Author Topic: World War I  (Read 28975 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Elisabeth

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2131
    • View Profile
Re: World War I
« Reply #60 on: November 22, 2010, 01:33:31 PM »
Which echos what my Grandmother said that nothing was the same after the "Great War".  There is also the psychological effect the war had on people. The traditional faiths (religious and institutional) were shattered as well as the trust between the government and the governed. All the social restraints were also torn apart (including hem lines and corsets --viz, the "flappers" --  sounds facetious but it was symptomatic of deeper social currents). A person's position in society became fluid, no one knew their place and with this uncertainty came instability because the social verities no longer applied (and in fact entire social layers were exterminated as the "flower of Europe's youth" were killed off).  The speed of change accelerated compounding the problem.  The sense of optimism and the perfectibility of man was destroyed and instead a darker vision predominated which frankly continues to this day. One need only to look at the art and literature of the period "DADA", "Surrealism", Kurt Schlitters, George Grosz, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, etc.  

I completely agree with you, as regards Western and Central Europe and, of course, the United States, but it seems to me that in the post-revolutionary Soviet Union the mood was rather different. It was utopian, forward-looking, most outstandingly in the works of artists like Tatlin and poets like Mayakovsky. True, there were other writers and poets and artists reacting somewhat doubtfully or even outright pessimistically to that utopianism -- Mandelshtam springs to mind. But it's my impression that in the Soviet Union the cultural aftermath of World War I was not as clear-cut as in the West, precisely because the post-revolutionary "Brave New World" was supposedly right on the horizon. It could be envisioned, if not as yet quite grasped.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 01:36:02 PM by Elisabeth »
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam

Alixz

  • Guest
Re: World War I
« Reply #61 on: November 22, 2010, 02:50:26 PM »
There were economic reasons

But don't you think that the economic reasons stemmed from the harsh terms that were laid on the Germans?  The harsh reparations on top of trying to rebuild a burned out and worn out economy were part of the Treaty of Versailles.  Since the Allies laid the fault for beginning the war on the Germans they extracted a very high toll on those who were left after the devastation stopped.

And if, as has been said, the Germans might have won if the war had gone on longer, then the Allies had the fear of almost failing to add to the sum total of what they wanted to punish the Germans for.

But I do agree that society changed dramatically after the war ended.  The generation of the 1920s were called the "Lost Generation" for a reason.  Many no longer saw a stable focused future and wondered what the point was in trying to accomplish anything.  So the breakdown of society and its mores began and continued through the 20th century.

But during that time, the German people were trying to regain the self respect and self determination that they had lost at the end of the war.  As I said before, if not Hitler, then someone else would have come to the fore front.  It was inevitable that a leader would put the broken and damaged psyches of the German people back together.

Offline TimM

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1938
    • View Profile
Re: World War I
« Reply #62 on: November 22, 2010, 03:50:41 PM »
Quote
But I do agree that society changed dramatically after the war ended.  The generation of the 1920s were called the "Lost Generation" for a reason.  Many no longer saw a stable focused future and wondered what the point was in trying to accomplish anything.  So the breakdown of society and its mores began and continued through the 20th century.


Yeah, nearly a century later, the world is still reaping a bitter harvest from the seeds planted by that terrible war.
Cats: You just gotta love them!

Offline Petr

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 287
    • View Profile
Re: World War I
« Reply #63 on: November 23, 2010, 10:17:17 AM »
I completely agree with you, as regards Western and Central Europe and, of course, the United States, but it seems to me that in the post-revolutionary Soviet Union the mood was rather different. It was utopian, forward-looking, most outstandingly in the works of artists like Tatlin and poets like Mayakovsky. True, there were other writers and poets and artists reacting somewhat doubtfully or even outright pessimistically to that utopianism -- Mandelshtam springs to mind. But it's my impression that in the Soviet Union the cultural aftermath of World War I was not as clear-cut as in the West, precisely because the post-revolutionary "Brave New World" was supposedly right on the horizon. It could be envisioned, if not as yet quite grasped.

I think Russia was a special case. I don't doubt that in the flush of the Feb. Revolution there was a euphoria amongst the intelligentsia and the masses (I don't think it was shared by most of the Upper Classes, however), but that is not unusual because it was premised on "change" (of course everyone had their own ideas on what that change should be and two years ago we again saw what a powerful force that can be). Further, the Bolsheviks had a well developed ideological program which was meant to appeal to a wide swath of the population ("Bread and Peace"). However, I believe reality quickly set in by 1918/1919, with the start of the Terror and the Civil War followed by the famine of 1920/21 and by 1924 the repressive regime was fully in place. This disenchantment was reflected on the left by the Kronstadt rebellion, on the center/right by the White movement and by sporadic peasant revolts like the Tambov Rebellion of 1920/21.   The artistic movements of the time were interesting as well from a psychological point of view (and this is purely my own viewpoint). The Constructivists and the Supremicists took the "human" out of art. Malevich's work (like Mondrian's in the West) shed all vestiges of the representational in favor of the abstract (I don't view Kandinsky as representational either although his floating figures are recognizable).  We look at this as simply "modern" art because we're used to it but as you know it was quite revolutionary at that time. And here I wander off into my own realm. I think it was heavily influenced by a materialistic and mechanistic rather than a spiritual view of life which was consistent with what was happening in the West and could be laid at the feet of WWI and its aftermath. Certainly it was in keeping with the Marxist view in that sense.   And as Pope Benedict now points out the West has been in the clutches of this sense of materialism ever since.           
Rumpo non plecto

Offline TimM

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1938
    • View Profile
Re: World War I
« Reply #64 on: November 23, 2010, 11:56:26 AM »
I think Europe would have been better off if the three empires had remained.  No Soviet Union, no Nazi Germany, no Cold War, no Yugoslav Civil War of the 1990's.  Sounds like a much better world than what we got.
Cats: You just gotta love them!

Offline Elisabeth

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2131
    • View Profile
Re: World War I
« Reply #65 on: November 23, 2010, 03:11:58 PM »
I think Russia was a special case. I don't doubt that in the flush of the Feb. Revolution there was a euphoria amongst the intelligentsia and the masses (I don't think it was shared by most of the Upper Classes, however), but that is not unusual because it was premised on "change" (of course everyone had their own ideas on what that change should be and two years ago we again saw what a powerful force that can be). Further, the Bolsheviks had a well developed ideological program which was meant to appeal to a wide swath of the population ("Bread and Peace"). However, I believe reality quickly set in by 1918/1919, with the start of the Terror and the Civil War followed by the famine of 1920/21 and by 1924 the repressive regime was fully in place. This disenchantment was reflected on the left by the Kronstadt rebellion, on the center/right by the White movement and by sporadic peasant revolts like the Tambov Rebellion of 1920/21.   The artistic movements of the time were interesting as well from a psychological point of view (and this is purely my own viewpoint). The Constructivists and the Supremicists took the "human" out of art. Malevich's work (like Mondrian's in the West) shed all vestiges of the representational in favor of the abstract (I don't view Kandinsky as representational either although his floating figures are recognizable).  We look at this as simply "modern" art because we're used to it but as you know it was quite revolutionary at that time. And here I wander off into my own realm. I think it was heavily influenced by a materialistic and mechanistic rather than a spiritual view of life which was consistent with what was happening in the West and could be laid at the feet of WWI and its aftermath. Certainly it was in keeping with the Marxist view in that sense.   And as Pope Benedict now points out the West has been in the clutches of this sense of materialism ever since.

Here's a book that might interest you, Petr. And here's part of a review of it, which appeared in The Journal of Modern History, Sept. 2010, v. 82, no. 3. The author of the book under review might or might not agree with you about Soviet (and Western) artists' "materialism" but he certainly seems to agree with you that Russian/Soviet art of the revolutionary period and immediately before was indeed heavily influenced by World War I:

Review of Imagining the Unimaginable: World War, Modern Art, and the Politics of Public Culture in Russia, 19141917 by Aaron J. Cohen. Studies in War, Society, and the Military. Edited by Peter Maslowski, David Graff, and Reina Pennington (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008).

"Aaron Cohen's book is a sophisticated study of the relationship among war, public culture, and the emergence of nonobjective art in Russia. Straddling the fields of history and art history, it is neither of the two in its pure form. Instead, the author offers a highly original and close reading of social, cultural, and intellectual phenomena by gauging aesthetic and professional changes in Russia's art scene. At the heart of the book (and adorning its dustcover) is Kazimir Malevich's famous picture 'Black Square' (1915), the first and most widely known example of nonobjective art, which has long been seen as an expression of revolutionary iconoclasm and thus been associated with Bolshevik radicalism. The fact that this piece of art was actually a product of World War I has largely been forgotten, just as this war itself has been overlooked for a rather long time by historians of Russia in favor of the allegedly much more significant Revolution of 1917. Yet it was arguably World War I and its social, cultural, and economic upheavals that changed the twentieth century (and its art) more than any other event in modern history...."

Hubertus F. Jahn, University of Cambridge, pp. 762-763
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam

Offline TimM

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1938
    • View Profile
Re: World War I
« Reply #66 on: November 23, 2010, 04:51:54 PM »
Sounds like an interesting book.
Cats: You just gotta love them!

Constantinople

  • Guest
Re: World War I
« Reply #67 on: November 23, 2010, 11:32:39 PM »
Like everything, there were good and bad effects from WW1.  The positive side was that it created conditions for the wider spread of democracy and laid waste the class systems to some degree.  Some of these effects would not be felt until the 1950s but the effects were put into motion as a result of the Great War. 
    One highly negative effect of WW1 was income tax.

Offline TimM

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1938
    • View Profile
Re: World War I
« Reply #68 on: November 25, 2010, 01:07:18 AM »
Quote
e highly negative effect of WW1 was income tax

Oh yeah, the "temporary war measure".  Nearly a century later, we're still stuck with it!
Cats: You just gotta love them!

Offline Kalafrana

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2912
    • View Profile
Re: World War I
« Reply #69 on: November 25, 2010, 06:19:47 AM »
'One highly negative effect of WW1 was income tax.'

Is this in Britain or the US. In Britain we've had income tax continuously since the 1840s, but until after 1945 relatively few people paid it. From memory the threshold income in 1914 was 150 a year, which was well above the national average. The position changed after WW2 with the introduction of the Welfare State and consequent huge increase in government spending.

Ann

Constantinople

  • Guest
Re: World War I
« Reply #70 on: November 25, 2010, 09:55:47 AM »
that was the US under Wilson
They had it before but it bcame permanent in 1916.
In Britain there is no written constitution so income tax could be cancelled if the govt wanted to do that

Alixz

  • Guest
Re: World War I
« Reply #71 on: November 25, 2010, 10:01:57 AM »
In 1861, the first income tax was levied to help pay for the Civil War in the US.

When the Civil War erupted, the Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861, which restored earlier excises taxes and imposed a tax on personal incomes. The income tax was levied at 3 percent on all incomes higher than $800 a year. This tax on personal income was a new direction for a Federal tax system based mainly on excise taxes and customs duties. Certain inadequacies of the income tax were quickly acknowledged by Congress and thus none was collected until the following year

Under the Constitution, Congress could impose direct taxes only if they were levied in proportion to each State's population. Thus, when a flat rate Federal income tax was enacted in 1894, it was quickly challenged and in 1895 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional because it was a direct tax not apportioned according to the population of each state.

By 1913, 36 States had ratified the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. In October, Congress passed a new income tax law with rates beginning at 1 percent and rising to 7 percent for taxpayers with income in excess of $500,000. Less than 1 percent of the population paid income tax at the time. Form 1040 was introduced as the standard tax reporting form and, though changed in many ways over the years, remains in use today.

The entry of the United States into World War I greatly increased the need for revenue and Congress responded by passing the 1916 Revenue Act. The 1916 Act raised the lowest tax rate from 1 percent to 2 percent and raised the top rate to 15 percent on taxpayers with incomes in excess of $1.5 million. The 1916 Act also imposed taxes on estates and excess business profits.

http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/taxes/ustax.shtml

Offline Petr

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 287
    • View Profile
Re: World War I
« Reply #72 on: November 25, 2010, 12:55:24 PM »
Here's a book that might interest you, Petr. And here's part of a review of it, which appeared in The Journal of Modern History, Sept. 2010, v. 82, no. 3. The author of the book under review might or might not agree with you about Soviet (and Western) artists' "materialism" but he certainly seems to agree with you that Russian/Soviet art of the revolutionary period and immediately before was indeed heavily influenced by World War I:

Review of Imagining the Unimaginable: World War, Modern Art, and the Politics of Public Culture in Russia, 19141917 by Aaron J. Cohen. Studies in War, Society, and the Military. Edited by Peter Maslowski, David Graff, and Reina Pennington (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008).

Dear Elizabeth: Thanks as always for the tips and insights.  I'm glad to see that the topic continues to intrigue historians. With time I believe it will rank with the Black Plague (if it doesn't already) as one of the seminal catastrophes in European History.

With warmest regards and happy thanksgiving to you and yours.

Petr
Rumpo non plecto

Offline TimM

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1938
    • View Profile
Re: World War I
« Reply #73 on: November 25, 2010, 07:47:12 PM »
Quote
With time I believe it will rank with the Black Plague (if it doesn't already) as one of the seminal catastrophes in European History

You got that right.  Europe, and in fact, the world, is still reaping the bitter harvest of the seeds the First World War and its aftermath planted.
Cats: You just gotta love them!

Offline Sergei Witte

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 131
    • View Profile
Re: World War I
« Reply #74 on: November 27, 2010, 10:42:00 AM »
Quote
With time I believe it will rank with the Black Plague (if it doesn't already) as one of the seminal catastrophes in European History

You got that right.  Europe, and in fact, the world, is still reaping the bitter harvest of the seeds the First World War and its aftermath planted.

... its aftermath was just a prolonged prelude to WWII