German U-Boats sink British Luxary Liner

December 3rd, 2010

Early into WWI Germany declared that the waters surrounding Britain were off limits to commercial trade. Off the coast of Ireland, in 1915, U-boats sank a luxurious British liner named the Lusitania resulting in the loss of over 1,200 lives (which included 128 Americans). After the silent torpedoing pressure from the American government called for Germany to now give first warning before performing a silent attack on a vessel. Americans halted their trade to Germany and Austria-Hungary which resulted in major shortages of food and material to those ports.

Famous contemptorary view of the sinking of the Lusitania



The Camel Corps

December 3rd, 2010

During World War I the British empire enlisted more than a million Indian troops to fight alongside the Brits. Thankfully only about 100,000 of those million were killed in combat. The Indian Government also contributed $30 million pounds annually for the war effort. The most famous military unit was the Camel Corps. In return for their war efforts Britain promised that India would achieve their independence, however it wasn’t for another thirty years that India would gain their freedom.

British Camel Corps Toy WWI


The Slaughter at Verdun

December 3rd, 2010

In February 1916 the German army began its assault on the French city of Verdun. Under the leadership of French commander Henri Petain the army defended this fortress of a city to the end. The loss of lives and wounded were in the range of  a million German and French combatants; after repeated waves of German soldiers were sent and held off by the French. Petain became a national hero for his efforts. Petain was ordered to hold the city at all costs, upon which he delivered his famous pledge “Ils ne passeront pas!” (‘They shall not pass!’).

Commander Petain of the Verdun


Execution of Louis XVI

December 3rd, 2010

While searching the internet for an interesting topic regarding the French Revolution, I stumbled upon an eyewitness account of the execution of Louis XVI. As we all know Louis was essentially the wrong man, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. As previously stated in my other post regarding the current economy of France, Louis inherited a country with an empty treasury and a starving population. Louis’ marriage with an Austrian archduchess only made matters worse. He did; however, attempt to right wrongs by calling for the Estates-General which greatly reduced his powers. Following the Estates-General, he was brought to court for trial for crimes against the people. Evidently, they have an eyewitness account recorded from Henry Essex Edgeworth, who was an English priest living in France. Throughout the voyage to the scaffold, Louis remained rather quiet and even during the two hour procession he remained silent. He then talked to the gendarmes regarding the care of Edgeworth, “I recommend to you this good man; take care that after my death no insult be offered to him…” Guards then approached him to take off his clothes, yet he denied them that privilege and undressed himself appropriately. He also allowed them to do what they were ordered to do, with the exception of binding him. His final walk to the scaffold at first appeared to Edgeworth as if he would lose all composure; however, Louis needed no help walking up and announced, “I die innocent of all the crimes laid to my charge; I Pardon those who have occasioned my death; and I pray to God that the blood you are going to shed may never be visited on France,” before being executed. According to Edgeworth, an eighteen year old picked up the king’s head and “Vive la Republique!” was yelled throughout the people. This first-hand account of the execution of a man who did little if any wrong adds to the dramatic air surrounding the French Revolution


Charles Dickens: “Literary Chronicler of the Industrial Revolution”

December 3rd, 2010

Charles Dickens: "Literary Chronicler of Industrial Revolution" (1812-1870)

                Charles Dickens began working to help his support his family at the age of twelve. It would be a foundation for the rest of his life. His family was poor, but so were many Victorian families in what was one of the greatest industry booms for Britain. Dickens gave them a voice when he used his own life as an inspiration for many of his stories. He wrote most of his material for magazines and the long novels came out in weekly installments for his devoted followers. His childhood as a laborer inspired such notable works as: The Adventures of Oliver Twist and David Copperfield (said to be the most autobiographical). His time as a clerk inspired one of his most famously told and retold stories: A Christmas Carol. Through his writing, Dickens showed the higher classes what it was really like for the demoralized working class.

Famous Works:

  • The Adventures of Oliver Twist
  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
  • A Christmas Carol
  • David Copperfield
  • Bleak House
  • Little Dorrit
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Great Expectations


The Crystal Palace

December 3rd, 2010
The Crystal Palace - Grounds View

The Crystal Palace - Grounds View

              The Crystal Palace Exhibit in 1851 Londond was a grand affair. We saw a picture of the interior in class, but its hard to get the true scope of this magnificent structure without a look from the outside. The above was taken to demonstrate the scale of the exhibit and to show off the water constructs. The large tower to the left is one of a pair of resevoirs that were needed to support the thousands of gallons of water for around 12,000 jets in all the fountains.

             The palace was later moved from Hyde Park and became a popular meeting place and attraction after the exhibit ended. Ironically, given the massive waterworks, the palace was mostly destroyed in 1936 by a mysterious fire.


What is to be done?

December 3rd, 2010

A novel written by Lenin in 1902

” a call to establish a small, elite party of leaders who could guide an overwhelmingly peasant Russia to a proletarian revolution.”

The novel:

Kaiser William II

December 2nd, 2010

Kaiser William II – Great video.

Kaiser achieved the throne in 1888, right from the start he had problems with Bismarck and before two years were even up William II replaced Bismarck.   Kaiser enforced many new policies for overseas, believing that it would be the best way to win over the German worker.  Throughout Kaiser’s reign German workers lives continued to flourish.

Major Works of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries cont.

December 2nd, 2010

1886 - Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil – philosophical literature where Nietzsche accuses philosophers for lacking critical sense and blindly accepting Christianity as a consideration of morality.  He also discusses good and evil.
1900 – Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams –  argued that dreams were specific expressions of unconscious desires that the conscious self struggles to suppress.  This allowed scientists to better explain conscious behavior and help treat neurotic illnesses.
1905 – Albert Einstein, One the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies – published in a scientific journal, these articles contributed to the foundation of modern physics and changed peoples views of space, time, and matter.
1925 – Franz Kafka, The Trial – story of an arrest and prosecution by remote inaccessible authority.  The Trial was never completed but included a chapter to bring an end to the story.
1928 – D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover – story of a women whose husband was paralyzed/impotent, therefore she begins an affair with a gamekeeper.

Versailles Palace

December 2nd, 2010

Surprisingly Versailles Palace, one of the most expensive buildings ever constructed, started out as a simplistic hunting lodge for Louis XIII (which meant the lodge itself wasn’t simplistic but the usage of the lodge remained solely for hunting). From this lodge, built in 1624, began the expansion that eventually became the royal residency from 1682 until 1789. There were four men in charge of the expansion of the hunting lodge into the palace: Louis Le Vau (architect), Andre Le Nortre (landscape artist), Charles Le Brun (painter and decorator), and Jules Hardouin-Mansart (who took over in 1676 as the architect). The palace remained “a work in progress” for many years and in 1680, Louis XIV employed 36,000 bricklayers in order to add more wings and outbuildings. One of the major attractions was the Hall of Mirrors, which was filled with crystals (giving a small example of how much of an expenditure this palace was for the French aristocracy). Following this construction, the Seven Year’s War, and some other additions to the palace, the French went bankrupt in 1788. This forced Louis XVI to call for the Estates-General, which marked the beginning of the fall of the monarchy.

Links for the two sources sources.
Link for the picture