Reflections on World History

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Ch. 20: Ideologies of the Axis Powers & WWI Images

The two documents here voice criticism about much of what the “modern” world  seemed to stand for: individualism, talk about rights and freedom, and political movements focused on class. They offered another set of ideas, a kind of counter force to all that had seemed to go astray. Why did many people in the interwar era find fascism appealing? Perhaps the WWI posters help to shed light on that question, although I think the Depression needs to be considered when trying to understand how these regimes actually came to power. Many people felt frustrated with the apparent inability of the democratic regimes to solve problems and they put their hope into these radical solutions.

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27 Comments

  1. Anna B. says:

    Visual Source 20.3 is a French painting created during World War I depicting an African soldier fighting alongside Frenchmen. The caption at the bottom translates to “Day of the African Army and Colonial Troops.” The French were concerned with having soldiers for their colonies fight because they were unsure of the possible hostilities that the Africans felt towards the French. As we learned previously, many colonized people resented their European conquerors during the long nineteenth century, but here the African soldier is depicted in a stance of pride and victory alongside his French combatants. This image is a great example for how war can bring people of the same side together even though they have previously had conflict and hostilities between them. This also displays the desperation felt by many European nations during the first World War; losing to the enemy was a greatly feared result and resulted in drafting soldiers who may have never stepped foot on French soil. This image here would not depict a fascist ideology which was an appealing idea that erupted during the interwar period. Fascism idealizes a unified nation, with regards to race and nations, here a Frenchmen and an African fighting alongside each other does not represent a unified, uniform nation.

  2. Matthew C. says:

    In “My Struggle”, Hitler writes down his views on what a society should be like. Although they may seem harsh, Hitler made it appear that having a fascist government would improve their economy and government. Hitler most likely wrote this book for the youth to read and hopefully they will understand his ways. Ultimately, I believe he would want the youth to elect him as the dictator so that he could make his ideal country become true. Unfortunately, I would not know what he was thinking at the time because Hitler was in prison.

  3. Jessica says:

    In visual source 20.4, the painting by John Nash depicts his view of what he had seen on the battlefield. The scene looks devastating because there are soldiers laying dead in the trenches on a cold wintery day. All of the soldiers have weapons in their hands and are climbing out of the trenches moving forward even though they might not return. The attitude of the men seem relentless because they are trying to eliminate the enemy and know that if they don’t, they will be killed just like their comrades. It seems as if war changes human beings into savage beasts who are willing to spare no one in order to live on. Overall, the painting portrays the idea of war as an evil and haunting fight.

    Jessica

  4. gjones22 says:

    People in the interwar era found fascism appealing because in a time when the political power was weak and broken, Fascism promised hope. It made people feel that their nation would be built stronger, and the people within the nation would be better off than what they were with the existing governments of the time. Hitler provides his idea of a strong nation in document 20.1. For Aryan people, the idea of expanding and better their race and nation sounded really good, especially with all of the turmoil at hand. Many countries were trying to promote building of their nation and troops, as the Americans did in visual source 20.2. The image was to entice people to raise food, money, and other tools needed in the war, and by doing so, they would be considered patriotic. People in this era needed hope, which made room for new ideas to fill the voids that the government situation put in them.

  5. ajones188 says:

    In Visual Source 20.2, a woman is standing in front of a burning landscape which we can only assume to be Europe since Notre Dame is in the background. The woman’s posture is lax. She’s not standing up straight and her head is tilted to the side. It gives off a feeling that begs sympathy and draws it out. Contributing to that sympathy could be hte soft and serious expression along with the colors of the American flag. To direct it at any proud American would ensure the message “Let’s End It – Quick With Liberty Bonds” be carried out.

    -Anastasia Jones

  6. mina-s says:

    After WWI, people found fascism appealing (or Nazism for Germany) because it gave the people something to look forward to. These regimes looked strong and it seemed a way out of their current desolate state. However, once these regimes were really spinning in these peoples lives, not all the people who first found fascism appealing, continued to find it appealing. But, it became so powerful, that it was impossible to deny the government and people were in a way, coerced to support the government. As seen in Visual Source 20.5, of “Prague Street”, every object in the painting is broken or damaged. A print article with “Juden raus!” or “Jews out!” can be seen near the bottom of the painting. As one can see, life is not offering much hope for a better future. Having something new (such as supporting fascism) was better than continuing to live at the bottom.

  7. Ruby says:

    In 1917 woman played a part in World War I, preparing and organizing troops for active service. Russian woman came together to form groups that encouraged and sometimes put to shame, men weary of going to war. British woman would hand men not in uniform a white feather, inferring they were cowardly for not participating in war. They did this in hopes these men would enlist. In America, woman saved food, such as wheat, in efforts to support the war. Visual source 20.1 is a poster of a woman with both hands held out in front of her with an earnest look on her face. Behind her a war scene is portrayed with fire and smog on a dark night and under her held out hands are the words ‘Lets end it-quick, with Liberty Bonds’ in bold red letters. This image was meant to encourage people to buy Liberty Bonds which were bonds sold in the Unites States used to support the allied cause in World War I. They raised money for war effort and demonstrated the buyer’s patriotism.

  8. Arian Amiri says:

    Visual Source 20.3 is a French wartime poster translating in English to “Day of the African Army and Colonial Troops”. It depicts French soldiers next to African soldiers from French colonies. The French being hesitant to arm African troops with guns really had no choice since they were so shorthanded. They took what they could get even though they were not so sure they could trust giving them guns to team up and battle against others. With the fear of them turning, they still recruited these African troops to maximize their number thus making them more successful. Many of these African troops may not have wanted to go to war while others felt obligated and forced. In this picture, an African troop is raising his arms with a rifle in one hand showing his pride battling next to French soldiers.

  9. Daisha B. says:

    During this time period of World War I a lot of horrific things took place. In image 20.4 it shows depicts the idea of trench warfare. For four years they were fighting in there unless they were called out to fight in what they called “no mans land”
    I decided to answer the analysis question that asks: What does war do to human beings? What answer to this question does this image suggest?
    I believe that war in general is a difficult thing to endure and that it would definitely have long term affects. When I look at this image and imagine trench warfare and the diseases that could have been spread while living in there, I feel sick to my stomach.
    You have to keep in account that they used the bathroom down there and that people could have died from the conditions down there and their bodies could have rotted in the trenches causing more horrific conditions. I don’t think that any human being could necessarily get over that.So the answer to this question would be that image shows that humans would receive long term issues from trench warfare.

  10. G.Readdy says:

    It’s interesting to see how countries depict their enemies and Visual Source 20.1 is no different. The image is a French poster depicting big bad Germany in 1915. The caption at the top reads: “The god Thor-the most barbaric of the barbarian divinities of old Germany.” Thor is actually a pagan Germanic god of Thunder, but the French depicts Thor, and Germany for that matter, as demonic. Not only is Thor(Germany) hammering and destroying a church, there is also a broken cross in between his feet. With Christianity taking hold of Europe, this would have gotten a lot of attention at the time. This type of poster were used to get more national support at home for the war. This poster was meant for French citizens to back France against Germany in WWI.

  11. Rashundra Martin says:

    During the World War II era, I believe more than anything people wanted political assurance in the sense that one person would step up and be able to make a decision that would ultimately protect the nation has a whole. Even those who did not particularly agree fully with fascism still fell under its regime because they too wanted to have that sense of stability from one person controlling everyone and everything. I think especially during the Great Depression many were lost as to what to do and fascism was gave them a purpose or rather a purpose to listen and understand the rules of the person that was over the nation during this time and someone who had a sense of nationalism or pride for their nation and would pass that confidence on to the people. In Document 20.1, Hitler discusses idea of having a strong nation. Hitler came up with the “Aryan race” which was essentially the “perfect” race; blonde hair and blue eyes a category that Hitler himself did not have the characteristics to be a part of. Hitler believed that the “Aryan” was the prototype of man and all that was thought to be man or “mankind”. For the Aryan race, the idea of expansion and bettering their nation and race sounded promising and for others it would be more turmoil added into the mix. In retrospect, the Americans were trying to promote the war in a positive light like in Visual Source 20.2. The propaganda poster was used to promote a sense of patriotism by supporting the war efforts and influencing people to raise money, produce more food, and provide more weaponry for the war. A sense of encouragement and hope is what the world yearned for during this time.

  12. JoslynP says:

    In Document 20.2, the article talks about nationalism and motives to end “individualistic and abstract ideas.” The emperor expressed that loyalty was their fundamental way and the basis for their national morality. These fascist ideas were appealing to a lot of people during this time because it gave them a sense of security and patriotism during a very low period of time. These ideas somehow gave the people hope to a brighter future for their families and their country. Visual Source 20.2 portrays a woman behind a fiery, chaotic scene, lending out her hands inviting the people to give efforts in ending the war by buying liberty bonds. This is a great parallel to the idea that these fascist ideas gave them hope and gave the people the idea that they were building a stronger nation.

  13. Shamira says:

    In the visual source 20.2, we have a woman with outstretched arms adorned with a flag over her hair standing in front of a background showing the war with a caption saying “Let’s end it – quick with liberty bonds” This was America’s way of appealing to their public to persuade the people to donate to the war effort. By donating they would be funding the war by providing the troops with the necessities needed in order to keep them strong enough to quickly win and end the war. This would invoke a sense of patriotism and nationalist feelings that would make them feel as though it was their duty to help end this war and that their efforts were needed just as bad as the soldiers overseas fighting. Even though the US wasn’t one of the countries associated with extreme fascism, these types of propaganda photos were found all over the world during the war invoking nationalist feelings in all of the separate nations. These feelings of extreme nationalism is what would eventually lead to the belief that their nation and their nation’s people were superior to others.

  14. Garrett Mitchell says:

    I feel Document 20.2 is an interesting example of a form of Japanese nationalism at that time. The author of the document spends a considerable amount of time expressing the greatness of the japanese traditions and how the japanese culture contains the spirit of harmony, while at the same time saying how the cultural ideas of the other countries are making them weak, particularly in regards to individualism. I find it interesting that he explains how the Japanese are stronger than the other nations, yet he goes on to say how much better Japan has become since adopting the “good elements of the advanced education seen among European and American nations…”

  15. Carina C says:

    In visual source 20.2, viewers can see a woman standing before a burning background. Her expression is a little depressing and with the context clues of “ending it quick with liberty bonds suggest she’s pleading people to donate to the war’s cause. The burning background displays the urgency of the need for money and the woman is holding her arms out as if pleading for help. The picture doesn’t really emanate a fascist appeal seeing how the US was not a big fascist country. Her plea and overall visual appearance portray women during the war and the families at home who worried over the soldiers.

  16. Jamison H says:

    I found visual source 20.2 to be very interesting because it was the only women used throughout the visual sources in this chapter. The artist was trying to appeal to the U.S.’s citizens emotions by using what looks like a women who is desperate for someone to help her (or her country) in this time of crisis, which is conveyed through the burning cities in the background. I think it is also important to note the use of this feminine image of a sort of damsel in distress instead of the usual masculine soldier of battling at war. I think the use of a woman helped the artist draw in more support by showing that the war was affecting everyone in the household, not just the drafted men.

  17. Marcusmvg says:

    Visual Sources 20.4 is an great example how destructive and devastating the Great War actually was. The document depicts a long period of trench warfare, it shows a scene of dread and hardship from British soldiers entering the battlefield.Imagine being a solider during the war, your cold from the snow fall, and constantly worried about how you will survive the next day what will your next meal be? Your not sure in those trenches. That would be enough for me I know that living in a trench for months on in would be a struggle. British painter, John Nash was able to capture that struggle first hand. He was apart of a unit of soldiers that was that was apart of battle in 1917 that sent the soldiers over the top of the trenches, and he was one of twelve survivors. He painted this just three months later its amazing how this grim scene of terror was still fresh on his mind just only a few months after the war.

    – Marcus G.

  18. Sidney Nelson says:

    Visual Source 20.4: The Battlefield is pretty interesting to me. I believe that war is very negative for everyone. It changes human beings drastically. I think that it forces veterans to become overly determined. They will do anything in order to defeat whomever they need to. This forces them to become very angry. Until they see victory, they will remain focused on anything in which they need to conquer. In addition, I believe war has a very negative effect on the mind. Veterans are constantly seeing their fellow comrades get killed in terrifying ways. Although they may be used to seeing this, it can be a very horrifying sight. These sights and events can eventually lead to serious disorders. PTSD, for instance, is a common anxiety disorder in which many soldiers suffer from due to being in war. This disorder is very serious and tends to change the way of how the mind processes certain things for the rest a person’s life. On the bright side, I also think war can make a person a lot stronger both emotionally and physically. They can come out of it knowing a lot more things than they knew before. Surviving all that they had experienced and everything that they saw, they should know that they have become an overall more vigorous and wiser human being.

  19. Devin Northcutt says:

    Visual source 20.3 show an African troop with a gun in his hand and his arms raised high in the air to show victory and power. This poster shows that African soldiers took their fighting very serious and it also showed a lot of power and authority. The look in the soldiers eyes shows that he is determined to conquer every battle that he goes into, and the look in the eyes of the soldiers following him are just the same. I noticed that underneath the feet of the soldiers where a lot of bricks and broken boards, which shows that the soldiers were just going through different nations and causing a lot of destruction wherever they went. The caption under the picture says “The Day of the African Army and Colonial Troops because they were ruling over every land that they fought in.

  20. denny says:

    I found visual source 20.1 really interesting because is a way of how artists interpreted the world war one by creating this painting. visual source 20.1 was a french poster created by the french, picturing the Germans as a god of thunder, which symbolize the control a power they had. it is kind of funny to my how artists used animals or demonic figure to represent others, but also selling this type of propaganda to the public.

  21. Jonathan McKenley says:

    Document 20.1 was very deep and probably the most interesting one i’ved read this semester. Adolph Hitler really gives an explanation for his wild belief in communism. He says that cross breeding of two beings not on the same level is purely insane. He relates it to species of animals then humans. His arguement is very strong.

  22. Samuel says:

    Misuse and abuse of the highly lucrative capitalist system by groups of greedy people in power during the systems early implementation caused the masses that did not benefit to dislike it. I think the true implementation of capitalism has yet to be experience. A fair playing field in the early stages where the chance to gain and benefit was truly available to each and every individual would have brought about a different attitude towards capitalism thus rendering this conversation unnecessary. The few have always controlled the resources that move the economy. That fact is frustrating to individuals. The need for something new, promising financial prosperity to all, could be quite irresistible to the have-nots. Fascism was just that at the time of its beginnings.

  23. Kameron H says:

    Document 201,the Mein Kampfpresents a brief view into Hitler’s social and political views. This document was written by Hitler in his brief stay in prison due to a failed uprising. Hitler opens up on his views on race and nationality stating that every animal mates with “a member of the same species. ” This statement refers to ohthers races as animals compared to Hitler’s ideal race. Hitler also possesed the view that the “stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker.” This expresses his belief that interracial mating and relationships are making his society of Germans weaker. He then assumes to attack the jewish the people saying the ” Jew is led by nothing but the naked egoism of the individual.” Aspects of a superior race are what led to the widespread support Hitler gained during that time. After the views in race are stated the State becomes the next topic. Hitler supported the dictatorship form of government. He believe that the “State is only a means to an end.” The foreign policies are then established in the concluding paragraph. Hitler advocated strong policies securing the “German people the land and soil to which they are entitled.”

  24. Simbuilder5 says:

    In reading “The Results of the First Five-Year Plan,” what strikes me is how well these rulers can dictate their plans and intentions. They are well-taught on how to give a speech. They all know their audiences and targeted markets. Stalin really played off the topic of security. He stressed that industrialization and militarization allowed Russia to defend itself. This must have been a big deal to his audience, the peasants. One of the main questions the book asks at the end of the chapter, is whether or not we can judge communism in an objective manner. It’s apparent that each ruler really believed and swore by their version of communism. Stalin wrote his speech to boast about how great communism was. In my opinion, we can judge them for it. I like our democratic republic because it is participatory instead of being completely mandated. I know the most popular vote isn’t always right, but there is room for swaying. Communism is completely structured and yes we can judge that system. We are all entitled to opinions and becoming a dictator and making your opinion the motive of the country is not right. What do you guys think?

    Winston S.

  25. Grecia Cortavarria says:

    By analyzing visual source 20.4 I see a lot of sadness from the soldiers the way they had their heads down. Disappointment from seeing their own people on the ground dead. It seems as if they know they are going to die, but they have no choice but to keep moving. None of them are looking back, but the struggle to move forward. By looking at the picture I would say that war can numb human beings who are in it because of what they are exposed to, like murder. Nash was trying to portray the horrible conditions these soldiers have to experience and even seeing their own people dead, there is nothing they can do but focus on the mission and fight. They don’t have a chance to grieve or feel anything.

  26. Krys M. says:

    Image 20.4 is very powerful. Entitled: “The Battlefield,” it shows soldiers engaging in trench warfare. There are men laying dead and bleeding in a trench as well as men climbing out of the trench with weaponry and lowered heads. The soldiers in the trench are laying in awkward positions with their helmets knocked off their heads. This suggests that they were not given a proper burial but were instead left in whatever position they were killed in. Meanwhile the surviving soldiers climbing out of the trench have a sad and hopeless expression on their faces as if they could do nothing in their power to help their situation of the situation of their fellow fallen soldiers. They are carrying on with the war even though they do not want to as can be seen through the soldier in the center of the piece who seems to desperately want to give up. He is on his knees with his helmet on the ground and his head bowed and his hands slumped by his side. The overall mood of the image is very sad and very disturbing. As for what war does to human beings? This image says it all. It shows that like the cold weather these soldiers were subjected to to, war make human beings eventually become cold and numb to morality.

  27. DHarris says:

    In visual source 20.2, it depicts a woman standing infront of a burning background. Her expression is full of sadness and she is begging for money so that they can help fund the military and finish the was quicker and get the military the supply’s they need to do their job. The burning background displays the urgency of the need for money. Her plea and the overall visual appearance portray women during the war, they were worried and ready to have their husbands home from the war front.

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