Archive for December, 2010

Louis XIV

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Louis XIV, or the “Sun King” is remembered in history as a absolutist French ruler.  Louis XIV immensely long reign extended 72 years (1643-1715).  While in power Louis contributed in creating a centralized state.  This movement had begun in the Early Modern State in moving away from feudalism and appeasing nobility.  Louis strove for peace, law, beauty, order, and splendor in order to consolidate the central state and it’s power.   Louis was most influential and powerful in the late  17th century and had made France a prominent figure in the world.  Louis XIV built the Palace of Versailles, which is known for its symmetrical gardens and opulent architecture.  The height of his power however, was the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.  Louis was very powerful and able to persecute with authority the Huguenots.

The Life of Louis XIV Video

The Sun King

Louis XIV is famous for saying "L'etat c'est moi!" or "I am the state"

The Lewis Machine Gun

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

The machine guns came to dominate the battle fields of WWI.  It was a primitive device with a heavy weight and was not suited for rapidly advancing infantry troops.  Each weighed 30-60 Kgs often without their mounting, carriages, and supplies.  It theory they could fire 400-600 rounds per minute.  In reality once the machine overheated it would become inoperable.   They were consequently fired in short rather than sustained bursts.  Cooling was possible either through water or water jackets. Once these guns were redesigned to become lighter and more accurate, they soon found their way into vehicles, naval vessels,  and aircrafts.

WWI Blood transfusion

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

The recognition of the four human blood groups was determined by Jansky in 1907.  He classified his groups as I, II, III, and IV but we now recognize these groups according to the ABO classification. In 1907, Jansky’s Group I corresponded to present day group O; Group II corresponded to present day group A; Group III corresponded to present day group B; and Group IV corresponded to present day group AB. Prior to the discovery of sodium citrate to prevent blood from clotting in 1914, the use of blood transfusion was only through paraffin coated tubing and bottles, with considerable risk of the transfusion failing due to the coagulation of the blood. The first transfusion of citrated blood was performed by Professor L. Agote of Buenos Aires on November 14th 1914 but despite this, transfusion of blood was considered to be too difficult and unsuited for the stress of war conditions until 1917 when the Royal Army Medical Corps was reinforced by doctors from the United States and the knowledge that blood could be safely transfused spread throughout the Armies.

Stormtroopers during gas attack 1924

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Prior to WWI the use of poison gas was considered uncivilized.  However, the development and use was necessitated by the requirements of wartime armies to find new ways of overcoming the stalement during trench warfare.  The first debut of poison gas was on April 22nd 1915 in the second battle of Ypres.  The effects of chlorine gas were severe.  Within seconds of inhaling its vapors destroyed the victim’s respiratory organs, bringing choking attacks.  Here is a painting by Otto dix  showing his interpretation of a poison gas attack.  Soldiers are perceived as monster.  The lack of color within the painting signifies the absence of life and the outer manifestation of death.

Otto Dix – Trench Warfare

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

WWI employed the use of trench warfare.  After fighting in these trenches Otto dix shares his feeling through painting.  He paints the devastating remains of a bombardment.  Human cadavers are seen everywhere with flesh and blood distributed throughout.  A masked figure stands in the foreground contemplating the devastating human waste.  Above him is a dead soldier whose severe burns have left him half flesh and half skeleton.  Clearly the conditions of these trenches were not pleasant and left a scaring effect of the artist.

The Skull

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

After studying realism in Dresden, Dix was drafted into WWI and profoundly affected by his experiences with trench warfare. Dix began to criticize their politics in his work, and was therefore deemed as a degenerate and forced to resign from his teaching position. He then adopted a less controversial style, painting religious subjects in romantic and eventually expressionist style. This is a gruesome image of decay and worms investing a human skill.  It is meant to symbolize the indescribable horrors of the first World War. For Dix and other European artists of WWI era, skulls were powerful tools to express the dark reality of death that the disaster of war inevitably brings.

Was China first?

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Many believe that the Industrial Revolution began in England when in fact China had a similar experience at the turn of the first century. This revolution involved an increase of taxes paid in a monetary way from 4% to 50% in a span of a little over a hundred and fifty years. This is a huge change for a country as populous as China. China was the first country to use paper currency and this tradition began during the time period. This period also saw a heavy shift of the population from  the farms to the cities such as Kaifeng, Liaoyang, and Hangzhou.

Earliest Form of Chinese Currency

Tsar Alexander II

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /] TSAR ALEXANDER II's ASSASSINATION

Theodor Herzl and Zionism

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]Herzl on YouTube

Alfred Dreyfus Affair

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="500" height="500" wmode="transparent" /]Alfred Dreyfus on YouTube