What is existentialism?
Existentialism arose during the late 19th century as a philosophical movement that emphasized man's individuality.
To existentialists such as Jean-Paul Sartre, the existence precedes essence; i.e. the most important consideration for an individual is the underlying belief that the individual is an individual. Thus, humanity was a subjective philosophical study, with each individual defined as to their individual actions.
What German philosopher proposed the concept of "will to power"?
Existentialist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche suggested that the "will to power" was mankind's main driving force, and manifested itself in striving to reach the highest possible position in life.
To Nietzsche, the "will to power" and the fight against one's surroundings leads to personal growth and strides towards self-perfection.
What French writer gave rise to the concept of absurdism in the early 20th century?
Albert Camus gave rise to the concept of absurdism by arguing that man's search for meaning was futile because the vast realm of the unknown was doomed to fail.
The "absurd" was the conflict between the search for meaning and the inability to find it.
What Austrian psychiatrist undermined the Enlightenment belief that humans are, at their core, rational beings?
Sigmund Freud undermined the Enlightenment belief in man's rationality by suggesting that the human psyche is made up of three parts: the id, from which sexual urges and aggressiveness derives; the ego, which provides the psyche's organizing and rational functions; and the superego, which serves to suppress the id's desires.
In Freud's view, the superego drives the pleasure-seeking id's desires into the subconscious, and cannot always stop the id's irrational behavior.
What French novelist wrote Remembrance of Things Past, a seven-volume novel published between 1917 and 1922?
Marcel Proust wrote Remembrance of Things Past. Proust employed a stream-of-consciousness style of writing and attempted to uncover the innermost meaning of his childhood memories. Proust's work focused on the complex and irrational nature of the human mind.
What French existentialist philosopher contended that man was alone without a divine creator?
Jean-Paul Sartre, who published Being and Nothingness in 1943, denied the existence of the divine. Sartre believed that human beings simply exist, that individuals must choose their own actions, and that man is ultimately responsible for his own behavior.
_____, an artistic movement which gained popularity in the 1930s, sought to expose psychological truth by removing and bending physical attributes of objects.
Surrealists such as Salvador Dalí and René Magritte sought to challenge their viewers' preconceived notions of reality itself.
What Austrian writer mocked the idea of permanence in his work The Metamorphosis?
Franz Kafka published The Metamorphosis in 1915. In the short novel, the main character awakens to find himself transformed into a cockroach.
Kafka's other works also dwell on dark themes as their characters struggle to make sense of surreal, nightmarish surroundings that are incomprehensibly complex or nonsensical.
How did Einstein's theory of relativity undermine established principles of physics?
Einstein's theories of general and special relativity undermined the established principles such as the constancy of time and gravity that had held true since Isaac Newton.
Einstein's theories contributed to the general feeling of uncertainty and upheaval that characterized European life after World War One.
Which James Joyce novel described a single day in the life of an average man in Dublin?
Ulysses, completed by Joyce in 1920, employed a stream-of-consciousness style of writing, bending conventional grammar and vocabulary to present a bewildering demonstration of modern life as a mystery to be unraveled.
What was the Sparticist Revolt?
At the end of World War One, Germany was torn asunder by revolutions, including one led by the Sparticist League, a German communist group.
The revolt failed when the leaders of Germany's largest party, the Social Democratic Party, supported the conservative Army establishment rather than the communists.
How did the German people react to the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles?
Germans were incensed at the Treaty of Versailles. They resented the clause which fastened the war's guilt solely on Germany, and felt it unduly harsh, given that by the war's end there was not a single Allied soldier in German territory.
Other sources of irritation included German territory that had been given to Poland, and the large reparations payments.
What form of government replaced the Hohenzollern monarchy after World War One?
In 1919, Germany became a republic. The new government was a semi-presidential system, in which power was divided between a popularly elected president, the cabinet headed by a chancellor and responsible to the parliament, and a two-chambered parliament.
This republic is known as the Weimar Republic from the town in which the new government first sat.
What were the two branches of the German legislative branch in the Weimar Republic?
The German legislative branch consisted of the Reichsrat, elected by the German states, and the Reichstag, elected by the people generally.
In comparison with the United States Congress, the Reichsrat can be considered an upper house like the Senate, and the Reichstag a lower house like the House of Representatives.
In March 1920, German conservatives, supported by segments of the German military, attempted to overthrow the Weimar Republic in an event known as the _____ _____.
The Putsch (a German word for a sudden attempt to overthrow the government) took place in Berlin. The Weimar Republic called upon workers to strike in opposition to the Putsch, and the coup collapsed in the face of popular opposition.
What was the Stab in the Back myth?
The Stab in the Back myth was popularized by German conservatives in the 1920s and 1930s, and contended that it was not battlefield defeat which led to Germany losing World War One, but the actions of German liberals on the Home Front.
German politicians such as Hitler also tied the Stab in the Back myth to the activities of purportedly disloyal German Jews during the war.
In 1923, the leader of Germany's National Socialist Party, _____ _____, attempted to seize power in Munich in an event known as the Beer Hall Putsch.
The National Socialist Party, better known as the Nazi Party, had the support of popular German hero Erich Ludendorff.
The Putsch failed and Hitler was arrested and charged with high treason. During the trial, the German newspapers reported Hitler's testimony, enabling him to reach a wide audience with his ideas. Given a short sentence in comfortable quarters at Landsberg Prison, Hitler used his time to compose his book Mein Kampf.
In 1921, the Allies presented their first reparations demand to Germany, totaling some 132 billion gold marks. How did Germany respond?
The reparations demand required payment in gold or non-German currency, and was far more than the entirety of Germany's gold and non-currency holdings.
To meet the demand, Germany began printing vast sums of money with which to purchase foreign currency. Hyperinflation set in, and the German mark (the form of German currency before the euro) fell from 8.4 marks to the dollar in 1921 to 4.2 trillion marks to the dollar in 1924.
How did the French and Belgian governments react to Germany's inability to make its reparations payment in 1922?
When Germany proved unable to make its 1922 reparations payment, French and Belgian forces occupied Germany's Ruhr Valley, where much of Germany's heavy industry took place.
The German government suggested that German workers stop working and many of the factories ground to a halt. The Franco-Belgian force had hoped that the occupation would offset the missed reparation payments, but instead the costs of the occupation were higher than any funds received from the output of the German factories.
The occupation of the Ruhr also worsened the German hyperinflation crisis.
Proposed in 1924, the Dawes Plan was an attempt to resolve what international crisis?
The Dawes Plan was an attempt to solve the continuing German reparation crisis. In exchange for Franco-Belgian forces leaving the Ruhr Valley, Germany agreed to resume reparations payments in staggered amounts increasing over time.
Germany in turn borrowed the funds from U.S. investors, allowing the German government to spread the reparations amount over an extended period. In the wake of the Dawes Plan, the Germany economy began to improve.
Who was Gustav Stresemann?
Gustav Stresemann was Germany's foreign minister during much of the 1920s. On Germany's behalf he negotiated the Dawes Plan, introduced a stabilized German currency which ended hyperinflation, and participated in the Locarno Pact, normalizing Germany's relations with the other countries of Europe.
Which 1925 diplomatic arrangement guaranteed the borders of the Western European states?
In 1925, the leaders of many European countries met at Locarno in Switzerland to discuss lingering territorial disagreements from the Treaty of Versailles.
While the Locarno treaties guaranteed Western European borders, they effectively ignored Eastern European borders which were viewed by the countries of Germany and Eastern Europe as being subject to potential revision.
As a further consequence of Locarno, international relations with Germany were normalized, and she was invited to join the League of Nations.
What was the Young Plan?
Although the Dawes Plan had mitigated the effects of reparations on Germany, the total amount Germany owed was still enormous at 269 billion gold marks, the equivalent of 100,000 tons of pure gold (roughly 50% of all gold mined in all of history).
By the late 1920s, it was apparent that Germany would not be able to indefinitely meet the annual reparation payments. In 1929, the Allies and Germany agreed in the Young Plan to reduce the amount of reparations to a more reasonable amount.
What is fascism?
Fascism escapes easy definition, but it generally refers to a nationalist authoritarian regime, opposed to both Marxism and capitalism. Instead of either, fascism advocates an economic policy of corporatism, where employers and employees form syndicates which are joined together and guided by the government to advance national economic policies and production.
What Italian proved to be fascism's most effective proponent?
Benito Mussolini rose to power in the early 1920s by promoting fascist solutions for Italy's problems. Mussolini appealed to Italian nationalism, promised to restructure the Italian army, and to revitalize the Italian economy by promoting syndicates between workers and capitalists guided by the Italian government.
Mussolini proved popular on both sides of the Atlantic during the 1920s and early 1930s; several of his ideas were adopted by members of the Roosevelt Administration.
In 1922, Benito Mussolini's National Fascist Party seized power by marching on what Italian city?
In October 1922, Benito Mussolini's National Fascist Party marched on Rome, led by Mussolini's band of enforcers, the Blackshirts.
As the march approached Rome, Prime Minister Luigi Facta had resigned and King Vittorio Emanuele III named Mussolini as the head of government.
The move was exceptionally popular among Italy's business class, despite Mussolini's promise to exercise state control over businesses.
In 1929, the Lateran Accord resolved what Italian problem?
Since the reunification of Italy in the 19th century, no Papal authority had recognized the Italian government's authority to govern the former Papal States.
The Lateran Accord between Mussolini's Italian government and the Papacy recognized Italian control over the former Papal States, while Italy recognized papal sovereignty over the Vatican City.
Which two sides fought the Russian Civil War, which lasted from 1917 to 1922?
The Russian Civil War was fought between the Russian Communists, known as the Reds, and a conglomeration of forces with little in common except being anti-Bolshevik, known as the White Movement.
The White Army was victorious in the former Russian territories of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Finland, where republics were established, but the White Movement was decisively defeated in the rest of Russia. By 1922, the Soviet Union was established.
In 1921, Lenin announced that the Soviet Union would follow a New Economic Policy. What did Lenin mean?
Soviet agriculture had yet to return to pre-World War standards, and starvation was rampant. Lenin's New Economic Policy allowed for some small-level capitalism, but still mandated government control over all high-level economic production.
The New Economic Policy was largely successful, and agricultural production returned to its 1913 level within a few years.
Who succeeded Lenin as head of the Soviet Union in 1924?
Following Lenin's death in 1924, there was a brief jockeying for power before Joseph Stalin emerged as the de facto head of the Soviet Union. Over the next few years, many of Stalin's potential rivals were executed or exiled.