The notions of “modernity,” “modernization,” and “modernism” play an important role in better understanding the development of Europe. These three concepts can be applied to a range of transformations in the areas of politics, socio-economics, and culture respectively. The three concepts are connected, yet each has its own unique qualities that are useful in understanding the changes across Europe in this period. These ideas are crucial to the better comprehension of the creation of the Europe of today. To understand the significance of the terms, it is important to first understand the terms themselves.
Modernity” was a term used around the French Revolution as a term of abuse. However, in the later part of the nineteenth century and in the twentieth century it became associated more with improvement and advancement. “Modernization” refers to the processes political, economic, and social that made a society modern. An example of this would be industrialization. Finally, “modernism” is a reference to a high cultural movement and was used to relate to changing attitudes. It is basically a celebration of the notion of progress. “Modernity” during the French Revolution was used as a term of abuse.
At this time, during the Reign of Terror in particular, France was moving toward a more republican form of government. During their attempt at the Republic of Virtue Catholicism was a focal point of attack. These attacks ended up fueling divisions that in the end proved to be fatal for the republican government. What some people saw as the future, others disliked and associated it with “modernity. ” Hence, the concept of “modernity’s” use as an abusive phrase. However, at the close of the French Revolution, “modernity” took on a new use. In the nineteenth century and beyond, “modernity” became a term associated with good things.
Unlike “modernity,” “modernization” has always been a fairly neutral term. It has always described the processes that actually made the society modern. As mentioned before, a perfect example of this would be industrialization. The best place to see “modernization” is England during the Industrial Revolution. In England during the nineteenth century, industrialization began with the movement from agrarian and home based work driven by human and animal power to work in factories driven by steam power. This change was by all means not lightning fast, and along with it came a change in the way the people lived their lives.
The common workers were forced to move from the country into the cities where they could find work in the factories. This notion of the movement from country life to urban life epitomizes “modernization. ” This movement shows that things are “modernizing. ” Up until this point most of the worlds population existed in the country and as people moved into the city the world including England became more modern like today, with the majority of the population in urban regions. The processes of industrialization lead to and basically are what “modernization” is defined as.
By understanding the process of industrialization, “modernization” can be better seen and understood. Finally, “modernism” is predominantly a term referring to a cultural movement. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was a cultural celebration of the notion of progress. People were rejecting the superficial, material excess and looking down inside themselves. This rejection of the material excess is embodied by many of the authors and artists of the time. For instance, the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s character of Nora in his play A Doll’s House is the perfect example.
Nora’s rejection and leaving of her loveless and oppressive marriage shows the shrugging off of the will of the society in exchange for one’s own happiness. Another good example is the Dutch-born painter Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh’s lack of intense color when painting the bleak outskirts of industrialized cities where often the desperately poor lived showed his emotion and sympathy as opposed to the stark realities of the realism painters. This artistic movement all over Western Europe was the embodiment of “modernism” and its move away from petty materialism.
Modernity,” “modernization,” and “modernism” are all very useful in understanding changes across Europe. First of all, all three of these terms give further insight into periods of turmoil or transition. This insight allows a historian to better imagine what people actually thought at that specific time. Understanding “modernization” is just like understanding the people and processes of, for example, the Industrial Revolution. Moreover, much like a primary source, the understanding of the three concepts is like freezing a moment in time and then having the chance to study it.
On the whole, these ideas are very important in grasping the development of Europe and the issues therein. These three concepts are each unique, except still connected in the establishment of modern day Europe. “Modernity” having its roots in the political side of society gives comprehension to the developing politics. “Modernization,” on the other hand, gives insight to the processes that make a society modern. Finally, “modernism” covers the cultural movement of the late nineteenth century’s every “modernizing” society.
The historical implications of these three terms are very important to the understanding of how and why Europe developed the way it did. One of the best indicators of the impact of World War I is interwar Europe. Through the examination of interwar Europe, England, France, and Germany in particular, one can see the devastation and impact that World War I had on the continent. Furthermore, many of the changes that the war brought about are clearly evident in a close examination. Along with the changes the continuities between pre and post-war Europe can be seen.
The analysis of interwar Europe is the key to understanding the affects of World War I. Like all European countries, Great Britain was hit hard by the war. The British, however, were not worried about exacting large reparations from Germany. On the contrary, they simply wanted to maintain their empire by restoring trade with Germany. Economically Britain’s main concerns were paying off war debts to the United States and maintaining its empire. Britain’s main economic postwar problem was that many of its industries had become obsolete or were in poor condition.
In Britain’s ailing coal industry prices and wages fell leading to a miners strike which was joined by the transportation, gas and electrical, printing, building, and other industrial workers. This lead to Baldwin passing antiunion laws, which in turn lead to national unions fragmenting into weak, local unions. France, on the other hand, was the hardest hit by wartime destruction. With a huge debt to the United States and extensive damage in the country itself, France estimated that Germany owed it at least 200 billion dollars. France’s major economic concerns were the rebuilding of war-torn areas and the general reconstruction of the county.
Being deeply in debt forced France to take a strong stance on the issues of reparations. Finally, there is Germany’s economic conditions. Germany claimed that reparations put strain on its already disheveled government. Germany was economically very unstable because the Kaiser had refused to raise taxes to pay for the war. This caused huge inflation which further destroyed the economy by wiping out people’s savings and ruining people living on fixed incomes. Economic turmoil often leads to political unrest, as it does in this situation. Interwar Britain and France were politically the most stable.
This is so because they had parliamentary institutions that were well established and the influential “best circles” were not plotting to restore an authoritarian monarchy. However, these two countries did have their share of political problems. In Britain, for example, Lloyd George was replaced as prime minister by the Labour Party candidate Ramsey MacDonald. Postwar boom and burst and continuing strife in Ireland weakened George while the belief that Labour could better promote international understanding strengthened MacDonald, the first Labour prime minister, who also lost to Conservative Stanley Baldwin a few months later.
In France, the conservative Right and moderate Left formed coalition governments to try to rebuild war-torn regions and collect reparations from Germany. France was able to maintain slightly more political stability than Britain. Germany, on the other hand, was politically very unstable. The Weimar Republic attempted to make Germany democratic. Unfortunately, hard economic times make it harder for political changes to take hold. Weimar’s political system, a bicameral parliament and a chancellor responsible to the lower house, appear similar to that of Britain.
However, many people felt nostalgia for imperial glory and a contempt for parliamentary politics. The far Right had the support of the wealthy landowners and businessmen, white-collar workers, and members of the middle class hurt by inflation. This gave the Right more power than the Left to commit acts of violence and attempt coups. For example between 1919 and 1921 thirteen murders were allegedly committed by leftist which resulted in eight executions and 176 years in prison. Whereas, the 314 murders attributed to the Right during the same years resulted in one life sentence and 31 years in prison.
This lopsided system kept the political system in Germany very unstable. Violence toward and contempt of democratic leaders eventually lead to the collapse of the Weimar Republic. Finally, World War I led to many cultural changes throughout Europe. First of all, class distinction were changed. The massive casualties generated social mobility by allowing commoners to up to the rank of officer, which was a position dominated by the aristocracy. This class unification was also aided by wartime propaganda trying to unite the classes against a common enemy.
Furthermore, people paid more attention to bodily improvement. Men and women spent more time grooming with toothbrushes and combs. For women, a multibillion dollar cosmetics industry sprang up almost overnight. Finally, things like film making went from experimental to an international industry. The piano became a part of the silent films and a star system was set up. After the World War I many of the experimental industries and cultural concepts became concrete and widely used by the public all over the world. An examination of interwar Europe gives excellent insight into the impacts of World War I.
First, an analysis of postwar Europe shows the economic changes and continuities throughout Europe, but in particular England, France, and Germany. Furthermore, it also gives insight to the political strife caused by World War I which leads to changes in Britain and France and the collapse of the Weimar Republic. Finally, the interwar period allows many cultural changes and advancements to take hold. An examination of interwar Europe is an invaluable tool in comprehending the short and long term impacts of World War I. Auschwitz was a Nazi work and extermination camp during World War II.
It was one of six in Poland during the war. The work portion of the camp produced synthetic rubber and fuel for the chemical firm I. G. Farben. This was one of the Nazi’s largest camps. By 1943, Auschwitz had the capacity to burn 1. 7 million bodies per year. This was necessary because a high percentage of new arrivals, about sixty percent, were sent directly to the gas chambers. This sixty percent consisted mostly of women, children, and old people. The rest were put to work under conditions of brutality, malnutrition, disease, and exhaustion.
To be put to work was a fate almost worst than death. Georges Clemenceau became French premier in 1917. He was born in 1841 and died in 1929. He called for World War I to be a “war to the death” so that all the loss of human life and property would not be in vain. When World War I finally ended he was unhappy with Wilson’s Fourteen Points and Wilson himself. The French people wanted revenge on Germany for the loss of property and especially the 1. 3 million dead. Clemenceau was therefore responsible for compromising with Wilson and his people’s lust for revenge.
The solution was the Treaty of Versailles which punished Germany, but did not completely destroy the country. Tomas Masaryk was a Czech statesman. He worked out of Paris in the early twentieth century. Along with Edward Benes, he formed the Czechoslovak National Council. This council lobbied the Western powers for recognition of their rights. Masaryk’s Czechoslovak National Council was a major part of the Czech’s anti-Habsburg campaign . The Dreyfus Affair was when Alfred Dreyfus, a French army captain and a Jew, was charged with spying for Germany in 1894.
He was the only Jew in the military general staff and was singled out when evidence that documents were being passed to Germany were discovered. He was quickly found guilty and exiled to Devil’s Island without much notice. However, eventually several French newspapers received proof that the army had used perjury ad fabricated documents to convict Dreyfus. This scandal led to man socialist winning the local elections. It also mad anti-Semitism a standard tool of politics. Afterwards, politicians repeatedly blamed Jews for various dissatisfactions, whether social, economic, or political.
Emmeline Pankhurst was a British women’s suffragist. Along with her daughters she founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Pankhurst and her group brought a new militant political style to the movement. They felt that women would accomplish nothing unless they threaten the prosperity of men. The WSPU used violence to get their message across. They would blow up railroad stations, slash art work, or chain themselves to the gates of parliament. Their violence and public acts made the suffrage issue a very public spectacle. The New Economic Policy or NEP was created by Lenin when Kronstadt pushed him to create economic reform.
The NEP substituted a fixed tax on production for requisitions of grain. This policy encouraged people to produce, sell, and make money. People did get rich, but many more stayed impoverished. This belied the Bolshevik credo of a classless utopia. Furthermore, it was basically only a compromise with capitalist methods. It also lead to opposition from within the party. The Worker Opposition protested Bolshevik usurpation of economic control. They pointed out that the NEP was an agrarian program and not a proletarian one. Zero Hour is a term that came into being at the end of World War II.
It originated in Germany and was used as a way of saying that the slate was wiped clean. The Germans that survived the war did not want to be associated with the Holocaust and a war the took millions of lives. Zero hour was their way of saying they wanted to start over. Eventually, however, zero hour became a term for all of Europe. After the destruction of World War II many Europeans and the nations wanted a new start. Not only were most of the major cities flattened, but the people themselves did not want to be associated with the death and fascism of the war.