Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Last Lecture for 124! Freedom Movements.

I'm trying something new. I hope it works!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Proxy Wars and Decolonization

The Kitchen Debate is famous - took place in 1959 between Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev and (then) Vice President of the United States, Richard Nixon. It looks jovial enough, but the Truman Doctrine and NSC-68 committed the United States to the idea of "Containment." That is, of containing Communism. Containing the spread of Communism would lead to the emergence of "Proxy Wars" - often tied to the theme of Decolonization.

As former colonized nations gained independence, a race began for the ideology of these peoples - between Communism and Capitalism. Although this is not precisely true. It was more of a fight between the American and Soviet spheres of influence.

Why would the Soviet system appeal to some of these decolonized nations? What made their message so powerful? What was the reality of Soviet expansion?

Here is a map showing the vast area "decolonized" between 1945 and 1975

A Communist Vietnamese representation of Dien Bien Phu

Scenes from the fall of Saigon in 1975

A pretty heartrending video about refugees toward the end of Angola's civil war in 2002 - when neither the USA or the Soviet union cared so much any more about the outcome:

Chapter 20 Terms

Douglas MacArthur
Marshall Plan
Proxy wars
Partitioning of India
Africa for Africans
Leopold Senghor
Ben Gurion
Mau Mau Rebellion
Sharpesville Massacre
Great Leap Forward
Cultural Revolution
Fulgencio Batista

Monday, April 11, 2011

The End of a Hot War, the Beginning of a Cold One

The Germans had been working on some pretty impressive weapons systems. None with more ramifications for the Cold War than the V2 Rocket:

The partitioning of Germany

The Berlin Airlift marked an important turning point in the Cold War. It also marked the moment when Berlin became a focal point for international Cold War intrigue for the next forty years. Think about this "news" reel in the context of propaganda. How important was mass media in the Cold War? We'll be returning to that idea.

The postwar fate of Vietnam has everything to do with the global gambit of the Cold War:

And in 1949, China goes Red.

As the Soviets took hold of the Eastern Bloc, not everybody was keen on the idea. In 1956, the Hungarians revolted against being part of the "buffer zone" for the Soviet Union. Again, think of the propaganda on display here:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

World War II: Fall of the Old and Rise of the New World Order

Soviet World War II veterans.

The First World War left many old questions unanswered. In contrast, World War II definitely provided answers, many of which were quite startling. Today we will consider the fates of nations in the context of the Second World War.

"Old Europe"
Latin America
China (and Southeast Asia)
The Soviet Union
The United States

We're also going to go over how the war unfolds, because it is important for understanding why these nations bear their fates.

The War in the Pacific

The War in Europe

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Rise of Mass Media

Today we are going to consider how the emergence and rise of mass media in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century changed the way governments and institutions communicated with the people, how ideas spread, and how technology enabled a small group of people to break conventions and communicate with others in ways never before possible.

First, there was the rise of print culture in the late nineteenth century. A lot of this had to do with the emergence of color lithography and the invention of photolithography (which is now extensively used in the computer you are using to manufacture printed circuit boards). Here is a great design blog that I found that supplies an overview with images of the emergence of print advertising.

Advertising may have been the first major outlet to embrace color lithography, but what is advertising anyway? (Answers... you fans of Mad Men?) Some people are even cynical to refer to advertising as propaganda. Is that fair?

The First World War was the first place to see extensive use of color lithography in conjunction with government propaganda. Let's look at some of these posters from the war. What sort of messages are they trying to convey? How might they reflect the newly emergent field of psychology?

Radio was in its infancy during the First World War, but emerged as a powerful force in the consumer market very shortly thereafter. In fact, the United States Census asked Americans whether or not they owned a radio in the home in 1930, it was that profound of a phenomenon.

A car with an awesome sound system - 1923 style. 

Radio was not often live in its early years. In fact, it was produced (and carefully controlled) so as to deliver a specific message. Often actors and not the actual historical figures, filled the speaking roles on the radio - like in this recording from Time Magazine's "March of Time."

Of course, if you couldn't read or write, you could still enjoy the radio. Think about the implications of that. The first global sporting event was the famous fights in 1936 and 1938 between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling held in Yankee Stadium.

With the radio came the rise of a media form with which we are very familiar today - the news reel, or the forerunner of the television news broadcast. Newsreels used to play in advance of another emergent cultural phenomenon, the cinema.  That is, while you were waiting for the movie to start. Some were not very exciting, like this film of Mussolini speaking in 1932:

But as the art grew more sophisticated, we begin to see clear editorial choices designed to evoke an emotional response in the viewer.

Here is an early reel from the Lindbergh Baby case (Lindbergh himself a victim of mass media)

Or the "Year in Review" From 1935

The power of radio, print, and newsreel (as well as cinema) came from the rise of what we call SYNDICATION.

The newsreel took cues from cinema itself. The first feature-length film, D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation glorified the Lost Cause ideology of the Civil War and lionized the Ku Klux Klan.  A cinematic masterpiece, it premiered in 1915.

Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, FDR, Churchill, all understood the importance of cinematic propaganda - either in feature films or in newsreels.

Drums Along the Mohawk is one of the films from the legendary year of 1939. It strikes a theme of hope in a time of travail - a message resonant in Great Depression Era America.

The most famous cinematic effort at propaganda during the 1930s, however, has to be Lene Reifenstahl's Triumph of the Will.

The emergence of World War II will bring imagery of conflict to a much greater audience than ever before possible - but it (like today's news) will be carefully stage managed.

This incredible Japanese propaganda war footage from 1942 was even in color:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Dangerous Post WWI World

Today we are going to look at the rise of militarism and violent and extreme nationalism in places like Japan, Italy, and the Soviet Union. We are also going to consider the difference between Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism.

The League of Nations began after World War I as a body designed to preclude another disastrous war like the one just concluded.  Along with a bunch of platitudes about respecting the rights of minorities and national boundaries, it placed a lot of hypothetical restrictions on military spending - especially navies. Part of this was self-preservation - navies were expensive. Especially when countries like the USA and Japan could afford to spend more than European nations. But not everybody bought into these restrictions, and it was very unequally followed until the system broke down entirely in the 1930s. 

Japan had been on the move ever since the Meiji Restoration. Building up a powerful army and navy, the most modern in the region, it sought to put this force to good use. The First Sino-Japanese war in 1895 resulted in significantly increased Japanese presence in the Korean Peninsula. This same war gave control of Taiwan to Japan. In 1904-05, the Japanese Empire fought Russia and drove the Czarist forces from Korea completely, leading to Japan's annexation of the peninsula in 1910. Japan used WWI to sieze German holdings in the South Pacific. This was followed by the invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and the second Sino-Japanese war in 1937, which featured the Rape of Nanking. There is a lot of information about this event on the web. Who controls it? We will discuss this.

 Japanese expansionism 1900-1941

So what drove the Japanese to expand in such a fashion? And what was the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere?

Why does this image put me in mind of REM's "Shining Happy People?"
The reality wasn't quite so shiny or happy.

Mussolini was the first true practical progenitor of the theory of Fascism. This is his description of the system, which is worth reading. Hitler may have gone farther, but you could argue that Mussolini was the real innovator.  Of course the Fascists could produce excellent consumer goods, an act of which you could not accuse the Soviets.

 1938 Alfa Romeo Tipo 8C 2900B

But we must consider how Mussolini came to power. Was it just because he supposedly made the "trains run on time?" Perhaps we should consider what was going on in post World War I France with regard to the emergence of Socialist, Communist, and Democratic (and Fascist) wings of the government. What role did violence play in turning the tide?

Even the Russians freely admit that Stalin was a sociopath, and the "Revelations of the Russian Archives" presented by the Library of Congress does much to document that.

Stalin and Colleagues, 1929 (People here are going to die)
From the Library of Congress "Revelations of the Russian Archives" 

What was the Cult of the Personality and who was Leon Trotsky? What happened to ol' Leon?

How would you like to be one of these friends? Here is a letter from one of them.

 But what a nice guy, right?

As this Pravda puff piece from 1930 indicates, the Soviets were not above lying about the success of their collectivization activities.