Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Nohman Sakhi Cold War Blog- End of Soviet Union

    VS.                             Soviet Union                                                               United States of America


After World War II, the two nations that remained strong were the Soviet Union and the United States of America. The Cold War was not a war that involved direct military conflict between the nations. The reason for this is because both nations had nuclear weapons that could devastate a nation. As a result, the two nations were involved in proxy wars which were wars fought amongst countries that were decided whether they wanted to support the Soviet Union or the United States of America.


"When I was in the White House, I was confronted with the challenge of the Cold War. Both the Soviet Union and I had 30,000 nuclear weapons that could destroy the entire earth and I had to maintain the peace."
-Jimmy Carter 

This is a direct quote that was said by the former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. I believe this quote is useful in understanding the way both nations felt during this time. It was vital to make sure that the Cold War did not become a "hot" war because that would have resulted in the destruction of the world.


The Soviet Union was highly interested in obtaining Afghanistan. As stated in Kinzer, "Afghanistan has no oil, no mineral wealth, and little fertile land, but it does have one asset that has always attracted outsiders: location." With this said, nations such as the United States wanted to make it extremely difficult for the Soviet Union to conquer Afghanistan.

One of the main reasons the Soviet Union collapsed was becasue they invested a lot of their resources in controlling Afghanistan. According to Kinzer, the United States CIA organizeda covert operation which would weaken the Soviet Union. The CIA planed to aid "Afghan Guerrillas" to rebel against Soviet Union rule. In the 1980's Ronald Reagan asked leader of Saudi Arabia to help in the rebelling in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia gave over a billion dollars to the cause. On February 15, 1989, under the new leader of Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, the soviets withdrew all their troops.

Another issue that contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union was the political issues. In addition to the internal issues, Khrushchev and Mao of China weren't getting along. This caused the Soviet's to be alone in the Cold War fight against America. Economically, the Soviet Union was a major exporter of goods to other countries during the early part of the Cold War. However, the Soviet Union lost the "arms race" against america and soon fell behind industrially and was importing more than exporting.

The revolutions of 1989 were a series of revolts against the one party communist government. During the late 1980's Germany was divided. East Germany was under Soviet's rule, and Western Germany was under American rule. This wall was taken down which basically was the end of Soviet domination in Europe. This event happend while Mikhail Gorbachev was head of state in the Soviet Union. In December 1991, the long and expensive Cold War was offically done. Ultimately, Gorbachev and Reagan worked out a way to end the war. Gorbachev

Image of people climbing over the Berlin Wall that was dividing East and West Berlin.

A terrorist that was part of Al-Queda. The United States funding "gureillas" caused him to obtain power.


Gaddis, John Lewis. The Cold War: A New History. New York: Penguin, 2005. Print.

Kinzer, Stephen. Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. New York: Times /Henry Holt, 2006. Print.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Miss. Ogilvy

In the late 19th and 20th century, women's lives were so restricted by society’s ideas of gender roles. Many women, Miss. Ogilvy for example, have been courageous enough to rebel against the "norm." These women wanted to do more for them and not just get married and have children.

Before the war, Miss Ogilvy's identity was defined by being different and not belonging. She was not only an outsider in society, but she was excluded by all of her family members.

“She saw herself as a queer little girl, aggressive and awkward because of her shyness: a queer little girl who loathed sisters and dolls, preferring the stable-boys as companions, preferring to play with footballs and tops, and occasional catapults.”

“True enough in her youth she had gloried in her strength, lifting weights, swinging clubs and developing muscles…”

“She remembered insisting with tears and some temper that her real name was William and not Wilhelmina.”

Miss Ogilvy just couldn’t adapt to the world's stereotyped pattern. Even her mother called her a "very odd creature" and told her that "muscles looked so appalling in evening dress-a young girl ought not to have muscles.” Everyone around Miss Ogilvy emphasized the importance of finding a husband and marrying. Her sisters Sarah and Franny spent almost all of their energy in the matrimonial market. After the death of their father, the family became more dependent on Miss Ogilvy to take on the “masculine role” and deal with things they wouldn’t bare to be bothered with- such as finances.

At the beginning of the war, Miss Ogilvy realizes she now has a chance to try and do something a woman normally wouldn’t do. At age 56, she cuts her hair, goes to London and bothers authorities until they finally allow her to participate in the war, and form her own ambulance unit.

Everything changes when Miss Ogilvy enters the war. Not only does she find herself but she was finally doing something that made her happy. There were so many of “her kind” and she was mirrored by others just like her. The word “Queer” was now used in a different context. It became a word that unified a group with the same identity. Queer was used to describe their uniform- “Queer little forage-caps.” Miss Ogilvy became a very respected and had a glorious career as the Lieutenant Commander of a unit of female ambulance drivers. She faced death and carried many injured soldiers to her ambulances, and despite the gender roles, this is what she loved doing.

Returning home was hard for her, especially going back to her prejudice society and even worse her family. She often dreamed of being back in the trenches. Miss Ogilvy grown used to military commands and often used them at home when she was frustrated by her sisters. No one understood what was going on internally and how unhappy she had to deal with pre-war issues.

“Such a dreadful, violent old thing”

“Poor darling, its shell-shock you know”

After one of the more faithful women from her unit confessed she was going to marry, Miss Ogilvy couldn’t bear it any longer. She was hurt by this and became depressed. A member of her unit is now heterosexual—she is “normal”.

She packed her kit-bag announced abruptly one day “I’m off!”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Korean War

                                      The Korean War


Subtopic: The suspension of the war

Who is Bruce Cummings?
Bruce Cumings is an American academic historian and author. He is the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in History and the chair of the history department at the University of Chicago.
Born: September 5, 1943 (age 69)


Korea's place in the sun

North Korea

The critical issue was freedom of choice in regard to repatriation. North Korean Pows and chinese POWs did not want to return to communist control. Meanwhile South Korea refused to sign any armistice that would keep Korea divided.

"North Koreans had abused many Americans depriving them of food,sleep and subject many to political thought reform" (32).  
North Koreans were trying to brainwash Americans. At first they were trying to overthrow Americans in their country.
"In 1953 the communist side agreed to place POWs who refused repatriation under the control of the Neutral Nations' Supervisory Commission for three months" (33).   
 This was one of the way to change communist minds about repatriation. Americans believed in individual rights and human dignity. However, communist was against that.

"The fighting could have come to an end much earlier, but both Moscow and Washington had interests in keeping it going since Korea no longer threatened to erupt into general war" (34).
The war lasted so long because United States of America wanted to showed the world their high power weapons.

"Countries involved in the Three-year conflict suffered a total of more than 4 million casualties of which at least 2 million were civilians- a higher percentage than in World War II or vietnam"(35).

Why was this war a collective shrug of the shoulders?

Many Americans believed this was not a war because in Iowa court ruled that there had been no state of war in korea, since congress never declared one to exist. The tragedy was that the war solved nothing. Only a cease-fire held the peace.



Iran: The Overthrow of Mossadegh

In 1953 the United States as requested by the British would overthrow the elected Prime Minister of Iran Mohammad Mossadegh. Mohammad Mossadegh sought to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil company principally owned by the British. The Oil company extracted oil from Iran and gave most of the profits to the British and little back to Iran. Mossadegh wanted to nationalize it let Iranians benefit from their own land and help grow their economy instead of the British economy. Great Britain and the rest of the Western world's economy relied in large part to patroleum reserves. Mossadegh threatened their economic livelihood.

"A high standard of living depended largely on the oil it extracted from Iran... required it to pay Iran just 16 percent of the money it earned from selling the country's oil." (p. 117)

 John Dulles

John Dulles was the Secretary of State under President Eisenhower. In Kinzer's overthrow he is described as a man shaped by privileged upbringing, a career working with the worlds richest corporations and his religion. He was the number one corporate lawyer for big multinational corporations. He believed in the rights of corporations and the special obligation for those living the good way to bring it towards others and fight the evils of communism. He is described as being confrontational, stubborn, arrogant and hard to persuade. He would partly lead the way to the overthrow of Mossadegh.   

After WW2 nationalism and anti-colonialism was spreading in the world. Iran elected Mossadegh in 1951 who according to Kinzer sought to expel the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and nationalize the oil industry and use it to develop Iran. The parliament voted to nationalize the industry and it was celebrated in Iran. The British obviously were opposed. Mossadegh pointed out that the British recently nationalized their coal and steel industries and was just trying to do what his country what they did for themselves. The British took action to oppose it including sabotaging their own equipment to prove Iran needed them and eventually trying to overthrow him.                                                                                                         Zahedi
The British being unsuccessful proposed the U.S. under Eisenhower overthrow Mossadegh. The U.S. started taking action first by claiming Mossadegh was bringing communism to Iran. However this was not true. Dulles would enlist the CIA which had mainly been used for intelligence gathering to help overthrow the government. The US would bride officials to distance themselves from Mossadegh and pay journalists to create distrust of him and hire hugs to riot in the streets to crate disorder.

"The Americans would spend $150,000 to bribe journalists, editors Islamic preachers, and other opinion leaders to "create, extend and enhance public hostility and distrust and fear of Mossadegh and his government." (p. 123)

In Iran and the U.S. he would be referred to as a dictator and a communist and manufactured unrest came across Iran. The operation to overthrow him was called Operation Ajax. They would order the Shah of Iran to sign royal decrees known as firmans to dismiss him from office and appoint General Zahedi as Prime Minister.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Keynes: "The Economic Consequences of Peace," 1920

Perhaps the most significant analysis of the peace treaties and the reparations  imposed by the victors upon the defeated central powers after the Great War was written by a young English economist, John Maynard Keynes.      Keynes, who worked for British Treasury,  was present as an advisor to Prime Minister Lloyd George in Paris for the debates surrounding the Versailles Treaties.

Keynes' most famous work is  The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money(1936) which influenced a generation of 'Keynesian' economists who looked to Keynes to explain the economics of the Great Depression.

An excerpt from John Maynard Keynes, "The Economic Consequences of Peace," 1920.

"This chapter must be one of pessimism. The Treaty includes no provisions for the economic rehabilitation of Europe, - nothing to make the defeated Central Empires into good neighbors, nothing to stabilize the new States of Europe, nothing to reclaim Russia; nor does it promote in any way a compact of economic solidarity amongst the Allies themselves; no arrangement was reached at Paris for restoring the disordered finances of France and Italy, or to adjust the systems of the Old World and the New.

The Council of Four paid no attention to these issues, being preoccupied with others, - Clemenceau to crush the economic life of his enemy, Lloyd George to do a deal and bring home something which would pass muster for a week, the President to do nothing that was not just and right. It is an extraordinary fact that the fundamental economic problems of a Europe starving and disintegrating before their eyes, was the one question in which it was impossible to arouse the interest of the Four. Reparation was their main excursion into the economic field, and they settled it as a problem of theology, of politics, of electoral chicane, from every point of view except that of the economic future of the States whose destiny they were handling [. . .]

The essential facts of the situation, as I see them, are expressed simply. Europe consists of the densest aggregation of population in the history of the world. This population is accustomed to a relatively high standard of life, in which, even now, some sections of it anticipate improvement rather than deterioration. In relation to other continents Europe is not self-sufficient; in particular it cannot feed itself. Internally the population is not evenly distributed, but much of it is crowded into a relatively small number of dense industrial centers. This population secured for itself a livelihood before the war, without much margin of surplus, by means of a delicate and immensely complicated organization, of which the foundations were supported by coal, iron, transport, and an unbroken supply of imported food and raw materials from other continents. By the destruction of this organization and the interruption of the stream of supplies, a part of this population is deprived of its means of livelihood. Emigration is not open to the redundant surplus. For it would take years to transport them overseas, even, which is not the case, if countries could be found which were ready to receive them. The danger confronting us, therefore, is the rapid depression of the standard of life of the European populations to a point which will mean actual starvation for some (a point already reached in Russia and approximately reached in Austria). Men will not always die quietly. For starvation, which brings to some lethargy and a helpless despair, drives other temperaments to the nervous instability of hysteria and to a mad despair. And these in their distress may overturn the remnants of organization, and submerge civilization itself in their attempts to satisfy desperately the overwhelming needs of the individual. This is the danger against which all our resources and courage and idealism must now co-operate.

On the 13th May, 1919, Count Brockdorff-Rantzau addressed to the Peace Conference of the Allied and Associated Powers the Report of the German Economic Commission charged with the study of the effect of the conditions of Peace on the situation of the German population. "In the course of the last two generations," they reported, "Germany has become transformed from an agricultural State to an industrial State. So long as she was an agricultural State, Germany could feed forty million inhabitants. As an industrial State she could insure the means of subsistence for a population of sixty-seven millions; and in 1913 the importation of foodstuffs amounted, in round figures, to twelve million tons. Before the war a total of fifteen million persons in Germany provided for their existence by foreign trade, navigation, and the use, directly or indirectly, of foreign raw material." After rehearsing the main relevant provisions of the Peace Treaty the report continues: "After this diminution of her products, after the economic depression resulting from the loss of her colonies, her merchant fleet and her foreign investments, Germany will not be in a position to import from abroad an adequate quantity of raw material. An enormous part of German industry will, therefore, be condemned inevitably to destruction. The need of importing foodstuffs will increase considerably at the same time that the possibility of satisfying this demand is as greatly diminished. In a very short time, therefore, Germany will not be in a position to give bread and work to her numerous millions of inhabitants, who are prevented from earning their livelihood by navigation and trade. These persons should emigrate, but this is a material impossibility, all the more because many countries and the most important ones will oppose any German immigration. To put the Peace conditions into execution would logically involve, therefore, the loss of several millions of persons in Germany. This catastrophe would not be long in coming about, seeing that the health of the population has been broken down during the War by the Blockade, and during the Armistice by the aggravation of the Blockade of famine. No help however great, or over however long a period it were continued, could prevent these deaths en masse." "We do not know, and indeed we doubt," the report concludes, "whether the Delegates of the Allied and Associated Powers realize the inevitable consequences which will take place if Germany, an industrial State, very thickly populated, closely bound up with the economic system of the world, and under the necessity of importing enormous quantities of raw material and foodstuffs, suddenly finds herself pushed back to the phase of her development, which corresponds to her economic condition and the numbers of her population as they were half a century ago. Those who sign this Treaty will sign the death sentence of many millions of German men, women and children."

I know of no adequate answer to these words. The indictment is at least as true of the Austrian, as of the German, settlement. This is the fundamental problem in front of us, before which questions of territorial adjustment and the balance of European power are insignificant. Some of the catastrophes of past history, which have thrown back human progress for centuries, have been due to the reactions following on the sudden termination, whether in the course of nature or by the act of man, of temporarily favorable conditions which have permitted the growth of population beyond what could be provided for when the favorable conditions were at an end."

To read the full text in PDF:  John Maynard Keynes, "The Economic Consequences of Peace," 1920

Source of Excerpt: Modern History Source Book, Fordham University
Original Source: John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1920), pp.211-216.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An English Camp

Colette sets the reader up with a vivid description of how the English camps were set up during the first world war. The soldiers and shelters blended in with the surrounding sand, making everything become a sea of khaki. She describes how the camps appear luxurious, pushing aside what the soldiers were truly there for. Colette explains,
“It’s all there. The abundance, perfection even, and that soldier’s gait so distinctive in its relaxed agility, inspire in us in the first instance a kind of respectful dismay; as an image of mobilization transfixed, it gives a worrying impression of permanence... the notion doesn’t last. Regularly swelled by landings from England, the camp feeds a measured flow of combatants to various fronts.”

The imagery Colette uses to describe the camp and soldiers helps the reader to visualize how appealing the military looked on the home front but a deeper look shows how they were masking the horrors of the Great War. She describes the soldiers as,
"Wearing the smiles of children at First Communion, they look at us with curious eyes made bluer still by contrast with their tanned skin..."

Later in the reading, Colette encounters an Indian officer who, with no hint of an accent, shows her around a less appealing and less crowded part of the camp due to the recent deployment of Indian troops. The different cultures embraced the war with different attitudes. The English more laid back, where as others were much more serious. 

Journey to the End of the Night

Louis-Ferdinand Celine

Louis-Ferdinand Celine was a French novelist,pamphleteer, and physician who lived from May 1894 - July 1961. He wrote numerous works of literature that are still read today. Journey to the End of the Night was his first novel written in 1932. This novel was a semi-autobiographical work.

From the excerpt I read, it is clear that he was shocked at what was going on during the years of World War I. It was also evident that the main character never experienced war. He considered himself a "virgin" to war. He didn't feel comfortable in the war zone and regretted not committing a crime because he felt that being in jail would've ensured his safety.He said, "You come out of jail alive, out of a war you don't!" In the excerpt, he was describing the fight between his country, France and the enemy Germany during WWI. He was confused as to why the two countries were even at war to begin with. This is probably a thought that many of the soldiers of France were thinking. He knew how to speak German and even attended school in their country. The reason of being at war with Germany was a question he did not know the answer too. This man was afraid and was questioning his manly-hood. He states, " Could I, I thought, be the last coward on earth." The reason he is saying this is because the environment around him was so hectic; It was complete madness around him with constant gunfire and explosions, it drove some people crazy.

"Those unknown soldiers missed us every time, but they spun a thousand deaths around us, so close they seemed to clothe us. I was afraid to move." (Celine p.8-9)

The new machine gun that the German forces used against their enemies.
- This quote seemed important to discuss because it describes how scared he was throughout his time in battle. Even though he didn't get killed, he witnessed a lot of deaths around him and it changed his psyche.

"And so he stood on the embankment, stiff as a board, swaying, the sweat running down his chin strap; his jaws were trembling so hard that little abortive cries kept coming out of him, like a puppy dreaming. You couldn't make out whether he wanted to speak to us or whether he was crying." (Celine p. 11)

- This was a significant quote in the reading because it describes the fear and emotions that a cavalryman felt after seeing his Sergeant be killed. I also like this quote because it shows how hard it must have been mentally for these men.

                                                                WWI video of Trench Warfare

Including the millions of people who died there also was a massive number of casualties that were forever affected from this devastation in history.

This is a video of people with"shell shock" which is a result of being in war. The content of this video are disturbing and sad.

Louis-Ferdinand Celine. Journey to the End of the Night. Published 1932.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Do you believe Americans should have join the World War I ?

John Dewey

John Dewey was an American Psychologist, Philosopher, educator, Social critic and political activist. He wrote "Conscription of thought".

America was unsure about joining the war. However, John Dewey believed America should have join the war. According to John Dewey "Men pay more for flour and beef steak whether they like it or not, and at countless social points they have to ask themselves whether they will make a sacrifice willingly from sense, of union with their fellows, or sourly, peevishly, disgruntedly, in a sense of isolation."

John Dewey was asking the Civilian population will you join the union or shy away from the war.
John Dewey do not want United States of America to be isolated.

Civilian protesting against the war

"There is probably no one in the country who was not aware that many persons among us were pro German in their sympathies; that there were others who were opposed to all war and yet others were
opposed to all war and yet others with whom this war was unpopular, and others who centered their hostility upon, the policy of conscription. Alot of people were against the war because the aftermath of any war was horrible.

Why should United States join the War ?

Soldiers getting ready to go to war

According to John Dewey " we justify our attacks and suppressions on the rational ground that Social Cohesion is a necessity and that we are simply taking measures to secure Union."

United states of America entered the war because we want to be apart of a union.

John Dewey believed that if the President do not join the war we would missed one of the greatest contribution.

According to John Dewey if  " we don't join the war we shall missed the great experience of discovering the significance of American national life by seeing it reflected into the remaking of the life of the world.Without this experience we shall miss the contribution which the war has to make the creation of a United America.



Name: John Dewey
D.O.B/D.O.D: Oct. 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952
Profession: American Philosopher, Psychologist, Educational Reformer
Some Famous Works: Human Nature (1917), Conscience and Compulsion (1917),
Human Nature and Conduct (1922), A Common Faith (1934)

The piece that I analyzed was from the document called Conscience and Compulsion (1917).

“One of my most depressing experiences in connection with this matter was the number of young men who when war was actually declared merely clumsily rolled their conscience out from under the imperative of “Thou shalt not kill” till it settled under the imperative of “Obey the law,” although they still saw the situation exactly as they had seen it before”.

To begin, John Dewey did not want to enter the war. He opposed it. He thought it would disrupt the progressive movement. In addition, he thought the war would have a negative impact on American society and only the industrialists and bankers would benefit.

The excerpt that I chose above was very interesting to me. At first, he was describing the way he felt when all of these young men were sent to war. It was depressing. The reason why was because Dewey thought that America really did not have a sound reason to enter the war. As stated in the quote, the soldiers first went to war because they were defending the concept of “Thou shalt not kill”. They were fighting for the men that lost their lives during the sinking of Lusitania. However, after the war their reason changed. “Obey the law” was why they fought. In their prospective, the law allowed them to go to war.

I also noticed that both reasons were from the Bible. “Thou shalt not kill” is part of the 10 Commandments and “Obey the law” is from Romans 13:1-7. The Bible tells you to follow the 10 Commandments but also to follow the laws of the land. There are laws wherever you go therefore it was a justification to enter World War 1.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Somme Still Flows

"The Somme Still Flows" by Edmund Blunden is an essay portraying the French and German war. Blunden is telling war from a soldier point of view. Throughout his essay, if felt as if there were truly no winners. Both parties of the war end up becoming failures because more times then not both sides involved will have a high number of causalities. The people who are able to make it out of the battlefield alive were traumatized at the visions that the war left etched in their minds.
Without people fighting over battle various battlegrounds there would be no such thing as war. The essay discusses how the Somme battle may be described as a big question mark. 
“By the end of the day both sides had seen, in a sad scrawl of broken earth and murdered men, the answer to that question.” 
No matter how worst the bad became and it seemed evident that the war should not continue, however, both parties went on. For month’s attacks continued the casualty rate grew higher and higher. To my astonishment these men continued on their journey when nothing seemed to be promised to them except death.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Night in a German Munitions Factory

The role of women in industry during World War I was pivotal, no matter which side of the battle they were on.  Kate Kestian's passage from her book, "When Our Men Lay in the Trenches" described the frightening, unsafe conditions that women faced while working in a munitions factory for the German side, while their husbands were fighting on the front lines. 

Kestian described how the smell of ether overtook her that first day in the factory.  "You'll get used to it," promised an elderly worker.  "Tomorrow you won't even notice it!"  Only sometimes, Kestian explains, is she seized by a "paralysing weariness" that makes her "eyelids feel like lead" and gives her double vision. 

Women that did the same job as Kestian used a cutting machine with razor sharp blades that would cut sticks of gun powder to be put in missiles.  Other women then grabbed the sticks and bundled and packed them.  These jobs required absolute concentration and accuracy at all times.

Many women, however, were forced to take night shifts so that they could tend to their children during the day and had little, if any, sleep.   Exhaustion, coupled with dangerous equipment and the effects of the ether, made their work a ticking time bomb.

"I had been standing in my place at the table for about a week when it happened.  A scream, as if from many mouths and yet just one single scream, rose through the room."

A woman's hand had been severed in half.   She was a mother with four children at home--whose husband was already wounded in the war-- and was horrified at the prospect  of having to go to the hospital herself.    Although in shock, she knew she had to support her children.

"She felt for her injured hand and a smile crossed her deathly pale face. 'Thank God, it's only the left.' "

After the blood had been cleaned up, and they had a break, the women returned to their work.

"It's been one of those nights!" stated a supervisor.  "But at least everyone keeps awake when things go crazy."