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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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Imperialism “from above”

Europe was able to conquer the Americas first because, at the risk of being insensitive and oversimplifying, the Americas were the easiest to conquer. They didn’t have immunities to a lot of Old World diseases since they didn’t share the same domesticated animals and so they were already seriously weakened before most colonists even showed …

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The Pros and Cons of Imperialism

I’m just kidding. It’s all cons. (Listen to the entire episode here!) Arguing against imperialism So, every year when we talk about imperialism, some kid will inevitably say something like, “Well, yeah. But imperialism was good for Africa. They transformed the economy and also built a ton of infrastructure they didn’t have before, like roads.” …

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Resistance to Imperialism

So why would colonized places let this happen to them? Or as Kanye might ask, why would people choose slavery? Ugh. Kanye. (Listen to the entire episode here!) They didn’t just let this happen to them. They resisted every step of the way. But ultimately, Europe was too advanced technologically and the colonized places were …

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