea, every idea of God,” Lenin
declared, “is unutterable vileness.” Yet the vast majority of the Russian people had been
Christian for centuries – members of the Russian Orthodox Church.

As revolutionary socialist, the Bolsheviks thought progress required “liberation” from many
inherited traditions. They thought it was necessary to get rid of traditions from the past in order
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Russia’s Socialist Revolution – 5

to build the better future. The idea was that traditions which were inherited from the past and
which people continued to practice stood in the way of creating a more just society.

We’ve already seen this idea of “liberation” from the past in how the Bolsheviks criticized real
democracy with free speech, elections, due process, etc. The Bolsheviks rejected this form of
democracy as old and outdated, and sought to replace it with their newer version of
“democracy for the people.”

The Bolsheviks also sought “liberation” from other inherited traditions such as religious
traditions. The Bolsheviks began a campaign to crush Christian belief in Russia, including
destroying churches and confiscating church property. Again, the Bolsheviks thought it was
necessary to get rid of inherited religious beliefs in order to build a better, more just society.

Bolshevik Economic Policy

Revolutionary socialism includes the “public” ownership of the economy. In practice, this
means government ownership of the economy. This was an essential part of 20th century
socialism – to abolish private property laws and turn private property into government
property.

After seizing power in late 1917, the Bolshevik government began taking over private
companies. They said this would “liberate” workers from capitalism and create a classless
society. In practice, though, the “classless society” meant government elites ruling over a mass
population whose members have been stripped of their individual rights.

The Bolsheviks began putting these ideas into practice by doing the following:
• nationalize energy companies – government takes over and owns energy companies such as
coal, oil, and electricity companies
• nationalize transportation companies – government takes over and owns railroad
companies
• national durable goods companies – government takes over and owns steel, iron, rubber
companies, etc.
• nationalize banks – government takes over and owns banks
• nationalize land:
o Originally, the Bolsheviks encouraged Russian peasants to seize land from the Russian
aristocracy. As the peasants seized the land, many of them hoped to own the land as
private property.
o But after several years, the Bolsheviks began to seize the land from the peasants. They
transformed the peasants’ private property into “public” property in the name of creating
a classless society.
o In reality the idea of this classless society meant government elites ruling over a mass
population stripped of individual rights. The peasants still worked the land and had to
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Russia’s Socialist Revolution – 6

produce agricultural products, but the land and the products were owned by the
Bolshevik government.
o Some peasants opposed the Bolsheviks policy of nationalizing the land. Peasants in
Ukraine, which became part of the Soviet Union in the 1920s, resisted the Bolsheviks. The
Bolsheviks, now lead by Joseph Stalin, punished these peasants by closing the Ukrainian
border to prevent food from entering the country. They also disrupted the distribution of
food already in the country. The result is called the Holodomor Genocide or the Terror
Famine. About 6 million Ukrainians starved to death in the winter of 1932-33. This was an
intentional famine imposed by Stalin and the Bolsheviks as punishment for resisting
Bolshevik policy. Some who survived did so by resorting to cannibalism, eating the victims
of starvation.
o New York Times reporter Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer Price for denying the Terror
Famine was happening as it was happening. Read that again. Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize
not for exposing the Terror Famine, but for denying it. Many Western intellectuals like
Duranty believed the Bolsheviks’ rhetoric about building a classless society and thus
refused to acknowledge Bolshevik atrocities and terror.

From its early years, revolutionary socialism in the Soviet Union produced these kinds of results
– secret police, concentration camps, show trials, genocide, and cannibalism. A terrifying record
from those who promised to build a more just society.

Let’s summarize: Lenin claimed that “progress marches onward” under revolutionary socialism.
The Bolsheviks viewed their revolution and their policies as progress, the building of a better
society based on social justice – “democracy for the poor, democracy for the people.”

Lenin and the Bolsheviks also viewed the second Russian Revolution of 1917 as just a first step
in the socialist transformation of world politics. They wanted the socialist revolution to spread
beyond Russia to many other nations. Their revolution in Russia was supposed to be a spark
which ignited similar revolutions in other counties. In fact, the Bolsheviks actively sought to
promote the spread of radical revolution to other countries like Finland, Poland, Italy, France,
and Germany in Europe, as well as China in Asia.

This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Wilson vs. Lenin – 1

The First Russian Revolution 1917
Wilson & Lenin

Russia: an Allied Power unlike other Allied Powers

Russia fought on the Allied side in World War I. Yet Russia was distinct from other important
Allied Powers. When the war began in 1914, Allied Powers like Great Britain, France, and the
United States were similar because all three were
• industrialized
• developing increasingly democratic forms of government
• influenced by the ideology modern liberalism

Unlike these other Allied Powers, Russia in 1914 was still in the early stages of industrialization.
It did have big factories in major cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow, but Russia was still
mostly an agricultural society. Over 75% of its population still worked in agriculture – compared
to only 30% in France and about 15% in Britain.

Unlike France, Great Britain, and the United States, Russia in 1914 was not developing an
increasingly democratic form of government. Nor was the ideology of modern liberalism
influential in Russia’s government. Instead, Russia was a multi-national empire ruled by an
emperor, Czar Nicholas II. It had a parliament called the Russian Duma, but the Duma did not
exercise real authority. Most authority remained with the Czar.

Russia in World War I: The First Revolution of 1917

World War I did not go well for Russia. The Russian military had more than 12 million soldiers –
four times the number of German soldiers. Yet Russia’s military was inferior to Germany’s
military. That was because Russia’s economy was inferior to Germany’s economy. In 1914, the
Russian government owned much of the Russian economy. It owned most of the nation’s
railroads, many of its coal mines, and thousands of its factories. It set prices and regulated
profits. But the Russian government’s control of the economy was grossly inefficient.

In fact, the Russian economy struggled to produce enough supplies for the war and enough
food for the people. Shortages of food and supplies were already common in Russia after just
one year of the war. The military constantly lacked enough artillery, guns, and vehicles.
Replacement soldiers were sent to the front with no rifles!

By 1916, Russia’s ability to feed its population and supply its army was breaking down. Over a
million Russian soldiers deserted in 1916 alone. By early 1917, the city of St. Petersburg –
renamed Petrograd – was facing starvation. It had less than a two-week supply of flour and
almost no meet left. People stood in line for hours hoping to get a loaf of bread. Such food
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Wilson vs. Lenin – 2

shortages were common in cities like Petrograd, which were overcrowded with poor living
conditions and with factory workers forced to work long hours.

The situation in Russia grew worse by early 1917. In February (by the Russian calendar; March
by the western calendar), mass demonstrations broke out in Petrograd. The demonstrations
began by protesting food shortages and included tens of thousands of women, students, and
striking workers. But as the demonstrations continued for days, they grew more aggressive and
violent. Some began rioting, attacking public buildings and destroying a police station. They
were emboldened by the government’s lack of response. When Czar Nicolas did respond by
ordering troops to retake control of Petrograd, the only troops left in the city were poorly
trained conscripts (better trained troops were fighting or killed in the war). Petrograd troops
disobeyed orders and joined the demonstrators. It was a military mutiny. Battles erupted across
the city as mutinous soldiers broke into government arsenals and distributed guns.

Leading Russian Generals informed Czar Nicholas that his government no longer controlled the
capital, Petrograd, and that his family’s safety was no longer secure. “If it is necessary, for
Russia’s welfare, that I step aside, I am prepared to do so,” Nicholas informed them. And that’s
what Czar Nicholas did. He stepped aside; he abdicated the throne; he gave up being emperor.
The old Russian government was dead. But what would replace it? What would the new system
look like? And who would create it?

Members of Russia’s parliament, the Duma, stepped into the power vacuum. They formed a
committee of twelve members called a “Provisional Committee of Duma Members for the
Restoration of Order in the Capital.” This committee became known as the provisional
government. The Czar stepping aside and the formation of this provisional government was the
first Russian Revolution of 1917.

The provisional government began to enact some legal reforms. The reforms included
• granting women the right to vote
• ending discriminatory laws against minorities such as Jews
• reforming the criminal justice system to end arrest for peaceful political activities

Wilson & Lenin – Intellectuals

Woodrow Wilson was the American president in 1917. Vladimir Lenin was an exiled Russian
living in Switzerland when the first Russian Revolution of 1917 began.

Wilson and Lenin had different ideologies. Wilson was a modern liberal. Lenin was a
revolutionary socialist. Yet Wilson and Lenin still shared things in common.

Both Wilson and Lenin saw World War I as an opportunity. Each viewed the destruction caused
by the war as setting the stage for a transformation of world politics. Each imagined himself to
be the central player in that transformation – a moral leader in world change.
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Wilson vs. Lenin – 3

Let’s pause and make sure we understand.

Both Wilson and Lenin were intellectuals. Both had attained their status – Wilson as president
and Lenin as revolutionary leader – by doing what intellectual do: talk and write about ideas.
Neither had attained their status by producing things people want like goods and services.
Neither had invented new technology or discovered new medicine or started a new business.
They were intellectuals who lived in the world of ideas.
• Both had a high opinion of themselves and their ability to use ideas to change the world.
• Both saw themselves as having a world-historical mission. They each thought they should
provide moral leadership in transforming world politics.

The moral leadership each wanted to provide was based on their ideologies. They each had an
ideological vision for how the world should be. They each rejected the existing world order.
That existing order was based on nations pursuing their own interests through treaties and
alliances, like the alliances of World War I. Instead, each sought to create a new world order –
an order based on international solidarity which they thought would lead to global peace,
justice, and freedom.
• As a modern liberal, Wilson thought the new world order would be based on the spread of
democracy. He thought the freedom of each people to express their will through their own
nation State would naturally lead to international cooperation among democratic States. He
thus saw his mission as the spread of democratic principles.
• As a revolutionary socialist, Lenin thought the new world order would be based on the
“victory of socialism.” He thought working classes around the world rising up to destroy
capitalists and capitalism would naturally lead to international cooperation among socialist
societies. He thus saw his mission as the spread of socialist principles.
• Each, therefore, was an idealist. Each sought to replace existing world politics – nations
pursuing their own interests through treaties and alliances – with a new kind of world
politics. The new politics would be based on the international solidarity of peoples –
solidarity among democratic nations in Wilson’s case and solidarity among international
socialists in Lenin’s case. They both thought they could lead the world to a new era of
international peace, justice, and freedom.

They were both wrong. Their attempts to transform world politics and to spread their own
versions of peace, justice and freedom – democracy or socialism – did not lead to a new and
better era. Instead, Wilson’s and Lenin’s efforts often led to more conflict and new
dictatorships after World War I. Dictatorships emerged in the 1920s in places like Portugal,
Spain, Italy, Greece, Japan, Poland, Czechoslovakia as well as Austria, Hungary, and several Latin
American countries. Dictatorship would also soon follow in Germany.

Both Wilson and Lenin had too high an opinion of themselves. They overestimated their own
abilities to make the world a better place. And – as if often true of people who seek to impose
their grand vision on others – they liked their own power too much. We will return to their
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. Wilson vs. Lenin – 4

failures to create a better world later. For now, let’s continue our discussion of Wilson and
Lenin in the context of World War I.

Wilson, Russia & the World

In the spring 1917, President Wilson wanted the United States to enter World War I on the
Allied side. He went to Congress to ask for a declaration of war on Germany. In his speech to
Congress, Wilson talked about Russia. He described the first Russian Revolution of 1917 like
this:
• “assurance has been added to our hope for the future peace of the world by the wonderful
and heartening things that have been happening within the last few weeks in Russia.”

Notice Wilson did not mention the military mutiny and violent uprising in the streets of
Petrograd. He did not want to describe the first Russian Revolution that way. Rather, he
referred to the “wonderful and heartening things that have been happening” in Russia. And he
described these “things” not just as events in Russia, but as part of some larger transformation
which adds “to our hope for the future peace of the world.”

Wilson described events in Russia as part of some larger transformation because he wanted to
portray World War I as a fight for democracy. He described the war as one side fighting for
democracy and the other side fighting against democracy. Wilson’s description of the war was
like this:

Modern Liberal Democratic Allies
• Great Britain
• France
• United States
• Russia
The Old Empires of the Central Powers
• Germany
• Austria-Hungary
• Ottoman Empire

When the war began in 1914, no one described the war as a fight for democracy. No one could
present the Allies as fighting for democracy because a leading Ally – Russia – was a multi-
national empire led by an Emperor. Even Allied countries which were developing increasing
democratic forms of government – Great Britain and France – did not go to war in 1914 for
democracy.

Great Britain and France went to war because they worried about Germany’s power. They
formed an alliance with each other (and Russia) to balance their power against Germany’s.
Great Britain and France also had colonies in Africa and Asia which they wanted to maintain.
Indeed, the decades leading up to World War I (1880 to 1914) were a new age of imperialism –
a time when European countries like Great Britain and France as well as the emerging Asian
power Japan acquired foreign territories, often through war and conquest. Let’s pause to
discuss this new age of imperialism. It will help us see why Wilson’s description of World War I
as a fight for democracy was largely an imaginary description of his own making.

This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.Wilson vs. Lenin – 5

Let’s discuss the imperialism of Great Britain, China, France, and Japan.

Great Britain
Britain had been building an empire for centuries. It had long ago colonized parts of India as
a source of goods like tea and cotton. But the voyage between Britain and India was over
12,000 miles because ships had to sail around Africa. That changed when Egypt’s Suez Canal
opened in 1869 – see map here. The Canal cut the voyage from Britain to India to about
7,000 miles – see map here. Protecting the canal thus became British priority. As a result,
Britain took control of Egypt in 1882 and then began to expand its control of northeast
Africa. British forces killed thousands of Sudanese in taking control of Sudan in East Africa in
1898 – see map of Africa here. Britain also began to expand its control in Southeast Asia by
annexing Malaysia and Burma in the late 1800s, areas which were sources of important
resources like oil and rubber.

China
Like Great Britain, China had been building an empire for centuries. Under the Qing or
Manchu dynasty, China expanded its empire in the 1600s and 1700s in Central and East Asia
(Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet, and Taiwan). See maps here and here. The leaders of the Qing
were Manchus (or Manchurians) who oppressed many of the people they conquered such
as Hans and Tibetans. China also controlled what was called Indochina in Southeast Asia
(Vietnam and Laos). But by the new age of imperialism in the late 1800s, China was a
declining power. It had not industrialized like Great Britain, Germany, France, and Japan.

France
France also had a long history of empire building stretching back to the 1600s. More
recently, it had begun occupying parts of Algeria and Senegal in Africa in the early 1800s.
France then expanded its empire in the new age of imperialism starting in the late 1800s.
France fought the Chinese for control of Indochina in Southeast Asia in the 1880s. It fought
to control the Ivory Coast in West Africa in 1890. By World War I, France also controlled
Morocco in North Africa as well as a large territory called French West Africa – see map
here.

Japan
Japan built most of its empire during the new age of imperialism. In 1904-05, Japan fought
Russia in the Russo-Japanese war. At stake was control of parts of East Asia. Japan won and,
as a result, took control of Korea and Manchuria. Controlling Manchuria meant Japan was
encroaching on Chinese territory. Japan’s treatment of its subject people was often harsh
and oppressive. Japanese empire building continued over the next several decades. See
map here.

Other countries, too, participated in the new age of imperialism. Belgium created the
Belgian Congo, killing and exploiting many Congolese people in the process. These events
https://i1.wp.com/media.web.britannica.com/eb-media/34/89934-050-F200F3B2.gif
https://i1.wp.com/passnownow.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/suez-picture.gif?resize=750%2C819
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/bb/28/20/bb2820abcd48e468a61c6ca95619e28f.jpg
https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/53b17013e4b0f83f2d8a8a4a/1407414196068-JZX978IOTSV7ZAP3KUAT/?format=1000w&content-type=image%2Fjpeg
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/65/4e/f5/654ef5297f5fa6e9770076d20d1a1de7.jpg
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/33/34/ee/3334ee5e204bac8b5cc13af0c17221f0.jpg
https://external-preview.redd.it/YHpGU1VH3wF4ATb075LMUUeT2lyIkAZ8CZTCwxIY5l8.jpg?width=960&crop=smart&auto=webp&s=6f521bba5d78701c234d5dae413ab6f5b8d0a53f
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.Wilson vs. Lenin – 6

are dramatized in Joseph Conrad’s novel The Heart of Darkness (1899). Germany colonized
Pacific Islands as well as German East Africa. Attempts at imperialism did not always
succeed. When an Italian army tried to colonize Ethiopia in East Africa, Ethiopian forces beat
the Italians back in 1898.

These examples of imperialism highlight how Allied Powers like Great Britain and France, as
well as Japan, were not thinking about spreading democracy in 1914 when World War I began.
These countries had spent the decades leading up to the war building empires, often exploiting
the people they conquered. They did not go to war to spread democracy. They fought World
War I to defeat Germany and to maintain their empires. In fact, they increased their empires
during the war by taking Germany’s colonies. Japan took Germany’s Pacific Island colonies, and
France took Germany’s African colonies.
Let’s now return to our point about Woodrow Wilson and World War I.

Wilson knew these facts about the Allied Powers and imperialism. He knew the Allied countries
did not go to war in 1914 to spread democracy. He knew their focus was on defeating Germany
and maintaining their empires. Yet Wilson still described the war as a fight for democracy.
Remember, President Wilson was an intellectual who wanted to transform world politics with
his ideas. He had a high opinion of himself and his ability to impose his vision on others. He
thought he could use his ideas to make people to think of the whole war differently, to envision
the war as an opportunity for a larger transformation about spreading democracy and
beginning a new era of world peace.

So when the First Russian Revolution of 1917 began, Wilson described Russia in a way that fit
his vision about spreading democracy. He did not talk about the military mutiny and violent
uprising in Petrograd. He did not mention that Russia never had anything close to a democracy
in its history. Rather, Wilson described Russians as “democratic at heart.” And he presented
them as part of larger “forces” fighting for democratic justice and peace. As he said, the
“Russian people have been added to the forces that are fighting for freedom in the world, for
justice, and for peace.”

Wilson insisted that democracy was spreading because he wanted the U.S. to enter the war.
That’s why he gave the speech to Congress asking for a declaration of war on Germany in April
1917. Wilson wanted to lead a democratic transformation in world politics. And he could not do
this from the sidelines of the war. The U.S. would have to enter the war so Wilson could fulfill
what he saw as his historical mission – to lead the spread of democratic principles and thus the
beginnings of a new era of international justice and peace.

To be clear,
• Wilson’s vision was not just about Russia becoming democratic.
• Wilson expected the destruction of the other multi-national empires, and in their place the
emergence of new nations in Central and Eastern Europe like Poland, Hungary, and
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.Wilson vs. Lenin – 7

Czechoslovakia. Wilson expected these newly independent countries to become democratic
as well.
• And once Germany and Austria were defeated, he expected these too would become
democratic.
• Though Wilson did not mention China in his speech to Congress, he knew the Chinese
Empire had collapsed right before the war and there were opportunities for democracy to
spread there too.

The war, Wilson insisted, was “to make the world safe for democracy.” It was an opportunity to
open a new era of international solidarity of peoples, a new era of cooperation among
democratic States.

Lenin, Russia & the World

In early 1917, the Russian Vladimir Lenin was living in exile in Switzerland. He gave a speech to a
small group of young socialists in the city of Zurich. In the speech, Lenin presented World War I
as an opportunity – an opportunity for the transformation of world politics. On this, he agreed
with Wilson. But Lenin envisioned a different kind of transformation than Wilson. He envisioned
not the spread of democracy, but the violent uprising of working classes against capitalists and
capitalism. Lenin described the coming transformation to the young socialists this way:
• “the coming years, precisely because of this predatory war, will lead to popular uprisings
under the leadership of the proletariat against the power of finance capital, against the big
banks, against the capitalists.”

Lenin envisioned these violent uprisings as leading to the destruction of capitalists and the
victory of socialism. As he explained,
• “these upheavals cannot end otherwise than with the expropriation [destruction] of the
bourgeoisie, with the victory of socialism.”

Lenin’s speech in Zurich was a bit misleading. Lenin was serious about a worldwide socialist
revolution. But he did not really think the revolutionary uprisings would be led by the working-
class proletariat. That’s what Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had predicted back in 1848, that
the industrial working class would rise up and destroy capitalism in a socialist revolution. But
this didn’t happen through the rest of the 1800s. And Lenin didn’t think it was going to happen
in 1917 either.

Back in 1902, Lenin had published a book called, What Is to Be Done? He borrowed the title
from a novel he had read, Nikolai Chernyshevsky’s What Is to Be Done? (1863). Chernyshevsky’s
book was a bit juvenile. It was a utopian fiction which portrayed unselfish intellectuals leading a
revolutionary transformation of society. It had a big impact on Lenin. In his 1902 book, Lenin
argued that socialist revolution was going to be led by trained revolutionary intellectuals, not
the working class. These intellectuals, Lenin said, “shall devote to the revolution not only their
spare evenings but the whole of their lives.” What Lenin had in mind was a relatively small
group of elite trained revolutionaries. It was this intellectual elite which would speak for and
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.Wilson vs. Lenin – 8

lead the working class. Only by such intellectuals, Lenin argued, “can the masses be trained in
political consciousness and revolutionary activity.”

So despite what he said in Zurich about the “leadership of the proletariat,” Lenin did not really
anticipate the working class leading a revolution. Rather, he envisioned himself leading an elite
group of trained revolutionary intellectuals who would use the chaos of World War I as an
opportunity to seize political power and to speak for the working class. Lenin called his
revolutionary elite “Bolsheviks.”

The term Bolshevik means majority. It is a common strategy for revolutionaries to portray
themselves as representing the majority. That’s why Lenin chose the term. But Lenin’s
Bolsheviks were not actually the majority of anything. The Bolsheviks were not even the
majority of revolutionary socialists during World War I. Many other socialists rejected Lenin’s
elite revolutionary approach. Lenin, though, stuck with the name Bolshevik to create the
perception that his group represented the majority.

When the first Russian Revolution of 1917 happened, Lenin returned to Russia. Many socialists
already in Russia supported the first Revolution. They thought Russia’s new provisional
government was a first step in developing a socialist society over time. Some of these socialists
were called Social Revolutionaries and some were called Mensheviks. Some were part of the
provisional government itself. Lenin rejected their approach.
• Lenin rejected the idea of working with other socialists in Russia’s provisional government
to develop socialism over time.
• Lenin wanted the complete transformation of society now. He planned for a second Russian
Revolution of 1917.
• But he wanted the second Revolution to be led by his trained Bolshevik intellectuals, not by
the working class or other socialists. Referring to the leadership of his elite Bolsheviks, Lenin
announced in April 1917: “The law of history imposes our leadership, because it is through
us that the proletariat speaks.”

April 1917 was the same month President Wilson spoke to Congress half way around the world.
Wilson wanted the U.S. to enter World War I so he could lead a democratic transformation of
world politics. Lenin made a parallel argument using a different logic. He argued Russia should
withdraw from the war so he could lead a socialist transformation of world politics. Lenin’s
position was known as “defeatism.” The idea was for Russia to withdraw from the war and
accept defeat because existing world politics did not matter. What mattered was the coming
socialist transformation which would create a new socialist world order.

Lenin’s vision, like Wilson’s, was not just about Russia. Lenin’s vision, like Wilson’s, was global.
• Lenin thought socialist transformation would begin in Russia and would be like a spark that
set off worldwide revolution.
• Lenin also expected the destruction of the other multi-national empires, and in their place
the emergence of new nations in Central and Eastern Europe like Poland, Hungary, and
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.Wilson vs. Lenin – 9

Czechoslovakia. Lenin hoped to spread revolutionary socialism to these newly independent
countries as well.
• And in the chaos of the war, he hoped to spread revolutionary socialism to Germany and
Austria too.
• Lenin was also aware of China. He knew that the collapse of the Chinese Empire provided
an opportunity to spread revolutionary socialism there.

The war, Lenin thought, opened a great opportunity. But that opportunity was not to spread
democracy, as Wilson wanted. In fact, Lenin wrote a book called State and Revolution (1917) in
which he mocked Wilson’s promotion of democracy. Lenin sarcastically described people like
Wilson as “liberal professors” and “petty bourgeois opportunists” – meaning people without
principles. As Lenin argued,
• “progress does not march onward, simply, smoothly, and directly, to greater and greater
democracy, as the liberal professors and petty bourgeois opportunists would have us
believe.”

Though Lenin mocked Wilson’s promotion of democracy, Lenin sought to appropriate the term
“democracy.” He presented the Bolsheviks as representing “true” democracy. He described
their revolutionary socialism as “democracy for the poor, democracy for the people.”

Let’s end this lecture by considering what Lenin meant by “democracy for the poor, democracy
for the people.” Revolutionaries often portray themselves as representing “the poor” and “the
people,” similar to how they claim to represent the majority. Lenin helps us understand what
these phrases mean. He said about the Bolsheviks that “it is through us that the proletariat
speak.”

Trained revolutionaries claim to speak for the poor and for the people. That means they – the
revolutionaries – must gain and maintain political power. They view it as their historical mission
to have power. As Lenin claimed, “The law of history imposes our leadership.”

But if elite revolutionaries speak for the poor and for the people, then democracy cannot mean
the freedom to engage in political activities. Democracy cannot mean political parties,
campaigns, and elections. Think this through:
• Political activities like political parties, campaigns, and elections express various opinions
and have uncertain outcomes – different people could get elected.
• But revolutionaries like Lenin have already declared that they speak for the people. They’ve
already claimed that it is “through us” that the people speak. Such revolutionaries thus see
political parties, campaigns, and elections as interfering with “democracy for the people” –
i.e., interfering with the rule of the revolutionaries.
• Not surprisingly, then, Lenin mocked the idea political parties, campaigns, and elections as
“petty bourgeoisie” democracy.

This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed.Wilson vs. Lenin – 10

Similarly, Lenin’s “democracy for the poor, democracy for the people” does not mean freedom
of speech, freedom of press, or the right peaceably to assemble.
• It might mean those freedoms for the revolutionaries and their supporters. But not for
everyone else because the trained revolutionaries already claim to speak “for the people.”
• Follow the logic: If the revolutionaries speak “for the people,” then anyone with different
opinions must be against the people. There can be no dissent.
• Thus revolutionaries often deny these freedoms to large parts of the population they seek
to rule.

Lenin denounced all these kinds of political freedoms as mere “capitalist” or “bourgeois”
freedoms. He and his trained revolutionaries also rejected due process. Due process includes
• protection from unreasonable searches and seizures by government
• the presumption of innocence when accused of a crime
• the need for evidence to prove guilt
• the right of the accused to cross-examine witnesses
• trial by jury

Lenin viewed these due process protections as “capitalist” and “bourgeois.” They were not part
of “democracy for the poor, democracy for the people.”

Lenin said “The only interesting question in life is Who, whom?” By this, he meant the only
question is who exploits whom. For Lenin, society is a zero-sum conflict between an oppressor
class and an oppressed class – two groups which share nothing in common. Marx and Engels
made the same point back in 1848 when they said that society is divided between two kinds of
groups, “oppressor and oppressed.”

In this way of thinking, individuals are not viewed as individuals, but only as members of
groups. There are no rights which each individual has as an individual. There are no due process
protections for each individual as an individual. Society does not include individuals, but only
groups. And there are only two kinds of groups – oppressor and oppressed – which are hostile
adversaries and which share nothing in common. The only question for Marx and Engels, and
for Lenin, is which group will exploit and oppress which group. They do not see any principles
which allow for peaceful co-existence. It’s a survival of the fittest mentality. For Lenin, his
trained revolutionaries – the Bolsheviks – needed to crush the “bourgeoisie,” the “capitalist.”
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. WW I – 1

World War I (1914-18)

Destruction

The two sides in World War I were:

Allied Powers (victors)
Russia*
France
Great Britain
Japan
Italy (1915)
United States (1917)

Central Powers
Germany*
Austria-Hungary*
Ottoman Empire*
Bulgaria

The major theme we will discuss about World War I is “Destruction.”

The first example of Destruction is the death toll: Over 12 million dead. No previous war in
human history had such a high death toll.

The second example of Destruction concerns assumptions about technology and progress. The
War destroyed the assumption that advances in technology usually brought progress. The
fighting destroyed a sense of confidence that the potential of technology was nearly always
positive.
• To think this through, consider our earlier discussion of Industrialization. We emphasized
how technology increased productivity which increased wealth and the standard of living,
which are examples of progress. Knowledge of chemistry helped develop the oil and steel
industries. Electricity led to mass production of automobiles and eventually electricity in
homes. By around 1900 many Europeans confidently assumed that continual advances in
technology would continue to bring progress.
• The War destroyed such confident assumptions about the potential of technology. The War
showed that technology could be used for terrible purposes as well.
• During the War, technology was used for destructive purposes. Technology was used to
increase the human capacity to kill other humans rather than raise the standard of living.
Knowledge of chemistry was used to produce poison gas. Automobile factories powered by
electricity produced military vehicles, including the first tanks, rather than cars.
• The War clearly highlighted that technology could be used to increase death rather than
wealth. Such uses of technology are a primary reason for the high death toll. The War thus
destroyed the confident assumption that the potential of technology was nearly always
positive.
• This does not mean that technology stopped bringing progress. Technology has led to all
kinds of wonderful things since World War I. But World War I highlighted that technology
has a dual potential. It can lead to progress, like the vast amounts of wealth created in
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. WW I – 2

recent decades because of the Internet. But it can also increase death, like the use of the
Internet by terrorist organizations to recruit members and organize attacks. World War I
highlighted this dual potential of technology.

The third example of Destruction concerns the countries with an asterisk* above – Russia,
Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire. These four powers shared one thing in
common. They were all Multi-National Empires with traditional political structures led by
Emperors and aristocracies.

A multi-national empire is an empire in which one national group rules other national groups.
Consider the Russian Empire described below. Russians led a multi-national empire. They ruled
many other national groups such as Finns, Ukrainians, Poles, etc. Each of these other national
groups were a “people” with their own language, culture, and history. But each did not have
their own independent country. Consider the Polish people. They were divided among several
empires. Some Poles lived under Russian rule in the Russian Empire; some Poles lived under
Austrian rule in the Austro-Hungarian Empire; and some lived under German rule in the
German Empire.

Here are the four Multi-National Empires and the various national groups they ruled.

Russians ruled the Russian Empire which means they ruled the following national groups:
• Finns
• Ukrainians
• Poles
• Lithuanians
• Estonians
• Latvians
• Georgians

Austrians ruled the Austro-Hungarian Empire which means they ruled the following national
groups (with some autonomy in the empire for Hungarians):
• Hungarians
• Bosnians
• Croats
• Montenegrins
• Serbs
• Slovenes
• Czechs

• Slovaks
• Poles

Turks ruled the Ottoman Empire which means they ruled the following national groups. The
first modern genocide occurred in this empire when the Turks sought to exterminate the
Armenians from 1915-23. About 1.5 million Armenians were killed and others fled as refugees.
• Bosnians
• Serbs
• Albanians
• Greeks
• Armenians
• Arabs

Germans ruled the German Empire which means they ruled the following national groups:
• Poles
• Danes
• Belgians
• Lithuanians
• Czechs
• French

Back to the theme of Destruction. The third example of Destruction is that the four multi-
national empires were destroyed in the War.
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. WW I – 3

• The Russian Empire was destroyed. There was still a Russia after the War, but Russia was a
smaller country, no longer a multi-national empire ruled by an emperor.
• The German Empire was destroyed. There was still a Germany after the War, but Germany
was a smaller country, no longer a multi-national empire ruled by an emperor.
• The Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires were also destroyed. After the War, Austria
and Turkey were both smaller countries, no longer empires.

To visualize how the multi-national empires were destroyed, compare the following two maps:
• Click here for a map before the War. Locate the four empires – Russian, German, Austro-
Hungarian, and Ottoman.
• Click here for a map after the War: The four empires are replaced by smaller countries –
Russia, Germany Austria, and Turkey.

Look at these maps side of side.
• Notice how the first map clearly shows the four empires. Three of the empires share
boundaries – the Russian, German, and Austro-Hungarian Empires.
• But notice how the second map shows Russia (U.S.S.R.) and Germany much smaller because
their empires were destroyed. They no longer share a boundary. And there are many new
countries in between them. Similarly, the Austro-Hungarian Empire is gone, with a much
smaller Austria in its place. And the Ottoman Empire is gone, with a much smaller Turkey in
its place.

World War I destroyed the four multi-national empires.

Opportunity?

World War I was an enormous event. Its impact was global. It involved soldiers from across the
world – Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, Australia, China, Japan, Canada, the United
States, etc. It involved more soldiers fighting in more battles with more casualties and deaths
than any previous war in history. Individual battles in the war – such as the Battle of Verdun
and the Battle of the Somme – included more casualties and deaths than many entire wars in
the past. But World War I was not simply a bigger war than earlier wars. It was a different kind
of war.

World War I was unlike any previous war in history because it was the first large scale industrial
war. Entire societies mobilized for the war. This means societies used the workers and factories
of the industrial revolution to produce not consumer products, but war-making products –
rifles, machine guns, artillery, grenades, tanks, etc. Industrial transportation – railroads –
transported goods and soldiers into battle.

This returns us to our point that World War I revealed the dual potential of technology.
Consider the machine gun. Guns had existed for centuries before World War I. But the war saw
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/27/8b/29/278b2974111465297c8af71e99d0cb01.jpg
https://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/united-states-history-volume-2/section_08/7054d451f54118004c53555495314a39.jpg
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. WW I – 4

the first widespread use of machine guns. Think of that phrase “machine gun.” It is a machine
made by machines – a product of the industrial revolution. It massively increased the ability to
kill.

The enormity of World War I provoked various responses during and after the war. One
response was disillusionment. For many, it seemed like civilization had imploded on a scale of
horror, destruction, and death unknown in human history. The scars of the war did not
disappear after the fight stopped (1918) and the peace treaty was signed – the Treaty of
Versailles (1919). Millions of maimed men remained. No one understood post-traumatic stress
at the time, but they saw its consequences in many of the war’s survivors. Entire societies
noticed the reduced number of men in society.

Writers expressed this sense of disillusionment.
• The psychiatrist Sigmund Freud published Beyond the Pleasure Principal in 1920. Freud
argued that the human mind includes unconscious drives such as a drive toward aggression,
destruction, and death. The war led readers to think Freud was on to something. Many
would later read his book, Civilization and Its Discontents (1930).
• The poet Robert Graves published Good-By to All That in 1929. It’s an autobiography of a
soldier who recounts the horrors of the War, the death of friends, and the idiocy of political
leaders and government bureaucracies which had directed the destruction for over four
years.

But in the destruction, in the disillusionment, some saw opportunity.

Some saw the destruction of the war as creating an opportunity for new kinds of politics and
international relations. Some intellectuals in particular envisioned the peoples and politics of
the world as like chess pieces in a chess game they were playing. They envisioned remaking the
politics of the world – or at least parts of it – by moving the pieces in new ways. Two of these
intellectuals were the American Woodrow Wilson and the Russian Vladimir Lenin.

We’ll discuss Wilson and Lenin in more detail in the next lecture. For now, let’s consider why
many intellectuals saw the destruction of the war as an opportunity to remake world politics.

The first reason is that the destruction of the four multi-national empires led to the creation of
new independent countries. Many of those national groups listed above who had long lived in
multi-national empires ruled by others began to assert their national independence. They
began to create their own countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Let’s again consider the
Poles. Poles had previously lived in three different empires (Russian, German, and Austria-
Hungary). But as these empires crumbled, most Poles united to form their own independent
country – Poland. Other national groups did the same. You can see their new nations by clicking
here. You’ll see that
• Finns formed their own nation – Finland
• Hungarians formed their own nation – Hungary
https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/images/maps/Europe1922.jpg
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. WW I – 5

• Ukrainians formed their own nation – Ukraine
• Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians each formed their own nation
• Czechs and Slovaks formed Czechoslovakia
• Bosnians, Croats, Montenegrins, Serbs, and Slovenes formed Yugoslavia

Because these were new nations, they presented new opportunities. Many wondered what
kind of nations they would be. What kind of politics would they practice? Would they be
democracies, dictatorships, democratic dictatorships, or something else? Would they become
allies of countries like Great Britain and the United States, or allies of other countries? Their
futures were uncertain and their societies not yet stable. Some intellectuals thus saw these new
nations as opportunities to reshape world politics.

But it wasn’t just these new nations which presented new questions and new opportunities.
The most powerful country among the defeated Central Powers was Germany. It experienced
unrest and turmoil at the end of the war as its empire collapsed and its Emperor Wilhelm II fled
into exile. Revolutionary movements spread. A civil war atmosphere was in the streets. So
Germany also raised important questions. What kind of a nation would it become? What kind
of politics would it practice? Who would be its allies? Some intellectuals also saw Germany as
an opportunity to reshape world politics.

Other places around the world also showed signs of instability and uncertain futures, and thus
presented opportunities for intellectuals to remake world politics.
• The Russian Empire collapsed during the war. Revolution broke out in early 1917 which led
the Russian Emperor Nicholas II to surrender the throne. What would Russia’s future be?
What kind of politics would it practice? Who would it ally with? Russia was unstable and its
future uncertain.
• Italy experienced unrest and turmoil at the end of the war. It too seemed unstable and its
future uncertain.
• Further away, the Chinese Empire had collapsed right before World War I, ending the nearly
300 year Qing dynasty. China was declared a “Republic” but what exactly that meant was
unclear. China’s future was uncertain and it was on the verge of civil war.
• Arabs in the Middle East also demanded their own country. Arabs had rebelled against the
Ottoman Empire during the war. As a result, some formed the General Syrian Congress
which in 1919 declared, “We desire full and absolute political independence for Syria.” See
map here.

Let’s summarize: World War I destroyed old empires and replaced them with new and not yet
stable countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The war also created widespread unrest and
turmoil in places from Germany and Italy (as well as France) to Russia, the Middle East, and
China. Some intellectuals viewed this destruction and turmoil as an opportunity. They
envisioned all these peoples and societies like a chess game of world politics. These
intellectuals presumed their own ability to remake the politics of the world in ways that fit their
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-F6Brpe_RQ4c/WcWBxU-p6NI/AAAAAAABLng/4tjHkdVJbyAk7SBtYCDa4CvsDU5wtlkYgCLcBGAs/s1600/tmp598310443705958401.jpg
This content is protected, and may not be shared, uploaded, or distributed. WW I – 6

own ideas. Two of these intellectuals were the American Woodrow Wilson and the Russian
Vladimir Lenin. We’ll discuss these two figures in the next lecture.

Place your order
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
$26
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Urgency
Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.

Money-back guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.

Read more

Free-revision policy

Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.

Read more

Privacy policy

Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

Read more