History Assignment

History Assignment

Part One

Question 1

An alliance refers to a formal agreement that encompasses both political, economic, and military dedication between groups of countries. In a case of a military alliance, all nations in the agreement promise to support each other when attacked by external aggressors (Hamilton, & Herwig, 2003). The European system of alliance contributed to the outbreak of World War 1 since the allied powers were forced to join the war when the other countries did. Initially, when the war had not yet begun, there existed two great alliances. The first alliance was made up of the Central Powers, that is, Germany and Austria-Hungary. The other alliance was the Entente consisted of Russia, France, and the Great Britain (Hamilton, & Herwig, 2003). The root of the war can be traced to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914. Being that the nationality of the assassin was Serbia, Austria-Hungary made some demands and promised to engage in war with Serbia if they failed to meet their requirements. The invasion of Serbia by Austria prompted Germany to drum up for war, and Russian army followed suit. Germany also declared war on France by invading it through Belgium. Since Great Britain was allied to Belgium, it came into war against the Germans thereby fueling the war to a global level.

Question 2

The First World War had far-reaching effects on the normal operations of global systems. Firstly, the war led to an enormous loss of lives. It is estimated that more than nine million soldiers died during this period and an added five million civilians were also killed (McKay, Buckler, Ebrey, 2012). On the other hand, the war proved to be costly since more than $186 billion were incurred as the direct cost and over $150 billion indirectly. In the political front, the war led to a demise of the great monarchs, that is, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey. However, other countries such as Bolshevik managed to rise in power. Also, the war adversely affected the economies of the European countries which made it possible for the United States to gain the status of the industrial power. The social consequences of the war included a rise in epidemics such as that of influenza that killed millions of people.

Question 3

After the start of World War 1, several peace initiatives followed to seek to end the war through a negotiated approach. Some of the approaches were to try and talk out the contending states while others were for a complete end of the war. Some of the sources of the peace initiatives were neutral governments and private citizens. The first phase of the peace initiative was between 1914 and 1916 with the United States and Germany being principal actors. The targeted countries were France and Russia since they were seen not to have the capability of standing a conventional war against the allied forces. For instance, in the late 1914’s, German officials suggested that it would be possible for France to have peace if they Germany war indemnity (Kennedy, 2016). Another example is the efforts of the United States to bring together Germany and Britain through an agreement that would see a possibility of post-war disarmament.

Question 4

Between the years, 1500 and 1600, international trade in Asia was under the control of Europeans, which made the Asian empires weaker at the expense of their counterparts. Nationalism became a way in which Asia aimed to restore its independence through the use of organized political movements (Williamson, 1991). In countries where the colonial governments were a bit liberal, there emerged moderate nationalist movements while those that had while those with authoritarian governments saw the rise of radical nationalist movements. The growth of nationalism in East and Southeast Asia could be attributed to the role played by the indigenous religions, the exposure to other social radicals, and western education. Nationalism became a successful endeavor in Southeast Asia since the region became free of colonialism by 1965 (Williamson, 1991). The resulting effect was the appointment of the nationalist leaders to be the independent heads of state.

Question 5

The great depression is a period of economic turmoil that occurred between 199 and 1939. The great depression was caused by several factors some of which can be attached to the First World War. The stock market crash in 1929 followed an initial crash in which investors had lost over forty million dollars. The crash ushered at the beginning of the depression in the American economy. The crash was followed by bank failures which led to people losing their savings and banks limiting their loans and expenditures. Due to fear of economic failures, people cut down on their purchases leading to a reduction in industrial production and consequent job losses (Finer, 1964). Additionally, the efforts by the United States to change its economic policy through tax initiatives that targeted imported products led to less trade taking place across the border. Other countries also developed ways to retaliate against the US policies which further affected the US economy. Similarly, the 1930 drought conditions in Mississippi Valley was an indirect cause of the great depression as it changed people’s way of life to the extent of not being able to pay tax (Finer, 1964).

Question 6

The Italian society was a fragmented one in its formation as was the case of its governing bodies. The fragmentation can be seen in the number of governments that that constituted the parliament between the period 1919 and 1922. Compared to the other allied powers, Italy did not have a fair settlement resulting from the Treaty of Versailles, a major component of the end of the First World War. Further, the conflict had pulled down the performance of the Italian economy. During this period, Benito Mussolini came back to Italy from Switzerland and formed the Fascist Party. Because the level of unemployment had grown and Italy was in a state of political anarchy, the Fascist Party gained support among different people and gradually achieved a national status (Finer, 1964). The fear of a communist takeover as a result of constant riots in the Northern part of Italy made Mussolini to gather his followers on a march to Rome. Having been asked by King Victor Emmanuel II to restore order, Mussolini declared himself a dictator in 1925.

Part Two

Question 1

One of the major lessons that Levi learned in the Auschwitz is the importance of dignity and self-respect and dignity as a means of survival. After being exposed to a dehumanizing environment, a person is forced to adapt if they are to retain their lives (McKay, Buckler, Ebrey, 2012). At this point, the distinction between what I considered to be right or wrong begins to become thin. He notes that at this point, focusing on small distractions can help a person maintain their mental sanity. For instance, the prisoners focusing on the cold during the winter eliminated the thoughts of hunger. The prisoners were supportive of each other as this proved to be a way of survival.

Question 2

Levi considers the establishment of the ‘gray zone’ as one aspect of moral decay. The success of the Nazis can be seen in establishing a system with conditions that violated morality to a point where control was above everything else. People were given duties responsibilities such as being in control of mass deaths, bystanders, bidders of other people among others. Such creations by the Nazis complicated the concept of morality and made it possible for people to the moral evil that was being perpetrated by the Nazis (McKay, Buckler, Ebrey, 2012). According to Levi, the lack of morality makes it impossible to do what is right thereby making the whole process be dehumanizing. At this point, people were no longer focused on life itself, but they were more focused on living through it.



Finer, H. (1964). Mussolini’s Italy. New York: Archon books.

Hamilton, R. F., & Herwig, H. H. (Eds.). (2003). The Origins of World War I. Cambridge University Press.

Kennedy, R. (2014, October). Peace initiatives. Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/peace_initiatives

McKay, J., Buckler, J., Ebrey, P., et al. (2012). A history of world societies, volume II: Since 1450 (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s

Williamson, S. R. (1991). Austria-Hungary and the origins of the First World War (pp. 213-214). Macmillan.

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