World History

Final Review materials

S2 assign sheets: world.assign.10.French Rev  world.assign.11.IndustRev   world.assign.12.imperial   world.assign.13.WW1  world.assign.14.interwar   world.assign15.ww2   w.assign16.coldwar    w.assign17.last

Unit presentations S2:  rev.Napoleon   unit11.industrev.soc.natlchge   Unit 12 – Imperialism     World War 1      unit14.interwar     worldwar2.18       COLD

Baraka questions

Current Assignment Sheet: w.assign17.last

Notes Unit 17: world.last.alt.18

Notes Sheet for 17: world.last.notes.alt.18


Extra Credit *topic” and/or articles – choose, read, think/research, and respond below with your thoughts and/or respond to others’ thoughts too

Enter a reply based on the film “Baraka” and the focus questions linked below the film- prompt: What are some of the non-verbal ways humans communicate with each other, and what are some of the most powerful themes from the film / from human history, that are communicated non-verbally?

Memories of the Holocaust – Then and Today

Just following orders

Happy Birthday Karl Marx??

Is the digital information age not compatible with democracy?

Old conflicts without resolutions?

Challenging tradition and the caste system

America’s global weapons trade




  1. “How Nazi’s Defense of ‘Just Following Orders’ Plays Out in the Mind” Response:
    In a letter from 1962 as a way to try and obtain mercy, Adolf Eichmann and his fellow German Nazi officers wrote many messages, such as that they were like instruments when being used to organize the Holocaust. Their defense statements of “just following orders” which were made in post-war trials were a prominent feature of Eichmann’s court hearings. His (and his fellow officer’s) statements caused outrage, as it seemed as if he was blaming millions of Jew’s deaths on his superiors, and therefore avoiding responsibility. However, in the same year, a man by the name of Stanley Milgram conducted famous trials and experiments that would test whether normal people could or would inflict harm on others if requested or ordered to by ‘superiors’. Research ended up finding that people were capable of committing dark crimes- but because the people felt disconnected from their actions when they were complying to orders, even though it was them themselves committing the act/crime. In essence, these were more of ‘passive’ movements than they were voluntary actions. Coercion was found to be able to change someone’s ‘sense of agency’, which refers to a person’s capability to be aware to their one actions that will cause an external outcome. So, when a certain sense of ‘disconnect’, meaning that even though an action and an outcome seem simultaneous, they slightly aren’t, produces a passive feeling in the person doing the action, even if the outcome was indeed unpleasant. Another man, by the name of Patrick Haggard did similar research- but unlike that of which was performed in the 1960’s, this research would include electrical shocks, though they were fake. People in the experiment, even when hearing screams of resistance from an actor pretending to be ‘shocked’, continued to press the buzzer giving shocks when told to do so. These actors were in a different room, however, so the unseen actor would not be fully recognized by the people’s administering the shocks. It was found that being coerced vs having an actual (free) choice resulted with many different outcomes. Critics of the experiments found other faults with the experiments, but they otherwise have been agreed upon. In a second experiment, Haggard’s team explored whether the loss of agency could also be observed within the subject’s brain activity. The team discovered that when being coerced into doing something, less brain activity was monitored. Haggard and his team, however, mention that during the Nuremberg trials, anyone who claimed to just be ‘following orders’ must be viewed with skepticism. Still, they say that their (and past) studies have shown a reduction of feelings of responsibility based off of experience concerning coercement and actions asked of the subjects. This brings up the question I have: when does ‘just following orders’ justify clear acts of cruelty? Of course, those Nazi group members could have been lying, bringing up Haggard’s point that they need to be viewed with clear skepticism. So, in summary, it really is true that people are fully capable of committing atrocities when they don’t feel directly tied to their actions (specifically when they are being coerced).

  2. “Korea Summit: When War Ends but Peace is Out of Reach” Response:

    Technically, the Korean War has never truly stopped, leaving tensions between the opposing Koreas. The war had three years of bloody fighting, involving gunfire, with no peace solution ever occurring after six decades. An armistice signed ended the hostilities but again, no peace treaty was ever signed. Similarly, while no violence has occurred since the armistice, it seems there will not be a successful solution between North and South Korea. Such a case of no peace solution- but physical conflict stopping has been seen multiple other times throughout history. Such an example is Russia and Japan, as they feuded after the Soviets declared war on Japan two days before Japan would then surrender in World War II. Japan then had a conflict with Russia over the Kuril islands, which they call ‘northern territory’. It are these islands that are the problem or the obstacle to obtaining a peace treaty between the two countries, as Russia announces that control over the islands was recognized after World War II, but Japan refuses to acknowledge this. Today, Russia and Japan have diplomatic relations and agreed to stop fighting, but a peace solution was never found or employed. Then came harsh relations with Montenegro and Japan, in which it supported Russia, after taking its side in the Russo-Japanese War. It was only many, many years later (2006) that the world saw it (before becoming a part of Yugoslavia, and then becoming independent) have a sort of -peace-like diplomatic relation with Japan. Another example of such a situation is Germany and the Allies of WWII. Even after it surrendered to Allied powers, the partitioning of Germany left the country divided with no true ‘form’ (fighting and Cold War hostilities occurred), until Germany reunited in 1990. In other parts of Europe, such as the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly, there were issues. There was a war that had apparent roots in 1651 (near the end of the English Civil War), when the Dutch demanded reparations from Scilly’s Royalist Artillery, which had caused damage to their fleets. The Dutch would leave after no reparations had been made and as a result they would take the islands, being backed up by the Parliamentary force at the time (Dutch had before started a war after not being paid what they felt they were owed). Islanders and historians then discovered the event and its information, and then signed a peace treaty three hundred and thirty-five years later. The last similar event occurred with ancient Rome and Carthage during the Punic Wars, which never had a formal or peaceful ending, until now that is. 2,100 years later mayors of Rome (modern-day) and Carthage municipality (the modern-day suburbs of Tunis) signed a pact of friendship and a treaty. Lastly, we see through many examples that while fighting and arguments may have momentarily ceased, official peace may not always occur until much later (or maybe not even at all!)

  3. There are many old conflicts in the world that continue to go unresolved. Of course, there was the cease fire of the Korean War in 1953. However, some of these conflicts date back to World War II and even ancient times.
    The Korean War lasted from 1950 to 1953, but it never officially ended. There was a cease fire that stopped the fighting, but no official peace treaty. To this day, the Korean Peninsula remains divided and in a technical state of war.
    At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan just days before Japan surrendered. Because Japan refuses to give up their claim over the islands between Japan and Kamchatka, the Soviet Union did not sign the peace treaty between Japan and the Allied Powers. However, they did sign an agreement to end the state of war and restore formal relations with Japan. Due to the fact that neither side is willing to give their claim to the islands, an official peace treaty has yet been signed.
    The conflict between Montenegro and Japan took almost a century to be solved. Because Montenegro supported Russia in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 to 1905, the two nations struggled to make peace. After Montenegro became an independent country in 2006, the two nations signed a peace treaty that established formal relations.
    The Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly remained in a state of war for centuries. In 1651, the Dutch demanded that reparations be paid for the damage done to their fleet by the Scilly Isles after the English Civil War. When the Scilly Isles refused, the Netherlands declared war. When the Parliamentarians took the islands, the Dutch left and no official peace treaty was ever signed. It wasn’t until 1986 that the leaders of the two nations met at the islands to sign a peace treaty.
    Lastly, in ancient times, there was an unresolved conflict between Rome and Carthage. Supposedly, Rome and Carthage never agreed to peace after the Romans took Carthage and destroyed it at the end of the Punic Wars. In 1985, the leaders of the nations met and officially ended a war that had gone on for 2,100 years.

  4. How Nazi’s Defense of “Just Following Orders” Plays Out in the Mind

    The Nuremberg Trials were held after World War II to put Nazi officers and anyone else involved in the Holocaust on trial for murder as well as “crimes against humanity”. Many of those tried would respond that they were simply “following orders”. This article goes then to talk about if this excuse is really enough to pardon the act of (or playing any part in allowing) murdering dozens of innocent men, women and children. Haggard’s study of the concept of “following orders” concluded that “People actually feel disconnected from their actions when they comply with orders, even though they’re the ones committing the act.” In his experiments Haggard set up two rooms, one with a ordinary person known as the “teacher” as well as someone giving them orders, while the other room had a “learner” or a person who was receiving shocks that were triggered by the “teacher” in the first room. The “learner” was not, however, receiving shocks at all, but pretending to feel pain and cry out. Someone would order the “teacher” to press the button to shock the unseen “learner” in the other room. He then found that 65% of his volunteers were willing to press the button when they were ordered. This experiment, along with many other similar ones, came to shows that people will tend to act less on what they believe and chose for themselves when they are being given orders. Haggard then goes onto say, “If people acting under orders really do feel reduced responsibility, this seems important to understand. For a start, people who give orders should perhaps be held more responsible for the actions and outcomes of those they coerce.”

    My opinion on this subject is a little different than what Haggard’s study has shown. I do think that when given a less daunting task (like shocking someone with “moderately painful, but tolerable, shocks”) that people will tend to follow orders if they seem to trust and accept what the person with authority is ordering. I do, however, think that when it comes to the Nazi officers put on trial during the Nuremberg Trials, the scenario is much different. Officers were ordered to take the lives of innocent men, women, and children or watch as they suffered in the horrible conditions they inflicted on them. Some of these officers would go through with these acts daily, and after a while not feeling any sort of hesitation. An “ordinary” human being would not be able to go through with inflicting pain, suffering and death upon others daily without showing some kind of emotion or drawback. Therefore, committing dozens and dozens of murders and then claiming to be “just following orders” is a ridiculous excuse for an act that should be met with serious consequences. There is definitely a point at which “following orders” does not even matter to the person who is forced to do these horrific acts. Another aspect of this is also the prosecution of those officials in charge of giving orders, but not physically doing the killing. Higher ranked Nazi officials should be tried on a much larger and more serious scale, as they are at the center of the hundreds and thousands of deaths that are being carried out by the officers that they had ordered to do so. When it comes down to it, there may never be a place to stop when it comes to who is following whose orders in this kind of scale of death. Either way, those who chose to keep carrying out these orders were also making their own decision of weather or not to stand up to those giving the orders, and should be rightly punished for their actions.

    Works Cited

    Barajas, Joshua. “How Nazi’s Defense of ‘Just Following Orders’ Plays Out in the Mind.” Scientific American, 19 Feb. 2016,

  5. “Just Following Orders”:

    I find the results of Milgram’s experiments shocking. Pressing that button is understandable – if you didn’t know what a button did, then naturally you would press it, or if someone told you to, you’d assume they know what they’re doing and you’d press it. But after hearing the person receiving the shocks scream and yell? It frightens me how someone would continue to do that. The fact that it doesn’t cross their minds that they’re shocking someone, or ask “What is the intention of this experiment? How does it work? What is this button doing?” or at least taking action to some alternative, and then they just do it? That’s what scares me the most: how easy it is to persuade someone to do something, no questions asked. I also find it interesting how he named the volunteers “teachers” and “learners” –
    this interested me, as I associate teachers as teaching knowledge that would carry out through a lifetime. The “learners” will most likely carry this experiment with them throughout their lifetime, as this is something that would be hard to forget. So I wonder if this experiment taught them to obey more, and trained them to do so in everyday life situations without knowing it.

    However, I can see how this relates to Nazis during WW2. Also, the Nazis knew they had no choice because if they didn’t do as they were told then Hitler would kill them. Because of this, I feel that Haggard’s version on the experiment reflects the Nazis’ actions better than Milgram’s. Both were equally frightening, however. They both proved that humans will be willing to do anything they’re told to do, and the reasons can vary. Nonetheless, the remark of “just following orders”, as stated in the article, is taken with skepticism because when the person is committing such acts without coercion, then they are then acting on their own knowledge of a possible terrible fate, and like a robot they give in. But as Haggard says, “If people acting under orders really do feel reduced responsibility, this seems important to understand. For a start, people who give orders should perhaps be held more responsible for the actions and outcomes of those they coerce”, I couldn’t agree more.

  6. “Memories of the Holocaust”

    Approaching 73 years after the end of World War II, we still are horrified by the events taken place during this time. From ripping children from their parent’s arms, killing those who came from the smallest percentage of a Jewish family line, and shipping Jews like cargo to concentration camps, the times of the Holocaust are by far the worst events seen in human history. Jews were labeled, dehumanized, told that they were worthless, and the cause for all troubles within the world by the Germans. Although these statements aren’t true, many believed the sayings they were told, losing hope in ever seeing a peaceful time again. This is apparent in concentration camps especially, specifically Auschwitz, the worst concentration camp located in Poland. Jews in Auschwitz were stripped of their clothing, and forced to shiver in the cold winds of the camp. Not only this, but food wasn’t easy to come by during these times. Prisoners of the camps were starved, only being given a single slice of bread. If this wasn’t harsh enough, Jews were treated as if they weren’t even humans, not being given an ounce of human decency. Many families were torn apart, and misshapen to the point where they couldn’t recognize each other. Other reasons for their split, however, was death being a common everyday factor of life. If the Nazis deemed a Jewish person to be unfit, or “useless,” they would throw them into a gas chamber, and have them die a slow, and painful death, and deprive them of oxygen. What’s even worse, is that they would take their corpses and throw them into a “furnace,” and have large clouds of smoke burning assiduously from the bodies of the deceased. If Nazis chose not to put Jews into a gas chamber, they would simply shoot them as if it were sport. It honestly baffles me that this has ever happened in human history, as I can’t imagine why these actions were considered to be “okay” at the time in the eyes of Adolf Hitler and his Nazis. Tearing up families, torturing a specific religion, and killing in such atrocious ways brings horrible thoughts, ones that I can’t imagine living firsthand. Had it not been for the invasion of D-Day, this could have continued for years to come, and have more atrocities and suffering take place. With being taught and raised in such an environment where we shame the actions of the Germans during this time, and are almost, and in many cases, brought to tears due to the events, we can only hope that such a devastation doesn’t ever occur again.

  7. “Will Technology Destroy Our Democracy?” Response:

    Data and personal information of public and private lives of people online (whether it be social media users, internet trolls, or workers, etc.) causes many websites and social media platforms (such as Facebook) to experience internal and external pressures to secure such data/info. This is an example of issues caused by technology that are hurting people and our democracy. However, on the other hand, movements such as the anti-gun movement recently occurring in Florida (mostly political movements) is a great example of how democracy and technology are closely related, and in such a case, in a positive way. It allows for the mass organization of people (communication) and have quick/easy access to information. This gives people the capability to stand up for what they believe in. Still, there are many other (often unmentioned) negative effects of technology which can actually pull democracy apart. According to Jamie Bartlett (author of The People versus Tech), the main problem between democracy and technology is the issue of compatibility, in which our old democracy and technology do not mix well. Our democracy, which was created and meant for an older age, promised free elections, free press, and ‘informed’ citizens. However, digital technology is difficult to control. It is decentralized, data-led, and it can improve at amazing speeds, of which democracy simply cannot compete/be compatible with. In the past, such as in free elections, people were always informed of politician’s claims and whether they were accurate or not. Nowadays, with modern technology, people have access to detailed profiles of individuals (especially politicians), which can then be targeted by messages or information that is personal and that, in some cases, can even be (very) dangerous. Still, this can allow some politicians to abuse their power and manipulate of vulnerabilities psychologically. Unfortunately, with developing technology, people are then able to ‘extract’ information and data (which can be innocent) and then make accurate predictions about your personal information- such as religious beliefs, political views, and even leadership potential! This means that (potentially) the world could experience a whole new level of possible manipulation. Now, claims, facts, inaccurate information, and propaganda will ‘run’ our democratic world- and tear it apart. This is because such things will allow us to create our own senses of reality which makes us less compatible with one another as human beings. So, what’s the result? Will technology end up destroying our democracy? It is apparent that there can be only one ‘winner’. Currently, technology seems to be winning the ‘battle’, meaning that (unless a huge change happens and democracy end up crushing the current digital revolution), democracy will die just like other governmental systems before it that have gone down in history.

  8. “Why this Indian Priest Carried an ‘Untouchable’ into a Temple” Response:

    The Hindu priest from the Indian city of Hyderabad made a bold statement of carrying an ‘untouchable’ man on his shoulders into the inner sanctum of a temple. This ‘dramatic’ move of carrying a Dalit (the term used to describe the ‘untouchables’) was not approved of by many (especially more conservative hindus), as Dalits are not allowed in temples, after being considered by the public as ‘impure’. Even in recent time, Dalits are still often forbidden in temples. So, Priest Rangarajan decided to make a statement that he suggests is trying to make others see that in his eyes (and more importantly, in God’s eyes) that deep down inside every single human being, we are all equal. However, this is a belief that is not commonly agreed upon because of negative thoughts of Dalits occurring in the past. Hindu caste hierarchies suggest that Dalits are poor citizens who will be condemned to a sad life. This type of segregation leads to inequality compared to upper castes and means that Dalits can’t even attend the same type of schools, can’t get equal job opportunities, and can’t drink/eat with other caste members. This additionally means that Dalits are exposed or at least susceptible to violence, abuse, and exploitation. This also means when Priest Rangarajan and the Dalibat, whose name is Aditya, prayed and performed religious rituals together, it was a huge step for Dalits in society (of which there is currently about 200 million). The Priest explained that he carried Aditya on his shoulders after reading a similar ‘story’ in ancient legends. When the Priest explained the legend to his students, many didn’t believe him, and questioned if such an event of an untouchable being carried by a religious figure into a religious house of worship (such as a temple) was even possible. In response, the Priest decided to take matters into his own hands and do it himself. Aditya and the Priest have formed a close bond, as Aditya is very religious himself and believes in holy scriptures/texts. While it is acknowledged that change cannot happen overnight, both men wish to see change within society and the social injustices that society itself creates. Recently, Dalits have seen their lives improving with aspirations, but many still believe that their lives will not be able to change anymore- they simply don’t believe that society has enough support against it to allow for change, especially concerning the caste system. Unfortunately, such an example is higher caste members displaying violence in anger and hope that the caste system will not change. To finish then, Dalits and parts of society are attempting at reform which will change the entire social caste system within India. With enough rallying support, I personally believe that change will be possible, for ‘the only unchanging fact about the universe is that the universe always changes’ ;-).

  9. “Which Countries Dominate the Global Arms Trade?” Response:

    The world has been completely ‘awakened’ by the increase of arms in countries, mostly due to great power and rivalries within powerful and dangerous countries, especially those still warring or who have had tense relations in the past. Major examples of such countries are the U.S., Russia, and China. Even civil wars such as the ones that Yemen and Syria have experienced are quickly sharpening the world’s sense of arms. In recent figures, statistics share that there has been a quick 10% increase in the purchasing/use of global arms in under 10 years, showing the growth the arms industry is flourishing in. Along with this statistic, research has shown that the industry itself is also becoming more and more successful, being worth more than $100 billion every single year, a high and scary value (in my opinion). Our own country (the U.S.) is now even known as the globe’s top exporter of arms, taking in a high income based off of this. Additionally, it is known that Saudi Arabia is their (the U.S.’s top importer), with even more countries readily available to receive advanced weaponry from the U.S. (mostly from the Middle East, which has experienced a lot of civil wars in recent years). Russia, the second largest export of arms behind the U.S., is a 58% lower export rate than the United States. Non-surprisingly, as Russia’s exports decrease, the U.S.’s increase. The U.S. alone account for over a third of the globe’s arm trade, and have risen 30% in sales within the last five years. They have also been at an acme, a height of perfection which they have not been at since the 1990’s.

    Continuing on in the Middle East, we see wars where thousands of civilians are injured or die, and such brutal conflict results occur and continue to worsen as weaponry is continued to be supplied by the West. However, ethical conflicts have led to debates over the West’s involvement militarily (arms-wise) in the Middle East, showing more of a ‘relief’ in countries. Another issue is that top importers of weapons (which are obtained from the West) are being used in other countries, in attempt for the countries providing weapons to see war results they would like. Saudi Arabia has been a key country in the civil war in Yemen- as air strikes are the number one reason for current child casualties. Luckily, the war has led other countries- mostly in Europe- to act and put bans on arm sales in the region.
    As I mentioned earlier, China is another big topic when it comes to arms trade around the world. Their growing economy that relies heavily on arms trade has made them increasingly rich. They are currently the world’s fifth top arms exporter. It now is spending also on defense, in which China is trying to make defense and technology that rivals that of the West. Not only is China developing arms in the military, but it is also increasingly spending on its growing navy, causing concern among others. Countries in response are building up their arms and their military/navy in attempt to rival that of China’s.

    Even the 2014 ATT (the Arms Trade Treaty) has been seen as ‘limited in terms of its power’, as it hasn’t done much to stop terrorism, stopping countries from exceeding certain arms trade deals, etc. However, even though the ATT hasn’t been able to do much, the CAAT (Campaign Against the Arms Trade) was still made and is fighting against the ATT, which leaves our current world in a state where arms can potentially be even more acceptable.
    So, in summary, tensions in the past and in the present are now so creating more and more issues with global arms trade, especially in terms of increasing it.

  10. Baraka Extra Credit Response:

    Non-verbal ways of communication:There are many, many ways in which humans can and do communicate with one another in this video. An example of such is how humans communicate with each other through their beliefs. In the beginning of the film, we see people following rituals of their faiths. They also communicate to one another by the way they dress (whether clothes, string, jewelry, piercings, tattoos, headwear, or even body paint (which can symbolize roles/classes of members within society)), as it is easier to tell what one is feeling, or really to represent what type of person ‘you’ are. Another way they communicate is through body language (movements), where they can physically symbolize/represent what they are feeling, or what they want to convey (bowing is a sign of respect, hugging as a sign of love, etc.). Even the simplest facial expressions can convey this (crying, smiles, serious faces, angry expressions). Humans can also communicate to one another through art (physical art like drawings or statues or even moving art like dancing) or writing, in which we see books or scriptures of some sort in the movie. Even sounds (grunts, ritual songs/music, any other sounds the body or mouth can make…) can be used to communicate among person to person, though not necessarily verbal speech such as actual words.

    Themes- It is conveyed a lot in the movie the theme that humans mostly try to self-preserve. I ‘got’ this theme from the movie after seeing the abuse of animals, or even other humans. In one specific scene, viewers can see people processing live baby chicks. They throw these innocent live creatures into giant piles, leaving the chicks helpless and disturbed. They then burn and hurt the chick’s beak, only to then send it off to live in an extremely small cage, destined of a sad and sick life of reproducing eggs for human consumption, or producing chicks which will be cycled back into the same, torturous process. We then see the same type of treatment with other animals such as donkeys, which pull a cart full of supplies and humans. It is clear to see that the donkeys are struggling to pull the cart along and look mistreated, but the humans aren’t bothered by this. The last example of the theme of self-preservation is when we see a man who appears to be a beggar. People of all sorts walk by him and not one offer him help, or even give him a second glance. Similarly, we see a young child out on the streets (homeless) who is begging for food, but no one else cares enough to provide it for him, possibly leaving him to die as a young being. Another major theme we see (which is much less dark/depressing) is that humans seem to have always believed in different faiths throughout history and continue to do so today. In many different scenes (in what appears to be many different time periods) we see different scriptures, way of dress, rituals, way of life, and houses of worship that all reflect or represent the fact that humans have always believed in (at least one) superior being. Religion also unites different people (for better or for worse) around the world and ideologically can influence their every move, every thought, every decision or action. Religion is one of the biggest causes of how life worked throughout history and how it still works today, suggesting that religion is not only a big theme in this movie, but a HUGE theme throughout life, even for those who don’t believe in religion.

  11. Extra Credit: “Happy Birthday, Karl Marx!”

    Born on May 15th, 1818, Karl Marx’s birthday is still acknowledged even 200 years after his birth. Karl Marx is recognized as a father of communism, as he co-wrote the Communist Manifesto, stating the ideals for a utopia-like government and world that could be rid of class. This has had a large impact on the country of China, as it held a communist government for a large period of time. Although his ideals are shown to be controversial, as he laid the outlines for communism’s effects today, the town of Tier, Germany, had accepted a 15 foot statue depicting Karl Marx. This figure shall bring conflicts for years to follow, as it brings back memories of when Germany was under the oppression of the Soviet Union, a communist superpower. Contrary to Germany, however, China’s president Xi Jinping still praises the “triumphs” of Karl Marx, wishing to revert to the foundations of Marxism. Personally, I am shocked that Germany would accept such a gift, given the past experiences with Karl Marx’s communism. Not only this, but why would China wish to give them such a statue? To intentionally remind them? To show their power? Fear? This action brings forward a plethora of questions, some of which I can’t even think of some logical answers to.

  12. Happy Birthday Karl Marx

    China gave Karl Marx’s hometown a statue of him for his 200th birthday. Trier, Germany accepted the 15ft statue of Karl Marx from China. Mark helped to write the Communist Manifesto, which basically said how human history has been a struggle of the classes. Marx is a very controversial figure in Germany. Karl Marx is a very controversial man because, his theories were the base of Communism.

  13. “Just Following Orders”

    By obeying orders you feel less guilty for it, studies have proven. The “just following orders” was a big defense in the Nuremberg Trials and in the Eichmann’s court hearings. Later that year, Stanley Milgram conducted an experiment and concluded that any human was capable of a bad heart. If you were ordered to kill someone, and you did it, it is your fault as much as anyone else, because you committed that act. But, the “you” in this case would not feel as bad because he was ordered to do it and it was not his “fault”. One of Milgram’s experiments included: “teachers” willing to press a button to shock someone in an other room if ordered to do so, even if pleas were heard, the “teachers” would continue. Although no one was actually receiving shocks, it shows how bad some ordinary person can become. Milgram’s studies relied on deception. Especially to almost trick the “teacher” into shocking the person in the other room. Haggard conducted a study which included: An “agent” who would take money or inflict pain on the “victim” based on the “experimenter’s” orders, that was the coercive condition.The result was that when people act “under orders” they experience less reluctancy over their actions and outcomes than when they choose for themselves. Haggard also conducted an experiment called the free-choice condition which includes: the “agent” inflicting pain or taking money from the “victim” based on their own terms, only if they wanted to. Haggard made sure that he was clear on that he was not defending anyone involved in the Nuremberg Trials, and that anyone acting on “orders” should be viewed with skepticism.

  14. Memories of the Holocaust –

    The concentration camps were nightmares. People were starved and burned and tortured continuously. The Germans probably committed the biggest atrocity ever. If you gave up hope in the concentration camps, then you would die. You have to believe, and have hope that you will make it. They only got a slice of bread a day. They were starving. I do not know how I could only eat a slice of bread a day. Also, they were so used to the aroma and sight of dead bodies, that they became nose blind to it. Families were separated. I do not know how I could live without my family. For the people in the concentration camps, and in this story, it was great day when the British came.

  15. “How Nazi’s Defense of “Just Following Orders” Plays Out in the Mind”

    After the Holocaust, at the Nuremberg Trials, the last excuse that Nazi officers could think of was that they were “just following orders” from their superiors, hence trying to shift the blame up to higher levels of authority in the party.
    That same year, Milgram conducted the Milgram experiment, where one person would be told to deliver an electric shock to another person who would be behind a curtain, where the shocker couldn’t see them. When they were told to shock the person, they would, even though the person in the other room screamed and said that they had heart conditions. These shocks supposedly reached 450 volts, but the person was never actually shocked. They pretended to be shocked.
    However, despite the pleading from the person about to be shocked and morality, about 65% of the volunteers would shock the other person.
    Patrick Haggard, a neuroscientist, concluded from this experiment that people actually feel less responsible for their actions if they were told what to do, in contrast with if they acted on their own free will without anyone telling them what to do.
    Haggard undertook his own experiment, except in his, actual shocks were used, as he reasoned that it was impossible to know for sure if the shocker indeed knew that they weren’t actually giving a shock, or if they truly believed that they were shocking the other person.
    In Haggard’s experiment, there was an “agent” and a “victim”. The agent was allowed to either take money from the victim, shock the victim, or not do either. However, sometimes there was an “experimenter” who would order the agent to do something. And more often in not, the person would follow what the experimenter would tell them to do. While doing this, researchers measured a difference in time (an increase) between when the person took action and the outcome when they were told what to do, hence hypothesizing that people feel less responsible over their actions when they are told what to do than when they make a decision for themselves.
    In a second version of this experiment, Haggard tried to find out if there was indeed a loss in brain activity when people were ordered to do something. Previous experiments and speculation thought so.
    To do this, the agent still had to decide whether or not to shock the victim, but while they were deciding, they heard a tone. This tone would create brain responses/waves that could be measured by an electroencephalogram cap. The results showed that brain activity did decrease when the agent was told what to do. A questionnaire for the agents showed that they really did feel less responsible for actions they undertook while following orders.
    Haggard concluded that this research does not mean that the “just following orders” defense is not a liable defense, and that anyone who uses it should be viewed cynically. He also concluded that the fact that people feel reduced responsibility for their actions if they are ordered to undertake them is something important to understand, and that as a result of this it should be considered that people who give the orders should be held more responsible for the actions of others that they compel to do something.
    I think that this is very interesting and an important breakthrough, as now there is some scientific proof that people don’t feel as accountable for their actions if they were ordered to undertake them. I agree with Haggard that this should not be accepted as an excuse or defense for actions, and that people who order others should know the full implications of the power that they have and that they should be careful and not abuse the power.

    Works Cited

    Barajas, Joshua. “How Nazi’s Defense of ‘Just Following Orders’ Plays Out in the Mind.” Scientific American, 19 Feb. 2016,

  16. The World Happiness Report measures how happy people feel that they are. A recent survey conducted by them found that citizens of Scandinavian countries tended to be the happiest, with Finland being the happiest country in the world, Norway being the second-happiest, and Sweden coming in 9th. It is likely that Finland came in first due to activities and attractions that it is known for. In the article by bbc about the happiness survey, it was mentioned that there are an estimated 3.3 million saunas in Finland alone. There is plenty of access to these facilities, which can help with relaxation, blood flow and even pain relief. Finland also is home to the most metal bands per capita. This provides fun activities for Finnish people to enjoy. It was also mentioned that in Lapland, you can see reindeer. I can imagine that seeing these “magical” creatures would make just about anyone happy, as it reminds you of Christmastime, which is a time of happiness. You can also see the Northern Lights from Lapland, which are a spectacular sight that would surely put a smile on anyone’s face. Besides these fun activities/attractions, Finland is known for being the export of fun cartoon characters and the well-known game Angry Birds. All of these things would not only make Finland a fun place to live, but it would also make for a good economy. Having a good economy means that there are plenty of jobs and resources for the Finnish people to enjoy, and by having access to these jobs, they can make money and therefore live comfortably and happily. Plus, in Finland, there is free education, generous parental leave and a healthy work-life balance which means people have the time and the ability to do what makes them happy.
    I thought that it was interesting how the Scandinavian countries were so happy. They aren’t necessarily the richest countries in the world, but it seems as though they tend to live comfortably, and therefore happily.
    I was also surprised that richer countries like the US and the UK weren’t higher up on the list. However, as pointed out by, richer countries may have been lower because of things such as obesity, depression and opioid addiction.

    Other sources:

  17. Intense civil war in Syria for over seven years has now turned for the worse, turning into a global dimension conflict withing Syria. Many different countries, people, groups, religions are fighting against each other. The answer to why they are fighting- the power hungriness of the President (Bashar al Assad) has left the country in a bad state. He has and continues to do anything he can to keep the power he has, though in doing so he gravely upsets the West, who take his actions as war crimes (using chemical weapons and bombs). It is thought that most of the civil war’s deaths have been caused by this treacherous man. He claims to fight terrorists, though in reality these so called ‘terrorists’ are seen as ‘rebels’ to many. These rebels only really share one thing in common- the desire to see the president of Syria stripped of power. Their fighting began after the crackdown of the government and peaceful protest. Many people have been excluded from the war – they or their families have been killed or they’ve just been pushed out of the war/fighting. 20 million Kurds, spread across the northern region of Syria are fighting against IS and for autonomy. One of the main reasons Syria has had such a messy war- because the war has become a proxy war, in which many other countries became involved. Russia, supporting Syria and its president as to not lose their ‘foothold’ in the middle east. Russia is Syria’s closest ally in their region. Iran supports the president for an old alliance, tries to exert their own influence in the region, and attempts to counteract its enemy in the region- Saudi Arabia. Turkey, the Gulf States, and the US support many rebel groups, hoguh they have been ‘badly outmatched’ by Russia, Iran, and Syria. For the US, IS became more of an enemy, and the US focused their attention on IS. They helped to train and provide the Syrian Democratic forces (moslty made up of Kurdish). Turkey- supports rebel group called Free Syrian Army and given many shelter. They fear autonism in Syria (believing it would then fuel separatism within Turkey), who fights against the YGB (who the US supports) which means Turkey’s working with Russia. Israel is nervous about Iran influence and tries to prevent that. Main issue- Russia is now controlling most of the war.

  18. Finland is the happiest place on earth for plenty of reasons, one being the many saunas. Out of the 5.3 million people living in Finland, there are 3.3 million saunas. Many use saunas because they help them escape the stress they experience in their daily lives. For the people working in the fields, the saunas provide them with the opportunity to soothe their aching and tired muscles. Studies have also shown that saunas have a direct effect on happiness. The intense heat from the sauna increases the amount of the hormone BDNF. Increased levels of this hormone is said to combat depression and anxiety.
    One of the things I found interesting was that Finland has the most metal bands per capita than the rest of the world. This surprised me because happiness isn’t usually associated with metal bands, because it is an angry genre of music.
    Another interesting fact mentioned in the article was that both the people born in Finland and the immigrants are equally happy living there. This shows that being born in and growing up in Finland isn’t the reason that it is the happiest place on earth, that anyone can be happy there anytime.
    I also read that in Lapland, Finland, you can see wild reindeer and the Northern Lights. For many, including children, reindeer are associated with Christmas, with Christmas being associated with happiness. Living in a place where the animals remind the people of the most wonderful time of the year could have a huge impact on Finland’s ranking. Also, the Northern Lights are a beautiful aspect of nature that would make anyone smile.
    Lastly, I noticed that most of the top ten happiest countries, like Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, are neighboring countries of Finland. Maybe there is a geopolitical reason behind Finland’s and the other countries’ rankings?

  19. Finland/Scandinavia is currently the world’s happiest country because it has features within it that make it appealing to foreigners AND to immigrants/or visitors. While happiness is subjective, most are happy in Finland because of many metal bands per capita (which is very unusual and unexpected for a happy/positive country), saunas in which they are famous for, game exports such as the international game (which even was made into a famous movie in the US) Angry Birds and other cartoon characters, and Lapland, from which ‘Santa Claus’, wild reindeer, and the beautiful Northern Lighs can be viewed. Transportation and universities also work well in Finland, appeasing many people.
    I found the fact that Finland’s proximity to many of the other happiest countries also influenced the happiness of Finland itself. Another reason that surprised me (and was not mentioned in the article) was that Finland suffers very little from corruption, residents have high life expectancies, there are supportive social systems set in place, and they are more open/accepting to foreigners and immigrants. Education, health-systems, and the police force of Finland are heavily trusted in, securing happy beliefs of Finns. Suicide rates have dramatically decreased in Finland over the last decade and a half. Education is free and it is probably one of the best countries to support mothers or working women. It is said that various organizations have claimed Finland to be the safest, most stable, and most free of many countries.

  20. Due to the fact that there are so many saunas in Finland and so many people use them, they can be associated with well being. Saunas relieve stress (the less stresses out you are, the happier you are), relax muscles and sooth aches/ pain or soreness, flush toxins, cleanses skin, induce a deeper sleep, improve cardiovascular performance, and burn calories. These are only a few of the many positive aspects of saunas. No wonder why everyone is so happy in Finland. I also found it interesting about the heavy metal fact, but after looking into it I saw that many studies have shown that listening to extreme music makes you calmer. Australia’s University of Queensland found that the music regulated sadness and enhanced positive emotions. The music helped them explore the full gamut of emotion they felt , but also left them feeling more inspired. So perhaps this is how the people of Finland deal with their anger. One thing I noticed that the countries that did not have stable economies were the least happiest. Finland has one of the best economies in the world. Finland also offers universal healthcare, pays its teachers like doctors ensuring that their children will get the best education. It was determined the least corrupted government in the world by The Corruption Perception Index which is always a good start. It also has the heaviest coffee consumption in the world which I find interesting. Coffee can actually make you happy from its antioxidants. Not to mention Helsinki is one of the safest cities in the world.

  21. One of the reasons that Finland is the happiest country in the world is that it has a lot of saunas – 3,300,000 saunas in a country that has a population of 5,300,000. When humans are exposed to heat, it makes the part of the brain associated with pleasant stimulation, resulting in a good feeling. This is why people are more up-beat when it is sunny out, with the sun shining, and why people catch the notorious “spring fever”.
    Something that I find interesting is that Finland is the most happy country, yet has the most metal bands per capita out of any other country. Metal is an angry genre of music, yet here it is, widely played in the most happy country in the world. It is possible that listening to it gets the angry feeling to leave one’s body, as one can get out their anger and frustration while listening to metal.
    Because it is so far north, one can see wild reindeer and the Northern lights from Lapland, Finland. Because these are so closely intertwined with Christmas, and that Christmas is generally a happy and festive time of year, it is possible that just be seeing things that are associated with it can lift people’s spirits.
    Another fact that I found very interesting is that the hundreds of thousands of migrants in Finland seem to be just as happy as the people born in Finland. This suggests that it is not necessarily something genetic, it is something about Finland itself and its people. Also, the fact that Norway (2), Denmark (3), Iceland (4), Canada (7), and Sweden (9) were all in the top ten is something that stands out to me. All these nations are very northern countries, very near the North Pole of the Earth. Could it be something about their geopolitical setting that also makes them happy countries?
    Yet, all these countries have stable governments and provide for the people, so that is definitely a factor which plays into this as well.
    Then on the flip side, the least happiest countries in the world, are all in either the Middle East or Africa, where governments are not stable and the economy suffers from corruption. Hence, the state in which the government is in, and if people get enough money to provide for themselves, is obviously an enormous factor when determining the happiness of a nation.
    Also the fact that the life expectancy hovers around 80-81 years of age is a good indicator that people there are healthy and live well. Possibly the happiness working its magic? As some people (and science experiments as well) say, “Laughter is the best medicine.”

    • You bring up an interesting point regarding the happiness of these neighboring nations. I would argue that the geopolitical factor is actually the influence each of these countries has on each other. These nations may engage in enough interaction that the cultural diffusion results in an overall net happiness. For instance, if socialism is a contributing factor to happiness, and each nation has its own policies that contribute to its happiness, perhaps these nations adopt certain aspects of each other’s government and culture, leading to an increased overall happiness in the area. I argue that the happy areas learn from each other how to become even happier and maybe we should start doing the same.

      • An even larger geopolitical factor that you are forgetting to mention is that Finland doesn’t actually exist. If a country does not exist you can claim its happiness level to be anything and that is why Finland is the happiest country.

  22. Syria has been at war for seven years. The conditions are getting much worse. No more peaceful protests, everything has turned violent. There are so many foreign influences playing key roles there. Assad is backed by notorious countries. The U.S is backing the Kurds who are under attack by the Turks. Israel is airstriking in the south. It is chaos. ISIS has large control of Syria also. They are a huge threat. Assad only wants to stay in power. He is using bombing and chemical warfare. His targets are the rebels, or as he sees it “terrorists”. The Kurds want their own state. They want autonomy. Syria has become a proxy war. If Assad falls, so does Russia. Russia will not have any power left in the Middle East. Also, Russia will loose its only port. Iran is trying to beat out Saudi Arabia, and to support an old friend. Russia and Iran all pouring in their military. Therefore, the rebels are outmatched. ISIS took the focus of the propaganda spectrum, that became the number one priority. Turkey is giving shelter to millions of people fleeing the Syrian conflict. They have also supported rebel groups and funded Jihadists. Turkey is now working closely with Russia. There is a major global conflict playing out in Syria.

  23. Finland’s people use hot saunas very frequently. They have many metal bands. You can see wild reindeer from certain parts. That encourages children that they live near Santa Claus. Also, you can see the northern lights, which are very beautiful. The happiness of the natives and the immigrants are relatively the same. Finland also has economic strength, social support, high life expectancy, freedom of choice, and generosity.

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