HS-102 Readings

Postwar Political Developments

What kinds of government can exist in an industrializing society, and
what is the role of propaganda?

    In the modern world, on this side of the liberal revolution, monarchies based on the principle of hereditary succession and basing their power upon a single class, can no longer exist. Instead, governments base their legitimacy to rule upon mass support.
    Mass support can be obtained either through liberal, democratic means or
through authoritarian means. In either case, the governing or ruling elite is a relatively small minority. Nationalism and propaganda are also a part of both democratic and authoritarian systems.

    The democratic system gains mass support by trying to respond to popular demands and needs, and encouraging popular involvement.
    The authoritarian system utilizes terror and control of the press in order to maintain mass support while discouraging popular involvement.

What major environmental crisis threatens Europe today?

    Probably, the most serious environmental crisis in Europe today is acid rain. This is caused by the burning of fossil fuels which contain sulfur. Soft brown coal is adundant in the earth in parts of eastern Europe such as the Czech Republic and Poland. It contains liberal portions of sulfur.  Sulphur reacts in the atmosphere with other chemicals to produce sulfuric acid. Carried high into the atmosphere, it is carried downwind hundreds of miles and returns to earth with precipitation. It raises the acidic level of water, making it toxic to plants and animals. The most obvious damage is to trees at higher elevations, and to fish in fresh water lakes and streams.

What are the economic and political effects of the European Common
Market?

    The European Common Market, formed as a result of the Treaty of Rome (1956), removes tariff and other trade barriers between member nations. It includes the Benelux nations, England, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Portugal and Spain. The establishment of a common currency has not yet been approved. There is, however, a European Parliament. This is a regional economic bloc, which has encouraged economic growth in postwar Europe. It also assures that member nations are very unlikely to
ever go to war against each other. The fact that both France and Germany are members is very significant.