Utopia (7): Their amazing history
December 5, 2006 1 Comment
– “So as I said, I see first War as a history split point,” I’m starting next round with their history. “So tell me some outline.”
Paul looks at Caren with question who would start. I noticed that Brian (or whoever is that guy next to Caren) and two people across the table are listening our conversation too.
– “Well,” Caren starts. “I’m no historian but I can handle the outline. 😉 Our Western civilization is strongly influenced by Open society model which really got some twist after the War. It wasn’t elaborated into its current state though, however it was great time to gain new people. And because leaders like Wilson, General Pershing or Lloyd George were Open society advocates it was quite easy. They did not educate us in OS principles on their own, but they promoted those who were behind Open society from the start – mainly Bergson and Reeves. Many contributed to OS theories – either on the political field – like Karl Popper – or on the field of math theory – like von Neumann or Nash. However Reeves is the key person I think.”
– “Well,” I used a pause in her talk, “I know at least Popper, von Neumann and Nash. At least if the first one wrote something about democracy and open society, the second one invented that computer architecture and the third one was that schizophrenic who worked on game theory.”
– “Yes… that fits.”
– “At least something. 🙂 However I know nothing about Bergman or Reeves.”
– “Bergson… whatever… 🙂 Reeves was the most procreative in his times. He wrote many books from … I’m not sure, but let’s say from 1900 to 1930. It was very inspiring for many politicians – especially in the America. Reeves was English by the way, he was a Cambridge professor. But now the main history line, ok?”
– “Ok, I’m curious to death. :-)”
– “Wilson took the major role after the War was over. France and UK supported Wilson, because he helped both them a lot during those three years America was in war.”
– “Three years?! America joined the War in 1917!”
– “Nope… Wilson brought America to War in 1915 and many told him he did it for nothing but I guess it was great move. He went to war only with volunteers and professional soldiers – that gave him some credit in public and the opinion was clearly with him. Not to mention the famous talk about the need to interfere with foreign affairs – even with European ones.”
– “Yeah, you mean Concerns Do Matter speech,” added someone across the table.
– “Yes, that one. Thanks. :-)” Caren continues: “Then there were Versailles where Wilson put through everything essential – he offered huge help to Europe to prevent victorious powers to rape the Germany after the total war. Not to mention that Germany was torn during the last two months of the war because military took the power. In the meantime Wilhelm and the government were negotiating about peace with Allies.”
– “Wilhelm II, thou,” corrected the man over the table.
– “What about Austria-Hungary?” asked I.
– “Hm, they finished a little bit sooner if I recall correctly… Martin?” Caren asked that man against me.
– “Yes, they signed peace in August of 1918 agreeing with the idea of successive states based on nations. However Hungary broke away and continued with Germany for the next three months. However… very important for the outcome in Versailles is the first meeting of Allied leaders – the Iceland Conference. Here Wilson introduced his 14 points, Atlantic Charter was signed and George, Clemenceau and L’vov agreed about the need of democratic changes in the area controlled by Central Powers. Wilson, Clemenceau and George had similar goals and even similar ways – because Open society ideas were quite ‘in’ and it was also time where some change was really needed. L’vov – as a representative of fresh Russia – wasn’t so rush for the Open society, however he agreed with the points. Now Germany was not to be humiliated and US promised some financial help in order to assure this. Wilson claimed that Germany can’t pay reparations and that Allies should not humiliate the country because public opinion in Germany would be against the Allied Powers to no good for everyone.”
– “When was this Iceland Conference?” I was lost because either I didn’t remember it from school or it was different in our world.
– “Iceland? 1917, but I’m not sure about more precise date,” answered Martin.
– “You mentioned fresh Russia – what was that?” I knew really only a little about Russia/Soviet Union history during the end of World War I.
– “Well,” Martin took another breath, “in 1916 Tsar Nicholas II compromised with Wilson and George and he nominated interim government. In 1917 there were few important things – Russia adopted its Constitution and there were free all-nation ballot – that was most important. Tsar advocated for Russia’s share in the war and he – and the other representatives – they convinced the public opinion of this. However on November the revolution burst out and Russia split into the reforming one – leading to democracy – and the red one where Lenin was the leader. There were several important things in all of this – Mensheviks for instance supported reforming Russia which might be the key factor that Lenin couldn’t take over the whole Russia.
However Tsar had to leave Sankt Peterburg and East front was seriously weakened because Russia had to solve internal affairs. Tsar achieved assurance of help from Allies on the East front – especially when it was clear that Lenin wanted to sign peace treaty with Central Powers. In the next years Russia split virtually into two countries. Reforming Imperial Russia took back Sankt Peterburg and they were holding Far east part, Crimea and few other territories – while Soviet Russia controlled the central part of the country and Siberia with Moscow as their capital city. Russia civil war continued until 1945 when Imperial Russia definitely retook the whole country.”
– “Whow,” I was speechless for a while. “No eastern bloc? No Soviet Union? No communism ruling the east Europe for over forty years?”
– “Well,” Martin was obviously unsure what to say. “I’m not aware of such a scenario. ;-)”
There is a break in the conversation for a while – it looks like they let me to realize those things just being said. Although I was lost in that new history anyway. It was just overwhelming to hear about it, I know that I’m not able to remember all those things. Except those key messages.
– “And Russia is Open society now?” asked I at last.
– “Well… not so open, however it’s democratic country for many years now. And they still have their Tsar.” Martin grins. “The new one of course. ;-)”
– “Of course,” tittered I.
So I learned few glimpses of this history and I really can’t process more now. However there are still questions about Open society. They mentioned Popper – although he wrote his book about Open society more than forty years after Reeve’s first one. At least in my world. And I never heard about some Reeves. So now I want to ask more about this.