20th C Midterm

Key terms or Historical Figures

  • Pre-War Age of Anxiety, Age of Decadence
    • Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, the Herd Instinct
    • Wagner, Tristan und Isolde
    • Richard Strauss
    • Edgar Degas, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Pablo Picasso, Kandinsky, Malevich
    • The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky
    • Erik Satie
  • WWI
    • Bismark and Wilhelm II
    • The Schlieffen Plan, the Battle of the Marne, General Moltke
    • The Treaty of Versailles
    • Wilson’s 14 points
    • The League of Nations
  • The Roaring Twenties
    • Louis Armstrong
  • The Russian Revolution
    • Tsar Nicholas, Alexandria, Rasputin
    • Vladimir Lenin
    • Leon Trotsky
    • The Bolsheviks
    • The Symphony of Factory Sirens
    • The Gulags
  • Fascist Italy
    • Benito Mussolini
    • The Black Shirts
    • The Futurists
  • Economics  
    • Planned Economy (Central Planning)
    • Free Market (Capitalism)
    • John Maynard Keynes
    • Friedrich von Hayek
  • The New Deal (Roosevelt)
  • Nazi Germany
    • Adolf Hitler
    • Mein Kampf
  • WWII
    • Blitzkrieg
    • Appeasement
    • Lend-Lease Program
    • Operation Barbarossa
    • Pearl Harbour – Midway, El Alamein, Stalingrad
    • D-Day, Victory in Europe
    • The Air War, Hiroshima (and Nagasaki)
  • The Final Solution
    • Primo Levi

Key Questions

  • In what ways do we see the power of the unknown in the pre-WWI period? (Think of this in terms of physics, psychology, medicine, and even electricity). How else do we see encounters with the unknown depicted? In poetry? In art? In music? In philosophy?
  • Nietzsche had an important impact on many thinkers of the 20th Century. Who influenced him and who did he influence, and in what way? (Using the reading)
  • The Schleiffen Plan was crafted well before the outbreak of WWI and made at least three critical assumptions about how war would unfold. What were those assumptions and how were they proved faulty? What impact did the plan, and its execution (particularly at the Battle of the Marne) have on the reputation of Germany?
  • What three factors pushed the the US to join the allies in fighting 1917?
  • How did Benito Mussolini define fascism and what concepts did Mussolini think fascism needed to push against? (Using the reading) What influence did Mussolini have on Hitler’s thinking? 
  • Following WWI, there were three different paths carved for the New World — Communist, Fascist, and the cooperative, democratic model outlined by Woodrow Wilson. Be prepared to comment on how these models different from each other.
  • What is a planned economy? What do we mean when we talk about a free market?


The Structure of the Exam

The first part of the exam will ask you to write short answers (50 words or less) in which you discuss the significance of some terms from the list above. Why was this piece of art or music, or battle plan or politician or philosopher important to the period?

You’ll note that some of these terms are pieces of music. I will play at least one piece of music at the beginning of the exam which I will ask you to comment on in terms of its time period and its relation to the themes of the course. You should be able to identify (roughly) the time period from which it came, and how it relates to other elements of that period. 

In the second part of the exam, you’ll respond to one of the following essay questions. These are based upon the readings we’ve been discussing in class.

  1. The first essay question will be about how Nietzschean thought relates to the fascist movements that appeared in the inter-war period and were so significant to WW2.
    • Pertinent readings include: The Nietzsche, the Mussolini, the Hitler
  2. The second is about how the experience of Nazi concentration camps were similar or different to the experience of the gulags in Russia. 
    • Pertinent readings include: The Gulag ArchipelagoPrimo Levi

You will be allowed to bring in one card with notes or quotations that will help you with writing this essay. I will hand out the card you can use in the class prior to the exam.