What was the reason of extreme anti-Communism in the first half of 20th century?

What was the reason of extreme anti-Communism in the first half of 20th century?

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It is often alleged that a grand part in the success of the Nazi and fascist movements in Europe was their hard-line anti-Communism. Thy used anti-Communist sentiments to gain popularity and even many people who did not share their views in general, still supported them due to their anti-Communist stance.

So I wonder what was the reason why anti-Communism gained such popularity in Europe.

It should be noted that the criticism of Communism of the late 20th century is not applicable to the first half. The major Cold-War era critcisms included human rights violations, deficit of democracy, inefficiency of planned economy and lack of economic freedom.

But in the first half of 20th century many anti-Communists would support authoritarian government, state regulation and restrictions on political rights to even greater degree than in communist countries.

There are several theories why anti-communism was so popular.

  • The communists themselves claim that the wealthy classes oppose communism because they want to keep their wealth and social inequality.

This theory does not explain why anti-communist movements (such as the Whites) included many people who were ready to sacrifice not only their wealth but also their lives to the fight against communism and that it included many of those who did not belong to the wealthy classes or belonged only formerly without any hope to return the possessions.

It should be also noted that in many cases the anti-communists employed extreme and difficult to explain cruelty to captured bolshevicks, such as freezing them alive, driving nails in their heads and the like, which is not normally observed in any economically-motivated wars such as wars for resources or colonies.

  • Sometimes it is argued that the hatred towards communism was motivated by religion. That the people just fought against atheism rather than an economic system.

This idea also does not explain why those anti-communists themselves supported regimes that were sometimes hostile or indifferent towards religion or even concluded alliances with states which worshiped non-Christian faith such as Islam or Buddhism, and why they were equally hostile towards left-leaning clerics (counting them as traitors).

So what are the reasons of the widespread hatred towards communism in the first half of XXth century?

I think you have mostly answered your own question here. Your answer seems to presuppose a sort of "binary logic", a belief that only one of your theories can be completely correct or is completely incorrect. I would also note that the only difference between the first half of the 20th century and the second half are the relative power of the actors involved and the ensuing history. In the second half of the 20th century the Soviet Union was able to protect an encourage those that preached its so-called "communism", likewise those who opposed the Soviets could point to any number of logical inconsistencies and fallacies that Soviet actions spawned. Prior to this socialists of all stripes were an embattled minority, on the rise in Europe and whose growing popularity increased social, economic, and ethnic divides. Not only was there less protecting this group, but the social uncertainty lead to increased fear of this group, and stronger counter-reactions than in the comparatively more stable second half of the 20th century. At that point there were two well defined "poles", the communist east and capitalist west, and thus a lot less uncertainty than the tumultuous and very uncertain beginning of the century.

Much of the anti-communist sentiment came from various places. Members of the monarchy and the status-quo in numerous European powers saw the communists as a threat to their wealth and status, although they might not have been entirely conscious of this, and may have likely been motivated by religious sentiment as well. In addition, members of the traditionalist elements of the proletariat and the peasantry definitely joined ranks with the bourgeois against the communists on religious grounds. The petty-bourgeois, which ranged in wealth from powerful merchants to small family run businesses, had both influences working on them and it did lead a number of that group into the reactionary ranks.

Classic socialist theory would say that the ideology of the ruling class (ie. religion, morals, world-views, etc.) are formed by the bourgeois to form the "superstructure", essentially the justification of their control over the "basis" element of society (ie. control of the means of production and capital accumulation). The traditional Marxist would say that your theories are not conflicting, but actually working in tandem.

Communism was an extremely polarizing influence in the first half of the 20th century, precisely because it claimed to produce equality between people (while failing to actually do so). Hence many "reactions" to Communism (e.g. Nazism), were equally polarizing and extreme.

A lord, newly converted to "socialism," said to his butler, "that means that you and I are equal, and you and the footman are equal." Whereupon the butler replied, "I am not your equal, sir, and the footman is certainly not my equal."

The "butler" (lower middle) class, was "more royalist than the king, more Catholic than the Pope." The anti-Communist doctrines were most popular among this lower middle class, because they felt that the had more to lose by being leveled "down" to people below them, that they had to gain by being made "equal" to the lord.

Communism advocated worldwide revolution, and the abolishment of private property. That seems to be sufficient reason to oppose the movement. I can't answer whether that qualifies me as an extremist or not.

The first, and "weak" dictatorship was in Italy. 5 years after devastating start of the communist regime in Russia and pairs of them in Germany and Hungaria. So, some people wanted to protect themselves. And further - agression calls for aggression, evil bears evil.

I have one more answer. All communistm, anticommunist and others hartreds were not reasons or consequences of each other. They all were consequences of the same common reason.

Mass Cruelty

The level of inner agression and cruelty in the European society increased during the first half of the XX century. It started by the Britain concentration camps and blockposts in the South Africa. After that - The Great War. Practice of sterilization of socially weak people in "civilized countries".

"The improvement of the British breed is my aim in life," - Winston Churchill wrote to his cousin Ivor Guest on 19 January 1899 http://www.winstonchurchill.org/support/the-churchill-centre/publications/finest-hour-online/594-churchill-and-eugenics

Reasons of Mass Cruelty of 1900-1956

Psychohistorians think that this crazy mass cruelty was the result of cruel style of pedagogics during these years. I am not against it, but the cruel style of pedagogics needs its own reason, too. And I don't believe that it is a sole reason.

I think that cruelty came from the previous times. In XVIII century the cruelty was simply the norm. During the XIX century it was considered less and less acceptable in "the society", but didn't disappeared, People mostly didn't manage really become less cruel. The cruelty merely moved to concealed places and cases: family, socially weaker stratas and colonies. I am not sure that the citation is exact, but the sense remains:

"The true gentlemen won't notice what another gentelman is doing on his backyard".

The result

And at the end of the XIX century this moral relativismus struck back, lowered the visible moral level of the society (the real one was the same) and the cruelty returned back and empowered the society, that was unprepaired and had no mechanisms against it. And it continued until some social and politicals mechanisms appeared.

So people would feel safe from a sword hanging over their heads.

Oppression of African Americans in the First Half of the 20th Century

African Americans faced racial oppression from 1900 to 1950. The nation released the race from slavery in 1865 and altered the Constitution three times soon thereafter to ensure equality before the law. Nevertheless, until the gains of the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights Movement, private citizens and state governments openly discriminated against African Americans with seeming impunity.


Respectively, Research Geologist and Supervisor, Iowa Geological Survey, 109 Trowbridge Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242–1319 (E-Mail/ Schilling: [email protected]).

Respectively, Research Geologist and Supervisor, Iowa Geological Survey, 109 Trowbridge Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242–1319 (E-Mail/ Schilling: [email protected]).

Paper No. 02079 of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.


ABSTRACT: Historical trends in annual discharge characteristics were evaluated for 11 gauging stations located throughout Iowa. Discharge records from nine eight-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC-8) watersheds were examined for the period 1940 to 2000, whereas data for two larger river systems (Cedar and Des Moines Rivers) were examined for a longer period of record (1903 to 2000). In nearly all watersheds evaluated, annual base flow, annual minimum flow, and the annual base flow percentage significantly increased over time. Some rivers also exhibited increasing trends in total annual discharge, whereas only the Maquoketa River had significantly decreased annual maximum flows. Regression of stream discharge versus precipitation indicated that more precipitation is being routed into streams as base flow than as storm flow in the second half of the 20th Century. Reasons for the observed stream flow trends are hypothesized to include improved conservation practices, greater artificial drainage, increasing row crop production, and channel incision. Each of these reasons is consistent with the observed trends, and all are likely responsible to some degree in most watersheds.

How Leftist Ideology Might Have Destroyed The Neanderthals

My father was a high-ranking student radical poobah and still thinks Castro was the bees' knees. Although I'm technically a red diaper baby, I've rejected all that baloney. I write off-the-wall fiction , and Righteous Seduction concerns next-generation game. My blog concerns "deplorable" politics, game, and my writing projects.

Much about the Neanderthals is shrouded in the mists of time, but archaeology provides some clues. Their disappearance is one of the mysteries of early mankind. Several theories have been proposed. I’ll put forth another not entirely seriously, but to illustrate some important points.

It’s unlikely that ideology predated the dawn of civilization, but unconsciously following a few leftist principles doomed the Neanderthals. (When cultural Marxism is running the show, the things that once were thoughtless mistakes are actively promoted!) Thus, their demise is uncannily similar to some of today’s trends. The fate of the Neanderthals is a prime example of why packing greatly dissimilar societies into the same territory is a recipe for destruction.

What were Neanderthals like?

Be careful, you toward the left: not all change leads to progress!

The stereotype is that Neanderthals were brutish knuckleheads, but that might be wrong. They had a somewhat larger average brain size than the Cro-Magnons, their later rivals. (Interestingly, the Cro-Magnons had larger brains than modern people do, something easier to believe with each passing year. Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard tried to warn us…) So they weren’t complete morons. Survival in a very harsh climate—Europe and Central Asia during the Ice Age—meant that Neanderthals (and their little-known Denisovan cousins to the east) had the know-how to prepare for the brutal winters. They certainly didn’t have a nanny-state government to bail them out if they couldn’t plan ahead.

Neanderthal burial customs show that they cared about their departed, and we might deduce that they believed in an afterlife. They used tools. They made the first known musical instrument, a bone flute. The first realistic sculptures featured Neanderthal heads. They made cave paintings too. Although the Cro-Magnons were better at it, Neanderthals still were more talented than many artists today. They were physiologically capable of speech, so they likely had languages. All told, then, they did have culture, though what form it took is pretty speculative. In any event, there’s no clear evidence they were any more savage than other Paleolithic population groups.

They were stocky, with large brows, eyes, and noses, and small chins. Other than that, they were very muscular. I’m a bit of a gym rat, but even Neanderthal chicks were considerably tougher than I am. The trade-off was that they had less dexterity than Cro-Magnons, as we can see by comparing their spearheads.

As for the Cro-Magnons, they evolved in East Africa perhaps as early as 200,000 years ago. They were likely bronze-complexioned, before spreading across the globe and adapting to local conditions, eventually becoming the races of today. They had pointy chins and somewhat square eye sockets, but otherwise looked a lot like we do now. What happened when these two peoples met?

Open borders immigration

The first contact was likely in the Levant. I can imagine how the conversation between two Neanderthals might have gone:

“Hey, Og, there are some new people coming in. They’re tall and skinny, their heads look a little weird, and they talk funny. Who are they?”

“They must be refugees. We should welcome them.”

“Well, I don’t want them taking our land.”

“I’m telling you, one of these days someone around here will write a book that says ‘Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.'”

“I’m just not sure about all this. How do we know they won’t take our hospitality as a sign that they can play us for chumps? What’s their agenda, anyway? Will they fit in and respect our values? How do we know that they’re not going to take over one of these days? Why can’t these tired, poor, huddled masses yearn to breathe free somewhere else? How do we benefit from letting in this wretched refuse from their teeming shore?”

“You’re such a reactionary, Grunk. This is the Fertile Crescent, after all. Resources are plentiful here, and I see that there are only a few of these immigrants right now. All they want is a better place to live. Surely they’ll assimilate and learn our ways, and we’ll all get along together if only we set aside our prejudices and open our hearts. Let’s stop being xenophobic and give diversity a chance.”

“Okay, Og, you’ve convinced me. We outnumber them now, we’re stronger, and we’re in charge, so we’ll always be in control of the situation, right? Maybe they can pick our vegetables for us or something. After all, what’s the worst thing that possibly could happen?

Later, the Cro-Magnons had overrun much of the Middle East by about 36,500 BC. By 28,000 BC, they had taken over almost all territories that Neanderthals used to inhabit nearly exclusively. Mass immigration—then a careless lack of vigilance—is something aggressively promoted today.

This certainly led to resource competition. Due to the greater musculature, Neanderthals required about twice the caloric intake as modern people (including the Cro-Magnons, who weren’t too different from us anatomically). It’s basically the same reason why you can’t graze cattle and sheep in the same pasture the sheep chew the grass down to the ground before the cattle can get their fill.

The Neanderthals were very sparsely populated and practiced big-game hunting. That worked out fine, until people who could get by with greater population density came in and started eating all their food. Studies on the remains of the late Neanderthals suggest that malnutrition was fairly common.

Were they resentful that their hunting grounds were being picked clean by the newcomers? Perhaps that was like many conservatives today grumbling about fresh-off-the-boat immigrants milking the welfare system while staying home and making babies. The taxpayers (52% of the American population, as Mitt Romney indelicately observed) have to work to support everyone on public assistance, sometimes limiting their own family size because they’re being taxed to death. We want at least a decent, middle-class existence (high resources) for our kids those living on the government tit (low resources) have no such requirements. And on the subject of differential fertility rates…


Andrea Dworkin, grand high poobah of the Junior Anti-Sex League

The new immigrants, the Cro-Magnons, had a slightly higher fertility rate than Neanderthals did. The population change wasn’t much per year, but over thousands of years it was very significant. Even so, the Neanderthals didn’t have much to complain about, since the populations now invited to flood the Western world have a much higher fertility rate than the host populations.

3. Observations and Model Data

[6] The observations are gridded daily data of maximum and minimum temperature from a newly compiled dataset (J. Caesar et al., Large-scale changes in observed daily maximum and minimum temperatures, 1946–2000, submitted to Journal of Geophysical Research, 2005), covering land areas, mainly over the N. Hemisphere and Australia. Station data have not been homogenised, so that genuine climatic shifts will not inadvertently be adjusted, while erroneous extremes have been checked and filtered. This new dataset provides the first opportunity to analyse quasi-global daily data. Model data came from runs with HadCM3, the 3rd generation Hadley Centre Atmosphere Ocean General Circulation Model [ Gordon et al., 2000 Pope et al., 2000 Stott et al., 2000 ]. Four model experiments were considered [ Johns et al., 2002 ], forced with: a) changes in well-mixed greenhouse gases (GHG), b) changes in well-mixed greenhouse gases, tropospheric and stratospheric ozone and sulphate aerosols with their indirect effect taken into account (ANTHRO), c) changes in volcanic aerosols and in the solar output (NAT), and d) the combined effect of ANTHRO and NAT (ALL). A control simulation was also used to provide estimates of natural climate variability.

[7] The detection signals comprise spatial (2-D) response patterns, constructed as the change in the period mean index between periods 1950–1969 and 1980–1999. To minimise the impact of internal climate variability on the model response, we used the ensemble mean of the model signals to form the model patterns. A comparison between observation and model patterns of change for the warmest night of the year is shown in Figure 1. The observations (Figure 1a) show a global mean increase in the warmest night, with large regional variations, while the model response to all forcings (Figure 1b) shows a more uniform warming pattern. This discrepancy is expected, since the observations show a strong imprint of internal climate variability that is reduced by ensemble averaging of the model simulations. The model response to natural forcings only (Figure 1c) is negative in the global mean, with large regional variations. Like the warmest night of the year, all the other indices under investigation also indicated a warming during the last 50 years of the 20th century, in both observations and experiments which include the greenhouse gas forcing and a cooling in experiments with natural forcings only.

Later twentieth century plays and playwrights

Edward Bond

Bond (b 1934) describes himself as a writer of &lsquoRational Theatre&rsquo, which he sees as an opposition to the theatre of the absurd. For Bond, theatre is a means of analysing society. His plays do not address the individual situations of characters, but are works that examine the world in terms of how society is dominated by capitalism. Bond is one of the most revolutionary political playwrights of the twentieth century. His plays are shocking and intended to make the audience leave the theatre with a sense of need for urgent social action.

He calls his dramatic method &lsquothe Aggro technique&rsquo and his work has much in common with that of Bertolt Brecht. In Bond&rsquos play Saved (1965) a baby in a pram is stoned to death by a group of young men. The play was initially banned, receiving its first public performance in Britain only after the abolition of censorship in 1968. Bond wrote:

Sir David Hare

David Hare (b. 1947)&rsquos play, Via Dolorosa (1998), dramatises conversations he had with Palestinians and Israelis during a visit to the Middle East. Hare&rsquos work, like that of David Edgar, originates from agit-prop theatre. His plays also address the state of the nation, reporting the reality of current political issues through the voices of those (characters) involved, such as his trilogy of plays about major British institutions Racing Demon (1990), Murmuring Judges (1991) and The Absence of War (1993).

David Edgar

Edgar (b 1948) began writing as a journalist and his plays reflect his own desire to be &lsquoa secretary for the times through which I am living&rsquo. (picture) Like many of his contemporaries, Edgar&rsquos work is also political and his subject matter is often taken from actual social and political events. Destiny (1976) tells the story of a by-election campaign in the West Midlands and the rise of right-wing extremism in Britain during the mid-1970s. The Shape of the Table (1990) and Playing with Fire (2005) deal with political machinations in Europe and Britain.

Tom Stoppard

Sir Tom Stoppard (b. 1937) is a Czech-born British playwright who has produced work for theatre, television, radio and the cinema. Stage plays include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967), Travesties (1974), Arcadia (1993) and The Coast of Utopia (2002). He also co-wrote the screenplays for Brazil and Shakespeare in Love.

Stoppard&rsquos theatre work takes its inspiration from literary and philosophical sources and is therefore very different from other writers of his generation, although his early plays do show elements of absurdism. Stoppard's plays have been described as &lsquoplays of ideas&rsquo, that examine philosophical concepts and make them entertaining through clever use of wordplay and jokes. He has been a key playwright of the National Theatre and is one of the most internationally performed dramatists of his generation.

Alan Ayckbourn

It is frequently claimed that Sir Alan Ayckbourn (b 1939) is the most performed living English playwright, having written and produced more than seventy full-length plays. Between 1972 and 2009 he was the artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.

Ayckbourn&rsquos characters are familiar and comically human, their language commonplace and each play focuses on the theme of some kind of moral choice. Major successes include: The Norman Conquests trilogy (1973), Absurd Person Singular (1975), Bedroom Farce (1975), Just Between Ourselves (1976), A Chorus of Disapproval (1984), Woman in Mind (1985), A Small Family Business (1987), Man Of The Moment (1988), House & Garden (1999), Private Fears in Public Places (2004).

What was the reason of extreme anti-Communism in the first half of 20th century? - History

Terebess Asia Online (TAO)

Bertrand Agostini
The Development of French Haiku
in the First Half of the 20th Century:
Historical Perspectives

Bertrand Agostini holds a PhD in American Literature. His doctoral thesis was on the notion of suffering in the novels of Jack Kerouac. He is an Associate Professor of English at Ecole Superieure d'Agriculture and Université Catholique de l'Ouest in Angers, France. His current position is: Visiting Associate Professor of Languages at Clemson University, South Carolina. He has written several articles in English and French on Jack Kerouac. In 1998 he co-authored (with Christiane Pajotin) a book on Jack Kerouac's haiku: Itinéraire dans l'errance: Kerouac et le haiku. (A Wandering Itinerary: Kerouac and the Haiku).
JACK KEROUAC ET LE HAÏKU par Bertrand Agostini

In the 19th century, through an artistic and literary movement known as “Japonisme”, French poets appear to have been solely attracted by the evocation and illustration of Japanese works of art such as color-prints or curios, which they usually transcribed in the sonnet form. Therefore the exotic curiosity for Japanese culture was limited to art and did not seem to have yet had penetrated the arcane of Japanese poetry. The poems do not show any interest in the condensed Japanese poetical form or any real knowledge of the Japanese customs and traditions. The fairly recent economic and political opening of Japan to the West, its cultural and geographic remoteness, the difficulty of its language, the lack of translations did not allow for any deep and sustained approach of Japanese letters.(1) Indeed, if one excepts Leon de Rosny’s Anthologie japonaise published in 1871, which apparently is the first translation of Japanese tanka into French (2) and Judith Gauthier’s (1850-1917) Poemes de la Libellule (1884) (3), French translations of Japanese poetry were rare and remained confined to the limited circle of linguists and other scholars.

In the second half of the 19th C., the French poetical scene was dominated by two main movements the Parnasse and Symbolism. the Parnasse was a reaction against sentimental and confidential Romanticism. Th. Gautier became the undisputed master, the champion of “art for art’s sake”. According to Gautier, by nature art is disinterested, has no useful aim. It is its very own end: “Anything useful is ugly.” (4) Art is the cult of beauty as a means to appease the artist’s worry. In order to conquer beauty, the poet must work on the form. Facility must be banned. The door was then opened to the plastic, impassible poetry of the Parnasse that sees poetical work as an acrobatic and skilled activity. Poetry was reduced to a game of “rime riche” (rich rhyme), which lead Banville to affirm that “the rhyme is the verse” (5). As opposed to the Parnasse, Symbolism is based on the sense of mystery that is in and around us. Therefore poetry cannot be descriptive and will use symbols to reach the soul of things. The unknown and the subconscious are at the crux of this poetry that is also characterized by the use of free verse. Gerard de Nerval and Baudelaire had been the initiators of symbolism, the first one with his experience of the surreal and the second one with his theory of “correspondances” between real life and dream. Later, Lautréamond, Verlaine, Rimbaud, and more particularly Mallarmé contributed to the development of the movement.

At the beginning of the 20th C., the most influential or the most celebrated poets are, on the one hand, the “old” beginners of the years 1880-1890 who exploit and diversify the double heritage of the Symbolists and the Roman School. On the other hand, they are the newcomers who, through these mixed currents, push further the poetic investigation. It is a period of evolution. Reviews, manifestos, schools have never been so numerous. Poetry is still a dominated chant but where traditional meters, cuts and rhymes find a lot of equivalents. Since Gérard de Nerval, the poetic vocation had been one of interpretation and overstepping of appearances towards an approximation of the Being. Poetry tended to be isolated from real life. But Moréas and the Roman School had brought poets back to the concrete spectacle of the world and to a more direct way of treating the themes. The tone adopted testifies to the abandonment of a cerebral and only dreamed universe. In 1909, the Unanimist movement attempted to rejoin, behind the fragmentary spectacle of daily life, not the mysterious essences, but the felt presence of a collective soul. At the same time, Futurism calling for mechanical tumult and material violence confirmed a more general recourse to the vision of the modern world modified by speed, the ubiquity of the new born cinema and the simultaneous interpretation of concrete form toward which painting tended.

It is in this context that the haiku penetrated the French poetical scene.
It would be an obvious mistake not to include Jules Renard (1864-1910) as a serious precursor of the French haiku. His Histoires naturelles (first published in 1896) are definitely not directly influenced by Japanese poetry. However, in his own way, Renard’s sense of brevity, objectivity, suggestiveness and terseness is evidently reminiscent of the haiku and will undoubtedly contribute to the popularity of Renard among the new generation of French poets at the beginning of the 20th C.

Cette goutte de lune dans l’herbe!

This moon drop in the grass! (6)

Let us quote from Renard’s journal where the author’s art of poetry not only conforms to some of the rules of haiku writing but denotes an evident environmental preoccupation:

Tout est beau. Il faut parler d’un cochon comme d’une fleur.
Everything is beautiful. A pig should be spoken of just as a flower.

Je prétends qu’une description qui dépasse dix mots n’est plus visible.
I believe that a description of more than ten words is not visible anymore.

De presque toute la littérature, on peut dire que c’est trop long.
Of nearly all literature, one can say that it is too long.

Réduire la vie a sa plus simple expression.
Reduce life to its simplest expression.

A) Form experimentation and assimilation

With the early 20th C., begins the form experimentation period of French language haiku. This period can be divided into two stages running from 1903 to 1925.

I) 1903-1917, Form Experimentation

The French intellectuals and poets were not the first to write about haiku, but they were the first Westerners to attempt to adapt the poetic principles of the Japanese genre to a Western language and culture. According to Gary L. Brower, “an interest in Japanese literature had been evolving in England, based on influences of French exoticism and the translations and studies of a group of scholarly orientalists.”(8). In his article on Basho (9) from 1902, Basil Hall Chamberlain, an eminent British specialist of Japan, was the first to coin the term “lyric epigram” for what was then technically called a “haikai”. In his turn, in 1903, Claude Maitre, a French scholar, translated some of Basho’s haiku while reporting on basil Hall Chamberlain’s substantial article on his “epigrams”(10). Later in 1905, Louis Aubert quoted several “hokku” from Chamberlain’s article in his “Sur le paysage japonais” (11). During the same year, Noel Péri translated haiku and uta for a paper delivered at the Alliance française in Yokohama (12).

Undoubtedly, these articles must have had an influence on the French intellectuals and poets who were interested in Japanese literature and were looking for new modes of poetic expression. However it is only with the publication of Au fil de l’eau in 1905 that a first serious attempt was made to compose haiku in French. During a canal-boat cruise in 1903, the authors, Paul-Louis Couchoud, Albert Poncin and André Faure composed 72 haikai that were compiled into a collection privately published. Couchoud who taught his friends the Japanese genre, was a professor of philosophy and doctor of medicine. He had traveled to Japan and had been seduced by Japanese poetry and the haiku. Without any doubt not only did he initiate French language haiku but he also became the first true French expounder and initiator of the genre in a series of two articles entitled “Les épigrammes lyriques du Japon” in 1906.

Couchoud kept Chamberlain’s appellation of “lyric epigram” to designate haikai. Indeed, this appellation is not really adapted to the genre. An epigram is a short, witty statement which may be complimentary, satiric or aphoristic. Chamberlain was wise enough to add the adjective “lyrical” to it in order to avoid confusion. The epigram being the shortest literary form in Europe, it was only natural that this designation be used in the first definitions of the Japanese genre. Perhaps this appellation was too misleading for in their attempts to approximate the haiku form, a few poets after Couchoud used the epigram in the form of quatrains, which were still the commonest stanzaic form in European poetry at the end of the 19th century.

Couchoud himself said: “A haiku can be compared neither to a Greek or Latin distich, nor to a French quatrain. It is neither a “thought”, nor a “word”, nor a “proverb” an epigram in neither the modern sense nor in the antique, which is rather an inscription. It is the simplest picture, in three movements of the brush, a sketch which is a brief touch or impression…In his study of the haikai, Mr Basil Hall Chamberlain calls them “the lyric epigrams of Japan”. This title defines two of their essential qualities – brevity and the power of suggestion.” (13)

In the first two poems of the following selection by Couchoud, the influence of both Bashô and Buson is evident:

Dans le soir brulant
Nous cherchons une auberge.
O ces capucines!

In the hot evening
Looking for an inn.
O the nasturtium!


J’arrive fatigué
A la recherche d’une auberge
Ah! Ces fleurs de glycines.

I arrive tired
Looking for an inn
Ah! The wisteria


Une simple fleur de papier
Dans un vase
Eglise rustique.

A simple paper flower
In a vase
Rustic church.

Couchoud (10)

An anemone in a pot
Rustic temple.


Sur le bord du bateau
Je me hazarde a quatre pattes
Que me veut cette libellule?

On the boat’s deck
I venture on all fours
What does this dragonfly want?

Couchoud (14)

The borrowings only prove how much Couchoud desired to nurture the genre and assimilate it. As a student and a practitioner of haiku, Couchoud must also have been aware that it was not unusual for some poets to borrow a haiku from someone else and only change a few syllables.

Although Couchoud’s poems are experimental and far from being masterpieces, they more or less follow the rules of haiku composition. They are brief and terse, not rimed and remote from the lyrical, wordy effusion common to the French poetic tradition. The 5/7/5 structure is used in an approximate manner but each line never includes more than 8 syllables. Most of the poems contain a reference to the season and concretely are associated with nature. Note also that Couchoud carefully uses the themes of flowers, insects and trees such as dragonfly, nasturtia, willow, which are traditional Japanese themes. The result is a series of interesting pictures of French rustic life.

“The interest of such attempts in French”, Couchoud declares, “is that it shows what an effort of limitation the Western artist must impose on his receptivity in order to condense his feeling into a unique sensation. . . In the work of all French poets it would be possible to trace passages which, if isolated, would exist as haikai. (15)
Both his attempt to practice haiku and his knowledgeable literary and cultural explanations made him the first real originator of French language haiku and lead the way to a growing and continued interest until World War II.

Following Couchoud and his friends, Fernand Gregh published “Quatrains a la facon des haikai japonais” in 1906. Fernand Gregh could not resist the French tradition of the rimed quatrain and tried to find a compromise between the haiku’s connection with nature and the French poetic usage of construction. Although he cites Moritake and Busson, and quotes Couchoud’s definition of the haikai as being “a sketch, sometimes only one line, a note whose harmonies die out slowly within us” (16), Gregh’s poems are far from being haiku.


Nuit. Les blancs bouleaux, diffus
Parmi l’ombre verte et brune,
Semblent garder sur leur futs
Un éternel clair de lune . . .


Night. The white birch trees, diffuse
Among the dark green shade
Seem to hold to their trunks
An eternal moonlight…

Fernand Gregh (17)

Here we have a heptasyllabic quatrain. Some of his other poems were composed in classic alexandrines. These two poems’ central theme is the moon, a traditional Japanese theme, but Gregh relies too much on the effect of versification and lyricism. Furthermore, the formulation is too verbose, therefore avoiding the immediacy and suggestiveness of the images.

Soon after, in 1908, Albert de Neuville, also influenced by Couchoud’s article, published 163 “Haikais et tankas, Epigrammes a la japonaise”(18). Contrary to Gregh’s poems, they are free rimed quatrains.

O joie!
L’hiver est parti
Le pecher en fleur m’envoie
Des confetti.

O joy!
Winter’s gone
The blooming peach tree
Sends me confetti.

Affublée en juin d’un boa
La rose a-t-elle la berlue?
C’est une chenille poilue.

In June rigged out with a boa
Does the rose see things wrong?
It’s a hairy caterpillar.

Albert de Neuville (19)

The free stanza form allows the poems to be closer to haiku as far as brevity is concerned. Neuville’s poems are still wordy but their lyricism is more moderate than Gregh’s. Nature is omnipresent and its vegetable and animal elements are treated in a humorous way reminiscent of Jules Renard’s Histoires Naturelles.

In 1910, the publication of Michel Revon’s Anthologie de la littérature japonaise, des orgines au XXe siecle greatly influenced the adepts of the haikai. Revon who had been a professor at the Law School of Tokyo, was adjunct professor of the History of Far Eastern Civilizations at the Sorbonne. His anthology was one more step into the understanding of Japanese literature. According to Schwarz, “the influence of this very practical introduction to Japanese aesthetics can be proved by the disappearance of long pseudo-Japanese poems.” (20) Interestingly enough, the word “haiku” is mentioned for the first time in this voluminous anthology. (21)

In 1912 and 1914, Gilbert de Voisins, a novelist who had visited Japan, published “Vingt-cinq quatrains sur un meme motif” and Cinquante quatrains dans le gout japonais”. Schwartz says of him that “he has a gift for the epigram, developed by the teaching of the Japanese poets”. (22) The following poem is in pure alexandrines.

La lune éclaire tout le ciel: soufflons la lampe…
Oh! Voici que le mont Fuli paraît, doublant,
Par des traits élégants et délicats d’estampes,
En l’eau verte du lac son profil rose et blanc.

The moon lights the whole sky: let’s blow out the lamp…
O! Here appears Mount Fuji, twinning,
With elegant and delicate print-like traits
In the green water of the lake its pink and white profile.

Gilbert de Voisins (23)

Moon, Mount Fuji, water are used here in carefully crafted quatrains. As Bernadette Guilmette points out, “it is obviously the themes and vocabulary of Japanese poetry rather than the form that impressed Gregh and de Voisins. Their voice, expressed in four lines, approached, it must be admitted, the concise manner of Oriental art”. (24)

It is obvious that some French writers and poets were not ready yet to thoroughly succumb to the classic 5/7/5 structure of haiku or simply to brevity. The period of exoticism had not yet totally disappeared. Indeed in 1914, poets were still in the process of discovering the various facets of Japanese poetry. French language haiku was simply a curiosity. It was something that had to be tried because it was in the air of time. Both the Japanese themes and brief poetic form had not seduced to the point of radically changing the French artistic mentality and the resolutely intellectual approach that were still characteristic of most of the literary production at the time. Even the Dadaist and Surrealist movements that were then beginning to flourish and bring a new type of perception could not help being intellectual and therefore remote from artistic simplicity. As a matter of fact only a few of the great figures of French literature will venture to tackle the Japanese genre. The haiku remained limited in scope among the poetic establishment. It was only beginning to plant its seeds.

In 1916, Julien Vocance published “Cent visions de guerre” followed in 1917 by ninety haikai in La Grande revue. In the middle of World War I, this soldier decided to materialize his emotions and impressions of life in the trenches in the form of haiku.

Ma tete a peine rentrée,
Un moustique siffle et soudain
La crete de terre s’éboule.

My head hardly inside
A mosquito whizzes and suddenly
The tuft of earth falls in.

Des croix de bois blanc
Surgissent du sol,
Chaque jour, ça et la.

White wooden crosses
Surging from the soil,
Each day, here and there.

Dans les vertebres
Du cheval mal enfoui
Mon pied fait: floche…

Among the vertebrae
Of the badly buried horse
My foot goes: flosh…

Julien Vocance (25)

His poems are more faithful to the rules of haiku composition. His “hundred Visions of War will be immediately acclaimed by the critics. Emile Vuillermoz in Le Temps called it “a spiritual lesson of tact and poetry”. (26) Charles-Henri Hirsch in La Grande Revue thought Vocance’s work was “a meticulous work of fine chiselling”. (27) When Couchoud republished his essay on “the Lyrical Japanese Epigrams” in Sages et poetes d’Asie in 1917, he included some commentary on Vocance’s work: “In my opinion, these haikai of Julien Vocance are worthy to be placed beside the Japanese models, as one of our prints is sometimes hung beside the Japanese example which has inspired so much of its beauty.” (28)

Vocance’s haiku will put an end to the period of exoticism. He had known Couchoud in 1900 and read Au fil de l’eau. In the midst of the tragic war, he realized how much the haiku was better adapted to these terrible conditions than any other longer poetic or prose genre. The war haiku will have many followers among the young poets.
It is true that as William J. Higginson said, many of Vocance’s “visions” are “rather grandiose and sentimental”. (29) Nevertheless the emotion is not as diffuse as in many of his predecessors’ poems. Furthermore, his haiku are terse and concrete, less verbose. Vocance had only one aim: to suggest in 3 lines, as he will later expose in his Art Poétique, the impassibility of things with all the pain underneath. (30) Leaving war aside, Vocance will explore other themes:

Sur le sable qui crissotte,
Ses petits pieds trottent,
Trottent menu, menu.

On the creeshing sand,
Her little feet scampering,
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter.

Comme le derriere d’un macaque
Les fesses du nouveau-né

Like a macaque’s behind
The new-born’s buttocks
Are glowing.

Julien Vocance (31)

Here nature is more present than in the war haiku. From the sound of feet in the sand to the senryu-like poem on the macaque’s behind, Vocance gets closer to natural phenomena while expressing the outline of things in a variety of moods: gaiety, charm, and humor in a non-intellectual way.II) The flourishing period (1920-1926)

In 1920, the Nouvelle Revue Francaise printed a selection of haikai by several poets including Couchoud and Vocance. This article could be considered as an attempt to begin a school or a movement. In addition to Couchoud and Vocance, one can find the names of well-known poets such as Jean Paulhan, Paul Eluard and Jean-Richard Bloch. As Bernadette Guilmette remarks, “the movement had been gaining momentum from its very beginning and was now important enough to attract some truly great writers.” (32).

George Sabiron’s poem has a Zen tint to it for its serenity and its philosophical image on reality:

Flaque d’eau sans un pli.
Le coq qui boît et son image
Se prennent le bec.

Puddle without a ripple.
The drinking rooster and its image
Catch each other’s beaks.

George Sabiron

More accomplished is Jean-Richard Bloch’s haiku with its 5/7/5 structure and its concreteness and movement:

Contre le sein nu
L’enfant rit, tourne la tete
Et le lait déborde.

Against the naked breast
The child laughs, turns his head
And the milk overflows.

Jean-Richard Bloch

Jean Breton’s poem is delicate but it is rimed, which results in French lyricism. However the movement of the heart associated with that of water is interesting:

Au fil de l’eau, rapprochés, separés,
Ce bouquet de roses fanées,
Et cette lettre déchirée.

With the stream, together, separate,
This bouquet of wilted roses,
And this torn letter.

Jean Breton

Paul Eluard’s haiku, which are the only ones he ever published, are not necessarily of the best kind. As Rene Maublanc noted in 1923, “all are equally mysterious and hermetic…Due to the absence of a common discipline of thought, symbolism tends in us to a simple individual dream, a la Mallarmé, difficult to grasp for any one but the author.” (33) As a matter of fact, the two following poems lack a certain objectivity or direct observation of life:

Le coeur a ce qu’elle chante
Elle fait fondre la neige
La nourrice des oiseaux.

The heart to that which she sings
She melts the snow
The birds’ nursemaid.

In the next one, the scene is delineated with verbal economy, and the image is more evident:

A moitié petite,
La petite
Montée sur un bamc.

The little girl
Set on a bench.

Paul Eluard

Jean Paulhan contributed a few haiku. The following one has 17 syllables arranged in 7/7/3 structure.

La fumée s’envole au Nord
Le papillon blanc vers l’Est
Vent frivole.

Smoke flying to the North
A white butterfly to the East
Frivolous wind.

Jean Paulhan (34)

According to Etiemble: “the problem is that one cannot construct haiku in French following the Japanese 5/7/5 structure without it determining an alexandrine purr: 5+7 or 7+5, thus falsifying the feeling which this sequence gives to the Japanese. Paulhan had found a solution: 7+7+3, which provides the 17 syllables, and manages to avoid the epic or lyric verse”. (35)

This first minimal anthology attracted the attention of some personalities, among them, Jules Romains who in 1920 discussed the attempt to found the French haiku. He “insists on the question, raised in La Gerbe, of an amateur art”, and “asserts the necessity of a poetic rule.” (36)

Julien Vocance’s “Art poétique” was published in La Connaissance in 1921. Although it does not absolutely answer the question raised by Jules Romains and is reminiscent of Rimbaud’s theory, it enumerates a few basic rules “hostile to rhetorical eloquence in poets” (37), but in favor of suggestiveness, concreteness and terseness:

Le poete japonais
Essuie son couteau:
Cette fois l’éloquence est morte.

The Japanese poet
Wipes his blade:
This time eloquence is dead.

Chaud comme une caille
Qu’on tient dans le creux de la main,
Naissance du hai-kai.

Warm as a quail
In the palm of one’s hand,
Birth of the haikai.

Evoque, suggere. En trois lignes
Montre-moi ce masque impassible,
Mais toute la douleur par-dessous.

Evoke, suggest. In three lines
Show me this impassible mask,
But all the pain underneath.

Julien Vocance (38)

In 1923, a new stage in the evolution of French haiku will appear. Rene Maublanc, a friend of Couchoud will be the initiator of it. He had already published haikais in 1919 and a critical study in 1920. His articles entitled “Un mouvement japonisant dans la littérature contemporaine: le haikai francais” published in La grande revue of February and March 1923 discussed the principles, the tendencies and the technique of French haiku.

Rene Maublanc lived in Reims where he started a regional review of literature and art called Le pampre. It is in this review that he published an article entitled “Le haikai français” in which he shared the belief of Jules Romains that “the French haikai’s form is very irregular, so free that it could not follow any rule. However we have not forgotten the warning which Jules Romain gave us in l’Humanité”. (39) On the other hand Le pampre was extremely instrumental in propagating the haiku among French people. Rene Maublanc’s democratic belief was that the haiku was a genre that should be practiced by a greater mass of people and not be relegated to the circles of Parisian poets: “If this movement can be transmitted and enlarged, if a greater and greater number of shrewd amateurs take pleasure in composing the lines of a haikai, one can expect, not only a complete renewal of our poetry, but also on the one hand an anthology of delicate works, and on the other hand, an elevation and a refining of the public taste.” (40).

Around Maublanc, who published numerous tercets by amateurs, three poets, Roger Gilbert-Lecomte and the Druart brothers contributed to create the Ecole Reimoise whose organ will be Le pampre.

Roger Gilbert-Lecomte (1907-1943) was only 16 when he wrote the following haiku:

Les yeux du chat:
Deux lunes jumelles
Dans la nuit.

The eyes of the cat:
Two twin moons
In the night.

Dans le ciel de cendre
Comme un dernier tison
La petite étoile.

In the ash-grey sky
Like a last ember
The little star.

Roger Gilbert-Lecomte (41)

A sense of observation and economy characterizes the haiku of this young poet.

Rene Maublanc’s major haiku work is Cent Haikais from which the following selection was taken:

Surgit de l’herbe verte,
Des coquelicots a la main,
Le major ventru.

Rising from the green grass,
Poppies in his hand,
The portly major.

Rangées par ordre de grosseur,
Une collection de fesses
Cueillent les haricots.

Standing by size,
A collection of buttocks
Picking beans.

Rene Maublanc (42)

Maublanc’s haiku are classic in their composition except for the number of syllables. It is obvious from their construction, themes and even humour that they were written by a man who had studied haiku and its principles. In the introduction, Maublanc humbly remarked that “these little pieces are therefore not at all the spontaneous product of a poetic inspiration. They simply represent the modest but thoughtful effort of a man who, by taste as by profession, is used to analysis, and who scrupulously applied himself to take down, as sincerely and accurately as he could, a few spare details of things and men that he observed around himself and in himself.” (43)

The last poet from Reims worthy of praise is René Druart (44). His collection of haiku, L’épingleur de haikai was published in 1929 with a preface by Paul Fort himself.

Est-ce un bourdon a la vitre
Ou l’eau du thé
Qui ronronne?

Is it a bumblebee on the window
Or the tea water

D’un tilleul jauni,
Une feuille tombe a pic,
Lourde de tout l’été.

From a yellowed lime tree,
A leaf falls sheer,
Heavy with the whole Summer.

René Druart (45)

René Druart was very knowledgeable in Japanese art and his delicate inspiration is narrowly connected to the Japanese state of mind with a sure taste for the microcosmic elements of life.

In 1924, Benjamin Crémieux published an article in the Nouvelles littéraires on the French haikai in which he invited the readers “to compete with our best haijin”. (46). In another article, two weeks later, Crémieux declared: “I received about a thousand haiku from Paris, from the province, from Belgium, from the closest colonies. I also received a certain number of interesting communications on the subject.” (47)

Sur l’estrade le lutteur
Faillit rever en écoutant
L’allegro de la vieille valse.

On the platform the wrestler
Almost dreamt listening to
The allegro of the old waltz.

René Morand

Sur l’épaule du novice
Tanguant vers la ruelle chaude,
La guenon grelottante ferme les yeux.

On the apprentice’s shoulder
Pitching towards the hot lane,
The shivering she-monkey closes her eyes.

P. Enard (48)

Again in the same year, Marc Adolphe Guégan’s Trois petits tours et puis s’en vont… was published. In the introduction, the author stated that “I therefore did not compose haikai: I only composed tercets, tercets perhaps vivified by the contact with a foreign literature undoubtedly stylized by the original contribution of the authentic haikai. Yet nothing other than simple tercets.” (49)

Giraffe. grand escargot
Qui a perdu sa coquille
Et la cherche a l’horizon.

Giraffe. Tall snail
That lost its shell
And looks for it in the horizon.

Marc-Adolphe Guégan (50)

The publications that followed are characterized by an irregular poetic production in quality and construction. Perhaps this was due to the growing popularity of the genre in France.

Two other major figures of French literature will also leave their mark in the history of French haiku. Francis Jammes produced several collections of quatrains between 1923 and 1925. Although these are not haiku, Jammes’s poems are brief and concrete and close to the Japanese print in essence.

Un ciel de soie
Azure l’eau.
Un chien aboie
Sur le coteau.

A silky sky
Bluing the water.
A dog barks
On the hillock.

Francis Jammes (51)

Paul Claudel’s interest in Japanese culture and literature is a well-known fact. In 1921 he was named ambassador to Japan. There he familiarized himself with the haiku. His journal is full of simple sentences reminiscent of the haiku spirit:

Une libellule atterit sur une tige de plantain.
A dragonfly lands on a plantain stem.

La grenouille au fond du
Puits: toute les étoiles
Sont brouillees.

The frog at the bottom of
The well: all the stars
Are blurred. (52)

Claudel’s Cent phrases pour éventail first published in Tokyo in 1927, are his main poetic contribution to the French haiku movement. His poems are sometimes too long to be real haiku but they are written in an unusual scattered and detached fashion and show a rare sense of the Japanese way of perceiving the world.

lantern trébu
sur mes sandales
de bois
j’ essaie
d’ attraper
premier flocon de neige

On my
I try
to catch
First snow flake

Paul Claudel (53)

From the 30s to the end of World War II, there was a noticeable decrease in the interest in haiku in France. As mentioned earlier, the beginning of the 20th century gave way to a few influential intellectual movements that penetrated the literary establishment and maintained it in its tradition of elaborateness. Also the new linguistic research (Saussure) and the Freudian studies rather engaged writers and poets in complex and often wordy introspections. Finally when Japan got involved in World War II, France began to lose its interest in the frail and delicate Japanese art.
Nonetheless, it clearly appears that between 1859 and 1926, Japanese art and literature gradually settled down in France and influenced the world of letters, opening the way to a flourishing assimilation of haiku between 1905 and 1926. Undoubtedly, the haiku movement in France started as a reaction against poetic eloquence, with a period of experimentation and adaptation of the haiku form to the French poetic rules and traditional short genres. More daring and captivating was the movement which Maublanc, Crémieux and Romain successfully launched, culminating in a democratic and popular development of the haiku in France. The seed was planted. Beyond the historical and literary reasons preventing haiku from being definitely established as a genre among the “belles lettres”, one can invoke the lack of awareness of the spiritual currents that pervade haiku. Very few people in Western Europe at the beginning of the 20th century knew about Zen and Taoism, and the impact of these currents on Japanese arts and letters. Only after World War II in the 50s and 60s will the Eastern spiritual development be strong enough to favor the rise of a new type of philosophical consciousness thanks to Blyth, Henderson, Suzuky, Watts, Kerouac and Snyder among others. These essayists, novelists and poets lead the way to the long-awaited East-West interconnection in which hailu stands as a unique way of reaching a true communion with our environment.


(1) In his Le Japon, Aimé Humbert, a Swiss plenipotentiary in Japan from 1863 to 1864, realistically declared: “We are still exploring Japan…Now in order to integrate Japanese literature into the street stall of the civilized world, the work of more than a generation is needed”. See Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle: Approche du haiku de chez nous, Editions la voix du crapaud, 1995, p. 26.
(2) Léon de Rosny (1837-1914) was the first French scholar to have started the study of the Japanese language and eventually taught it. In 1837, he published Anthologie Japonaise de poésies anciennes et modernes de Nippon. Although the bibliography mentions a few titles on haikai, the book does not include any translation. See Patrick Blanche, Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit.
(3) Judith Gautier was the daughter of Théophile Gautier. She adapted with the help of Prince Saionji Kinemochi a selection of tanka published in the 9th C.. She became successful at the end of the 19th C. and was one of the leading figures of “japonisme”.
(4) Théophile Gauthier, Mademoiselle de Maupin, preface p. 21, Charpentier et Cie, Libraires-Editeurs, 1871, Paris. According to Patrick Blanche, Théophile Gauthier, in a long poem entitled “le grillon” (1845) sometimes practices haiku without knowing it: “Look at the branches,/How white they are!/It is snowing flowers”. See Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit. pp. 16-17.
(5) Théodore de Banville, Petit traité de versification française, 1872.
(6) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit. pp. 35-37.
(7) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., pp. 43-44.
(8) Gary L. Brower, Haiku in Western Languages, 1972, pp. 32-33.
(9) B.H. Chamberlain, “Basho and the Japanese Poetical Epigram”, Transaction of the Asiatic Society of Japan, 1902, Vol. XXX, part II.
(10) Claude E. Maitre, Bulletin de l’Ecole Française d’Extreme-Orient, 1903.
(11) Louis Aubert, “Sur le paysage japonais”, Revue de Paris, 15 sept. 1905. Even though Shiki started using the word “haiku” towards the end of the 19th C., only the words “haikai” or “hokku” were used in France.
(12) Noël Péri, “Au Japon, Fleurs de cerisiers”, Revue de Paris, 1er sept 1905.
(13) “ The salt of French epigrams is almost always in their play of words they are very justly called mots…They are light lashes of the tongue. The haikai is a coup d’oeil” (a rapid glance). Paul-Louis Couchoud, Japanese Impressions, 1921, pp. 35-36 56-57 68-69.
(14) Paul-Louis Couchoud et al., “Hai-kais”, Nouvelle Revue Francaise, Sept. 1, 1920, pp. 331-32.
(15) Paul-Louis Couchoud, Japanese Impressions, op. cit. pp. 71-72.
(16) Ibid.
(17) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., p. 67.
(18) Schwartz mentions a first edition in 1908 with 163 poems, a preface and a bibligraphy (unknown publisher), followed by a second one in 1921 under the title “Epigrammes a la japonaise”, “enlarged to 249 items but without the preface and bibliography of the first edition”. W. L. Schwartz, “Japan in French Poetry”, PMLA, vol. XL, pp. 443.
(19) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., pp. 68-69.
(20) “Japan in French Poetry”, op cit., p. 443.
(21) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., p. 84.
(22) “Japan in French Poetry”, op cit., p. 444.
(23) Gilbert de Voisins, “Cinquante quatrains dans le gout japonais”, Mercure de France, I-III-1914, p. 26, 28.
(24) Haiku, Anthologie Canadienne/Canadian Anthology, Editions asticou, 1985, p. 38.
(25) Julien Vocance, “Cent visions de guerre”, La Grande Revue, May 1, 1916, p. 425, 427, 429.
(26) Haiku, Anthologie Canadienne/Canadian Anthology, op cit, p. 38.
(27) Ibid., p. 39.
(28) Japanese Impressions, op cit. , p. 71.
(29) William J. Higginson, The haiku Handbook, 1985, p. 49.
(30) William L. Schwartz, “L’influence de la poésie japonaise sur la poésie française contemporaine”, Revue de littérature comparee, VI, vi, Oct-Nov. 1926, p. 665.
(31) Julien Vocance, “Fantômes d’hier et d’aujourd’hui”, La Grande Revue, May 1917, pp. 482-83.
(32) Haiku, anthologie canadienne/Canadian Anthology, op cit., p. 40.
(33) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., p. 112.
(34) “Hai-kais”, op cit., pp. 331-345.
(35) Etiemble, Le coeur et la cendre – 60 ans de poésie, Editions les deux animaux, Paris, 1984, p.
(36) Rene Maublanc, “Le Haikai français”, Le pampre, no. 10/11, 1923, p. 13.
(37) “Japan in French Poetry”, op cit., p. 446.
(38) William Schwartz, “L’influence de la poésie japonaise sur la poésie française contemporaine”, Revue de Litterature Comparee, VI, vi, Oct.-Nov. 1926, pp. 663-66.
(39) “Le haikai français”, op cit, p. 4.
(40) Ibid. p. 6.
(41) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., pp. 135-36.
(42) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., pp. 139-41.
(43) Ibid. p. 138.
(44) His brother, Henri Druart, also wrote haiku. See Pincements de cordes, Editions du Pampre, 1929. His haiku are of a lesser quality.
(45) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., pp. 143-45.
(46) Benjamin Crémieux, “du haikai français”, Les nouvelles littéraires, March 1924.
(47) Ibid.
(48) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., p. 158.
(49) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., p. 159.
(50) Ibid.
(51) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., p. 164.
(52) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., p. 174.
(53) Le chat a des souvenirs de jungle, op cit., p. 169-71.

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Fall 2014: Russian and Soviet History of the First Half of the 20th Century through Literature and Film (1900 – 1920)

The course will provide an understanding of Russian culture and history from 1900 – 1920 through the lens of Russian literature, film, and art. We will read stories by Maxim Gorky John Reed’s “Ten Days That Shook the World” Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel White Guard and his novella “Fatal Eggs.” We will discuss the following films: Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin and October: Ten Days That Shook the World Dovzhenko’s Earth Chapayev, directed by brothers Vasiliev and Motyl’s The White Sun of the Desert. We will focus on close textual analysis of the literary works, and hold in-depth discussions about history, literature, art, and film, supplemented by biographical, historical, cultural, economic, and critical information related to the works and their creators. The class will consist of several parts: a lecture by the teacher student presentations and informal group discussion.

The power of the bourgeoisie is the power of violence and death c. 1919

We will study Russian cinema and art alongside Russian literature and provide the cultural and historical context in which the works appeared. We will examine in detail:

  • What were the reasons for the Russian revolution?
  • Why did the revolution find such enormous support within the country?
  • How was it perceived in the West?
  • Would it have been possible to prevent it?
  • What went wrong after the revolution?
  • What were the Civil War and War Communism?
  • What was the role of propaganda during the Civil War?
  • How do artists respond to and shape historical events?
  • How did writers in the early 20th Russia transmute fear, violence, and chaos into art?
  • How do utopian ideas and dreams transform into reality?

Death to capital — or death under the heel of capital!” Victor Deni, 1919

Our main writer will be Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940). Playwright and novelist Mikhail Bulgakov is now widely acknowledged as a giant of 20th century Russian literature, ranking with Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Mandelstam, Akhmatova, and Brodsky. His story, though, is particularly unusual, for he was scarcely published at all in his own lifetime, either in Russia or in the West. His plays reached the stage in his home country only with great difficulty. We will start with White Guard, which describes the Civil War in Kiev. We will finish the course with his satirical science fiction novella “The Fatal Eggs.”

Maxim Gorky’s stories will help us analyze Russian life before the October Revolution and will demonstrate the necessity of change. The first great Russian writer to emerge from the ranks of the proletariat, Gorky experienced firsthand the suffering, injustice, and despair which permeate his tales.

The most famous first-hand account of the Bolshevik Revolution was written by John Reed, a radical American journalist reporting from Russia for the socialist paper “The Masses.” We will discuss whether “Ten Days That Shook the World” could be accepted as an unbiased account of the events.

Lenin on the parade in May 1919, Red Square, Moscow

Vladimir Lenin made a famous remark that “of all arts, for us cinema is the most important,” and movie attendance in the Soviet Union was until recently among the highest in the world. Cinema’s central position in Russian and Soviet cultural history and its unique combination of mass medium, art form, and entertainment industry have made it a continuing battlefield for conflicts of broad ideological and artistic significance. In this course, we will examine Russian and Soviet film in the context of historical events. We will see how it began as a fragile but effective tool to gain support among the overwhelmingly illiterate people during the Civil War that followed the October Revolution in 1917, developed into a mass weapon of propaganda, and then, through experimentation, further developed as a form of entertainment that shaped the public image of the Soviet Union.

I will use my Russian background to provide participants with a unique chance to appreciate some of the pleasures of the original Russian versions of the works that are inevitably lost in any translation. It is my goal to provide an atmosphere that encourages many questions and observations.

Registration: The final date for registration is August 1, 2014.

Level: College level

Class Time and Format: Classes for the fall/winter semester will begin in September 2014 and end in December 2014. The class will meet once a week for one and a half hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm CT. (Important: please use the space provided on the registration form to indicate your preference for the days.) Classes will consist of a 20 to 30 minute lecture, students’ presentations, and group discussion. The combination of lecture, presentations, and discussion is a format that should prepare teens for the college environment.

Age/Maturity Level: 13+ (mainly because of the content). We are going to read adult, college-level fiction. Some of the works we will read contain sexual themes and episodes of extreme violence. I feel strongly against having very young children present. I want the teens to feel that our discussions are a place where they can express the most difficult and controversial ideas openly. The course will include open conversations and visual material about the revolution, the Civil War, and the Stalin terror.

Course Requirements and Workload: The amount of reading will be considerable – up to 150 pages per week. Students are expected to read the assigned works and to watch the assigned films in advance of each session and be prepared to discuss what they have read. In addition, students will read supplemental texts from various fields (essays, criticism, history, poetry, and philosophy) write short assignments for each class and make one or two presentations. One analytical paper (3 to 5 pages long in the MLA format) is expected. As the class is discussion-based, students are expected to take an active part in all discussions. The teacher will be available for individual consultations through e-mail and phone calls.

Prerequisites: Students are expected to have experience writing essays. While I will encourage students to develop their ideas and style, the course is not an intended to be an introduction to English composition.

Evaluations: Written evaluations will be provided via email for all writing assignments and presentations. I will be evaluating papers, participation, and presentations with in-depth comments. I plan on giving grades on the paper and an end-of-the-course grade.

Weekly Written Assignments: 25%
Paper: 30%
Class Discussion: 30%
Presentations: 15%

Cost: $289.00 per semester. There will be 15% discount for the siblings taking the class. Payment is due before the first session. Payment will be accepted through PayPal. Both credit card payments and cash transfers are accepted at PayPal.com. It is not necessary to have a PayPal account to pay with a credit card via PayPal.com. 90% of class fees are refundable if a student withdraws before the official start of the semester. 50% of class fees are refundable during the first two sessions of the semester. After the second session, no refunds are given for any reason. You may decide to buy the books we are going to read. Most of the books and films can be easily found in the public libraries or in used bookstores.

Number of Students: Minimum 7 students, maximum 16 students.

Technical requirements: All students must have a PC or Macintosh with internet access and a supported browser to participate in courses. High-speed internet is strongly recommended. A microphone and headset is required for live webinars. Headsets are strongly encouraged to reduce echo.

Syllabus Fall 2014: Russian and Soviet History of the First Half of the 20th Century through Literature and Film 1900 – 1920

Class 1: (Week of Sept 8) Russia under the old regime
Class 2: (Week of Sept 15) Maxim Gorky “Chelkash and Other Stories”
Class 3: (Week of Sept 22) Marxism in Russia and Russian Revolution of 1905
Class 4: (Week of Sept 29) Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin
Class 5: (Week of Oct 6) “Ten Days That Shook the World” (chapters 1-6) by John Reed
Class 6: (Week of Oct 13) “Ten Days That Shook the World” (chapters 7-12) by John Reed
Class 7: (Week of Oct 20) October: Ten Days that Shook the World by Alexandrov and Eisenstein
Class 8: (Week of Oct 27) The Civil War
Class 9: (Week of Nov 3) Chapayev and Earth
Class 10: (Week of Nov 10) White Guard (Part One and Two) by Mikhail Bulgakov
Class 11: (Week of Nov 17) White Guard (Part Three) by Mikhail Bulgakov
Class 12: (Week of Dec 1) War, Communism, and The White Sun of the Desert by Vladimir Motyl
Class 13: (Week of Dec 8) “The Fatal Eggs” by Mikhail Bulgakov the first draft of the paper is due

Text List (Required):
The Russian Revolution by Sheila Fitzpatrick (3rd edition), Oxford University Press, 2008
Chelkash and Other Stories by Maxim Gorky, Dover Thrift Editions, 1991
“Ten Days That Shook the World” by John Reed, Penguin Classics, 2007
White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov translated by Marian Schwartz, Yale University Press, 2008
“The Fatal Eggs and Other Soviet Satire” by Mikhail Bulgakov translated by Mirra Ginsburg, Grove Press, 1996

Text List (Recommended):
A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891 – 1924 by Orlando Figes, Penguin Books, 1996
The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction by S. A. Smith, Oxford University Press, 2002
Memoirs of a Revolutionary by Victor Serge, New York Review Books Classics, 2011

List of Feature Films:
Battleship Potemkin directed by Sergei Eisenstein, 1925
October: Ten Days that Shook the World directed by Grigory Alexandrov and Sergei Eisenstein, 1927
Earth directed by Alexander Dovzhenko, 1930
Chapayev directed by brothers Vasiliev, 1934
The White Sun of the Desert directed by Vladimir Motyl, 1969

Chapter 2.3 “Rules” for Traditional African Art

Fig. 123. Even a whistle often bears a human image. Holo artist, Democratic Republic of Congo, 19th-20th century. Ivory. Courtesy Dallas Museum of Art, 1969.S.62. The Clark and Frances Stillman Collection of Congo Sculpture, gift of Eugene and Margaret McDermott

Africa is immensely varied in visual expression. Even though our course concentrates on art south of the Sahara desert (with one upcoming exception), the variety of traditional art is still immense. Nonetheless, a group of traits applies generally to most figurative African traditional art. When these rules are broken, which sometimes happens, it is noteworthy.


Fig. 124. This Tsonga headrest from South Africa or Zimbabwe incorporates a rare depiction of an inanimate object without a human presence. © British Museum, Af1954,+23.1824. Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Traditional African art is human-centered. This is true even in abstract terms: body arts are by definition concerned directly with human beings, structures are built on a human scale, textiles are meant to wrap around a person or decorate their environment, pots are meant for their direct use. Many utilitarian objects that require no ornamentation–combs, cups, spoons, whistles (Fig. 123)–are nonetheless ornamented with human faces or bodies. In figurative terms, it is clear that most traditional African representations typically depict one of two things: human beings or animals. Landscape references do not exist, for the most part, nor does still life imagery of inanimate objects or flowers and fruit. When such portrayals occur, these exceptions deserve comment (Fig. 124).

Fig. 125. This machine-embroidered Asante textile from Ghana includes the elephant as a symbol of leadership, along with other leadership metaphors, including some inanimate object. 20th century. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 86.100.42. Gift of Roberta and Richard Simmons. Public domain. CLICK TO ENLARGE Fig. 126. The crocodiles on this masquerade’s brass headpiece emerge from the nostrils of a deified ritual specialist, signifying the power of his very breath. Ritual specialists are believed to be able to move from this human world to the supernatural world. Edo artist, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria, 18th century. © British Museum, Af1944,04.12. Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Fig. 128. The child on his mother’s back turns his head, breaking frontality. Children are not expected to be consistently dignified. Yoruba artist from Oyo, Nigeria, first half 20th century. Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1989.723. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harrison Eiteljorg.

This concentration on the human form (even if it represents spirits or deities, which it sometimes does) is greater than what is found in most parts of world art history. When animals appear, they are rarely just allusions to the human habitat. While they can represent simple game in a hunting society, they are more likely metaphors for certain types of human beings or for human traits. Leopards and elephants, for example, often relate to rulership or leadership, because of their deadliness or power, respectively. They are not simply observed animals who happen to appear locally. Many of these are part of the verbal world featuring in commonly-used proverbs that make their visual occurrences easily interpretable to their audience. An Akan proverb from Ghana states, “No one following an elephant has to worry about vines catching him”, i.e. the elephant plows down all obstacles in its path. This refers to a chief or other powerful man, who clears the way for those who are attached to him. Because verbal references like this are part of the culture, representations of the elephant instantly call to mind the chief (Fig. 125).

One category of animals frequently occurs in art: the liminal animal. Liminality, in general, refers to a state of in-betweenness the word’s Latin origin means “threshold,” and defines a state that is between two defined identities. In the insect world, a caterpillar and a butterfly are two distinct identities of one insect, and the cocoon marks its liminal state. In African cultural life, some societies mark the liminal state of man’s changing identities of child and adult with initiation, a period of transition and transformation. The liminal animal, however, is at a threshold of a different source. This is a class of animals that regularly lives in two distinct worlds. Some liminal animals commonly depicted in African art move between land and water, such as tortoises, crocodiles, pythons and other water snakes (not snakes in general), and mudfish, a catfish-related animal that can crawl on damp earth or survive in mud for extended periods. Others move between land and sky, such as most birds. Animals like this can represent people who move between the two worlds of humans and spirits, that is, priests/priestesses, ritual specialists (Fig. 126), monarchs, and witches.

Fig. 127. Frontal figure on a Kanyok waterpipe from Democratic Republic of Congo, late 19th/early 20th century. Dallas Museum of Art, 1969.S.18. The Clark and Frances Stillman Collection of Congo Sculpture, gift of Eugene and Margaret McDermott. Public domain.


Frontality refers to the position of the body in both two and three dimensions. In a frontal depiction, the head and spine are perfectly aligned in a straight line (Fig. 127). The position of arms and legs is immaterial, but the head cannot turn or tilt. This reinforces formality it is a pose that artists have employed throughout world art’s history when representing deities and rulers. Frontality imbues a figure with a sense of permanence and dignity. The concept of frontality only applies to human beings, since animals’ heads and spines are not normally aligned, and it only refers to representations that at least include a torso i.e. masks are not referred to as frontal.

In traditional African art, the non-frontal figure is usually negligible–a child (Fig. 128), a member of an entourage, or some lesser being. Even these individuals are usually depicted frontally, however.

Fig. 129. Although this Mende figure from Sierra Leone has been photographed in a three-quarter view, you can “draw” an invisible line down the middle of the face and it continues between the breasts through the rest of the torso–it’s frontal. 1920-1950. Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1995.131. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harrison Eiteljorg. Fig. 130. The self-composed expression of this Fang head is typical of traditional African art. 1875–1925. Photo Thomas R. DuBrock. Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 2009.485. Museum purchase funded by the Alice Pratt Brown, Museum Fund. Public domain.

It’s vital to remember that photographers often prefer to take object photos from an angle, so a viewer’s immediate impression may not be that of frontality. If the alignment of facial features on a vertical axis conforms to the known line of the spine, however, discernment of frontality is easily achieved (Fig. 129).


An emphasis on dignity and permanence also favors the representation of stillness in figurative art. Movement is temporary and implies some form of work, however tangential. Stillness underlines the innate qualities of an elevated being. Although the mother in Fig. 128 above is not quite frontal, since her head’s angle does not match that of her spine, she is shown in a still, kneeling position of maximum dignity.

Self-Composure (Expressionlessness)

With very few exceptions, traditional African art does not display human emotions. This is a reflection of desirable public display (a ruler at a festival, an initiation girl when presented to the public, a politician posing for a formal photograph). The ideal “face” is that of serene self-composure, unrocked by moods and reactions to others. This same ideal applies to artistic imagery. Figures normally have a restrained, dignified expression on their faces, without scowls or smiles (Fig. 130). When figures do show their teeth, it may be meant as an aggressive gesture (Fig. 126 above).


Fig. 131. This Ewe twin figure from Togo represents a child that died in infancy, yet the carving provides her with full breasts, allowing her to achieve the ideal age she was never able to reach.

Ephebism refers to ideal age. Culturally, age is valued and venerated in Africa, with privileges not found among the young. Nonetheless, representations usually show individuals at a fully adult age that is still replete with physical vigor, yet without youthful recklessness–the maturity and power of someone in their early 30s. Even when a sculpture represents an elder, his face does not reflect his age. Instead, cultural cues (which vary according to ethnic group) may indicate advanced years. In Baule sculpture, for example, a beard is visual shorthand for an elder, yet the faces of bearded figures lack wrinkles or sagging skin (Fig. 130). Youthful musculature usually also marks the elder’s physique.

Fig. 130. The beard of this early 20th-century Baule figure indicates an elder, yet his face is smooth and wrinkle-free. Brooklyn Museum, 22.1091. Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund. Creative Commons-BY.

Hardly any artworks depict visible older individuals, but those rare instances that do are usually representations of those who lack social position and therefore do not need to be flattered. Conversely, although we see infants held by their mothers, older children cannot be distinguished. There are even times when infants are represented as adults because of ideal age–that is, in some West African cultures, twins who died in infancy are carved as fully grown adults, visually appeased by providing them with the bodies they never attained. (Fig. 131).


Most traditional African art avoids naturalism in favor of abstraction, although there is a full spectrum between the extremes of each. There are examples of naturalism, they are simply not standard (Fig. 132). Disinterest in realism often seems conceptual over-sized heads on Yoruba figures, for example, exemplify philosophical underpinnings that equate the head with one’s destiny

Fig. 132. This Efut masquerade from Nigeria has a very naturalistically-rendered face. Late 19th/early 20th century. Princeton University Art Museum, 1997-6. Gift of the Friends of the Princeton University Art Museum on the occasion of the 250th Anniversary of Princeton University. artmuseum.princeton.edu Fig. 133. Maskette (lukwakongo), ca. 1900. Lega artist, Democratic Republic of Congo. Princeton University Art Museum, 2015-6700. Gift of Perry E. H. Smith, Class of 1957. artmuseum.princeton.edu

and worthy of honor. Quite a lot of African art is fairly naturalistic, even if exaggerations and distortions occur, but even extreme abstraction (Fig. 133) has identifiable characteristics that permit recognition of humanity.

Generic Physiognomy

When a traditional African artist creates a face, his training tends to ensure that face is consistent with other faces he makes. That is, learning how to make an eye, fashion a nose, or abstract an ear becomes habitual, and artists develop a “type” that they tend to reproduce instead of individualizing each face. Producing faces that resemble specific individuals is extremely rare rather, generic physiognomy is the rule. This tends to work hand-in-hand with abstraction, but is evident even in fairly naturalistic works.

While the apprenticeship system partially explains this approach, it may not be the whole story. Avoidance of specificity may have its distant origins in concerns that reproducing someone’s face might have nefarious origins, meant to control them or cause harm.

Hieratic Scale

Fig. 134. These three figures all represent adults. The one at center is the monarch, flanked by two of his chiefs. Their height disparity distinguishes their social status. He is larger, thus clearly more important. Yale Art Gallery, 2006.51.194. Gift of Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933. Public domain.

Scale, as we’ve previously discussed, relates to relative size, while hierarchy is a social sorting system–some people are at the top, others in the middle, with still others at the bottom. In art, hieratic scale or hierarchical scale or social scale all mean the same thing: figures whose size indicates their relative social standing. This concept applies only when we aren’t looking at single figures. A size relationship must be present, and this cannot be a natural size relationship–babies are naturally smaller than adults, and this does not reflect their social status. Under hieratic scale, three figures of varying heights in an artwork do not indicate three figures who happen to be taller or shorter than each other. Instead, the largest figure is the most important, while the middle one is of lesser significance and the smallest are inconsequential in comparison. This is determined by rank (Fig. 134), rather than individual worth or age the child of an important figure might be rendered larger than a member of that figure’s entourage, despite a reverse height disparity in actual life.

Distorted Body Proportion

Fig. 135. This Dogon figure from Mali has an elongated torso and very short legs. Quai Branly Museum, 71.1935.60.371

Abstraction in African art often means the exaggeration or distortion of one or more aspects of the body. Some Chokwe figures, for example, have enormous hands and feet. Dogon sculpture can have extremely elongated necks and/or torsos (Fig. 135), or Chamba figures may have shoulders that push forward in an unnatural manner (Fig. 136).

Fig. 136. This Chamba figure from Northern Nigeria has huge hands, as well as shoulders that hunch forward in an unrealistic manner. Brooklyn Museum, 2011.31.1. Gift in honor of William C. Siegmann in recognition of his contributions to the study and understanding of African Arts 2011.31.1. Creative Commons-BY. Fig. 137. Despite the fact that these three adults have differing heights, their head-to-body ratios are all 1:7, natural proportions for adults. Photo of three Yoruba musicians, Aran Orin, Nigeria, 1977. Tropenmuseum. Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0, with overlays of heads added.

These are all distortions of the natural body and aspects of style that deserve mention, as are over- or undersized facial features. One of the most notable proportional distortions is that of the head to the body: that is, the head is often significantly oversized in African sculpture and can sometimes be undersized–but it is extremely rare for the head-to-body relationship to be represented naturalistically. What are natural head-to-body proportions in an adult (children, whose heads tend to be larger in relation to their bodies than those of adults, are not part of this equation)? They tend to be fairly consistent, despite variations in height, and are expressed in a mathematical ratio. That ratio is expressed as 1:x, with one representing the measurements of the person’s head, and x representing their height with the head as a unit. How many heads high is that person is the germane question, with the head measured from chin to top, discounting beards, hats, and coiffures. Actual humans’ head-to-body proportions are usually about 1:7 (Fig. 137)–the ratio always begins with 1 (the head as the measurement) and the second number indicates “how many heads high”, and includes the head itself.

African art displays a much greater variety of head-to-body ratios, as can be seen below (Fig. 138). Once you can visually isolate the head, you can mentally use it as a ruler to determine head-to-body proportions, using the same ratio of 1(head): x (heads) to describe it. This becomes challenging only when a figure is sitting, kneeling, or squatting, but follows the same principles one has to mentally wrap the heads (or portions of heads) around the bent joints.

Fig. 138. The disembodied heads demonstrate the head-to-body ratios of these figures. L to R: 1) Bamana figure, Mali,19th or 20th century. Brooklyn Museum, 76.20.1. Gift of Marcia and John Friede 2) Lega figure, DRC, late 19th or early 20th century. Brooklyn Museum, 74.66.1. Gift of Marcia and John Friede 3) Teke. Standing Female Figure (Buti), 19th or 20th century. Wood, 11 1/4 x 2 1/2 x 3 1/4in. (28.6 x 6.4 x 8.3cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.111. All photos Creative Commons-BY. Heads and text added, backgrounds cropped.

Were international sanction, or something of the like what helped this same group maintain power over Myanmar (then Burma) in the 2nd half of the 20th century?

Outside of some discouraging words of distaste, it appears the proactive nations opposing the military coup and genocide sweeping Myanmar, have turned only to a variety of targetted economic sanctions imposed, allegedly to weaken / stop bloodshed.

But given thos coup is part of the group of militants who reigned over myanmar quite a few decades in the latter 1900s, who flourished with government contracts and lack of international competition, while the people of the nation lived in extreme poverty with empty shelves, those sanctions seems almost pointless.

Was it economic sanctions or something similar imposed by other nations in their last run that produced the terrible (yet rewarding for elite) climate last century? what might be accredited to what they percieve to be their former success, outside of extreme income inequality and debilitating poverty?

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