I feel so ingenious! Well really, I feel like a dork. First off, it is about 9 am and I don’t have class until one, and my lesson got cancelled, so for once I can sleep in on a school day. But do I? Of course not… and I’m questioning my sanity. Regardless! Back to why I am ingenious:
So my second major is European Studies; don’t ask me what it is slash what I plan on doing with that, because I’m not really sure – besides having a nice excuse to frequent Europe. I want to be fluent in French? That can be a reason. It’s funny because I’m actually horrendous with names and dates, so I must have had an aneurism when I chose this, but I wanted a second major, so here I am.
Back to the point.
Next week is spring break (!!!), so it’s exam season. This holds true with one of my classes: European Culture & Society 1914-1945. Sounds cool right? And it is; it’s pretty much the storyline of Europe between the two world wars. Lemme tell you, Europe was not so hunky dory back in the day.
Side Note: Did you know the 20th century was the most violent in all of human history? We suck.
So, my exam is on Thursday. Usually I don’t study until the night before, but I’m trying something new. Since the information is cool, I’m going to do a mini history lesson for those interested. Even if you think you aren’t, just read it. It’s our worlds history people!
If you don’t know history, it is as if you were born yesterday.
I’m going to comb through my notes and pick the juicy details, it’ll be history sans the snoozes. There are wayyyy too many notes to even think about putting them in one post; that would have to be the super readers digest version. So I’ll break it up, or not share all with you, or save it for later. Meh, I’ll just got with the flow, see where the wind takes me.
Now…. To Europe! Feel free to pick the accent of your choosing. I’m going Croatian I think.
Disclaimer: The human race can be a despicable breed; but this is what happened, and sugar coating it is parallel to lying so don’t expect it. Uživati (that’s enjoy in Croatian).
First, here’s some of the different types of government reigning Europe before WWI.
European Socialism, 1875-1900
–> What is socialism, you ask? Well, it is a system of social organization that advocates the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution of goods (capital, land) in the community as a whole. Basically, the government controls instead of private enterprises.
- The largest socialist party at this time was the German SPD, with a strategy for short term reforms and preparation for future socialist society.
–> Revisionism is any departure from Marxist doctrine, theory, or practice, especially the tendency to favor reform about revolutionary change. The term is most often used by Marxists who believe that such revisions are unwarranted and represent an abandonment of Marxism.
- Eduard Bernstein, the head honcho for revisionism, thought that socialism was achieved by ongoing reforms, and he rejected the necessity of revolution. Due to this view of socialism, the socialist party split in two, with the right wing being revisionists and the left being syndicalism.
–> Syndicalism is an economic system in which workers own and manage the industry. The ideal was workers’ self-management, and that factories would be run by the workers themselves. Fascism was actually branched off from syndicalism.
- Georges Sorel was a big name here. He rejected parliamentary reform and claimed that instead of waiting for the “big wave”, everything depended on the will… basically he thought anything can happen if there was enough wanting. So if I were to want my very own ice cream truck, Sorel thought, “if there’s a will, there’s a way”.
- The tactic of this government was general strike; they wanted one giant union with all the workers behind it. This actually succeeded in taking place in Russia in 1905 and in France in 1968.
Imitation has never produced much good and often bred much sorrow; how absurd the idea is then of borrowing from some dead and gone social structure… – Georges Sorel, Reflections on Violence
Anarchism & “Propaganda Of The Dead”
–> Anarchism urges the abolition of government and its restraint as the indispensable condition for full social and political liberty. They basically believed in the socialized state and political equality, but they always tended to be violent. Their tactic was exemplary acts of political violence to spark general revolt.
- In 1894, anarchists assassinated the French President Carnot, along with many others. They preached political voluntarism, and the slogan “Do It Now” to urge citizens to act.
Russian Narodniks (Populism)
–> Populists idealized the peasant; it was basically socialism based on the MIR (peasant commune/village). The peasants brought about revolution.
- University students from well-t0-do families were actually the most excited about this new form of government, and started a campaign dubbed “Going to the People”. During this, the students tried to show their support by visiting the MIR, but the poor peasants didn’t take too kindly to spoiled students invading their space. In reality, the campaign (1873-4) went pretty terrible.
- The government responded to populism with intense oppression, which backfired and actually ended up radicalizing the populace movement. The Czar eventually ended up crushing the movement by 1877, and some of the populists turned to terrorism, assassinating Alexander II in 1881.
–> Founded on an idea that historical movement between contradiction of forces and relations of production. The economy was dynamic with constant change, and the people were “waiting for the wave”.
- Lenin is the name to remember here. He managed a centralized party of highly disciplined professional revolutionaries and approached revolution from an international perspective. Innovation!
- The Russian Social (Marxist) Democratic Party formed in 1889, then split into two factions in 1903; these are important. The smaller, yet apparent majority party were the Bolsheviks, they backed up political voluntarism, and decided that the Russians could skip the icky tunnel of capitalism. The other faction was dubbedMensheviks; they believed full industrialization came before socialism, gradualism in politics.
So… Russia is running into some problems before World War I. In the 1904-5 war, Russia was defeated by Japan. This resulted in an economic downturn, and all hell begins to break loose. Father Gapon then organizes The Assembly of Russian Factory and Mill Workers of St. Petersburg, leading a demonstration of 200,000 people. The Tsar isn’t too fond of this though, and orders soldiers to open fire on the demonstrators. As a result, 130 demonstrators are killed on January 22nd, famously known as Bloody Sunday. In response to this, general strike breaks out, and Tsar Nicholas II issues the October Manifesto, which granted some liberal reforms and power for Duma (Russian official assembly constituting the lower house of parliament).
I think that’s good for now, plus I have to make moves to get to class. Mais, c’est la guerre. It’s getting close. Although it hasn’t gotten terribly depressing yet, I thought I would lighten the mood with a song by U2. That’s actually a blatant lie, this song is depressing in and of itself… but it’s relevant! Well, kind of. Here U2 is referencing 1972’s “Bloody Sunday”, where British Troops opened fire on unarmed and peaceful civilians in Derry, Ireland. Why must we be so heinous?