Documents: Ideologies of the Axis Powers
1. Making comparisons: What similar emphases can you find in these three documents? What differences can you identify? Consider especially the relationship of individuals and the state.
• Similarities include a rejection of parliamentary democracy, a rejection of Marxist socialism, and a rejection of Enlightenment ideas of
equality and inalienable personal freedoms. All three subjugate the liberties and rights of the individual to the needs of the state.
• Differences include the emphasis by Mussolini and Hitler on imperial expansion, the emphasis by Hitler on race and racial purity, and the emphasis of Japan on kokutai and the Emperor.
2. Criticizing the West: In what ways did Mussolini, Hitler, and the authors of Cardinal Principles find fault with mainstream Western societies and their political and social values?
• All three reject parliamentary democracy, majority rule, and sovereignty resting exclusively in the population as a whole.
• They all reject Marxist socialism.
• They all found fault with Enlightenment ideas of universal equality and inalienable personal freedoms not subjugated to the needs of the state.
• They would not agree with the Western value of the primacy of the individual.
• Both Mussolini and Hitler also reject the permanence of state boundaries.
• Mussolini rejects pacifism and multiparty political culture.
3. Considering ideas and circumstances: From what concrete conditions did the ideas expressed in these documents arise? Why did they achieve such widespread popularity? You might even consider using these documents to make the case in favor of fascist or authoritarian government from the viewpoint of the 1930s.
• Concrete conditions include the economic crisis of the 1930s; the emergence of Marxist socialist and Democratic socialist movements in Germany and Italy; ineffectual post–World War I democratic governments in Italy and Germany; bitterness at the loss of World War I in Germany; and reaction against Western influences in Japan.
• They may have achieved popularity because they promised stability in uncertain times; explained recent disappointments and provided positive visions of the future; and offered a clear identity for societies that had recently underwent profound changes.
• They emerged relatively swiftly out of the economic depression of the 1930s.
• They also provided reasons for recent defeats, periods of weakness, or periods of rapid social change that implicated not the population but outside influences like the foreign dominance of Italy, Hitler’s assertions about Jews, or the Cardinal Principle’s concerns about Western influences.
4. Considering ideas and action: To what extent did the ideas articulated in these documents find expression in particular actions or policies of political authorities?
• In Italy, the alternative political systems that Mussolini criticized were suppressed. He did undertake an ambitious imperialist expansion; and instituted many of the policies, such as a system of syndicalism, that he argued made the fascist state revolutionary rather than reactionary.
• In Germany, Hitler did strive to bring all “Aryan” peoples into the same Reich. He sought through military action to secure lands in Eastern Europe for the Aryan race; persecuted Jews through a series of measures culminating in the Holocaust; and reformed the state under his rule, suppressing parliamentary democracy.
• The Japanese government in the 1930s arrested many people for political crimes and punished them by “resocializing” them to a “Japanese way” that reflected the Cardinal Principles. Also, the Cardinal Principles became the official textbook used in all classrooms.
5. Noticing continuity and change: To what extent were the ideas in these documents new and revolutionary? In what respects did they draw on long-standing traditions in their societies? In what ways did they embrace modern life and what aspects of it did they reject it? Have these ideas been completely discredited or do they retain some resonance in contemporary political discourse?
• The ideas were new or revolutionary in that their rejection of Enlightenment ideas of equality and freedom were framed differently than earlier criticisms.
• All three documents drew on established nationalist traditions.
• Mussolini drew on an imperial idea that had its origins in ancient Rome.
• Hitler drew on an older anti-Semitic tradition in Germany, and on long-standing German imperial ambitions in eastern Europe. He drew in part
on ideas about an Aryan race derived from the nineteenth-century German romantic move-
• Japan drew heavily on well-established ideas about the authority of the emperor, traditions of loyalty to the emperor, and established conceptions of filial piety and bushido.
• The three documents embraced industrial society and the increased role of the state in society.
• They rejected modern parliamentary democracy, majority rule, Enlightenment ideas of universal rights and liberties, individualism, and Marxist socialism.
• Mussolini rejected pacifism.
• In terms of the discrediting or continued resonance of these ideas in contemporary political discourse, the attraction of a strong ruler and state persists in circumstances of political uncertainty or ineffectual multiparty parliamentary democracy.
• Some strains of nationalism continue to promote the subjugation of personal liberties to the needs of the state, but the excesses of the German, Italian, and Japanese regimes before and during World War II has resulted in many aspects of such discourses remaining outside mainstream political thought.
• The Social Darwinism at the heart of Hitler’s ideas about race has remained largely discredited.
Visual Sources: Propaganda and Critique in World War I
1. Describing the war: Based on these visual sources, how would you define the novel or distinctive features of World War I compared to earlier European conflicts?
• Visual Sources 21.1 and 21.2 both show the unprecedented impact of total war on the home front in World War I.
• Visual Source 21.3, through its depiction of the African soldier, shows the distinctive scale and global reach of World War I as compared to earlier wars.
• Visual Sources 21.4 and 21.5 both reveal how warfare in the industrial age brought unprecedented death, carnage, and destruction as compared to earlier conflicts.
2. Considering war and progress: How do you think Otto Dix and John Nash might have responded to the ideas of Condorcet contained in Document 16.2, pages 752–54?
• They likely would have questioned Condorcet’s optimism about the future, his very positive understanding of human nature, and his prediction that war would end as Enlightenment ideas spread.
• Alternatively, they may have concurred with Condorcet’s principles but lamented the failure of humankind to develop and successfully use human reason to avoid World War I.
3. Images as propaganda and criticism: This selection of visual sources contains a mix of those that express essentially government-sponsored messages and those that convey the outlook of individual artists. What ideas about the war did governments seek to inculcate in their citizens? How do the paintings of John Nash and Otto Dix respond to those ideas?
• Government promoted the idea of a war of good against evil; extolled ideals of self-sacrifice for the war effort; demonized the enemy; and idealized participation in the war effort.
• The paintings by Nash and Dix focus on the results of sacrifice on the individual, and the death and suffering caused by war.
4. Seeking further evidence: What other kinds of visual sources would be useful in constructing a visual history of World War I?
• art by African soldiers who participated in the war
• German propaganda posters
• depictions of the war by women artists
Class Discussion for the Documents and Visual Sources Features
Comparison (large or small group): Perspectives on Fascism and Socialism
The final bullet point questions for Documents 21.2 and 21.3 provide an ideal framework through which students can explore the idea of fascism as a movement. Ask students to identify the key principles put forward by Mussolini in his document. Then ask them whether Hitler would have supported all of these principles. Which would he approve of and which would he take issue with? What are the critical differences that separate the ideas of these two leaders? Then ask students to list the key ideas put forward in Document 21.3. What part of the Japanese approach to fascism would Mussolini or Hitler be likely to embrace? What would they have taken issue with? Conclude by asking students what such an analysis can tell us about the nature of fascism. Is it any more or less coherent than the socialist movement explored in Chapter 18’s documents?
Contextualization (large or small group): World War I and the Emergence of Fascism
Encourage students to examine the emergence of fascism in the post–World War I environment through the Documents and Visual Sources features in this chapter. First, ask students to identify the key ideas advanced by Mussolini and Hitler in the documents. Then ask students to view the visual sources through the eyes of these fascist thinkers. Some questions to consider include:
• If you discount the country of origin of these visual sources, are there any features that these leaders might approve of?
• Are there aspects that they would reject?
• In Visual Sources 21.1 and 21.2, how do the artists seek to define the relationship between the individual and the state?
• In Visual Source 21.3, how might Hitler’s ideas on race impact his understanding of this poster?
• In Visual Source 21.5, what might Hitler have approved of in this image despite his disapproval of Dix’s pacifism?
Conclude by asking what elements of fascism are depicted in these visual sources and therefore predate the fascist movement?
Classroom Activities for the Documents and Visual Sources Features
Analysis (large or small group): What Is Fascism?
Expand on Using the Evidence question 1 by asking students to read all three documents and create lists of the basic ideas put forth in each. Then ask students to correlate the three lists. Are they able to draw up an ideology that all three could agree with or do critical disagreements make a shared coherent ideology impossible? What is distinctive about each approach? Conclude by asking students to decide whether lumping all three approaches under the common term “fascism” is helpful or whether the differences between the three traditions are more important.
Contextualization (large or small groups): Writing a History of World War I
Ask students to write a history of World War I using just these images as sources. After they have completed their history, have them consider the following questions:
• What aspects of the war were they able to cover?
• What aspects did their accounts leave out?
• What can such a history tell them about the strengths and weaknesses of visual sources for historians?
Additional Resources for Chapter 21
Bedford/St. Martin’s Resources
Computerized Test Bank
This test bank provides over thirty exercises per chapter, including multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, short-answer, and full-length essay questions. Instructors can customize quizzes, add or edit both questions and answers, and export questions and answers to a variety of formats, including WebCT and Blackboard. The disc includes correct answers and essay outlines.
Instructor’s Resource CD-ROM
This disc provides instructors with ready-made and customizable PowerPoint multimedia presentations built around chapter outlines, as well as maps, figures, and images from the textbook, in both jpeg and PowerPoint formats:
• Map 21.1: The World in 1914 (p. 978)
• Map 21.2: Europe on the Eve of World War I (p. 980)
• Map 21.3: Europe and the Middle East after World War I (p. 983)
• Map 21.4: World War II in Asia (p. 998)
• Map 21.5: World War II in Europe (p. 1000)
• Map 21.6: The Growth of European Integration (p. 1007)
• Let's End It—Quick with Liberty Bonds
• Thor (p. 1022)
• Journée de l’Armée d’Afrique (p. 1023)
• Otto Dix, “Prague Street” (p. 1026)
Documents and Essays from Worlds of History: A Comparative Reader, Third Edition (Volume 2)
The following documents, essays, and illustrations to accompany Chapter 21 are available in Volume 2, Chapters 10 and 11 of this reader by Kevin Reilly:
From Chapter 10:
• Sally Marks, The Coming of the First World War
• Erich Maria Remarque, from All Quiet on the Western Front
• Siegfried Sassoon, Base Details
• Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est
• Rosa Luxemburg, The Junius Pamphlet
• V. I. Lenin, from War and Revolution
• Woodrow Wilson, Fourteen Points
From Chapter 11:
• Joachim C. Fest, The Rise of Hitler
• Heinrich Himmler, Speech to the SS
• Jean-François Steiner, from Treblinka
• Iris Chang, from The Rape of Nanking
Online Study Guide at bedfordstmartins.com/strayer
The Online Study Guide helps students synthesize the material from the textbook as well as practice the skills historians use to make sense of the past. Each chapter contains specific testing exercises, including a multiple-choice self-test that focuses on important conceptual ideas; an identification quiz that helps students remember key people, places, and events; a flashcard activity that tests students on their knowledge of key terms; and two interactive map activities intended to strengthen students’ geographic skills. Instructors can monitor students’ progress through an online Quiz Gradebook or receive email updates.
Atomic Bomb Museum, http://atomicbombmuseum.org/6_testimonies
.shtml. This site presents eye-witness testimony from survivors of the first atomic bomb attacks.
Dear, I. C. B., and M. R. D. Foot, eds. The Oxford Companion to World War II. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. At 1,064 pages, this work is truly comprehensive.
Gilbert, Adrian, ed. World War I in Photographs. London: Macdonald Orbis, 1986. A very powerful collection of photographs that brings home the horrors of World War I.
Internet Resources for Jewish Studies, http://www2.lib.udel.edu/subj/jew/internet.htm. This site, maintained by the University of Delaware Library, provides a collection of resources on Jewish life and culture and on important subjects such as anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.
Keegan, John. An Illustrated History of the First World War. New York: Knopf, 2001. A very clear and thoughtful study.
Mills, Nicolaus. Winning the Peace: The Marshall Plan and America’s Coming of Age as a Superpower. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2008. A readable, one-volume work on Europe’s recovery after World War II.
The Nizkor Project, http://www.nizkor.org/. This site is dedicated to evidence of the Holocaust; the Hebrew word nizkor means “we will remember.”
The Roaring ’20s and the Great Depression, http://www.snowcrest.net/jmike/20sdep.html. A collection of links on the 1920s and the Great Depression in the United States, arranged by topic.
Samuel, Wolfgang W. E. The War of Our Childhood: Memories of World War II. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2002. This moving book relates the memories of twenty-seven Germans who were children during World War II.
World War II, http://www.mvmhm.com/WW2.htm. An Internet museum of World War II, hosted by the Miami Valley Military History Museum.
Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. New York: Vintage, 1955. This collection of stories, first published in French in 1942, is a classic statement of European hopelessness and despair.
Chang, Iris. The Rape of Nanking. London: Penguin, 1998. Based on interviews with survivors as well as on extant documents, this is a study of the horror of the Japanese conquest of Nanjing (Nanking) in 1937–1938.
Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl. New York: Bantam, 1993. This memoir of a Jewish girl and her family in hiding in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands has been a classic ever since it was first published in 1947.
Hemingway, Ernest. For Whom the Bell Tolls. New York: Scribner, 1995. Hemingway’s experience as a journalist covering the Spanish Civil War provided the basis for this work, one of the most powerful novels ever written about war.
Mauldin, Bill. Bill Mauldin’s Army: Bill Mauldin’s Greatest World War II Cartoons. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1983. A great collection of U.S. army cartoons.
Remarque, Erich. All Quiet on the Western Front. New York: Ballantine Books, 1987. This 1929 novel set during World War I is a profound critique of war.
Seghers, Anna. The Seventh Cross. Boston: Little, Brown, 1942. First published in 1942, this powerful novel about Germany under the Nazis tells of a communist’s escape from a Nazi concentration camp.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. London: Penguin, 2002. This classic novel, first published in 1939, gives a vivid look at the suffering and inhumanity of the American Dust Bowl migrations of the 1930s.
Wiesel, Elie. After the Darkness: Reflections on the Holocaust. New York: Schocken, 2002. Wiesel’s first book, Night (1958), told of the author’s survival of a Nazi concentration camp. After the Darkness, first published in 2002, is a short work that returns to the subject late in the author’s life.
There are any number of films available on the topics covered in this chapter; the following might be of particular use.
All Quiet on the Western Front. Universal
Studios, 1930. 132 minutes. A film depiction
of the classic novel by Erich Maria
The Battle of the Somme. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 1994. 94 minutes. An in-depth look at this seminal battle of World War I.
Between the Wars: The Economic Seeds of World War II. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 1997. 25 minutes. Examines the economic origins of the second World War.
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? Films for the Humanities and Sciences. 20 minutes. Explores the global implications of the Great Depression, from the economic dislocation in the United States to the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and Japanese expansionism.
Fascist Dictatorships. Insight Media, 1985. 36 minutes. Explores the historical and philosophical roots of fascism and traces the careers of both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.
Genocide in the First Half of the Twentieth Century. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 2001. 57 minutes. Contextualizes the phenomenon of genocide, with segments on the Rape of Nanjing and the Holocaust.
Great Depression to Superpower: 1930–1990. Insight Media, 2000. 25 minutes. Traces the growing importance of the United States as a global power in the twentieth century.
The Hiding Place. World Wide Pictures, 1975. 134 minutes. The true and deeply moving tale of two women who helped hide Jews from the Nazis, and what happened when the Nazis found out.
Hirohito: Japan in the 20th Century. Insight Media, 1990. 58 minutes. Provides a good overview of Japanese history in the twentieth century.
How the Nazis Came to Power. Films for the Humanities and Sciences. 17 minutes. Traces the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany.
Testimony of the Human Spirit: Six Survivors of the Holocaust Tell Their Stories. Two episodes. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 2003. 39 and 45 minutes. A moving documentary that draws on the experiences of Holocaust survivors.
World War I. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 1990. 27 minutes. Provides a short overview of the course of the war, from its opening to the Treaty of Versailles.
World War II. Two episodes. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 1999. 54 and 36 minutes. A two-part ABC News program anchored by Peter Jennings that surveys the course of World War II.