Mao Zedong and Cambodia

Mao Zedong was another dictator of the 20th Century and the first dictator of Red China. Mae saw that the Chinese government was oppressive and he joined a revolution that began in 1911 and became part of its government, the Kuomintang. He was later influenced to join some Communist intellectual groups where he learned the ideas of Marx and Engels.  When Mao heard of the successful Bolshevik Revolution he became more radical and helped organize the Chinese Communist Party. He became its leader by 1925.  But a new leader became chair of the Kuomintang and sought to exterminate communists. Mao tried to fight back, but was defeated. Mao fled to the mountains and trained a small army of guerilla fighters. But he had to flee even farther and was forced to travel 8,000 miles to be safe.

Japan then invaded China and the Kuomintang now recruited Mao’s help in fighting Japan and helped defeat it in WWII, after WWII China had a bloody civil war between the two opposing political groups. Mao gained the upper hand and became the leader of China. He tried to institute reforms including promoting the status of women, doubling the school population and improving literacy, and increasing access to health care.

The people started to complain about the new system and he retaliated by cracking down and imprisoning or executing hundreds of thousands of dissidents. Then in 1958, he tried another new philosophy, called “The Great Leap Forward”.  The idea was to increase agricultural and industrial production by organizing large communes of workers. This was initially a good idea but resulted in the worst manmade famine ever with 40 million people dead.  The party pushed him aside in 1962 but in 1966 he made a remarkable comeback. This time he closed the schools and executed intellectuals, to make sure that he would not be criticized or pushed aside in the future. Mao died in 1976, leaving a legacy of both genocidal chaos (40-70 million) and political genius (uniting and restoring China)

Cambodia also went through a communist revolution in 1975 that lasted until 1979. The Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, tried to re-engineer the poor country to be more efficiently farmed, but caused further famines instead. The country had a total population of 8 million, but approximately 2 million died of famine or were executed by the government. The Khmer Rouge became stronger and attacked Vietnam but were quickly outnumbered and forced to flee.

I am noticing a rhythm to communism: Russia killed 60 million, China killed 40-70 million, and Cambodians killed 25% of their nation. And those are the only three we have studied so far.

Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin was the first dictator of the Soviet Union.  His mother was him to become a Greek Orthodox Priest. But he missed his final exams and joined the Marxist political group under Vladimir Lenin.  Stalin was one of Lenin’s favorite pupils even though Stalin was caught and banished to Siberia several times he would always escape and return home.

When the Bolshevik Revolution broke out Stalin was one of 5 men appointed as a governing council. After Lenin’s death, Stalin slowly consolidated all power in the government under himself. By trickery and deception he became the dictator of Russia by the end of the 1920’s.

The full name for the Soviet Union was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The Soviet Union came into existence in 1922, and remained a government entity until 1991. Stalin encouraged a cult of personality that developed with many cities, monuments, and awards being renamed in his honor. Stalin wanted to purge the country of dissenters and bring it into competition with the Western economies. His goals for competition were to improve industrialization, agriculture, science, and culture. But he contradicted these goals by commanding that anything that looked Westernized was ended.

As for purging the population Stalin’s targets included political enemies, “inferior” races, or soldiers who had served under the Tsar. The Great Purge of 1930’s imprisoned and killed 1.5 million people. The ruthless demands of the state took more crops from the peasants than they could afford and caused several famines, killing a minimum estimate of 10 million people in Russia and Ukraine.

He is however the reason why the Allies won WWII. If Hitler’s armies had not invaded Russia and provoked them into fighting, Hitler would not have been defeated in Western Europe. Stalin killed around 60 million people in his life time. Just to give you a comparison Hitler killed 11 million people.

Eastern Europe, China, North Korea and others worked to establish their own communist governments, sometimes peacefully, sometimes through revolutions. The US feared that the violence and disruption would spread to America. The founders of socialist ideas said that socialism was supposed to be an international revolution. Stalin wanted to spread socialist revolutions around the world. This is the reason that “red scares” spread to many countries in the democratic West. A very serious red scare took place in America during the 1940-50’s.

Many American government officials started pointed fingers at US citizens and imprisoning them for being communist. The search for Communists in America came to be known as McCarthyism, named after its main champion, Senator Joseph McCarthy McCarthy lost popularity after he himself was put on trial for accusing the Army of harboring Communists and he ceased to be a driving force behind the red scare.

Famous Authors of the 20th Century

Many movies were inspired by books like Narnia and the lord of the rings. C.S. Lewis is the creator of Narnia and is one of the most renowned authors in the world. He served in WWI and was a novelist, poet, literary critic, essayist, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist. He died on the same day that JFK was assassinated and received very little attention.

J.R.R. Tolkien was the author of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. He worked as a writer, poet and university professor at Oxford. Tolkien died in 1973, one year after receiving Commander of the Order of the British Empire award from the queen.

G.K. Chesterton was like Lewis, he was a writer, poet, literary critics, and Christian apologist. He wrote books such as Orthodoxy, and the Everlasting Man. He is also remembered for his fictional priest-detective Father Brown.

Agatha Christie is another author and is best known for her murder mysteries, especially those featuring Hercule Poirot as the detective. Her books gained her the position of best-selling novelist of all time. She died in 1976, but her works are still popular today.

Albert Einstein is considered to be one of the smartest people to have ever lived. He developed the General Theory of Relativity to solve issues he had found in Newtonian mechanics. Einstein visited the US in 1933 and decided to stay in America instead of returning to Germany because he was a Jew. He helped with the Manhattan Project and atomic technology.  Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers in his life, along with many non-scientific works. Einstein died of an aortic aneurysm in 1955.

Isaac Asimov was a prolific author writing over 500 books and an estimated 90,000 essays. Asimov lived until 1992, received many accolades and awards during his life and is commemorated by a literary award named in his honor.

George Orwell was a British novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic. He focused on the opposition to totalitarianism and social injustice issues. Books like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm remain widely read works by Orwell. He made new terms in his literature, such as cold war, big brother, thought police, and newspeak.

Ernest Hemingway gained fame with his unique style of writing. Unlike other writers Hemingway had a very visible public image and lived a life of adventure. One of his best books was the Old man and the Sea.  Hemingway’s life was characterized by a hedonistic worldview but resulted in despair and his suicide in 1961.

Walt Disney and Hollywood

Edison was the first to make a motion picture and he was very zealous to protect the patents that he had. He would shut down any movie makers that threatened to become better than him. As a result of this all the movie makers went west to Los Angeles to avoid Edison. The specific area in Los Angeles that became known for film making is Hollywood. The first motion picture filmed in Hollywood was made in 1910. In 1920 Hollywood was the fifth largest movie industry in the country.  The Hollywood sign started as an advertisement for Hollywoodland a new neighborhood in the area. The Walk of Fame was more than 2,500 five pointed stars embedded in the sidewalks as memorials to famous figures in the entertainment industry.

Walt Disney is one of the greatest producers in the Golden Age of Hollywood. He and his brother Roy are the founders of the Walt Disney Animation Studios. This is where Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and many other famous cartoons were made. Walt won 22 Academy Awards and 59 Academy nominations more than any other individual. Walt also opened Disneyland in 1955 in Anaheim, California.

The greatest single success in a movie was his first feature-length movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is one of the top 10 films ever released to theaters. The best selling film of ALL TIME is Gone With the Wind (1939). It is based in the Civil War and follows Scarlett’s search for love.

Winston Churchill and the Iron Curtain

Winston Churchill was British hero at the time of WWII. He was the Prime Minister when the war began. He rallied the British hopes with his powerful speeches and good decisions. Winston Churchill was absolutely determined not to surrender to the Nazis. Churchill made many speeches to life the moral of the British people.  In 1942 he joined Roosevelt and Stalin and formed the Allied Forces.  He died in 1965 and was 90 years old. He was named the greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll.

Churchill referred to the difficulties in Eastern and Western Europe as the Iron Curtain. This Iron Curtain was also known as the Cold War.  The Cold War was mostly a non-violent war between the US and Russia. Both countries wanted to rebuild Europe differently. The Soviet Union wanted to make it communist and the US strongly disagreed.  The split in Europe resulted in Germany divided by occupation forces.

In 1948 the Soviets tried to cut off Berlin’s access to the West. The Soviet tanks blocked all roads into Berlin, and the Allies chose to fly in supplies to the citizens of Berlin. After a year the Soviets backed off.  This was a similar project to the Marshall Plan, which was the plan that the Americans developed for rebuilding Europe. The US gave million of dollars of aid and American exports boomed. However the Soviets refused the money.

West German leader Ludwig Erhard announced on June 22, 1948 that all German market controls would be lifted and all citizens should head back to work the next day. Incredibly, the next day everyone in Germany went back to work and the country began to recover. By 1955 the “Economic Miracle” had visible results and was recognized around the world as an incredible recovery.

Simple Joys vs Complex Experiences

Topic: Are simple joys as valuable as complex experiences?

This question depends on what you are trying to achieve. Simple joys are very valuable because you enjoy life. You “smell the roses” as the saying goes. Just look at hobbits, if you have watched the hobbit or the lord of the rings than you will know that hobbits base all their actions on simple joys. It is so peaceful that just watching them enjoy things makes you enjoy them. Enjoying the simple things will get rid of depression and give you a positive attitude. I sure you have walked in a forest or by the ocean and you just close your eyes and enjoyed the nature; hear the birds and the waves. These are the simple things and everybody should take a moment to recognize them. I believe that because people do not do this, it is a main cause of depression and frustration.

Complex experiences are not more beneficial than the simple things but they achieve a different goal.  These experiences are mostly for learning new skills and are not always fun. Experience is the hardest teacher and too many of these can also cause depression or bad moods. That is why it is essential to take breaks and enjoy simple things like sunbathing you can enjoy the sun and hear the birds. The complex experiences are necessary to learn and you should defiantly pursue these and get good at what you enjoy.

I wouldn’t say that the simple joys are more valuable than the complex experiences because without the tough experiences you wouldn’t do anything with your life. The learning experiences are more valuable because you need them to know new skills and to make mistakes, as long as you don’t forget the simple things. I always try at least a few times a week to sit outside and enjoy what I have while I listen to nature. If you don’t like sitting around doing nothing you could read a book or go jogging both work as long as you are in nature. For those in the city it is a little harder to appreciate these things but you can by going to the park.

An example of too many tough experiences is what I am doing right now. I have been doing school all day and I haven’t gone outside at all. And I am getting frustrated with all the big assignments I have to do. But all I have to do to calm down is go outside and enjoy living. It is a very stressful time for most people with the end of the school year coming with the final assignment. But you can get rid of stress, depression, bad moods, and frustration by just enjoying everything around you. This is a form of meditating but it doesn’t have to be sitting in an awkward position and humming. My favorite thing to do is sit in my hammock and listen to the ocean. Everyone has their own thing to calm down and if you haven’t found what you like you really should, it would not only help with school assignments but other people would hang out with you more because you are always in a good mood.

President Truman and the Atomic Bomb

New weapons technologies like improved tanks and aircraft, atomic bombs, and guided missiles were significant in the battles of the war. New medical technology and improved industrial production helped Americans at home support the soldiers overseas better than ever before. One of the most important inventions was the invention of the atomic bomb. The atomic bomb won us the war in the pacific and made the US a major world power.

The “Home Front” War was the struggle of the American people during the war. Shortages in American resulted in rationed food items like sugar, coffee, meat, fish, butter, and eggs. After the war however America prospered and helped in the recovery movement throughout Western Europe.

But the end of war did not come without a level of controversy. The atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain the main legacy of President Harry Truman. Never had such an important decision been made by an American president and it changed the direction of the rest of the 20th century.  Harry Truman was the vice president of Roosevelt and became president after Roosevelt’s death.  Within a few weeks of Truman becoming president, the Allies finally achieved victory over Germany in Europe. The atomic bomb had more destructive potential than any previous bomb in history and the choice to use it fell on Truman. His options were to bomb a civilian Japanese city or authorize a US invasion of Japan that would likely kill many Americans. Truman chose to bomb Hiroshima in hopes that Japan would surrender. But Japan did not surrender and 3 days later a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. After this Japan did surrender, Truman killed many Japanese civilians to save American soldiers, which is probably what I would do.

Donald Trump

My teacher told me to write about a random entrepreneur. So naturally I had to choose Donald Trump.

Donald John Trump was born June 14, 1946 in Queens, New York.  He was the fourth of five children. At age 13 Trumps’ parents enrolled him in the New York Military Academy. Trump attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania because it offered on of few real estate studies departments in the US academia at the time. He graduated in May 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics. Trump was never drafted in the Vietnam War. He was given a 1-Y medical deferment in October 1968 attributed to heel spurs. Trump says that he has never smoked cigarettes or consumed other drugs. He also says that he does not drink alcohol. Trump married and divorced 2 wives and then married Melania Knauss on January 22, 2005. Most of his children were born to his first wife.

Trumps ancestors were Lutherans on his father’s side and Presbyterian on his mothers. He is now Presbyterian. Trump said that the Art of the Deal was his second favorite book next to the Bible.

Trump began his career with “a small loan of one million dollars” from his father. n 1978, Trump consummated his first major real estate deal in Manhattan, purchasing a half-share in the decrepit Commodore Hotel, largely funded by a $70 million construction loan jointly guaranteed by Fred Trump and the Hyatt hotel chain. In the same year trump finished negotiations to develop Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. In 1982 he had an estimated $200 million fortune. After the 1980s he became a billionaire. After his father died in 1999 he and his siblings received shares that valued at more than $20 million. All though the 1970’s to 2000’s Trump continues to buy more real estate and become wealthier.

Trump won the general election on November 8, 2016, in a surprise victory against Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, and commenced his presidency on January 20, 2017. He became the oldest and wealthiest person ever to assume the presidency. When Trump was elected president in November 2016, questions arose over how he would avoid conflicts of interest between his work in the White House and his business activities. At a press conference on January 10, 2017, Trump said that he and his daughter Ivanka would resign all roles with The Trump Organization, while his two oldest sons Don Jr. and Eric would run the business, together with Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.

Cites

“Donald Trump” Wikipedia, Free Encyclopedia, Accessed May 18, 2017 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump

Enthusiasm

Topic: Can people have too much enthusiasm?

I believe people can have too much enthusiasm, don’t get me wrong having normal enthusiasm is good but there can be another type of enthusiasm, and that type is like blind loyalty. You want to help so much that you never even think about alternatives that would save time or possible problems that could be avoided.  Doubt is good you think about the situation and asses any other outcomes. Now, just like most things in life to much doubt is also bad. Questioning your leader every second and suggesting other options are very different. If you are going to question someone orders than make sure that you have another plan, don’t just question for questioning’s sake.

There are some people who have no enthusiasm at all. And I think that this is actually worse than having too much enthusiasm. Because at least with too much enthusiasm you pick something to do and do it, with no enthusiasm you never accomplish anything and no one likes you because you are not eager to learn. So it goes both ways and you need to balance it just right which is not hard for most people. My parents disagree with my theory; they believe I should do my chores with blind enthusiasm. And it is probably ok to have lots of enthusiasm when doing chores because not much is at stake. But nobody has that much enthusiasm to do chores so you don’t have to worry about that.

Having too much enthusiasm in war is when it is bad. A lot of leaders do not even know what they are doing in war. And if you follow orders even when he is asking you to basically kill yourself for no reason you should doubt. People do have too much enthusiasm, sometimes they follow blind orders to get medals or because they believe there commander couldn’t possibly be wrong. Most of them are dead now except a few who managed to survive and get the Medal of Honor for following orders against horrible odds. But if you ever noticed most the people who got the Medal of Honor disobeyed orders and did what they thought was right. And in those situations it is good to question orders.

So really what you want to do is do what you think is right no matter the orders.  You can tell that you have too much enthusiasm when you commander tells you to do something against what you believe and you do it without question. Also you can tell if you have no enthusiasm if you do not follow any orders because you are lazy or just don’t care. In war both will get you killed, so be aware of having too much enthusiasm or too little. So yes people can have too much enthusiasm.

Aftermath of WWII

Outside of the battles of WWII the Holocaust is one of the most important events to take place. The Holocaust is the name for the active genocide of Jews by the Nazis during WWII, leading of 6,000,000 Jewish deaths. The Nazis claimed that they were purifying their nation.  Many of the Jews were subject to forced incarceration in a concentration camp in Germany. Jews were either used to support the war effort or to be executed.

But not all Germany was bad some chose to resist the Nazis. Many people from different countries including Germany would band together to fight Nazis. These groups slowed the progress of Germany’s army by sabotage, espionage, and guerilla warfare.

The US and the Soviet Union both had tensions long after the war and had a Cold War. Both countries were trying to gain more power than the other. And both countries lived in fear of each other.

During the War Germany had control of all of Europe except Russia, Britain and some small countries. After the war the US, Britain, France, and Russia all controlled parts of Germany. These countries occupied Germany because Germany could not be trusted after both WWI and WWII. During WWII the Japanese Empire was the largest it had ever been. After WWII Japan territory was less than it had been before WWII. But even with Japan being defeated there were a lot of areas that were still hostile after WWII.

WWII was the most expensive and bloodiest war the world has ever seen. The financial cost of the war was an estimated $11 trillion dollars in today’s money. Even more devastating is the estimated 55 million soldiers and civilians who died as a result of the conflict.

Both WWI and WWII were fought because of Germany and both Wars the boundaries of the countries were returned to their original state before the war. Both times Germany lost and paid dearly for it. But the difference between them was the technology. The countries were still slaughtering each other but the technology decided how. In WWII there were atom bombs, fighter planes (not biplanes), better tanks, better guns, and better medicine, transport, and equipment.