Monday, February 24, 2014

The Tough Years

The reason why an economic depression is worse than a recession is that it is longer.  Like many countries, Argentina struggled with a weak economy and unemployment for most of the 1930s.  What, in your opinion, were some of the more effective economic plans to pull Argentina out of the Depression?  How do they remind you of programs we have already studied?  Why?

Depression and Gender

On the one hand, the Depression could have empowering effects on women, such as how they could take on more leadership roles in the family and new careers. But, this sense of empowerment was also deemed as a major threat to those who were bearing the brunt of the depression. So, what, in your mind, made women stand out in this time? Note a handful of the documents from the reading to highlight your discussion.

Your life and the Union

When I opened up this collection of documents just now to prepare the blog, at first I was kicking myself, thinking, "Unions?!  This won't inform my class about society!"  My initial instinct was to dismiss unions as mainly economic and political, but after thinking more carefully, it is difficult NOT to see how unions were integral to the social development of the Americas during the Depression.  So, in your thoughts--what is the connection, if any, between labor unions and social status?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Arts in Argentina

One of the most fascinating parts of the Depression to me is the the way that the arts reflected and responded to the mood at the time.  Consider the ways in which music, art, dance, or other means of expression functioned in Depression Era culture.  What do you think these forms of art said about society at the time?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What changes you

I know we haven't finished the film yet, but you clearly understand now that Ernesto "Che" Guevara returned from his motorcycle trip with a new attitude towards the poor.  It is important to remember that Che sacrificed a life of privilege in order to wage his revolution.  

So, what changes a person?  Have you ever had something happen to you that dramatically changed your outlook on life?  If so, what was it?  If you are not comfortable talking about yourself, then theorize about what changed Che in the film.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Who is Mao (but seriously, for real, you guys)??

Again, this reading should mostly be review.  It is interesting to read about the Soviet Union and China's communist institutions back-to-back, however. I immediately find myself thinking about how the leaders of respective countries tailor political ideologies to meet their country's unique culture.

In other words, China is old, and BIG.  With over 5,000 years of history, China has a long legacy of political greatness, resilience, and nationalism.  How (and why, for that matter), did Mao Zedong strive to implement communist policies that are unique to China's needs?

In Soviet Russia, Blog Writes You!

This reading contains quite a bit of history in just a few pages, but again it should be review for you.  Consider how tumultuous Russia was from the Bolshevik revolution to the end of Brezhnev's presidency.  To what extent was communism always in crisis, even during Lenin's leadership?  How did the 20th century Russian leaders try to prove communism's legitimacy?  How did these strategies evolve over time?

Fundamentals of Communism

Much of this reading will come across as a review for us.  At this point in the year, we should be very familiar with the tenets of communism.  After reading the excerpt from Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto (locations 17-19), consider how the communist ideology aligns with the political practice. To what extent did any ONE (Mao, Allende, Castro, Stalin, etc.) communist leader live up to Karl Marx's ideals?

Predictions for Communism in Crisis

Communism in Crisis is our last and final unit in this class!  We will look at examples from several communist countries and consider how their governments are challenged.  1979-1991 is a pivotal period in history, as many communist governments declined or collapsed.  We will also finally learn how to write Paper 1!

It is fascinating to think about how many ways history repeats itself.  The Olympics are a perfect example.  Consider how controversial Sochi is in 2014, and compare to the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.  Why did the United States initiate the boycott against the 1980 Olympics?  How do you see participating countries still reacting against Russia's policies now?

Castro: A Rebel Without a Cause?

This historiographical essay discusses conflicting ideas about Castro's true ideology.  Was he truly a communist, or did he do this simply to spite the United States?  To what extent does he use religion as a way to rally the masses behind him?  Consider the different historian's ideas about Castro--which do you feel are the most convincing, and why?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Argentina's Infamous Decade

Consider the political instability that existed in Argentina during the 1930s.  Do you think the experience is more violent than what we have studied in the United States and Canada?  Why or why not?  What do you think Argentina's government needed in order to provide for a more stable existence?  Did any political strategies work better than others?

What kind of autocrat are you?

While Peron was not as extreme of an autocrat as Hitler or Mussolini, the shift of Peronism in Argentina's political history still marks a curious transfer of power that is worth examining closely. Indeed, some historians argue that Peron had fascist tendencies, and that Argentina's military was sympathetic towards Nazi Germany. So...what do you think--would it be wrong to call Peron a fascist?

Argentina and the US

The relationship between Argentina and the US seems to become increasingly precarious throughout the Depression, particularly leading into World War II. Consider some of the events discussed throughout the article that shaped the American perception of Argentina in particular. Do they make sense to you? Why or why not?

All we are give Fascism a chance?

So, I won't lie. I always struggled with historical and modern imaginings of fascism. If we go by this definition, honestly, what do we NOT consider to be at least slightly fascist, especially when a country is experiencing an economic-related crisis? Why, when the author of "Depression and Recovery in Argentina" seems to be touting slow but steady recovery, is there still a move to introduce fascist policies to the state? Is there another moment in history (it doesn't matter when or where), that you can recall something along these lines happening? Please, share your examples.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Argentina's "A-ha" Moment

 Consider how Argentina experiences the early years of the Great Depression.  Why is it important to consider its national past? To what extent did the country follow the economic practices of the rest of the Americas in the early 20th century?

The Rise and Fall (?) of Economic Nationalism

Share your thoughts (with some textual substance please....ahem....) about the sources of economic nationalism in Argentina (or Latin America in general). What global factors influence Argentina to become more nationalistic in its economic policies? To what extent were these policies sustainable once the Depression struck the global market? Finally, why did Argentina turn to a military dictatorship when the US and Canada didn't?