Friday, March 29, 2013

Thoughts on the surreal

One of the things that stood out to me most about the reading was how desensitized certain individuals became to the atrocities around them during times of totalitarian rule.  Like Ukrainians who were surrounded by so much death that the only way to process it was to disassociate from it.  Surely, this happens all the time--it was just as common during the Holocaust or any example To me, it begs the question, when does surrealistic kick in during times of political extremism?  Surely, the first time one sees a body in the street, they would feel inclined to react, so there must be a moment where this disassociation begins....


Thursday, March 28, 2013

I want this reading to make you mad

I want to hear your honest reactions to the reading about racial 'science' and book burning.  Does it make you angry, sad, do you laugh?  Do you just shrug?  And more importantly....WHY?

What is it about these readings (cite one specific area) that makes you react the way that you do, and what does it potentially say about your own life (possibility for continuity...)?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Plan...

Something we discussed ideologically in class the other day is how dictators rise to power when they have a plan--some sort of way to fix the economic or political quandary that a country is in.  Does Hitler have a plan, in your understanding of Mein Kampf?  How did he appeal to his followers like Kurt Ludecke and to what extent were Thomas Mann's warnings realized in Hitler's ascent to power?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Stalin: Finishing what Lenin Started?

Since Lenin died unexpectedly, we cannot say with absolute certainty what he would have wanted for Russia, and whether Stalin accomplished it.  However, there are some commonalities between Stalin and Lenin's policies that are hard to shake--

What are some of the similarities that you notice between Lenin and Stalin's policies?  What do you make of some of his gradualist programs (so as to appease the proletariat, peasants, etc.), versus some of their more extreme measures (i.e. purges, elimination of the opposition, etc.).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Only the dictator is allowed to be right

As dictators work to legitimize their power, they must first ensure that any or all ideologies, political systems, or people that oppose them are delegitimized--whether they are silenced, disenfranchised, or even killed.  What were ways that Stalin did this in his early years? Why was it necessary to have Trotsky exiled?  What were some of the liberal reforms established under the provisional government (before Lenin) or during Lenin's leadership that Stalin eliminated?  Why do you think he did this?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The time is nigh...

Lenin said twice in his speech that to not act immediately against the provisionary Kerensky government would be "fatal."

Do the happenings on the front at war and at home (give some examples) convince us that this is true?  What do you believe would have happened to Russia if the Bolsheviks did not act when they did?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crisis States

The following are examples of 'Crisis States,' which are all reasons why single-party and authoritarian governments arise.  Which, in your opinion, speak most to Bolshevik Russia, and why?

·         War, and the aftermath of war
·         Economic crisis
·         Political instability
·         Lack of leadership
·         Unpopular or tyrannical governments
·         Fear of revolution
·         New ideas introduced in politics
·         Nationalism, independence movements

Monday, March 18, 2013

Key elements to a dictatorship

As you are reading, consider the following elements that embody most dictatorships, and comment on one that stands out to you the most based on the reading.

·         Ideology
·         Single-party
·         System of Terror
·         Monopoly of the Media – the press, radio, movies, etc.
·         Monopoly of all weapons
·         Central control and direction of entire economy