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Modernity and the Road to War (1890-1914). Chapter 24. A Few Major Themes of the Period. Imperialism begins to have an effect on European psyche. Alliances begin to stretch diplomacy to the breaking point. Antisemitism becomes a useful tool in political rhetoric.

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a few major themes of the period
A Few Major Themes of the Period
  • Imperialism begins to have an effect on European psyche.
  • Alliances begin to stretch diplomacy to the breaking point.
  • Antisemitism becomes a useful tool in political rhetoric.
  • Europeans begin to view modernity with hostility (especially Germans).

How did developments in social life, art, intellectual life and politics at the turn of the century produce instability and set the backdrop for war?

public debate over private life
Public Debate Over Private Life

Fluctuations in Traditional Society Spark Debate

  • Birthrates in most European countries begin to fall.
    • A result of industrialization.
    • Families needed fewer hands because industry was making life easier.
    • Contraception becomes available.
    • Reaction from politicians? The clergy? The upper classes?
  • How do these reactions shape politics?
public debate over private life1
Public Debate Over Private Life

Reforming Marriage – in order to bring about a better society

  • Eugenics: selective breeding, and preventing disabled people and others deemed inferior from reproducing.
    • Sterilization – popular in the US long before Nazi Germany. Nazis took inspiration from US in this respect.
  • Improve marriage laws – equal control over property, women don’t need permission from the husband to work.
    • France legalized divorce
    • By 20th cent many gov’ts pass health care and child support laws to aid lower class families.
politics of sexual identity
Politics of Sexual Identity

The New Woman

  • Earned degrees, biked and hiked throughout Europe, took white-collar jobs.
    • Begin challenging the accepted views of women’s dependence and seclusion in the home.


  • Havelock Ellis (1894) claims a new personality has been identified.
  • Condemned by the press and politicians.
    • Oscar Wilde thrown in jail for “indecency.”
  • In an effort to cover up Wilhelm II’s inner circle, the press equates heterosexuality with patriotism.
politics of sexual identity1
Politics of Sexual Identity

Sciences of the Modern Self

  • Psychology and psychoanalysis develop to treat people dealing with the pace of urban life.
    • Overstimulation to blame for both individual and national deterioration (Nordau)
    • Imperial adventures would cure it say social Darwinists.
  • Ivan Pavlov says behavior can be controlled by conditioning mental reflexes.
sigmund freud
Sigmund Freud

Father of psychoanalysis

Psyche is made up of 3 competing parts.

Ego: most in touch with need to work and survive.

Id: contains instinctive drives and sexual energies.

Super Ego: the conscience

The “talking cure” gives rise to general acceptance of talking out ones problems.

Freud thinks human are driven to destruction and death.

question of the day
Question of the Day

How did ideas about the self and about personal life change in the beginning of the 20th century?

Why do you think we begin to see these changes around this time?

modernity and the revolt in ideas
Modernity and the Revolt in Ideas
  • End of 19th Century: intellectuals and artists being to reject traditional beliefs.
    • Einstein in the sciences.
    • Modernism in the arts.
    • Nietzsche in philosophy.
  • The rise of Positivism
    • Positivism: a rejection of the century-old faith by using scientific methods to discover enduring social laws.
      • The study of society becomes the guiding principles for passing legislation.
modernity and the revolt in ideas1
Modernity and the Revolt in Ideas

Pragmatists and Relativists pose challenge to entrenched ideas about policy making, reform, and the conduct of government.

  • Max Weber: German political theorist.Says decision by bureaucrats is too laborsome. Charismatic leader may sweep into power in a time of crisis because he can act on instinct.

Some declare themselves neither pragmatist or relativist but nihilist.

  • Frederic Nietzsche: German philosopher. Distinguished between “Apollonian” (rational side) and “Dionysian” (primal urges) sides of human existence.
  • Wrote in aphorisms, short opinionated prose that give a unique personal perspective.
revolutionizing science
Revolutionizing Science
  • Discoveries and new theories shake the foundation of scientific certainty.
    • Antoine Becquerel (Beh-krel) discovers radioactivity.
    • Marie Curie and her husband Pierre Curie discover polonium and radium.
    • Scientists now conclude that atoms are not solid but composed of sub atomic particles moving about a core.
    • Max Plank announces his quantum theory – energy does not flow in a steady stream but rather packets that he called quanta.
    • Albert Einstein proposes his theory of relativity which states that space and time are not absolute categories but vary according to the perspective of the observer.
growing mass tensions
Growing Mass Tensions

Changes That Have Been Occurring

  • Liberal opinions lead to growing tolerance (for some)
  • Political representation for workingmen.
  • Journalism creates common fund of public knowledge.
  • However, traditional elites sought to overturn these achievements.
    • Politics, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, begin to threaten national unity.
labor s expanding power
Labor’s Expanding Power
  • Germany: Kaiser Wilhelm II let antisocialist laws lapse after dismissing Bismarck as chancellor in 1890.
    • Social Democratic party founded in 1875 becomes largest group in the Reichstag in 1912.
  • 1900-1904: Second International wrestled with “revisionism” - whether socialists should serve in government and work from within to improve the lives of workers OR push for revolution to overthrow governments. Socialist purists were blocked from holding high positions by military and aristocratic elite.
  • Russia:
    • outlawed political parties
    • imprisoned activists
    • gave suffrage to only a limited number of men when it introduced a parliament in 1905.
    • V.I. Lenin exiled to Siberia, then moves to western Europe.
labor s expanding power1
Labor’s Expanding Power

V.I. Lenin: advanced his theory that a highly disciplined socialist elite would lead a lightly industrialized Russia into socialism – rather than working people as a whole.

At a meeting of Russian Marxists in 1903 he manipulates his opponents into walking out, thus takes over the party.

His faction becomes the Bolsheviks (majority) and his opponents become the Mensheviks (minority).

labor s expanding power2
Labor’s Expanding Power
  • Neither the Bolsheviks nor the Mensheviks had as large a constituency as the Socialists Revolutionaries.
    • Objective was to politicize peasants, rather than industrial workers, as the foundation of the populist revolution.
      • Rosa Luxemburg and Anton Pannekoek criticized Bolshevism and Lenin for his power hungry message.
    • All factions prepared for the revolutionary moment through study, propaganda, and organizing – not electoral politics.
march 20 2014
March 20, 2014
  • Quiz over chapter 25
  • Account for the rise of antisemitism during the latter decades of the 19th century

Analyze the major factors responsible for the rise of antisemitism in 19th century Europe.

    • we should be able to form a thesis and an effective outline by the end of Friday.
factors that led to the rise of antisemitism
Factors that Led to the Rise of Antisemitism

Historical Background

  • Political liberalism following Enlightenment
  • 1782: Joseph II places Jews under same laws as Christians in HE.
  • 1789: National Assembly in France recognizes Jews as citizens
  • Post-1848: German, Low Countries, Scandinavia allow Jews citizenship
  • 1867: Austria-Hungarian Empire extends full legal rights to Jews – (same year of the A-H compromise that allowed for a “dual monarchy” to govern the region.
  • Discrimination and hatred in the east (Poland and Russia) force Jews to migrate to more tolerant Western nations.
factors that led to the rise of antisemitism1
Factors that Led to the Rise of Antisemitism

Emancipation and Integration Leads to Jewish Success

  • Become prominent in academia, medical, and law professions.
  • Disproportionately represented in the universities.
    • 30% of student body but only 6-8% of the population.

Such Jewish involvement in society leads to suspicion and scapegoating during the economic crisis of the 1870s.

  • Jewish migrations from the east coincide with the economic downturn.
factors that led to the rise of antisemitism2
Factors that Led to the Rise of Antisemitism

Nationalism and the Rise of the Nation-State

  • Latter Part of 19th Cent: growing theme to create national citizens and national community
    • Unified Germany, unified Italy, the Third French Republic, and Great Britain.
  • Austria: liberalism begins to wane at the close of the 19thC.
    • Mass Parties include the Christian Social Party headed by Karl Lueger (pan-Germanic, anti-capitalist, antisemitic)
factors that led to the rise of antisemitism3
Factors that Led to the Rise of Antisemitism

France and the Dreyfus Affair (1894)

  • Alfred Dreyfus (Jewish): army officer accused of giving sensitive materials to the Germans.
  • Trial becomes lightning rod for xenophobia and nationalism
    • Hatred of foreigners and Jews became central issues.
  • Significantly divided France
    • Pro-Dreyfusards: more left, wanted to uphold freedom and justice. Emile Zola writes J’ Accuse – appeal for social justice, accuses French officers of social evil
    • Anti-Dreyfusards: more right, associated with Roman Catholic Church and the army.