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The War of the World Niall Ferguson argues throughout The War of the World that “the twentieth century was the most violent global century in history, due to economic volatility, ethnic conflict, and empires in conflict”. Ferguson argues this point by presenting concepts such as the Sino-Japanese War, the Holocaust, World War l, World War II and the Armenian Genocide. However, as Ferguson presents these ideas to argue his view, he does so in a manner that portrays him as a revisionist. One of the earlier events mentioned in Niall Ferguson’s documentary is the Armenian Genocide. Despite often being overshadowed by the Holocaust, the

Armenian Genocide was one of the first genocides committed in the twentieth century. “In all, it is estimated that up to a million and a half Armenians perished at the hands of Ottoman and Turkish military and paramilitary forces and through atrocities intentionally inflicted to eliminate the Armenian demographic presence in Turkey’ (Adalian). Compared to the large number of deaths of the Holocaust the Armenian Genocide was relatively small in certain respects. This is a view Ferguson believed in and often took it to extremes, even going so far as to state the Armenian Genocide may not even be considered a genocide at all.

This extreme viewpoint only proves how Niall Ferguson can be seen as a revisionist. Niall Ferguson also brings up the concept of World War I while making his argument. Here he makes use of the point that the violent conflicts of the twentieth century were brought about by “ethnic conflict”. He describes the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria very much in detail. Fergusons point of ethnic conflict is raised when the involvement of the Serbian terrorist group, the Black Hand, is presented.

It is this tragic event that would eventually spark the beginning of what ame to be known as the First World War (Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, 1914). However, Ferguson argues, this war may not have begun if it were not for the location of the assassination. The Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated while driving over “one of the world’s great fault lines, the historic border between the west and the east”. It was here that empires were pressing against each other, as some expanded and some withered away. Had it not been for such a politically intense location, Ferguson believes, World War I may have never begun.

But was ethnic conflict really to blame for such a war starting? Ferguson presents this point; however, he also contradicts it by placing such emphasis on the location of the assassination, as well as stating terrorism was all the rage in the twentieth century. Ferguson’s belief that the brutality of the twentieth century was to blame on ethnic conflict is a strong representation of how he can be viewed as a revisionist. Another strong event Ferguson explains is the Sino-Japanese War. When asked when the Second World War began, Ferguson states that the typical answer of September 1939 is “a very European answer to the question”.

Instead he states that he “real answer is July 1937 when full scale war broke out between Japan and China”, the start of the Sino-Japanese War. It is here Ferguson makes his claim that the violence of the twentieth century was due to economic volatility. And with the to conquer China for their resources and for the sole benefit of Japan. While his claim of this being the lone reason Japan entered war with China, this does give a valid basis to make his economic claim. However accurate Ferguson may be with this statement, it only demonstrates his revisionist views as he strays from the most common belief that World War II began in 1939.

Some of Fergusons strongest and most controversial points were made while explaining World War II. As previously stated Ferguson went beyond the ordinary and claimed that WWII did not begin in 1939 with the invasion of Poland, but rather in 1937 with the start of the Sino-Japanese War. Ferguson also makes an extreme claim that World War II was not about “good versus bad” but rather about “evil versus lesser evil”. This revisionist claim shakes the traditional view of war and brings evil into both sides of WWII. However realistic this claim may be, it goes against what the common man may believe when looking at the concept of war.

Niall Ferguson again challenges well known facts of WWII, believing that the war did not end with the success of D-Day in 1945. Instead he believes the Second World War in fact ended with the closure of the Korean War in 1953. These are some of the most controversial points made throughout Ferguson’s The War of the World. These unusual claims only further the opinion that Ferguson is a historical revisionist. One of the concepts Ferguson describes with the most accuracy and realism is the Holocaust. Ferguson precisely explains the horrors endured and does little to distort ow truly awful the Holocaust was.

In the eyes of Ferguson the Holocaust surpasses all other genocides by being the first industrialized genocide. Ferguson also describes the genocide against the Jews by the Nazis was unique in the fact that it was carried out by such educated people. Ferguson at one point describes the invasion of a Polish village, “… they were to round up the villages 1800 or so Jews. They were to pick out the able-bodied young men who could be used as forced laborers, or work Jews. They would then put the rest, the sick, the elderly, the women nd the children onto trucks and drive them to a quarry in the nearby forest.

There they would shoot them all”. The intense description and word choice done by Ferguson helped correctly describe the brutality of the Holocaust and also gives him credibility from other historians. Niall Ferguson argues that “the twentieth century was the most violent global century in history, due to economic volatility, ethnic conflict, and empires in conflict”. During his documentary The War of the World, Ferguson takes a trip back in time to present the very violent conflicts and events that sparked Fergusons thesis.

The piece is by Oswaldo Golijov

The piece is by Oswaldo Golijov.

Answer the following questions AFTER you have done all the course work. 1-What style does this piece seem to be in? 2- What instruments do you hear? Describe as fully as you can. 3- What is the texture? Monophonic, homophonic or polyphonic? 4- What is the tempo? Can you determine the meter? What other ways could you describe the tempo, i.e., is it in strict tempo or not and what is the correct terminology? 5- The ending is unusual. Describe as fully as you can.

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