Colonial American History - The Atlantic and Pacific Worlds - New Spain and New France - British America

Chapter 2: Death on a Coastal Fringe (Parts 1-2) :: The Barbarous Years – The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675 by Bernard Bailyn

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “It was into this still-traditional though changing, animist, violently competitive, and delicately poised world, constantly beset by disbalancing shocks, that a small contingent of Englishmen arrived in 1607. They were people whose way of life, sensibilities, assumptions, skills, knowledge, social relations, and aspirations—their entire experience and view of the world and the universe—could scarcely have been more different from those of the people who watched their arrival from the shores of Chesapeake Bay.”
  • “Yet they were clearly barbarians”
  • “These mingled images of natives in the alien lands of the Atlantic world—advanced but satanic people whose wealth and labor could easily be exploited; simple, innocent, natural folk whose resources were as yet unknown and who could presumably be led, through Christianity, to higher stages of civilization; and brutish, debased people condemned by their animal-like wildness to live beyond an exclusionary pale—such visions had little in common except barbarousness, paganism, and the threat of dark mysteries as yet unrevealed. The inconsistency of these images would in itself prove to be a force in race relations in North America.”
  • “It is less surprising that the annals of their sojourn in America record endless turmoil and conflict—that they were hopelessly improvident and constantly engaged in quarrels among themselves and in deadly warfare with the natives—than that the settlement they led survived at all.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “Spirit existed, mind existed, not as a part of the shared physical world but apart from it; these were unique attributes of humanity.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Their relation to the land was the heart of their world.”
  • Compare and Contrast: The living conditions for working / working poor in Britain and the Native Americans they encountered in moving to America
  • How did Elizabeth’s long reign impact British colonialism?
  • Describe the “British ideology of empire”
  • Who was Richard Hakluyt and how did he impact British colonialism
  • Explain and Expand: “The dominant energizing force in the early seventeenth century, however, was the newly empowered commercial organizations”
  • Compare and Contrast: the goals and motivations of the English landed class and the English merchant class
  • Who was Humphrey Gilbert and how did he impact British colonialism
  • React and Respond: “The image that informed Englishmen had of the American Indian population on the eve of permanent settlement in America was an inconsistent blend of notions derived from scattered sources, all of which reinforced an assumption of immense European superiority in religion, culture, power, and capacity.”
  • How did British views of the pre-historic Picts impact their views of Native Americans? “how that the inhabitants of the great Brettanie have bin in times past as savvage as those of Virginia.”
  • In what ways did the English experience in Ireland impact their actions in America? “The “wild Irish” were said by would-be colonizers in the 1560s to be godless.”
  • Explain and Expand: “they both lived in worlds that were at least in part experienced as magical.”
  • React and Respond: “For the English, magic and witchcraft were not abnormal and extraordinary but commonplace and realistic, and that would be especially true in North America, for that distant land was known to be “one of the dark places of the earth,” one of the “wild partes” ultimately ruled by Satan and his minions; there the native priests were known to be “no other but such as our witches are.””
  • Explain and Expand: “was from this advanced, modernizing world, still in many ways close to its medieval origins, that the first English colonists in North America were drawn.”
  • Describe the two groups of English settlers that left for North America in 1606
  • Describe the characteristics of the group of English colonizers that landed at Jamestown
  • Who were the leaders of the Jamestown colony and what skills did they bring to the settlement?
  • Who was Christopher Newport and what impact did he have on colonization in America?
  • Who was Bartholomew Gosnold and what impact did he have on colonization of America
  • Who was George Kendall and what impact did he have on colonization in America?
  • Who was John Smith and what was his life experience before coming to Jamestown
  • What was the significance of the pamphlet “Good News from Virginia”
  • Explain and Expand: “In the first years of Virginia’s European history these representatives of England’s affluent intelligentsia would explore the Indians’ world, report on it, attempt to understand it and to conceive ways of exploiting it.”

Primary Sources


Historical Primary Source

Robert E. Lee Resignation Letter to General Winfield Scott

To General Winfield Scott

Commander-in-Chief, United States Army

Arlington, Washington City P.O.

April 20, 1861


Since my interview with you on the 18th instant I have felt that I ought not longer to retain my commission in the Army.  I therefore tender my resignation, which I request you will recommend for acceptance.

It would have been presented at once, but for the struggle it has cost me to separate myself from a service to which I have devoted all the best years of my life & all the ability I possessed.

During the whole of that time, more than 30 years, I have experienced nothing but kindness from my superiors, & the most cordial friendship from my companions.  To no one Genl have I been as much indebted as to yourself for the uniform kindness & consideration, & it has always been my ardent desire to merit your approbation.

I shall carry with me to the grave the most grateful recollections of your kind consideration, & your name & fame will always be dear to me.  Save in the defence of my native State, I never desire again to draw my sword.

Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for the continuance of your happiness & prosperity & believe me most truly yours.

R.E. Lee

Primary Source Documents

The Emancipation Proclamation

Using his authority as Commander and Chief, President Lincoln frees all slaves living in areas continuing in insurrection, while Congress drafted Constitutional amendments to effect the freeing of all slaves. 

January 1, 1863

By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

“That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.”

Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

History Primary Source

Woodrow Wilson :: Proclamation 1364 — Declaring That a State of War Exists Between the United States and Germany :: April 6, 1917

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas, the Congress of the United States in the exercise of the constitutional authority vested in them have resolved, by joint resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives bearing date this day “That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial German Government which has been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared”;

Whereas, it is provided by Section 4067 of the Revised Statutes, as follows:

Whenever there is declared a war between the United States and any foreign nation or government, or any invasion or predatory incursion is perpetrated, attempted, or threatened against the territory of the United States, by any foreign nation or government, and the President makes public proclamation of the event, all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of a hostile nation or government, being males of the age of fourteen years and upwards, who shall be within the United States, and not actually naturalized, shall be liable to be apprehended, restrained, secured, and removed as alien enemies. The President is authorized, in any such event, by his proclamation thereof, or other public act, to direct the conduct to be observed, on the part of the United States, toward the aliens who become so liable; the manner and degree of the restraint to which they shall be subject, and in what cases, and upon what security their residence shall be permitted, and to provide for the removal of those who, not being permitted to reside within the United States, refuse or neglect to depart therefrom; and to establish any such regulations which are found necessary in the premises and for the public safety;

Whereas, by Sections 4068, 4069, and 4070 of the Revised Statutes, further provision is made relative to alien enemies;

Now, Therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim to all whom it may concern that a state of war exists between the United States and the Imperial German Government; and I do specially direct all officers, civil or military, of the United States that they exercise vigilance and zeal in the discharge of the duties incident to such a state of war; and I do, moreover, earnestly appeal to all American citizens that they, in loyal devotion to their country, dedicated from its foundation to the principles of liberty and justice, uphold the laws of the land, and give undivided and willing support to those measures which may be adopted by the constitutional authorities in prosecuting the war to a successful issue and in obtaining a secure and just peace;

And, acting under and by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the United States and the said sections of the Revised Statutes, I do hereby further proclaim and direct that the conduct to be observed on the part of the United States toward all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of Germany, being males of the age of fourteen years and upwards, who shall be within the United States and not actually naturalized, who for the purpose of this proclamation and under such sections of the Revised Statutes are termed alien enemies, shall be as follows:

All alien enemies are enjoined to preserve the peace towards the United States and to refrain from crime against the public safety, and from violating the laws of the United States and of the States and Territories thereof, and to refrain from actual hostility or giving information, aid or comfort to the enemies of the United States, and to comply strictly with the regulations which are hereby or which may be from time to time promulgated by the President; and so long as they shall conduct themselves in accordance with law, they shall be undisturbed in the peaceful pursuit of their lives and occupations and be accorded the consideration due to all peaceful and law-abiding persons, except so far as restrictions may be necessary for their own protection and for the safety of the United States; and towards such alien enemies as conduct themselves in accordance with law, all citizens of the United States are enjoined to preserve the peace and to treat them with all such friendliness as may be compatible with loyalty and allegiance to the United States.

And all alien enemies who fail to conduct themselves as so enjoined, in addition to all other penalties prescribed by law, shall be liable to restraint, or to give security, or to remove and depart from the United States in the manner prescribed by Sections 4069 and 4070 of the Revised Statutes, and as prescribed in the regulations duly promulgated by the President;

And pursuant to the authority vested in me, I hereby declare and establish the following regulations, which I find necessary in the premises and for the public safety:

First. An alien enemy shall not have in his possession, at any time or place, any fire-arm, weapon or implement of war, or component part thereof, ammunition, maxim or other silencer, bomb or explosive or material used in the manufacture of explosives;

Second. An alien enemy shall not have in his possession at any time or place, or use or operate any aircraft or wireless apparatus, or any form of signalling device, or any form of cipher code, or any paper, document or book written or printed in cipher or in which there may be invisible writing;

Third. All property found in the possession of an alien enemy in violation of the foregoing regulations shall be subject to seizure by the United States;

Fourth. An alien enemy shall not approach or be found within one-half of a mile of any Federal or State fort, camp, arsenal, aircraft station, Government or naval vessel, navy yard, factory, or workshop for the manufacture of munitions of war or of any products for the use of the army or navy;

Fifth. An alien enemy shall not write, print, or publish any attack or threats against the Government or Congress of the United States, or either branch thereof, or against the measures or policy of the United States, or against the person or property of any person in the military, naval or civil service of the United States, or of the States or Territories, or of the District of Columbia, or of the municipal governments therein;

Sixth. An alien enemy shall not commit or abet any hostile acts against the United States, or give information, aid, or comfort to its enemies;

Seventh. An alien enemy shall not reside in or continue to reside in, to remain in, or enter any locality which the President may from time to time designate by Executive Order as a prohibited area in which residence by an alien enemy shall be found by him to constitute a danger to the public peace and safety of the United States, except by permit from the President and except under such limitations or restrictions as the President may prescribe;

Eighth. An alien enemy whom the President shall have reasonable cause to believe to be aiding or about to aid the enemy, or to be at large to the danger of the public peace or safety of the United States, or to have violated or to be about to violate any of these regulations, shall remove to any location designated by the President by Executive Order, and shall not remove therefrom without a permit, or shall depart from the United States if so required by the President;

Ninth. No alien enemy shall depart from the United States until he shall have received such permit as the President shall prescribe, or except under order of a court, judge, or justice, under Sections 4069 and 4070 of the Revised Statutes;

Tenth. No alien enemy shall land in or enter the United States, except under such restrictions and at such places as the President may prescribe;

Eleventh. If necessary to prevent violation of the regulations, all alien enemies will be obliged to register;

Twelfth. An alien enemy whom there may be reasonable cause to believe to be aiding or about to aid the enemy, or who may be at large to the danger of the public peace or safety, or who violates or attempts to violate, or of whom there is reasonable ground to believe that he is about to violate, any regulation duly promulgated by the President, or any criminal law of the United States, or of the States or Territories thereof, will be subject to summary arrest by the United States Marshal, or his deputy, or such other officer as the President shall designate, and to confinement in such penitentiary, prison, jail, military camp, or other place of detention as may be directed by the President.

This proclamation and the regulations herein contained shall extend and apply to all land and water, continental or insular, in any way within the jurisdiction of the United States.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this 6th day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and seventeen and of the independence of the United States of America the one hundred and forty-first.


Historical Primary Source

The Cornerstone Speech by Alexander Stephens (Text) :: Confederate History Month

Alexander Stephens

Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America

The Cornerstone Speech

Savannah, Georgia

March 21, 1861

The Cornerstone Speech was delivered without notes by Vice President Alexander H. Stephens, and no official printed version exists, although a local newspaper reporter printed a transcription of the speech later that same week. The text below was taken from that newspaper article in the Savannah [Georgia] Republican, as reprinted in Henry Cleveland, Alexander H. Stephens, in Public and Private: With Letters and Speeches, before, during, and since the War, Philadelphia, 1886, pp. 717-729.


At half past seven o’clock on Thursday evening, the largest audience ever assembled at the Athenaeum was in the house, waiting most impatiently for the appearance of the orator of the evening, Hon. A. H. Stephens, Vice- President of the Confederate States of America. The committee, with invited guests, were seated on the stage, when, at the appointed hour, the Hon. C. C. Jones, Mayor, and the speaker, entered, and were greeted by the immense assemblage with deafening rounds of applause.

The Mayor then, in a few pertinent remarks, introduced Mr. Stephens, stating that at the request of a number of the members of the convention, and citizens of Savannah and the State, now here, he had consented to address them upon the present state of public affairs.

MR. STEPHENS rose and spoke as follows:

Mr. Mayor, and Gentlemen of the Committee, and Fellow-Citizens:- . . . We are in the midst of one of the greatest epochs in our history. The last ninety days will mark one of the most memorable eras in the history of modern civilization. . . .

I was remarking, that we are passing through one of the greatest revolutions in the annals of the world. Seven States have within the last three months thrown off an old government and formed a new. This revolution has been signally marked, up to this time, by the fact of its having been accomplished without the loss of a single drop of blood. [Applause.]

This new constitution, or form of government, constitutes the subject to which your attention will be partly invited. . . .

But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other — though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.] This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind — from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics; their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just — but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world. As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are and ever have been, in the various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo-it was so with Adam Smith and his principles of political economy. It was so with Harvey, and his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is stated that not a single one of the medical profession, living at the time of the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them. Now, they are universally acknowledged. May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of his ordinances, or to question them. For his own purposes, he has made one race to differ from another, as he has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.”

The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to his laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders “is become the chief of the corner” — the real “corner-stone” — in our new edifice. [Applause.]

I have been asked, what of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be against us, when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, if we are true to ourselves and the principles for which we contend, we are obliged to, and must triumph. [Immense applause.] . . .

[REPORTER’S NOTE. — Your reporter begs to state that the above is not a perfect report, but only such a sketch of the address of Mr. Stephens as embraces, in his judgment, the most important points presented by the orator. — G.]


Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America

Speech to the Virginia Secession Convention [Excerpt]

April 23, 1861

. . .One good and wise feature in our new or revised Constitution is, that we have put to rest the vexed question of slavery forever, so far as the Confederate legislative halls are concerned. On this subject, from which sprung the immediate cause of our late troubles and threatened dangers, you will indulge me in a few remarks as not irrelevant to the occasion. The condition of the negro race amongst us presents a peculiar phase of republican civilization and constitutional liberty. To some, the problem seems hard to understand. The difficulty is in theory, not in practical demonstration; that works well enough—theories in government, as in all things else, must yield to facts. No truth is clearer than that the best form or system of government for any people or society is that which secures the greatest amount of happiness, not to the greatest number, but to all the constituent elements of that society, community or State. If our system does not accomplish this; if it is not the best for the negro as well as for the white man; for the inferior as well as the superior race, it is wrong in principle. But if it does, or is capable of doing this, then it is right, and can never be successfully assailed by reason or logic. That the negroes with us, under masters who care for, provide for and protect them, are better off, and enjoy more of the blessings of good government than their race does in any other part of the world, statistics abundantly prove. As a race, the African is inferior to the white man. Subordination to the white man is his normal condition. He is not his equal by nature, and cannot be made so by human laws or human institutions. Our system, therefore, so far as regards this inferior race, rests upon this great immutable law of nature. It is founded not upon wrong or injustice, but upon the eternal fitness of things. Hence, its harmonious working for the benefit and advantage of both. Why one r ace was made inferior to another, is not for us to inquire. The statesman and the Christian, as well as the philosopher, must take things as they find them, and do the best he can with them as he finds them.

The great truth, I repeat, upon which our system rests, is the inferiority of the African. The enemies of our institutions ignore this truth. They set out with the assumption that the races are equal; that the negro is equal to the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be legitimate. But their premises being false, their conclusions are false also. Most of that fanatical spirit at the North on this subject, which in its zeal without knowledge, would upturn our society and lay waste our fair country, springs from this false reasoning. Hence so much misapplied sympathy for fancied wrongs and sufferings. These wrongs and sufferings exist only in their heated imaginations. There can be no wrong where there is no violation of nature’s laws. We have heard much of the higher law. I believe myself in the higher law. We stand upon that higher law. I would defend and support no Constitution that is against the higher law. I mean by that the law of nature and of God. Human Constitutions and human laws that are made against the law of nature or of God, ought to be overturned; and if Seward was right the Constitution which he was sworn to support, and is now requiring others to swear to support, ought to have been overthrown long ago. It ought never to have been made. But in point of fact it is he and his associates in this crusade against us, who are warring against the higher law—we stand upon the laws of the Creator, upon the highest of all laws. It is the fanatics of the North, who are warring against the decrees of God Almighty, in their attempts to make things equal which he made unequal. My assurance of ultimate success in this controversy is strong from the conviction, that we stand upon the right. Some years ago in the Hall of the House of Representatives, a very prominent gentleman from Ohio, announced with a great deal of effect, that we at the South would be obliged to yield upon this question of slavery, because we warred against a principle; and that it was as impossible to war successfully against principle in politics as it was in mechanics. The principle, said he, would ultimately prevail. He announced this with imposing effect, and endeavored to maintain that we were contending against the great principle of equality in holding our fellow men. in the unnatural condition of bondage. In reply, I stated to him, that I admitted his proposition as he announced it, that it was impossible to war successfully against a principle in mechanics and the same was true in politics—the principle would certainly prevail—and from that stand point I had come to the conclusion that we of the South would ultimately succeed, and the North would be compelled to yield their ideas upon this subject. For it was they who were contending against a principle and not we. It was they who were trying to make the black man a white man, or his equal, which was nearly the same thing. The controlling laws of nature regulate the difference between them as absolutely as the laws of gravitation control whatever comes within their action—and until he could change the laws of gravitation, or any other law of nature, he could never make the negro a white man or his equal. No human efforts or human laws can change the leopard’s spots or the Ethiopian’s skin. These are the works of Providence—in whose hands are the fortunes of men as well as the destiny of nations and the distinctions of races. . . .

This text is taken from George H Reese, editor, Proceedings of the Virginia State Convention of 1861, February 13 – May 1; In Four Volumes, Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1865, volume 4, pp. 361-390)

Woodrow Wilson :: Address to a Joint Session of Congress Requesting a Declaration of War Against Germany :: April 2, 1917


I have called the Congress into extraordinary session because there are serious, very serious, choices of policy to be made, and made immediately, which it was neither right nor constitutionally permissible that I should assume the responsibility of making.

On the third of February last I officially laid before you the extraordinary announcement of the Imperial German Government that on and after the first day of February it was its purpose to put aside all restraints of law or of humanity and use its submarines to sink every vessel that sought to approach either the ports of Great Britain and Ireland or the western coasts of Europe or any of the ports controlled by the enemies of Germany within the Mediterranean. That had seemed to be the object of the German submarine warfare earlier in the war, but since April of last year the Imperial Government had somewhat restrained the commanders of its undersea craft in conformity with its promise then given to us that passenger boats should not be sunk and that due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might seek to destroy when no resistance was offered or escape attempted, and care taken that their crews were given at least a fair chance to save their lives in their open boats. The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel and unmanly business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed.

The new policy has swept every restriction aside. Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom: without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents. Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, though the latter were provided with safe conduct through the proscribed areas by the German Government itself and were distinguished by unmistakable marks of identity, have been sunk with the same reckless lack of compassion or of principle.

I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government that had hitherto subscribed to the humane practices of civilized nations. International law had its origin in the attempt to set up some law which would be respected and observed upon the seas, where no nation had right of dominion and where lay the free highways of the world. By painful stage after stage has that law been built up, with meager enough results, indeed, after all was accomplished that could be accomplished, but always with a clear view, at least, of what the heart and conscience of mankind demanded.

This minimum of right the German Government has swept aside under the plea of retaliation and necessity and because it had no weapons which it could use at sea except these which it is impossible to employ as it is employing them without throwing to the winds all scruples of humanity or of respect for the understandings that were supposed to underlie the intercourse of the world.

I am not now thinking of the loss of property involved, immense and serious as that is, but only of the wanton and wholesale destruction of the lives of noncombatants, men, women, and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, even in the darkest periods of modern history, been deemed innocent and legitimate. Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be.

The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind. It is a war against all nations. American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way. There has been no discrimination. The challenge is to all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it. The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation.

We must put excited feeling away. Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.

When I addressed the Congress on the twenty-sixth of February last I thought that it would suffice to assert our neutral rights with arms, our right to use the seas against unlawful interference, our right to keep our people safe against unlawful violence. But armed neutrality, it now appears, is impracticable. Because submarines are in effect outlaws when used as the German submarines have been used against merchant shipping, it is impossible to defend ships against their attacks as the law of nations has assumed that merchantmen would defend themselves against privateers or cruisers, visible craft giving chase upon the open sea. It is common prudence in such circumstances, grim necessity indeed, to endeavor to destroy them before they have shown their own intention. They must be dealt with upon sight, if dealt with at all.

The German Government denies the right of neutrals to use arms at all within the areas of the sea which it has proscribed, even in the defense of rights which no modern publicist has ever before questioned their right to defend. The intimation is conveyed that the armed guards which we have placed on our merchant ships will be treated as beyond the pale of law and subject to be dealt with as pirates would be. Armed neutrality is ineffectual enough at best; in such circumstances and in the face of such pretensions it is worse than ineffectual: it is likely only to produce what it was meant to prevent; it is practically certain to draw us into the war without either the rights or the effectiveness of belligerents.

There is one choice we cannot make, we are incapable of making: we will not choose the path of submission and suffer the most sacred rights of our Nation and our people to be ignored or violated. The wrongs against which we now array ourselves are no common wrongs; they cut to the very roots of human life.

With a profound sense of the solemn and even tragical character of the step I am taking and of the grave responsibilities which it involves, but in unhesitating obedience to what I deem my constitutional duty, I advise that the Congress declare the recent course of the Imperial German Government to be in fact nothing less than war against the government and people of the United States; that it formally accept the status of belligerent which has thus been thrust upon it, and that it take immediate steps not only to put the country in a more thorough state of defense but also to exert all its power and employ all its resources to bring the Government of the German Empire to terms and end the war.

What this will involve is clear. It will involve the utmost practicable cooperation in counsel and action with the governments now at war with Germany, and, as incident to that, the extension to those governments of the most liberal financial credit, in order that our resources may so far as possible be added to theirs. It will involve the organization and mobilization of all the material resources of the country to supply the materials of war and serve the incidental needs of the Nation in the most abundant and yet the most economical and efficient way possible. It will involve the immediate full equipment of the navy in all respects but particularly in supplying it with the best means of dealing with the enemy’s submarines. It will involve the immediate addition to the armed forces of the United States already provided for by law in case of war at least five hundred thousand men, who should, in my opinion, be chosen upon the principle of universal liability to service, and also the authorization of subsequent additional increments of equal force so soon as they may be needed and can be handled in training.

It will involve also, of course, the granting of adequate credits to the Government, sustained, I hope, so far as they can equitably be sustained by the present generation, by well conceived taxation. I say sustained so far as may be equitable by taxation because it seems to me that it would be most unwise to base the credits which will now be necessary entirely on money borrowed. It is our duty, I most respectfully urge, to protect our people so far as we may against the very serious hardships and evils which would be likely to arise out of the inflation which would be produced by vast loans.

In carrying out the measures by which these things are to be accomplished we should keep constantly in mind the wisdom of interfering as little as possible in our own preparation and in the equipment of our own military forces with the duty–for it will be a very practical duty–of supplying the nations already at war with Germany with the materials which they can obtain only from us or by our assistance. They are in the field and we should help them in every way to be effective there.

I shall take the liberty of suggesting, through the several executive departments of the Government, for the consideration of your committees, measures for the accomplishment of the several objects I have mentioned. I hope that it will be your pleasure to deal with them as having been framed after very careful thought by the branch of the Government upon which the responsibility of conducting the war and safeguarding the Nation will most directly fall.

While we do these things, these deeply momentous things, let us be very clear, and make very clear to all the world what our motives and our objects are. My own thought has not been driven from its habitual and normal course by the unhappy events of the last two months, and I do not believe that the thought of the Nation has been altered or clouded by them.

I have exactly the same things in mind now that I had in mind when I addressed the Senate on the twenty-second of January last, the same that I had in mind when I addressed the Congress on the third of February and on the twenty-sixth of February. Our object now, as then, is to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic power and to set up amongst the really free and self-governed peoples of the world such a concert of purpose and of action as will henceforth insure the observance of those principles

Neutrality is no longer feasible or desirable where the peace of the world is involved and the freedom of its peoples, and the menace to that peace and freedom lies in the existence of autocratic governments backed by organized force which is controlled wholly by their will, not by the will of their people. We have seen the last of neutrality in such circumstances.

We are at the beginning of an age in which it will be insisted that the same standards of conduct and of responsibility for wrong done shall be observed among nations and their governments that are observed among the individual citizens of civilized states.

We have no quarrel with the German people. We have no feeling towards them but one of sympathy and friendship. It was not upon their impulse that their government acted in entering this war. It was not with their previous knowledge or approval.

It was a war determined upon as wars used to be determined upon in the old, unhappy days when peoples were nowhere consulted by their rulers and wars were provoked and waged in the interest of dynasties or of little groups of ambitious men who were accustomed to use their fellow men as pawns and tools.

Self-governed nations do not fill their neighbor states with spies or set the course of intrigue to bring about some critical posture of affairs which will give them an opportunity to strike and make conquest. Such designs can be successfully worked out only under cover and where no one has the right to ask questions.

Cunningly contrived plans of deception or aggression, carried, it may be, from generation to generation, can be worked out and kept from the light only within the privacy of courts or behind the carefully guarded confidences of a narrow and privileged class. They are happily impossible where public opinion commands and insists upon full information concerning all the nation’s affairs.

A steadfast concert for peace can never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations. No autocratic government could be trusted to keep faith within it or observe its covenants. It must be a league of honor, a partnership of opinion. Intrigue would eat its vitals away; the plottings of inner circles who could plan what they would and render account to no one would be a corruption seated at its very heart. Only free peoples can hold their purpose and their honor steady to a common end and prefer the interests of mankind to any narrow interest of their own.

Does not every American feel that 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?

Russia was known by those who knew it best to have been always in fact democratic at heart, in all the vital habits of her thought, in all the intimate relationships of her people that spoke their natural instinct, their habitual attitude towards life.

The autocracy that crowned the summit of her political structure, long as it had stood and terrible as was the reality of its power, was not in fact Russian in origin, character, or purpose; and now it has been shaken off and the great, generous Russian people have been added in all their naive majesty and might to the forces that are fighting for freedom in the world, for justice, and for peace. Here is a fit partner for a League of Honor.

One of the things that has served to convince us that the Prussian, autocracy was not and could never be our friend is that from the very outset of the present war it has filled our unsuspecting communities and even our offices of government with spies and set criminal intrigues everywhere afoot against our national unity of counsel, our peace Within and without, our industries and our commerce.

Indeed it is now evident that its spies were here even before the war began; and it is unhappily not a matter of conjecture but a fact proved in our courts of justice that the intrigues which have more than once come perilously near to disturbing the peace and dislocating the industries of the country have been carried on at the instigation, with the support, and even under the personal direction of official agents of the Imperial Government accredited to the Government of the United States.

Even in checking these things and trying to extirpate them we have sought to put the most generous interpretation possible upon them because we knew that their source lay, not in any hostile feeling or purpose of the German people towards us (who were, no doubt, as ignorant of them as we ourselves were), but only in the selfish designs of a Government that did what it pleased and told its people nothing. But they have played their part in serving to convince us at last that that Government entertains no real friendship for us and means to act against our peace and security at its convenience. That it means to stir up enemies against us at our very doors the intercepted note to the German Minister at Mexico City is eloquent evidence.

We are accepting this challenge of hostile purpose because we know that in such a Government, following such methods, we can never have a friend; and that in the presence of its organized power, always lying in wait to accomplish we know not what purpose, there can be no assured security for the democratic Governments of the world.

We are now about to accept gauge of battle with this natural foe to liberty and shall, if necessary, spend the whole force of the nation to check and nullify its pretensions and its power. We are glad, now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretense about them to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its peoples, the German peoples included: for the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience. The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.

We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.

Just because we fight without rancor and without selfish object, seeking nothing for ourselves but what we shall wish to share with all free peoples, we shall, I feel confident, conduct our operations as belligerents without passion and ourselves observe with proud punctilio the principles of right and of fair play we profess to be fighting for.

I have said nothing of the Governments allied with the Imperial Government of Germany because they have not made war upon us or challenged us to defend our right and our honor. The Austro-Hungarian Government has, indeed, avowed its unqualified endorsement and acceptance of the reckless and lawless submarine warfare adopted now without disguise by the Imperial German Government, and it has therefore not been possible for this Government to receive Count Tarnowski, the Ambassador recently accredited to this Government by the Imperial and Royal Government of Austria-Hungary; but that Government has not actually engaged in warfare against citizens of the United States on the seas, and I take the liberty, for the present at least, of postponing a discussion of our relations with the authorities at Vienna. We enter this war only where we are clearly forced into it because there are no other means of defending our rights.

It will be all the easier for us to conduct ourselves as belligerents in a high spirit of right and fairness because we act without animus, not in enmity towards a people or with the desire to bring any injury or disadvantage upon them, but only in armed opposition to an irresponsible government which has thrown aside all considerations of humanity and of right and is running amuck.

We are, let me say again, the sincere friends of the German people, and shall desire nothing so much as the early reestablishment of intimate relations of mutual advantage between us–however hard it may be for them, for the time being, to believe that this is spoken from our hearts. We have borne with their present Government through all these bitter months because of that friendship–exercising a patience and forbearance which would otherwise have been impossible. We shall, happily, still have an opportunity to prove that friendship in our daily attitude and actions towards the millions of men and women of German birth and native sympathy who live amongst us and share our life, and we shall be proud to prove it towards all who are in fact loyal to their neighbors and to the Government in the hour of test. They are, most of them, as true and loyal Americans as if they had never known any other fealty or allegiance. They will be prompt to stand with us in rebuking and restraining the few who may be of a different mind and purpose.

If there should be disloyalty, it will be dealt with with a firm hand of stern repression; but, if it lifts its head at all, it will lift it only here and there and without countenance except from a lawless and malignant few.

It is a distressing and oppressive duty, Gentlemen of the Congress, which I have performed in thus addressing you. There are, it may be many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts–for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own Governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free. To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, every thing that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other.

World War 2 National Socialism and the Holocaust

Chapter 2: Absolute And Total War :: Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War by Chris Bellamy

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “‘A world war, and a war of an extension and violence hitherto undreamt of.’ Just over half a century before the outbreak of the Second World War, Friedrich Engels said that no other kind of war was possible for Germany.”
  • “the maximum use of force is in no way incompatible with the simultaneous use of the intellect”
  • “The conditions for absolute and total war had been developed during the 1920s and 1930s, and reached a climax of intensity in early 1941.”
  • “And unfortunately for others, the greatest civilizations of the time are usually also the most efficient killers. We may admire the Romans’ literature, law, logic, logistics and engineering, but their dominance ultimately rested on being a military superpower. Their army operated like a chainsaw and if they did not enslave any surviving prisoners, they often crucified them. In the twentieth century, which should have been a more civilized age, warfare, to borrow Churchill’s phrase about a new dark age, was made even ‘more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science’.”
  • “War is an act of force and there is no logical limit to the application of that force. Each side therefore, compels the opponent to follow suit; a reciprocal action is started which must lead, in theory, to extremes.”
  • “the proportion of the means of resistance that cannot immediately be brought to bear is much higher than might at first be thought. Even when great strength has been expended on the first decision and the balance has been upset, equilibrium can be restored.”
  • “German policy toward Soviet prisoners and civilians in the occupied territories had been formulated even before fighting started in the East. There were three key orders, each of which was the result of complex evolution: the ‘Führer decree’ of 13 May 1941, which limited military jurisdiction in occupied areas, passing responsibility for dealing with criminals and insurgents to the tender mercies of the SS; Guidelines for the Behaviour of the Fighting Forces in Russia, issued on 19 May 1941; and the most notorious document, which grew out of the others and was very much a clarification of one key area, the famous ‘Commissar Order’ (Kommissarbefehl) of 6 June 1941.”
  • “The impending campaign is more than a clash of arms; it also entails a struggle between two ideologies. To conclude this war is not enough, given the vastness of the space, to defeat the enemy forces. The entire territory must be dissolved into states with their own governments … The Jewish-Bolshevik intelligentsia, as the oppressor in the past, must be liquidated.”
  • “prevent arbitrary excess by individual members of the army, so as to be in good time to prevent the degeneration of the troops”
  • “sense of justice must, in certain circumstances, yield to the requirements of war”
  • “Bolshevism is the mortal enemy of the National Socialist German people. Germany’s struggle is aimed against that disruptive ideology and its exponents. The struggle demands ruthless and energetic action against Bolshevik agitators, guerrillas, saboteurs, Jews and the complete liquidation of any active or passive resistance. Extreme reserve and most alert vigilance are called for towards all members of the Red Army — even prisoners — as treacherous methods of fighting are to be expected. The Asiatic soldiers of the Red Army in particular are inscrutable, unpredictable, insidious and unfeeling. After the capture of units the leaders are to be instantly separated from the other ranks.”
  • “… war captivity is neither revenge nor punishment but solely protective custody, the only purpose of which is to prevent the prisoners of war from further participation in the war. This principle was developed in accordance with the view held by all armies that it is contrary to military tradition to kill or injure helpless”
  • “Crushing denunciation of Bolshevism, identified with asocial criminality. Bolshevism is an enormous danger for our future. We must forget the concept of comradeship between soldiers. A Communist is no comrade before or after the battle. This is a war of extermination. If we do not grasp this, we shall still beat the enemy, but 30 years later we shall again have to fight the Communist foe. We do not wage war to preserve the enemy … This need not mean that the troops should get out of hand. Rather, the commanders must give orders which express the common feeling of their men … Commanders must make the sacrifice of overcoming their personal scruples.”
  • “Just as the Soviets were ‘subhuman’ to the Germans, Ehrenburg wrote, ‘we do not regard them as human beings’.46The Germans were ‘wild beasts’, ‘worse than wild beasts’, ‘Aryan beasts’ and ‘starving rats’. A colonel ‘shows his old rat’s yellow fangs’.47 Given the conduct of the Germans, such propaganda obviously worked.”
  • “or killed by the simple Russian winter expedient of pouring cold water over them or throwing them in the sea to freeze to death.”
  • “Red Army commanders were already realizing that such barbarism was counterproductive. Atrocities against prisoners usually increased the enemy’s determination to fight to the death, and prisoners were useful sources of intelligence.”
  • “Horrific brutality by one side was met by horrific brutality on the other. That applied to civilians in occupied territory, as well as to regular troops … The Soviet troops who moved into Germany in 1944 and 1945 were deliberately spurred on to exact revenge.”
  • “‘Have you seen the German reports on what the Soviet troops did when they invaded Germany?’ my German friend asked the guide. ‘I put it to you’, my friend said, ‘that every one of those pictures could be matched with one from eastern Germany later in the war.’‘That may be,’ our guide said. ‘But war is war.’58 If you want to understand war, study this one.”
  • “The Department of Internal Affairs [NKVD] must have its own mobilisation plan, which must take into account the steps necessary to maintain firm order in the national territory during the period when huge masses are torn away from their work in the country and proceed to collection points to flesh out the armies, and the population of the towns doubles to meet the requirements of war industry. The crisis … will be compounded by enemy propaganda, sharpened by the activities of enemies of the existing system, by the hopes which individual national and class groups will have as the ruling class grows weary under the impositions of war. It is essential to think through the measures necessary to maintain order along lines of communications most thoroughly, to take into account all dubious [politically unreliable or disaffected] elements, desertion, enemy intelligence and propaganda, measures for censorship, and so on. And also, if necessary, to substitute special formations made up of reliable elements for military units leaving for the front, or to strengthen the police. Aviation, the radio, the need for an unbroken flow of huge masses of troops to the front, supplying them with munitions, home leave from the active army which was previously unknown [it still was, largely, in the Red Army in 1941–5]. All these factors now merge the front and the rear”
  • “The scale of a future war will be grandiose … in a future war the mobilisation of industry will, first of all, take place in a much shorter time than before and, secondly, in this short time industry will produce much more military hardware than in the past war … The future (gryadushaya) world imperialist war will not only be a mechanised war, during which huge material resources will be used up, but, together with this, it will be a war which will embrace multi-million-strong masses and the majority of the population of the combatant nations. The frontiers between the front and the rear will be erased more and more.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “His vision would apply to Soviet Russia, as well as to Germany, and the 1941–5 war on the eastern front was its extreme fulfilment.”
  • What does the author intend by the phrase “absolute war”
  • Who was Carl von Clausewitz and how were his doctrines illustrated on the Eastern Front?
  • Explain and Expand: “Conflict dynamics are therefore a reciprocal process”
  • Explain and Expand: “And, finally, effort in war comprises two interrelated and inseparable factors: the means at your disposal and the strength of your will.”
  • What was Article IV of the Hague Convention of 1907 and how did the various combatants relate to it
  • What moral and materials obligations does a nation agree to under Article IV
  • What were the pragmatic reasons for Stalin and Hitler to disregard the laws of war relating to prisoners
  • Why did Stalin and Hitler have little interest in the welfare of the soldiers being held prisoner by the other
  • What factors impacted the treatment of prisoners on the Eastern Front
  • Compare and Contrast: Prisoner treatment on the Eastern Front and the Western / North African Front (including black colonial troops).
  • Explain and Expand: “The scale, extent and awesome logistical problems of the war on the eastern front compounded this indifference.”
  • Describe how the political nature of the war became an “Absolute War”
  • What is Clausewitz’s ‘Trinity’ and how is it reflected in the Eastern Front
  • How does Clausewitz’s ‘Trinity’ reflect on the Western Front
  • React and Respond: “the best-known Jewish intellectual, Leon Trotsky (who was not a Bolshevik)”
  • Side question: If Trotsky was not a Bolshevik (a supporter, but not a believer), how would the substitution of Menshevik leadership he (supposedly) sought have impacted the Soviet ability to conduct an “Absolute War” – in other words, how would a theoretical Trotskyite Soviet Government compare of the actual Stalinist government in the conduct of “Absolute War” (for the purpose of this question, assume Trotsky himself actually believed in “Trotskyism”)
  • What is distinct about Bolshevism and how does it relate to other forms / branches of European Communism
  • Affirm or Refute: Bolshevism is Leninism
  • Why did Hitler and Nazi Germany use the term “Bolshevism” consistently as opposed to other possible labels?
  • What connections did Nazi Germany seek to attach to “Bolshevism”?
  • Explain and Expand: “The Führer decree of 13 May 1941 was passed on to the army by its commander-in-chief, Walther von Brauchitsch”
  • Explain and Expand: “The idea that depriving Soviet people of their leaders would render them incapable of organized action and the emphasis on eliminating the Soviet ‘boss class’ recur throughout German instructions.”
  • Explain and Expand: Guidelines for the Behaviour of the Fighting Forces in Russia
  • Explain and Expand: Guidelines on the Treatment of Political Commissars
  • What role did Brauchitsch fill in the Third Reich and what were his responsibilities during Operation Barbarossa
  • In what ways did Brauchitsch implement the “Commissar” order
  • What were the Einsatzgruppen?
  • Explain and Expand: “However, when the German advance slowed, the Army High Command (OKH) supported initiatives to get the Commissar Order cancelled, because, they said, it was counterproductive.”
  • Who was Fedor von Bock? Who was Wilhelm Canaris and how did they react to the Commissar Order?
  • Who was Wilhelm Keitel and how did he relate to the Commissar Order
  • Who was Franz Halder and how did he relate to the Commissar Order
  • What was “OKW” and “OKH” and how did they relate?
  • Explain and Expand: “The Germans captured a number of documents which showed that the Red Army command was trying to stop the killing of prisoners, which, of course, confirms that it was happening.”
  • What was the NKVD
  • Compare and Contrast: NKVD and the SS
  • Compare and Contrast: NKVD and the SD
  • Compare and Contrast: The Checka, The O/GPU and the NKVD
  • Briefly describe the GULag Concentration Camp System and the role it filled in Soviet Industrialization
  • Compare and Contrast: the goals and purpose of the KL and GULag concentration camp systems
  • Compare and Contrast: the goals and purpose of the GULag system and the Nazi Death Camp system.
  • What is the significance of “My hand didn’t tremble. It was a joy for me … The Germans didn’t ask us to spare them and I was angry … I fulfilled my task. And I went back into the office and had a drink.”
  • Explain and Expand: ” Soviet preparations to avoid a repeat of Russia’s fate in the First World War — preparations for total, modern, industrialized war — began in 1924–5”
  • React and Respond: “In a conflict of first-class opponents, the decision cannot be won by one blow. War will take the character of a long and fierce conflict… Expressed in the language of strategy, this means a change from the strategy of lightning blows to a strategy of exhaustion. Thus the bond between the front and rear in our days must become much more close, direct and decisive. The life and work of the front at any given moment are determined by the work and condition of the rear.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Just as Engels had predicted a war of unprecedented scope and violence”
  • Explain and Expand: “With no immediate threat of war — apart from a brief scare in 1927 — they could afford to play it long. … But in the vast spaces of the Soviet Union, German forces could exercise unobserved by the signatories of Versailles.”
  • Briefly describe the process of forced industrialization in the Soviet Union and how the overall European situation after World War I impacted its development?
  • Explain and Expand: Chemical Warfare and Absolute War in the context of the Eastern Front (no one has ever really answered this, but an attempt is needed)

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

The Jazz Age Great Depression New Deal Era and World War 2 America

Appendix A “The Head-Cutters” By Edith Summers Kelley :: Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950 by Vicki L. Ruiz

As you are reading the book, think about how each of the quotes below relates to the material.

  • “They’ll have that whistle stopped or make them move their plant.”
  • “From the warm bed into the biting cold: Father and mother and Manuel and Jose, And Joachim and Dolores and little Angelina, And run, buttoning their clothes to the cannery, Teeth chattering all the way, Leaving only the babies at home with the grandma, Sleeping till day.”
  • “It is cold and they shiver and cough, and the hands become slow; And here a boy’s finger the keen knife slits to the bone, And there a girl totters, Gone faint from the icy chill of the blood-freezing water.”
  • “There will be money now for the men to guzzle and gamble, Silk stockings for the girls and high-heeled shoes, Candy and gum to make the children gay. And for the mothers, The bread to buy and the meat, And the rent to pay.”
World War 2 National Socialism and the Holocaust

Chapter 4: Decent into Chaos :: The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “It was in this atmosphere of national trauma, political extremism, violent conflict and revolutionary upheaval that Nazism was born.”
  • “Given the extent of what Germans had expected to gain in the event of victory, it might have been expected that they would have realized what they stood to lose in the event of defeat.”
  • “For thirty years the army was my pride. For it I lived, upon it I laboured, and now, after four and a half brilliant years of war with unprecedented victories, it was forced to collapse by the stab- in- the- back from the dagger of the revolutionist, at the very moment when peace was within reach!”
  • “As a far from incidental by- product, Ludendorff also reckoned that if the terms were not so acceptable to the German people, the burden of agreeing to them would thereby be placed on Germany’s democratic politicians rather than on the Kaiser or the army leadership.”
  • “Versailles was condemned as a dictated peace, unilaterally imposed without the possibility of negotiation. The enthusiasm which so many middle- class Germans had demonstrated for war in 1914 flipped over into burning resentment at the terms of peace four years later.”
  • “What transformed the extreme nationalist scene was not the war itself, but the experience of defeat, revolution and armed conflict at the war’s end. A powerful role was played here by the myth of the ‘front generation’ of 1914- 18, soldiers bound together in a spirit of comradeship and self- sacrifice in a heroic cause which overcame all political, regional, social and religious differences.”
  • “On 15 November 1918 I was on the way from the hospital at Bad Nauheim to my garrison at Brandenburg. As I was limping along with the aid of my cane at the Potsdam station in Berlin, a band of uniformed men, sporting red armbands, stopped me, and demanded that I surrender my epaulettes and insignia. I raised my stick in reply; but my rebellion was soon overcome. I was thrown (down?), and only the intervention of a railroad official saved me from my humiliating position. Hate flamed in me against the November criminals from that moment. As soon as my health improved somewhat, I joined forces with the groups devoted to the overthrow of the rebellion.”
  • “I shall never forget the scene when a comrade without an arm came into the room and threw himself on his bed crying. The red rabble, which had never heard a bullet whistle, had assaulted him and torn off all his insignia and medals. We screamed with rage. For this kind of Germany we had sacrificed our blood and our health, and braved all the torments of hell and a world of enemies for years.”
  • “The Steel Helmets proclaim the battle against all softness and cowardice, which seek to weaken and destroy the consciousness of honour of the German people through renunciation of the right of defense and will to defense.”
  • “Germany failed to make the transition from wartime back to peacetime after 1918. Instead, it remained on a continued war footing; at war with itself, and at war with the rest of the world”
  • “Their affinities with the hard right became closer from the middle of the 1920s, when they took a more radical stance, banning Jews from membership despite the fact that the organization was intended to provide for all ex-front-soldiers, and there were plenty of Jewish veterans who needed its support as much as anyone else did.”
  • “Bands of uniformed men marching through the streets and clashing with each other in brutally physical encounters became a commonplace sight in the Weimar Republic, adding to the general atmosphere of violence and aggression in political life.”
  • “the ‘November criminals’ or ‘November traitors’ as they were soon dubbed, the men who had first stabbed the army in the back, then in November 1918 committed the double crime of overthrowing the Kaiser and signing the Armistice.”

Thought Questions

  • In what ways did chaos envelop Germany immediately after World War I?
  • In what ways did fascism appeal to German conservatives?
  • Explain and Expand: “In November 1918 most Germans expected that, since the war was being brought to an end before the Allies had set foot on German soil, the terms on which the peace would be based would be relatively equitable.”
  • Compare and Contrast: The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the Treaty of Versailles
  • Describe the military circumstances of Germany and the Central Powers at the end of World War I
  • Describe the “Stab in the Back” myth
  • Who was Richard Wagner and what was his significance to the history of Germany
  • Explain and Expand: “No enemy has overcome you!”
  • Who was Friedrich Ebert
  • What was the significance of Friedrich Ebert referencing the Entente Powers as “enemies” to German troops
  • Describe the creation of Weimar Germany
  • In what ways was making “the world safe for democracy” contradicted by elements of the Treaty of Versailles?
  • Explain and Expand: “Just as significant, and just as much of a shock, was the refusal of the victorious powers to allow the union of Germany and German- speaking Austria, which would have meant the fulfilment of the radical dreams of 1848.”
  • In what ways did Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” impact the development of the Treaty of Versailles
  • React and Respond: “The idea took root in Germany that the whole concept of war crimes, indeed the whole notion of laws of war, was a polemical invention of the victorious Allies based on mendacious propaganda about imaginary atrocities.”
  • What was “Article 231” of the Treaty of Versailles, what was its purpose for the Allied powers and how was it interpreted by Germans
  • React and Respond: “In many ways, the peace settlement of 1918- 19 was a brave attempt at marrying principle and pragmatism in a dramatically altered world. In other circumstances it might have stood a chance of success. But not in the circumstances of 1919, when almost any peace terms would have been condemned by German nationalists who felt they had been unjustly cheated of victory.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Although the British and the Americans stationed troops in a large area of the Rhineland, it was the French, both there and in the Saar, who aroused the most resentment.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The Pan- Germans had greeted the outbreak of war in 1914 with unbounded enthusiasm, verging on ecstasy. For men like Heinrich Class, it was the fulfilment of a lifetime’s dream.”
  • How did the Prussian military class contribute to the “decent into chaos”
  • Who were Wolfgang Kapp and Alfred Hugenberg and how did they impact the Weimar Republic?
  • Describe the founding and significance of the German Fatherland Party
  • Explain and Expand: “Those who were already politically socialized into conservative and nationalist traditions found their views radicalized in the new political context of the 1920s. On the left, too, a new willingness to use violence was conditioned by the experience, real or vicarious, of the war.”
  • Describe the ‘Steel Helmets: League of Front- Soldiers’ and their significance to Weimar Germany
  • Who was Theodor Duesterberg and how did he contribute to the development of fascism in Germany
  • Explain and Expand: ““Both men therefore believed that the Steel Helmets should be ‘above politics’.”
  • Explain and Expand: “For most Germans, as for the Steel Helmets, the trauma of the First World War, and above all the shock of the unexpected defeat, refused to be healed.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Germany failed to make the transition from wartime back to peacetime after 1918. Instead, it remained on a continued war footing; at war with itself, and at war with the rest of the world”
  • What was the significance of “Military models of conduct had been widespread in German society and culture before 1914; but after the war they became all-pervasive; the language of politics was permeated by metaphors of warfare, the other party was an enemy to be smashed, and struggle, terror and violence became widely accepted as legitimate weapons in the political struggle.”
  • What was the significance of: Free Corps, Reichsbanner Black-Red-Gold, the Red Front- Fighters’ League, other “combat leagues”
  • Who were Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg?
  • Explain and Expand: “the Free Corps, egged on by the mainstream Social Democrats, reacted with unprecedented violence and brutality.”
  • Explain and Expand: “These events left a permanent legacy of bitterness and hatred on the political left, made worse by another major outbreak of political violence in the spring of 1920.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Political violence reached fresh heights in 1923, a year marked not only by the bloody suppression of an abortive Communist uprising in Hamburg but also by gun battles between rival political groups in Munich and armed clashes involving French-backed separatists in the Rhineland.”
  • Explain and Expand: “provided the spur to translate extreme ideas into violent action.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading


The American Civil War and Reconstruction Era Mid Nineteenth Century American History Reading and Study Group

Chapter 3: Birth of the Cattle Town  :: Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West by Christopher Knowlton

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “the Southern drover and the Northern buyer would meet upon an equal footing, and both be undisturbed by mobs or swindling thieves.”
  • “It occurs to me that you haven’t any cattle to ship, and never did have any, and I, sir, have no evidence that you ever will have any, and I think you are talking about rates of freight for speculative purposes, therefore, you get out of this office, and let me not be troubled with any more of your style!”
  • “regard the opening of that cattle trail into and across western Kansas of as much value to the state as is the Missouri River,””
  • “In 1871, the year McCoy became mayor, he moved these houses to the edge of town, creating an area that came to be known as McCoy’s Addition or, more colorfully, the Devil’s Half-Acre.”
  • “The pay usually came in the form of five- or twenty-dollar gold pieces. His salary: $25 to $40 a month, but double that if the cowboy owned and used his own horses. Still, the pay was not impressive. A foreman, by contrast, might earn $125 per month. With money jangling in his pocket, the cowboy then rode into a newborn town built largely as a playground with him in mind, designed to deftly and swiftly separate him from those hard-earned wages. Given his age, his limited education, and his pent-up appetite for alcohol, pleasure, and recreation, that is precisely what would happen.”
  • “Several cattle trails leading to different cattle towns were soon established. The one running from Red River Station in Texas to the cattle yards of Abilene would be named after a man of Scottish- Cherokee heritage, Jesse Chisholm, who only a few years earlier had used a portion of the route to profitably trade with the Plains Indians. The Western Trail reached up to notorious Dodge City, and the Goodnight- Loving Trail stretched up to Cheyenne. The Shawnee Trail, the only great cattle trail that predated the Civil War, led to Kansas City and St. Louis.”

Thought Questions

  • Describe the evolution of the “open-range cattle era, from its earliest days to its violent end”
  • Compare and Contrast: The life of the farmer in the west and the life of those in the Cattle Kingdom
  • Explain and Expand: “Fortunately, the railroads were by now reaching farther into the Great Plains, adding as many as two to five miles of track each day. The cattlemen realized they could avoid conflict with the Jayhawkers by targeting railheads much farther west.”
  • What was the significance of “It occurs to me that you haven’t any cattle to ship, and never did have any, and I, sir, have no evidence that you ever will have any, and I think you are talking about rates of freight for speculative purposes, therefore, you get out of this office, and let me not be troubled with any more of your style!”
  • Describe a rise of Chicago as the cattle hub of the West
  • Explain and Expand: “The spot that McCoy picked for his depot, a Kansas hamlet and stage station named Abilene”
  • React and Respond: “regard the opening of that cattle trail into and across western Kansas of as much value to the state as is the Missouri River”
  • Explain and Expand: “Joseph G. McCoy had just created the first cattle town. Much like the iconic American cowboy, the cattle town, almost as soon it emerged, became a myth-spinner.”
  • Explain and Expand: “In 1871, the year McCoy became mayor, he moved these houses to the edge of town, creating an area that came to be known as McCoy’s Addition or, more colorfully, the Devil’s Half-Acre.”
  • Who was Samuel J. Crawford

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources


The Cold War and Post War European History

Chapter 3: (Part 1) The “Big Game” and the Bombing of Cambodia, December 1968–March 1969 :: Nixon’s Nuclear Specter: The Secret Alert of 1969, Madman Diplomacy, and the Vietnam War Jeffrey P. Kimball

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “negotiations alone, Kissinger observed, were “also a very time-consuming strategy, and time is not on our side””
  • “Proposals for an actual or feigned nuclear escalation in Vietnam appeared in some of the very first planning papers of the administration in February 1969, but the road to the secret nuclear alert of October would nonetheless be long and tortuous, passing through Cambodia, Laos, North Korea, Subic Bay, Moscow, and Haiphong.”
  • “the destruction or withdrawal of all NVA units in South Vietnam, the destruction, withdrawal, or dissolution of all (or most) VC [Viet Cong] forces and apparatus, the permanent cessation of infiltration, and the virtually unchallenged sovereignty of a stable, non-Communist regime …, with no significant Communist political role except on an individual, ‘reconciled’ basis.”
  • “the credible threat, explicit or tacit, of unrestricted bombing or limited invasion of the DRV might well cause the Politburo in Hanoi to accept our conditions for victory immediately.”
  • “a coalition government> … [and] mutual withdrawal [of US and NVA forces] or cease-fire … as part of an agreed overall settlement.”10 A formal settlement was preferable to a tacit one, for “there would be a clear expression, politically useful both for the Republic of Vietnam (RVN, also known as South Vietnam) and the United States, that the main purpose of the US involvement had been accomplished—hence US withdrawal was appropriate.”
  • “We might end up with a [diplomatic] settlement of some type without a formal agreement, a sort of mutual accommodation in which either side is not deprived of the hope of ultimate success.… The mix of actions should be something like this. We talk hard [with the Communist Vietnamese side] in private but with an obvious peaceful public stance, seeking to gain time, initially giving the South Vietnamese a chance to strengthen the regime and add to the pacification effort while punishing the Viet Cong. Within three or four months, bring home a few troops unilaterally as a separate and distinct action from the Paris negotiations and as a ploy for more time domestically, while we continue to press at the negotiating table for a military settlement.”
  • “I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no way to win the war. But we can’t say that, of course. In fact, we have to seem to say the opposite, just to keep some degree of bargaining leverage.”
  • “The situation in South Vietnam which we inherited on 20 January is well described in Secretary Laird’s memorandum to you: “General Abrams has made remarkable progress in achieving a measure of military superiority throughout South.… But none of our officials, either military or civilian, is under any illusion that the battle in South Vietnam can be brought to a military conclusion within six months, a year or even several years. Options, over which we have little or no control, are available to the enemy for continuing the war almost indefinitely, although perhaps at a reduced intensity.””
  • “In 1969, the long-term goal of Nixon and Kissinger was to provide Thieu’s government with a “decent chance” of surviving for a “decent interval” of two to five years after a US and NVA exit from South Vietnam.”
  • “Priority objectives for the next several months would be mutual withdrawal, the reestablishment of the demilitarized zone and the restoration of the seventeenth parallel as a provisional boundary line, the release of US and allied prisoners of war, and an eventual cease-fire with international guaranties and supervision.”

Thought Questions

  • Describe what the author intends by using the phrase the “Big Game”
  • Describe the public domestic events in the United States from December 1968 – March 1969
  • Describe the “Carrots” of Diplomacy in the Southeast Asian negotiations in during this period
  • Describe the “Sticks” of Military action in Southeast Asian negotiations during this period
  • In what ways did Hanoi react to and understand the political change in the United States between Johnson and Nixon
  • How did Hanoi come to its understanding of political changes occurring in the United States during this period
  • Explain and Expand: “negotiations alone, Kissinger observed, were “also a very time-consuming strategy, and time is not on our side””
  • Explain and Expand: “Negotiations with Hanoi would have to be facilitated, they believed, by other methods.”
  • Describe “The RAND Options Paper” and the positions of “Group A” and “Group B”
  • How did the “The RAND Options Paper” and the positions of “Group A” and “Group B” impact the course of negotiations in Southeast Asia
  • Who are Daniel Ellsberg and Fred Iklé
  • Explain and Expand: “Rather unrealistically, they maintained that the American public would accept the costs”
  • Compare and Contrast: Diplomatic Solutions and Political Solutions in the early Nixon administration in Southeast Asia
  • Explain and Expand: “look threatening … but actually may not occur”
  • Explain and Expand: “I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no way to win the war. But we can’t say that, of course. In fact, we have to seem to say the opposite, just to keep some degree of bargaining leverage.”
  • Explain and Expand: “leave the political side to the Vietnamese”
  • Explain and Expand: “recognition of what was pragmatically possible if the goal was to preserve US honor and credibility, which Nixon and Kissinger believed it was.”
  • Explain and Expand: “We had to give the South Vietnamese time to replace American forces without catastrophe.”
  • Describe the 1967 Operations Pennsylvania
  • What was the significance of “Nixon and Kissinger tenaciously concealed their true motives, goals, and strategies from the public, Congress, cabinet heads, and even their staffers—with the occasional exception of such trusted, like-minded aides as Alexander Haig and H. R. Haldeman.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The public format immediately proved unworkable.”
  • Explain and Expand: Détente, Linkage, Triangular Diplomacy, and the China Card

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading


Colonial American History - The Atlantic and Pacific Worlds - New Spain and New France - British America

Chapter 2: Death on a Coastal Fringe (Parts 3-5) :: The Barbarous Years by Bernard Baylin

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “The three years that followed was a period of violent dissension within the tiny palisaded settlement, confusion of purpose, physical devastation, and the emergence of a permanent pattern of race conflict. Death was everywhere.”
  • “Smith, in his Elizabethan love of drama and pageantry, may have relished the feasts and ceremonies, but most of his contacts with the natives were ruthless raids on their villages to extract corn and other supplies for the starving settlers. When his demands were not met, he threatened murder, took hostages at gunpoint, “negotiated” by intimidation, and without hesitation seized from the natives precious supplies that were necessary for their tribes’ survival. Believing the Indians to be inherently barbarous, he attributed to them deceits and plots they did not have and provoked them in ways they did not understand.”
  • “Then the ultimate catastrophes began. A few of the “gastely and pale” inhabitants of the fort—we do not know how many—did “those things w[hi]ch seame incredible, as to digge upp deade corp[s]es outt of graves and to eate them … and some have Licked upp the Bloode w[hi]ch hathe fallen from their weake fellowes.” And even beyond that, Percy wrote, one man murdered his wife, “Ripped the Childe outt of her woambe … Chopped the Mother in pieces and sallted her for his foode.” Forced to confess “by torture haveinge hunge by the Thumbes w[i]th weightes att his feete a quarter of an howere,” the murderer was executed. Many of those who “To eate … did Runn away unto the Salvages” fared no better: “we never heard of [them] after”
  • “The Indians were not even bothering to attack the protected blockhouse since they assumed the people within it would shortly perish.”

Thought Questions

  • Summarize the founders of the Jamestown colony
  • How were the instructions from the corporation given to the Jamestown settlers?
  • What were the instructions given to the Jamestown settlers?
  • In what ways did the Jamestown founders react to and comply with the instructions they received?
  • Summarize what the Jamestown settlers found when they entered the James River
  • Describe the geography of the Jamestown location from human and military points of view
  • Describe the process of initial settlement at Jamestown
  • Specifically what were the instructions to the colonists about Native Americans and what does this reflect?
  • Specifically what was the attitude and intention of the colonists towards Native Americans
  • In what pragmatic ways did the Jamestown colony grow
  • What impact did Newport’s second mission have on Jamestown
  • In what ways did a détente develop between the Jamestown colonies and Native Americans? Why did this occur?
  • Describe Captain John Smith and the role he filled in Jamestown
  • Describe the interaction between Jamestown as a colony and the Powhatan confederacy during early settlement
  • Describe the interaction between John Smith and the Powhatans?
  • In what ways did John Smith set or illustrate a pattern of Euro-native conflict / cooperations
  • Why didn’t Powhatan destroy Jamestown once they became a security threat?
  • Compare and Contrast: the motives and intentions of the Jamestown “Settlers” and the Jamestown “Colonizers”
  • Describe the grey middle area between “Settler” and “Colonizer”
  • Describe the Jamestown settlers early attempts at horticulture and agriculture
  • Describe the Jamestown settlers early attempts at industry
  • Compare and Contrast: the quality of life in London and the quality of life in Jamestown
  • Compare and Contrast: the quality of life in Jamestown and the Powhatan villages
  • In what ways did the disparity in quality of life between Jamestown and Powhatan impact these societies and how did they react to this impact
  • Explain and Expand: “By such means a marginal survival was preserved”
  • Describe the events of Jamestown the winter John Smith was recalled to England
  • Who was Thomas Gates and what immediate impact did he have on Jamestown (to be continued…)
  • Compare and Contrast: Thomas Gates and John Smith (to be continued…)

Articles and Resources

Further Reading


World War I The Russian Revolution and Stalinism

Chapter 21: Verdun Metastasizes :: A World Undone by G.J. Meyers

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “The two sides were draining each other in a fight so huge and costly, so rich in drama, that it had captured the imagination of the world. Verdun had been elevated to such colossal symbolic importance that France needed only to hold on in order to claim a momentous victory. Falkenhayn, originally indifferent to whether Verdun fell or not, now desperately needed to take it. The trap that he had wanted to construct for the French now held him firmly in its grip.”
  • “The Russians responded with yet another expression of their almost touching readiness to try to come to the rescue whenever asked—an eagerness that contrasted sharply with the cynicism and contempt that so often tainted relations between the British and the French. It is difficult to imagine Joffre or Haig responding as the Russians did if the situation had been reversed.”
  • “It seems as though we are living under a steam hammer…You receive something like a blow in the hollow of the stomach. But what a blow!…Each explosion knocks us to the ground. After a few hours one becomes somewhat dumbfounded.”

Response Quotes – Airships and Landships

  • “But the war transformed aviation with dazzling speed. In a matter of months it changed the airplane from a novelty of uncertain value—“a useless and expensive fad,” Britain’s top general said as late as 1911—to an essential element in the arsenal of every nation.”

Thought Questions

  • What does the author mean by “Verdun Metastasizes”?
  • Describe the German attempt to “restart” the Verdun battle and the French response to it
  • At this point in the battle, what factors made the “balance” lean towards the French
  • Describe how the French advantage was used and wasted
  • How did the battle of Verdun settle into a stalemate?
  • Describe how the evolution of the French military staff impacted the French war
  • How did the fight at Verdun impact the fight in the East?
  • Describe the Russian “roadless” period and its impact on military operations
  • Describe the evolution of the Russian Army in 1916 and how this situation in the west impacted this evolution
  • Describe the turnover in leadership the year 1916 produced
  • In what ways were the reasons for leadership changes in 1916 related to each other?
  • Explain and Expand: “Pétain’s artillery too was taking a fearsome toll, but literally foot by foot the attackers were clawing their way forward in what was by now a war of attrition of the rawest and most savage kind.”
  • Describe the “Lake Naroch debacle”
  • Explain and Expand: “The Eastern Front had fallen quiet in the aftermath of Lake Naroch”
  • In what ways did Alexei Polivanov impact the Russian war effort
  • Who was Rasputin and In what ways did he impact the Russian royal family and government?
  • Who was Aleksey Alekseyevich Brusilov and how did he impact the Russian war?

Thought Questions: Airships and Landships

  • Describe the impact World War I had on the development of tanks. How did tanks impact World War I?
  • Describe the impact World War I had on the development on war planes. How did war planes impact World War I?
  • Describe the impact World War I had on the development of “Lighter than air” ships. How did “lighter than air” ships impact World War I?
  • Affirm or Refute: “The Great War did give birth to the tank”
  • Who was the Manfred von Richthofen – the “Red Baron”

Articles and Resources

Further Reading


New Releases

Hitler’s Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich by Ben H. Shepherd

New Release on #Audible from Yale University Press​ and Tantor Audio​  (Print version published 2016)
“Almost half a century after its total destruction in the Second World War, the Wehrmacht remains a major bone of contention in the scholarship on the Third Reich. Was it merely a military organization which carried out its orders with remarkable professional skill, or a highly politicized army? Was it a haven from the regime or an exceptionally effective school of National Socialism? Did it pose a threat to Hitler’s rule or was it rather his most formidable instrument? Were the generals hampered in their endeavors to topple the regime by the troops’ loyalty to the Führer, or was it the army’s senior officers who insisted on motivating the rank and file by large doses of National Socialist ideology? Briefly, was the Wehrmacht Hitler’s army? The following pages will argue that the only way to approach this question is by a careful anatomy of the German army. This will be done by proposing four theses on the war experience, social organization, motivation, and perception of reality of Germany’s soldiers. By examining the attitudes of both the higher and the lower echelons of the army, this book will attempt to gage the degree to which the Wehrmacht constituted an integral part of state and society in the Third Reich.”
#ww2 #history
The American Early Republic and Frontier Era History

Chapter 8: Pursuing the Millennium (Parts 1-3) – What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “We know— for God has told us— that there is a period of universal moral renovation approaching, and there is much in the aspect of Providence, which seems to indicate that our country is to have a prominent— may I not say— a principal instrumentality in the introduction of that period.”
  • “Progressive improvement in the condition of man is apparently the purpose of a superintending Providence,”
  • “The dim shadows of unborn nations… implore this country to fulfill the destiny to which she has been summoned by an all-wise Providence, and save a sinking world from temporal misery and eternal death.”
  • “While the postmillennial mainstream of American Protestantism identified the whole country as God’s new Israel and a model for the other nations, a host of sectarian movements proclaimed their own little communities as examples to mankind.”
  • “there is no adaptation of architecture to our wants and requirements; our houses are as little suited to our physical welfare, as our social laws are to our attractions and passions.”
  • “The interest aroused by communitarian social experiments in the United States on the eve of the industrial revolution revealed something about the mood and temper of the American public, its willingness to entertain a broad range of social and economic possibilities.”
  • “The tendency of American conditions, as well as the inclination of its people, was for diffusion rather than discipline, toward self-determination and away from supervision, however benign,”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: ““Many people shared John Quincy Adams’s view of America as the country where God would bring His plans for humanity to fulfillment. But the blueprints for realizing this providential destiny could be far bolder and more presumptuous than Henry Clay’s American System.”
  • Describe some of the ways Americans of all faiths (or lack of) expressed millennialism attitudes
  • Describe the basic belief of “post-millennialism” and how it impacted American religious life
  • In what ways was the millennialism of the early Republic related to Colonial Puritanism?
  • Describe the characteristics of the “Second Great Awakening”
  • Compare and Contrast: The “First” and “Second” Great Awakenings
  • Explain and Expand: The relationship between the Second Great Awakening and Post Millennialism
  • Compare and Contrast: America before and after the “Second” Great Awakening
  • In what ways was the “Second” Great Awakenings the conclusion of the “First” Great Awakening
  • What “concluded” at the end of the “Second” Great Awakening?
  • Who were the principle American leaders of the Second Great Awakening?
  • What were the civic goals of the leaders of the Second Great Awakening?
  • How were international affairs considered in a post millennial world view?
  • Describe the relationship between post millennialism and Slavery
  • Who was William Miller? Who were The Millerites?
  • What is Pre millennialism?
  • Compare and Contrast: Pre and Post millennialism from a civic perspective?
  • Describe the relationship between pre millennialism and Slavery
  • Describe the naval battle at Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain and its aftermath
  • Explain and Expand: “to turn his back on fashionable deism and join a Baptist church.”
  • Describe the beginnings of Adventism
  • Compare and Contrast: German Pietism with Lutheranism
  • React and Respond: “Sociological theory long held that persons attracted to millenarian causes would be the marginalized and despairing, looking for compensatory consolation.”
  • Describe American utopianism and communitarianism
  • Describe the relationship between millennialism and utopianism
  • Describe prominent examples of American communitarian societies
  • Who was Albert Brisbane and what was the Associationism of Albert Brisbane
  • Explain and Expand: “since children like to play in dirt, he reasoned, they should be the trash collectors.”
  • Explain and Expand: “In this pre-Marxian vision, socialism would be achieved without revolution or violence.”
  • Compare and Contrast: Socialism and Marxism in an American context
  • What made the Shakers distinct among millennialism focused sects
  • Explain and Expand: “primitive Christian church recorded in the New Testament (Acts 2: 44 and 4: 32).”
  • Explain and Expand: “Catholic monasticism, the oldest form of religious communal life, also appeared in a still predominantly Protestant America. The parallels with other communitarian movements were considerable, including celibacy, self-discipline, and the rejection of worldly selfishness for alternative lifestyles.”
  • React and Respond: “with women’s orders more prominent than men’s.”
  • Who was Elizabeth Seton
  • Explain and Expand: “The life of Mother Seton’s male counterpart, Isaac Hecker, illustrated the parallel between utopian communities and Catholic religious orders.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Both pre- and postmillennial Christians have typically been interested in the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land”
  • Who was Isaac Mayer Wise
  • What was the significance of “The Confidence Man” by Herman Melville
  • Compare and Contrast: Perfectionism and Communitarianism
  • Affirm or Refute: “Most antebellum utopian communities were not fleeing the industrial revolution. Some (like Owenites and Associationists) explicitly endorsed it, while others (like Shakers and Perfectionists) seized the chance to make whatever use of it they could. The only communities that really did reject industrialization were two German Mennonite sects: the Amish, who had settled in Pennsylvania during colonial times, and the Dakota Hutterites, who came in the 1870s.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading


The American Civil War and Reconstruction Era Mid Nineteenth Century American History Reading and Study Group

Chapter 24: If It Takes All Summer (Part 1: Wilderness) :: The Battle Cry Of Freedom By James McPherson

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “if victorious, we have everything to hope for in the future. If defeated, nothing will be left for us to live for.”
  • “They use a man here,” wrote a weary Massachusetts veteran, “just the same as they do a turkey at a shooting match, fire at it all day and if they don’t kill it raffle it off in the evening; so with us, if they can’t kill you in three years they want you for three more—but I will stay.”
  • “Such another depraved, vice-hardened and desperate set of human beings never before disgraced an army,”
  • “a Massachusetts officer reported that forty of the 186 “substitutes, bounty-jumpers . . . thieves and roughs” who had been assigned to his regiment disappeared the first night after they arrived. This he considered a blessing”
  • “shall ever be elected or not depends upon . . . the battle-fields of 1864,” predicted a Georgia newspaper. “If the tyrant at Washington be defeated, his infamous policy will be defeated with him.”
  • “acted independently and without concert, like a balky team, no two ever pulling together,”
  • “Those not skinning can hold a leg.” … “But the leg-holders bungled their jobs”
  • “in these dense, smoke-filled woods”
  • “In the smoke-filled woods Longstreet went down with a bullet in his shoulder fired by a Confederate. Unlike Jackson he recovered, but he was out of the war for five months.”
  • “The Federals held their ground and the fighting gradually died toward evening as survivors sought to rescue the wounded from cremation.”
  • ““I am heartily tired of hearing what Lee is going to do,” Grant told the brigadier. “Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault, and land on our rear and on both our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do.””
  • “It was not “another Chancellorsville . . . another skedaddle” after all. “Our spirits rose,” recalled one veteran who remembered this moment as a turning point in the war. Despite the terrors of the past three days and those to come, “we marched free. The men began to sing.””

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “”Upon the progress of our arms,” said Lincoln late in the war, “all else chiefly depends.”
  • Describe the appointment of Grantoverall commander of American forces and his reorganization of American military plans
  • Describe the Battle of the Wilderness and how it lead to its culminating battle
  • How did Grant begin to coordinate American military efforts in different theaters for greater impact?
  • What responsibility did Sherman have in the plans around the Battle of the Wilderness
  • What responsibility did Sheridan have in the plans around the Battle of the Wilderness
  • What responsibility did Butler have in the plans around the Battle of the Wilderness
  • What responsibility did Meade have in the plans around the Battle of the Wilderness
  • What responsibility did Sigel have in the plans around the Battle of the Wilderness
  • React and Respond: “Union’s three best generals—Grant, Sherman, Sheridan”
  • In what ways did Confederates attempt to maintain the manpower of its forces?
  • In what ways did the United States maintain the manpower of the Army?
  • Explain and Expand: “But there were flaws in the Union sword and hidden strengths in the Confederate shield.”
  • What is the significance of: “In Sherman’s campaign for Atlanta in 1864 the number of men protecting his rail communications 450 miles back to Louisville nearly equaled the number of front-line soldiers he could bring against the enemy.”
  • Explain and Expand: “If this happened, the South might well seize victory from the jaws of defeat.”
  • Explain and Expand: “This latter group experienced the usual aversion to risk-taking during their final weeks in the army”
  • Describe the Confederate reaction “Southern leaders discerned these flaws in their foe’s sword.”
  • Explain and Expand: “If southern armies could hold out until the election, war weariness in the North might cause the voters to elect a Peace Democrat who would negotiate Confederate independence.”
  • React and Respond: ““Lee’s Army will be your objective point,” Grant instructed Meade. “Wherever Lee goes, there will you go also.””
  • React and Respond: “to move against Johnston’s army, to break it up, and to get into the interior of the enemy’s country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The southerners’ local knowledge now came into play.”
  • Explain and Expand: “But instead of heading north they turned south.”

Articles and Resources

The American Early Republic and Frontier Era History

Chapter 4: The Reach Of Government And The Authority Of Law Spread Across The Western Country (Part 2) :: The Trans-Appalachian Frontier By Malcolm J. Rohrbough

This part begins with Louisiana and the Orleans territory

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “Governor Claiborne thought the people of Louisiana wealthy and generally honest but “uninformed, indolent, luxurious—in a word, illy fitted to be useful citizens of the Republic.””
  • “I fear the trial by Jury, the introduction of oral testimony, the Admission of Attorneys &c will illy comport with the former habits of the People, and that the Court, (as I have been) will be accused by the designing few, of making injurious innovations on the Spanish Law.”
  • “Their choice in form and details notably restricted expressions of the popular will. If the transfer to the United States had introduced a measure of universal white male suffrage, the expressed use of this right under the new constitution would be limited.”

Thought Questions

  • Describe the beginning evolution of the general area of the Louisiana and Orleans territory prior to the Louisiana Purchase
  • In what ways was Louisiana the “exception” to territorial development?
  • What were the most significant aspects of the Louisiana Purchase (other than simply size)
  • Who was William Charles Cole Claiborne and what was his significance to territorial development in the old Southwest
  • What was the Territory of Orleans? What was the territory of Louisiana? How did they evolve prior to statehood?
  • How were the District of Arkansas and the Territory of North Louisiana formed?
  • How was the Territory of Arkansaw (later Arkansas Territory) established?
  • What misunderstanding did American officials persist with in regards to the Louisiana Territory?
  • Explain and Expand: “Remonstrance of the People of Louisiana against the Political System Adopted by Congress for Them.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Governor Claiborne attempted both to carry out his instructions from Washington and, at the same time, to placate the residents of Louisiana.”
  • React and Respond: “Indians were largely ignored except where they made trouble.”
  • In what ways did slavery and the New Orleans slave trade impact the organization of Lousiana
  • Compare and Contrast: the county and township structure and the duties apportioned to various units of government between Louisiana and the territories created under the Northwest Ordinance
  • What was the “police jury”?
  • Explain and Expand: “A basic concern of all parishes, all police juries, and the government of the territory itself was control of the slave population.”
  • Affirm or Refute: “This twenty years of growth in the West was remarkable for national expansion through diplomacy” from a non-European perspective
  • Who was William Henry Harrison and how did he impact relations between the United States and Native Americans
  • Explain and Expand: the relationship between the institution of slavery and William Henry Harrison
  • Explain and Expand: “The War of 1812, brought on in part by the perceived connection between Indian depredations and British advisors moving south from Canada, intersected with the attractive opportunity to seize Canada while the British were occupied in a life and death struggle against Napoleon Bonaparte in Europe.”

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

World War I The Russian Revolution and Stalinism

Chapter 2: Lado’s Disciple (Part 2) :: Stalin: Paradoxes of Power by Stephen Kotkin

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “When all is said and done, the future Stalin may have just outgrown the seminary, being two years older than his cohort and already deeply involved in Lado’s revolutionary activities. Jughashvili was not going to join the priesthood, and a seminary recommendation to continue his studies at university seemed unlikely.”
  • “According to agent information, Jughashvili is a Social Democrat and conducts meetings with workers,” the police noted. “Surveillance has established that he behaves in a highly cautious manner, always looking back while walking.”
  • “As late as 1900, the overwhelming preponderance of Tiflis inhabitants under police surveillance were Armenians, who were watched for fear they maintained links to their coethnics across the border in the Ottoman empire. But just a few years later, most of the police dossiers on “political” suspects were of Georgians and Social Democrats—238 of them, including Jughashvili’s.”
  • “His words were imbued with power, determination. He spoke with sarcasm, irony, hammering away with crude severities,” but then “apologized, explaining that he was speaking the language of the proletariat who were not taught subtle manners or aristocratic eloquence.”
  • “It was during this imprisonment that Jughashvili began regularly using the pseudonym Koba, “avenger of injustice.””
  • “Koba distinguished himself from all other Bolsheviks,” one hostile Georgian emigre recalled, “by his unquestionably greater energy, indefatigable capacity for hard work, unconquerable lust for power, and above all his enormous, particularistic organizational talent” aimed at forging “disciples through whom he could . . . hold the whole organization in his grasp.”

Thought Questions

  • In what ways did Lado impact Jughashvili’s early revolutionary years (1898– 1903)
  • Describe Jughashvili’s experience in Tbilisi seminary
  • How did the Russification policies at the Tbilisi seminary impact Georgian students and what was their reaction
  • Explain and Expand: “Jughashvili remained a book person, and more and more imagined himself in the role of teacher.”
  • Who was Lado Ketskhoveli and what impact did he have on Georgian radicals generally and Jughashvili particularly
  • Describe Jughashvili’s experience at the Tiflis Meteorological Observatory
  • Explain and Expand: “But whatever the bad personal blood, a genuine difference in tactics was at stake: the future Stalin, in sync with Lado, insisted that the Marxist movement shift from educational work to direct action.”
  • React and Respond: “The nominal charge was that his father, Beso, owed back taxes in Didi Lilo, the village Beso had left more than three decades earlier without, however, formally exiting the village rolls. … Nor is it clear why Jughashvili was not arrested for his own debt to the state from the seminary scholarship. Police incompetence cannot be ruled out. But the arrest for Beso’s debt does seem like a pretext, a warning to a young radical or perhaps a maneuver to mark him: Jughashvili was photographed for the police archive.”
  • Describe the origins of May Day
  • Who was Mikhail Kalinin and how did he become connected to Stalin?
  • Describe the role and impact of underground newspapers and pamphlets in pre-Revolutionary Russia
  • Compare and Contrast: demi- intelligentsia and worker members and their advocates in pre-revolutionary Russia
  • Explain and Expand: “Lenin’s advocacy for an intelligentsia- centric party would soon come to divide the Iskra group. 99 At the November 1901 Tiflis Committee meeting, meanwhile, a majority of Caucasus Social Democrats voted to admit workers to the party, against Jughashvili’s Lenin- like urgings.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Mass arrests ensued. Secretly, the Caucasus military chief confided to the local governors that Social Democrat “propaganda” was finding “receptive soil” because of the workers’ dreadful living and laboring conditions. Moreover, the policy of deporting protesting workers to their native villages was only magnifying the rebellious waves in the Georgian countryside. On March 9, a crowd carrying cobblestones sought to free comrades at the transit prison awaiting deportation. “Brothers, don’t be afraid,” one imprisoned worker shouted, “they can’t shoot, for God’s sake free us.” The police opened fire, killing at least fourteen.”
  • Describe the “Batum massacre” and the impact it had on Imperial Russia
  • Describe Jughashvili’s experience in exile
  • Who was Lev Rozenfeld – Kamenev and how did he work with Jughashvili during his exile
  • Explain and Expand: “Even officialdom showed awareness (in internal correspondence) of the strong impetus to revolt: the factory regime was beyond brutal; landowners and their enforcers treated postemancipation peasants as chattel; any attempt to alleviate such conditions was treated as treason.”
  • React and Respond: ” In August 1903, when Lado refused to stand down from the window, a prison guard, after a warning, shot and killed Lado, age twenty- seven, through the outside window of his locked cell. … Later, Stalin would not erase Lado’s independent revolutionary exploits or existence, even as almost everyone else connected to the dictator at one time or another would be airbrushed.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

World War 2 National Socialism and the Holocaust

Chapter 3: The Spirit Of 1914 :: The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “If only we belonged to the German Empire!”
  • “Religion’s all the same, it’s race that is to blame”
  • “‘Germandom’, ‘Slavdom’, ‘Anglo-Saxondom’ or ‘Jewdom’”
  • “Other races were outbreeding the Germans and threatening to ‘flood’ them; or, like the French, they were declining and therefore exerting a corrupting influence through their decadence.”
  • “Baptism, of course, made no difference to the fact that someone was a Jew in Gebsattel’s eyes; anyone with more than a quarter of ‘Jewish blood’ in his or her veins was to be treated as a Jew and not a German.”
  • “In the eyes of the right, Communism and Social Democracy amounted to two sides of the same coin, and the one seemed no less a threat than the other.”
  • “Sacrifice, privation, death, on a huge scale, left Germans of all political hues bitterly searching for the reason why.”

Thought Questions

  • How did the Habsburg monarchy had restructured itself in the mid 19th century?
  • Compare and Contrast: The approaches to German expansion taken by different German nationalists
  • What was the Linz Programme of 1879?
  • Explain and Expand: “Its constant harping upon the supposedly evil influence of the Jews made it easier for a cynical communal politician”
  • Explain and Expand: “Schönerer never enjoyed this kind of popular support. But where Lueger’s antisemitism, though influential, was essentially opportunistic—‘ I decide who’s a Yid’, he once famously said, when criticized for dining with influential Jews in Vienna – Schönerer’s was visceral and unyielding. He proclaimed antisemitism, indeed, ‘the greatest achievement of the century’.”
  • Compare and Contrast: Antisemitism and anti-Catholicism in German nationalism
  • Explain and Expand: “Antisemitism in Austria was far from being a separate phenomenon from its German counterpart.”
  • In what ways did the lapsing of the Anti-Socialist Law impact German domestic politics
  • Explain and Expand: “Carl Peters was a classic colonial adventurer of the late nineteenth century, whose exploits quickly became the stuff of legend. … Peters’s fertile imagination and restless spirit led him to found a variety of organizations, including a Society for German Colonization in 1884, which merged with a like-minded group in 1887 to form the German Colonial Society.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The most significant, perhaps, was the Navy League, founded in 1898 with money from the arms manufacturer Krupp”
  • In what ways did gender impact the German nationalists
  • Explain and Expand: “Many of these agitators had achieved their status by working hard to get a university degree then moving up slowly through the ranks of the less fashionable parts of the civil service. Here, too, a degree of social anxiety was an important driving force. Identification, perhaps over-identification, with the German nation gave all the leading figures in the nationalist associations, whatever their background, a sense of pride and belonging, and an object for commitment and mobilization.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Alongside the specific aims that each organization followed, and irrespective of the frequent internal rows which plagued them, the nationalist associations generally agreed that Bismarck’s work of building the German nation was woefully incomplete and urgently needed to be pushed to its conclusion.”
  • Explain and Expand: “However, at the same time as they harboured these almost limitless ambitions for German world domination, the Pan-German League and the other nationalist associations also sounded a strong note of alarm, even despondency, about Germany’s current state and future prospects.”
  • What was the significance of the relationship between German nationalists and German monarchists
  • Explain and Expand: “Like other European nations, Germany went into the First World War in an optimistic mood, fully expecting to win, most probably in a relatively short space of time.”
  • Explain and Expand: “In all the major combatant nations, there was a change of leadership in the middle years of the war, reflecting a perceived need for greater energy and ruthlessness in mobilizing the nation and its resources.”
  • What was the significance of: “Ludendorff ordered a systematic economic exploitation of the areas of France, Belgium and East- Central Europe occupied by German troops. The occupied countries’ memory of this was to cost the Germans dearly at the end of the war.”
  • Explain and Expand: “So the Bolsheviks formed a Communist International (‘Comintern’) to propagate their version of revolution in the rest of the world.”
  • In what ways was 1916 a pivotal year for Germany and Russia?
  • Explain and Expand: “It would be difficult to exaggerate the fear and terror that these events spread amongst many parts of the population in Western and Central Europe.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The legacy of the German past was a burdensome one in many respects.”
  • In what ways were “The problems bequeathed to the German political system by Bismarck and his successors were made infinitely worse by the effects of the war”
  • Affirm or Refute: “Without the war, Nazism would not have emerged as a serious political force, nor would so many Germans have sought so desperately for an authoritarian alternative to the civilian politics that seemed so signally to have failed Germany in its hour of need.”

Articles and Resources


Historical Primary Source

Woodrow Wilson – Address to Congress on International Order – February 11, 1918

On the 8th of January I had the honor of addressing you on the objects of the war as our people conceive them. The Prime Minister of Great Britain had spoken in similar terms on the 5th of January. To these addresses the German Chancellor replied on the 24th, and Count Czernin for Austria on the same day. It is gratifying to have our desire so promptly realized that all exchanges of view on this great matter should be made in the hearing of all the world.

Count Czernin’s reply which is directed chiefly to my own address on the 8th of January, is uttered in a very friendly tone. He finds in my statement a sufficiently encouraging approach to the views of his own Government to justify him in believing that it furnishes a basis for a more detailed discussion of purposes by the two Governments.

He is represented to have Intimated that the views he was expressing had been communicated to me beforehand and that I was aware of them at the time he was uttering them; but in this I am sure he was misunderstood. I had received no. Intimation of what he intended to say. There was, of course, no reason why he should communicate privately with me. 1 am quite content to be one of his public audience.

Count von Hertling’s reply is. I must say, very vague and very confusing. It is full of equivocal phrases and leads it is not clear where. But it is certainly in a very different tone from that of Count Czernin, and apparently of an opposite purpose. It confirms, I am sorry to say, rather than removes the unfortunate impression made by what we had learned of the conferences at Brest-Litovsk.

His discussion and acceptance or our general principles lead him to no practical conclusions. He refuses to apply them to the substantive items which must constitute the body of any final settlement. He is Jealous of international action and of International council. lie accepts, he says, the principle of public diplomacy, but he appears to insist that it be confined, at any rate in this case, to generalities, and that the several particular questions of territory and sovereignty, the several questions upon whose settlement must depend the acceptance of Peace by the twenty-three States now engaged in the war, must be discussed and settled, not in general council, but severally by the nations most immediately concerned by interest or neighborhood.

He agrees that the seas should he free, but looks askance at and limitation to that freedom by international action in the interest of the common order. He would without reserve be glad to see economic barriers removed between nation and nation, for that could in no way impede the ambitions of the military party, with whom he seems constrained to keep on terms. Neither does he raise objection to a limitation of armaments. That matter will be settled of itself, he thinks, by the economic conditions which must follow the war. But the German colonies, he demands, must be returned without debate. He will discuss with no one but the representatives of Russia what disposition shall be made of the peoples and the lands of the Baltic provinces; with no one but the Government of France the “conditions” under which French territory shall be evacuated; and only with Austria what shall be done with Poland.

In the determination of all questions affecting the Balkan States he defers, as I understand him, to Austria and Turkey; and, with regard to the agreement to be entered into concerning the non-Turkish peoples of the present Ottoman Empire, to the Turkish authorities themselves. After a settlement all around, effected in this fashion, by individual barter and concession, he would have no objection, if I correctly interpret his statement, to a league of nations which would undertake to hold the new balance of power steady against external disturbance.

It must be evident to every one who understands what this war has wrought in the opinion and temper of the world that no general peace, no peace worth the infinite sacrifices of these years of tragical [sic] suffering, can possibly be arrived at in any such fashion. The method the German Chancellor proposes is the method of the Congress of Vienna. We cannot and will not return to that.

What is at stake now is the peace of the world. What we are striving for is a new international order based upon broad and universal principles of right and justice -no mere peace of shreds and patches. Is it possible that Count von Hutting does not see that, does not grasp it, is, In fact, living in his thought in a world dead and gone? Has he utterly forgotten the Reichstag resolutions of the 10th of July, or does lie deliberately ignore them? They spoke of the conditions of a general peace, not of national aggrandizement or of arrangements between State and State.

The peace of the world depends upon the just settlement of each of the several problems to which I adverted in my recent .address to the Congress. I, or course, do not mean that the peace of the world depends upon the acceptance of any particular set of suggestions as to the way in which those problems are to be dealt with. I mean only that those problems each and all affect the whole world; that unless they are dealt with in a spirit of unselfish and unbiased justice, with a view to the wishes, the natural connections, the racial aspirations, the Security and peace of mind of the peoples involved, no permanent peace will have been attained.

They cannot be discussed separately or in corners. None of them constitutes a private or separate interest from which the opinion of the world may be shut out. Whatever affects the peace affects mankind, and nothing settled by military force, if settled wrong, is settled at all. It will presently have to be reopened.

Is Count von Hertling not aware that he is speaking in the court of mankind, that all the awakened nations of the world now sit in judgment on what every public man, of whatever nation, may say on the issues of a conflict which has spread to every region of the world? The Reichstag resolutions of July themselves frankly accepted the decisions of that court. There shall be no annexations, no contributions, no punitive damages. Peoples are not to be handed about from one sovereignty to another by an international conference or an understanding between rivals and antagonists. National aspirations must be respected; peoples may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. “Self-determination” is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril.

We cannot have general peace for the asking or by the mere arrangements of a peace conference. It cannot be pieced together out of individual understandings between powerful States. All the parties to this war must join in the settlement of every issue anywhere involved in it, because what we are seeking is a peace that we can all unite to guarantee and maintain, and every item of it must be submitted to the common judgment whether it be right and fair, an act of justice, rather than a bargain between sovereigns.

The United States has no desire to interfere in European affairs or to act as arbiter in European territorial disputes. She would disdain to take advantage of any internal weakness or disorder to impose her own will upon another people. She is quite ready to be shown that the settlements she has suggested are not the best or the most enduring. They are only her own provisional sketch of .principles, and of the way in which they should be applied.

But she entered this war because she was made a partner, whether she would or not, in the sufferings and indignities inflicted by the military masters of Germany against the peace and security of mankind; and the conditions of peace will touch her as nearly as they will touch any other nation to which is intrusted a leading part in the maintenance of civilization. She cannot see her way to peace until the causes of this war are removed, its renewal rendered, as neatly as may be, impossible.

This war had its roots in the disregard of the rights of small nations and of nationalities which lacked the union and the force to make good their claim to determine their own allegiances and their own forms of political life. Covenants must now be entered into which Will render such things impossible for the future; and those covenants must he backed by the united force of all the nations that love justice and are willing to maintain it at any cost.

If territorial settlements and the political relations of great populations which have not the organized power to resist are to be determined by the contracts of the powerful Governments which consider themselves most directly affected, as Count von Hertling proposes, why may not economic questions also? It has come about in the altered world in which we now find ourselves that justice and the rights of peoples affect the whole field of international dealing as much as access to raw materials and fair and equal conditions of trade.

Count von Hertling wants the essential bases of commercial and industrial life to be safeguarded by common agreement and guarantee, but he cannot expect that to be conceded him if the other matters to be determined by the articles of peace are not handled in the same way as items in the final accounting. He cannot ask the benefit of common agreement in the one field without according it in the other. I take it for granted that he sees that separate and selfish compacts with regard to trade and the essential materials of manufacture would afford no foundation for peace. Neither, he may rest assured, will separate and selfish compacts with regard to provinces and peoples.

Count Czernin seems to see the fundamental elements of peace with clear eyes, and does not seek to obscure them. He sees that an independent Poland, made up of all the indisputably Polish peoples who lie contiguous to one another, is a matter of European concern, and must, of course, be conceded; that Belgium must be evacuated and restored, no matter what sacrifices and concessions that may involve; and that national aspirations must be satisfied, oven within his own empire, in the common interest of Europe and mankind.

If he is silent about questions which touch the interest and purpose of his allies more nearly than they touch those of Austria only, it must, of course, be because he feels constrained, I suppose, to defer to Germany and Turkey in the circumstances. Seeing and conceding, as he does, the essential principles involved and the necessity of candidly applying them, he naturally feels that Austria can respond to the purpose of peace as expressed by the United States with less embarrassment than could Germany. He would probably have gone much further had it not been for the embarrassments of Austria’s alliances and of her dependence upon Germany.

After all, the test of whether it is possible for either Government to go any further in this comparison of views is simple and obvious. The principles to be applied are these:

First—That each part of the final settlement must be based upon the essential, justice of that particular case and upon such adjustments as are most likely to bring a peace that will be permanent.

Second—That peoples and provinces are not to be bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were mere chattels and pawns in a game, even the great game, now forever discredited, of the balance of power; but that,

Third-Every territorial settlement involved in this war must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the populations concerned, and not as a part of any mere adjustment or compromise of claims among rival States; and,

Fourth—That all well-defined national aspirations shall be accorded the utmost satisfaction that can be accorded them without introducing new or perpetuating old elements of discord and antagonism that would be likely in time to break the peace of Europe, and consequently of the world.

A general peace erected upon such foundations can be discussed. Until such a peace can be secured we have no choice but to go on. So far as we can judge, these principles that we regard as fundamental are already everywhere accepted as imperative except among the spokesmen of the military and annexationist party in Germany. If they have anywhere else been rejected, the objectors have not been sufficiently numerous or influential to make their voices audible. The tragical circumstance is that this one party in Germany is apparently willing and able to send millions of men to their death to prevent what all the world now sees to be just.

I would not be a true spokesman of the people of the United States if I did not say once more that we entered this war upon no small occasion and that we can never turn back from a course chosen upon principle. Our resources are in part mobilized now, and we shall not pause until they are mobilized in their entirety. Our armies are rapidly going to the fighting front, and will go more and more rapidly. Our whole strength will be put into this war of emancipation-emancipation from the threat and attempted mastery of selfish groups of autocratic rulers-whatever the difficulties and present partial delays.

We are indomitable in our power of independent action, and can in no circumstances consent to live in a world governed by intrigue and force. We believe that our own desire for a new international order, under which reason and justice and the common interests of mankind shall prevail, is the desire of enlightened men everywhere. Without that new order the world will be without peace and human life will lack tolerable conditions of existence and development. Having set our hand to the task of achieving it, we shall not tarn back.

I hope it is not necessary for me to add that no word of what I have said is intended as a threat. That is not the temper of our people. I have spoken thus only that the whole world may know the true spirit of America-that men everywhere may know that our passion for justice and for self-government is no mere passion of words, but a passion which, once set in motion, must be satisfied. The power of the United States is a menace to no nation or people. It will never be used in aggression or for the aggrandizement of any selfish interest of our own. It springs out of freedom and is for the service of freedom.

Colonial American History - The Atlantic and Pacific Worlds - New Spain and New France - British America

Chapter 2: Trading rings and tidal empires :: Pacific Worlds by Matt Matsuda

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “Much of Pohnpei’s settlement history is known through a site called the Idhet Mound, where debris was recovered in support of traditional lore describing turtle sacrifice.”
  • “The Pacific is shaped by such overlapping histories. A reverse voyage from the Polynesian world traces Lapita culture back to island Melanesia, including the Solomons, and further back still to interactions between Austronesian and Papuan groups along the coasts of New Guinea and island Southeast Asia.”
  • “By the tenth century, Arabic records spoke of the Indonesian islands. By the early fifteenth century, Malay rulers were hearing new teachers and gaining new trading possibilities, and Hindi princes were taking the title of Muslim sultans. To the north, new Chinese emperors, the Ming, were also finally ready to demonstrate that they could rule the seas.”

Thought Questions

  • Describe the successive generations of voyaging settlers into the Pacific
  • Who was Mau Piailug and what is his significance to Pacific History?
  • Describe the early Pacific “trading rings”, the foundations and principles they embraced and the impact they had on early Pacific Culture and History
  • Describe the early Pacific “empires”, the foundations and principles they embraced and the impact they had on early Pacific Culture and History
  • React and Respond: “Like Yap, the Tongan islands are famed for being the center of an “empire,” or at least a powerful trading and tribute network across many island groups. Ancient Tonga was known for its complex family lineages and sophisticated political rule. The head of state was the Tu‘i Tonga, who presided over a large royal court, numbering several hundred wives and concubines, brothers, sisters, children, and relatives who served as caretakers and food preparers. The court also had prescribed roles for falefa, ceremonial attendants, as well as war captives, family relations of low rank, and specialized craftsmen, including fisherman, carvers, and navigators.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Trade meant not only material wonders, but transfer of knowledge.”
  • What was the significance of “At Borobudur, three extraordinary circular terraces sit atop six massive square foundations, all joined by gateways and some 1,500 carved relief panels.”

Articles and Resources

The American Revolutionary Era Reading and Study Group

Chapter 8: The Making of an American Revolution, 1772–1776 (Parts 1-2) :: From Resistance to Revolution by Pauline Maier

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “to penetrate the Egyptian darkness … so palpable in the court atmosphere.”
  • “From your unspotted character, from your known attachment to the principles of religious and civil liberty, and from your generous concern for the welfare of your country,” a widely reprinted English letter to Dartmouth claimed, “the public in general” expected that he would use his influence “to protect, to countenance, and support the just pretensions of all his Majesty’s subjects to partake alike of his paternal care and affection.”
  • “so abhorrent from the principles of every free government, [that] our expectations from the change [in ministry] must be totally annihilated.”
  • “that kind of man who apparently meaning no ill, will never do any good.”
  • “Though not so actively bad,” Lee said, Dartmouth was “yet … as capable of adopting any unjust and arbitrary measure as my Lord Hillsborough”; and the “Rhode Island measure,” in fact, proved him to be “a man after his majesty’s own heart, arbitrary and hypocritical.”
  • “that the liberties of America are not so much in danger from any thing that Parliament has done, or is likely to do here, as from the violence and misconduct of America itself.”
  • “absurdity of the idea”
  • “There could no more be a “divine right of doing wrong” in Parliament than in the King,”
  • “and all the principles of the [Glorious] Revolution show that there are certain cases wherein resistance is justifiable to him.”
  • Describe the circumstances of the British elections of 1775
  • What were the consequences of the British elections of 1775 for American relations?
  • “Arthur Lee found English elections so corrupt that he doubted whether an “independent, impeaching House of Commons” could be procured; yet the prospect of a new election played a central role in the patriots’ strategy. In May and again July 1774, William Lee recommended an immediate colonial nonimportation and nonexportation agreement, largely for its effect on the British electorate”
  • “The thing I dread most,” the Boston radical Thomas Young wrote in August 1774, “is the sudden dissolution of the present Parliament and the rechoice before the People are thoroughly possessed of the whole information they need in these matters.”
  • “an insidious Manoeuvre calculated to divide us,”
  • “When you have shown that you are what Englishmen once were, whether successful or not, your foes will diminish, your friends amazingly increase,”
  • “By March 1775, William Lee, along with his brother Arthur, Price, Priestly, and other American supporters in England—with the exception of Franklin—had decided that the issue would not be settled without fighting, and the sooner hostilities began the better.”
  • “We must fight, if we can’t otherwise rid ourselves of British taxation, all revenues, and the constitution or form of government enacted for us by the British parliament.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “They were emotionally and intellectually unprepared for war and a potential withdrawal from the empire.”
  • Describe the transformation that took place in American political thought and action in 1772-1775
  • Describe the transformation that took place in British political thought and action in 1772-1775
  • Compare and Contrast: The evolution of American political thought and British political thought between 1772-1775
  • In what ways was 1772 the “beginning of the end”?
  • What hopes did conditional loyalists hold onto during 1772-1775 for maintaining peace and unity with Britain
  • What issues / events eroded conditional loyalists hopes in reconciliation?
  • Describe the concept of an “American Bill of Rights”
  • React and Respond: “Only after all these possibilities were ruled out did the colonists reject their Mother Country”
  • Explain and Expand: “he was willing to supplement biased official intelligence with direct private accounts from the colonies.”
  • Who was William Legge and how did he impact the American-British relationship? How did his relationship with the Americans deteriorate? What were the consequences of this deterioration?
  • Describe the background and purpose of the Gaspée Commission
  • Explain and Expand: “BLOODY good one,” an intended “American Death warrant.”
  • Explain and Expand: “American attitudes toward the King also took a new turn”
  • Describe the consequences of the American change of attitude toward the King
  • Explain and Expand: “Not everyone, of course, followed this line of reasoning. John Dickinson insisted in October 1774 that “every thing may yet be attributed to the misrepresentations and mistakes of ministers,” that the present cause was that of “half a dozen … fools or knaves,” not of Great Britain.”
  • Explain and Expand: “These successive re-evaluations of the British government were of intense and basic significance to colonial leaders.”
  • React and Respond: “Hence the importance of accurate accounts from England not only of events, but evaluating the government, the public’s feelings, the effect of American efforts, and prospects for the future.”
  • Explain the significance of the Bi-British-American subjects in communications between Britain and America
  • Who was Josiah Quincy, Jr?
  • Affirm or Refute: “The resort to force in 1774 and 1775 was more clearly revolutionary than it had been at the time of the first tea parties.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The contract between America and Britain might of course be renegotiated, with colonial rights more firmly established in an American Bill of Rights. It was clearly necessary, Elbridge Gerry noted, that some “constitutional check on the government at home be invented” to which Americans could recur whenever aggrieved in the future, and the terms of such a document were discussed by Samuel Adams and Arthur Lee in 1774.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The colonists were, however, not yet consciously molding an American war or an American revolution. They sought rather a British revolution”
  • Describe the activity of Arthur Lee during 1772-1775
  • Describe the activity of Samuel Adams during 1772-1775
  • Describe the evolution of John Adams during 1772-1775
  • Explain and Expand: “News of the Americans’ firmness also seemed to stimulate the shift in British opinion.”
  • Describe the transformation from “we” into “us and them” within the British empire
  • What role did “economic coercion” (nonimportation, nonexportation) play during 1772-1775?
  • How was the “economic coercion” practiced by the Americans both the expression and evolution of basic English rights

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources


The Jazz Age Great Depression New Deal Era and World War 2 America

Preface :: Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950 by Vicki L. Ruiz

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “This study centers on the historical experiences of Mexican women canning and packing workers in California during the 1930s and 1940s. It explores the connections of work, culture, and gender as well as the relationship between women’s networks and unionization.”
  • “As a historian, I have chosen oral interviews as the primary means by which to examine a cross section of Mexican women wage earners in food processing, women who ranged from single daughters to single parents.”
  • “As wage earners, were they members of a family wage economy, a consumer wage economy, or both?”
  • “More important, what type of networks developed within the plants?”
  • “Under what conditions did this collective identity, rooted in kinship and shared experience, become translated into unionization?”
  • “While important to women’s history, UCAPAWA should also be scrutinized within the context of unionization during the 1930s.”
  • “I have endeavored to write an integrated monograph documenting the history of Mexican women workers within the environs of a particular industry and a specific union using the woman- centered approach. What is woman- centered history?”
  • “The chapters that follow delineate the experiences of a generation of Mexican women cannery operatives who, from 1939 to 1950, took control of their work lives as members of the United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers of America.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “Scholarly publications on Mexican American history have usually relegated women to landscape roles”
  • Who were Dolores Huerta and Jessie Lopez de la Cruz and what is their significance to the labor movement?
  • Explain and Expand: “The typical pattern has been to deny decision- making roles to the female rank and file once the union has developed a foothold.”
  • Explain and Expand: “This failure to translate militancy into democratic locals can be found in other unions as well.”
  • Explain and Expand: “America. In particular, it asks what impact World War II had on this particular segment of industrial employees and to what extent their lives squared with the prevailing image of “Rosie the Riveter.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading


The Gilded Age, Populist and Progressive Era Reading Group

Chapter 19: Tariff Bill And Dollar Mark :: American Colossus by H.W. Brands

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “Though Republicans won the presidency in three of the four elections from 1876 to 1888, the Democratic candidates actually polled more popular votes (19.1 million total to 18.8 million for the Republicans). Republicans controlled the Senate for ten of the twelve years after 1876; Democrats controlled the House for ten of the twelve years.”
  • McKinley’s election inaugurated an era of Republican dominance of the federal government that lasted till the Great Depression of the 1930s.
  • “I do not promise the members of this House whenever they listen to me to give them wisdom of adamant. I do not promise them I shall not change my mind when I see good reason for doing it. I only promise that I will give them honestly what my opinion is at the time. They must take their chances about it being for eternity.”
  • “One, with God, is always a majority, but many a martyr has been burned at the stake while the votes were being counted.”
  • “It is the women who do the shopping,” Reed observed, “who keep the run of prices, who have the keenest scent for increased cost. They heard in every store the clerks behind the counters explain how this article or that could not be sold hereafter at the former price because of the McKinley Bill; they went home and told their husbands and fathers.”
  • “That’s what I tell all the boys,” he said. “But, Mack, don’t let’s lie to one another.”
  • “We are doing this in a semi-confidential way and will not receive any money from persons except those who give from proper motives,”
  • “If a gold plank is adopted, we will not carry a state west of the Mississippi River”
  • “The existing gold standard must be maintained”
  • “You may make fun of the West and South if you like. You may say that their people are not financiers,” he told the Eastern members of the House. “But these people have just as much right to express their ideas and to guard their interests as you have to guard yours, and their ideas are as much entitled to consideration as yours.”
  • “We of the South have burned our bridges behind us so far as the Eastern Democrats are concerned,” Ben Tillman of South Carolina declared. “We denounce the administration of President Cleveland as undemocratic and tyrannical!”
  • “I speak more in sorrow than in anger,” David Hill said. “You know what this platform means to the East.”
  • “Things are going against us, William,” he told McKinley. “You’ve got to stump or we’ll be defeated.” The candidate knew better. “I will not try to compete with Bryan,” he said. “I am going to stay here”—in Canton, Ohio, his hometown—“and do what campaigning there is to be done. If I took a whole train, Bryan would take a sleeper; if I took a sleeper, Bryan would take a chair car; if I took a chair car, he would ride a freight train. I can’t outdo him, and I am not going to try.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “We are New Yorked to disgrace and death, and mugwumped to a state of idiocy.”
  • Describe the circumstances around the election of 1888 and Benjamin Harrison’s candidacy
  • Describe the circumstances around the election of 1892 and the return of Grover Cleveland
  • Describe the circumstances around the election of 1896 and William McKinley’s candidacy
  • Explain and Expand: “The Democrats were entrenched in the South, and they became ever more entrenched as the politics of the region grew ever whiter. The Republicans retained their advantage in the Northeast and Ohio Valley.”
  • Describe the myth and reality of the “New South”
  • Explain and Expand: “a place where good Representatives went when they died”
  • What was the significance of tariff reform in the Gilded Age
  • Explain and Expand: “The tariff was a triumph for the capitalist class but a disaster for the Republican party.”
  • Describe the circumstances around and consequences of the Panic of 1893
  • Describe the impact of the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act
  • Who was Mark Hanna and what was his relationship with William McKinley?
  • Affirm or Refute: “Hanna’s attachment to McKinley was opportunistic—the capitalist to the candidate, the kingmaker to the king-to-be—but it was also emotional. … His attitude was always that of a big, bashful boy toward a girl he loves.”
  • What issues animated William Jennings Bryan
  • Explain and Expand: “In the end the Populists tried to have it both ways. They nominated Bryan for president, but in place of Arthur Sewall, the Democratic nominee for vice president, they forwarded the anti-fusionist Watson, who accepted the nomination under the duress of believing that his candidacy alone could prevent a fatal fracture in the party.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

World War 2 National Socialism and the Holocaust

Chapter 1: Flight Of The Rabid Wolf: The Long-Term Impact Of The War In The East :: Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War by Chris Bellamy

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “This book is the story of that war. The greatest, most costly and most brutal war on land in human history. It was fought between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany for 1,418 days, from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945, on a front from the Arctic Circle to the Caucasus, from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea, up to 3,200 kilometres long.”
  • “Without British and US dominance at sea, the strategic air campaign and the war in the Pacific, it is very possible that the Soviet Union would have been defeated in 1942 or that, at the very least, the war in the East would have gone on much longer.”
  • “The failure of Barbarossa, which became apparent during 1942, created the conditions for the initiative to pass to the Allies at the end of 1942.13 For that reason, this book pays particular attention to that period and especially to 1942.”
  • “The advance of their Armies from Stalingrad to the Dniester river, with vanguards reaching out towards the Pruth, a distance of 900 miles [1,440 km], accomplished in a single year, constitutes the greatest cause of Hitler’s undoing. Since I spoke to you last not only have the Hun invaders been driven from the lands they had ravaged, but the guts of the German army have been largely torn out by Russian valour and generalship. The people of all the Russias have been fortunate in finding in their supreme ordeal of agony a warrior leader, Marshal Stalin, whose authority enabled him to combine and control the movements of armies numbered by many millions upon a front of nearly 2,000 miles.”
  • “In 1942, the British government had been planning for action ‘in the event of a Russian collapse’. By April 1944 the Foreign Office assessed, rightly, that the Soviet Union would emerge from the war ‘as the strongest land power in the world and one of the three strongest air powers’.”
  • “one Paris night will replace them”
  • “The occupied area contained two-fifths of the grain and four-fifths of the sugar beet produced in the USSR, plus about a quarter of the nation’s farm animals, tractors and combine harvesters. In occupied areas of the Soviet Union the invaders and defenders, between them, destroyed 1,710 towns, 70,000 villages, 32,000 industrial plants and 65,000 kilometres of railway track.40 In the Russian republic alone 23,000 schools were razed to the ground.”
  • “Sixty years on, the demographic, environmental and political impact of the Second World War has largely been absorbed in the West, and in the Pacific. … Yet Russia, while a major power in the world order, remains somewhat isolated. And whereas people in western countries properly acknowledge the tragic experience of the Second World War, as it slips from living memory they have moved on.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “But now Hitler’s delusions were compounded by a perverted and superstitious logic. With so many Aryans being killed on the eastern front, extermination of the Jews and other ‘undesirables’ had to be stepped up to balance the books.”
  • Compare and Contrast: National Socialist Germany and Stalinist Russia with the statement – “However repressive the indigenous regime, whether under the Tsar or the red star, the majority of the people (though far from all) rallied to it, preferring home-grown despotism to anything imposed from abroad.”
  • What was the significance behind Time’s 1943 Man of the Year
  • Explain and Expand: “In the second sentence he alluded to the unwholesome but undeniable fact that only the authority wielded by the Soviet dictator and his security apparatus could coordinate a war effort on this scale in such a country.”
  • Compare and Contrast: The Russian Great Patriotic War and the American Civil War
  • What are some of the areas Soviet historians neglected about the Second World War?
  • Explain and Expand: “Its security measures were far from unjustified, or merely paranoid.”
  • Describe the demographic impact of the Great Patriotic War on the Soviet Union and modern Russia
  • Describe the economic impact of the Great Patriotic War on the Soviet Union

Further Reading

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