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November 29, 2007

Willy Brandt (1913-1992) and Ostpolitik

Willy Brandt was the mayor of West Berlin (1957-1966), the chairman of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) (1964-1987), and Chancellor of West Germany (1969-1974).

Brandt's early years were marked by his involvement with first the SPD and then the Socialist Workers Party. When the Nazis came to power, this involvement became a liability for Brandt, and he left the country in 1933. He first worked as a journalist in Spain during the Civil War and then went to Norway and then Sweden to avoid being arrested by the Nazis. In 1946, after the war, he moved back to Berlin and became involved again with local politics, rejoining the SPD in 1948. He was elected Mayor of West Berlin in 1957, and when the Berlin Wall began to be built in 1961, Brandt, along with thousands of other Berliners, protested the division of the city. The division of the city would be used by the SPD as an example of how the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), especially under Adenauer, allowed the relationship between western and eastern halves of the country to deteriorate.

By the late '50s, the SDP had been out of power for so long that it become obvious that an adjustment to its platform would be needed if it wanted electoral success in the future. It moved to the center, renouncing its Marxist roots and laying out a new program in a 1959 meeting at Bad Godesberg. This, combined with a growing distrust of the CDU's ability to provide for Germany's public needs, caused the CDU to turn to the SPD to form a political alliance in 1966, which allowed Brandt to become Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister. In this position, he began to advocate rapprochement with the East, a position that became known as Ostpolitik. In 1969, the alliance between the CDU and SPD broke, and the elections of that year, SPD finally came to power in the Bundestag, and Brandt became Chancellor.

As Chancellor, Brandt set about repairing West Germany's relationship with the east through Ostpolitik. He visited Poland, the USSR, and met several times with the leader of East Germany. His time in Norway during World War II had clearly demonstrated for him the animosity toward Germany felt by many countries formerly occupied by the Nazis. He undoubtedly drew from this experience in his dealings with the East by attempting to improve the East's view of Germany. For example, he visited a Jewish ghetto in Warsaw and recited a prayer asking for forgiveness. Under his administration, West Germany negotiated series of treaties with the USSR, and Poland, and East Germany, which recognized the German-Polish border and the existence of East and West Germany as a separate states. The Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which was the result of a multinational conference begun under Brandt's administration, recognized the borders of all European states, including the USSR's assumption of the territories it had occupied after WWII (e.g., the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania).

In 1974, it was discovered that one of Brandt's senior cabinet members was a spy for East Germany. In response to the public outcry over this, Brandt resigned. The effects of Ostpolitik outlasted Brandt's term as Chancellor, however. In improving diplomatic and trade relations with the East, it undermined a good deal of the mutual distrust which sustained the Cold War.

After his term as Chancellor, Brandt remained a member of the Bundestag. As chair of the Independent Commission for International Development issues, he oversaw the publication of a report in 1980 that came to be known as the Brandt report and which advocated development in the Third World. In 1989, Brandt strongly supported German reunification.

Julia Thieschafer (thie0048)
Julie Koch (koch0190)
Meghan Anderson (ande3607)


Wilkinson and Hughes (2004), Contemporary Europe, 453, 489, 516-519.

The Return Of Socialism in France: François Mitterrand

With a move to the right by Germany and England, France decided to take a different rout and move to the left and induct a socialist leader. In the French elections of 1981 François Mitterrand won the election gaining 52% of the popular vote. This was the first left wing government the Fifth republic and the first left government in 23 years. Mitterrand did much to reform the Fifth republic. He stated by nationalizing many major companies and financial institutions. He also took steps to rebuild the French economy by increasing workers wages and improving worker’s social benefits which was the opposite of what most European countries were doing. After five years in office Mitterrand’s policies worked and the French had shortened their work week, lowered the retirement age, and raised social security benefits. Also under Mitterrand’s rule private radio and television broadcasting were allowed for the first time. After Mitterrand’s election he decided to dissolve the parliament to have the majority but that would only last until the parliament reelections. Even after all these accomplishments the French elected two conservative parties to the parliament in March of 1986. With Presidential elections looming in the spring of 1988 Mitterrand felt scared that he may lose because of the parliament elections. In the spring of 1988 the French reelected Mitterrand for another term until 1995. Once again he dissolved the parliament after his reelection. In 1995 Mitterrand died or cancer. He was the oldest living President of the Fifth Republic and held the Presidential position the longest in French history.


Ben Winter
Meagan Smith
Bryce Benda
Elle Soderberg

The Falkland Island Wars

The Falkland Islands were claimed by Argentina in the 19th Century; however, Great Britain seized control of the Islands in 1833. The Islands remained in Great Britain’s control for nearly one hundred and fifty years, but in 1982 Argentinean military lead by General Leopoldo Galtieri, invaded the islands. The Argentinean government was under attack by its citizens for mismanagement and human rights abuses. The government believed that by recovery of the islands would bring about a new patriotism among the population.
The invasion began on April 2nd, and by the end of April, Argentina had stationed approximately ten thousand troops in the Falklands. Great Britain declared the Falklands as a war zone and sent its own troops to reclaim the island. On May 2nd, the Argentinean submarine, General Belgrano, sank which killed 368 Argentineans (approximately half of Argentina’s total casualties). By June 14th, a large Argentine garrison was surrendered which marked the end of the war.
This war, although short lived, was historically important for Great Britain and Argentina. Great Britain, under the rule of Margaret Thatcher, had a great surge of nationalism following the war. Thatcher’s popularity also grew greatly. Argentina, as a result of the war, switched from its military government back to civilian rule.

By Greta Schmalle, Cody Smiglewski, Joe Masrua, Mike Compa and Rachel Packer

Falkland Islands War. (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 29, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9033636

Boris Yeltsin

When the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Boris Yeltsin became the first president of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. Yeltsin was voted in by general election on June 12, 1991, and served as president until 1999.

Yeltsin's priority in russian the new Russia was to change the economy into a world power. The plan was to do this by reforming the prices that had been set during the Communist era, and allowing the market to dictate pricing by supply and demand. Cuts were also made in social welfare programs, that led to increased poverty of the lower class in Russia.

While the economic system was being reformed, corruption spread through the new government. Early in the 1990's prices reached record highs, and with combination of cuts in government subsidy the country plunged into an economic recession. Estimations suggest that the Russian GDP dropped around 50% during Yeltsin's time in power. The height of this crisis was marked by the shelling of the congress building by the military in an attempt for Yeltsin to implement his programs.

Yeltsin's approval ratings steadily slid after his second election in 1996. He resigned in 1999 with record low approval raitings and deteriorating health. Yeltsin died in 2007 of heart failure.

-Joseph Masrud

Mitterrand and the French Socialists, 1981-1985

Like the rest of Europe at the beginning of the 1980s, France was in the middle of an economic slide that was not showing signs of reversal. For this reason, Francois Mitterrand and the Socialist Party were put in power in the May 1981 election. This differed markedly from the two other big Western European powers, England and Germany, both of whom were in the midst of a conservative movement in their domestic political systems. Staying true to Socialist goals, Mitterrand put through pro-worker policies increasing wages and benefits, but soon found that the answer (as seen in England and Germany) was to be found in conservative policies. Thus, by 1983 he had reversed many of his positions, choosing to cut government spending, freeze wages and prices, and close unprofitable sectors of French industry. In doing so, France's response to the dragging European economy mirrored efforts also found throughout the continent, suggesting that there was very little room for policy variation across national boundaries. As further proof of this, while Mitterrand was chosen by the voters to remain in office, parliamentary vacancies went to the France's conservative parties in the 1986 elections, thus showing that the preferred (and proven) road to recovery was through spending cuts.

Peder Kvamme
Darrel Olson

November 28, 2007

Margaret "The Iron Lady" Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher became the first female leader of the British Conservative party in 1975. From this position, she rose to the premiership in 1979 under the political slogan "Labour isn't working." Thatcher pledged to stop Britain's economic decline through strong monetary policy. She worked diligently over her time as Prime Minister to reduce the role of the state in the economy and boost her country's influence in foreign affairs. On April 2, 1982, the Falklands War began when Argentina invaded the long standing British territory on the Falkland Islands. Thatcher sent forth a naval force that brought a British victory, securing the islands back in British hands once more. This victory led to an influx of patriotic enthusiasm and support for her government, ultimately leading to Conservative victory in the 1983 general elections. In her policies, Thatcher preferred defense ties to the United States, a divided Germany, and maintaining the European Commission as a less centralized body for decision making. In 1985, she signed the Hillsborough Anglo-Irish Agreement, giving the Republic of Ireland some say in how Northern Ireland was governed.

Economically, Thatcher proposed a strict and steadfast form of monetarism. While income taxes were largely stable or decreased, Thatcher's government increased indirect taxation, especially in raising the tax on goods and services to a whopping 15%. Thatcher also targeted labor unions, insisting on curbing their power. She emphasized decentralizing the economy from state control and allowing for the free markets to work naturally. Naturally, she asserts that the markets have the power to provide social welfare more efficiently than the state, and therefore state support should be eliminated. After the 1983 elections, she pushed for the selling off of many larger utilities that had remained under state control since the creation of the welfare state. Thatcher's policies of controlling the availability of funds--in an attempt to fight the rising inflation rates--created enormous unemployment, nearly doubling rates seen under previous Labour rule.

Thatcher also ushered in a new political and economic philosophy, aptly named "Thatcherism." Thatcherism stressed reduced state intervention, entrepreneurialism, and allowing markets to function freely. Over time, privatization of many formerly public services was commonplace in the Thatcher government. To summarize Thatcher's domestic policy: all out attacks on the welfare state. These attacks fostered previously unheard of debate regarding the utility of the welfare state and whether it is in deed an established fact. By 1990, the Thatcher government had finally fallen out of approval and was removed from power.

Molly Burke
Eric DeVoe
Lauren Huus

Falklands War

The Falklands War was a dispute between the Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falklands Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The Argentina’s had settled in the islands in 1829. In 1833 however, British troops invaded the islands and maintained control over them until 1982 when the dispute broke out. The Argentina’s wanted to regain control of the islands and become a sovereign nation. On March 19, 1982 the Argentina’s occupied South Georgia followed by the Falklands Islands. They were facing a major economic crisis as well as experiencing civil unrest with the governing military junta. Not expecting the British to get involved with the situation a group of Argentina’s raised a national flag on the South Georgia Island. The British however, saw this action as a declaration for war (Wikipedia).

In Britain at the same time Margaret Thatcher was losing support because of her economic policies, which caused many people to loose their jobs. In 1982 Thatcher’s approval rating was the lowest of any prime minister since the post war era. When news came of the disturbances in the Falklands Islands Thatcher sent a fleet of troops to end the take over of the Argentines. The British forces proved victorious in the conflict and came home to a hero’s welcome (Wilkinson 538-39).

After the Falklands victory support for the conservative party was once again strong. In the general elections of 1983 the conservatives were able to gain two more seats which gave them the parliamentary majority. Economic problems also began to subside. Thatcher economic polices were finally shaping up, and new building projects began. Thatcher’s popularity also rebounded. In the 1987 election she was reelected as prime minister, becoming the only prime minister of the century to be twice reelected (Wilkinson 539).

Lisa Eimer
Joe Milner
Hillary Krause

November 27, 2007


“Détente? is the French term for easement, or relaxing. When applied in regards to international relations, “Détente? is used to describe the relaxation of tensions between hostile nations who are not involved in open warfare. The de-escalation of tensions is usually reached by a period of diplomacy and compromise. In contemporary terms, “Détente? is used to describe the de-escalation of the Cold War conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States. This period of relaxed tension occurred starting in the late 60’s, and ending with the escalation of problems occurring in the Middle East, relative to the OPEC oil crisis in 1979.
Détente was a timely goal to achieve around the later part of the 1960s. Both sides of the conflict had strategic reason for a relaxation in the tension. Not only did the Soviets have an economically hard time keeping up with the nuclear arms race, but at this time the American government was having difficulty keeping up with nuclear parity; much of its military spending was going towards sustaining troops in the Vietnam conflict. It was a financially sustainable decision on the part of both sides to refrain from further nuclear stockpiling, as it was decided that a rough nuclear parity was reached between the two (demonstrated by the Cuban Missile Crisis, illustrating how the two sides had reached the possibility of Mutually Assured Destruction).
Positive relations between America and China, following the Sino-Soviet split, also furthered Brezhnev’s desire to become a more appealing, less aggressive USSR; as he desired to appeal to Western Europe for much-needed trading partners. With Détente, trade was a possibility (as the US’s appeal to European nations had been marred by their involvement with the Vietnam conflict).
Reaching Détente, of course, had to be outlined by diplomacy and treaty-organisation. The first steps towards Détente were outlined by the anti-nuclear summits that occurred throughout the 60’s, beginning after the Cuban Missile scare. The first included the ‘partial test ban treaty’ in 1963, which relegated the testing of nuclear weapons to underground- no releases into the atmosphere, signed by the UK, US, and USSR. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Outer Space treaties were signed later in the decade (1968 and 1967, respectively), designed to deter others from stockpiling nuclear arms, or developing space-technologies for the use in nuclear warfare. These treaties were not only designed to relax the nuclear competition between the nuclear powers, but to also deter other satellite members from getting in on the conflict as well.
Détente lasted throughout the 70’s, throughout the Vietnam war, and into the crises of 1979. The Iranian Revolution and the subsequent hostage crisis embarrassed the United States, further wounding its reputation. These actions prompted a still-weary Soviet Union to balk at the actions and to take up security position (based off of the Warsaw Pact/ Brezhnev Doctrine) in Afghanistan, against any potential Middle East-based conflict. Because of the conflict in Vietnam, the United States now had a reputation for meddling in others’ affairs unpermissibly, “justifying? the Soviet’s actions. These events, and the election of an anti- Détente President Reagan, would lead to the breakdown of Détente.

Mutual Assured Destruction

Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) is a military strategy and doctrine where it's believed that a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two opposing sides of a conflict would effectively result in the ultimate destruction of both the aggressor and the defender. It is a strategy that has become one of the cornerstone scenarios within the modern theory of "deterrence", according to which the deployment of strong weapons is essential to threaten the enemy in order to prevent the use of the very same weapons. Generally, both sides are attempting to mutually avoid the worst possible outcome-- nuclear annhilation.
Deterrence theory, as a term, is more generally applied to refer to a strategy in any field of potential conflict of being prepared to inflict unacceptable damage on an aggressor, and making sure the potential aggressor is aware of the risk so that he refrains from aggression. Nuclear weaponry, and the maintenance of a nuclear arsenal, is the most relevant practice between agents in regards to the application of MAD and the deterrence theory.
The doctrine assumes that each side has enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the other side, and that the other side will launch on warning (fail-deadly) or with secondary strike capability. One of the main capacities actors strived for during the uncertainty of the Cold War was this "second-strike capability", in the case that the United States or the USSR decided to engage in nuclear warfare. Because of the uncertainty, instead of aggressing, the actors involved will adhere to the doctrine, resulting in a very tense, but stable peace.
The application of the doctrine had its primary application during the Cold War. MAD helped to prevent any full-scale attack between the superpowers, promoting deterence via proxy wars fought along ideological terms around the world, and through the "arms race", where both sides instead competed my stockpiling nuclear arms, keeping nuclear parity.
Through this competition of maintaining second strike capability and nuclear parity, much capital was invested on both sides in military programs, manouvers, and military technology. These investments provided for much of the ebb and flow of each respective country's economies during the Cold War, most notably the side of the USSR.

Brezhnev Doctrine

The Brezhnev Doctrine was a foreign policy model developed by the Soviets to justify its actions during the Czechoslovakian invasion in the spring of 1968, and any likeminded events that could occur after. It was outlined by S. Kovalev , as the guided “Sovereignty and the International Obligations of Socialist Countries. Leonid Brezhnev, then Soviet leader, reiterated this stance on Socialist policy as an extension of the Warsaw Pact theology, stating that “when forces that are hostile to socialism try to turn the development of some socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only a problem of the country concerned, but a common problem and concern to all socialist countries?. These interventions and military exercises by the Soviet Union were meant to put an end to liberalization efforts and uprisings that had the potential to compromise Soviet hegemony in the eastern bloc. The eastern bloc was still key at this time to act as a buffer zone for the Soviets, in case hostilities with the West were to turn heated.
The Doctrine basically outlined general ideological restrictions for the east’s Communist parties, among them general independence, but the fact that no country would be allowed to completely leave the Warsaw Pact-- which would lead to compromising “the collective power of the eastern bloc?, and, more fundamentally, the stronghold of direct Soviet influence on the region. The broadness and transparency of how the Doctrine was illustrated gave to vast justification in numerous Soviet military skirmishes with outside forces, even including the attempt to use it to justify their presence in Afghanistan in 1979, which was a non-Warsaw pact country. The Brezhnev Doctrine was repealed by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989 after he refused to use military force against eastern bloc countries. This breakdown in the hardline that the Soviets had taken for years (and subsequent admittance of the weakness in the USSR’s resources) led to their admitted loss of hegemony in eastern Europe, and led to the breakdown of Communism across Eastern Europe in 1989-1991.

Nicolae Ceauşescu

Nicolae Ceauşescu (born January 26, 1918; died December 25, 1989) was the leader of Romania from 1965 until December 1989, when a revolution and subsequent coup in Romania removed him from power. The revolutionaries who removed him held a two-hour trial and sentenced him to death for crimes against the state, genocide, and “undermining the national economy?. Although having noted grievances against his public, the trial held by the revolutionaries against Ceausescu has long been debated as an unfair “kangaroo court? (one that is a judicial proceeding that denies due process in the name of timeliness—a sham legal proceeding), and was therefore never deemed a fair ending to the Romanian Revolution of 1989.
Ceausescu was born in Scornicesti, Romania. He moved to Bucharest in his early teens to become an apprentice. He joined the then-illegal Romanian Communist party in early 1932, and was first arrested during a workers strike in 1933. He would be arrested time and again for his actions related to Communist agitation, campaigning, and anti-Facist propaganda distribution throughout the 1930s. He would be imprisoned again in 1940, and transferred to the Targu Jiu internment camp in Oletena, Romania, where he’d meet Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, a Stalinist Communist who would become the Communist leader in Romania in 1948. Ceausescu would become his protégé, and would resume power after Dej’s death in March 1965. Ceausescu became the first secretary of the Romanian Worker’s Party (which he changed to the Romanian Communist Party), and would declare Romania as a total Socialist Republic, rather than the People’s Republic (as its Socially Democratic past suggested). He consolidated power in 1967 by becoming president of the State Council.
Ceausescu was a popular figure at first, touted as a nationalistic leader comparative to the classic Communist leaderships of the Muscovites of the Bolshevik school. He wielded an independent stance on foreign policy, withdrawing active participation from the Warsaw Pact in the 1968, refusing to take part in the invasion of Czechoslovakia along with other Warsaw forces, and openly condemned the action. The Soviet Union tolerated Ceausescu’s behavior (largely because they had occupations with other member’s of the eastern bloc that had greater proxemic relevance) , but furthermore, this independence that Romania had relative to the Soviet Union was respected within the eastern bloc.
Ceausescu’s policy approach would be decidedly all over the map, strategy-wise. He was opposed to de-Stalinization (which was the protocol the USSR was imposing among the eastern bloc members) and would proceed to get involved with Western Europe and its sociopolitical trends, while keeping a Communist, Stalin-esque hardline within Romania and its domestic policy. This hardline would extend into his proposed cultural reforms during the 1970s, where he instituted a program of systemization, or a way to develop a multilaterally developed socialist society, fusing together these two spheres of influence (Western cultural approaches alongside old-school Communism). In fact, Stephen Morewood (political commentator) holds that Ceausescu’s greatest policy mistake was “… to allow “Dallas? (a popular American show at the time) to be screened on Romanian national television?, noting how the images and desires of commodity culture had filtered to the remotest of Europe’s geographic corners. This desire for a more material-oriented society, stifled by the static of Communist economic policy, would develop into a larger problem for Ceausescu’s Romania—one of the largest demonstrations of this contention being the widespread demolition of villages and buildings, in exchange for a construction more likeable to Ceausescu’s own style. The systemization of peasants from the countryside to city flats (and the untimely and incomplete mess that the program left behind in many places) would remain a disturbing mark on Ceausescu’s reign. Some of his stranger policies also included awarding mother’s who’d mothered five or more children with cars, material goods, and the like—a part of his policy to promote birth rate and population growth. These strict fertility policies would exacerbate the problems of disease, overpopulation, displaced and abandoned children, and poverty within the demolished country.
Ceausescu’s reign would end at the fall of the Berlin wall, and the end to the Cold War, in December 1989. He personally lost control of the regime upon the discovery of numerous spy agents within the Romanian intelligence community. These agents unearthed claims that Ceausescu’s regime collaborated with Arab terrorists, attempted mass espionage on American industry, was guilty of mass extortion of the Romanian economy, and was guilty of personally altering much of the Romanian constitution. One of the largest problems his regime ended on was the massive international debt collected at the hands of the Western powers, who funded Romania after believing that Romania represented a deflection from the Soviet influence. Much of this funding was in the form of international loans (via the IMF and the World Bank) and set the Romanian government back considerably. Instead of being transparent of the situation to the people, Ceausescu chose to write off the foreign debt, and exported much of the country’s agricultural production at a cheap rate to repay the debt. This resulted in mass-poverty and hunger, as rationing was introduced to an already overcrowded populace. This unrest led to the 1989 Revolution and subsequent execution of Ceasescu.

Wilkinson, James. Et. Al. “Contemporary Europe: A History?. c. 2004 pp. 559, 563.

November 16, 2007

Labour isn’t Working: The May 1979 British Election

Margret Thatcher’s rise to power and the return of the conservative right in Great Britain can be directly related to the failing welfare state socialist politics had created post World War 2. The 1970’s were characterized by dependence on state run social programs, rising inflation, and trade union strikes. Labour parties following World War II had administered social programs such as health insurance, child care, education, and old age pensions. Everyone was assured that in times of trouble the government would be there to fall back on, the welfare state and people depending on it were bleeding the economy. Rising inflation in the 70’s was a problem throughout Europe; there had been a 10% rise from 1973-1979 in western European countries. The 70’s government of the Labour party was illustrated by social upheaval; Labour failures were evident in the strikes of the public sector when garbage piles flooded the streets. The citizens displayed displeasure with the way government was being run, “If you weren’t born into money you might as well kiss your fucking life goodbye?.

To regain Britain economic prosperity experienced in the early postwar era the conservative party believed it was essential to return to a more capitalist society. Before the May 1979 elections conservatives appealed to the ailing population by guaranteeing a total transformation of political ideology. The conservatives ran with the slogan of Labour isn’t working. The slogan played on the current strikes prevalent throughout Britain, and the actual failures of the Labour party. The May 1979 election was a decisive victory by the conservatives. The election followed with privatization of state run programs and a fading of Keynesian economics. A resurgence of capitalism depicted the next century.

Darrel Olson
Peter Kvamme

November 15, 2007

Bratislava Doctrine August 3, 1968

The Bratislava Doctrine was created in response to the creation of multiple non-communist political groups in Czechoslovakia during Prague Spring.

In response to the formation of these new groups, representatives from Russia, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia instituted the Bratislava Doctrine on August 3, 1968. In this doctrine, the Soviet Union declared its intention to intervene in a Warsaw Pact country if a “pluralist system of several political parties representing different factions of capitalist class? was ever established in such a country.

The Bratislava Doctrine was significant for two reasons. It declared the Soviet Union’s struggle against pluralism and antisocialism. Secondly, the Bratislava Doctrine acted as an expansion of the Warsaw Pact for it promoted the need of both consultation between the nations and the need to keep each other informed. This differed from the Warsaw Pact in that the Warsaw Pact only established consultation between the nations, whereas the Bratislava Doctrine called for actions as well. Therefore, the Bratislava Doctrine strengthened the Warsaw Pact.

Hillary Krause
Lisa Eimer
Joe Milner


November 13, 2007

Northern Ireland Conflict

Ethnic identity has long been a battle in Northern Ireland; it’s been a continuous battle between the Protestants and the Catholics. In 1922 the settlement had left a large Catholic minority in the Protestant dominated North. In essence the North became a self-governing part of the United Kingdom. The Catholics of Northern Ireland had been the victims of discrimination, everything from housing to job opportunities.
It was in 1969 when a group of fed up students became active on the behalf of the discontentment of Catholics. Originally this group of student’s based their discontents on the labor ideology and had been directed at all the poor, regardless of their race or religion. However, it quickly became an issue of religion Catholic versus Protestant, it was an undeclared civil war. Harold Wilson the Prime Minister of Britain did his best to stay out of it, but was soon forced to intervene. He sent British troops into Ireland to restore the order, while promising that the issues of the Catholics would be addressed.
When Edward Heath and the Conservative party found themselves trying to settle a civil war.
By 1972 events took a turn for the worse. In Londonderry, Irelands second largest city and the strength of the Catholics, British troops fired into the crowd killing thirteen. The events of “Bloody Sunday? made it impossible to continue to carry on under the old system of Protestant dominance. Following these events Heath suspended government in Northern Ireland and assembled a new government with Catholic participation. However, the killings on both sides would go for another half a decade. By 1976, there remained no alternative to direct rule from London, patience had run out.
Northern Ireland was not the only country experiencing and ethnic conflict, Belgium was as well. There was hostility between the Flemings and Walloons that had begun two decades prior. It was a battle of linguistics, the French-speaking Walloons had mastered business and politics while the Flemings remained behind. The controversy broke out at the University along the linguistics border. Finally, in 1970 Brussels was officially ordered bilingual.

Julie Koch
Meghan Anderson
Julia Thie

James Wilkinson

November 7, 2007

Alexander Dubcek

Czechoslovakia Communist party leader Alexander Dubcek came into power in January of 1968 replacing the Stalinist predecessor Antonin Novotny. His election was seen as a response to Czech's economic stagnation and the growing concerns regarding the Slavic minority population as they struggled for equal rights with the Czechs. Having spent time in Moscow during the war, he was not unknown to the Beshnev government which allowed his election to the leadership to the party to proceed virtually without incident.

Dubcek embodied personable qualities and eloquence that would prove to win the hearts and minds of his people. He inspired hope and represented a liberalization of government policy that would return the power to the people. In February, the Czech party's Censorship board was rendered impotent and was is considered the first popular communist regime was born,

Dubcek was an astute politician. He understood the delicate balancing act between instituting democratic reforms without raising red flags in Moscow. He engineered the election of Ludvik Svoboda who was esteemed in Moscow as a war hero. He approved of suppressing dissent to any challenging parties and permitted the Communist Action Program to continue to operate within Czech society. Most importantly, he maintained his country's loyalty to the Warsaw pact.

Unfortunately, the Soviets felt threatened by the Czech model of a more open political system. The Soviets feared this would inspire 'counter-revolutionary' activity domestically. Not ready to commit to a full scale invasion, Moscow sent Kosygin to appraise the situation and his report reassured the Soviets. Then, a group of Czech intellectuals wrote a manifesto entitled 'Two Thousand Words' which was an indictment on the overseeing powers of Moscow and urged Dubcek to accelerate the process towards democratic institutions.

On August 21, after negotiations stalled, Russia and four other Warsaw Pact members: Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, East Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. Apparently, the last straw came in a publication which printed a draft of the Czechs communist statues that outlined future objectives consisting of a wider range of political freedom within the party and a forming of a congress to implement reforms.

The Soviets invasion secured Prague as wells as other major cities but the military success was met by political confusion. In their haste, the Soviets neglected to plan for a provisional government in the wake of the intervention. Dubcek and Svoboda were arrested and brought to Moscow and within days were released and flown back to Czechoslovakia. They came back as heroes and resumed their respective positions. The feeling of returning to the struggle for reforms again was revived but was short lived. Dubcek ordered the dissolution of the reform movement which weakened considerably the ability of the government to resist Moscow's pressure. He was finally forced to retire in April of 1969.

Even though Dubcek's reforms failed, the events of 1968 forced the Soviets to reconsider their foreign policy relations with Eastern European countries. They adopted what is know as the 'Breshnev Doctrine' which was the east's answer to the Truman Doctrine. It stated that whenever socialism was threatened that it was the duty of all socialist nations to join in the struggle to protect socialism.

David Holly
Mike Epsky
Kurt Homan

November 6, 2007

The Common Market

The common market was an organized effort to increase efficiency of production amongst the six nations of “Little Europe? by forming an integrated economy. This market was formally established in 1958 by the ratification of the Treaty of Rome although the idea of the common market had already been established through coalitions such as the European Coal and Steel community which had been set up in 1951, the failure of the proposed plan of the European Defense Community, and the formation of Euratom (European Atomic Energy Community) in 1956. All of these communities were formed in an effort to integrate European economy and to spike production rates that dropped following WWII.

The main idea of this common market was to cut tariffs down amongst the member nations to provide a level playing field with “Little Europe’s? competition such as the Soviet Union, US, and Asian nations. At first, the tariff was only reduced a small amount to provide for adjustments needed to be made by the six nations, but once the project got going people began to lose fear that the market wouldn’t work and with that they lost any ambition to gradually lower tariffs. By mid-1953, the Common Market was a whole two and a half years ahead of schedule with tariffs down 40 percent to the level they were before inauguration of the Common Market. Also between 1958 and 1962, industrial production within the nations of the Common Market went up at an average of 7.6%. In the end, the Common Market brought a great economic boom to its member nations and it was a plan that brought great prosperity to many of its nation’s inhabitants.

Evan Hosseini
Jacob Schultz
Chris Winkler

November 5, 2007

Simone & the Western European Feminism

Simone de Beauvoir (January 9, 1908 – April 14, 1986) was a French philosopher, feminist, and writer from Paris. She is most often associated with her lifelong partner, fellow French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre. Among Beauvoir’s many literary works, the most famous and influential may have been her 1949 book titled “The Second Sex.? This book was “a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism.? Her theories would help lead the Western European feminist movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s, there was a return to the domestic and traditional roles of men and women. All gains by women were lost due to the “normalization? as a result of World War II. The war had undermined masculine roles; by returning to traditional male and female roles, a sense of normalcy was restored. With the activities of the radical 60’s, women were not to be left behind. The feminist movement of Western Europe took longer to develop than in the United States, but nonetheless, it developed. This was considered the “second wave? of women’s equality. The “first wave of feminism? was during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Women fought for equal rights to own property, opposition to chattel marriage, ownership of married women (and their children) by husbands, and the right to vote.

Beauvoir, as expected, was active in the women’s movement in France. In 1971, she signed the Manifesto of the 343 (the Manifesto is a list of famous women who claimed, mostly falsely, to have had an abortion). Beauvoir was one of the women who actually did not have an abortion. In 1974, abortion was legalized in France. Other countries followed: Italy in 1978, Spain in 1985, and Belgium in 1990. Although these laws were passed, many times these women faced paperwork nightmares and rejections by doctors.

By the 1970’s, a great number of other advances had been gained by Western European women. The number of women highly educated increased while family sized decreased. Two income families was becoming the norm. But divorces were also becoming the norm. In countries such as Italy and Spain, divorce was now obtainable. As a result of some of these advancements, women became discriminated against in other ways. They worked for lower pay with longer hours. If a woman was divorced, alimony often was not enforced. Thus, many women were living in poverty while raising children. Women now make up a large percentage of those employed: Sweden 50%, France and Italy 30%, Ireland 25%.

Beauvoir died in Paris in 1986. There was much reflection on her books and involvement in the feminist movements after her death. It was realized that many accomplishments were made during the “second wave? of the feminist movement during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Meghan Anderson (ande3607)
Julie Koch (koch0190)
Julia Thieschafer (thie0048)

Wilkinson, James and H. Stuart Hughes. Contemporary Europe: A History.

November 4, 2007


During the 1968 protest, Makhnovschina was a term mentioned in the telegram from the "occupation committee" to the communist party of the USSR.
Makhnovschina was a term used to describe the anarchist movement in Ukraine during 1917 - 1921. It was led by Nestor Makhno, from whose name the term is derived. His leadership brought on many social changes to the region.

Nestor Makhno was born in 1888 in a peasant family in the Ukraine. He became an anarchist in 1905. Liberated in the revolution of 1917, he came back to Ukraine, and organized an army that he called the Ukrainian Anarchist Revolutionary Army. Deeply believing in the revolution, he consistently advocated the creation of anarchist-communist state of Ukraine. The main goal of the army was to rid the county of the Whites (counter-revolutionaries). Allying himself with the Red Army (the Bolshevik-communists), and believing to share common goals, he fought for them on several fronts, while being promised supplies for his own goals and help in the eventual creation of the anarchist-communist state of Ukraine after the victory of the revolution. Later, he learned of Russia’s intentions to spread their Bolshevik regime into the region, to which Makhno openly spoke against. In brief, the Bolshevik regime is dictatorship of the proletariat. In essence, a few elected officials of the working class would govern all, including the farmer or peasant class. In their own words: “Working class is the bigger brother of the peasant?. This was unacceptable to Makhno, who, after learning that his own people were to become second class citizens, and whose ideals emphasized freedom and equality, openly criticized the Bolshevik regime in letters and newspapers. After such criticism, the communists declared him an outlaw and a counter-revolutionary. Fighting both fronts, he was eventually forced to flee and ended up in exile in Paris in 1925. There, he wrote for various anarchist newspapers and helped create the Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists. Weakened by battle wounds and tuberculosis, he died in exile in 1934 at the age of 44.

Mike Kompanets, Greta Schnalle, Cody Smiglewesi, Rachel Packer

November 3, 2007

Prague Spring

The “Prague Spring? is a name given to the Czechoslovak period of liberalization in the 1968. The liberalization started after Alexander Dubcek took the position as leader of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia after Antonin Novotny was dismissed on account of the failing economy in Czechoslovakia. Dubcek introduced what was called the “Action Program.? This included increased freedom of the press, a more “human? face to communism, and other liberalizations. Dubcek also emphasized his commitment to the Warsaw Pact.

This liberalization was well-received by citizens, but not by Brezhnev and the other socialist satellites. Bilateral talks between the USSR and Czechoslovakia were held but the Brezhnev was not satisfied, even when the Bratislava Declaration, which promised loyalty to the Warsaw Pact and prevention of any sort of capitalist system, was signed. The Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968. Dubcek was sent to Moscow, but was later allowed to return and was forced to retire. The incident showed the strong hand of the Soviets over the satellite states and the intolerance of any sort of liberalization.

Meagan Smith, Ben Winter, Bryce Benda, Elin Soderberg

November 1, 2007

National Liberation Front – FLN

The National Liberation front was an Algerian socialist, nationalist group created to gain independence from France. It was created in 1954, and eventually united all of the nationalist efforts in Algeria. By 1956 many of the nationalist groups joined together under their banner. 1962 Evian accords grant Algerian independence ending the Algerian war.

This group is important because they were among the many nationalist groups to rise up and overthrow the former colonial powers in the years following the Second World War It, along with it counterparts around the world, seized the time during the post war restructuring to capitalize on the defeat (in Algeria’s case with France) of their former colonial overlords. It also contributed to the end of the 4th Republic in France and the return of de Gaulle to power.

Definition 5 - 1 Nov 07
Group Members:
Mike Epsky
David Holly
Kurt Homan

Lecture Notes -

The Algerian War

November 1st, 2007

The Algerian war also known as the War of Algiers took place between 1954 and 1962. The Algiers War is consider being one of the most important decolonization wars and led to Algeria's independence from France. French continued to consider Algeria as the French Algeria which was the reason for this brutal was that involved Guerilla style warfare, torture and "civilian terrorism. The Algerian War also led to the collapse of the French's Fourth Republic. Although the people of Algeria were originally all for the prospect of "peace and tranquility, they soon began to realize that Independence from France was a much greater idea. The return of Charles de Gaulle to power in May 1958, led to the founding of the Fifth Republic and a new Constitution. In March 1962 the Evian Accords were sign, granting Algeria it’s independence from France.

Jodi Kurth

Paris Student Crisis

In France, May of 1968 is known as the "paris student uprising." This month is marked by protests and widespread vandalism of buildings with many well known slogans. The French economy at this time was stable and on the rise, jobs were easily found, and a new level of consumer culture was being born. The student movement was a backlash against this new wave of consumerism.

Students began to move from minor protests to violent activism by occupying public spaces and tangling with police. Sit ins and marches were organized as the activist body started to feel more and more like they were disposable to the French government. Police brutality played a role in the actions of the protesters, especially after Cyril Ferez, a trade union laborer, was beaten into a coma and incarcerated by police for his protests.

By the middle of the month the focus of the protests had moved from students to laborers. Marches were met with violent police action, and the marchers began building barricades. The working class French population sided with the protesters for the most part, often feeding and sheltering them when it was necessary.

The student uprising in France had a profound influence on the education systems around the world. Many university's began to protest the education systems and political policies of their countries. The French student uprisings came to a close when De Gaulle called for a vote for educational reform which won by a massive majority. Changes were made to education policy, and 67 new universities were built.

Joseph Masrud

Problems of the New Deal

The stated purpose for the new deal was to create economic stability, however in retrospect it is more likely that the new deal only compounded the already difficult economic problems that many states were plagued with. The initial enthusiasm for the new deal wore off fast. Once people were aware that it was more an ideology, then firm plan of action they began to criticize the governments economic intervention program.
While, it is difficult to show that the west received economic favoritism, it is clear that they received the largest portion of aid. This in itself did not instill confidence in that people that the new deal was by any means beneficial. The sheer lack of structure in the program, and the failure of the federal government to effectively provide adequate aid to all states was a major problem that made the new deal difficult to accept. Additionally, few states prior to the new deal had strong governments. Instead many residences of these states were left on their own to survive. When the depression began most of these states were not effectively prepared to deal with the financial burden that the new deal brought with it. However, the lack of structure in the new deal left it to the states to decide where to appropriate funds, and sadly the people who suffered the most were the ones who suffered the most. States were unlikely to take on any new programs that would future compound their financial burdens, and instead enforced taxes that were often in favor of the most affluent.

Mike Kompa, Greta Schnalle, Cody Smiglewesi