Examination of World Societal Models and Corresponding Level of Development:
Model of the Interactions between the Physical World, Society, and the Economy
What is the relationship between the physical world, society, and the economy in producing a highly developed or less developed country?
What are the factors that come together to form a rich and strong nation that provides its citizens with well being?
Why do certain societal models appear to work better than others in producing rich cultures, thriving economies, stable political systems, and overall a well organized and resilient country?
In Unit 6, we will try to answer these important questions for the purpose of identifying and examining the best societal models for developing nations to consider for possible application.
AIM: 1- To examine six of the largest world societal models – China, India, Japan Russia, USA, Germany – and compare their corresponding modes and levels of national development
2- To identify historical and philosophical reasons for differing systemic modes and varying levels of national development
3- To recognize how the inter-relatedness between the physical world, society, and economy of each of these six countries have influenced systemic development
4- To further examine other societal models by selecting one or more of the following nations – Nigeria, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, Iran, Malaysia – and research respective modes and levels of national development
5- To survey the past 70 year ideological struggle for global supremacy between democratic market capitalism (USA) and Marxist-Leninist communism (former USSR) and determine why the former prevailed
Karl Marx, communist theoretician
6- To survey the 72 year history of Yugoslavia and determine why the nation dissolved upon the roll back of communist systems after 1990.
KEY CONCEPTS: Physical world, society, economic values + exchanges = system, human resources, nation-state, empire, philosophy, ideology, political – economic beliefs, free market, rugged individualism, communitarian society democratic / welfare capitalism, scientific socialism, Marxism – Leninism – Stalinism, proletariat, classless utopian system, corporate state, ecosystem
OBJECTIVES: The student will be able or expected to:
l- Analyze the inter-relatedness between the physical world, society, and the economy for each of the six national models
2- Explain how each nation’s corresponding level of development was influenced by its physical world, society, and economy
3- Study 5 types of human resources of 5 countries and apply to interaction model to assess developmenta1 levels of those 5 societies (ecosystem). Population, labor force, literacy, annual population increase, cultivated land area per capita
4- Apply this examination process to selected countries: Nigeria, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, Iran, Indonesia and Malaysia–and why Yugoslavia disintegrated
5- Recognize that the high American standard of living is a product of vast cultivated land areas, abundant natural resources, global trade route location, and societal values
6- Debate if the American private enterprise system, with its abundant natural resources and emphasis on individualism, is wholly appropriate for adaption by the five or more other nations being examined
7– Grasp, analyze, and evaluate Marx‘s materialist conception of history societal development, and principals of scientific socialism
Marx’s Six Stages of Historical Societal Development
In each stage there was a ruling class – slave owners, feudal landowners, merchants, capitalists, Phase #1 communism (Dictatorship of Proletariat), and Phase #2 – full communism
8– Research conditions in Russia in 1917 to determine if the country was the advanced and inequitable capitalist state that Marx predicted that the proletariat would rise up against, overthrow, and install communism
Czar Nicholas Romanov II
Russia did not experience a democratic or capitalist development stage until the 1990’s.
9– Identify the actual developmental situation Lenin faced and why the system became a permanent dictatorship of the communist party rather than a temporary Marxian dictatorship of the proletariat
Frederick Engels, the other communist theoretician who was the son of a rich factory owner.
10– Assess / discuss historical importance of 70 year long ideological struggle democratic market capitalism and Marxist–Leninist communism for dominance in the hearts and minds of the peoples of the world
11– Assess Marxist – Leninist claim and promise of a utopian political structure exportable to another state willing to adapt and develop accordingly
12– Debate and judge whether the Marxist vision of a classless utopian society was a realistic and even a desirable goal
Sir Thomas More’s 16th century vision of utopia.
13– Debate and judge whether communism, a Marxist–Leninist strain of thought based on intense class hatred, and an acknowledged grand failure as an economic and social system, was the greatest political aberration of the century. (Source – Zbigniew Brzezinski)
14– Debate and judge which of the six countries – China, Japan, India, USA, Russia, Germany – to be examined, have the ideals, attributes and institutions about if not a classless utopian society, but at least one relatively free of poverty, injustice, and social strife.
QCC OBJECTIVE 6 – Examine the conflict between traditionalism and technology
6-3: Examine the need for high technology and how it has changed the way welive
6-5: Assess the value of technology over / against traditionalism.
QCC OBJECTIVE 7-6. Predict ‘Which nations will be the superpowers in the future.
QCC OBJECTIVE 10: Trace and analyze selected cultural, economic, political and historical patterns in post-World War II Asia. (BST -1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 13, 14:_QBE-53,
10-4: Examine the cultural revolution in China, its influence on economic transformation and takeoff, current westernization trends, and treatment of Mao and the
Communist Party excesses of the 1950 – 1975 period
10-5: Critique U.S. – China, Japanese, Korean (East Asia) trade relations.
QCC OBJECTIVE II: Trace and analyze selected cultural, economical, political and
historical patterns in the post-World War II Americas. (BST-1, 2, 3, 4, 13, 14:
QCC OJECTIVE 12: Trace the nature of cooperation and conflict among major
12-3: Examine the factors that influence political ideology
12-4: Construct a chart comparing and contrasting communism, capitalism, and socialism. Analyze example of chart constructed by the Center for Economic
Justice for advocacy and / or bias influence.
QCC OBJECTIVE 18: Describe factors relevant to population issues (BST – 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 12, 14: QBE – 54, 55, 60; AF / AM
18-1: Identify key issues associated with rapid population growth – scarcity of land / food, illiteracy, dependency, poverty, spread and control of disease, pollution, terrorism and others
18-2: Debate question if large population nations such as China and India are advantaged in a global economy given the size of their domestic markets and opportunities for investment and growth
Student Handout #26 – Model of the Interactions Between the Physical World, Society, and the Economy — provides the means for examining and comparing China, India, Japan, Russia, the USA, Germany; and / or Nigeria, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, Iran or Malaysia—and / or why Yugoslavia disintegrated–in terms of actual and philosophical perspectives
Student Handout #27 — Human Resources Statistics of the Six Comparative Models — supplies basic facts (population totals, labor force totals, illiteracy rates, annual population increase amounts, cultivated land area per capita figures, and population age structures with which to judge the developmental levels and perceived limits of each of the six countries
Student Handouts #28 A-B-C-D-E are a series of condensed descriptions of the 5 models to be examined – China, India, Japan, Russia, Germany. The overviews contain historical, political, economic, and sociological analysis of each society, and questions for comparison purposes.
Student Handout #28D – Description of Russian Model provides a chart and reading conveying the basic points of Marx’s Materialist Conception of History. Its intent is to instruct students about Marxist theory, why Russia was an unlikely first society for the system to be installed, the nature of the war communism system that actually developed and spread, where it stalled according to the dialectic, and how Gorbachev and Yeltsin transformed the Soviet state and world.
It may be necessary to go over handout #26 in class to familiarize students on how to use the interaction model to examine a society. Make sure that they understand what is meant by the Physical World, Society, and Economy.
If students are slow to develop this ability, consider examining America as an in-class experience. However, be careful not to spoon-feed students too much. They need to develop this skill and working through the interactive model will help them master it. More advanced classes should be expected to individually research and submit fairly detailed reports on the six societies plus one or more of the four suggested countries. Teachers of classes with poorly developed research skills may have to guide their students through all six examinations.
Another option is a group research lesson. Divide the class into six groups and assign each group one of the six countries to use the interactive model for reporting on. The lesson thus becomes a class or team teaching experience.
Sample Run Through for Teachers: America > Physical World
The U.S. is a highly developed country whose once formidable wilderness has been domesticated, the frontier having ceased to exist by 1890. Blessed with abundant natural resources, Americans have been a wasteful people who only in recent decades, especially during the gasoline shortages of the 1970’s, began to learn to conserve and recycle resources.
With regard to their natural environment, Americans believe in using natural resources for economic growth. Still, more progressive environmental groups work to balance growth with sensitivity to the needs of future generations. We are also a people who so greatly value private property that our cities and rural areas nave been criticized for their lack of public spaces such as parks and cultural amenities.
In terms of the man-made environment, Americans have adapted and shaped their civilization to fit the nation’s varying geography, climate, weather and water resources. The American dream, to own one’s own home, also causes our cities to sprawl and devour countryside. This makes us hostage to our cars, undermines public transportation systems, and leads to sterile and inefficient strip development. Continued economic growth creates huge waste management problems: 1 % economic growth produces an additional 50,000 tons of toxic waste.
With regards to the human population, Americans believe that labor is one of the factors of production, all citizens are expected to work, and compensation is determined by a job’s market value. The family unit is the cell of capitalism while consumption of goods and services may be at the heart of the culture.
SOCIETY – Although Americans have set aside some natural treasures as public parks, their attitude towards nature is to essentially improve it to add economic value. While America has traditionally been a male dominated society, men and women are considered equal. However, men generally earn more money and command the lion share of public leadership positions.
Americans esteem freedom from government interference. Justice is achieved through the rule of law while economic justice is perceived as relative equality of opportunity. The rich and / or producing classes should not be too highly taxed so as to reap the fruit of their labors.
The poor are provided a safety net commonly called welfare; some critics believe welfaredoes not really provide for it, other critics claim welfare breeds entitlement expectation, a bad bargain to settle for less in life instead of full participation in pursuit of an
America, being one of the first cultures to build the dynamic of change into it, greatly values progress. Due to capitalism’s boom / bust cycles, the people seek economic stability and security. A job is a major form of identity in a pluralistic society so workers particularly fear unemployment.
Efficiency and productivity are valued as the key to a constantly rising standard of living.
Applied technology and innovation fosters change that can destroy older industries at a startling rate.
Although somewhat of an anti-authoritarian people, Americans revere the constitution and are a society of laws rather than men.
Customs are institutionalized and often a form of unwritten law. Market bargaining is mostly forbidden except for so-called “big ticket” items such as homes and cars.
Fixed but competitive prices are the way of doing business.
Economy – Americans follow the laws of supply and demand in determining prices and
availability of goods and services. Having needs and unlimited wants like most humans,
Americans also have limited incomes which forces them to choose. If the country’s means of production has built a nearly $17 trillion dollar economy, the distribution system may be its greatest success. A vast array of items can be found on store’s shelves from Maine to Miami, Savannah to Seattle, and even Anchorage and Honolulu.
As a people, we do not save very much, 3 – 5% of our incomes being the average.
Indeed, our penchant for consumption keeps many of us in debt and borrowing against future incomes. Businesses, banks, private individuals supply most of the investment capital for industry and the infrastructure, while the middle class invests heavily in their homes. Much of the nation’s private property is accumulated in this manner, and is a reason for the low national savings and investment rate. The good life for an American tends to be the satisfaction of as many of our wants as possible.
This process should be repeated in kind for the other five countries in order to highlight national differences. For example:
Russians, who only recently have experienced measures of individual freedom, and have endured tyrannical, murderous czars and commissars, tend to be docile towards authority
Americans who have never suffered a murderous dictator such as Joseph Stalin or Adolph Hitler, tend to be anti-authoritarian
Germans and Japanese, in comparison to spendthrift Americans, are great savers, socking away an average of 12-20% of their incomes
Chinese practice state capitalism and have grown into the second largest economy in just 30 years.
India, predominately Hindu, is perhaps the most traditional of the six models.
Those national traits of China and India plus their huge populations may help explain why they have lower per capita incomes and the higher growth rates.
Student Handout • 27 — Human Resources Statistics of the Six Comparative Models
This resource is for informational purposes – the sets of facts are for helping students to make judgments concerning a model’s quality of life. Instructors are urged to go over this handout with their classes to assure that the students understand the meaning of these statistics and how they are to employ them. Please see behavioral objectives #2 and #3 for a rationale for implementation phase.
Marxism – Leninism in Russia
Marx believed that the capitalist class, which owned the means of production, would never share profits with workers, nor even pay them a living wage. Workers, according to Marx, were more than mere cogs in the production process; indeed, they deserved to be partners. Assuming that the capitalists would never relinquish their property without a fight, the workers would have to seize the factories, through violence if necessary. After that, the workers would reconstruct society along socialist ideals.
According to Marx, this proposed socialist state – communism – would occur in the most advanced capitalist countries: England, Germany, USA. Russia, in 1917, however, was passing from medieval mercantilism into rudimentary capitalism. The Russians were first beginning to build railroads, borrow money from Western bankers, and start new industries. Lenin, Trotsky, and the Bolsheviks, although inheriting a still basically agricultural economy rather than a highly developed industrial powerhouse, methodically pulverized the Czarist government and society anyway.
The proletariat, really an uneducated peasant population, was not prepared to build this state, so communism could not really work. Millions died in a famine. Necessities of life could not be provided.
Lenin, who dreamed of Russia becoming a communist America, declared a New Economic Plan. Capitalist incentives were reintroduced as a means of motivating people to realize the failing vision and legitimize the revolution. American bankers and industrialists helped finance and construct much of the Soviet infrastructure.
Lenin’s old N. E. P. was the model for the early stages of Michael Gorbachev’s perestroika (economic restructuring) when he invited western businesses to establish joint ventures. Lenin died in 1924 and was succeeded by Joseph Stalin. The N. E. P. was abandoned and collectivization or total state control of the economy was introduced. The system had evolved into a dictatorship of the communist party rather than the workers paradise Marx had predicted.
A powerful industrial and military infrastructure would be built over fifteen years (1925-40) but at a terrible cost. State terror was used on a mass scale to stifle dissent and assure conformity. Millions were executed in purges and wholesale land seizures. Russia expanded its sphere of influence over many neighboring republics by either invading or starving them into submission.
Twenty-six million Russians died in World War II – 600,000 of hunger alone during the German’s siege of Leningrad, now St. Petersburg again. But the Soviets won, incorporated Central Europe, and supported communist revolutions in China and Northern Korea. The Cold War began and the Churchill-named Iron Curtain descended. Stalin died in 1953 and two years later was succeeded by reformist Nikita Khrushchev.
Many figures and events have shaped the post-war era and Soviet-U.S. relations during it: China, Berlin, Truman, Korea, Indochina, Eisenhower, Khrushchev, Kennedy, Cuba, Vietnam, Brezhnev, Johnson, Nixon, 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Détente’, Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, Helsinki Accords, Ford and Carter, Nicaragua, Reagan and the Evil Empire, Brezhnev, Chernenko and Andropov dropping dead, Gorbachev, glasnost and perestroika, Yeltsin, the August 1991 coup, and finally, democracy, a market economy, and convertibility of the ruble.
Khrushchev de-Stalinized Russia during his rule. Leonid Brezhnev succeeded Khrushchev and pushed the bloated bureaucracy to forge a social contract to limit terror and enjoy the rapid growth of the fifties and sixties. Economic stagnation due to mismanagement, corruption, and alcoholism set in and was ignored. Drinking and a backward health care system led to a drop in average life span from 69 to 62 while military quagmires in Africa, Latin America, and Afghanistan overextended the economy.
Gorbachev inherited a mess of problems – ethnic unrest in numerous republics, bureaucrats resistant to change, a swollen military, low living standards, food shortages, etc., and desperately tried to improve things through reform of the system only.
The Soviets spent seventy years trying to build a system that would surpass the West’s. The result is that two dictatorships of the communist party persist in a world that has already written communism’s obituary. Perhaps the closest facsimile of an actual proletariat was Poland’s Solidarity Trade Union which lived briefly before being crushed in 1980. With regard to the sixth and utopian stage, no communist regime ever dismantled the government and told the workers to run society. Ironically, the two conservative regimes left routinely ban or censor Russian media.
The purpose of this brief survey of modern Soviet history was to help teachers show students the difference between what Marx envisioned and the inhumane system the communist party leaders produced. Systemic universals were central control of economic activity, an incessant effort to stifle or limit private initiatives, an unwillingness to share power, and an intolerance of non-conformity.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter, and others have condemned communism as a grand failure and denounced the theory as the greatest political aberration of the 20th century.
Teachers should run students through the diagram describing Marx’s materialist conception of history. Make sure that the students understand which groups were the ruled and ruling classes during each the first five stages. Stress the Marxian view of how each new stage grew out of the economic conditions of the previous one, and that capitalism, the most advanced but monopolistic stage, would give away to the final stage, communism.
Key discussion questions:
1. Study the diagram that describes Marxian historical development and determine which stage Russia was in when the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917 and why? Answer: Russia was in a transitional stage somewhere between mercantilism and capitalism – it was not even close to being the highly developed state that Marx predicted communism or socialism would evolve from. The agricultural peasant population was by no means an urban proletariat.
2. What problems did Lenin and Trotsky discover upon taking over, and how did they deal with them? Answer: Russians weren’t prepared to make the communist system work – economic collapse and starvation occurred instead. Lenin had to reintroduce capitalist incentives and invite Western industrialists to help build this new society within the framework of Lenin’s theories, the basis for his New Economic Plan..
3. How did Stalin finally communize or collectivize Russia? Answer: Stalin determined to install communism at any cost and used mass terror. Millions of people were killed, an estimated 500,000 private farmers were shot and their lands seized. Industrial draft
armies heroically built the infrastructure and managed to make the country strong in a generation.
4. In what shape did Russia emerge from WW II? Answer: Russia was devastated, 26,000,000 were dead, but Russia had defeated Germany and pulled Central Europe and parts of Asia into its empire and / or sphere of influence. Stalin sponsored failed insurgencies in Greece and Turkey that the US and its NATO allies contained.
5. State the reasons why America and Russia, allies during WW II, became adversaries throughout the post-war period? Answer: Soviet expansionism, U. S. containment and regional collective security pacts, the cold war, and construction of the Berlin Wall.
6. Discuss and assess Soviet domestic policy during the rules of Lenin and Stalin? Answers: Lenin balanced the call of Trotsky for world revolution – global system of Soviets or models to make world safe for Bolshevism. Stalin preferred a build communism in Russia first, then export revolution. Lenin installed system through applied terror. When the vision failed, he created the N. E. P. Stalin collectivized the system through mass terror and murder, but did develop a huge centralized infrastructure that transformed Russian from a land of few toilets in 1927 to atomic bombs by the time of his death in 1953.
7. Assess present and future of U. S. – Russian relations. Possible Answers: U.S. and USSR were natural adversaries and couldn’t be friends. The U.S. and a semi-democratic and capitalistic Russia can be friends unless Putin attempts to restore great power status and instigates another geopolitical struggle. However, whenever Putin begins to sound belligerent, capital flows leave Russia economically weakened and he quickly quiets down.
Gorbachev, a socialist, introduced perestroika and glasnost reforms, but resisted further change. Yeltsin survived the Aug. 1991 coup and must be credited with transforming Russia into a kind of democracy and market economy. Have conservative authoritarian elements made a comeback under Putin? Or has Russia already progressed too far for hard-liners to govern autonomously anymore?
Current Events Focus: Yugoslavia 1919-1992: Survey the history of Balkan federation. Identify the reasons for national disintegration, examine the secession conflicts, and assess effectiveness of U.S., NATO, and UN peacekeeping forces in checking Serbian aggression against its neighbors. Discuss the future of the Balkan region, its relationship to the European Union, and the Balkan nations place in the world in general.
Student Handout #29 – Case Study: Malaysia and Indonesia – Rectification of Trade Imbalances through Targeting of New Export Markets\
The handout combines analytical and research skills in learning about additional highly populous nations to penetrate domestic markets. The lesson’s aims are to:
A. Familiarize U.S. students with an important part of the world that they are often unaware of
B. Recognize causes of the U.S.’s continuing trade deficit problem
C. Explore targeting of new export markets such as Indonesia, the world’s fifth most populous country (237,000,000), and Malaysia (29.3 million)
D. Simulate international salespersons of micro-computer chips to learn how foreignmarket shares are carved out and / or expanded.
Malaysians and Indonesians are enjoying rising incomes, which makes them potential buyers of more U.S. products. America, which needs to improve its trade situation or eventually risk a lower standard of living, wants to sell more goods abroad. If Americans do not become more effective international salespersons, they risk losing the growing markets of Southeast Asia to foreign competition.
Directions: Tell class to work individually or in groups. Supply students with the handout instructing; “You are an American salesperson of micro-computer chips, one of America’s sunrise (faster growing) hi-tech industries and hotter exports. You have been assigned by your company, the U.S. Chip Manufacturing Corp. (U.S.M.C.), to penetrate the fast developing Malaysian and Indonesian markets. An additional challenge is to successfully compete against aggressive Japanese, Korean, Chinese, German, and Brazilian businessmen who may have certain advantages such as lower price, better quality, geographical proximity, terrific service, or unethical behavior (read bribes).
In order to prove to your boss that you are the best person for this job, and win a promotion and doubling of your salary, you are to submit in advance a business brief incorporating:
A. Concise historical survey of target countries including past and present U.S. – Malaysian and Indonesian relations
B. Nature of economic, political, and social models – capitalist or socialist, democratic or authoritarian, and traditional or future oriented?
C. Geographical analysis – East – West Malaysia including Kuala Lumpur, the autonomous states of Sumatra with two largest cities of Jakarta and Surabaya, Java, Borneo, Celebes, Irian – Jaya and Timor
D. Importance to U.S. in terms of imports / exports, raw materials, finished products, and security arrangements
E. Proof that you are not an ugly American through illustration of sensitivity to the local cultures. This includes spoken languages, religion(s), morals, and ways of doing business.
In recent years, economists such as Robert Reich and Barry Bluestone have called upon national leaders to implement neo-mercantilism as a trade policy. This concept calls for government and business to join forces and target foreign markets to increase exports to. Critics of neo-mercantilism claim that it requires a leniency toward temporary monopolies through suspension of anti-trust laws, thus protecting domestic manufacturers from foreign competition, and making American business less efficient and productive.
Supporters argue that the U.S. foolishly believed the notion that America could become a service society and produce fewer goods. In each of the last three decades, the U. S. bought a trillion dollars more of foreign goods from the world that it sold in return. A major obstacle blocking neo–mercantilism is that big business, regulated by government and seeing its partner more as an adversary than buddy, mostly resists cooperation, yet frequently faces state-subsidized industries as competitors.
Recommend the concept of neo-mercantilism to students as a possible idea for a term paper or extra credit research project.
China is one the oldest civilizations in history, spanning about 60 centuries. It also has the world’s largest population, numbering about 1,360,000,000 people. Despite stringent birth control methods including taxes to limit family size, China’s population is increasing by approximately 15 to 20 million births a year.
China was once the most dynamic society, then built a wall around the country for protection. This closing itself off from the world made China stagnant and ultimately backward. Soon it became weak and subjected to the very fate the wall had been erected to stop – foreign invasion and domination. Powerful outsiders fostered interna1 weakness and division which plagued the country until the Nationalist revolution of Dr. Sun Yet-sen. in 1912.
Mao’s agrarian communist revolution:
China again suffered corruption and turmoil (1917) until General Shang Kai-shek formed
the Kuomintang Government in 1920. Shang, a capitalist, used a popular communist student leader named Mao Zedong, to gain power. Shang then turned on Mao and his followers who escaped to caves in western mountains thousands of miles away. It was during this great trek that Mao planned his rural peasant communist insurgency that would eventually take over China.
Japan tried to conquer Asia over a fifty year period – 1895 – 1945. First, it seized control of Korea, then Taiwan, next occupied Manchuria (1931), and finally invaded China in
1937. Mao’s peasant revolution was well under way and making progress against Nationalist armies. Regardless of enmity though, Shang and Mao both put China first, and their separate armies stopped fighting each other to combat the Japanese. Once the Japanese were defeated, Mao and Shang renewed their struggle. Mao’s forces grew stronger and Shang’s weaker.
U.S. recognizes Nationalist China a.k.a Taiwan and isolates Red China
On Dec. 8, 1949, Mao’s communist armies pushed Shang’s Kuomintang government out of China and onto off shore islands Formosa and Matsu which became Nationalist China and later Taiwan. The U.S. recognized Shang’s 9 million – now 23 million – people as the real China. Meanwhile, Mao established the People’s Republic of China with Beijing as the new capitol which, despite controlling the mainland and hundreds of millions of people, the U.S. ignored. Chinese communist and U.S. armies even clashed in Korea where Red China was aiding North Korea and America was defending the South.
Kim Il-sung, North Korean revolutionary communist leader
Russia and China declared a close friendship – USSR aid helped Mao to establish a strong central government and provide the five guarantees to the Chinese people: some measure of food, shelter, education, health care, and a job for all. China had always been divided by great wealth and worse poverty, and now all of the people were receiving at least the basic needs of life.
But China was still a very poor country with progress being limited by several factors.
1) U.S. viewed Red China as a very hostile country and refused it recognition, trade, and development loans.
2) Relations with Russia quickly deteriorated due to the poor quality of Soviet aid,
3) Russian refusal to share nuclear technology with the Chinese despite Mao’s demands
4) Mao’s denouncing the Russians as revisionists for paying higher wages to more motivated and productive workers.
Mao’s disasters: The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution
When the economy stalled in the late 1950’s, Mao declared a Great Leap Forward program to achieve self-sufficiency. Groups or communes were urged to submit proposals for ambitious industrial projects such as steel mills, truck plants, and so on which the government funded. Unfortunately, very few of the groups were prepared to realize their goals so the Great Leap Forward went nowhere.
China essentially stood still for ten years. People grumbled about how their lives were not getter better. Many equated communism with pauperism causing Mao to believe that the Chinese revolutionary spirit was weakening. Mao unleashed the Red Guard. Imagine thousands of rigid thinking young people running around with a license to scrutinize people’s patriotism. A civil war broke out and lasted nearly ten more years. Perhaps up to
9,000,000 people died while countless lives were wrecked in the continuing turmoil.
China after Mao
Mao died in 1974 and was succeeded by Chou En Lai who in 1972 tilted China towards America away from Russia. Chou’s logic for engineering President Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to China and Beijing was based on:
1. The enemy of enemy is my friend
2. Russia was considering a nuclear strike against China and only the U.S. could counter that
3. The U.S. had more money and better technology than the Russians that China needed to move forward.
In 1977, Deng Hsiao Ping, who’d worn a dunce cap during the Red Guard era, came to power. President Jimmy Carter fully recognized China, downgraded Taiwan’s status and helped China to modernize. From 1977 to 1989, experiments with new economic zones and capitalist incentives resulted in high growth rates. The reforms produced thousands of new businesses and joint ventures and especially benefitted farmers. However, the increasing economic freedom also stoked a desire for more political freedom.
The pro-democracy movement and Tiananmen Square massacre
In May 1989, pro-democracy students began demonstrating in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The government, near collapse, ordered soldiers to shoot students – an estimated 2,400 were killed. The economic reforms were curtailed and China quickly became a tightly controlled society again. Tensions persisted for some time but the growing economy eased chances of another social explosion. The government displayed deftness in retaining political control while moving ahead with economic reform.
Because China’s fate has been to zigzag back and forth, Deng packed the government with pragmatic politicians who took two steps forward and one step back. To quote Zbigniew Brzezinski again; “Chinese communism is commercial in nature so ideological dilution will be the price of success. Modern China will enter the 21st Century still ruled by communism, but it will not be a communized China.”
And it wasn’t – China’s economy for the past twenty years has enjoyed the highest growth rates in history. China became a manufacturing powerhouse, the foundry of the world, and by 2013, had become the second largest economy. China practiced authoritarian capitalism also called state or corporatist capitalism. The government continues the policy of growing the economy while maintaining strict political control which places China on a collision course with a growing desire for individual freedom..
1- What events in Chinese history have tended to weaken or stagnate the country?
2- What do the Chinese mean when they say Mao was 70% right, 30% wrong? Relate Mao’s successes and failures?
3- Compare and contrast Deng’s significant economic reforms against the Tiananmen Square Massacre and neo-Maoist-style repression afterwards. Compare Mao’s and Deng’s places in history?
4- Examine the growing economic linkage between Hong Kong, the free market zones such as Shenzhen Province in southeastern China then Taiwan and Shanghai.
Hong Kong Taipei, Taiwan
5- After the massacre, the Democratic Congress tried to impose economic sanctions on for employing political prisoners as slave labor in factories. Some of those goods imported into the U.S. President George Bush 41 vetoed all House and Senate actions claiming that to slap China would only drive her inwards. “We need to nurture the economic reforms which will nudge China into uniformity with other nations”.
Given the past twenty years of extraordinary growth, and China’s becoming a major power, was President Bush’s decision correct?
6- China’s government has maintained exclusive political control while successfully expanding the economy and creating amazing new levels of wealth. As the Chinese people travel the world, receive western educations, get richer, become a middle class nation, can the government continue to rule autonomously?
7- If you think that strict control is impossible to maintain, then what should the government be doing in order to head off a social explosion in the future?
India, a traditional Hindu dominated society, is also one of the oldest civilizations in history. With its collection of ethnic groups, the nation-state of India borders on empire status too.
Arab invaders established a Muslim foothold in the west and Turks later in the north. The first Europeans, the Portuguese, colonized the mini-state of Goa about 1500. The English arrived a century later and helped organize the country. The British Raj would control India for three centuries until independence in 1947. The Dutch and French also controlled small areas for a time.
Birth of modern India
Mahatma Gandhi fueled a growing nationalist movement after WW I by emp1oying non-violent tactics to win freedom. Gandhi undermined the British Raj – colonial administration – with acts of civil disobedience such as strikes, boycotts, sitting down on railroad tracks, and the development of cottage industries to build economic independence.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
After WW II, India became a constitutional democracy that guaranteed equal representation to both Hindus and Moslems. The more numerous Hindus objected and suddenly after living peacefully together for centuries, violence erupted. Twelve million people moved south and north, and when the dust cleared, hundreds of thousands of people were dead.
Two Pakistani states separated by 1000 miles were born, the West being mainly Punjabi – somewhat taller, lighter-skinned, richer, and more martial. The East, the Bengalis, were a little shorter, darker-skinned, poorer and maybe more poetic.
India’s democracy has been a dynastic one. Mohandas Gandhi was assassinated and never led his country as chief of state. The first 1eader was Jawaharlal Nehru who ruled from 1947 until his death in 1964. The stylish Nehru achieved world stature so his unfortunate successor paled in comparison. Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s daughter and a strong figure in her own right, won office in 1969.
War with Pakistan
In 1970, East Pakistan voted for limited autonomy (self-government) from West Pakistan. General Khan, Pakistan’s ruler, objected and sent in troops to maintain domination. The troops marauded, killed aimlessly, and raped thousands of women. Seven million Bengalis fled across the border into India for safety. The influx alarmed Mrs. Gandhi who warned General Khan to cease, desist, and recall his ill-disciplined army.
When General Khan refused, Mrs. Gandhi acted by sending her army into East Pakistan to stop the slaughter and plundering. This was accomplished, in addition to chasing West Pakistani soldiers back to their territory. Peace was restored to East Pakistan which soon became the new nation of Bangladesh, one of the poorest and most densely populated countries in the world.
Mrs. Gandhi expected to be appreciated for stopping the massacre and birthing a new democracy. When the West Pakistani regime collapsed and was replaced by a democracy led by President Ali Bhutto, Mrs. Gandhi waited for the U.S. to congratulate her.
U.S. – Indian relations
But American gratitude was not to be forthcoming. At the time, President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, practitioners of realistic foreign policy rather than moralistic, were receiving signals from China about tilting away from Russia and towards
America. A billion Chinese on the side of the U. S. would shift the balance of power (temporarily in the USSR’s and East’s favor) away from the Russians and towards the
West and America.
There is an old Chinese proverb: The enemy of my enemy is my friend. China had gained the edge on India in a short border war over Kashmir in 1959 and remained enemies ever since. Obviously, Pakistan considered India an enemy due to its helping Bangladesh to emerge as a nation. Therefore, China and Pakistan were natural allies. The price to America for China’s friendship then was to declare India the aggressor against Pakistan.
The U. S. condemnation of India enraged Mrs. Gandhi. When President Nixon visited China, she permanently tilted towards the Soviet Union until her assassination by Sikh bodyguards in 1981. The apparent belief at the time that only a Gandhi could govern made the country perhaps the first dynastic democracy. However, the dynasty was thought to have ended with Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991 while he was campaigning to regain power again. His Italian-born widow Sonia has headed the Congress Party since 1998 but resisted calls for her to become the Prime Minister.
Rajiv Gandhi’s legacy may have been steering his country’s foreign policy to a more balanced relationship with both Russia and America. India’s once very closed and socialist economy has opened its markets, large competitive firms have formed and operate globally.
Rajiv Gandhi in 1983
India has emerged as a BRIC industrial power – Brazil, Russia, India, China – all large nations with growing economies. A middle class numbering a two hundred million or more has formed. At the same time, India still has a huge poor population, per capita income is about $1,500 and ethnic violence has torn at the nation’s fabric – Sikh extremism, Bihar violence against Bengalis and so on.
India’s failed intervention in the Sri Lankan civil war
A civil war between nearby Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority broke out in 1983 and did not end until 2009. The Sinhalese dominated government but was at first powerless to stop the Tamil’s bloody secession. Massacres by each side were soon being committed and went on for 26 years.
Sinhalese population is represented in yellow. Tamils mostly occupied northern part of country and tried to break away.
In order to stop the killing, Rajiv Gandhi responded to a Sri Lankan request for India to send peacekeeping troops to separate the combatants and quell the terrorism. The peace treaty unfortunately, did not satisfy both radical Sinhalese and Tamils who renewed their terrorist attacks. In 1990, Indian troops were released from their thankless peacekeeping task that had placed them in the crossfire.
Sri Lanka, once considered the poor country with the world’s highest quality of life, became a dangerous and unhappy land. India’s own large Tamil minority, upset over the Indian troops killing Sri Lankan Tamil extremists, became restless too. Rajiv
Gandhi’s assassin was a Tamil woman who handed him a bouquet of flowers laced with plastic explosives.
Discussion quest ions
1. Why was the independent nation of India, one of the world’s oldest civilizations, not born until 1947?
2. The nation of Pakistan is a product of the Indian Revolution also. Why did India’s being a predominately Hindu society and Pakistan a Moslem country lead to four wars between the two nations?
3. Describe how lingering hard feelings between India and Pakistan helped create Bangladesh?
4. Why is India considered by some to have been the first dynastic democracy?
5. Former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was insulted and enraged by a realistic foreign policy decision of American President Richard Nixon. Describe the action taken by President Nixon and why it influenced Mrs. Gandhi to side with the Soviet Union against the United States for a decade.
6. How and why have U. S. – Indian relations improved since Mrs. Gandhi and hersuccessor, son Rajiv’s, deaths?
7. India’s population of nearly 1 billion, 220 million people is growing rapidly and is expected to double and surpass China’s by the end of the 21st century. Can India hope to continue its economic progress without further curbing its population growth? How?
8. Given India’s growing economic power, is it already the regional power capable of policing the southwest Asian sub-continent? Why?
Modern Japan rebuilt itself out of the ashes of WW II to become one of the major industrial and banking powers in the world today. Many Japanese corporations’ products set their industry’s standards of quality and excellence. But Japan has been in a twenty year long economic slump and is just starting to finally show some signs of life again.
For much of its history, Japan was a very poor and crowded island nation. Although a constitutional monarchy today, for 1,000 years Japan was controlled by a series of Shoguns or warlords who closed their society off to the rest of the world. Japan’s emperor can trace his lineage back more than 2,600 years.
U.S. Admiral Perry and the Opening of Japan
A national trait of the Japanese is to borrow heavily from the world’s cultures, then assimilate the idea, technologies, and products they imported. In the process, the Japanese frequently improve upon the original concept.
Admiral Matthew Perry
About 500 years ago, Japan lacked a complete culture so they adapted much of China’s. Approximately 150 years ago, Admiral Matthew Perry introduced U. S. culture to Japan with a bang.
Perry had tried to initiate trade only to learn that the Japanese people viewed foreigners, especially Westerners, as barbarians – they refused to have anything to do with him. Perry, having come a long way and determined not to go home empty-handed, shocked the Japanese into changing their minds by bombarding their coastal cities. The Japanese lacked military hardware such as gunships to retaliate. This humiliation taught them that they lagged behind the West, and they swore to catch up in a hurry.
The Mejeii Revolution
The Japanese people threw themselves into this great leap forward with the samurai-like (warrior’s) intensity that had marked their society for centuries. In 1867, Emperor Mejeii proclaimed a revolution in which Japan would quickly westernize and industrialize. He sent thousands of young people to study in European and American universities to bring back new ideas and technologies.
The Japanese people did catch up and by 1905 were strong enough to defeat the Russians in a key sea battle that won them a toe-hold on the Asian mainland. However, their mountainous Montana-sized land lacked the basic raw materials needed to compete commercially with either the U. S. or European powers. That set the stage for a takeover of the Korean peninsula in 1910, and Manchuria in 1931. In just two generations, they made themselves into a major power.
Japan seeks its “place in the sun”
Japan felt hemmed in and held back by the great powers. More and more they began to ask each other why Europeans – England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, and the U. S. were the masters of Asia and not 90,000,000 Japanese? Or how come the Pacific Ocean was viewed as an American Lake and not a Japanese Lake?
Their answers: European and U. S. imperialism – the colonization of most Pacific islands and domination of the Asian mainland. For example, let us investigate U. S. actions in the Spanish-American War.
In 1898, the U. S., while helping to free Cuba from Spain, some how wound up annexing Hawaii and seizing the Philippines from the Spanish too. Emilio Aguinaldo, a Philippine leader, begged the Americans for their freedom and even led a rebellion against the U. S. to win it. When we balked, America’s explanation was that the U.S. was there for the Philippines own good and killed 8,000 rebels to prove it to them.
By 1900, the U.S. had outstripped Britain commercially; by 1919, Detroit’s industrial capacity alone equaled Japan’s. The Japanese viewed the new expanding American empire as blocking similar ambitions of their own.
The Japanese did not enter WW I until the very end and received a few nearby islands for their limited efforts. In the 1920’s, a series of actions by America and the European powers convinced the Japanese that they would never be treated as equals by the West.
Roots of World War II
First, the U.S.’s high protective tariffs priced Japanese goods out of the huge, rich American domestic market and depressed Japan’s economy.
Second, changes in U.S. immigration quotas (1922, 1924) essentially excluded Asian immigrants from this country until 1952.
Third, a great power disarmament conference in Washington in 1925 restricted Japan to a weaker overall military position than England and America.
Slighted and frustrated, ultra-nationalist factions within the Japanese military conceived a strategy to become the masters of Asia and Lords of the Pacific. Locked out of global markets, national affluence would be achieved through creation of a Japanese-Asia Co–Prosperity Sphere of Influence, a mercantilist plan to control the markets of Asia through colonization of the entire continent and Pacific region.
The way to fascist domination was through militarization of society to organize huge land forces, and the means to enormous imperial ambitions the construction of a new powerful navy and air force. The Emperor Hirohito’s declaration of divinity contributed to the people’s uncommon devotion, obedience, and conformity.
After the gradual colonization of Manchuria (1931), Japan invaded China (1937), then fanned out across Southeast Asia (1939). Incursions into the Pacific signaled the U. S. that Japan intended to island-hop to regional prominence. President Franklin Roosevelt, sensing Japan’s aims, moved the U. S. naval fleet from San Diego, California, to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 2,000 miles away. When Japan invaded the Philippines, and later bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, to start the war, Americans wondered if even the U.S.’s west coast might be invaded.
Japanese Empire at the start of WW II
America fights back
Japan had gambled that the U. S. was tied down in Europe with Hitler, so destruction of the U.S.’s fleet at Pearl Harbor might force America to surrender her new Pacific empire to Tokyo. Supposedly, if Germany had won, the Axis Powers planned to conquer America and use the Mississippi River as a dividing line.
But America rearmed, and with twice the population and industrial might, overwhelmed Japan. The dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced Japan’s unconditional surrender. The Emperor was demythologized to mere mortal status. A special and permanently controversial constitutional provision of limiting
defense spending to one percent of the Gross National Product in effect made Japan the first nation in history to actively embrace pacifism. Under the Marshall Plan, the U.S. provided economic aid to reconstruct Japanese society and industry.
The Japanese rebuild
It was difficult at first, but the Japanese worked hard to come back. Its first exports to the U.S. were of poor quality and did not sell very well. The initial success was a small, cheap transistor radio in the late 1950’s. Sony’s Akio Morita visited America in 1962 to see why Japan did not sell more products. Mr. Morita was embarrassed by what he saw and returned to Japan to share his concerns with other businessmen. A national mission to improve quality and win markets was established.
By the early 1970’s, Japan was dominating the global home electronics industry. During the gas shortages of the late 1970’s when the world suddenly needed good small fuel efficient cars, the Japanese had them. By the 1980’s, more people bought Japanese goods on the basis of quality and style than price. In contrast, since the mid-1980’s, the U.S. experienced large annual trade deficits with Japan – indeed the continuing trade surpluses caused a great deal of friction between the two allies. The reinvestment of those dollars to buy U.S. assets such as prime real estate also caused some concern about possible economic domination.
But the bubble burst around 1990 and Japan has suffered relative stagnation since. The rise of China and Korean competition has hollowed Japanese industry out – they too had to move factories off shore to lower their selling price, or to stave off import quotas.
Failed bank loans were slow to come off the books. The government endlessly tinkered with the economy but never quite tweaked it right – they recently doubled the money supply in a bold attempt to boost exports by lowering the yen’s value.
1. How would you describe initial relations between Japan and Western nations? Relate that meeting to Edward Gibbons famous quote that a people who do not discipline themselves will have it thrust on them by a more powerful exterior force.
2. Did the U.S. and European powers treat the Japanese as equals? Why?
3. Can economically strong and militarily weak Japan become a superpower?
4. Should Japan change the 1% of GNP defense investment law? How might China and Korea view such an action by the Japanese and why?
The Germans, the largest and most powerful European people, live in the center of the
continent. Locate Germany on a map of Europe and identify the countries flanking it to the west – F__________ , B__________ , L_____________, N_____________ ), to the north D____________ , N____________ , S_________ ; to the east Central Europe: P________,
C__________, H ____________, and the Alpine nations S________________, A_____________, L_________ to the south.
The German people evolved from a number of tribes; Franks, Saxons, Bavarians, and Swabia’s. Tacitus, the ancient Roman historian, wrote about barbarians who occupied a northern plain, actually a frontier, with no natural barriers.
The settlements these barbarians eventually formed were known as germs. The word deutsch (German) appeared during the eighth century and was first used to describe the language spoken in the eastern Frankish area.
Charlemagne united German and Romance speaking peoples into a great empire which fell apart after his death in 814. Conrad I, considered to be the first real German king (911), may have given birth to the term Reich. During the Middle Ages, Germany was part of the Holy Roman Empire though relations between the Pope and the various German monarchs were often stormy.
Towns grew in power during the late Middle Ages by forming alliances that generated commerce. The most important of these was the Hanseatic League which included the Baltic city-states of Hamburg and Bremen. Progressive intellectual change also occurred in the form of guilds, a type of apprenticeship union that produced fine craftsmen and displayed early capitalistic traits, as well as the Renaissance and spirit of humanism which challenged the Catholic Church’s grip on social and economic thought.
Martin Luther tacked ninety-five thesis’ to the Nimes cathedral door and sparked the Protestant Reformation. Angry peasants protested against official church corruption and cleansed their houses of worship of “catholic taint”. The new bourgeois merchant class, celebrated hard work, saving, and prosperity and rejected the notion of pre-destination and the condition of poverty.
The Protestants asked; “Must one be poor in the here and now in order to receive salvation in the hereafter? Is not one who is rich in familial and material gifts blessed by God? Cannot one be a good Christian and enjoy a haven on earth instead? After Luther, the German people increasingly answered no, yes, and yes. Regardless, the Renaissance Pope’s unwillingness to reform the Catholic Church nor recognize the new Protestant faith devastated Germany until the 1648 Peace of Westphalia.
Ratification of the Treaty of Munster
Germany endured absolutism for the next two centuries. Bavaria, Prussia, Saxony and Hanover became power centers and dominated the life of their people. The Prussians became the foremost military force in Europe while Austria incorporated Hungary to repulse the Turks and control Middle Europe.
France, under Napoleon, seized Alsace – Lorraine in 1803, setting the stage for the region’s becoming a geo-political football. Although the French Revolution did not greatly affect Germany, some reforms aimed at breaking down feudal barriers were enacted. The lack of any centralized authority probably inhibited constitutional development.
The industrial revolution began in the 1830’s but had little impact on the state’s suffocating control of daily life. The most profound example is the failed worker’s revolution of 1848 which may be viewed as a turning point in modern German history. This democratic movement from “below” stunned the princes into granting many concessions.
Revolutionaries cheering their cause in Berlin
Unfortunately, this effort to build a social democracy was blunted by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV’s resistance and differences over whether to unite with Austria. The debate over a greater or smaller Germany, the blending of many new ideas, and concern about Austria’s bringing a dozen non-Germanic peoples – Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenians, Bohemians, Silesians, etc. – into the proposed federation proved too much to deal with. Instead, a reactionary and autocratic structure was imposed from the “top” and a new German Confederation (1850) was re-founded.
Germania 1850 – the German Confederation
The rise of Prussia, the Bismarck Reich, and German nationalism
Prussia became the economic center of a rapidly industrializing Germany during the next two decades. Otto von Bismarck, appointed Prime Minister in 1862, centralized political authority. Bismarck’s unification of the German states into a single nation transformed the country into a land of iron and armor. In 1864, Bismarck forced Denmark to cede Schleswig-Holstein; in 1866, he defeated Austria and dissolved the confederation. In 1870, Germany defeated France and reclaimed Alsace – Lorraine.
Otto von Bismarck
In 1871, the German Empire – Deutsches Reich – was proclaimed with Wilhelm I of Prussia as Emperor. Despite Germany’s becoming a modern industrial power with a growing middle class, the nation remained ruled by aristocrats and army officers. The elite resisted all democratic trends and alienated the laboring classes.
Wilhelm II, Germany’s “Place in the Sun”, and World War I
Bismarck was dismissed in 1890 by Kaiser Wilhelm II who wanted to rule by himself. This was a mistake as Wilhelm was not very astute in domestic or foreign affairs. This may be seen in his crushing worker’s movements and causing unnecessary conflict with speeches on weltpolitik (world policy) and Germany’s place in the sun.
Kaiser Wilhelm II
The Kaiser believed that Germany had become a great nation and warranted global influence similar to the British or French. Therefore, Germany was entitled to seize lands yet unclaimed, or carve out undeveloped areas adjacent to competitors, and did this through the building of a great navy. Of course, Germany’s expanding empire in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific aggravated tensions with its European rivals, England and France.
German Colonial Empire
Germany also antagonized the U. S. by desiring Mexico and Brazil and thus scoffing at the Monroe Doctrine. Ironically, the U. S., while staying aloof from entangling European affairs, displayed a similar imperialist fever by sweeping across the Pacific Ocean in Manifest Destiny style. The U.S., as advised by Alfred Mahan, also built a great navy that confronted the Germans over faraway Samoa and resulted in partitioning the island.
Although the causes of World War I are well documented, the matter of assessing blame remains in dispute. While none of the combatants wanted war, all seemed prepare to risk it, including Germany, who foolishly provoked the U. S. to enter on the side of the victorious allies.
World War I trenches in France
President Wilson urged conciliation and economic restoration. France preferred revenge and so weakened Germany that it could never attack France again. The result was to shame, humiliate, and impoverish the proud German nation.
The rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis and the seeds of World War II
The war ended the monarchy and ushered in the Weimar Republic. In reality, the Germans had no democratic past nor institutions so the system was essentially imposed on them. For any democracy to flourish, it must take root in the hearts and minds of the people.
Weimar Republic flag
Tragically, democracy and the Weimar Republic was introduced during the nightmarish post-WW I period and became associated with “rape at Versailles”, war reparations that destroyed the economy, hyperinflation that wiped out the value of money and savings, joblessness and poverty, fear of communism, and political extremism. This was a time ripe for demagogues, and one named Adolph Hitler, the head of the new National Socialist
Party (Nazis), simplified the many complex problems facing the average German by scapegoating and demonizing the Jews.
Hitler was a master of the big lie, meaning that if its big enough, people will generally be1ieve it. In this case, Hitler claimed that the Jews stabbed Germany in the back causing the country to lose the war. Hitler neglected to say that the Jews were only .8% of the population of 80,000,000 and that nearly half of all German Jewish males of military age (800,000) served in the army.
But the main chord that Hitler struck with the public was promising to redeem the German people and nation. His program called for massive job creation, public works projects, and ending Germany’s circumstances in which it found itself so weak that it couldn’t afford to pay its reparations bill, or act sufficiently strong to refuse to.
Paul von Hindenburg, 2nd President of Germany
In 1933, the aging President von Hindenburg hoped that the Nazi Party, which had placed second in recent elections, could help bring order to Germany and invited Hitler to join his government. Hitler accepted, immediately burned the Reichstag (the German Parliament building), blamed the fire on the communists, declared a state of emergency that required suspension of democracy, and formed a dictatorship. The Nazi’s soon issued the Nuremberg Laws that began the process of dehumanizing the Jews through isolation, theft of property and identity, and finally removal and extermination.
Hitler is credited with giving the German people an affordable car – the people’s car or Volkswagen – and the autobahn (superhighway) to drive it on. The flip-side is that automobile assembly lines were easily convertible to military production, and the autobahn was really constructed for mobile German armies to more quickly invade their neighbors.
First Beetle – 1935
Since we also examined Nazi Germany and World War II in Units 4 and 5, and will study the Holocaust in Unit 8, there is no need to review the war. Hitler led his nation to destruction. Many people ask the question; “How could such a great and civilized nation like Germany follow Adolph Hitler and perform such inhuman acts?” Whether you answer collective national insanity, use of fear, envy, hatred, confusion, mass terror, violence, division or whatever is probably correct but not our focus.
Our aim is to understand how the German economic model was constructed and works, and that that model is a product of the German people, their conquerors and occupiers, and the evolution of European civilization.
The division of Germany
Truman, Churchill, and Stalin met at Potsdam in 1945 to plan the post-war reconstruction of Germany. It was decided that Germany would be disarmed, kept intact, and occupied.
The U.S., France, Britain, and Russia divided Germany into four military zones. Ethnic Germans were expelled from surrounding countries and fifteen million refugees poured into the shattered Fatherland. Many citizens fearfully contemplated if their shambles of a nation could survive.
But the U.S. created the Marshall Plan which invested 40% of $14 billion of European aid into the economic reconstruction of Germany. By 1952 the German economy was taking off and is now viewed as a miracle. The allies built democracy from the ground up and the ideal took root in the German soul.
Berlin, the German capital, was also occupied and divided into four military zones too.
Berlin also found itself three hundred miles deep into the Soviet military zone. By the early 1950’s, the U.S., England, and France were readying their German zones for independence.
The Russians, however, were pulling their eastern German zone into the Soviet orbit, rapidly communizing the economy, and reneging on its 1945 agreement. Germany was being divided into two very different lands; West Germany (Federal Republic of Deutsch land, 62 million people), and East Germany (German Democratic Republic, 17 million people).
Map of West and East Germany
The West German economy was integrated into the European Economic Community and became an industrial powerhouse. The social system and culture was democratized and if there was an ideology, it was extolling middle-class prosperity.
The wealth was shared as West Germans, by the late 1980’s, earned the world’s highest wages and enjoyed very generous benefits. Workers received an average of six weeks paid vacations and cradle to the grave social security (health care, inexpensive college educations, old age pensions, family subsidies). It should be noted that the wealth was earned from the production and exporting of high quality goods such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen cars. Identify at least six German brand names and decide if consumers buy them on the basis of low price or high quality.
The chief export of East Germany, in comparison, was the training of other’s dictatorships secret police forces. Communist Party boss Erich Honecher constructed the world’s most elaborate state security apparatus. About one in four East Germans spied or informed on their fellow citizens. Wives and husbands snitched on each other, children reported their parents to the authorities, and files were kept on nearly everyone.
The East German state did assign its people a job, and provided a relatively comfortable life for a communist society. It also produced the world’s most formidable Olympics medal-winning machine. Still, that unhappy, sullen land was a virtual prison with walls dividing the two Germany’s and surrounding Berlin.
The Reunification of Germany
In 1953, East Germany workers rebelled against communization and were crushed. People began walking from the eastern sector into the western sector in such numbers that jokes were made that “the last person leaving was expected to turn out the lights”. By 1961, the situation was critical enough to erect walls around Berlin and further seal off the Iron Curtain dividing Germany, a phrase coined by Winston Churchill at Fulton, Missouri, in 1946.
In 1948, the Russians tried to starve the city into submission by closing off traffic through East Germany. The U.S. orchestrated a year-long airlift that eventually broke the embargo. In 1962, President Kennedy visited the city and promised American support to defend the encircled forty square mile enclave.
Ironically, the Stalinist East German state was undermined by its Soviet and Warsaw Pact overlord, Russia. Michael Gorbachev’s reforms – glasnost, perestroika, competing political parties – unleashed a desire for change in the satellite nations with Poland being the first country to demonstrate for control over its affairs (sovereignty).
In July of 1989, Poles took to the streets to demand a conversion from communist rule to democracy and a market economy. Gorbachev, seeking to integrate Russia into the world economy and end the Cold War, permitted this peaceful revolution to succeed. This signaled the peoples of the other satellites that they could bring down their communist governments too.
Czechoslovakians, led by playwright Vaclev Havel and in what is now called the Velvet Revolution, followed by kicking out the Stalinist Gustav Husak. One by one, and on an almost weekly basis, the communist parties of Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania were dissolved. East Germans noticed and began demonstrating by going on vacation to Hungary.
Yes, vacation, because the 1956 Hungarian Revolution was so violent, Russia allowed that country to westernize and experiment with market economics more than the others. East Germans, being perhaps the most prosperous communist model, traveled throughout the communist bloc nations. After the Polish and Czech revolutions, Hungary opened its border with Austria to permit East Germans to escape to West Germany.
Hundreds of thousands of East Germans headed for Hungary by car or train, then entered Austria to obtain refugee status. The East German Government, powerless to stop this mass exodus, attempted some modest reforms. The concessions only displayed weakness and hastened political doom.
East Germans who had remained behind demonstrated by the hundreds of thousands for democratic change. In late October, the communist government, to ease the pressure on them, replaced Erich Honecher with Egon Krenz. Three weeks later, on Nov. 9, 1989, a day that has become famous in history, Krenz, recognizing the onrushing tide of change, ordered the Berlin Wall to be torn down.
Hundreds of thousands of East Germans poured through the opening for a taste of freedom. The coupling of the two states was the most euphoric moment in modern German history. East and West Germany were reunified with the West picking up the tab for reconstruction, a bill that is estimated at more than a trillion dollars. The tremendous cost soon ended the heady feelings of 1989 and caused many Germans to wonder if they hadn’t rushed things a bit.
Regardless, Germany eventually healed and became relatively healthy and whole. The eastern sector, while experiencing traumatic change – higher unemployment rate, loss of status and identity, new values, economic insecurity equated with capitalism – was transformed with state of the art technologies. As a result, the eastern sector became more advanced than the western sector.
The transformation took a decade with some of the most entrenched problems being what to do about the gigantic spying network that existed and the terribly polluted environment – poisoned rivers, toxic waste dumps, unsafe nuclear power plants, dirty coal burning plants.
A particularly disturbing sight was the resentment shown by some former East Germans toward foreign guest workers that the communist government had invited to help end labor shortages. Their insecurity over whether a place for them in the new Germany existed manifested in physical attacks on non-German workers. They viewed citizenship according to blood and rejected the fact that Germany was becoming a multi-cultural society and magnet for immigration.
The Ossies (Easterners) attacks were Nazi-like behavior and suggested an ease from swinging from extreme left-wing beliefs to an extreme right-wing ideology. The neo-Nazi groups only numbered about 30,000 to 40,000 out of 80,000,000 Germans and never became a political threat to democracy.
Germany has the world’s fourth largest economy and is the most powerful nation in Europe. It is increasingly called upon to perform a leadership role in world affairs commensurate with its influence in the global economy. The German people, however, are uncomfortable with a military leadership role and prefer to act as a merchant state supplying capital and economic leadership. The new eastern German states have become relaxed, democratic lands firmly anchored in NATO and the European Union.
1. Who are the Germanic peoples and why did it take until the 19th Century for them to form a nation?
2. How come democracy did not take root until after the second World War?
3. Why and how did Germany carry out the Final Solution and Holocaust? Research what Germany has done to atone for this crime?
4. Construct a time line listing important events involving Germany and Berlin during the Cold War struggle?
5. Discuss Germany’s situation as a front line state between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. When President Reagan introduced short range missiles into West Germany in 1985, what was meant by the slogan; “The shorter the range, the deader the German?”
6. Assess the opinion: “Germany has finally found its place in the world and is possibly on the verge of entering a golden age.”
Directions: Each student has read five prepared handouts with related questions on CHINA, INDIA, JAPAN, RUSSIA and GERMANY. Each handout contained a limited history of the five countries and an overview of their development of relations with other nations. In a series of essays, slower students may synthesize data from earlier units depicting American development plus use handouts #28A-B-C-D and E as models for writing an essay describing the U. S societal model.
An evaluation grade should be based on historical accuracy, synthesis of relevant events and information, and preparation and submission of a well written essay. More advanced students should prepare one or more essays on NIGERIA, EGYPT, BRAZIL, MEXICO.
CASE STUDY: Malaysia / Indonesia — Rectification of present trade in-balance through targeting new export markets (Neo-Mercantilism).
DIRECTIONS: Malaysia (20,000,000) and Indonesia (237,000,000) have growing markets thus making them potential target areas for the U. S. to increase exports to. America is a super-industrial country and must improve its trade situation or eventually risk a lowered standard of living. Therefore, each student is to simulate an American salesperson of microcomputer chips, one of our leading industries and hotter exports. You have been assigned by your company, the U.S. Chip Manufacturing Corporation (U.S. C. M. Inc.) to penetrate the Malaysian and Indonesian markets, the latter country having the fifth largest population on earth. An additional challenge is to successfully compete against aggressive Japanese, Australian, German and Brazilian businessmen who have certain advantages. These may be lower price, better quality, geographical proximity, terrific service or unethical behavior (read bribes).
In order to prove to your boss that you are the best person for this job – and win a promotion and doubling of salary – you are to submit in advance a business brief containing:
1- Concise history of two countries including a survey of past and present U.S. Malaysian and Indonesian relations
2- Nature of economic, political, and social models
3- Analysis of geography; East – West Malaysia including Kuala Lumpur, the autonomous states and city-states of Singapore and Brunei. In Indonesia, the islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Celebes, Irian – Jaya, and Timor
4- Importance of Indonesia and Malaysia to U.S. in terms of imports, exports, raw materials, finished products, and security arrangements
5- Proof that you are not an ugly American. Illustrate sensitivity to the local cultures. Thisincludes spoken languages, religion(s), morals, ways of doing business.
Human Resources of the Five Comparative Models – 2013
Labor Force Size
Annual Population Increase
Germany no change
Cultivated Land Per Capita
China 2/5 acre
India 3/5 acre
Japan 1/5 acre
Russia 2.5 acres
Germany 1/2 acre
USA 2.3 acres
Locations of Mega-Cities – one dot = 1 million people