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Saturday, May 30

  1. page 1960s edited The Kids of America: An Analysis of the Social and Political Rebellion of the Youth of the 196…

    The Kids of America:
    An Analysis of the Social and Political Rebellion of the Youth of the 1960s
    By Tatum
    Counterculture Youth

    TitleMy article will examine the tumultuous events of the 1960s and their effect on the decade’s youth. The hypocrisy of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War as well as the disappointing administrative decisions of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson will be discussed. Also, the reasons behind the youth’s volatile reaction to the hypocrisy found in their government will be compared to the reserved actions of the older generation and the emergence of a counterculture in response to social and political frustration will be explored.
    In the wake of World War II, Western Humanity found itself plunged into a conservative political and social outlook. 1950s America was affluent and triumphant; the War had sufficiently stimulated economic growth so that the United States was able to pull itself from the claws of the Great Depression. On the surface, all seemed well. Yet the nation’s youth were unsatisfied. The rates of student unlawfulness nearly doubled from the 24,000 reports of juvenile crimes in 1955 to the 45,000 reports in 1959. By the early 1960s, America had involved itself in another country’s civil war and its students were organizing themselves in protests against their government and the choices it had made on their behalf. Unique only in their expression of generational identity and political views, the youth of the 1960s were by no means the first generation unsatisfied with the decisions of the prior generation. Yet it was in response to the hypocrisy found in 1960s politics, that the youth of the decade rebelled against what they felt may have been unjust authoritative actions.
    The longest conflict in the nation’s history, America’s involvement in the Vietnam War cost the lives of over 58,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese. Most often explained as a way for America to prove its “credibility” or influence on the global community, Vietnam served as the biggest social and political conflict of the 1960s, dividing the nation between those who were antiwar and those who were pro-war and pitting the more volatile younger generation against a conservative older generation, all for a vague sense of political authority. Rather than rousing nationalism, America’s involvement in Vietnam caused internal conflict and planted the seeds for the social rebellion of the nation’s youth.
    As the war escalated in Vietnam, so did the polarization of American Society. Inspired by civil rights protests including the Freedom Summer and the events at Berkley, the youth of America examined the morality behind America’s decision to partake in another country’s civil war and questions were raised as to whether it was appropriate for America to act as a self-appointed global policeman. The nation’s youth felt that America’s involvement in Vietnam was nothing more than an exercise of power, a demonstration of America’s global influence, as well as a reversion of cold war fear. In retaliation to their country’s involvement in Vietnam, the youth and others opposed to the war attempted to build an antiwar majority. In 1967 ten thousand volunteers, most of whom were students, went door to door in an attempt to spread the antiwar message in an event called the “Vietnam Summer.” The nation had been led to believe by the triumphs of the civil rights movement that confrontation was successful in achieving political and social change. Yet the war protesters failed to realize that the successful civil rights confrontations stemmed from careful planning and organization. As a result, war protesters relied of media coverage and sensationalism rather than the tactics and consideration for the long term exhibited by civil rights leaders. Radical outbursts and dramatic political protests further alienated the younger generation from their more conservative parents, hindering the effectiveness of the youth’s political statements.
    The gap between generations was further widened when Lyndon B. Johnson instated a draft in 1969. Rather than relying on the National Guard, Johnson used the nation’s young men as soldiers, the majority of who were just nineteen and chosen at random from a lottery. In addition to their opposition to fighting in a war their parents had begun, the youth also recognized the hypocrisy in the draft conditions which stated that a young man could defer from the draft if he was enrolled in college. As a result, those who were obligated to fight in the war were generally uneducated and, some argued, targeted for their race or class. While later findings proved that the draft for Vietnam held no racist agenda, especially when the college deference was repealed for its injustice, early reports led many to believe that minorities were being singled out in the draft. This was unacceptable, especially in light of America’s progress on the civil rights front as well as Johnson’s endorsement of racial equality. In retaliation, many young men fled the country to avoid the Vietnam draft, an act which was deemed unpatriotic by the older generation and cowardly by “new left” political leaders.
    This was not the first occurrence of a leader disappointing the civil rights activists who had supported him during his campaigns. John F. Kennedy, the enigmatic 35th president, promised to support racial equality in America, saying in a nationally publicized address, “One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln free the slaves…This Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.” This support of the civil rights movement garnered Kennedy at least 70% of the black vote, without the support of which he could not have been elected president in 1961. Yet Kennedy failed to maintain the promises he had made to the black community. Fearing the alienation of the white south, Kennedy put off signing an executive order that would obliterate the discrimination in domestic housing until after the November 1962 midterm elections and even appointed several pro-segregation federal judges. The insincerity behind Kennedy’s promises estranged many influential black leaders, and thus the politically active youth of the decade. Yet during his last year of presidency, Kennedy improved his domestic policy and, just as he was beginning to live up to the hope his election to presidency had inspired amongst many politically unsatisfied Americans, Kennedy was assassinated. As vice president Lyndon B. Johnson assumed presidency in Kennedy’s place, he bore many of the political shortcomings of his predecessor. While Johnson fared better on the civil rights front then Kennedy had, the nation’s youth were distrustful of their new leader despite his liberal political views. Over the course of the war, Johnson lost his credibility when he misreported the events in Vietnam. Due to excess federal spending and heavy taxation, LBJ’s political standing slowly declined, causing America’s youth the further rebel against their leader. Johnson’s dispatch of 15,000 troops to the Dominican Republic in the spring of 1965 further added to feelings of distrust towards the leader as well and increased the number anti-war sentiments and by 1966, Johnson had a 50% approval rating.
    The entire nation was aware of the hypocrisy present in the incumbent administration, yet it was only the youth who rebelled. Unequipped with their parent’s nostalgia for the rigorously structured 1950s, the youth of the sixties were only aware of the tumultuous political views of their own decade. Rather than attempting, as much of the older generation did, to reclaim the conservative social norms of ten years prior, the youth responded to the political hypocrisy by entirely disconnecting themselves from both the expectations of their society as well as the expectations of their government. In San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, a counterculture emerged that disconnected itself not only from the political agenda of the decade but the social norm as well.
    Inspired by a burgeoning music scene, widespread experimentation in the newfound hallucinogenic LSD, as well as Far Left political movements, many of the counterculture youth abided by the teachings of Acid Guru and ex Harvard professor Timothy Leary who said, “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Leary encouraged the youth to expand their mind and explore their consciousness through the use of LSD and to interact with the outside world, to become informed and knowledgeable in world events but not necessarily participate in them. In a final act of defiance of the incumbent seemingly corrupt establishment, Leary encouraged the counterculture to “drop out”, a call to become self reliant that many youth interpreted as abandoning their college educations or occupations and denying themselves the strict social system of their parents generation. Wearing flowers as a symbol for peace, growing their hair out and wearing the American Flag ironically, the counterculture used their radical image as both a way of rebellion and as a protest against the actions of their political leaders. Through their flamboyant displays of rebellion, the counterculture widened the gap between the youth and the older generation.
    While immense social and political changes were achieved over the course of the decade, there were repercussions to the turbulence of the 1960s. Just as the nation’s political views shifted in response to a predominantly conservative outlook of the previous decade, there were cases of conservative backlash to the liberal changes in society towards the end of the 1960s. As Lyndon Johnson finished his term and chose not to run for re-election, Richard Nixon, a conservative republican whose political practices would make him infamous in the years to come, was elected president of the United States. Yet despite the repercussions, global views have changed irreversibly. America’s involvement in Vietnam, based on falsehood and serving little purpose other than as a way for America to exert its world power, serves as a haunting parallel to the nation’s current occupation of Iraq, and the civil rights movement paved the way for the fight for racial and social equality that has continued to make ground since the sixties. While America’s political outlook is constantly changing, the 1960s left an undeniable mark on almost all social and political aspects of American tradition and proved that it is under the stress of internal conflict that a nation can alter its sociopolitical structure.
    Cynthia Gimbel and Alan Booth, “Who Fought in Vietnam?” Social Forces Vol 74, 1966.
    DeKoven, Marianne. Utopia Limited: The Sixties and the Emergence of the Postmodern. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004.
    Dewey W. Grantham, Recent America: The United States Since 1945. Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1998.
    Isserman , Maurice, and Michael Kazin. America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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Friday, May 29

  1. page Tiananmen Square edited Tiananmen Square: Where Freedom’s Name was Etched in Blood By: Rolly Submitted: May 27, 2009 …

    Tiananmen Square: Where Freedom’s Name was Etched in Blood
    By: Rolly
    Submitted: May 27, 2009

    TitleThis paper will be about the 1989 protests Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China and the incentives and causes as well as the failed outcome of the protests. The paper will start by providing background information on the protests, saying who and what started them and their effects on the Chinese people and government. After the basic, factual information, the paper will reveal the positions on three beliefs pertaining to the conflict. The protests were an unsuccessful attempt to capitalize and democratize China, and a generational battle between youth and age was non-existent. The essay will argue that China has undergone capitalist reforms and enjoyed economic prosperity because of China’s own need to compete in a global economy. The paper will argue that the protests failed to bring democracy to China with the evidence that virtually no democratic reforms have been implemented. Then, the essay will discuss how the young and old Chinese shared the same goals during the protests, but the only thing that would provide evidence of a generational battle would be the difference in the method of achieving those goals.
    The horrific encounter between the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Chinese demonstrators during the early hours of June 4, 1989 marked the end of a two month-long protest against China’s communist and socialist policies. It began when several young students from Beijing, Peking, and Tsinghua University wished to mourn the death of Hu Yaobang, a disgraced Communist Party member who supported greater individual freedoms, and about 10,000 students gathered on Tiananmen Square on April 17, 1989. From that day, young intellectuals and eventually Chinese citizens of all ages continuously protested the policies of the Chinese government, going on hunger strikes and destroying PLA equipment to persuade the government to make democratic reforms. Widespread protests soon occurred throughout China. In early June, when negotiations between demonstration and administration representatives broke down, the government authorized the use of military force in order to take control of the. So, on June 4th, the 27th and 28th units of the PLA killed and wounded an International Red Cross estimate of 2,000-3,000 people. However, after the violence, China began to move away from traditional Maoist policies. The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 did not help China evolve into a partially capitalist country and in changing the communist regime into a democratic government. Also, there was no generational conflict, as all generations of the population supported the demonstrations.
    The economic climate prior to the 1989 riots was slowly changing from the Maoist era environment. Deng Xiaoping reduced the role of political ideology in economics, differing from Mao, and Deng even followed the economic planning and control mechanisms of Western nations by letting certain bureaucrats oversee international trading but keeping the decisions up to the business owners. He allowed farmers to have state-owned land and private land while offering the opportunity to sell surplus crops from private land in the free market, allowing monetary benefits. Industries benefitted from improved technology, both being funded by banks that profited from consumer deposits. Industries and businesses profited greatly from an increase in export-led growth under Deng, who encouraged foreign trade and involvement in the global market.
    For further background, Deng’s reforms were revolutionary, but the people who participated in the Tiananmen Square protests were still unhappy with the slow pace of the actual change caused by the reforms and the skepticism of the older Party members. Also, rising inflation and uncontrolled urbanization provided more motivation for the Tiananmen demonstrators. The group also pointed to earlier student demonstrations from 1986-1987 and to pro-market government officials, including the current General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, as signs that many were still waiting for large-scale economic progress. The passionate beliefs of more economic freedom combined with the current economic hardship led to the student led riots.
    The implementation of capitalism and resulting economic boom were products of Deng’s existing philosophy and further changes the government put forth. The Tiananmen Square protests had no direct correlation with the economic success China had since the early 1990’s. First, if the government wanted to make capitalist changes to the economic system because their people demanded for it, why did negotiations between representatives from both sides break down? Why did the government order the PLA to murder the demonstrators? The government clearly sympathized with the protestors; most of the Party leaders wanted to come to an accord with the students, and Deng himself, along with Zhao and others, urged the activists to stop a hunger strike that the students decided to execute. However, the students’ interests were not in the government’s interests. In fact, Deng did not propose more reforms until 1992, four years after the protests and just following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Deng expressed the feelings of the government: “We never will forget how savage and ruthless our enemies [the demonstrators] were. We should not show them an iota of forgiveness.” In addition, if the government did change anything after the protests of 1986-’87, why would it alter its stance only a few years later? The government, as open as it was towards capitalism, was not ready to meet the radical demands of the students, which they saw as too much too soon.
    The main reason for creating a partly capitalist society in China was to compete in a globalized world geared towards economic power; whichever nation had the greatest economic influence tended to have the most overall influence on the world. The collapse of the Soviet Union signaled to the Chinese government that in order to sustain global economic power in an environment where the United States, Britain, and other democratic nations held substantial power, they could not preserve a purely socialist economy. Eastern European countries decided to undergo a “rapid cold shower of market reform” after the fall of the Soviet nation, so Deng Xiaoping decided to do the same but with a different approach. “Deng’s other famous saying, ‘Cross the river by feeling the stones,’ encouraged the Chinese to find their way cautiously and gradually…better life.” Deng promoted a “step-by-step” approach to achieving economic prosperity, and he believed this method was best for the country moving forward. In contrast to Mao, Deng looked to China’s intellectuals to help the country climb out of the economic downturn of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and compete in the world. Under Deng, the philosophy of class struggle was ignored, as the upper class was rebuilt and a middle class began to emerge. Deng also knew the future of the country depended on its vast majority of farmers.
    Agriculture was a large factor in China’s surge in economic progress. Before the Deng era, there were collectives, or farms on which many farmers worked. This method of agriculture did not benefit China’s economy because people were separated from their family, had no incentive to work hard, and were expected to produce unrealistic amounts of crops. Deng decided to scrap collectivism and, “Allowing economic freedom for farmers proved one of the greatest successes.” When Deng offered the opportunity to grow food on private land and sell them for profit, agricultural output soared, stimulating internal economic growth and foreign trade. In turn, the relaxation of control over agriculture brought 200 million people out of poverty. In short, Deng’s theory of gradualism and the departure from collectivism to survive in a changing global economy led to the evolution of capitalism in certain sectors of the economy in China, not the Tiananmen protests.
    In addition to dissatisfaction towards the lack of fast pace economic change, the young students were also concerned with the fact that Deng Xiaoping kept the political system intact. The same political system that Mao Zedong developed remained the same, except for minor relaxations of control over the press. For much of the 1980’s, the Chinese government was stuck in political turmoil, plagued by corruption, strained relations with the Soviet Union, and feelings of distrust towards them among the Chinese population. The protestors wanted the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to relax its strict, “iron fist” control over people’s day-to-day lives. Many still desired for individual freedoms, such as freedom of speech and assembly, and local journalists and media outlets strongly opposed almost complete censorship of the press. The Soviet Union underwent some dramatic political change in the late 1980’s, when Mikhail Gorbachev implemented his policy of “glasnost,” which gave citizens much greater freedom of speech, press, freedom to read previously banned books, and the ability to debate over government activities that were made public; the rebellious groups in China expected their government to follow their neighbor’s example. Although Deng was a more amicable dictator than Mao, Deng still shunned those who supported anything that was against the beliefs of the CCP; such action occurred when Hu Yaobang sympathized with demonstrators during the 1986-‘87 protests, and this action angered the students.
    The Tiananmen Square demonstrations were not successful in democratizing China because China, then and now, is not ready for a political upheaval. Also, the government wanted to retain the level of power they had. China had just begun developing capitalism in small parts of the economy, and the students’ quest for a democracy as well was too much to ask for. Even former student leader Pu Zhiqiang admitted it: “At that time, Chinese society was not psychologically prepared for political conflict of that scale.” Pu also thought complete liberty was still in the distant future, and now, the foundation for democracy is too weak to handle all of the discords that follow such “historic transformations.” Furthermore, Deng explained that it was China’s failure to educate the masses about the communist doctrine that caused the riots: “We have failed to make the Four Cardinal Principles [adherence to socialism, “people’s democratic dictatorship,” leadership of CCP, and Maoism] the basic framework for educating the people, students…Party members.” He went on to say that the Party’s principles must be taught better and with more discipline. Deng’s dialogue shows how he believed communism must be strengthened instead of ended. This shows that the Tiananmen protests did not change the opinion of the highest member of the government towards communism.
    Another reason why the 1989 demonstrations failed to bring democracy to China was that China’ leaders did not want to give up their power. First, this belief was clearly visible when the government decided they felt the need to murder the protestors to keep their authority secure. Deng himself stated that their power was threatened to the extent that it required military action. In addition, Deng declared in a speech that China would continue its form of government instead of adopting American democracy. Also, according to a Party secretary of Hongzhuan county, China researched “why the Communist Parties of the Eastern Block [Eastern Europe] fell from power…political reform outpaced economic progress…[the people] had the right to complain but not the wherewithal to improve their lives…voted out the communists.” China looked to avoid the same mistake, so the government, which studied how to preserve communism in the first place, will make sure that economic growth reaches a very high point in development before it makes any political changes. Thus, the protests that occurred in 1989 were not successful in democratizing China, which will not become a democracy in the near future.
    On a more minor note, the demonstrations were not examples of a generational conflict between the young and old of China. This statement only holds water in the context of the young student population rejecting the government’s traditional Maoist philosophies. It is neither logical nor factually true that the younger Chinese citizens were in conflict with the older generations of China. The only disagreement between the generations was how to go about creating change. The elder, wiser, and more patient population believed through history and experience that China would change on its own in due time. After Mao Zedong’s death, the Communist Party proclaimed it would change its policies., and China also had a long history of leaders being overthrown and replaced by new, well-supported rulers. With history and the new attitude of the government, the older generation knew that China would undergo reforms naturally. In contrast, the younger masses wanted immediate change. They were far more impatient than their elders, and they could not use personal experiences to guide their actions and beliefs. The government, with Deng Xiaoping as its leader, was steering the country in a different direction from than Mao. The students and young intellectuals thought putting immense pressure on the government would accomplish their goals of achieving democracy and capitalism. They were looking at their impending task through rose-colored glass. This is where the clash between the young and old occurs.
    Furthermore, the older and younger generations worked together to protest the existing communist policies of the government. The energy and ambition of the youth eventually rubbed off on the older population, and this brought thousands of protestors—of all ages—to Tiananmen Square every day. In fact, uproars occurred in many places throughout China, including Shanghai, where Maoism was born. The only disagreements between generations were between the youth and laws that have existed for a long time—thus students in conflict with traditional law. Older citizens all over the country supported the demonstrations and even took to the streets to protest themselves, showing there was no battle between youth and age during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
    What many in China today call the “June Fourth Massacre” is infamous for the government sponsored violence that transpired. It is clear that the lives sacrificed for liberty and freedom were for naught in the sense that the ultimate goals were not reached. In a positive light, China is far removed from the death, destruction, and terror that are associated with Mao Zedong, the Gang of Four, and the Red Guards. The nation as a whole has regrouped since that fateful June morning, showing off their pride and progress to the world in events such as the 2008 Summer Olympics. Who knows what the future holds for China politically and economically? For now, what serves as inspiration to the Chinese people is this phrase from a poem by the famous Chinese poet Ai Qing: “You [God]…please bring to mankind your message of comfort…Tell all that what they’ve been waiting for is coming.”
    Eckstein, Alexander. China’s Economic Development: The Interplay of Scarcity and Ideology. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 1975.
    Fishman, Ted C. China, Inc. New York, New York: Scribner, 2005.
    Miles, James A.R. The Legacy of Tiananmen: China in Disarray. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 1996.
    Minzhu, Han, and Hua Sheng, eds. Cries for Democracy: Writings and Speeches from the 1989 Chinese Democracy Movement. Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, 1990.
    Overholt, William H. The Rise of China: How Economic Reform is Creating a New Superpower. New York, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1993.
    Schell, Orville. Discos and Democracy: China in the Throes of Reform. New York: Pantheon Books, 1988.
    Simmie, Scott. Tiananmen Square. Edited by Brian Scrivener. Seattle, Washington: The University of Washington Press, 1989.

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  4. page Hiroshima and Nagasaki edited The Effects of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: A Historical Perspective By Robbi…

    The Effects of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: A Historical Perspective
    By Robbie
    May 26, 2009
    “Rest in peace, for this mistake will not be repeated.”
    Inscription on the cenotaph in the Hiroshima Peace Park.

    TitleIn my paper, I will discuss several established social and political views on the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, carried out in August of 1945 by the United States at the order of President Harry Truman. First, I will evaluate the truthfulness of the popular conception that these attacks saved innocent lives by forcing the Japanese into surrendering, thereby avoiding a costly ground assault that would have cost many lives on both sides. Second, I will examine how the bombings and the subsequent surrender of the Japanese Empire created tensions between the United States and the United Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) that would eventually lead to the Cold War. Third and finally, I will show how the very invention of the nuclear bomb put everyone on earth at risk, reducing the concept of scientific progress to absurdity.
    On August 6, 1945, American bombers, at the order of President Harry Truman, dropped the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, the nearby city of Nagasaki was also attacked with a larger, more powerful bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man”. The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are to date the only nuclear attacks in the history of warfare, and they killed thousands of Japanese. The bombs did what they were intended to do – six days later, the Empire of Japan surrendered to the United States, officially ending World War II in the Pacific. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while undeniably tragic, did save lives in the short term by shocking Japan into surrendering, thereby avoiding a costly ground assault that would have cost more lives on both sides. However, they also escalated hostilities between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that would last for decades, leading to the proliferation of nuclear bombs worldwide and reducing the idea of scientific progress to absurdity.
    Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were devastated by the atomic bombs. It is currently estimated that about 70,000 Japanese were killed in the bombing of Hiroshima and 40,000 in the attack on Nagasaki; by the end of 1945, about 110,000 more had reportedly died of injuries, burns, and radiation poisoning. While Hiroshima and Nagasaki were important military and industrial centers of wartime Japan, civilian casualties on this scale can never be justified; even President Truman, who boldly claimed in an interview that using the bomb was “not a big decision at all” , was known to struggle with the issue in private. However, the bombings ultimately saved millions of American and Japanese lives by shocking the ultra-nationalistic Japanese government into surrendering.
    The American army and navy had already suffered huge casualties in the Pacific theater of War II, and as they slowly advanced toward the Japanese home islands, the fighting was only growing fiercer. General Douglas MacArthur, who headed the American campaign (and would later govern over post-war Japan), estimated 500,000 American casualties for a planned invasion of Kyushu, the Southernmost of the four main islands of the Japanese archipelago . It is widely believed that MacArthur deliberately underestimated this figure in an attempt to convince Truman to give him the go-ahead; A study done by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in April of 1946 put the number of casualties closer to 1.6 million, including over 370,000 dead . The Japanese War Ministry had also issued orders in 1944 mandating the execution of every Allied prisoner of war (over 100,000 men altogether) if the Japanese mainland was ever invaded . Opponents of the nuclear attacks have criticized Truman for causing the deaths of so many Japanese citizens, but simply ignoring the possibility of half a million Allied deaths and continuing the Pacific campaign would hardly have been a wiser decision.
    Additionally, Japan would have suffered far more had the Pacific Campaign continued. The Japanese were hopelessly outnumbered by the American forces; with their navy almost completely destroyed, they had little chance of stopping the American invasion. Conventional bombings of Japanese cities by U.S. planes had already killed far more people than the atomic bombs would (the firebombing of Tokyo, for instance, destroyed half the city and left almost 100,000 dead) and would have continued if the Pacific campaign had gone on . Furthermore, the blockade of American mines and submarines placed across Japanese sea routes had prevented food and supplies from reaching many of the islands – Japanese historian Daikichi Irokawa estimates that “10 million people would have starved to death” if the war had not ended promptly.
    Any other country in the place of Japan would have surrendered, but due to their historical isolation from other cultures and their rapid industrial rise at the start of the twentieth century, the people of Japan had become extremely nationalistic. Surrounded by government propaganda emphasizing the strength and superiority of the Japanese military, they felt as if their country could literally not be defeated. The Japanese Emperor Hirohito, leader of the Showa Regime, was viewed as a divine being by his people, who were expected to sacrifice their lives for him without question. Beliefs like this were reinforced by the Japanese code of conduct known as bushido (“way of the warrior”), adapted from the teachings of the ancient Samurai warriors that ruled in feudal Japan. The teachings of bushido emphasized respect for authority, and rejected surrender as cowardly and dishonorable. In “The Great East Asia War Picture Book”, published in 1944, Japanese children’s author Ueda Hiroshi perfectly summarized this fervent brand of nationalism: “From ancient times, the Japanese army has never surrendered to a foe. There has never been a single soldier whose life was so dear to him that he became a prisoner of war. There is not a single one of us who has not made the resolve to commit gyokusai (death for honor) for the sake of emperor and country” . The U.S. continually asked Japan to surrender (their last attempt being the Potsdam Ultimatum on July 26, 1945), but considering how foreign the idea of surrender was to Japanese society at the time, it seems very likely that the Showa Regime would have continued to ignore these proposals and kept fighting a war it could not win at the expense of its own people.
    As American forces drew closer to the home islands, the Japanese government resorted to extreme measures. The draft age was lowered to fifteen for boys and seventeen for girls, and every citizen who could not fight was mobilized to work in the war factories. As supplies ran low, suicide attacks, or kamikaze, were seen as a more cost effective alternative. According to an Air Force survey, the Japanese government “instructed millions of women, old men, and boys and girls…to resist by such means as attacking with bamboo spears and strapping explosives to their bodies” Propaganda was later found that proved these allegations; in addition, the Japanese government produced various posters and books glorifying the pilots of kamikaze planes and boats, calling them “war gods” in an attempt to gain more recruits. By playing on the nationalistic feelings of its people, the Showa Regime under Hirohito was able to control their perceptions, portraying each bombing raid and famine as evidence of the intrinsic strength and superiority of the Japanese people, the so-called “Yamato race” that was destined to rule the world. Truman and his advisors knew that the only thing that could break through this wall of propaganda and end the war was a shock that not even the government could explain away. The nuclear attacks were precisely that. In the space of three days, two Japanese cities were almost completely destroyed by devices the government of Japan could not understand. Many Japanese civilians believed the atomic attacks were an act of divine punishment; when no better explanation came from their leaders, the country fell into panic and eventually surrendered on April 15th. As Doctor Taro Takemi, President of the Japanese Medical Association (which provides free healthcare for bomb survivors and their children) would later say: “When one considers the possibility that the Japanese military might have sacrificed the entire nation…this bomb might have saved Japan” . The deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were inexcusable, but, by bringing a swift end to the war, these attacks also prevented the almost total destruction of the Japanese people in Hirohito’s ruthless war machine, as well as horrendous casualties for America, Britain, and the other Allied Nations.
    However, the atomic attacks also escalated tensions between the U.S. and the United Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), eventually leading to the Cold War. The USSR, a Communist nation led by Premier Josef Stalin, maintained a neutrality pact with Japan throughout most of World War II. However, during the 1945 Yalta Conference, U.S leaders convinced Stalin to terminate this pact and enter into the Pacific theater approximately three months after the upcoming surrender of Germany. On August 9th, Soviet armies began their surprise invasion of Manchuria, winning several decisive victories against the occupying Japanese. That same day, the U.S. dropped their second bomb on Nagasaki, sending the country into a panic. Most historians agree that both of these catastrophic events were equally important factors in the defeat of Japan. However, when he surrendered, Emperor Hirohito accepted the terms of the Americans, not the Soviet Union. As a result, the reconstruction government set up in Japan under General MacArthur was dominated by American officials.
    Understandably, Stalin felt betrayed by the leaders of the U.S. Through espionage, the Premier already knew about the development of the atomic bomb, but he was shocked that America had used it on Japan, and more importantly, used it in a way that was completely against the interests of the Soviets. The USSR had hoped to create a Communist government in postwar Japan, but despite the sacrifices its armies had made in their campaign, the country received virtually no representation in the new government. It seemed as if Roosevelt and Truman had simply used the armies of the USSR for their own benefit. The mistrust created between America and the Soviet Union by this incident, combined with Stalin’s fear that the USSR was at risk of a nuclear attack from the U.S, would eventually lead the Soviet Union to create its own nuclear bomb in 1949. After this, both countries began pouring trillions of dollars into building nuclear weapons, each one hoping to gain an advantage over the other, and the period of intense hostility between the two nuclear superpowers known as the Cold War began. Today, with the Cold War and the events leading up to it a distant memory, the government of the USSR is increasingly portrayed as the aggressor in this conflict: a backward, totalitarian regime that refused to embrace the values of democracy and freedom embodied by America. Ideological differences were a major source of tension between the U.S. and USSR, even before World War II, but American leaders turned a bad situation into a worse one by betraying a country that once viewed them as an ally and shutting the Soviets out of postwar Japan.
    The discovery of the atom and the immense power that could be generated from it was a scientific breakthrough, but by using these principles to create the first nuclear bombs, American scientists ended up introducing the concept of scientific progress to absurdity. This may seem like a strange claim – after all, technically speaking, science and technology flourished in the period after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Before the nuclear bomb, scientists had been (for the most part) a small group of highly educated people, usually working individually. The Manhattan Project was a radically different concept – the U.S. military selected hundreds of the best scientists in the country, brought them all to a top-secret research facility in the Nevada desert, and worked them rigorously until they created the desired product. The Project acted as a new model for relations between scientists and the government – instead of waiting for scientists to come up with new ideas, the administrations in industrialized countries began to actively sponsor scientific research. This idea is the basis of the “military-industrial complex” – the strong alliance between corporations based on war industry (the sellers of military technology) and the government (the buyers) that is still thriving today. According to the proponents of this system, the military-industrial complexes that formed in the U.S. and USSR after World War II were making great scientific progress, paving the road to a utopian future with technological advances.
    However, the invention and use of the atomic bomb disproved the theory of scientific progress by reducing it to a logical contradiction. By definition, progress is anything that betters the lives of people in a society. However, America’s quest for scientific progress had led to the creation of a weapon with the potential to kill millions of people in an instant, endangering the lives of every person on the planet. Therefore, the governments of the U.S. and USSR were not making “progress” with their expensive nuclear programs – they were just making more bombs. If scientific progress leads to this outcome, it can hardly be called progress at all.
    The nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed thousands of people, but also saved millions more by shocking Japan into surrender. However, President Truman’s betrayal of Stalin’s trust led to the Cold War between the United States and the USSR, reducing the two most powerful countries in the world to feuding children. And even in a time where science and technology were making huge leaps thanks to government funding and mobilization, the invention of nuclear weapons threw the entire concept of “scientific progress” into doubt – how can science be a progressive force when it puts the entire world in danger of a nuclear strike?
    Perhaps the first (and only) use of the nuclear bomb in warfare is not something that can be dealt with in absolutes. Its consequences were not wholly good for the world, but they were not completely negative either. Robert Oppenheimer, the American physicist who is often considered the “father” of the nuclear bomb, was maybe the first to recognize this double standard. After seeing the Trinity test (the first explosion of a nuclear bomb) Oppenheimer recalled two verses from the Bhagavad Gita, a work of Hindu Scripture: Describing the sense of awe he had felt upon watching the flashing fireball, he said: “If you could take a thousand stars from the sky and put them before you, that would still not equal the brightness of the Mighty One.” Later, however, he remembered another passage: “I am become Death, the shatterer of worlds.”
    Works Cited
    "Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. May 2009
    Earhart, David C. Certain Victory: Images of World War II in the Japanese Media (Japan in the Modern World. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 2007.
    Edoin, Hoito. The Night Tokyo Burned: The Incediary Campaign Against Japan. New York: St. Martin's P, 1987.
    Frank, Richard B. Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Random House, 1999.
    Gordin, Michael D. Five Days in August: How World War II Became a Nuclear War. New York: Princeton UP, 2007.
    Maddox, Robert James. Weapons for Victory: The Hiroshima Decision Fifty Years Later. Columbia: University of Missouri P, 1995.
    Saburo, Ienaga,. Pacific War World War II and the Japanese. 1931-1945. New York: Pantheon Books, 1978.
    "Soviet atomic bomb project -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 26 May 2009 <>.
    Walker, Stephen. Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima. New York: Harper Collins, 2005.
    Warner, Denis Ashton. Sacred Warriors: Japan's Suicide Legions. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1982.
    Weller, George, and Anthony Weller. First Into Nagasaki: The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on Post-Atomic Japan and Its Prisoners of War. New York: Crown, 2006.

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  5. page State of Israel edited ... Burning the Candle at Both Ends: The British Influence on the Creation of a Jewish State Shi…
    Burning the Candle at Both Ends:
    The British Influence on the Creation of a Jewish State
    Shira Hereld
    May 25. 2009
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  6. page World War ! edited ... Dada was the deliberately meaningless name a group of artists gave to their movement to questi…
    Dada was the deliberately meaningless name a group of artists gave to their movement to question the purpose of art itself. “It is no coincidence that the Dada movement was launched in the spring of Verdun, whose combined casualties would number more than 750,000 dead and wounded”5. Dada was anti-art in conception, “organized insanity,”5 and represented a revolutionary break from the history of art. Dada “was a direct response to the nightmare of unending, meaningless slaughter in the trenches”5. Richard Huelsenbeck launched the Dada Movement because “he interpreted the crisis in European Culture as a moral and social rather than aesthetic situation” . Frances Picabia, a Dada artist, created Amorous Parade in 1917, a painting depicting mechanized love-making. If warfare could be mechanized, so could love. “This fantastic complex contraption is primarily intended as a comment on man’s activities and experiences” . Dada was an attempt to undermine art. The world had lost its bearings and meaningless killing had become commonplace. Dadaists created a form of expression that tried to depict that meaninglessness. “Dada opinion of recent German history was expressed by suspending a pig-headed dummy dressed in an officer’s uniform from the ceiling of the main room”6 at the First International Dada-Fair in Berlin in June 1920.
    George Grosz turned to grim Realism and used meticulous draftsmanship to produce paintings and drawings that were profound indictments of German society during and after the war. “His unforgettable images of the moral disintegration of German society can be considered a Dada protest in which he exposed the meaninglessness of human activity”6. Seeing the brutality revealed by the horrors of World War I, Grosz was compelled to illustrate the depravity he saw around him. Grosz’ Berlin Streetscene “… scathingly caricatures the appalling social conditions of post-First World War Germany. A satire on the affected patriotism, selfish greed and depraved sensuality of the period”7, the painting expresses the aristocracy’s readiness to avert their eyes from the tortured conditions of ordinary citizens.
    Otto Dix, another German artist of the period, created some of the harshest depictions of German society in the wake of the war. “For him…the War was morally and emotionally disgusting, and his anger and revulsion were later visualized in shattering images of pain and cruelty, meaninglessly inflicted on the living, dying, and dead bodies of the common soldiers”6. Dix and Grosz broke new artistic ground by shining the light of artistic representation on the most gruesome events in human memory. Society had been asked not to think about what was happening during the course of the war. Dix and Grosz refused to be complicit bystanders and by reflecting back to German culture the truth of what had happened, forced the public to look at the atrocities. Otto Dix’s aquatint Storm Troops Advancing Under Gas was one of the earliest works of Surrealism.
    Music and dance had historically been sources of entertainment for the general public. But after the war certain composers and choreographers felt free to break boundaries and challenge the public to expand their understanding of what dance and music could be by presenting atonal, disturbing works to audiences accustomed to harmony. The war was a “harbinger of modernism. Its destructiveness was foreshadowed by iconoclasts like Stravinsky, whose Rite of spring… turned into shocking ballet by Diaghilev, announced the opening of a terrifying era in human affairs”10. Writers, too, explored radical changes in structure and subject matter. In his seminal poem, The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot creates an alarming parallel between the new growth of springtime flowers and the planting of corpses in the killing fields:
    “That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
    Kirsch, Adam. "On the Edge." The New York Review of Books. April 30, 2009, 4-6.
    Ponting, Clive. The Twentieth Century: A World History. New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1998.
    Brazen Teacher. (accessed May
    Stokesbury, James L. A Short History of World War I. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1981.
    The Art Book. Singapore: Phaidon P Limited, 1994.
    Tomkins, Calvin. Duchamp: A Bibliography. New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1996.
    Armchair General. (accessed May
    Winter, Jay, and Antoine Prost. The Great War in History: Debates and Controversies, 1914 to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004.
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