European history, 1815-1945: World War 1; 22?
It's 215 the state stations bring you with a history of Europe 1815 to 1945 a college of the year course with Professor Michael Petrovich of the history department at the University of Wisconsin. Now here is Professor Petrovitch. For my lecture today is a catastrophic event in history that is generally known as the First World War. Please note that this is a misnomer. There have been other first world war in the real sense. That every country in the world was involved. That it's out of the question. If we mean something less than that. There have certainly been wars before in history that might be called World Wars before World War One. Also. Remember that nobody who fought in World War 1 ever thought of it as World War 1. Because they didn't think that World War 2 was ever going to
happen. Just as a lot of people who fought in World War I to. A thought and still think that World War 3 is never going to happen. So World War 1 is a misnomer in every sense of the word. In fact so much so. That some of my colleagues the most eminent of them in this case mystery ECE and doesn't like to call it World War wanted to all but the four years war. As a matter of fact. Mr Eastham I think quite correctly regards what we call World War 1 and World War 2 as nothing but two acts of the same drama. The last time I pointed out that it World War One started in the Balkans it was not started by the Balkans. Necessarily. And perhaps this is a good point to which to begin. I ended my last leg by merely enumerating some of the
important crises which led up to or preceded World War One. I don't know whether these crises seem like ancient history to you or not. But I'm sure that if I inserted other words for these crises the matter would become much more immediate to you. If instead of first the Moroccan crisis first Balkan crisis second Moroccan crisis the Tripoli affair and so forth and so on. I put in first the Radian crisis the Berlin crisis the Laois crisis the Algerian crisis. I'm sure that these words mean somewhat more to you. But I also wish to assure you that the earlier words should have meant just as much to an earlier generation speaking of the Balkan crises. One of the big points I have to make is that had the world
powers wanted to avoid a war. The Balkan crises could not have led to a world war. In fact if you will permit me a generalization which you make test at your own leisure. I have the feeling that when the great powers want to fight then any little excuse will do for a war. And when the great powers don't want to fight no matter how critical the crises are they are not going to go to war. I happen to be convinced that the moment that the Great Powers That is the United States and the Soviet Union do not want war unless one side puts the other side in a corner that it can't get out of. What I'm saying here then is that there is no correlation necessarily between the seriousness of a crisis and whether war will reside with a will result or not rather than war depends on whether the powers want to go to war. For some reason or not.
Now the great powers could have avoided trouble in the Balkans if they had exerted their influence to reach a fair settlement of Balkan problems in the first place. But on the contrary the great powers did everything possible to engender conflicts among the Balkan nations themselves. Let me give an example. By referring you to the Balkan crisis of 19 0 8 and 9 in 19 no. 8 there was a revolution in the Turkish Empire. A revolution led by young Turks as they were known. The Young Turks I mention this brave young Turks because other political parties in the world are going to adopt this name for themselves. In France for example there was a political section that called
itself The Young Turks the Young Turks consisted of army officers who wanted to put an end to the old regime in the Ottoman Empire and who wish to emphasize a Turkish nationalism. This revolution in Turkey made several of the great powers afraid that maybe the sick man of Europe as Turkey was known was not really as sick as they had supposed Austria-Hungary had decided ambitions in the Balkans had had for centuries. In fact as I've mentioned before in this course much of Austrian history may be interpreted in the room against the conflict of Christian Austria against Maslow Turkey. Austria was afraid that if the Turks settled their own problems
in turn all problems but this with merely strengthen the Turkish hand in the northern part of the Balkans where Austria had certain ambitions. You will remember that in 1870 eight as the result of the Treaty of her Lynn the Austrian Empire was given a protectorate over the province of Boston E O B O S and A. Those of you who are interested in this province are not interested in literature. Surely ought to read the paperback book by evil underage A and D R I C The book is called I believe the English is bridge on the D not D R I N A. The Dana is a river that runs through boss the. This is one of the most best in dating books you can read simply as literature and it will tell
you a great deal about the life of the province of Boston under Turkish and Austrian rule. The Austrians then were given a Protech to rate over boss as of eight hundred seventy eight and no doubt the Austrians began to think of that problems as their own even though legally it was still a part of the Turkish or Ottoman Empire. Well with the Turkish revolution in 1990 the Austrians were afraid that they would lose their control in that province. And so the Australians after talking it over with the Russians who also had ambitions there decided to annex the problems of Boston outright. They simply took it to themselves. The annexation took place on October 7 19 0 8. Austria took advantage of the fact that Russia had been badly beaten in the war with
Japan just three four years before. France was not particularly interested in the Balkans. Britain like Austria was afraid of the possible consequences of the young turk revolution. Germany was Austria as an ally anyway so the only country that really stood in the way of Austria's ambitions in Boston was the little kingdom of Serbia. And Serbia was interested in Boston because the province of Boston was largely Serbian in population. Mostly I have still today as one of the republics in Tito's Yugoslavia bused the I has three kinds of people in it. Serbs who are of the Orthodox Church Croats who are of the Roman Catholic Church and then people who really have no nationality who may be either Serbian or
Croatian but are Muslim in religion and who regarded themselves in this period at least as Turks the Serbs were in a majority and so the kingdom of Serbia looked upon Boston as an unredeemed problem something that Serbia had to take one day. Austria is Anik sation was a particular blow to Serbia because as long as just the Turks held the Serbian government could hope one day that the Turkish power would melt away there but also it was a different proposition. Well the countries of Europe were forced into recognizing Austria as annexation of Boston and the people that came out of this crisis humiliated were the Russians who had to agree without getting promised compensations and
Serbia. One of the results of the whole affair of 19 0 8 was that the Balkan states decided to get together to solve their own problems without the great powers. They thought it was high time to chase the Turks out of Europe and to complete the process of independence of the Balkan peoples. And so five of the Balkan nations Greece Serbia Bulgaria Montenegro and Rumania Greece Serbia Bulgaria Montenegro and Rumania decided to ally. Themselves for the purpose of chasing the Turks out of Europe and Europe for the Europeans was one of the slogans. And so in 1911 in 1912 they fought what is known in history as the first
Balkan War which ended in success for the Balkan nations. However the great powers did not want the Balkan nations to settle their own problems without the great power and so they intervened. In fact it looked as though there might be war then and there with Austria Hungary and Russia mobilizing. There was a conference held of the great powers Great Britain Russia France Italy Germany Austria-Hungary one of the things that was decided at this conference in 1912 was that Albania should be an independent state. I don't know to how many of you Albania has any importance but I assure you of that especially today Albania has importance far exceeds its territory or population as the president of the United States put it with
great wit. I think what Cuba was to the United States recently Albania is to the Soviet Union a country of great embarrassment because of the Albanian communists are openly defying the Communist Party of the Soviet Union with the Chinese. I might say communists as the allies of the Albanians the Albanians are a very fierce mountain people still in some cases and at tribal stage of the organisation. Albania was made an independent state in 1912 and this meant that Serbia was cheated of some of the territory that it expected to the south. Especially Serbia wanted a port on the Adriatic. Since Serbia could not get this territory. The Serbs asked the bullbars if they couldn't reach a new
understanding over territory between those two countries so that Serbia could be compensated the bullbar said no tough luck. And the result of that was the Second Balkan War. In June 1913 in which Serbia Greece and Roumania flocked against Bulgaria Bulgaria lost the war and there was something more lost to the unity among the Balkan states. In other words a situation was piling up of hostility within the Balkans and the hostility of the two camps within the Balkans went far beyond into great power politics because each side in the Balkans had its own friends. Bulgaria decided to join
with Austria and with Germany as allies. Whereas friends England and Russia were on the side of Serbia and Greece. The next Balkan crisis is of course the one that touches off the First World War. The crisis at Sayed both. S A R A J e the o side I evolved the capital of the Austrian province of Boston the. Austrian government decided to consolidate itself there by sending the heir to the Austrian throne Archduke Francis Ferdinand on a visit of state to cite a vote in 1914. Now they couldn't have picked a worse day for this visit. If they only knew something about history but history of the Balkan peoples
of all the days in the year that they should not have picked. They picked the wrong one. June twenty eight. I don't know what June 28 means to anyone that is listening to me but to every Serb alive. June twenty eight brings up a memory of a battle that took place in thirteen eighty nine a D. Now that's an awful long time ago and most Americans don't have memories that go that far back. This is what makes us so different from many people in the world whose memories go back much farther than bad 13. On June 28. Thirteen eighty nine a famous battle was fought between the Serbs and the Turks in which the Serbs lost and Serbs are among the few nations in the world that celebrate one of the greatest defeats in their whole history. As a result of that defeat I might say that we also celebrate the defeat of America on all civilized people do
the marathon and ancient Greek history as a result of the defeat in thirteen eighty nine the Serbs lost their independence for something like four four and a half centuries. And a whole cult kind of of religion spread it a national religion spread among the Serbs. But the destiny of the Serbian nation was to take revenge for the defeat. The battle of costs of oil as it was called in thirteen eighty nine and that only with this revenge could the Serbian people rise up as the independent and great nation but they were in medieval times. Well the visit of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand to Saga it will seem like a slap in the face to this Serbian dream of independence. What happened was that a secret organisation in Serbia known as the
sort of not all color black hand. Organized a few young students to go to Sunday above and to assassinate the Archduke as a sign of Serbian protest. I wish to emphasize that this black hand organisation was not an agency of the government of Serbia. This is important to realize. Furthermore the government of Serbia had reason to fear this secret organisation. The organisation was in deed against some members of the Serbian government. The reason this point is important is because later Austria will say that this organisation was a Serbian governmental organization and therefore an Austrian war against Serbia is justified. But if the Black Hand was no more a legal organisation in Serbia then the Ku
Klux Klan is a legal organisation of the United States and as a matter of fact there are certain points of contact between those two organisations. Well I won't go into the story of the assassination I don't think anyone has really describe it better than Rebecca West in her book Gray lamb and Grey Falcon black lamb or black lamb and Grey Falcon I should say this is a really great book. Everything went wrong in the plot. Some of the students lost their nerve. Another one was standing in the wrong place. If ever an assassination took place almost by accident this one did. In fact the fellow that actually shot Franz Ferdinand was. Shot him at a time when Franz Ferdinand was not supposed to be where he was at the time. On the corner of the street and the bridge across the main That's good. River looked pretty safe. P R I N C IP
was the young Serbian student who shot Francis Ferdinand. He was 19 years old at the time. Out of this comes. A crisis which later developed into quite a question in German it's called the creek shilled Fraga meaning literally the war guilt question Who is to blame for World War 1. Now let me say from the outset that I think this is an irrelevant question. I don't know that it makes any sense to ask who was to blame. Rather if you regard World War One as the piling up of all kinds of enmities and misfortunes on all sides then the really relevant question to the student of history is what was to blame and not who was to blame.
But even if we go into the question that was a favorite question of our fathers who was to blame. We must say this that if Austria wanted to avoid a war she could have very easily despite this provocation Austria sent an ultimatum to the Serbian government. Demanding all sorts of recompense. There is no doubt that Austria was extremely hurt by it by this act. After all the killing of the heir to the throne of the great empire is not a small matter. And I suppose that a country that is injured in this way will would certainly want certain guarantees and compensation. Austria had a right to certain satisfaction as the result of this but also demanded of the Serbian government things which no self-respecting sovereign nation could possibly give. In your
book of readings by Masih and others you will note that there is a correspondence here and I ask you to read it. Austria. Asked Serbia to suppress all anti Austrian societies and books and so forth in Serbia to purge the Serbian military and civil service a ball and Thai Austrians and Austria was given the privilege of deciding who these were. The plotters of Saddam able were to be punished. Well perhaps all of this is in order except that Austria wanted Austrian officials to participate in all of this. This meant an actual fact that Serbia was asked to give up its sovereignty and in fact become a kind of satellite of the Austrian Empire. The Serbian reply was as fair as it could possibly be coming from a country that wanted to hang onto it. In
fact the Serbian reply was so fair that the great powers were immensely relieved and they thought now everything is going to be all right. But it wasn't Austria refused to accept the conciliatory Serbian reply. And on July 28 one month after the assassination. Austria declared war. And after that one great power after another joined very quickly. I have no intention of describing the first world war here. You know that the sides were divided into the so called allies Great Britain France Russia Belgium Serbia Montenegro even Japan Romania all kinds of countries. The Central Powers consisted of Austria Hungary Germany Turkey and later Bulgaria.
At first it was thought that Italy would join the Central Powers. Then Italy remained neutral and finally as the result of a secret treaty of London April 26 1915 the Italians joined the Allies in exchange for promises that they could get a good deal of what is now the coast of Yugoslavia. The German High Command had a plan but is known as the Schlieffen Plan C H L I E F the N S C H L I E F F E N the Schlieffen Plan named after General functionally Flynn who had been chief of staff before 1995 in Germany general financially and put together a plan which said in effect that in any two front war Germany was to beat France first in a quick
blitz campaign as we were to call it in our own generation. A six week campaign by swinging through Belgium with seven armies cutting France in half and by promising Paris. The French had 17 plans we are told how to meet the. Crisis. But the biggest part of the French plans included their alliance with Russia which we talked about the last time Russia had the manpower that could stop such a German blitz campaign through France. What happened in Europe then was that the Western Front consisted largely of. The Germans fighting the French and the Belgians with a stalemate there while on the Eastern Front the Russians sent wave after wave of millions
of humanity against the Germans to be shot down. The Russians had many millions of men but their armies were not prepared for the war. In fact they were so unprepared as far as number of rifles was concerned for example that Russians in the third and fourth rolled trenches at the front waited for Russians in the first and second rows to be killed so they could go up and grab their rifles. Now I think you can see that under those conditions the morale of the Russian army would be very low. Besides there was a great deal of corruption in the Russian army. You can imagine for example the scene where bags of flour are sent to the front. The cook in the commissary opens up a bag of flour and discovers instead a bag of sand. Somebody has been cheating. I want to stress this aspect of the Russian fighting and the fact is that the Russians were
used by intent as cannon fodder against the Germans because of this Franco Russian alliance to keep the Germans busy on the eastern front so the friends could hold her own on the western front. The result of that alliance was nothing short of the Russian Revolution. I will enlarge on this point another time but I'm quite convinced that if it had not been for World War One there never would have been a Russian Revolution. I'm quite convinced of this in so far as a historian can can't can predict in any way. The fighting on the European continent. Those fears made all the worse by hand-to-hand bayonet fighting and mustard gas. The tank came into being the airplane was brought into history for the first time as a strategic weapon on the sea. The British held supremacy and the blockade of
Germany which had terrible consequences for the people of Germany. As for American entry into that war I hope I need not say anything to people who have presumably been through American history at least two or three times in their academic careers. The result of form most people four years of terrible fighting for us just about a year of fighting. There was an armistice on the Ben Bernanke 1918. And with the defeat of the German arms came the end of the war. Let me make general observations about that war. The first thing I would like to say is that there was a general collapse of the idea of pacifism during those years.
The people that should have remembered most Thou shalt not kill. Bless the arms of the various contending parties. I think I've cited before Cronin's novel the keys of the kingdom in which the two nuns Roman Catholic nuns of different nationalities in China each discover that their church authorities in their own countries had blessed arms to be used against the inhabitants of the other country. Not only did Christians justify war in these years but the mosque in Cali Constantinople preached to Jack Hodder all holy war against the infidels of all things. Furthermore the socialists who had been preaching pacifism right along were most of them for the war whether they were German Socialists or French socialists. Some Frenchmen thought that the French Socialist Jonez would be against the war and
assassinated him quite mistakenly Jonez would have been for war and was for war and shown as a socialist successor. Again it was for joining the French foreign ministry and in carrying out its campaign of patriotism for the war. The German Socialists had been shouting Down with the war until it broke out and then they remembered that they were German Patriots first and socialist second. The Austrian socialists behaved in the same way. So did the British social Laborites. So did most of the Russian socialists with one big exception the Bolsheviks. And again I say that it was this perhaps more than anything else about the Bolsheviks that gave them a certain attraction in 1917 when they carried through their revolution. Furthermore we found that all kinds of people were for the war at the time
intellectuals businessmen anybody you can think of. There was a general hysteria and especially those of you who are from Wisconsin. Ask your parents about the historic grandparents about the hysteria that went on in this state and indeed in this town during 1917. Ask about all the houses of Americans of German descent that were painted with terrible signs accusing them of being unpatriotic just because they or their parents or grandparents had come from Germany. But hysteria entered right here in our own midst. But that is another subject. Each of the contending powers had to of course justify its killing by certain slogans that would appeal to the civilizing think the Central Powers extol their civilising mission that they were fighting for Western culture against the barbarian slobs of Eastern
Europe especially the Russians barbarous Russia said the Germans we've got to put it down or decadent friends or a perfidious Albion as they like to call England. The Allies spoke of the war to end war. This is an appealing argument. Yes we know that war is terrible but let's fight just this one war and then we can be sure that there will never be another war again. A very appealing argument at the time and certainly we added the slogan to make the world safe for democracy. And yet let me say to you that if this world goes on living another couple of centuries people sitting in the same seats and Bascomb hall and I'm convinced they'll be the same seats that there won't be a budget. Right. People sitting in the same seat to save trees from not listening to some professor lecturing on World War One will be asked to remember World War One for only one reason that in its aftermath
came the greatest blows to democracy in world history. Fascism and Communism. This is the one thing that came out of the war and yet our slogan was to make the world safe for democracy. What I wish to make clear here is that the war aims of the belligerents have practically nothing to do with what with the real results that war brings about. There are all kinds of lessons for our generation to learn from. World War 1. And I hope that in reviewing these lessons you young people won't get the cynical idea that your parents and grandparents must have been really dumb and that they're to blame for the fix you were in. Let me assure you that you're just as dumb as we were and our parents were. This is a part of being human I'm afraid and we ought to look upon history with a bit of humility and try to learn for ourselves
rather than judge the mistakes of others. Generally speaking in the era of World War One people somehow hoped Well right now that war has been declared Thank goodness it will be over within a couple of months. It will be quick. How can a war go on when you have tanks and submarines and machine guns and mustard gas and and on planes a war can't last more than a couple of months. Well it lasted for years. Not we find people making that mistake today. The next war will be one big boom and that's all there will be to it. Who guarantees that there will be one big bomb who guarantees that there won't be a lot of explosions. Who guarantees that everything is going to go up in blue smoke in one split second. It may be worse than that. Far worse than that and we ought to take it into account.
Furthermore I don't think people really realize generally until World War One how total and how expensive war can be. There were all kinds of people after World War one that tried to dramatize to the peoples of the world what the war really cost in both from the material aspect and the spiritual. I don't know what these figures mean. I'm not even sure that I know how exact they are. But perhaps some of them will impress you. Let me talk about casualties first. Of the 65 million men directly involved in the first world war nine million died in actions in action or a blooms of 65 million 9 million died in action or a broom's Twenty two million were wounded permanently or temporarily and five million were declared missing. Two thirds of the wounded were allied soldiers in addition to all of this.
About nine million civilians of various countries died of starvation epidemics and of massacres. To give just two examples about one third of the population of Serbia died of epidemic one third died of epidemic. And in Germany and other countries but especially Germany. The blockade brought starvation and disease to the people there. All the wars of the 19th century caused less than one half the deaths that resulted from just the first world war all the wars of the 19th century caused less than one half the deaths that resulted from the First World War. It has been estimated that the First World War cost 30 million lives. And the terrible thing about it is that that seems if you'll forgive this awful expression almost cheap by comparison with World War Two. As for the
material costs in money the allies and again I say I don't know what this means at all I'm not even sure I can read these figures. What is one hundred and twenty six with nine zeros after it. Is that million or trillion or billion I don't know. I don't believe you know what it means. In 1918 maybe this will help us all the belligerents spent about ten million dollars an hour for all four years of the war 10 million dollars an hour. And if you include in that property damages losses that see production losses relief and pensions and all the rest that came as a result. This cost is double to 20 million dollars an hour to put it another way the cost of two hours of fighting to the United States alone in 1918 would have paid for
the entire budget of the League of Nations for one year. Two hours of fighting just for the United States in 1918 would have paid for the whole budget of the League of Nations for one year. One half of the first world war expenditures of the United States. Somebody figured out would cover the purchase of one automobile and one tractor for every one of six and a half million farmers with six hundred million dollars left over for good roads for Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia University estimated that 40 billion dollars was lost in property and he added that this amount of money would be enough to build a house with a thousand dollars worth of furniture on five acres of land for every family in the United States Canada Australia England Wales Ireland Scotland France Belgium Germany and Russia. And there would still be enough to provide each country with the
5 million dollar library a 10 million dollar university to endow salaries for one hundred twenty five thousand teachers and one hundred twenty five thousand nurses. And then you'd have enough money to buy all of Belgium and France. So much for the material destruction. But what this material destruction mean when compared to the loss of one human life necessarily just one human life. And let me ask you to think of it not simply in moral terms. My father or my brother or something. Don't think of it even on such personal terms. Think of all the perhaps geniuses that might have discovered this that or the other for human men and for men kind for human progress. Think of the Talons nipped in the bud on the field of battle. How much is
lost there. How how do you how do you establish the cost of one such loss. The spiritual destruction was very great. The 19th century you'll remember lived most of its life in the kind of expectation that progress with a capital P would go onward and upward for ever. This whole idea was destroyed by the First World War. People became desperate and in their desperation they saw what we might call comic relief. In your own day it's rock and roll. In the days of your fathers it was the jazz age in the gin age. I can't think of which was more stupid. There was a cynicism which overtook people who replaced faith and the kind of relativism which which took the place of morality hope was replaced by doubt. And believe me there are no statistics for such
losses. So the totality of war the expensiveness of war and all the meanings of the word expensive became clear to mankind. The fact that total war involves not only armies but whole populations began to dawn on the world. You know in the 19th century you could send off a lot of nice toy soldiers in red uniforms from London to Crimea and they do a couple of months of fighting and those that came back were claimed as great soldiers and it was all very colorful despite the losses that kind of war went out with World War One whole population civilian populations were involved in this. I've already mentioned the point that war begets unexpected results. When World War 1 was over the world awakened to something quite new a
situation which nobody really expected or wanted. As to the territorial changes which came about as a result of the war. Let me remind you that the peace of Paris consists of at least five different peace treaties of which the peace treaty with Germany signed at Versailles is perhaps the best known but there are four other treaties besides Versailles. And I ask you to look these up in your readings and to be prepared to discuss them. What can we say about all of these treaties as a whole. For one thing they did not really establish anything as much as they confirmed what had already happened. For one thing four great empires had been destroyed by the war. The German Empire the Austrian Empire the Russian empire and the Turkish Empire had been destroyed.
Furthermore. The peace treaties. Did not solve many of the problems that the belligerents said they were going to solve. For one thing the some of the Germans were given the excuse of thinking that the Peace Treaty of Versailles had been imposed upon them that it was what Hitler was later to call a dick taht a dictatorial piece and that right thinking Germans meaning the supporters of Hitler later on could not accept this peace and what not except in so far as the allies and forced it. Furthermore one would think that this was the time to satisfy the nationalisms that were still rampant in the world. Woodrow Wilson is especially famous throughout the world for his insistence that we accept the principle of national self-determination which means that each nationality
has the right to live in its own state. As a free nation. But how are you going to carry out this great ideal in a Europe where the various nationalities are mixed up so terribly that you cannot draw a line between one nationality and the next. As a result in the desire to satisfy each nationalism in Europe. Certain national states arose which in fact bore within themselves the seeds of future conflict because not one of these national states existed without having a good part of somebody else's nationality inside their borders. It was impossible to draw borders that would separate all Rumanians from all Hungarians or all Yugoslavia's from all Romanians or something of the sort. This was impossible. On the other hand
so much had been said about nationalism and the rights of nationalism that we find nationalism as a greater force. After World War 1 than even before. Furthermore the creed of national self-determination spread to the so-called under developed countries and colonial areas of the world. Who said in effect if the Czechs and Slovaks and Serbs and Croats can have their own states why can't we in India and Egypt and Korea and elsewhere. Another effect of the war was to make the United States a world power and a creditor nation. And this was our first step to international participation. Undoubtedly undoubtedly the United States was not yet ready to become a participant in international affairs though we had taken
part most reluctantly in the last year of the World War. We did not feel ourselves really a part of Europe's problems and this is the way we defined it. We saw ourselves as a young knight on shining armor coming into a conflict that had been going on for some time with everybody with dirty hands and we were somehow or other going to put a stop to all of this and then tell everybody to be good and go home and we would go home to to a period of great prosperity and peace. Well that's the way we saw it. And that's the way didn't happen. Isolationism tried hard to hang on in the United States. And it wasn't dead until World War 2 and it still isn't dead. Think of all the Americans who today are overwhelmed by a feeling of frustration. All of this terrible world we live in if we could only get away from all of this and stop giving money to people and getting embroiled in their problems. Let's all go home and mind our own business.
Well if that were possible perhaps it would be nice but as one of my colleagues puts it the only trouble with that argument is that you can't d invent the airplane. You can't do it with the atom bomb or the fact that the world is very much of one piece today. Perhaps the only good thing that came out of World War One was the League of Nations. And this we shall discuss another time. You've been listening to Michael Petrovich professor of history at the University of Wisconsin in Madison as he discussed the catastrophic event generally known as the First World War. This was another lecture from the history of Europe 1815 to 1945. I was sponsoring the College of the Air Corps first broadcast in 1961. They say stations bring you like yours Monday Wednesday and Friday afternoon at 2:15. This is the Wisconsin state broadcasting service. This is W H A F and in my.
Oh. This kind of. So-called rebellion is
conformity of a different sort. If we were to put all the pamphlets together in one line I can feel one of the other things we all suffer from some conformist. Everyone and everyone of us and all of this together intellectual climate. Not intellectual climate visible in the art literature music your clothing. But it is much more difficult to get at the physical climate and its other manifestations. So much for what intellectual climate. Here. As to how it works. I should say that most people merely copy or reflect the intellectual climate they are in and they do very little to change
it. Indeed a lot of people are hardly aware that they live in any kind of intellectual climate. I don't think I'm using the word intellectual in any highbrow sense. I go back to my definition it is literally all of the attitudes and opinions. All of the thinking of all humans is has nothing to do with high brows and low brows. Some people imagine that the intellectual climate the climate of opinion that you like in which they live is universal. That holds good for the whole world and that it's normal for all time. There are few things I abhor in life as much as the amateur piano player. Note I didn't say pianist I said piano player who plunks out and Liszt and Procopius as though they were all the same and lived at the same time and had the same thoughts as though they were all contemporaries. This is why if you'll permit a very personal observation I appreciate Goodenough
Johansson so much as a pianist on this campus and what I say about him I could say about the others just as easily Leo Stephens and others. Just that I happen to hear that Johansson most recently doing a concert with Bach and two concerts on the list. And that was the same man playing with two different souls two different site guys. One was of Bach and one age one was a list in another age. The piano player doesn't see the difference he thinks that it's all in technique and plunk plunk plunk but it isn't. You've got to capture the spirit of the music and the spirit of the music has much to do with the spirit of the age and what I have said about music I can say about everything else. Architecture and clothing in the books we write in the books we read in our newspapers and everything everything you can think of. Well where does intellectual climate or climate of opinion come from. How is it
fun. Certainly the material of life. But I think that men thought differently in the iron age than they do in the atomic age. Mass production inventions fast transportation easy communications all have to do with forming one kind of intellectual climate rather than another. The intellectual climate of the 19th century is quite different from that of the 18th is quite different from that of the 17th. Modern opinions are different from medieval opinions and so forth. And material ways of life have a great effect on this. Even in our own age in much of the world though we are all contemporaries of one another there is still a difference between town and country in many parts of the world. That is so sharp as sharp as the difference between medieval times and modern times. Indeed I read a study once about the Anglo-Saxon white
settlers up the hill mountain the Kentucky hill country of Kentucky and Tennessee and one of the chapters is entitled Our contemporary and sisters. That is they. They live like our ancestors even though they live at the same time we do. Naturally their climate of opinion is different from ours. But it isn't only the material ways of life that affect. Opinion. After all opinions are not something they go up in the air nor are opinions material things they are formed in people and by people and opinions that shape history are shaped and focused by the relatively few in society. The masses for the greater part are content to reflect it. They are tall aware of the climate of opinion rather progress whether pur better or worse depends on those who think and compose and in them
and create rather than just reproduce. Now there is almost always a lag between the opinion leaders if we may call them that and those who follow. And as we become more and more into modern times the lag becomes more and more serious. Furthermore there may be lags within the creative group. I'm thinking for example of the lag between the physical sciences and the social studies. A very serious lie in our times. Another word we might use here besides lag is to borrow from the sciences. What I'm worried about here but I'm concerned with here is how do the thoughts of the so-called opinion leaders affect the masses especially when we see that there are sometimes very little
contact. Between the great group of people and the relatively few who are creative. Let me make this personal. Please rest assured that. I do not think of you as the vast masses. You are the privileged few. Those of you who are sitting in this room in this university you are the privileged few. You are the privileged few even for this country where so many people go to the universities let alone the privileged few for the whole world. And yet though you are all literate though you are all school people. I wonder how many of you have read more than a few pages of Darwin called Marx Freud Einstein so well. But I could go on and on. And yet let me assure you that every one of these people has made a tremendous difference to your lives whether you are aware of it or not.
Every one of these people has in some way made your life vastly different from what it might have been had they not existed. They are every one of them. Whether you accept this or not whether you know it or not and if you don't know it you are in danger of being among the willingly enslaved rather than someone who is aware of what is in himself. This is what education is all about. To make you aware of what is in you. Now if intellectual climate is all the same to you and you're hardly aware of it then you can't do any more about it than most of us can do about whether rains or snows today and so we react like an animal. But if you don't want to be an animal if you want to be human then it's very important to know the intellectual climate how it works and what you can do about it. Let me see how I can help. That's the historian in discussing the nineteenth century. I would like to show you some of the major differences in the intellectual climate between the
first half and the second half of the 19th century. And roughly my dividing line should be 1848 though I might have picked 1853 or 1856 or any other date. Somewhere there in the middle. In fact I didn't even have to pick the middle except that I think that's about where it should be. I'm not looking for the median line between eighteen hundred and nineteen hundred. Remember that our nineteenth century is from 1815 to 1914 as historians reckoned it. What are the main differences between those two halves. Intellectual climate. Please be aware of the fact that I am now indulging in generalization. I am now simplifying so that we can get a better look at it. One could spend the rest of his life putting holes in the chart that I am about to give you and yet I think that there is a certain validity to it indeed as you're taking notes. You may put this down in the form of a chart if you just draw a line for
about 11 lines down the middle of your page. I will give you about 11 catch words for one half of that page and 11 catch words for the other. Explain a bit of what I mean about each and then for the rest of the lecture. Concentrate on one or two. First to go into the terminology of art history and intellectual history in general. One can say that the first half of the 19th century was an age of romanticism with the capital are roughly speaking of romanticism and we have discussed from man to system at some length in this course. The second half of the 19th century however has as its dominant guide them with a capital R. Now the point is this realism mean. The name itself comes from the idea that man should face life as it really
is that he should describe the world as it really is that he should not look at the world through rose colored glasses or glasses of any other color that he should stare reality in the face recognize it and describe it boldly to others. Realism was in this sense a reaction. To at least a certain tendency of romanticism to put a fine gloss on everything to idealize to be sentimental about things to see only the beautiful. As a reaction realist some went over to the other extreme and saw mostly the ugly. In fact we have in literature the school of naturalism. But is that you see nature as the natural man in his natural environment. But what is naturalism in literature. I wish I'd brought you a parody here I just forgot to bring it with me.
First it gives a scene in the kitchen of the house. Very romantic. A sweet little house like fixing up some nice little dish for a husband while the child is playing in the car with some beautiful toy and there's a little kid and there are bright colors everywhere. And it's a prosperous little family and everything with happiness. And then there is the realist literature that shows the kitchen with tattered wallpaper. Obviously the rent hasn't been paid. Fumes are coming out of them. The mother has a cigarette dangling out. Let's. Pan has just spilled over on the baby and the baby is on the dirty floor and so forth and so on this is supposed to be like real life. You see. Well. As is very common in human affairs one kind of extreme begets another. But there was something I think. Very useful about them in that it came at a time
also of social protest. And for social protest to express the seamier side of life. This is what after all made Dickens. One doesn't remember Dickens just for the sweet scenes of English domestic life and the smoking on the table or something of that sort. One remembers him for all of her twists and Fagan and the slums of London and every literature in Europe had. An analogous part to this social protest. But it isn't only social protest in that it's more of. A form as in Dickens. If I had to take the one book that impresses me most as being the dividing line between romanticism unrealism I would pick this stuff up there. You cannot buy this very cheap.
But. Very briefly it's the story of a French girl who gets married with. A completely romantic ideas of this exaggerated what marriage is she going to have a little house little mess than her husband is going to think about nothing but her and they're going to be cozy and gay and happy and the patter of little feet and everything is going to be very very nice. And then as the book progressed as she finds out that life isn't like that that humans are like that. I wonder. Where she realizes that she has something like that in the first place. And so my body is the story of the disappointment of a person brought up in romanticism but who. Confronts life. As it is in quotes and then doesn't have the strength really to face it with her old ideas. One needn't take the book. Perhaps if I were in art history I would pick a painting. My
dog. Came out to make hundred fifty six but in 1853 three years earlier. A painter. A French painter by the name of cool. Came out with a shocking picture called the bay. There's no romanticism like naked bodies they like to portray naked bodies but these naked bodies were nymphs and shepherds beautiful people people so beautiful that you hardly ever see such people. But they showed three gangling bony naked human creatures but the. People who looked like most of us. I mean those of us past your age. And this was shocking. It wasn't indecent because of the nudity. After all people from the classical 18th century were accustomed to seeing nude art it wasn't that it was the brazenness of showing this
ugliness that bothered people so much. Well then romanticism on one hand realism on the other in this real Islam effect in itself not only in and. Insinuated itself not only in art in architecture in literature and so forth but let me give you a phrase from German political history. They are politique So they are fully that is real politics the politics of realism which means in effect Don't be sentimental dog dog the morals of a state are different from the morals of an individual Macchiavelli and all of that. So even in international politics we have a term coming from this. Another. Difference between the first half of the second half 19th century deals with how people thought they could best handle their economic problems. And in the first half the 19th century the prevailing opinion might be called liberalism with the capital L and this we
have discussed at some length already. The major create the major point of liberalism was free trade and the police government was the best government. That. Trade was unhampered trade. The government should not concern itself too much with the economic system lest it spoil the delicate balance. The second half of the 19th century repudiated that and we still haven't made our peace with either proposition in our own time. The second half might be called statism. The idea that the state must and should intervene in economic affairs. I think now you see more and more why I said the other day that if you want to know what an American conservative of today thinks. Go back to 19th century liberalism. Because an American conservative of today believes not in St.
Kitts except where he means it's a bad like. But the greatest possible freedom of trade where he's doing well. Another difference between the first half of the second half of the 19th century is the inner man in the Romantic period the individual with everything the personality the individual personality seeking to fulfill itself. Seeking your horizons. Whereas we find in the second half of the 19th century our tendency towards group is towards collectivism towards corporatism. I'm pleased that one finds the same thing in the ranks of socialism and in the ranks of capitalism in the ranks of socialism it isn't the individual it's the working class. And in the ranks of capitalism it isn't the work but it's the factory complex that
produces. Furthermore. This group is some in the 19th century from which we still suffer. Also had a nice idea with. The idea of the elite elite. Now the word elite with the accent on the first. If you want to be a purist the word elite simply is the French word for the elect those who are in some way. Many are called but few are chosen. In communism This is known as the vanguard of the proletariat. The. Communist party you know doesn't try to include everybody it can. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union for example is a very exclusive group. And I think now only about 4 percent of the population are permitted to belong to it. Ever since the decision which the Soviet communists made in 1993 in their
second Congress it's very difficult to get into the Communist Party in the Soviet Union because they consider themselves the elect the elite elite the vanguard of the working class. Now one finds this in many many other contexts. I'm told that right now in the United States we have a society of people called the Minutemen. Who are arming themselves to save the country in case of invasion and why should they save it. Perhaps because they don't trust the rest of us don't trust the Pentagon or don't trust the people at large. I don't know. But in some way or another they think they are the elect that they are really going to do the job that belongs to all of us. We find that in almost every society in the second half of the 19th century down to the present there is this idea of the elect. Another difference we can see between the first and second half of 19th century
lies in the difference between free will and determinism. Now I'm no philosopher and please don't get me engaged in what I think this man does man have free will. Or are his actions determined by something outside of themselves. If you want to know my opinion I accept both propositions. And if they contradict one another as Walt Whitman says so what universal. I don't think in fact that most of the either or propositions that we argue about are true on both sides of the fence. I can hardly think of an important either or proposition that doesn't have truth on both sides of the fence. I've long passed the age where I indulge in student sessions that take up matters as though they were either or. But nevertheless the climate of opinion in the first half of the 19th century emphasized the free will that the individual had the capacity to improve himself
and life and that he was the captain of this fate the master of his soul. But as the 19th century went on and society became more and more complex thanks to industrialism thanks to complex political systems and all the rest of it the individual began to see that he was being swamped out as a matter of fact. If I had to put my finger on the uneasiness of your generation right now whether you're aware of why you're uneasy or not I would say that the uneasiness comes from the fact that the individual feels that he doesn't count for as much as his individualistic fathers and grandfathers in history. And so we get all kinds of philosophies of history that stressed determinism in the second half of the 19th century. But man is really not a free agent at all.
But there are certain laws of society just as there are laws in nature and that man counts for little in the overall machine. Again you must not suppose that Marxism is the only philosophy that relies on determinism. One can find it in many other kinds of thought. Diametrically opposed to Marxism. Another difference between the first and second halves of the 19th century with the emphasis on form of state power in the first half the 19th century it was nationalism and the ideal was every state should be based on a nationality and that nationality should be free within the state. However the second half of the 19th century went into a new kind of imperialism and this we discussed the last time that it wasn't enough for England to beat England.
It wasn't even enough for England to beat Britain but Britain had to be an Empire on which the sun would never set. And this was emulated by many other countries. The feeling was that one's own country within one's own ethnic borders is not enough to use a phrase out of American history that manifest destiny must drive us over oceans and bring our civilization to others. Along with this of course along with imperialism comes one of the most devastating ideas of modern times racism. And I'm sure you must all realize how much we suffer from racism in our own country and how much of our reputation and our political actions in the world suffer as the result of racism. I don't think that our racism is directed only against people whose skins are of a different color or are against people whose religions we can
trace. We have all kinds of racism. If you don't believe me look at the quota system of immigration to the United States and ask yourselves why more Swedes are permitted to come to this country than the Greeks for example. Another difference between the two halves of the nineteenth century deals. With. A prevailing mode of thought philosophy in the first half. People in the first half of the 19th century look to philosophies history philosophies of science. Philosophy was a very favorite study at universities the philosophy of the great man the first half of the 19th century one thinks of Hagar for example is a kind of symbol of this had Germany a philosophy. However the second half of the 19th century switched its
allegiance to science. And to scientism and scientism is something rather different from science. Justice religiosity is different from religion. The difference between science and scientism is that science is just the study of the physical universe and how it works. Whereas scientism is an exaggerated and even superstitious belief. In what science can do for us. That goes way beyond what rational scientists themselves think scientism is a kind of religion that science. And what science what people imagine science could or should do. And in this sense scientism replaced the old time religion in many minds. And this brings me to another dichotomy here.
Romantic Europe in the first half of the 19th century was very interested in religion. We've talked about piety here the emotional religions of the first half of the 19th century the second half of the 19th century however was a secular saint. Actually it thought about this world and the problems of this world and sought for solutions within the framework of this world. No pie in the sky for the second half of 19th century. There was still respectability associated with religion. One can think of Victorian Britain without thinking of religion and family prayers and all that sort of thing. But but there is a very real question as to how religious most church goers are. Talk to your minister your priest or your rabbi sometimes about that point. I've talked to American clergymen who wish that their churches weren't quite so. But had a.
Had a greater capacity for real faith. Another difference. In the realm of philosophy between the first and second halves of the 19th century. Deals with these technical terms that we've discussed before. Idealism and materialism idealism with a capital I and materialism with the capital and. The. Materialism with a capital M as I hope I've explained in the lecture on Marxism. Regards Madhur as primary in the universe. There is nothing else but matter. And humans themselves are part of matter and their actions are reflections of the interaction of one kind of matter upon another. The human brain is matter. Everything is matter of fact there's a quip you know no matter never mind. This materialism in its philosophical capital M. Meaning was
pulverized. So that now the word materialism in the English language means somebody who's. Grasps at things who thinks only about the material things of life. The standard of living the money and that sort of thing. But materialism with a capital M goes far beyond that and is in essence a rejection of religion because most religions in the world if not all are based on idealism. How does it go in the beginning was the word. God first thought about the universe and then he made it. Is what religion says. The materialism with a capital M rejects that whole idea and says there is no God in the universe was here from all time and the universe is immortal. Another difference between the first and second have some 19th century deals with how
human society is organized and has much to do with this discussion of individual versus group ism. Competition was the thing in the first half of the 19th century. Where as as society got more complicated the need for organisation imposed itself upon European and American society until we now have books being written about the organisation man about the young chemistry graduate who would rather have start at a lower salary with Dupont's than have a big salary in some smaller place where where he might not feel secure. We now belong to organisations who are you. I belong to DuPont. Is the way it's put and you might put it in any other name there instead of two parts. Why because we've learned that organisation makes for easy. At least we
hope that it does. We organize everything every one of you in this room is a number and some machine in this building. I do not say that these things are necessarily bad. After all competition has created this many tears as organisation has. Its up the wrong side. But I think that I'm describing accurately here trends for better or worse. It's up to you to make them better. The first half of the 19th century believed in progress with the capital Pete. But the second have the 19th century one isn't quite so sure and we certainly are not even as sure as the second half of the 19th century about progress. As a matter of fact many of my fellow Americans are scared to death right now and wondering if the whole world is going to go back into some kind of barbarism or just simply nothing. The second half of the
19th century didn't go that far. They were terror stricken but they substituted for progress something else. Inevitability that somehow or other the. Processes of history were inevitable. You see how this goes with the loss of individual ism that the man can't really do anything individual about how the forces of history work themselves out on the arena of this globe. But there are certain inevitable processes. Just as the first half of the 19th century believed in fixed points and a system of morality that hardly by the second half of the 19th century was much more influenced by the idea that environment is everything. That one's ideas about morality and everything else for that matter come from our end. Byron meant.
And that since one environment is different from another. Everything is relative. Now I realize that this proposition has nothing to do with Einstein's great theory of relativity. In actual fact but there was not only a social Darwinism there's a kind of social Einstein ism. Somehow or other in the minds of people at large who knew nothing about science. Einstein's relativity seemed to go be a scientific sanction of relativity in morals and in society. Let me give you an extreme example. If you were now to go home and kill your grandmother. This would be considered a reprehensible and criminal act and you would have to bear the consequences. However anthropologists and sociologists tell us there are certain primitive societies where if your grandmother were at this moment sick and toothless it would be your bounden duty your
moral obligation to go home and knock her over the head and in the. In this particular society that I'm thinking of you do this publicly. She thanks you first you knock her over the head and you throw her over a precipice. To put her out of her misery and if you don't she curses you for all time because you didn't do what you were supposed to. Now you see here is a very dramatic example. Of differences in behavior something that is considered moral in one society is considered quite immoral in the other and each society seems to have a religious justification for what it does. And this leads people to believe there really isn't any right or wrong. It just depends on whether you're in a grandma killing society or in the grandma preserving society. Well now. I don't know maybe this is so I am not arguing these points. It's not for me to argue this. This is not a pulpit that I am speaking from.
But I should say this that the society which believes in a fixed right and wrong acts quite differently from a society that doesn't have any fix points in right and wrong and the society that doesn't have any fixed points and right and wrong even if they were scientifically correct in this assumption act in a way which is rather self-defeating to them. There is no society in the world today that is quite sure of what is right and wrong as the communist society. You may suffer the consequences of that some day I hope not. And so what do we have in the second half of the 19th century. A lot of things that we still keep with us. Just a few phrases will suffice. Survival of the fittest. I'm sure most of you have not read Darwin's Origin of Species. I certainly haven't read it all the way through I keep promising myself that I will.
In fact the publisher who first published Charles Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859 published only 500 copies of it because he thought nobody would read the book. And then he said to Darwin please put in everything you can about pigeons instead of fossils because everybody in England is interested in pigeons. And yet this book has become a bestseller in history it became the rage of society. Everybody anybody who read it. Why. Because some of the ideas that Darwin to which Darwin gave scientific sanction seemed to go hand in glove. With what people were thinking about in the second half the man. And survival of the fittest was definitely one of these. Here's what Darwin says. I don't ask you to follow this. I quote as many more individuals of the species are born than can possibly survive and consequently there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence. It follows that any being vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself
under the complex and sometimes very conditions of life will have a better chance of surviving and thus be naturally selected from the strong principle of inheritance and the selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form. And. Now this may be no more dramatic to you than many of the paragraphs you read in your biology textbook. And yet this paragraph in itself changed the world and it has changed you. Why. Because society try to apply this paragraph. Of scientific observations and generalizations to the world of the human world at large. And what do we get. Well in survival of the fittest. Or in the idea of struggle. Or in the idea of evolution of physical beings. Let me pick up just capitalism which we seem to know better than other systems
in capitalism. Evolution consists of progressive increase of wealth for all. A chicken in every pot. But. For only those who deserve it because there is a struggle in capitalism there is competition and only the fittest will survive. Rugged individualism. Dog eat dog. Business is business. But this isn't a moral. Because the person who survives is also the one who works hard who has the virtues required for getting ahead in business and these virtues are presumed to be virtues. There is no such thing as a bad businessman. If he were then other people would put him out of business. And out of it you get a proposition over which I nearly had my nose broke one day in an argument when I was a student some years ago. I was in a bull session where a young representative of American conservatism said to me about somebody if that
man amounted to anything he wouldn't be so poor. And I was aghast at this idea. It's perhaps possible to say this about a man in an expanding American economy when we still didn't have frontiers to the west of us in which a man could really strike out on his own. And at least get some acres of land from the government that the price of practically nothing and work hard. But what are you going to do in a society where where all of your ingenuity and virtue and desire to work hard all of it doesn't really get you anywhere because of the complexity of the system because of the kind of system in which you live. Now this this is something else again this is something else. Scientism has invaded capitalism with the whole idea of laws and economics and the law we put our favorite law on the economics is of course the law of supply and demand. Materialism shows up very much in our way of life. You ask a
hundred Americans why our way of life is better than the Russians. The communist play of life and the answer you will get from a disturbing number of people is our standard of living is higher. And yet it doesn't occur to such people that I would for example don't think I'm waving the flag now. I just happen to know a little about both sides. I would rather live in a poor America than a rich Soviet Union. As a teacher and as a historian I couldn't function in the richest so and with the highest standard of living. But I can function here even in a poor America I don't have quite as much as I do. It has that the relative virtues of these societies have very little to do with standard of living. And yet the argument one hears is that the standard of living the material things and natural selection is what we believe in. In business not in education. Oh everybody has the right to an A in education but not everybody has the right to
an A on the football field or in business to something else. And as a result we even convinced ourselves that money means brains. And that a person who has lots of money must of used his brains to get it. So much for capitalism one can do this with say racism. Races are scientifically determined. Groups of people. They are species C and one species is different from another kind of species the beloved of one species is different from another. The shape of the head the color of the skin and all of this in some way or other in people's minds has something to do with brains and character. So we now have a government in the south which is spending money on a report to show that Negroes are dumber naturally than whites are naturally dumber than the whites. Money is being spent in this country right now officially to show this. Scientists see that through scientific method we are supposed to reach this
kind of superstition. Survival of the fittest in racism means of course the supremacy of the white man all over the world. We are better than anyone else. Western civilization must prevail against the yellow peril and so forth and so on. Now if we need it we need to justify white supremacy. We at least ought to do it on grounds other than superstitious. Well the ideas of scientism rather than science are still with us and may I say that nobody deplores this more than the real scientists themselves. You've been listening Professor Michael Petrovich of the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin in Madison as he discussed the intellectual climate in the second half of the 19th century.
This is another lecture from the history of Europe 1815 to 1945. The Wisconsin calendar the year course first broadcast in 1961. The state stations bring you the course Monday Wednesday and Friday afternoon at 2:15. This is the Wisconsin state broadcasting service. You're listening to WHCA in Madison. Now an interlude of recorded music.
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