1880s-1940s

Main

Political

World War I

July 28, 1914 - November 11, 1918

Also known as the Great War, World War I was fought between the Triple Alliance (including Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and later the Ottoman Empire) and the Triple Entente (an alliance between Britain, Russia, France, and later the United States). While many believed that the war would be over by Christmas, the war lasted a long and brutal four years. This is largely due to the fact that both sides practiced trench warfare. The war is often referred to as a total war because both combatants and civilians were forced to mobilize.

Source:
John McKay et al, A History of Western Society, 11th Ed, Vol. 2., pg. 831-840.

Treaty of Versailles

January 1919

This peace settlement dealt with terms of post-war Germany. Negotiations in Paris were controlled by Woodrow Wilson of the US, Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau of France, and Prime Minister Lloyd George of Great Britain. While Clemenceau demanded that Germany seriously pay for its aggressions, it was Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen points and principles of national self-determination that dominated negotiations.

Source:
John McKay et al, A History of Western Society, 11th Ed, Vol. 2., pg. 859-860.

"A Defeated Germany Contemplates the Peace Treaty"

June 28, 1919

Since Germany played no role in the peace settlement, the stipulations of the Treaty of Versailles divided German politicians. While some politicians were willing to accept the humiliating terms, others refused to a sign their names on a document that blatantly put all the blame on the German nation.

Source:
John McKay et al, Sources for Western Society, Vol. 2., pg. 418-420.

Hitler's rise to power

1930 - January 30, 1933

Before the Great Depression, the National Socialist German Workers' Party, also known as the Nazis, was just a small political party with an insignificant amount of power. However, after the Great Depression, Hitler and the Nazis were able to take advantage of the fiscally-devastating climate and the ineffective, conservative policies and ascend the party. Hitler formed a collation with Germany's conservative politicians and was elected Chancellor of Germany in 1933.

Source:
John McKay et al, A History of Western Society, 11th Ed, Vol. 2., pg. 915-916.

Sir Stewart's "Parliament Addresses the Great Depression in Britain"

1934

The crash of the United States stock market led to severe economic and social consequences like mass unemployment, a shortage in production, and a general decrease in prices. The economic crisis not only affected the United States but also European countries like Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, etc. In his address to the British Parliament, Sir Stewart highlights the plaguing issues in Northern England. Due to the Great Depression, Northern England experienced a significant loss of industry, therefore, massive unemployment amongst young, poor, hungry men. Stewarts explicitly implies that if the State does not attempt to combat this unemployment, these young men will pose a serious threat to the State. Stewart’s solution is to bring back industry to those areas.

Source:
John McKay et al, Sources for Western Society, Vol. 2., pg. 430-432.

World War II

September 1939 - August 1945

World War II began after Hitler's armies invaded all of Czechoslovakia and Poland. This war is characterized by the Hitler's use of "blitzkrieg" and desire to create a New Order, space in which inferior ethnic groups would be cleansed to make room for a pure, Aryan race. The Holocaust, the systematic killing of European Jews, helped to realize the New Order.

Source:
John McKay et al, A History of Western Society, 11th Ed, Vol. 2., pg. 922-929.

Cultural

Realism

1840 - 1890

Beginning in the 1840s, Realism began to dominate art and literary culture. Realism rejected the ideas of Romanticism and sought to depict things in the most honest and accurate way. This kind of approach to art allowed for artists to explore the more bleak aspects of reality in the nineteenth century.

Source:
John McKay et al, A History of Western Society, 11th Ed, Vol. 2., pg. 753-755.

Emile Zola's "J'Accuse"

1898

This letter was penned by Emile Zola, a famous French novelist, after the The Dreyfus Affair, a military scandal that involved the French army falsely accusing a Jewish captain of espionage. As a product of the Realism movement, "J'Accuse" is a criticism of the way in which the French military dealt with the affair. Though Zola is generous in his criticism, his main concern is to aware people of the injustices being committed at the highest levels of government.

Source:
Mc. Kay et al., "Sources for Western Society," Vol. 2., pg. 383

Rudyard Kipling's "The White Man Burden"

1899

A poem written by Rudyard Kipling, "The White Man's Burden" has many implications. First, the poem glorifies imperialism by shedding a positive light on white, colonizing men. Second, Kipling frames imperialism in the context of a moral obligation. If the white men did not continue imperialism, then those were less fortunate would never be able to experience the benefits of the white man's advanced civilization.

Source:
John McKay et al, A History of Western Society, 11th Ed, Vol. 2., pg. 818-819.

Sigmund Freud's "The Interpretation of Dreams"

1900

Freud's publication pulled from current events to prove that despite prevailing Enlightenment thinking, people continued to act in ways that were irrational. Thus, Freud argues that by studying dreams, one could explore the complex relationship between the unconscious mind and the conscious mind. According to Freud, thoroughly interpreting one's dream would allow he or she to fulfill their suppressed desires.

Source:
Mc. Kay et al., "Sources for Western Society," Vol. 2., pg. 421

Vladimir Tchernavin's "I Speak for the Silent"

1930

Tchernavin's work shows the extent of which the Soviet state controlled Soviet life. The demands of Stalin's Five Year Plan proved to be unrealistic for Soviet workers and those who showed any signs of failure became suspicious. For Soviet policies to become as effective as possible, Stalin used the secret police to invade every aspect of life in the Soviet Union.

Source:
Mc. Kay et al., "Sources for Western Society," Vol. 2., pg. 442.

Rights

Clara Zetkin's "Women's Work and the Trade Unions"

1887

Zetkin sees the exclusion of female proletarians from trade unions as a two-fold problem. Due to the low wages women earn, men are not only at risk of earning less wages but also at risk of losing their jobs. Most importantly, according to Zetkin, women are not equipped with the proper organizational skills or training and that is why they cannot better their circumstances.

Source:
Mc. Kay et al., “Sources for Western Society,” Vol. 2., pg. 365-366

Helena Swanwick's "The War in Its Effect Upon Women"

1916

The fact that the Great War was a total in terms of mobilization, women were provided an opportunity to the pave the way for a more improved status. According to Swanwick, pre-war restrictions regarding female rights cannot continue considering all the vast effort on behalf of women. The war had liberated women from their domestic, prison-like sphere and bestowed upon them moral enrichment. To deprive women of this liberation, would be a type of of "moral imprisonment."

Source:
Mc. Kay et al., “Sources for Western Society,” Vol. 2., pg. 408-412.

The Nuremberg Laws

1935

These set of laws exemplify Nazi Germany's pursuit of the New Order. The specific guidelines provided in the laws show of how grave concern it was to the Nazis to purify Germany of Jews or those who had relations with Jews.

Source:
Mc. Kay et al., “Sources for Western Society,” Vol. 2., pg. 450-451