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Richard Feynman on the Atom Bomb

December 6, 2012

Feynman_200Below please find a link to a clip that might help with your paper due on Monday. It will help give you an idea of the kind of things that people were thinking in the fall of 1945, following the first uses of the atomic weapons in August. The speaker is Richard Feynman (1918-1988), a brilliant nuclear physicist and native of Far Rockaway, Queens, who was still a young graduate student when he was drafted to work on the top-secret Manhattan Project that built the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The whole clip is worth watching, but you MUST watch from about 3:20 to the end, which pertains directly to your final paper. He talks about his realization of the moral implications of the thing that he helped to build. Thanks to Yan Levitsky of my 3:40 pm Core 1220 section for bringing this clip to my attention.

Richard Feynman on the Atom Bomb


The Holocaust

December 4, 2012
Identification pictures of a female inmate of the Auschwitz camp  Poland, between 1942 and 1945 (Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum).

Identification pictures of a female inmate of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland, between 1942 and 1945 (Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum).

Below please find a web question on the Holocaust written by your classmate, Victoria Karcz. Please respond with a reply of at least one paragraph.

The Holocaust was a human-made horror, the genocide of millions of human beings labeled “undesirables” by Hitler. Of all the innocent people targeted by Hitler’s genocidal policies, the European Jewish population represented the largest group. The heinous Nazis sought nothing less than the extermination of the Jewish population. The Nazis at first had planned to deport the Jews to Nisko/Lublin in eastern Poland or to the island of Madagascar. Why did they not pursue their plan for deportation and pursue what they called “the final solution?”

Gandhi on Truth and Civil Disobedience

November 29, 2012

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)

Below please find a web question based on the reading, “Truth and Civil Disobedience,” by Mohandas Gandhi, which you can find on pp. 365-370 in The Shaping of the Modern World. These were written by your classmate, Caryn Rosario.

How does Gandhi believe his teaching about ahimsa should be applied to government? Do you agree or disagree with his beliefs and teachings? Do you think they are an effective way to bring about political and social change?

Understanding the Great Depression

November 27, 2012

“Free Soup, Coffee & Doughnuts for the Unemployed” in Chicago in Feb. 1931

Below please find web questions on the global circumstances of the Great Depression written by your classmate, Ebru Oktayer. These questions are drawn from the reading from James Fulcher’s Capitalism: A Very Short Introduction on the Great Depression (pp. 108-113).

According to James Fulcher, what were the three main vulnerabilities of the global economic system that the Great Depression of the 1930s revealed? How did they combine to make the Depression worse?

Revised Schedule for the Final Weeks

November 23, 2012

Just wanted to rework our schedule for the last few weeks of class to accommodate the missed time on account of the storm. Please note that the college has added Friday, Dec. 14, as an additional class day, which will be a Wednesday schedule. We still have three quizzes left in this semester for Chapters 34, 35, and 36. We will get through Chapters 37 and 38 as well, but will not have a quiz on those since they will be covered in the final. Here are the days for the quizzes, followed by the full revised reading schedule.


  • Wednesday, Nov. 28: Chapter 34
  • Monday, Dec. 3: Chapter 35
  • Monday, Dec. 10: Chapter 36

Here’s the full schedule with readings:

Monday, Nov. 26: The Interwar Period
Traditions: Chapter 34, An Age of Anxiety, pp. 791-802
Shaping: Freud, “On Human Nature,” pp. 294-303
Capitalism: Chapter 6: Crisis? What Crisis?: Read the short section, “The Great Depression in the 1930s,” pp. 108-113

Wednesday, Nov. 28: Totalitarianism and Anti-Colonialism in Asia
Traditions: Chapter 34, An Age of Anxiety, pp. 802-811
Traditions: Chap. 35, Nationalism and Political Identities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, pp. 813-820
Shaping: Mohandas Gandhi, Truth and Civil Disobedience, pp. 365-370

Monday, Dec. 3: Anticolonialism in African and Latin America and the Origins of World War II
Traditions: Chap. 35, Nationalism and Political Identities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, pp. 820-831
QUIZ ON CHAPTER 35 (Middle of class)
Traditions: Chap. 36, New Conflagrations: World War II and the Cold War, pp. 835-840

Wednesday, Dec. 5: World War II and the Holocaust
Traditions: Chap. 36, New Conflagrations: World War II and the Cold War, pp. 840-853
Online: Eyewitness Account of Einsatz Executions (1942)

Monday, Dec. 10: World War II: The Cold War and the End of Empire
Traditions: Chap. 36, New Conflagrations: World War II and the Cold War, pp. 853-861
QUIZ ON CHAPTER 36 (Middle of class)
Shaping: Harry S. Truman, The Truman Doctrine, pp. 388-390

Wednesday, Dec. 12: The End of Empire
Traditions: Chap. 37, The End of Empire, pp. 865-888
Shaping: Patrice Lumumba, From Congo My Country, pp. 378-381
Online: Letter Exchange between President Johnson and Ho Chi Minh

Friday, Dec. 14: Where Are We Now?
Traditions: Chapter 38, A World without Borders, pp. 891-921
Shaping: Amartya Sen, A World Not Neatly Divided, pp. 420-422
Capitalism: Chapter 5, Has Capitalism Gone Global? pp. 82-103

The Russian Revolution and the First World War

November 20, 2012

V.I. Lenin speaking to a crowd in Petrograd during the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution

Here are several questions on the Russian Revolution and its consequences for the First World War written by your classmate, Seon Samuel. Remember to answer at least one of these with a response of a paragraph or more.

  • Do you think the Bolshevik Revolution was good for wartime Russia? If yes, then why? If not, why?
  • Also, if this revolution did not occur, do you think the outcome of the war would have been significantly different? And if so, how?

The Outbreak of the Great War

November 17, 2012
A photograph of Franz Ferdinand’s entourage in its touring car shortly before the assassination on June 28, 1914.

Please find some web questions written by your classmate, Norbert Fital, regarding the outbreak and expansion of World War I into a global conflict.

Many people believe the event that caused World War I was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian assassin named Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914. Do you believe that this event was the main reason World War I erupted? Or do you think the same kind of war eventually would have broken out with or without the Archduke’s assassination? What conditions were in place that allowed the war expand so quickly? How did so many countries get involved the war?