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The War | WWII

For the first few years of the war, the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) were rapidly expanding. The Germans successfully used their lightning war, or “blitzkrieg.” The idea was to quickly invade a place rather than waiting for all parts of your military before advancing. Using new technology like the radio, airplanes, and motorized …

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The Post-War World

By 1945, World War Two had become the deadliest conflict in human history. 78 million people died during the war. And, thanks to “total war,” more civilians died than soldiers. The United States lost 418,000 people and Great Britain lost 450,000 in the war which, amazingly, is low compared to the other nations involved. For …

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The MAIN Causes of WWI

So, what were the causes of WWI? (Listen to the entire episode here!) By the early 1900s Europe is solidly in charge of the world, thanks to a few hundred years of challenging authority, innovating, conquering, subjugating, and industrializing. But now they’ve hit a snag because they’re running out of land to conquer – it’s …

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The Great War

Germany’s Schlieffen Plan fails, mostly because the British step in and support France. And so they are stuck fighting a war on both of their borders. The allies siding with Austria are called the Central Powers because, if you look at a map of the fighting, well, they’re in the center of it. The the …

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The Russian Revolution

So what caused the Russian Revolution? Why are people unhappy in Russia? If you’ll remember, ever since Peter the Great Russia has been playing this balancing game between modern westernization and traditional power structures. Czars are willing to reform the economy through industrialization, social hierarchy by emancipating the serfs, and culture by shaving everyone’s beard …

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The Effects of WWI

World War I was a wake up call for a lot of the European powers. They realized the dangers that came with imperial competition and massive military spending, and so a lot of these countries turned inward. They decided to focus their time and attention on strengthening their country and empire from within and not …

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Japan Wins! | The Meiji Restoration

So if you can remember all the way back to Act 1, China was forced open by the British and had a chaotic, uncoordinated response. Pretty much everyone was unhappy with the situation, but they disagreed on what to do about it. The same thing is going to happen in Japan except that they will …

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Russia and the Ottomans Try Their Best

So if you’ll remember, Russia had already jumped on the westernization bandwagon thanks to Peter the Great. So let’s pick up where he left off.  (Listen to the entire episode here!) Catherine the Great of Russia Peter’s daughter Elizabeth was ruling Russia – I don’t know what it is about Elizabeths but they are crushing …

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Opium is a Gateway Drug | Qing Dynasty

By the 1800s China is ruled by the Qing Dynasty. This was a vast multicultural empire – the fourth largest in world history – that was ruled by a group called the Manchu from Manchuria. They kept most of the Chinese system the same – the Confucian exam system to run the government, etc. – …

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