The Fuhrer of the Great Reich was able to take advantage of who can legitimately be described as probably the greatest talent of the last century propagandism, Joseph Goebbels.
Thanks to this man, minute and maimed in body but of extraordinary intelligence, the National Socialist ideology became the reference point in the daily life of every German; it bevame the reason why every Aryan had to sacrifice its existence.
Goebbels was an outstanding orator and his exceptional talent greatly contributed to the rise of the power of the Nazis, a small political party that, in a few years, would be able to win the undisputed supremacy, first in Germany, then in the whole Europe.
In the years before his appointment as chancellor of the Reich, Adolf Hitler used with increasing frequency Goebbels for persuading the masses; in fact, the people were completely impassioned and ecstatic by his daring and fiery speeches, that were focused on the need to bring the Germany humiliated by the powers winners back to the glories of the past.
Goebbels was appointed leader of propaganda in 1929 and he concentrated an enormous power in his hands, even because he was the leadership of the newly formed Department of culture; he had an absolute control on cinema, music, printing, theater, radio, television and art.
However, it was the radio, increasingly common in houses of the Germans, the most widely used tool by the powerful minister for the indoctrination of the masses.
In the imagination of the Ministry of Propaganda, Adolf Hitler had to appear in the eyes of the Germans as a deity, as an entity above everyone and everything, which reserve blind devotion.
Nazi propaganda produced documentaries and films, to affirm the doctrines codified in Mein Kampf and then to persuade the Germans about the need to eliminate those that were considered racially inferior races.
The best chance to make known, in the eyes of the world, the power and greatness of the Third Reich, however, was represented by the Berlin Olympics of 1936, whose documentation was given by the propaganda ministry to the great Leni Riefensthal who, on that occasion, surpassed herself, creating the extraordinary “Olympia”. In this movie she tried to highlight every detail designed to enhance the cult of physical perfection, embodied in the myth of the pure Aryan race.
Therefore, the incessant pounding by the propaganda ministry fundamentally contributed to create the kind of mass delirium that characterized the pre-war Germany, totally enslaved and dominated by an ideology which, just a few years later, would have reduced the country to a heap of ruins.



When Nicolaus Copernicus published his On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres in 1543, the scientific community was forced to choose sides. There were the existing model put forth by Ptolemy that had held up for over 1000 years and the new conclusions reached by Copernicus. The two theories had deep implications about the organization of the universe that sharply divided scientists in the 1500’s. It is important to note that at the time these theories were being discussed, there was not enough information to unequivocally confirm or deny either theory. Astronomers were merely trying to find the best model to fit their observations, just like scientists of today.

These systems were consistent on a few issues, the most relevant of which being that the Sun is the primary source of light in the solar system and that the orbits of celestial bodies are circular.

However, the geocentric and heliocentric models differed on several issues beyond just which celestial body lies at the center of the solar system. The geocentric model places the Earth at the center of the universe while the Sun is the central object in the heliocentric model. Both have different explanations for the apparent retrograde motion of planets like Mars. This phenomenon occurs when Mars appears to move backwards in its position in the sky over the course of a few weeks. Ptolemy and his contemporaries explained this phenomenon with the use of epicycles. These are smaller cycles that occur along a planet’s larger orbit that would cause the planet to appear to move backwards in its position for a short time. This was an effective enough explanation for the phenomenon of retrograde motion at the time. However, as astronomers began to track the orbits of planets under this presumption, they found that orbits rapidly became convoluted and undesirable. There was also no explanation for what force would cause the planet to deviate from its primary orbit and was one of the major reasons that the heliocentric theory was favored eatly on. The Copernican explanation, and true reason, for  the apparent retrograde motion of Mars is due to the fact that its orbit is longer than Earth’s. As Earth revolves around the Sun and “passes” Mars on the same side of the Sun, Mars appears to move backwards from West to East over the course of a view weeks. This happens about once every two years.

One of the most decisive arguments for the heliocentric theory came from the great Italian astronomer, Galileo Galilei, a few decades after Copernicus. His experimentation with telescopes allowed him to view the universe from a new perspective. When he turned his lens to Venus, he found something fascinating: the planet experienced phases very similar to those of the Moon. Under the geocentric model, theoretically we should not be able to see more of Venus’ surface than a First or Third Quarter phase because Venus always lies between the Sun and the Earth. However, this conflicted with Galileo’s observations which fit much more neatly under the heliocentric model. This was the first conclusive, or rather non-theoretical, evidence of one system being favored over another and was the beginning of the end for Ptolemy’s understanding of the universe.

What Are the Possible Phases of Venus?
Heliocentric Model Geocentric Model
[NMSU, N. Vogt]

It was still a long time until heliocentrism became as widely accepted as it is today. Many people continued to reject the theory for various reasons. Some people could not understand the physics of how the Earth could be moving through space, yet everything on Earth remained still. The answer is the same reason why we are still in our cars once we reach a constant speed, however the physics behind this would not be organized until Newton in the 17th century. Most, even some of the foremost scientists like Tycho Brahe, objected to the theory for religious reasons. The Catholic Church and other major religious organizations labeled the model and its supporters as heretical for disputing the teachings of the Bible, having historically supported the geocentric model.





The Expedition of the Thousand is the Garibaldi’s expedition is that, by breaking down the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, gave the final push to the unification of Italy. The first author of the enterprise, Francesco Crispi, proposed the expedition to Giuseppe Garibaldi, who agreed to lead it; but Garibaldi ask for a revolt in Sicily before the expedition. On April 4, 1860 there was an uprising in Palermo and this revolt, tamed in the city, continued to spread in the countryside. The Thousand (exactly 1084) departed from Quarto, near Genoa, May 5, 1860 on two steamers, the “Piedmont” and “Lombardy”. The Thousand landed at Marsala (May 11), them they arrived at Salemi where Garibaldi assumed the dictatorship in the name of Vittorio Emanuele II and he decreed the conscription. Defeated the Bourbon troops at Calatafimi, the partisans reached and occupied Palermo (May 27 to 29).
Meanwhile Cavour, after the first successes of Garibaldi, held off European diplomacy and sped up the delivery of assistance in Sicily. Palermo lost; King Francis II promised a constitution in Naples and he also promised the autonomy to Sicily; then he sent a diplomatic shipping to Turin for an alliance with Piedmont. But Garibaldi won again in Milazzo (July 20) and he drove out the Bourbons from almost the whole island; then he crossed the strait between the Island and the Peninsula, while the Bourbon army dissolved and Basilicata and Calabria rose up, and he stepped up to Naples where he entered on September 7. Cavour decided the royal intervention: the Piedmontese army invaded the Marche and Umbria and entered the Kingdom of Naples from the Abruzzi. The decisive battle took place on the Volturno. On October 26, Garibaldi met the king in Teano, then he went with him to Naples and he took there the power.
Letters from Garibaldi to Thousands’s priest:


After 1861 Italy seemed to be rid of scornful definition of “geographical expression” by Metternich: the nation missed just Rome and Venice for its territorial and political unit. It missed Much more civil, economic, moral and spiritual unit.

Many serious problems, some of which unfortunately still persist today, prevented the complete and real- not just formal – unification of the new state; that is the reason why Massimo d’Azeglio said: “We have made Italy. Now we must make Italians”. Among the problems prevailed the phenomenon of Brigandage, which summarized in itself, in those years, the largest and most complex “Southern problem”. This problem raised because the people of the farmers felt oppressed by the few and usual masters. The term “Brigandage” is usually defined as banditry or a form of banditry characterized by acts of violence, by robberies and extortion.

A good degree of blame for the rise of brigandage is due to the illusion that the unification of Italy would change many things, but peasant life became more and more worse, mainly because of short-sighted and bad policy of the Savoy dinasty, that treated the south like a conquered colony and with expansionist ambitions. In fact, the Piedmonteses did nothing but replace the Bourbons in the administration of power, fueling the discontent and the disappointment of the farmers that later resulted in the rebellion.

The brigandage, according to some, was the first civil war of New Italy and was smothered with brutal methods, so brutal that they trigger controversies even by liberal leaders and by some European politicians.

The robbers of the period were mainly people of humble social background, former soldiers of the Two Sicilies and former members of the south army; there also were common criminals as well as robbers already active as those under the previous Bourbon government. Their revolt was encouraged and supported by the Bourbon government in exile.

To quell the south rebellion the government needed massive military reinforcements and promulgation of special and temporary rules such as the “Pica law” (in force from August 1863 to December 1865 over most of the continental territories of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies), named because of its promoter Giuseppe Pica. The law was designed to counter the post-unification brigandage: it introduced the definition of Brigandage as a crime; offenders would be tried by military tribunals; it also was the first legislative provision of the unitary state to contemplate the crime of Mafia.

The issue about the Brigandage is not yet complete nor defined unanimously in its causes by historians and scholars.

Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, Italy in 1564, a place and time in which the understanding of the universe was dictated, for the most part, by the teachings of the Catholic Church. Galileo considered dedicating his life to the Church and joining the priesthood as a young man. However, he instead decided to attend the University of Pisa in order to pursue mathematics. He studied under several mentors in several different Italian universities before finally settling in Florence as the Grand Duke of Tuscany’s chief mathematician and philosopher. Thus began the career of one of the most accomplished scientists in human history.

Galileo published many scientific essays in his time, but arguably his most influential, and certainly his most controversial, was the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems published in 1632. The primary focus of this particular essay was a discussion of the merits between the two existing theories of the organization of the universe at the time: the geocentric theory and the heliocentric theory. The former had been the accepted theory for thousands of years, beginning with its explanation and formalization by the Egyptian astronomer, Ptolemy, all the way until the time of Galileo. This theory places the Earth at the center of the universe with the Sun and planets in orbit around it, all surrounded by the stars which lie in the celestial sphere. The theory was endorsed by the Catholic Church due to its alignment with the Bible. However, in the mid-15th century, Dutch astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus published a conflicting theory in his scientific work On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres in 1543. The Copernican model hypothesized, and correctly so, that the Sun is actually positioned in the center of the Solar System, while the Earth and other planets lie in orbit around it.

Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is organized as a discussion between two astronomers, Salviati who advocates for the Copernican model and Simplicio who argues for the Ptolemaic model, each competing to persuade the neutral Sagredo. The debate takes place over four days, ultimately culminating in Sagredo being convinced by Salviati’s more contemporary theories. The first day consists mostly of Salviati explaining basic principles of motion and various discoveries that Galileo had made with his signature new technology, the telescope (Galilei 67). They also discuss at length the relationship between the light of the Sun, Moon, and Earth and how each reflects onto the other (Galilei 86). On the second day, Salviati refutes many of the popular arguments that were used to reject the heliocentric theory, including the motion of the Earth. Copernicus’ conclusion that the Earth has some sort of tangential motion led to some erroneous assumptions by other astronomers. Why is it that when we throw something straight up in the air, it does not fall behind the spot from which it was thrown? Why can’t we feel the speed of the Earth moving at such a high velocity? The answer to both lies in the difference between acceleration and velocity. It is the same reason one only feels a resistive force in a car while it is speeding up, and not when it is at a constant speed (the example that Sagredo uses involves a ship at rest versus in motion [Galilei 116]). However, the mathematical principles behind velocity and acceleration would not be put forth until 100 years later by Isaac Newton. Sagredo’s (or rather, Galileo’s) conclusions are based purely on observation.

The third day is an argument about the most disputed principle for and against the Copernican system: retrograde motion. Because Mars’ year is longer than the Earth’s, after several months when the Earth passes Mars in its orbit, Mars appears to move backwards in its position in the sky. This is called retrograde motion, and it was explained by Ptolemy with the use of epicycles, which are small orbits around a fixed point on the planet’s larger orbit around the Earth. The involvement of epicycles made the Ptolemaic system very convoluted compared to the much more elegant Copernican one, and this ultimately sways Sagredo on the fourth day (Galilei 623).

The Church reacted very aggressively toward such an affront to the teachings of Catholicism. After the first publication of Galileo’s work in Florence in 1632, all other future publications were banned by Pope Urban VIII, and Galileo was accused of heresy. In 1633, the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems was placed in the Vatican’s library of banned books and was not removed until 1835. In fact, the Catholic Church did not publicly accept Galileo’s conclusions until 1992 (Linder 1). Because the Dialogue was so popular in its initial release, it spread across Europe quickly into predominantly Protestant countries, where it was not hindered by the Catholic ban.

Galileo’s work with the telescope, and in particular his observations presented in the Dialogue, were extremely important contributions to the Scientific Revolution in Europe of the 17th and 18th centuries. His conflict with the Church, ultimately ending in his trial and sentencing brought on by the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, became an epitomizing moment in the ever-growing conflict between science and religion since the Renaissance era.

The transcript of the trial of Galileo in 1633 was recorded and maintained in the Vatican archives that remains to this day, and has even more recently been organized into an online database. After being previously admonished for his theories, Galileo Galilei received a summons by the Roman Inquisition in 1632. Despite Galileo’s being ill and in a significantly weakened state, he was forced to travel to Rome from Florence and appear in person before the cardinals that would be presiding over his trial. In his defense, Galileo claimed that his apparent support of the Copernican model was just what his observations and calculations showed to be more likely. He claimed that even with the evidence, both models were still just theories and he offered to write another book that would act as a Ptolemaic response to the Dialogue and as a complement to his first book (Linder 1). The Inquisition was not satisfied, and Galileo was sentenced to serve the remainder of his life in prison. However, Galileo signed a formal recantation in which he stated “…[he] must altogether abandon the false opinion that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the Earth is not the center of the world, and moves, and that [he] must not hold, defend, or teach in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing, the said false doctrine…” (De Santillana 1). After this, he was finally allowed to return to his home in Tuscany and serve his sentence in his home without the opportunity to publish any more scientific theories.

These primary sources, the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems found in the Simpson Library of the University of Mary Washington and the transcript of the trial of Galileo found online, each tell an important tale in the surge of scientific innovation of the 17th and 18th centuries. European scientists and inventors built upon each other’s work to generate a chain of discoveries, and the Dialogue is an excellent example of this. Galileo, an Italian astronomer, perfected a device created by a Dutch inventor in order to expand on and reinforce the conclusions of a different Dutch astronomer, culminating in a set of physical laws and mathematical principles by a British scientist and mathematician that still govern our universe to this day. The period of improvement in our understanding gave the Western Civilization an advantage over the rest, and the West became undisputedly the most powerful. However, the term “Scientific Revolution” implies resistance to these new ideas, particularly from religious organizations. The transcript from Galileo’s trial and his recantation are evidence of the conflict between scientific progress and religion that, in many ways, still exists to this day.








Copernicus, Nicolaus, and Charles Glenn Wallis. On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres; the First Translation into This Language of De Revolutionibus Orbium Caelestium; (from the Text of the Edition Published by the Societas Copernicana at Thorn, 1873). Annapolis: St. John’s tore, 1939. Print.

De Santillana, Giorgio. “Recantation of Galileo Galilei in 1633.” Recantation of Galileo Galilei in 1633. UMKC, n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015.

Galilei, Galileo, Stillman Drake, and Albert Einstein. Dialogue concerning the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican. Berkeley: U of California, 1967. Print.

Linder, Douglas. “The Trial of Galileo: A Chronology.” The Trial of Galileo: A Chronology. University of Missouri Kansas City, 2002. Web, accessed 15 Nov. 2015. <>.

Machamer, Peter. “Galileo Galilei.” Stanford University. Stanford University, 04 Mar. 2005. Web, accessed 17 Nov. 2015. <>.

Van Helden, Albert. “The Galileo Project.” The Galileo Project. Rice University, 1995. Web, accessed 17 Nov. 2015. <>.

Harry Fisher

Primary Source Assignment

The Italian Renaissance has two primary mediums through which its culture was expressed- art and theatre. Works of art from the Renaissance have had a lasting effect on the world of art. The Renaissance was the first point in the world’s history where art was truly becoming known as a creative medium, and works such as Michelangelo’s statue of David and Raphael’s painting The School of Athens have been inspiring artists for generations. The Renaissance also laid the foundation for modern literature and theatre, with the works of William Shakespeare becoming widely recognized and inspiring many future generations of writers. The Renaissance truly is the starting point for both modern art and modern literature, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting and William Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Hamlet, as both of these sources reveal a lot about the culture of the time period to which they belong.

The Mona Lisa painting is considered to be the most recognized painting in history. On the surface, it appears to be a simple painting of a woman, but it represents a shift in how artists perceived their work and crafted it accordingly. The painting is believed to be a portrait of Lisa Gheradini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. It is believed that da Vinci began work on the painting in 1503 and may have worked on it as late as 1517. The painting gives the impression that the woman in it is alive, as da Vinci expertly used textures to give more light to the woman’s eyes and lips, while concealing the rest of her face in shadow. It gives off the impression of a friendly and inviting gaze from the woman. By not having outlines in the painting, on top of the fact that the textures give off a “realistic” impression, da Vinci made it seem like the painting is real, as if the viewer is actually looking at a real woman. There is an imaginary landscape behind her, and the painting creates the illusion of distance between the woman and the landscape behind her, as well as the woman and the viewer. Da Vinci’s unique style is reflected in the painting, and it is an art style that inspired many future works of art, such as Raphael’s Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione. The painting is now kept in a bullet-proof glass case, with climate control to keep the frame from warping. It is on display in the Louvre art museum in Paris, France.

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is believed to have been written sometime between 1599 and 1602. It is derived from the legend of Amleth from the 12th and 13th centuries. It is considered to be one of Shakespeare’s most well-known and viewed plays, and widely known as one of the greatest plays ever written. The Renaissance is mostly recognized for its famous works of art and the impact that they had on human culture. However, Hamlet is one such example of a work of Renaissance literature that shows us just how the Renaissance shaped modern literature and how the literature of the time period is just as central to its identity as art.

The play is the story of the prince of Denmark, Hamlet, whose uncle, Claudius, is married to his widowed mother. Upon meeting with the ghost of his father, Hamlet learns that Claudius murdered his father and married his mother to become king, and from there the plot revolves around Hamlet trying to enact his revenge on Claudius. The play deals heavily with uncertainty, as it is impossible to discern whether the ghost of Hamlet’s father is real or if Hamlet is simply going insane. Also, the act of Hamlet murdering Claudius to get his revenge is constantly postponed, as Hamlet tries to observe Claudius’s behavior to try and determine whether Claudius is truly guilty of murdering his father. This makes Hamlet unlike many plays that came before it, as it keeps the audience engaged as they wait to see if Hamlet will ever commit the deed of murdering Claudius. This reflects Shakespeare’s masterful writing, and how he redefined storytelling by implementing new forms of it in his works.

One of the things the play is most famous for, and one of the things that defines Shakespeare as a Renaissance writer, is how the play deals with death. Throughout the play, Hamlet is constantly pondering death and what comes after it. His famous “to be or not to be speech” is, in essence, Hamlet reflecting upon whether or not he should commit suicide. He wishes to end his life so he no longer has to endure the pain that comes with it, but is afraid of what may or may not happen to him in the afterlife. At the time the play was written, suicide was something that was regarded as blasphemous to the Christian religion, and whoever committed the act would certainly be condemned to hell for all eternity. The fact that the play has its main character talk so freely and openly about his desire to commit suicide must have surely raised some eyebrows at the time, especially when Hamlet states that anyone would commit suicide if they were not afraid of what comes after death. Another theme present in the play is national corruption, as Claudius becoming ruler is seen as a symbol of Denmark being corrupted politically.

The play also deals heavily with smaller motifs. One is incest, as not only is Hamlet’s uncle now married to his mother, but Hamlet himself seems obsessed with is mother’s sex life with Claudius, as if he were jealous. Another motif is hatred of women. After Hamlet’s mother so readily marries his uncle after his father’s death, Hamlet seems to believe that women in general are corruptive. All of the themes and motifs used in the play were implemented by Shakespeare, and it goes to show how ahead of his time he was. He was ready and willing to tackle issues in this play and many others that most people at the time didn’t like to bring up, and he inadvertently defined modern storytelling. This reflects on his career as a Renaissance writer and how the Renaissance as a whole was a generation that redefined popular culture and the way it helps us perceive the world. Hamlet has been reprinted and translated many times. It has many film adaptations, re-tellings and parodies, and so it has been preserved in text and film format and we still study it and interpret it today.

Both the Mona Lisa and Hamlet serve as excellent examples of what exactly defined the Renaissance. It was a period of growth for popular culture, and in many ways it influenced and inspired modern art and literature. The Mona Lisa will always be remembered as a painting that started new art techniques that helped artist give their paintings more life. Hamlet will always be remembered as one of many works of literature that redefined storytelling forever.

Primary Sources:

  • Jenkins, Harold. The Arden Edition of the Works of William Shakespeare- Hamlet. New York: Methuen and Co. Ltd. 1982. Print. (Found in Library)
  • Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci, found online


On June 22, 1941, Adolf Hitler launched his armies eastward in a massive invasion of the Soviet Union: three great army groups with over three million German soldiers, 150 divisions, and three thousand tanks smashed across the frontier into Soviet territory. The invasion covered a front from the North Cape to the Black Sea, a distance of two thousand miles. By this point German combat effectiveness had reached its apogee; in training, doctrine, and fighting ability, the forces invading Russia represented the finest army to fight in the twentieth century. Barbarossa was the crucial turning point in World War II, for its failure forced Nazi Germany to fight a two-front war against a coalition possessing immensely superior resources.

The Germans had serious deficiencies. They severely underestimated their opponent; their logistical preparations were grossly inadequate for the campaign; and German industrial preparations for a sustained war had yet to begin. But the greatest mistake that the Germans made was to come as conquerors, not as liberators–they were determined to enslave the Slavic population and exterminate the Jews. Thus, from the beginning, the war in the East became an ideological struggle, waged with a ruthlessness and mercilessness not seen in Europe since the Mongols.

In Barbarossa’s opening month, German armies bit deep into Soviet territory; panzer armies encircled large Soviet forces at Minsk and Smolensk, while armored spearheads reached two-thirds of the distance to Moscow and Leningrad. But already German logistics were unraveling, while a series of Soviet counterattacks stalled the advance. In September the Germans got enough supplies forward to renew their drives; the results were the encirclement battles of Kiev in September and Bryansk-Vyazma in October, each netting 600,000 prisoners.

Moscow seemingly lay open to a German advance, but at this point Russian weather intervened with heavy rains that turned the roads into morasses. The frosts of November solidified the mud, so that the drive could resume. Despite the lateness of the season and the fact that further advances would leave their troops with no winter clothes or supply dumps for the winter, the generals urged Hitler to continue. The Germans struggled to the gates of Moscow where Soviet counterattacks stopped them in early December. In desperate conditions, they conducted a slow retreat as Soviet attacks threatened to envelop much of their forces in a defeat as disastrous as that which befell Napoleon’s Grand Army in 1812. In the end the Soviets overreached, and the Germans restored a semblance of order to the front; the spring thaw in March 1942 brought operations to a halt. But Barbarossa had failed, and Nazi Germany confronted a two-front war that it could not win.


The Reader’s Companion to Military History. Edited by Robert Cowley and Geoffrey Parker. Copyright © 1996 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. < >

At the end of World War II, huge swaths of Europe and Asia had been reduced to ruins. Borders were redrawn and homecomings, expulsions, and burials were under way. But the massive efforts to rebuild had just begun. When the war began in the late 1930s, the world’s population was approximately 2 billion. In less than a decade, the war between the Axis the Allied powers had resulted in 80 million deaths — killing off about 4 percent of the whole world. Allied forces now became occupiers, taking control of Germany, Japan, and much of the territory they had formerly ruled. Efforts were made to permanently dismantle the war-making abilities of those nations, as factories were destroyed and former leadership was removed or prosecuted. War crimes trials took place in Europe and Asia, leading to many executions and prison sentences. Millions of Germans and Japanese were forcibly expelled from territories they called home. Allied occupations and United Nations decisions led to many long-lasting problems in the future, including the tensions that created East and West Germany, and divergent plans on the Korean Peninsula that led to the creation of North and South Korea and — the Korean War in 1950. The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine paved the way for Israel to declare its independence in 1948 and marked the start of the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict. The growing tensions between Western powers and the Soviet Eastern Bloc developed into the Cold War, and the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons raised the very real specter of an unimaginable World War III if common ground could not be found. World War II was the biggest story of the 20th Century, and its aftermath continues to affect the world profoundly more than 65 years later.


Taylor, A. (2011, October 30). World War II: After the war. Retrieved December
7, 2015, from

In October of 1844 in the German town of Röken bei Lützen, Friedrich Nietzsche was born to Karl and Franziska Nietzsche.  After his father’s death in 1849, Nietzsche’s family moved to Naumburg an der Saale, where he later attended his first-rate boarding school, Schulpforta.  Nietzsche later attended the University of Bonn with a focus in philology, and finished his education at the University of Leipzig in 1865.  He was offered a professorial position in Switzerland at the University of Basel in 1859, where he spent most of his time at work.  At the end of his career with the university in 1880, Nietzsche began a nomadic life, wandering throughout Europe.  It was during this time where he published his most famous and notorious works.  Suddenly in January of 1889, Nietzsche suffered a mental break from which he was never able to recover, and spent his remaining years in his hometown until his death in 1900.

Nietzsche’s most prolific piece of work is Also Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra), and is considered by Nietzsche himself to be his masterpiece.  It is set up to parallel the events of the Bible, where the hermit Zarathustra (the Christ-like figure) descends from the mountains to explain what he has learned to humanity.  The two major themes of the manifesto are that “God is dead” and the rise of the “übermensch” (superhuman).  He says that God was simply a tool used by mankind to explain the unknown and the supernatural, but with the rise of technology and science, the questions that couldn’t be known before can be answered with reason and logic.  Because of this, the illusion of protection that is provided by God is shattered, and the purpose that God serves is no longer required.  The übermensch refers to the people that will be the first to make this realization, and they will be the forerunners that drive humanity for progression and success.

Nietzsche’s works were intended to inspire hope, power, and freedom for those who read them.  Although his works were twisted by Nazis and Italian Fascists, he encouraged free thought that would drive humanity to a higher level of clarity and peace.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)

← Previous PageNext Page →