Hist410 all week discussions latest 2017
Subject: History / General History
Week 1 discussion
1900: The Age of Hope and the Age of ‘Isms’
Here’s a statement to consider: “Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations.” Defend or condemn the argument by giving examples of the interaction between Western industrial powers and traditional, non Western societies. Were these contacts essentially positive or negative? ”
The First Total War
World War 1 is said to have been the first ‘total’ war. What does that mean? And what does it mean for people and nations trying to pick up the pieces and resume normal life?
Week 2 discussion
The Rise of Totalitarianism
Compare and contrast the two types of totalitarian governments that arose after 1917, that is, communism and fascism. What were the origins of these governments, their accomplishments, and their failures? What accounts for the fact that the masses mobilized to support these movements? Elaborate.
Nationalism and the Treaty of Versailles
What were reasons that led to the ultimate failure of the Treaty of Versailles? What were the challenges facing the newly-formed League of Nations, and why was it so difficult to form a lasting agreement that would prevent another war? Elaborate.
Week 3 discussion
Dictatorship and Democracy
Analyze Adolph Hitler’s rise to power and the policies he used to rule Germany. Textbook tyrant? Overheated Nationalist? Or the right man for at the right time for the right job?
World War II and the Holocaust
The following statement was taken from a contemporary account of Germany in 1939: “Though the Fuhrer’s anti-Semitic program furnished the National Socialist party in the first instances with a nucleus and a rallying-cry, it was swept into office by two things with which the “Jewish Problem” did not have the slightest connection. On the one side was economic distress and the revulsion against Versailles: on the other, chicanery and intrigue…Hitler and his party promised the unhappy Germans a new heaven and a new earth, coupled with the persecution of the Jews. Unfortunately a new heaven and earth cannot be manufactured to order. But a persecution of the Jews can…” How do you interpret this contemporary account of the persecution of people who are Jewish? Elaborate.
Week 4 discussion
The Cold War: Who Shot First?
The United States accused the Soviet Union of breaking all its wartime pledges and holding Eastern Europe hostage while trying to subvert governments in the west. The Soviet Union accused the US and its allies of trying surround and ultimately destroy it. War of words? Or was somebody telling the truth? And where do our ‘Isms’ fit in? In particular nationalism?
Cold War Buzz Words
The Cold War its very own verbiage. The West had more than its share: Cold War, Iron Curtain, Containment, Domino Theory were just a few. What did they mean in this strange new post-war environment?
Week 5 discussion
Israel and Ther Middle East
Why has the Arab-Israeli conflict been so persistent? What religious and cultural factors have contributed to the persistent state of unrest in the Middle East and, in particular, in what some people refer to as the Holy Land?
Words of peace…acts of war…
In 1993, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed an historic treaty. The Oslo Agreement, preceded by Egypt’s recognition of Israel, and in advance of a similar step by Jordan, suggested an era of moderation in the region.
How did Oslo treat the two issues every nation needs to survive: Self Determination and Self Preservation?
Week 6 discussion
The End of the Cold War
What impact did Mikhail Gorbachev’s ideas of glasnost (openness), perestroika (restructuring) and demokratizatsiia (democratization) have on Communist society? Were these principles compatible with collectivization and a command economy? Did Communist leaders favor these principles or did they feel that their hand were tied once they were introduced into Communist society?
The not so Cold War
It would be easy to dismiss the Cold War simply as proof that Capitalism was a better theory than Communism. Easy, but not the whole story. In order for Communism to be relegated to the dustbin of history, it first had to be proven that its struggle against Capitalism unecessary and thus irrelevant. How do the US and the USSR close the gap in the last quarter of the 20th Century to allow Communism to go out with a whimper and not a bang?
Week 7 discussion
Cold War Nostalgia
In the years after the Cold War and the collapse of the bipolar order, the world has undergone significant changes. Chief among those changes has been a perceived deterioration of world stability, not only in terms of economics but also in terms of security. What indicators could lead one to conclude that in the years following the collapse of the Communist world, things have gotten more dangerous?
Brave New World
So…the Cold War is over. Time to do a victory lap and celebrate the primacy of American power. But the celebration seemed short-lived, as there were plenty of other concerns. Nothing is as it should be. Our adversaries are now our allies, and our allies are now competitors. The end of the Cold War knocked down the Iron Curtain, but it also destroyed conventional economic patterns. Is the end of the Cold War proving to be good for world peace, but not so good for world business?