Friday, September 08, 2006

Bolshevik Persecution of the Catholic Church

Bolshevik Persecution of the Catholic Church. Well, Russia was never a hot bed of Catholic activity. The Russian Orthodox church has long been the dominant Christian sect in Russia. However, when the communists came to power, the Catholics were persecuted just as strongly as most other religious organizations.

This article is by Donia Byrnes. It appeared in the 1987-1988 issue of the Loyola Student Historical Journal. This journal existed from 1982 until 2003 and published student history papers.

I think Byrnes sums up her article with a nice summary. She wrote, "Therefore, between 1917 and 1924 the Soviet government had ruthlessly reduced the Catholic population in Russia, had destroyed its hierarchy, had instilled fear into the laity, had taught its children atheism, and had completed one of the most savage attacks on religion in the modern world."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

History of Moldova

History of Moldova. This is a brief history of the Europen state of Moldova. This country is a Soviet successor state long associated with Romania and Russia.

The Encyclop├Ždia Britannica notes, "Officially Republic of Moldova, Moldovan Republica Moldova , formerly (1940–41) Moldavia , or Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic country lying in the northeastern corner of the Balkan region. It is bordered by Ukraine on the north, east, and south and Romania on the west, the Prut River forming the western boundary. Moldova occupies an area of about 13,000 square miles (33,700 square kilometres). The capital is at Chisinau."

From the site:

The Republic of Moldova occupies most of what has been known as Bessarabia. Moldova's location has made it a historic passageway between Asia and southern Europe as well as the victim of frequent warfare. Greeks, Romans, Huns, and Bulgars invaded the area, which in the 13th century became part of the Mongol empire. An independent Moldovan state emerged briefly in the 14th century under celebrated leader Stefan the Great, but subsequently fell under Ottoman Turkish rule in the 16th century.

After the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-12, the eastern half of Moldova (Bessarabia) between the Prut and the Dniester Rivers was ceded to Russia, while Romanian Moldova (west of the Prut) remained with the Turks. Romania, which gained independence in 1878, took control of the Russian half of Moldova in 1918. The Soviet Union never recognized the action and created an autonomous Moldavian republic on the east side of the Dniester River in 1924.

In 1940, Romania was forced to cede eastern Moldova to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), which established the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic by merging the autonomous republic east of the Dniester and the annexed Bessarabian portion. Romania sought to regain it by joining with Germany in the 1941 attack on the U.S.S.R. Moldova was ceded back to Moscow when hostilities between the U.S.S.R. and Romania ceased at the end of World War II. The present boundary between Moldova and Romania was established in 1947. Moldova remained part of the U.S.S.R. until the early 1990s; the Soviet Union was formally dissolved In December 1991.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Violent Atheists of the 20th Century

I read an article in the September 11th, 2006 issue of Newsweek. It is called "The New Naysayers" and it discusses the arguments of several scholars who are currently advocating atheism. In the article, it describes the arguments of Richard Dawkins who has a book coming out next month called the God Delusion. Although I have not yet read this unreleased book, one of the cornerstones of the book appears to be that religious belief causes war and violence.

The problem with Dawkin's view though is that in the 20th century the most violent and warlike nations on Earth were atheistic. The Soviet and Chinese Communist atheists killed just as many (if not more) people than any single religious movement. These and other communist regimes were not peaceful, did not respect human rights, and were just as guilty of spreading terrorism as any religion.

The issue then is not that atheism or religion causes violence. As both atheistic and religious views can inspire murder and war, it is reasonable to argue that neither religious belief or lack of it causes the problems. It must be either then a part of human nature that God created or an aspect of human behavior that has evolved with the human species.

I look forward to reading the Dawkins book. I am sure it will be thought provoking. However, I hope Dawkins does not base too much of his argument reasoning that religion is a root cause of war and violence. There are too many examples of atheism gone bad in the last century to seriously argue that any God delusion is the cause of it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Teaching Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era

Teaching Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era. One of the stated goals of this blog is to highlight sites which discuss teaching history. I do not always follow through on this as well as I like. But I do blog this way sometimes.

I found this ERIC Digest from 1994 and realized it could serve several roles on this blog. As history, it shows how at least one history teacher saw American foreign policy in 1994. At the same time, it gives tips on ways history could be used to teach the topic of foreign policy.

Go ahead and read this digest. Please note the section on Themes In Foreign Policy. How accurate are these themes today? Are they still the same as 1994? Have events like 9/11 and the War on Terrorism changed anything? If so, how? This site could provide for a good teaching moment.

From the site:

Today the United States finds itself in a world that has changed fundamentally. For more than 40 years the United States and the Soviet Union were the foremost powers and rivals in international affairs. U.S. foreign policy, U.S. domestic politics, and international relations revolved largely around this intense rivalry. Now the Soviet Union no longer exists, and the fifteen new states of the former Soviet Union are caught up in the turmoil of economic and political change. Since the end of the Cold War, there have been fewer external constraints on the projection of U.S. power abroad than at any time since the years immediately following World War II. And yet, there are no longer common understandings among Americans about what the U.S. role should be in this changing international environment. This ERIC Digest treats the (1) need and rationale for teaching and learning about current foreign policy issues; (2) main themes in foreign policy education in the post-Cold War era; (3) balance, inquiry, and decision making in the classroom; and (4) current classroom materials.