Archive for October, 2010

Ambrose & Brinkley

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

So, before we get started, who are these guys?  They are historians, more like a Pipes, less like a Kissinger, but what else do you know, or can you find out about them?  What is their socio-political context?  Make sure you’re looking at D Brinkley, not A.

As far as what they provide here I think there are some interesting points of departure from Kissinger.  They quote FDR as having, “hated war”, they say he “failed to support” Cash and Carry, he raised troop strength by symbolic numbers, despite Stimson, and Churchill,  and Reynaud’s pleas.  They go so far as to point out the bases for destryers deal was “reluctant”.

How do you reconcile this with Kissinger’s “prescient” FDR?  What about the Quarantine speech?  What about his wanting airplane plants in Canada?  What about his ruse to get Hitler to mock him?

Ambrose & Brinkley, who I will from now on refer to simply as Ambrose, do agree that by Nov 1 1941 (merely a month before PH) he was “beligerent” but Kissinger wants us to believe it goes all the way back to 1937.

Who do you believe?


Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Sorry gang for the late blog.  I’m off my schedule, but promise to get back on!

Very quickly then.  What does the cartoon mean?  What does Kissinger think of FDR?  What other president does he compare him to?

The Nazi Soviet Pact

Monday, October 25th, 2010

So Stalin thought Hitler was cool and calculating.  Hitler thought Stalin (and his army) would collapse.  Students always hear a great deal about Stalingrad but you also need to examine the defeat at the gates of Moscow to really understand the rollback of the German army.

Hitler also believed that once Russia was defeated Japan would unleash barbarizationo nthe US.  Check out he time-line.  Hitler invades Russia june 1941.  Japan attack US December 1941.  Sould this have been planned?

France of course collapses, Finland actually digs deep in their own defense before their ultimate defeat, and after France’s collapse Hitler had three choices.  Which did he make and why?

End of an illusion

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

One demonic personality.  Thats what Kissinger called him.  Things might have flowed differently with Stresemann at the helm, but I’m not so sure it was all Hitler.  Google Julius Streicher and you’ll find out that there were a lot of wing-nuts like Hitler out there, and though Hitler may have been uniquely demonic he was by no means alone.

Tomorrow class is meeting in Ms. Jones’ room.  She’ll collact IA proposals (I’m very excited to see these) hand out a quiz after your “chat” and then I have a series of very interesting documents on Nazi Germany for you to enjoy.  After reading and brainstroming how to answer the docs I’d like one of you (Daniela?) to facilitate a discussion on possible answers.  Do look up Julius Streicher. It will help.

For discussion here you might try to explain exactly how and why “appeasement” worked (or didn’t), how France got it all so badly wrong or just throw a “note on the board”!  Thanks!


Monday, October 18th, 2010

Ok so given Kissinger’s treatment of Stresemann and the Dawes plan who here can make sense out of this cartoon?

Back with our buddy HK now and hopefully getting into more familiar ground vis-a-vis your earlier historical studies.  The Kellogg-Briand Pact?  Locarno?  the Maginot Line?  Certainly Hitler rang a bell

I think the most significant thing to get out of this chapter is that the goals of Hitler (Anschluss /Union) with Austria, military parity with France, were the same as Stresemann and presumably the same as many Germans.  There is even open discussion of modifying the border with Poland here.

Hitler will of course go about his goals in a decidedly militaristic way.  Maybe there was another way.  Maybe Germany could have satisfied, France made secure (If GB would step up) and the Soviet Union isolated if it hadn’t been for the series of unfortunate events outlined here.

why did stalin succeed lenin?

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

I like cars.  I always have.  I think I learned to read in the pages of “Road and Track” when I was a child.  In my cursory research on the post war international auto race in CZ I came across this image of “Stalin’s race car”.  I found this very interesting because it suggested that some persons in the Soviet Union wanted to challenge the evils of capitalism on the track, as they would in the Olympics, Space Race and the World Cup.

So why did Stalin succeed Lenin?  Well, for Pipes it seems a foregone conclusion.  With the failure to export the revolution (in the most important war in history!  In Poland!  in 1920!…  ever heard of it?) the emerging  bureaucracy and the emergence of the worker’s opposition Stalin was clearly the man and TRotsky never had a chance.  Lenin just never saw the dark heart of the killer lurking in the back.

One fascinating point made here is that with the failure to export the revolution they needed to wait, and agitate for, another World War.  This historiography on WWII is generally much simpler than WWI.  Everybody says it was Germany’s/Hitler’s fault.  Now though, I wonder.  Were Stalin, and Lenin before, succesful at keeping agitation alive in  Germany insofar as to lead to the emergence of Hitler?  Can we blame WWII on the Soviet union?

fait accompli

Monday, October 11th, 2010

fait accompli . Who looked that one up?  There are great and complicated machinations at work in this chapter that I do not expect you to commit to detailed memory.  Even Pipes admits the complexity is too great for his short treatment here.

The long and short of it is that gaining power was as easy for Lenin as “picking up a feather”.  As the woman in the documents testified to the “white” soldiers walked out and dropped their munitions.  There was no resistance.

There were three keys to this event which you should know in at least their basic form.  Failure of a major offensive in WWI, failure of the Provisional Government (PG) to hold an election, and the Kornilov affair, which you should know in the bsasic terms that Pipes lays down here.

Pipes makes a curious statement here that one, despite Lenin’s fears, cannot “betray” a revolution.  I think what he means here is that whereas there maybe be treasonous persons like a Benedict Arnold, a true revolution from below will have such power as to make their betrayal if not meaningless, than a mere bump in the road.

Richard Pipes

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Who is this man?  Google him.  What is his gig?  Tell us all you can about him (that is relevent) for your point.

Alternatively here are three quotes you might grapple with (or choose your own!)

Soviet and later (revisionist) Western history has seen the fall as inevitable, preordained, “driven by social conflicts”. (p.6)

 “…when the so called masses are discontented, they are inspired by specific grievances that are capable of  being satisfied within the existing system.  Only intellectuals have universal grievances…” (p.15)

The population was the object of state authority, a “mechanically rather than an organically structured state that denies the population any voice in government” (p.18)