Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu, or more commonly referred to as Montesquieu was a French political philosopher who was born on January 18, 1689 during the Age of Enlightenment. Montesquieu’s family was one of great wealth due to his father belonging to a military family that served the king and his mother who owned the wine producing company known as La Brede.
During his youth Montesquieu’s mother died and the title of barony was passed on to him since he was the eldest child. Shortly after this he was sent away to the College of Juilly after he had been previously schooled at home and in his village. Moving on from the College of Juilly he traveled to the University of Bordeaux to complete his studies of law. In 1705 he successfully graduated and then moved to Paris to get experience in the field. He returned to Bordeaux in 1713 however because of the death of his father. Two years after this tragic event Montesquieu married Jeanne de Lartigue. Together they would have two daughters and a son.
Shortly after the death of his father, his uncle also passed away. With this event transpiring Montesquieu now possessed both a barony title and a job as the deputy president in the Parliament of Bordeaux. With some stability in his life he now turned his focus to educating himself more on the sciences.
Following his study of the sciences Montesquieu published the “Persian Letters” in 1922. This work criticized many things including but not limited to Louis XIV’s reign, Thomas Hobbes’ theories, and the doctrine of Roman Catholicism. What made Montesquieu famous however was his work entitled “L’Esprit des lois” which contains his theories on government. The most famous of his three theories is his description and idea of the separation of powers. In this theory he suggested that the political power be divided between three branches which would be titled the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive powers. This idea of separate powers would later influence the writing of the onstitution of the United States
In his later years Montesquieu would cease to write about government and focus on helping young and unestablished writers. He died on February 10, 1755 after having written his last work “Essai sur le gout” or Essay on Taste which was completed 25 years before his death.
Sources: Biographical information located on October 5th 2015 at
The London Bombings aka: The Blitz occurred from 1940-1941. The Nazis attacked London by dropping bombs on the town at night. London was not the only town affected by these horrible actions. Bristol, Plymouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, Hull, Birmingham, and Glasgow were all hit. The reason it is called the London bombings is because it was targeted 71 times. Although the bombing was tragic it was not influential enough to impair British production. The Nazis wanted the British to surrender but that goal was not reached. The bombings were so bad that the citizens had to take cover underground and one of the most common hiding place was in the London Underground stations.
The French Revolution was the focal point for political up-rise. The French suffered under an Absolute Monarchy and most people were denied their basic rights. Around 98 percent of the French Population were denied rights, limited land ownership and taxed heavily. These individuals known as the 3rd estate were in a bad position and resented the clergy and aristocracy for their privileges. The 3rd Estate refused to leave and demanded equality.
In 1789, King Louis XVI called for The Estates General. This was the first meeting between the general assembly representing the French estates of the realm:the clergy (1st Estate), the nobles (2nd Estate), and the common people (3rd Estate). This meeting was the beginning of the French Revolution as the Third Estate were denied equal opportunity in The Estates General. The Third Estate in result started to meet separately as The National Assembly. Slowly picking members of the nobles and clergymen, the Assembly gained power and drove to better their position. Soon enough the King was forced to yield and the Estates-General ceased to exist having become the strong National Constituent Assembly. This was basically the same Estates-General from the beginning but now merged together with the same goal, a democracy. Thus, the Estate-General meeting was an invitation to Revolution.
The Revolution played a huge part in showing the world how much power lies within the people. The Rise of republics and democracies flourished all across the globe. This movement drove the development of most modern political ideologies, leading to the spread of liberalism, radicalism, nationalism, socialism, feminism, and secularism, among many others.
* The French Revolution was strongly influenced by the concepts of popular sovereignty and inalienable rights.
Benito Mussolini was born July 29th 1883. Mussolini was the son of a blacksmith, and became a very rebellious little boy. Because of lack of resources and a desire to avoid service in the Military, Mussolini moved to Switzerland where he became an active Socialist, following in his fathers footsteps. Later he returned to Italy and was kicked out of a socialist group for his support of World War I. After World War I he designed what is known as the Fascist Party, he wanted to take over the government. Mussolini organized a march on Rome, but since the King was fearful, made Mussolini the Prime Minister. Mussolini tried to fool everyone by telling people he had actually taken over the Government in a forceful manner, but this was not so. In 1925 Mussolini declared himself Dictator of Italy. He became pretty popular among the people for his economic strategies. Mussolini was very power hungry and therefore invaded Ethiopia because of his success, Adolf Hitler took interest in Mussolini and the two signed a military alliance called “The Pact of Steel”, this alliance is what would bring Italy into a war no Italian wanted, and lead to Mussolini’s death. In 1945 Mussolini was shot and killed, his body was hung in Milan Plaza, and his reign of 10 years came to an end (Benito Mussolini, 2015 & The Fully Biography of Benito Mussolini).
Benito Mussolini. (2015). The Biography.com website. Retrieved May 01, 2015, from http://www.biography.com/people/benito-mussolini-9419443
The Full Biography of Benito Mussolini. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://www.biography.com/people/benito-mussolini-9419443/videos/benito-mussolini-full-episode-2074649880 (video is part of article)
Videos at bottom of article also used:
Whole video link:
Frankforter, A. Daniel, and W. M. Spellman. The West: A Narrative History. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009. Print.
1929 Stock Market Crash: Marked a serious downturn in the U.S. economy. Until 1929, Europe was surviving economically in large part due to accessible loans from the U.S. As a result of the crash, the availability of funds from the U.S. dried up, drastically reducing international trade, and therefore grinding local economies to a halt. The 1929 crash was a result of overspeculation, as post-WWI euphoria led investors to overestimate stock and commodity values, and the crash occurred when the bubble finally burst.
Deflation: Due to the factors above, consumer spending was weak. When production capacities finally recovered, an excess of goods were manufactured, but with limited demand, prices fell excessively, creating a poor business and wage environment.
Capitalism/Liquidity: Due to reasons above, the conditions for investment were poor, resulting in money/gold hoarding. Western nations continued to maintain faith that a pure, free-market economy would eventually result in self-correction. But as the mid 1930s approached, there was no sign of the end. Without government intervention, there was insufficient liquidity in the system. Wthout liquidity, there was a lack of personal and business spending needed to drive a capitalistic economy. Socialistic economies, such as Communist Russia and Nazi Germany were unaffected by the Global Depression, but they depended on slave labor and heavy government subsidies, which proved to be unsustainable over the long term.
Interest Rates: The newly-created U.S. Federal Reserve failed to drop interest rates in order to spur lending and investing in a deflationary environment.
This interview with Jack Mayer goes into detail on the Anti-Semitism that took place in Germany. Mayer was born in Speyer Germany and was very young during his time, but is able to recall the anti-Semitism he experienced as a child. He explains that he lived under the reign of Hitler for about 5 years before his family was able to come to America. He goes into the fact that public schools were not longer an option for Jewish families, and that kids around his neighborhood who were not Jewish could no longer play with them. He shares his experiences being beaten up by non-Jewish students. Mayer recalls his fathers shoe store was also vandalized and Nazi parades would take place in the streets. Jews were no longer allowed to do much of anything, the movies, the library, swimming pools, etc, were off limits to the Jews. Many laws were in place to keep Jewish people from doing much of anything, however, Mayer and his family were able to get out of Germany before things drastically took a turn for the worst.
Purnell, D. (2012). Jack Mayer Oral History Interview. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI1b0AewOds
The Spanish Civil War was fought between 1936 and 1939. It was a conflict between the Republicans, of the Spanish Republic, and the Nationalists, who fought for the fascist General Franco.
The Nationalists were the military, landowners, and general upper class. They received help from fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The Republicans were the urban workers, agricultural laborers, and middle class. They also had a fair share of militant anarchists. The Republicans received help from the Soviet Union and many international volunteers, including many well known authors such as Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell.
The war was brutal and bloody with both sides massacring many people. The war was seen by some as a practice run for World War II.
One of the most famous images to come out of the war was Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, depicting the Nazi bombing of the Basque town of Guernica.
Franco eventually won, starting Spain’s 40 years as a dictatorship.
In the aftermath of the First World War, the youths became known as the “lost generation”. Though the term is generally associated with a group of American expatriates in Paris, it has a relevance to most of the surviving young people of Europe.The generation had become aimless and disillusioned after witnessing the horrors of World War I. There was a mass loss of faith in traditional values and a shift to a more material, some would say frivolous, lifestyle.
Most commonly, the phrase “lost generation” is seen in relation to young writers who were in Paris in the 1920s, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein. These authors are known for putting that era’s feelings of hopelessness and general skepticism into words.
The map of Europe changed a great deal both during and after the First World War. This map showcases some of those changes, particularly regarding the countries that were created after the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, the creation of the Baltic states caused by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, and the reestablishment of Poland.
Map was found at: http://centurionsupport.info/pre-war-ww1-map/