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?

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?

Nineteenth-Century Imperialism

Political cartoon from 1900 in response to the Boxer Rebellion

Below please find a set of questions on imperialism of the late nineteenth century written by your classmate, Yordanka Kremenarova. Please respond with an answer of one or more paragraphs.

How was imperialism in the nineteenth century different from the colonization of earlier times? In your opinion, were the motivations for imperialism more economic or political? Please explain  your opinion.

China and Japan in the Nineteenth Century

British depiction of the attack on the Chinese port of Amoy (now Xiamen) during the the First Opium War, Aug. 26, 1841

Below please find some web questions on China and Japan in the nineteenth century written by your classmate, Steven Liang. Please respond to at least one of these with an answer of a paragraph or more.

  • What were the problems the Chinese Empire faced against the Europeans power? What were the effects of the opium trade in China?
  • What were the effects of the Unequal Treaties?
  • How did the Tokugawa rule shift to the Meiji Restoration? What were the crises that they had to face before the Tokugawa rule ended? How did Japanese society change with the Meiji Reforms?