Archive for September, 2012

Gilderhus

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Gilderhus’s thesis was that the way history was conveyed changes throughout the centuries and has shift, from being highly related to god, closer to reality and facts. Throughout the article Gilderhus chronologically compares historical study and reporting to that of scientific discoveries. This shows the gradual decline in the common believe that god was behind all things. This also exposes the lack of factual examples that sometimes occurs throughout history and raises a very important question: how much of history can actually be trusted? This also begs the question of how well we can trust perceptions of leaders and events in history due to biases of the authors. If not biases then believes or historians relying on the divine to explain that which would be difficult to explain or discover. The best thing to do is to observe and research history using a purely factual, non-objective scope and keep philosophy out of research.

 

Research Paper Proposal

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

It is a generally well-known fact that in Nazi Germany, Public opinion was kept under tight reign by Hitler’s SS soldiers.  Those who dissented against the government were arrested and put in prison or a concentration camp, and in some cases executed.  Despite this, there were many groups within the country, particularly among youths, who decided to protest against the actions and beliefs of their government. One of the most recognized of these groups was Die Weisse Rose or “The White Rose”.  This student group was composed of Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst, and later included other students and professors.  The group was mainly centered in the town of Munich and the University of Munich, although their influence could be seen in other parts of the country as well.  What is surprising about this particular group of students is that they were what would have been considered “perfect Germans.”  Hans had even been a leader in the Hitler Youth which, ironically, is where his contempt for the Nazi regime first began to form.  The main question raised is of the connection between the social conditions of Nazi Germany and how these conditions may have led to the decision of the youths to protest against the government even under the threat of execution.

One of the most invaluable sources for this paper is The White Rose by Inge Scholl, the sister of Hans and Sophie Scholl.  In the book, Scholl collects all six of the flyers handed out by the White Rose and numerous documents, including those of the trials and executions of the members.  For researching the social conditions of the country at that time, Inside Nazi Germany by Detlev J.K. Peukert, translated by Richard Deveson, is extremely helpful.  Peukert explores life in Nazi Germany and the lives of its citizens under the coercion of the SS and the constant fear of arrest.  Aside from these books, there are numerous monographs which discuss Nazi Germany and opposition to the Nazis; there are also several web articles which look into the history of the White Rose.  Also, there are publications of the diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl, although I am still attempting to acquire them.  By looking into these sources, there will hopefully be uncovered a strong connection between life in Germany and the group’s decision to speak out against Hitler.

To investigate the connection between the social life of Nazi Germany and the decision by Hans Scholl to create the White Rose, there are three questions which arise.  The first question is how involved were the three students in groups such as Hitler Youth?  If the students were highly involved in such groups, it leads to questions of how much influence the groups would have had; in other words, was there a time when the youths had not been rebellious or had they always carried thoughts of dissuasion.  Second, what outside forces could have led to their change of opinion and their eventual turn against the government?  It is well-known that groups such as Hitler Youth were designed to form a unified mindset within the minds of German children; because of this, it is difficult to imagine what kind of influences would be needed to turn a youth away from the doctrine that they are constantly taught.  Third, why, in the face of execution, did they continue to protest?  The threat of arrest or execution is one of the main reasons that Germans, despite their opinions, followed Hitler and his ideals.  It is likely that the students knew that their actions would lead to arrest or death.  It would be important to learn why the group would continue to protest under such threats.

The role of the White Rose is of great importance to history.  It proves that the coercion of the Nazis and their propaganda was not quite so widely accepted as is generally believed.  The hope is that, through this paper, a connection can be found between the society of Nazi Germany and how it led to the creation of a protest group led by perfect Germans.  The role of the Hitler Youth was to convince all young Germans to fight for the fatherland and follow the beliefs of the Nazi party.  It is my goal to discover the reason that they abandoned those ideals to fight for a cause that they know would most likely end in their death.

Bibliography

Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. Print.

Burns, Maggie. Sophie Scholl and the White Rose. http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/holocaust/articles-20/sophie-scholl-white-rose/ (accessed September 15, 2012). Web.

Freeman, Michael J. Atlas of Nazi Germany: a political, economic, and social anatomy of the Third Reich. New York: Longman, 1995. Print.

Gellately. Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Print.

Ginder, John. “The White Rose” Student Resistance in Germany During WWII. http://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2001/09/00_ginder_white-rose.php (accessed September 15, 2012). Web.

Hans Fritz Scholl. http://www.katjasdacha.com/whiterose/biographies/hscholl.html (accessed September 14, 2012). Web.

“Hitler’s Boy Soldiers”. http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/hitleryouth/hj-boy-soldiers.htm (accessed September 16, 2012). Web.

“Indoctrinating Youth”. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007820 (accessed September 16, 2012). Web.

Johnson, Eric A., and Karl-Heinz Reuband. What We Knew. Cambridge: Basic Books, 2005. Print.

Kater, Michael. Hitler Youth. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004. Print.

Kershaw, Ian. Popular Opinion and Politcal Dissent in the Third Reich, Bavaria 1933-1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983. Print.

Koch, H.W. The Hitler Youth: Origins and Development, 1922-1945. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2000. Print.

Kunzer, Edward J. The Youth of Nazi Germany. Journal of Educational Sociology, 11, No. 6 (Feb., 1938). (accessed September 17, 2012). Web.

“Nazi Propaganda”. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005202. Web. (accessed September 16, 2012). Web.

Peukert, Detlev J.K. Inside Nazi Germany. Translated by Richard Deveson. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. Print.

Rothfels, Hans. The German Opposition to Hitler: An Appraisal. Hinsdale: H. Regnery Co., 1948. Print.

Scholl, Inge, and Dorothee Seolle. The White Rose: Munich 1942-1943. Distributed by Harper &Row, 1983. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) EBSCOhost. (accessed September 15, 2012). Web.

“Sophie Scholl”. http://www.legacy.com/ns/news-story.aspx?t=sophie-scholl–nazi-resistance-hero&id=352 (accessed September 17, 2012). Web.

“Sophie Scholl: The Final Days”. DVD. Directed by Marc Rothemund 2005; Broth Film. Film.

“The White Rose”. http://www.katjasdacha.com/whiterose/index.html (accessed September 15, 2012). Web.

Paper proposal

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Deir Yassin Massacre

The Deir Yassin massacre is probably one of the most documented and important events of the 1948 Arab-Israeli Conflict. There are numerous records and secondary sources concerning both the conflict itself, and the after-effects that it would end up having on Arab-Israeli relations (including the fact that it is often cited as one of the leading causes for the Palestinian exodus from Israel). Topics like this carry many opinions with them, as they are often viewed as highly controversial. However, not everything about this event is in dispute. For example, these are the exact events of the conflict: Deir Yassin was a massacre in which 100 Palestinian civilians were killed through what can only be described as a brutal slaughter (some reports state that over 200 Palestinians were killed, however there is some evidence to state that this number was inflated as a means to further demoralize the Palestinian movement).

On the morning of April 9, Jewish nationalist paramilitary forces under the Irgun Zevai Lumi (IZL) and the Lohamei Herut Israel (LHI) attacked the village of Deir Yassin. Deir Yassin Is a village located to the west of Jerusalem.  Throughout the beginning of the war, and up to that point, the village of Deir Yassin had managed to maintain relatively good relations with the local Jewish community. However, it was decided that the village of Deir Yassin would end up being the primary target for the battle. During the planning meetings for the battle, various methods for terrorizing the population were discussed. The LHI officers proposed killing all villagers who refused to run, in an effort to further terrorize the Palestinian. However, when taking into account the terrorist motive for the attack, it is important to note that the decision was made to spare the women and children. When the attack started, many of the able bodied men of the village fled. However, the attackers did encounter some resistance, and did take light losses. But despite this minor setback, the entire attack itself was over by 11 AM.  But what Deir Yassin is remembered for in the Palestinian memory is not the battle itself, but rather the atrocities that were committed afterwards. There are numerous accounts of rape, torture, and murder, and otherwise barbaric treatment of prisoners in the aftermath of the battle. These are the facts of the battle, and there is not much dispute among historians as to either the events of the level of barbarity incurred on that day. However, there are facts around the battle that are in dispute. One of these major facts is the reason behind the battle itself.  A purely military reasoning has little evidence to back it up, as the village itself had no military value.

There are two ways that one could potentially look at the causative factors behind this battle: the first is that it could be thought of as just an act of terrorism. The IZL and LHI were nothing more than a group of terrorist entities using terrorist tactics to further scare a group of people that they had disagreements with.  However, there is another, more probable claim that needs to be examined in light of the massacre. This claim states that the true aim of the IZL and LHI was not meant to simply demoralize and terrorize the Palestinians (though there can be little doubt that was the effect the attack had), but rather to speed up the exodus from Israel. This claim is the far more probable of the two, as it seems as though the attack was explicitly planned out as a “state-sanctioned” (since there was no state of Israel at the time) terror operation meant to further drive the Palestinians from their homes.  This is the point of view that this essay is going to take. In doing so, this essay will attempt to answer the following questions: 1. What were the factors involved in planning the attack? 2. Why was Deir Yassin chosen for the attack, and 3. Were there similar events to Deir Yassin?

One of the major resources for this paper was the collective writings of Benny Morris on the subject of the Deir Yassin massacre, and the Palestinian exodus.  Benny Morris is a professor of Middle-East history at Ben-Gurion University.  He has written multiple times on the subject, and has proven to be an invaluable resource when it comes to researching the subject. However, there are other resources that have also proven helpful in my research. Another useful resource was the Journal of Palestine Studies, which has various articles relating to the massacre, and its after effects. Primary sources for this event have proven so far to be difficult to come by. However, a useful primary source has been the writings of Meir Pa’il (who was a Palmach officer assigned to observe the massacre), and his description of the attack. He provides a detailed account on the attack, and the level of barbarity that ensued. Another useful primary source has been the writings of Jaques de Reynier, who was the head of the Red Cross in Palestine, and observed the after effects of the battle.

 

Bibliography:

Morris, Benny, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict 1881-2001, pgs. 207-209, Vintage Books, 1999

Rubenberg, Cheryl A. The Palestinians: In Search of a Just Peace, Lynne Rienner, 2003

Rogan, Eugene L, Shlaim, Avai, The War For Palestine: Rewritting the History of 1948, Cambridge University Press, 2001

Bennis, Phylis, Deir Yassin Remembered, Middle East Research and Information Project, 1998

Morris, Benny, The Historiography of Deir Yassin, Journal of Israeli History, 2005

Milstein, Uri, The War of Independence Vol. IV: Out of Crisis Came Decision, University Press ofAmerica, 1999

BBC, The Arab Israeli Conflict, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKLucDqEeKA, 1998

Lapidot, Yesuda, Deir Yassin, http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/english/history/lapidot/24.htm, 1992

Hogan, Matthew, The 1948 Massacre at Deir Yassin Revisited, http://web.archive.org/web/20090409172711/http://www.deiryassin.org/mh2001.html

Assad, Duad A, Palestine Rising, Xlibris, 2010

Hirst, David, The Gun and the Olive Branch, Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1977

Morris, Benny The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, Cambridge University Press, 2003

200 ARABS KILLED, STRONGHOLD TAKEN; Irgun and Stern Groups Unite to Win Deir Yasin – Kastel Is Recaptured by Haganah, New York Times, April 10, 1948

Pa’il, Meir, Meir Pa’il’s Eyewitness Account, http://web.archive.org/web/20080419084659/http://www.ariga.com/peacewatch/dy/dypail.htm, 1998

Tal, David, War in Palestine, 1948: Strategy and Diplomacy, London: Routledge, 2003

Silver, Eric, Arab Witnesses admit exaggerating Deir Yassin massacre, The Jerusalem Report, 1998

Flapan, Simha, The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities, Pantheon, 1988

Flapan, Simha, Zionism and the Palestinians, Barnes & Noble Books, 1979

Einstein, Albert, Albert Einstein Letter to The New York Times. December 4, 1948, New York Times, 1948

Radley, Kurt Rene, Palestinian Refugees: The Right to Return in International Law, American Journal of International Law, Vol. 27, N. 3, 1978

Lema, Luis, Jerusalem 1948: seeking the trust of all sides, International Committee of the Red Cross, 2003

de Reynier, Jacques, 1948 à Jérusalem, Georg, 2002

Glazer, Steven, The Palestinian Exodus in 1948, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 9 N. 4, 1980

Paper Proposal- Kaitlyn Connolly

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

War always brings out the worst in men; it turns neighbors into enemies over a difference of a belief. However, in war there are always heroes that are remembered throughout time. Their stories are passed from generation to generation. Richard Rowland Kirkland is one of these heroes. His story is told every day to visitors of the Fredericksburg Battlefield in Fredericksburg, Va. The monument for him and his story has pulled on the heartstrings of those who have stood before it. This story brings humanity back into war. It was a moment in time when war stopped for Kirkland to provide aide to the wounded he had shot at the day before. Kirkland’s story, however, provides a basis for a debate of whether it is true, or a story told to show humanity in war. Whether or not the story is true at all, the memory of Kirkland remains. It is why and how people remember him that is important.
Sergeant Richard Rowland Kirkland’s story began on December 14, 1862. After listening to the cries of the wounded Union soldiers for water all night, he could no longer stand it and went to ask permission to bring them water from General Joseph Kershaw. It was Kershaw, who in 1880, wrote the letter that broke the story to a South Carolina newspaper. At first Kershaw denied the request knowing that as soon as Kirkland stepped over the wall, Union sharpshooters would shoot him. However, after Kirkland’s persistence, he relented and gave him permission. Kirkland then gathered canteens and began his heroic act. He was shot at until the Union soldiers saw what he was doing, and stopped shooting. It is said that Kirkland administered aide for over an hour and after both sides cheered for his heroic act. This is the story that has been retold for generations.
The first question I hope to answer with my paper is, even with the controversy of whether or not the story was true, why is the story told and monuments built. The second question I want to answer is how is Kirkland remembered by people. Do people remember it as a selfless act or a strategic act because the Confederate army was able to re-arm their defenses while Kirkland delivered water to the wounded? The final question I would like to address, though a conclusion may never be reached, is whether this story is actually true or not. These questions are things that I wonder about when I think about the Kirkland story, as I had heard it on a tour of the Fredericksburg Battlefield.
With the help of the National Park Service, I have been able to gather many primary sources from the soldiers who were stationed at Marye’s Heights during the battle of Fredericksburg. I am using them to help with my question of why Kirkland’s story is a monumental in one in the retelling of the battle of Fredericksburg. The letters I have read so far mention the cries of the wounded and the fact they were trapped in the field with help unable to get to them. Some even mention soldiers risking their lives to get to their friends, but none of the letters have any mention of Kirkland’s heroic act. Other sources I have decided to use, to show how Kirkland is remembered, are newspaper articles from when different memorials have been dedicated to him, including a copy of a speech from the Dr. Richard Lanier who is the chairman of the Kirkland Memorial Committee of the Fredericksburg Centennial Committee. Lanier is also the author of a book about Kirkland “The Angel of Marye’s Heights.” Other sources for my paper are articles from different Civil War websites; one of the most notable “Is the Richard Kirkland Story true?” It is an argument of whether the story is true or not since Kershaw, Kirkland’s commanding officer, left the account out of very important paperwork about the battle, and had a monumental event like this had happened it should have been recorded in these papers. Books about the battle are good sources as well, because they help me to gather more information about what exactly was happening at the front that may have contributed to details of Kirkland not being recorded by soldiers at Marye’s heights. These sources also help in different ways, because each account has different variations to the story. One of the most important sources I am using is the letter General J.B. Kershaw sent to the newspaper that began the entire argument. Most of my other sources reference this letter and use it in their arguments of how and why Kirkland is remembered, or if the story is in fact true. The different sources I am using in my argument each offer a different way to see the Kirkland story, which helps me to support my question of whether or not Kirkland should be given a huge memorial.
I plan to use all of these different arguments and interpretations, as well as continued research on the letters from the front to continue to validate my argument. I hope to answer all of my questions and to be able to come to a conclusion about Kirkland through my paper.

Research Proposal works cited

Paper Proposal

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

War always brings out the worst in men; it turns neighbors into enemies over a difference of a belief. However, in war there are always heroes that are remembered throughout time. Their stories are passed from generation to generation. Richard Rowland Kirkland is one of these heroes. His story is told every day to visitors of the Fredericksburg Battlefield in Fredericksburg, Va. The monument for him and his story has pulled on the heartstrings of those who have stood before it. This story brings humanity back into war. It was a moment in time when war stopped for Kirkland to provide aide to the wounded he had shot at the day before. Kirkland’s story, however, provides a basis for a debate of whether it is true, or a story told to show humanity in war. Whether or not the story is true at all, the memory of Kirkland remains. It is why and how people remember him that is important.
Sergeant Richard Rowland Kirkland’s story began on December 14, 1862. After listening to the cries of the wounded Union soldiers for water all night, he could no longer stand it and went to ask permission to bring them water from General Joseph Kershaw. It was Kershaw, who in 1880, wrote the letter that broke the story to a South Carolina newspaper. At first Kershaw denied the request knowing that as soon as Kirkland stepped over the wall, Union sharpshooters would shoot him. However, after Kirkland’s persistence, he relented and gave him permission. Kirkland then gathered canteens and began his heroic act. He was shot at until the Union soldiers saw what he was doing, and stopped shooting. It is said that Kirkland administered aide for over an hour and after both sides cheered for his heroic act. This is the story that has been retold for generations.
The first question I hope to answer with my paper is, even with the controversy of whether or not the story was true, why is the story told and monuments built. The second question I want to answer is how is Kirkland remembered by people. Do people remember it as a selfless act or a strategic act because the Confederate army was able to re-arm their defenses while Kirkland delivered water to the wounded? The final question I would like to address, though a conclusion may never be reached, is whether this story is actually true or not. These questions are things that I wonder about when I think about the Kirkland story, as I had heard it on a tour of the Fredericksburg Battlefield.
With the help of the National Park Service, I have been able to gather many primary sources from the soldiers who were stationed at Marye’s Heights during the battle of Fredericksburg. I am using them to help with my question of why Kirkland’s story is a monumental in one in the retelling of the battle of Fredericksburg. The letters I have read so far mention the cries of the wounded and the fact they were trapped in the field with help unable to get to them. Some even mention soldiers risking their lives to get to their friends, but none of the letters have any mention of Kirkland’s heroic act. Other sources I have decided to use, to show how Kirkland is remembered, are newspaper articles from when different memorials have been dedicated to him, including a copy of a speech from the Dr. Richard Lanier who is the chairman of the Kirkland Memorial Committee of the Fredericksburg Centennial Committee. Lanier is also the author of a book about Kirkland “The Angel of Marye’s Heights.” Other sources for my paper are articles from different Civil War websites; one of the most notable “Is the Richard Kirkland Story true?” It is an argument of whether the story is true or not since Kershaw, Kirkland’s commanding officer, left the account out of very important paperwork about the battle, and had a monumental event like this had happened it should have been recorded in these papers. Books about the battle are good sources as well, because they help me to gather more information about what exactly was happening at the front that may have contributed to details of Kirkland not being recorded by soldiers at Marye’s heights. These sources also help in different ways, because each account has different variations to the story. One of the most important sources I am using is the letter General J.B. Kershaw sent to the newspaper that began the entire argument. Most of my other sources reference this letter and use it in their arguments of how and why Kirkland is remembered, or if the story is in fact true. The different sources I am using in my argument each offer a different way to see the Kirkland story, which helps me to support my question of whether or not Kirkland should be given a huge memorial.
I plan to use all of these different arguments and interpretations, as well as continued research on the letters from the front to continue to validate my argument. I hope to answer all of my questions and to be able to come to a conclusion about Kirkland through my paper.

Research Proposal works cited

Paper Proposal- New Market Heights- Ryan Quint

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Here is my paper proposal for the semester.

 

History 299 Paper Proposal

Andrew Masters Proposal

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Click here to view the embedded video.

On May 2, 1945, Germany surrendered to the Allied forces after a long, bloody conflict and the death of Hitler. This ended the war in Europe. However, there was still one conflict that was left to be resolved: the war in the Pacific against Japan. Initially, the plan was to issue warnings on the island before bombing and storming it in spring 1946. This all changed with the completion and successful test of the most destructive weapon ever created, a weapon that would change the world. On August 6, and August 9, 1945 The United States dropped two atomic bombs, Little Boy and Fat Man, on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two cities on two of the islands of Japan. These weapons wrought unprecedented death and destruction on the cities and brought upon the immediate unconditional surrender of Japan. However, the bombs did much more than that. These weapons were a notice to the world, especially the Soviet Union, of the strength of the United States. These weapons also signaled the coming of a new age and the dawn of the Cold War.

The weapons caused a great deal of misery and destruction. They also were not part of the original plan to take Japan. There is an abundance or research on the previous plan to defeat Japan as well as the additional options available to the Allied Forces to take the Japanese islands. Another element for research is just how costly would the other options available to the Allies have been? This question helps weigh the possible outcome against the outcome of dropping the bomb as seen through a retrospective scope. During the war the Americans had a certain amount of bias and hatred towards the Japanese after Pearl Harbor and a long, gruesome war in the Pacific. These negative feelings most likely had at least a minor influence on President Truman and his war council. The items listed above are an outline to build up an argument that will most likely support the following thesis: President Truman was justified in dropping the atomic bombs on Japan due to the overly costly process of taking the island by other means, and it also ensured a much swifter end to World War II.

There is an abundance of sources available for researching this topic, for it is something that has been highly contested for over 50 years. So far the most valuable primary source found is an article written by former Secretary of War Henry Lewis Stimson called “The Decision to Use the Bomb.” This source clearly outlines the information given to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman about creating the bomb, other strategies in motion to take Japan, and the sudden shift in policy to unleashing these weapons. Stimson does a good job keeping his personal biases out of the article, or at least disguising them. There are also personal accounts of U.S. soldiers in the Pacific who were being prepared to directly attack Japan and the elation is clear in their writing when they hear that other alternatives were successfully being employed. The other useful primary sources found at this point are a documentary history of Truman’s presidency that specifically focuses on his decision to use the bomb and a critique on the direct rhetoric used in the decision drop the bomb. There is also an abundance of secondary sources, most of which have primary sources within them, to call upon for additional information, theses, and analysis.

There are many perspectives on this subject. This is something that has been highly debated for decades. Using sources from the U.S. as well as Japan, and some of the Allied forces, I hope to gain a full scope of the arguments for and against dropping the bomb before deciding whether to defend or oppose my thesis. It is also noted that there were peace talks between Japan and the U.S. before the decision was even made. This opens up a whole new area of inspection and would damage many of the arguments for dropping the Bombs. However through all this the thesis will most likely be supported, showing that President Truman was justified in dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

proposal Bibliography

Paper Proposal

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Paper Proposal

As the top soil eroded and blew from the western plains, the farming people of the Midwest who were migrants just a couple generations before gathered their belongings once again and moved west to California. The migrants came from many states, mostly Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas, but in the time of the great exodus on Route 66, John Steinbeck the writer of The Grapes of Wrath, chose to focus on one Oklahoman family, the Joads. In his narrative following the slow deterioration of the family and their hardships, Steinbeck portrays the Okies in their attempt to go to California and then their fate once they arrive. In this paper I will not try to contest the historical events written about in The Grapes of Wrath, but rather to discuss whether or not Steinbeck in his novel created a historical myth of the plight of the Okies by exaggerating real events.

The man in question, John Steinbeck.

To arrive at the right conclusion, there are many questions that need to be asked. Initially one that could be raised is why did Steinbeck write the book at all? Was this some sort of political ploy to get more people involved or was it simply just a good melodrama he wanted to articulate like his other novel based in California, East of Eden? A question even more essential to my paper, what did Steinbeck get right in his research? What was overlooked or exaggerated? A question more related to my sources would be how other media sources helped Steinbeck create a historical myth? For this question I would draw mostly from primary sources like the pictures of Dorothea Lange or the folk songs from Woody Guthrie.

California and the Dust Bowl Migration by Walter J. Stein is the primary monograph that I will use for this paper. Stein’s book investigates the causes and effects of the Dust Bowl migration on California as well as the push and pull factors that brought the workers there. In the index there are even specific pages that quote Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath or check a certain aspect of the book for historical accuracy. The second secondary source that will be paramount in my paper is American Exodus, by James N. Gregory. This book researches the history of the dust bowl migrants and the way that the media portrayed their lives in California. In the introduction Gregory mentions that the media initially portrayed the migrants only through pictures that would bring attention to their dismal living and working conditions.

The novel in question, The Grapes of Wrath.

The novel in question, The Grapes of Wrath.

In addition to those very topic specific books I will also use Dust Bowl Migrants in the American Imagination by Charles J. Shindo which is based mostly on media perceptions of the Dust Bowl and that they only scratched the surface of what was truly going awry in California at the time. I will go through each source and extract what is relevant to my paper, trying to be as unbiased towards the thesis trying to be proven as possible. Primary sources, contrary to traditional analytical history papers will not be the best place to start on this paper as it has already been pointed out that they might be biased toward making a political point. Secondary sources will be key, primarily the monograph by Stein and the book by Gregory. For all the sources used in my paper it will be important to draw my own conclusions rather than just summing up what other historians have pointed out in their research.

The topic and purpose of this paper will not be an easy on to write or conclude. It is unconventional for a student studying history to try and disprove a fictional novel. However, when it comes to such an influential novel like Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, I am convinced writers, especially historical fiction writers, should be held accountable to the accuracy usual historians are responsible for. As Edward H. Carr points out in his book, What is History? C. P. Scott, a liberal journalist wrote, “Facts are sacred, opinion in free.” Steinbeck’s opinions of how the Okies lived, died, and suffered were his own, but the facts will be held in higher esteem.

Working bibliography for my proposal.

Campaign Commercials Website

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

The Living Room Candidate Website .  This website provides hundreds of U.S. presidential television campaign advertisements from 1952-2012.  This is potentially a useful resource for 299 papers, and is an example of a “good” website.

Historical Conciousness in the Modern Age

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Thesis: “History as a discipline acquired a more scientific outlook as methods of research, criticism, and analysis became more rigorous and practitioners tried to keep abreast of stunning advances in other areas of human knowledge”