Labor Studies | Workers and War in the Twentieth Century
L290 | 25680 | Weinberg, Carl


3 cr hrs; Class Number 25680; 1:00-2:15 PM, Tuesday/Thursday.

The story of the world’s wars usually revolves around top generals,
politicians, financiers and captains of industry.  But ordinary
working-class people do the lion’s share of the fighting, dying and
physical labor.  Their struggles in wartime have had profound
consequences.  In 1917 Russia, a working- class women’s protest over
wartime food prices evolved into a series of two massive revolutions
that pulled Russia out of World War I and changed the face of world
politics.  The revolt of workers in Spain in the 1930s led to a
bloody civil war, gave rise to Spanish fascism and provided Hitler a
chance to try out his airforce in a “dress rehearsal” for World War
II.  The fight of Vietnamese workers and peasants for social justice
and national independence led to the first military defeat for the
United States,  which still haunts American politics today.  Who
benefits from war?  Who pays the biggest price?  How does war change
social roles?  Can war be good for workers?  Are some wars worth
fighting?  Are workers who go on strike during wartime unpatriotic?
Who is the real enemy?  This course explores these issues by
examining major armed conflicts during the twentieth century around
the globe.  They include the American experience of two world wars, a
civil war in Europe, regional wars of liberation in Africa and Asia,
a “counter-insurgency war” in Latin America and the recent wars in
Iraq.  Instructor: Carl Weinberg, DLS, IUB.