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Taking Sides: Clashing Views in World History, Volume 2: The Modern Era to the Present By Joseph Mitchell

Taking Sides: Clashing Views in World History, Volume 2: The Modern Era to the Present

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Taking Sides volumes present current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills.

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Taking Sides: Clashing Views in World History, Volume 2: The Modern Era to the Present Summary

Taking Sides: Clashing Views in World History, Volume 2: The Modern Era to the Present by Joseph Mitchell

Taking Sides volumes present current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. Each issue is thoughtfully framed with an issue summary, an issue introduction, and a postscript or challenge questions. Taking Sides readers feature an annotated listing of selected World Wide Web sites. An online Instructor's Resource Guide with testing material is available for each volume. Using Taking Sides in the Classroom is also an excellent instructor resource. Visit for more details.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Clashing Views in World History, Volume 2, Third Edition

Unit 1 The Modern World
Issue 1. Did the Industrial Revolution Lead to a Sexual Revolution?
YES: Edward Shorter, from "Female Emancipation, Birth Control, and Fertility in European History," American Historical Review (June, 1973)NO: Louise A. Tilly, Joan W. Scott, and Miriam Cohen, from "Women's Work and European Fertility Patterns," Journal of Interdisciplinary History (Winter 1976)Historian Edward Shorter argues that employment opportunities outside the home that opened up with industrialization led to a rise in the illegitimacy rate, which he attributes to the sexual emancipation of unmarried, working-class women. Historians Louise A. Tilly, Joan W. Scott, and Miriam Cohen counter that unmarried women worked to meet an economic need, not to gain personal freedom, and they attribute the rise in illegitimacy rates to broken marriage promises and the absence of traditional support from family, community, and the church.
Issue 2. Was the French Revolution Worth Its Human Costs?
YES: Peter Kropotkin, from The Great French Revolution, 1789 1793, trans. N. F. Dryhurst (Schocken Books, 1971)NO: The Economist Staff Writer, from "The French Revolution: Bliss Was It In That Dawn?" The Economist (December 24, 1988)Peter Kropotkin (1842 1921), a Russian prince, revolutionary, and anarchist, argues that the French Revolution eradicated both serfdom and absolutism and paved the way for France's future democratic development. An article in The Economist argues that the French Revolution "culminated in the guillotine and the substitution of the state for the sovereignty of the nation," leaving behind negative legacies to the modern world.
Issue 3. Does Napoleon Bonaparte Deserve His Historical Reputation as a Great General?
YES: Graham Goodlad, from "Napoleon at War: Secrets of Success, Seeds of Failure?" History Review (December 2009)NO: Jonathon Riley, from "How Good Was Napoleon?" History Today (July 2007)Professor Graham Goodlad states that because of his extraordinary military career, Napoleon Bonaparte deserves his reputation as a great general. Author and Military Commander Jonathon Riley states that because Napoleon never succeeded in transforming a defeated enemy into a willing ally, his historical reputation as a general must be questioned.
Issue 4. Did British Policy Decisions Cause the Mass Emigration and Land Reforms That Followed the Irish Potato Famine?
YES: Christine Kinealy, from This Great Calamity: The Irish Famine 1845 52 (Roberts Rinehart, 1995)NO: Hasia R. Diner, from Erin's Daughters in America: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983)Christine Kinealy, fellow of the University of Liverpool, argues that the British government's response to the Irish potato famine was deliberately inadequate. The British government's "hidden agenda" of long-term economic, social, and agrarian reform was accelerated by the famine, and mass emigration was a consequence of these changes. Historian Hasia R. Diner documents large-scale emigration both before and after the Irish potato famine. Diner credits the Irish people with learning from their famine experiences that the reliance of the poor on the potato and the excessive subdivision of land within families were no longer in their own best interests.
Issue 5. Did the Meiji Restoration Constitute a Revolution in Nineteenth-Century Japan?
YES: Andrew Gordon, from A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2003)NO: W. G. Beasley, from The Meiji Restoration (Stanford University Press, 1972)Historian Andrew Gordon states that the Meiji Restoration created fundamental changes in Japanese society, thus meriting the term "revolution." Historian W. G. Beasley argues that when compared with other revolutions, like the French and Russian, the Meiji Restoration did not constitute a revolution in the classical sense.
Issue 6. Were Economic Factors Primarily Responsible for British Imperialism?
YES: J. A. Hobson, from Imperialism: A Study (University of Michigan Press, 1965)NO: John M. MacKenzie, from The Partition of Africa, 1880 1900 and European Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century (Methuen & Co., 1983)J. A. Hobson states that economic factors were the "taproot" that fueled nineteenth-century British Imperialism. John M. MacKenzie argues that the motivation for British imperialism was multicausal, and most of the causes can be found in the general anxiety crisis that permeated British society in the late nineteenth century.
Unit 2 The Early Twentieth Century
Issue 7. Was China's Boxer Rebellion Caused by Environmental Factors?
YES: Paul A. Cohen, from History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth (Columbia University Press, 1997)NO: Henrietta Harrison, from "Justice on Behalf of Heaven: The Boxer Movement," History Today (September 2000)Professor Paul A. Cohen contends that while anti-foreign and anti-Christian attitudes played a role in the start of the Boxer rebellion, a more immediate cause was a severe drought and its impact on Chinese society. Historian Henrietta Harrison concedes that while the Boxers were motivated by more than a single factor, opposition to Christian missionary activity was at the core of their rebellion.
Issue 8. Were German Militarism and Diplomacy Responsible for World War I?
YES: Volker R. Berghahn, from Imperial Germany, 1871 1914: Economy, Society, Culture, and Politics (Berghahn Books, 1994)NO: Christopher Ray, from "Britain and the Origins of World War I," History Review (March 1998)History professor Volker R. Berghahn states that although all of Europe's major powers played a part in the onset of World War I, recent evidence still indicates that Germany's role in the process was the main factor responsible for the conflict. History Professor Christopher Ray argues that German actions in the late nineteenth century convinced the English of a German threat to their interests and played a role in their eventual declaration of war in 1918.
Issue 9. Was the Treaty of Versailles Responsible for World War II?
YES: Derek Aldcroft, from "The Versailles Legacy," History Review (December 1997)NO: Mark Mazower, from "Two Cheers for Versailles," History Today (July 1999)Historian Derek Aldcroft states that a combination of the flaws present in the postwar Versailles Treaty and the resultant actions and inactions of European statesmen created a climate that paved the way for World War II. Historian Mark Mazower finds that while the Treaty of Versailles contained weaknesses, it failed due to a lack of enforcement of its principles by a generation of European leaders.
Issue 10. Did the Bolshevik Revolution Improve the Lives of Soviet Women?
YES: Richard Stites, from "Women and the Revolutionary Process in Russia," in Renate Bridenthal, Claudia Koontz, and Susan M. Stuard, eds., Becoming Visible: Women in European History, 2nd ed. (Houghton Mifflin, 1987)NO: Lesley A. Rimmel, from "The Baba and the Comrade: Gender and Politics in Revolutionary Russia," The Women's Review of Books (September 1998)History professor Richard Stites argues that, in the early years of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Zhenotdel, or Women's Department, helped many working women take the first steps toward emancipation. Russian scholar Lesley A. Rimmel finds that the Russian Revolution remains unfinished for women, who were mobilized as producers and reproducers for a male political agenda.
Issue 11. Was German "Eliminationist Anti-Semitism" Responsible for the Holocaust?
YES: Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, from "The Paradigm Challenged," Tikkun (May June 1998)NO: Christopher R. Browning, from "Ordinary Germans or Ordinary Men? A Reply to the Critics," in Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Pec k, eds., The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined (Indiana University Press, 1998)Political Science Professor Daniel Goldhagen states that due to the nature of German society in the twentieth century with its endemic, virulent anti-Semitism thousands of ordinary German citizens became willing participants in the implementation of Holocaust horrors. Holocaust historian Christopher R. Browning argues that Goldhagen's thesis is too simplistic and that a multicausal approach must be used to determine why ordinary German citizens willingly participated in the Holocaust.
Issue 12. Was Stalin Responsible for the Korean War?
YES: Paul Wingrove, from "Who Started Korea?" History Today (July 2000)NO: Hugh Deane, from "Korea, China, and the United States: A Look Back," Monthly Review (February 1995)Historian Paul Wingrove considers Josef Stalin to be primarily responsible for the Korean War. Historian Hugh Deane states that the United States' support for Syngman Rhee's non-Communist government was the reason for the Korean War.
Unit 3 The Contemporary World
Issue 13. Are Chinese Confucianism and Western Capitalism Compatible?
YES: A. T. Nuyen, from "Chinese Philosophy and Western Capitalism," Asian Philosophy (March 1999)NO: Jack Scarborough, from "Comparing Chinese and Western Culture Roots: Why 'East Is East and . . .'," Business Horizons (November 1998)Philosophy professor A. T. Nuyen maintains that the basic tenets of classical capitalism are perfectly compatible with the key elements of Chinese philosophy. Management professor Jack Scarborough contrasts the Western heritage of democracy, rationality, and individualism with Confucian values of harmony, filial loyalty, and legalism. Based on his comparison, Scarborough finds that Chinese Confucianism is incompatible with Western capitalism.
Issue 14. Were Ethnic Leaders Responsible for the Disintegration of Yugoslavia?
YES: Warren Zimmerman, from Origins of a Catastrophe: Yugoslavia and Its Destroyers (Times Books, 1996)NO: Steven Majstorovic, from "Ancient Hatreds or Elite Manipulation? Memory and Politics in the Former Yugoslavia," World Affairs (Spring 1997)Career diplomat Warren Zimmerman, the United States' last ambassador to Yugoslavia, argues that the republic's ethnic leaders, especially Slobodan Milosevic, bear primary responsibility for the nation's demise. Political science professor Steven Majstorovic contends that while manipulation by elite ethnic leaders played a role in the death of Yugoslavia, the fragile ethnic divisions, formed by memory and myth, also played an important role in the country's demise.
Issue 15. Was Ethnic Hatred Primarily Responsible for the Rwandan Genocide of 1994?
YES: Alison Des Forges, from "The Ideology of Genocide," Issue: A Journal of Opinion (1995)NO: Rene Lemarchand, from "Rwanda: The Rationality of Genocide," Issue: A Journal of Opinion (1995)Alison Des Forges states that ethnic hatred between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda was primarily responsible for the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Rene Lemarchand admits that ethnic rivalries played a role in the catastrophe, but the ability of the Hutus to engage in "planned annihilation" free of any local or international restraint was a more important factor.
Issue 16. Does Islamic Revivalism Challenge a Stable World Order?
YES: John L. Esposito, from The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 1995)NO: Sharif Shuja, from "Islam and the West: From Discord to Understanding," Contemporary Review (May 2001)Professor of Middle Eastern Studies John L. Esposito sees the Iranian Revolution against Western-inspired modernization and Egypt's "holy war" against Israel as examples of the Islamic quest for a more authentic society and culture, which challenges a stable world order. Professor of International Relations Sharif Shuja identifies the rise of Islamic movements as resistance to Western domination rather than as a threat to the West as such and traces Western fears of a monolithic Islamic entity to the errors of an "Orientalist" mind-set.
Issue 17. Is the Influence of the European Union in World Affairs Increasing?
YES: Mitchell P. Smith, from "Soft Power Rising," World Literature Today (January/February 2006)NO: Efstathios T. Fakiolas, from "The European Union's Problems of Cohesion," New Zealand International Review (March/April 2007)Political science and international studies professor Mitchell P. Smith argues that the European Union excels in the use of soft power to achieve desired outcomes at minimal cost, by avoiding the use of military force and sharing the burden of enforcement with others. Efstathios T. Fakiolas, Strategy and Southeast European Affairs Analyst, contends that Europe's failure to achieve European "Unionhood" seriously hampers its effectiveness in the global community.
Issue 18. Have Afghan Women Been Liberated from Oppression?
YES: Sima Wali, from "Afghan Women: Recovering, Rebuilding," Carnegie Council on Ethics & International Affairs (October 2002)NO: Noy Thrupkaew, from "What Do Afghan Women Want?" The American Prospect (August 26, 2002)International Afghan advocate for refugee women Sima Wali documents the pivotal roles Afghan women have played in rebuilding their communities, praises their courage in denouncing warlords, and calls for their full participation in the newly formed constitutional government. Journalist Noy Thrupkaew argues that dissension among women's groups in Afghanistan and the high profile of the Western-backed Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) are hampering progress; a more unified and moderate approach is needed.

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Taking Sides: Clashing Views in World History, Volume 2: The Modern Era to the Present by Joseph Mitchell
Joseph Mitchell
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