Category Archives: Western Civilization^1&2


What is one issue that reflects the individualist versus collectivist outlook in your own times? How does it do this?


Well first, some definitions. The individualist outlook according to Wikipedia is defined as “the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one’s goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance and advocate that interests of the individual should achieve precedence over the state or a social group, while opposing external interference upon one’s own interests by society or institutions such as the government.” Regarding Collectivism, Wikipedia says, “Collectivism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the group and its interests. Collectivism is the opposite of individualism. Collectivists focus on communal, societal, or national interests in various types of political, economic, and educational systems.” *cough cough* Socialism! *cough* Continue reading

West Civ^2 L 160

In what senses was the world a dangerous place in the 1960s and 1970s?

The world became a dangerous place in the 60s and 70s as a direct result of the Cold War and the loss of traditional values, along with the creation of a huge welfare state.

After WWII, the Soviet Union and the U.S. began to rise as two opposing superpowers. While the Russians were determined to spread communism around the world, the US had plans to be policeman, arms dealer, and conqueror of the rest of the world. (This is referred to as a military industrial complex because of the revolving door policy between politicians, arms dealers, and bankers.) Thus began the Cold War in 1947, called such because no actual military combat between the USSR and the US ensued. Spying and intrigue were the words of the day for the next 43 years. Both sides toppled many countries for the purpose of installing puppet dictators and spreading either side’s power. Even though the US and the Soviet Union never physically clashed, several real wars were a direct result of the Cold War. One of these wars was the Vietnam war, a proxy war between US and Soviets using the Vietnamese people and Vietnamese communists as pawns. Over the course of the war, 1.5 million Vietnamese, 300,000 Cambodians, and 60,000 Laotians were wiped off the face of the earth. The Vietnam war ripped apart the Vietnamese culture and the toxic defoliant Agent Orange had a hugely negative affect on the  soldiers, the civilians, and the ecosystem that is ongoing to the present. Although the Cold War has officially ended, military industrial complex still terrorizes the world. Continue reading

West Civ^2 L155

What were the important components of Germany’s Economic Miracle?

In Germany, the year of 1946 was referred to as “the Year Zero” because it was the first year after the second World War ended. However this was not a happy time. The country was desolate and the people starving. Germany had been divided into four zones after the war: British, French, Soviet, and US. The US under President Truman recommended the measures spelled out in Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) 1067, which were a series of nefarious plans to transform Germany into peaceful pasture-land. He pressured the rest of the allies into agreeing. If he had his way, from then on, Germany would have no arms, no factories or industry, no education, and basic sanitation. The people were only allotted 1200 calories per day. However as 1947 rolled around, the population was willing to starve no longer and Germany’s citizens began to protest. Lucius Clay, an American Zone Military Governor, was rightfully concerned that the German people would revolt and communism could take over the state if conditions did not change. Three remarkable German men, Wilhelm Röpke, Conrad Adenauer, and Ludwig Erhard, convinced Clay to persuade allies to release their hold on Germany and to allow individual liberty for the people and free markets to flourish. Continue reading

West Civ^2 L145

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

At the conclusion of WWI, on June 1919, the Paris Peace Conference was held between the Allied Powers (U.S., Britain, France, and Russia) and the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary). The resulting Treaty of Versailles dictated retaliatory settlement against the latter two countries. Germany was forced to give up all of its arms and large amounts of land arbitrarily, pay reparation fees to other countries, and to accept responsibility for all the damage throughout the war. In addition, a previously erected hunger blockade was finally lifted from Germany months after the war ended, but the humiliated, defenseless, destitute people continued to starve. These conditions were perfect for the culture of socialism, which like a bacterial plague, infected all of Europe, allowing the proud, vicious, tiny-mustached Hitler to establish his Nazi party in Germany. His fervent desire to regain Germany’s pride and lost lands directly led to the revenge that would become WWII.

Most, if not all of the terror bombings and senseless destruction throughout war was brought about by the mindset of “If you bomb me, i’ll bomb you.” After Hitler re-armed Germany, he invaded Poland (Sept. 1939) and promptly declared war (1940) on several countries at once, including Russia, France, and Belgium. The British, anxious to beat down the Germans again, defended Belgium and France at the Battle of Dunkirk (spring 1940). Hitler, who had grudgingly admired the British, decided it was now their turn to suffer, and attacked Britain in the Battle of Britain, or the Blitz (July-Oct. 1940), almost wiping several cities, including London, Southampton, Sheffield, Liverpool, and Manchester off the map, targeting civilians as payback.  The English, who at first had only targeted industrial areas in Germany, began bombing train stations and city centers of Germany, intent on bombing the German civilians the same way the Germans had mercilessly destroyed the British. In that way, many cultural centers of Europe were levelled, including Cologne, Hamburg, and Dresden. Tens of thousands of civilians were senselessly killed on all sides to appease the human desire for revenge and break human morale. Continue reading

West Civ^2 L 140 (W/ Outline)

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

World War II gradually became more brutal as time went on, hard as that is to believe. Despite today’s propaganda informing us that the Germans and Russians were the only evil ones, the U.S.’ tactics to win the war were just as horrific. Cities bombed into oblivion and millions dead were the fault of all parties involved in the war, most noticeably the Nazis, the Japanese, the Royal Air Force, and the U.S.

By the 1940s, in the wake of Operation Barbarossa, Hitler had begun to order more mass shootings than ever before of the Jews, the mentally or physically disabled, the Slavs, and the Gypsies. Fully half of these innocents killed over the course of the war were simply rounded up, forced to dig their own graves, and shot. By the time the Germans had invaded Yugoslavia, the Germans had instigated a reprisal shooting program in which for every single kidnapped, wounded, or killed soldier, they would simply march into the next town, round up 20-40 people, and shoot them. In one extreme example in 1944, in the village of  Oradour-sur-Glanein in Nazi-occupied France, the Germans massacred 642 citizens, wiping out the town in 4 hours. Starting in 1939, the T4 program was created to eradicate Germany of all people with congenital diseases. The “degenerates” of society were removed from their families and caretakers under the false promise of better care in Nazi-government institutions, but instead they were quietly killed. The bodies were piling up, and yet there were still more innocents to be shot. The Einsatzgruppen Killings of 1941, the work of mobile killing squads of the German SS, were noticeably affecting the executioners. The Nazis were in desperate need of an even faster and more efficient way to off their victims. Under SS Lieutenant Reinhardt Heydrich, gasses were perfected and employed in factory-style death camps, in which the prisoners were either worked to death or directly gassed upon arrival. Most of these camps were located in Poland. Around 70,000 handicapped people and about 3,000,000 non-Jewish Polish citizens were murdered by the hands of the Germans. Continue reading

West Civ^2 L135

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

The start of WWII becoming more “global” occurred when Hitler invaded Poland. Russia elected not to attack Germany on the grounds of a previously-created non-aggression pact between the two countries. Hitler began his reign of terror in Poland, rounding up everyone who escaped and either executing  or sending them away to rot in concentration camps. Resistors were shot with no mercy and individuals were selected randomly to perform slave labor for the Nazis. Meanwhile, the Jewish were sentenced to suffer in their own walled off “cities” commonly referred to as ghettos. In the spring of 1940, Hitler devised and put to use a plan of attack called the blitzkrieg, where he would locate the weakest section of an enemy’s line and blast a hole through to the rear of the opposing army and eliminate the communications and supplies, leaving the army helpless and broken. Germany conquered a chunk of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and crushed British forces with this extraordinarily effective technique. Through the blood-clouded eyes of Hilter, the British were simply uncooperative Anglo Saxons, and Hitler’s mustache decided to bomb Britain into submission. In order to accomplish this task, Hitler created the Luftwaffe–a new and improved German Air Force. On August 1940, the Battle of Britain began. Although the British pilots were aided by escaped Polish fighters, the Germans possessed superior technology and overwhelming numbers and left 40,000 citizens dead. Despite the odds against them, the British were victorious and blew a gaping hole in Hitler’s War Machine. Unwilling to give up, Hilter ordered a massively brutal invasion and occupation of Yugoslavia in 1941. Not seeing the benefit of an alliance with the Soviet Union any longer, Hitler about faced and ordered operation Barbarossa–a strike on the Soviet Union. Tiny mustache resented the fluffier mustache belonging to Stalin and was out for blood. June of 1941 was the largest military campaign in history. Anywhere Hitler’s eye turned, innocents suffered.

While Hitler was busy invading Europe, Roosevelt’s communist tendencies grew. In the President’s desire to enter the war and try his luck against the Germans, he tantalizingly dangled the entire Pacific fleet in front of the Japanese; in return, the Japanese bombed the crap out of Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt was shocked, he had expected to be hit, but escape relatively unhurt. He should have listen to the 80% of his citizens who had warned him not to involve the U.S. in the war. FDR and his military generals gathered together and created the Atlantic Charter: a war strategy against Germany just in case they got involved in the war after all. The U.S. was now in a predicament–they only had war plans against Hitler, not the Japanese who they were now at war with. Fortunately for FRD, Hilter solved this problem by ordering an attack on the U.S. who he viewed as mutts with inferior mustaches. Finally, all of the parties in WWII were in play.

West Civ^2 (L 125) o/ lines

*DISCLAIMER* We didn’t have time to do full paragraphs so this is our weekly paper compromise. :/

(1) What are the primary differences discussed in this week’s videos between Marxism and Marxism-Leninism?

  • I. (Background) Karl Marx = German Philosopher-type guy espoused economic theory “Marxism” late 19th century
  • II. (Topic) Russian socialists <3 Marxism and modified it after Czars (esp. Lenin)
  • #1. Marxism –> naturally via people
  • #2. M-Leninism –> workers too stupid to bring about
  • #3. Marx –> state would wither and die
  • #4. Lenin –> state got even stronger
  • #5. Marx –> everyone would have an abundance of food
  • #6. Lenin –> starved the people through deceit
  • #7. Marx–> ppl could do whatever they wanted
  • #8. Lenin –> forced ppl to work in specific jobs
  • #9. Marx –> no violence
  • #10. Lenin –> public executions, forcibly seized property, ran out intellectuals
  • III. (Clincher) Leninism and Marxism totally different and just complete control via state

Continue reading

West Civ^2 (L 120) o/ lines

*DISCLAIMER* We didn’t have time to do full paragraphs so this is our weekly paper compromise. :/

(1) How did a political assassination in June 1914 lead to a world war? Why did each of the major countries intervene?

  •  I. (Background) Ottoman empire crumbling, countries breaking free –> individual nations
  • II. (Topic) Serbia agitated under A-H –> assassinated Archduke Ferdinand 1914
  • #1. A demands punishment, Serbia refuses, A threatens war
  • #2. Russia + Serbia, Germany + Austria (against R, S, & France)
  • #3. Italy + G & A-H, but later first allies
  • #4. Germany invades Belgium –> France
  • #5. England decides to teach Germany lesson
  • #6. England hunger blockades against all Germany
  • #7. Germany retaliates w/ submarine warfare
  • #8. U.S. (Woodrow Wilson) anglophile = Germany
  • #9. Unreasonable about “peaceful” Americans on Warships –> <– Europe
  • #10. Americans killed, Wilson –> war/Germany
  • III. (Clincher) Nationalistic fervor = land grabbing & assassinations = protect own territory (w/ help of major ally) = WWI

Continue reading

West Civ^2 Bullet Points!? (L115)

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

  • Modernism is a philosophy that lasted from late 19th century to late 20th century Western Europe and was applied to literature, art, music, philosophy, and science.
  • Two of the most famous people from this time were Sigmund Freud, the psychoanalyst, and Friedrich Nietzsche, the loopy philologist.
  • Both lived from the mid-late 1800s to the mid 1900s
  • Freud believed that people’s biggest desire in life was to satisfy their aggressiveness by taking it out on others.
  • He was not a religious man and thought that the sole purpose of religion was to glue peoples together.
  • However, Freud is perhaps most famous for his theory that dreams revealed the truth about people.
  • Nietzsche on the other hand was heavily influenced by contemporary progressive writers and coined the famous phrase “God is Dead” due to his belief that Christianity was essentially slavery and people should be free in their beliefs instead of chained to a fixed set of morals.
  • Modernism music by artists such as Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg is to this day famous for its atonality, and literature by authors such as Kafka revolved around absurd realities.
  • In fact, Kafkaesque has become a real word that describes abnormal situations.
  • Visual art styles such as cubism and impressionism were invented.
  • About two generations (18th century) before Modernism came Neoclassicism, a philosophy that preached rules, order, and logic–essentially a re-emphasis of classical Greek and Roman values and culture.
  • Music took the sonata form and perfect examples of composers are Hayden and Mozart.
  • Literature appeared as essays, letters, fables, and satires
  • The French artist David painted the “Oath of the Horatii” where Roman soldiers took vows on their blades in a typical Roman Basilica, which sums up this period precisely.
  • Essentially, Modernism is the rebellious teenage child of Neoclassicism

Continue reading

West Civ^2 Blogging (L110)

(1) What arguments does Gladstone make in favor of Home Rule for Ireland?

During the 1800s, the overwhelmingly Catholic Ireland was ruled over by the Majorly Protestant England. While most political restrictions held over Ireland were lifted early in the century, Catholics were still required to pay a tax to the Protestant Church. William Gladstone, British Prime Minister, began protesting this unfair taxation in 1886, claiming that it was morally incorrect to subject the people in such a way. He also argued that Ireland would never accept British rule and rebel constantly unless the British would allow the Irish to govern themselves, but was quickly shut down. Despite his failure to free the Catholic Irish from all restrictions, he was praised as a statesman for pursuing the rights of others even when the odds were stacked against him. Continue reading