Richard Feynman on the Atom Bomb

Feynman_200Below please find a link to a clip that might help with your paper due on Monday. It will help give you an idea of the kind of things that people were thinking in the fall of 1945, following the first uses of the atomic weapons in August. The speaker is Richard Feynman (1918-1988), a brilliant nuclear physicist and native of Far Rockaway, Queens, who was still a young graduate student when he was drafted to work on the top-secret Manhattan Project that built the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The whole clip is worth watching, but you MUST watch from about 3:20 to the end, which pertains directly to your final paper. He talks about his realization of the moral implications of the thing that he helped to build. Thanks to your classmate, Yan Levitsky, for bringing this clip to my attention.

Richard Feynman on the Atom Bomb

World War Two: Overview Questions, Pt. II

German troops marching in Poland after the Polish surrender in September 1939.

German troops marching in Poland after the Polish surrender in Sept. 1939.

Below are some more questions on World War Two written by your classmate, Dimitri Antonopoulos. Please answer one of these with a response of a paragraph or more.

  • Between 1938 and 1939, Hitler’s armed forces strengthened considerably. If France and Britain had first intervened militarily with the annexation of Austria in March 1938 or during the Sudeten Crisis of September 1938, do you think the war would have gone differently?
  • Many women during World War Two were recruited to take part in the war effort. What roles did these women have, and how did they change during the war?  Did having women in the war help or hurt the countries?
  • Do you think that Germany had a chance to win the war? If so, how and why might it have won? What mistakes did Hitler make that may have led to a different outcome if those mistakes had been avoided? Do you have any thoughts on what the world would be like if the Nazis had won?

World War Two: Overview Questions, Pt. I

Political cartoon depicting German troops massing into a death's skull representing the city of Stalingrad.

Political cartoon depicting German troops massing into a death’s skull representing the city of Stalingrad.

Below please find a set of some overview questions about World War Two written by your classmate, Davin Alexander. Remember to respond to one of these with an answer of a paragraph or more.

  • In the 1930s, what were some of the aggressive actions that Germany took that went against the Treaty of Versailles? Why do you think Hitler thought he could get away with them?
  • What was the significance of the Battle of Stalingrad?
  • What do you think the reasons were that convinced the United States to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Gandhi on Truth and Civil Disobedience

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)

Below please find a web question based on the reading, “Truth and Civil Disobedience,” by Mohandas Gandhi, which you can find on pp. 365-370 in The Shaping of the Modern World. This was written by your classmate, Max Barlow.

Do you think two key concepts embraced by Gandhi, satyagraha (“insistence on truth”) and ahimsa (“nonviolence”), are effective tools to create political and social change? Why or why not?

Sigmund Freud on the Effects of War

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Below please find some question written by your classmate,  Elizabeth Adler, on the selections from Sigmund Freud’s writings, “On Human Nature,” which you can find on pp. 294-303 of The Shaping of the Modern World. Elizabeth’s questions focus especially on the section, “The Disillusionment of War.” Remember to respond with an answer of at least a paragraph.

The brutality of warfare during World War I deeply shocked the supposedly “civilized” Europeans. How did this brutality relate to Freud’s ideas about “the transformation of instincts” in this reading? What do you think about Freud’s idea about “civilized behavior” originating from a tension between internal and external factors? To Freud, how did World War I affect this dynamic? Why does he believe these effects could be around for years to come?

European and American Culture of the 1920s and 1930s

Below please find a set of web questions on the cultural and intellectual upheavals of the 1920s and 1930s. These were written by your classmate, Dina Bychkova. Please answer at least one of these questions with a response of a paragraph or more.

Composition XI (1918) by Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931), the founder of a modernist artistic movement known as De Stijl.

In Europe and North America during the 1920s, many scientists and artists embraced new ideas (relativity, abstraction in art, psychiatry, etc.) that challenged the traditional explanations of how the world worked. Did the Great Depression of the 1930s stop these new ways of thinking or encourage them even more? Did the Great Depression itself make people embrace new ideas or make them hold on to old ones even more tightly?

Revised Schedule for the Final Weeks

Just wanted to rework our schedule for the last few weeks of class to accommodate the missed time on account of the storm. Please note that the college has added Friday, Dec. 14, as an additional class day, which will be a Wednesday schedule. We still have three quizzes left in this semester for Chapters 34, 35, and 36. We will get through Chapters 37 and 38 as well, but will not have a quiz on those since they will be covered in the final. Here are the days for the quizzes, followed by the full revised reading schedule.

OVERALL QUIZ SCHEDULE:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 28: Chapter 34
  • Monday, Dec. 3: Chapter 35
  • Monday, Dec. 10: Chapter 36

Here’s the full schedule with readings:

Monday, Nov. 26: The Interwar Period
Traditions: Chapter 34, An Age of Anxiety, pp. 791-802
Shaping: Freud, “On Human Nature,” pp. 294-303
Capitalism: Chapter 6: Crisis? What Crisis?: Read the short section, “The Great Depression in the 1930s,” pp. 108-113

Wednesday, Nov. 28: Totalitarianism and Anti-Colonialism in Asia
Traditions: Chapter 34, An Age of Anxiety, pp. 802-811
QUIZ ON CHAPTER 34 & CAPITALISM READING (Middle of class)
Traditions: Chap. 35, Nationalism and Political Identities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, pp. 813-820
Shaping: Mohandas Gandhi, Truth and Civil Disobedience, pp. 365-370

Monday, Dec. 3: Anticolonialism in African and Latin America and the Origins of World War II
Traditions: Chap. 35, Nationalism and Political Identities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, pp. 820-831
QUIZ ON CHAPTER 35 (Middle of class)
Traditions: Chap. 36, New Conflagrations: World War II and the Cold War, pp. 835-840

Wednesday, Dec. 5: World War II and the Holocaust
Traditions: Chap. 36, New Conflagrations: World War II and the Cold War, pp. 840-853
Online: Eyewitness Account of Einsatz Executions (1942)

Monday, Dec. 10: World War II: The Cold War and the End of Empire
Traditions: Chap. 36, New Conflagrations: World War II and the Cold War, pp. 853-861
QUIZ ON CHAPTER 36 (Middle of class)
Shaping: Harry S. Truman, The Truman Doctrine, pp. 388-390
ATOMIC ESSAY ASSIGNMENT DUE

Wednesday, Dec. 12: The End of Empire
Traditions: Chap. 37, The End of Empire, pp. 865-888
Shaping: Patrice Lumumba, From Congo My Country, pp. 378-381
Online: Letter Exchange between President Johnson and Ho Chi Minh

Friday, Dec. 14: Where Are We Now?
Traditions: Chapter 38, A World without Borders, pp. 891-921
Shaping: Amartya Sen, A World Not Neatly Divided, pp. 420-422
Capitalism: Chapter 5, Has Capitalism Gone Global? pp. 82-103

A Woman Soldier on the Russian Front

Russian women soldiers who served in the all-female “Battalion of Death,” which was formed in 1917 by Maria Leont’evna Botchkareva

Below please find a set of web questions on Maria Botchkareva’s account of being a woman soldier who organized the all-female “Battalion of Death” in 1917 to fight the Germans. These questions were written by your classmate, Jonathan Qin. You can find the text of Botchkareva’s account in The Shaping of the Modern World, pp. 311-315. Remember to answer one of these questions with a response of a paragraph or more.

  • What was the situation on the battlefield as depicted by Maria Botchkareva?
  • According to Botchkareva, how did men and women soldiers differ?
  • In your opinion, do you think gender is still an issue in today’s military?

The Outbreak of the Great War

A 1914 British recruitment poster

Below please find a set of web questions of the Great War written by your classmate, Jonathan St. Jean. Please answer at least one of these questions with response of a paragraph or more.

  • Why was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand so important?
  • What role did nationalism play in the outbreak of the war?
  • What impact did new technologies have on the conduct of warfare?

U.S. Imperialism

Cartoon from the Boston Globe, May 28, 1898.

Below please find some questions pertaining to the U.S. and its annexation of overseas territories after the Spanish-American War (1898). These were written by your classmate, George Papageorgiou. Please answer at least one of these with a response of a paragraph or more. You can find the text of the Platt Amendment and the platform of the Anti-Imperialist League on pp. 238-243 of The Shaping of the Modern World.

  • After Cuba obtained independence, how did the Platt Amendment (1901) define the relationship between the U.S and Cuba?
  • As a result of the Spanish American War, was the U.S considered a imperialist nation? Why or why not?
  • What arguments did the American Anti-Imperialist League make against the annexation of the Philippines?