Nihil's Essays

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Nihil's Essays

Post by Nihil on Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:11 am

EEEh why not XD i'll just post mah essays and stories here for constructive review


Weaponry of the First Great War


Upon the advent of war, many European countries had already developed a standing army along with many more modern weapons designed for killing. The five major developments of weaponry for this war were, in no specific order, breech loading weapons, machine guns, artillery, chemical weapons, and powerless smoke, all of which helped revolutionize the way that war would be fought and would also provide the massive killing power in which WWI’s infamy lies. Other minor developments of the war’s weaponry would go on to become major parts of WWII’s fighting.
The Breech loading gun was a revolution in, as the name should imply, the loading of weaponry. Instead of the traditional loading that required a soldier to push bullets down into the rifle and reload, the design used an innovative design style that allowed soldiers to open up a breech, in the back of the gun, and slide bullets down the breech, then closing it and preparing to fire, without having to re-lay after each shot. This style was much more effective than pushing them down from the front of the gun. The breech loading weapons also used a new recoil method that improved reload time, and fire rate. Artillery bombardments were made possible by this weapon because the artillery derives its effectiveness from its constant rate of rapid hits by artillery, because the soldiers no longer needed to force a shell down the front of the cannon and expose themselves to fire, or to wait for the barrel to return to insert a new shell, with the breech opening automatically. The best example of a Breech loading gun would be the “French 75” which became the model for all its successors in field guns, it incorporated the most efficient breech and recoil mechanisms that it was regarded widely as indispensable and by the end of the war, had been produced enough so as the supply the American Expeditionary Force. This new feature led to many of the ammunition shortages and many empty government coffers.
The Machine gun was one of the best and most deadly weapons on the front and was unrivaled in skilled use by the Germans. For instance, in the beginning of the war, at the Battle of Loos on September 26,1915, 10,000 British men, equivalent to twelve British Battalions, went "over the top", meaning that the soldiers went out of their trenches to attack, exposing themselves. Their attack was upon entrenched Germans not affected by the artillery intended to kill flush them out, when they returned about three and a half hours later, they had lost 385 officers and 7861 other soldiers while the entrenched Germans had lost not a man, this was because these German soldiers were manning a machine gun. The machine gun, first invented by Richard Jourdon Gatling, originally employed a cranking method that made it both ineffective and cumbersome. However, in 1869 Hiram Maxim improved the design inventing the first automatic machine that would be the basis for future designs. Before the war, Vickers was the only supplier of machine guns turning out about eleven within a year, however, with the start of the war the production of machine guns was taken up by other companies and production speed increased too, so rapidly, in fact, that sometimes both sides had more machine guns than they had soldiers trained to use them. With the war progressing, many people began to question the wisdom of using these guns because of the ammo consumption and the cost. General Haig even once insisted of the machine-gun that, "two per battalion is more than sufficient." Either way the machine gun was one of the most remarkable features of the war and its portrayal.
Another critical feature of battle was Artillery, the greatest killer of men in the first Great War. Artillery, having been significantly improved by the invention of the Breech in guns, was irrefutably one of the most important assets to any general of WWI attempting to gain ground on the enemies. Artillery had three main purposes, to soften up enemy defenses before having soldiers go "over the top," to cripple attack forces, and to provide support through both gasses and smokescreens. Artillery could also be divided into three main types, the simple HE, or high explosion type, shrapnel, and gas or smoke. Shrapnel shells were used during WWI most notably to cut enemy steel wire, however, the most effective and useful type of explosive was the simple HE shell, because its jagged shards flew in random directions allowing more hits and use as a multipurpose shell, instead of the shrapnel that usually did not go in more than one general direction, albeit this trait made it more useful for damaging enemy wires. Another version of artillery was the trench mortar, this was used to attack enemies in the trenches because of its upward angle, which allowed the capacity of hitting the enemy trenches with a shell moving with more downward momentum rather than forward, it was, however, a short range weapon. Artillery was used during WWI more than any preceding war had. A case and point example would be the Battle of Verdun where, between February 21 and July 15, 1916, the German and French fired about 23,000,000 shells at one another. The rate at which belligerents went through artillery would lead to huge ammunition shortages and money losses.
The Germans on the Eastern Front against the Russians first used chemical weapons, a unique part of WWI, in January 1915. The Germans fired shells containing Chlorine at the Russians to great affect. Unfortunately, at that time there were no gas masks so that the Germans could not defend against their own gas attacks should the wind blow it back upon them. On the Western Front, it was first used at the Battle of Ypres. The effects of the early gas attacks with chlorine were less effective than the gases used later in the war, like mustard gas, which was a weapon that created horrible skin blisters, blindness and burnt out lungs. Besides gases, flamethrowers, which brought about almost instantaneous cremation, were used too, and although it was first used by the allies, specifically the French, at the Battle of Argonne Forest, the Germans were the first to perfect the weapon and its use.
An important development that would affect all parts of war was the development of smokeless powder. Before its invention, shots could be easily distinguished by their emission of a black powder, the new smokeless powder was the solution to this vexing problem allowing shots to fire without the black smoke giving away positions. Even more importantly, the new smokeless powder was did not consume powder as much as its predecessors but still propelling the bullet. In fact, less powder propelled the bullets now faster than before with the black powder. This had two important effects on the war, one was that it allowed the war to be carried on longer since less powder was now needed to fire, and thus, more shells could be used because the powder was not as much of a concern, secondly, this allowed massive armies to be created because more powder would be readily available for them, since the smokeless powder consumed less per shot, which in turn would lead to the mass production of ammunition.
Although the trench warfare of WWI is known well for its use of artillery, machine guns, and rigid lines, other weapons were used that would evolve into critical parts of WWII. The First Great War saw the debut of planes on the battlefield. At first, they were used for bombing the enemy, but this was soon realized to be too ineffective because of poor aim and the bombers being too cumbersome for such missions. They later were used for aerial reconnaissance, which led to the dogfights in the skies, resulting in the airplane's most important purpose being a defense against the enemies aerial reconnaissance eThe planes of WWI also proved very useful for aerial photography. Planes had little effect on the overall outcome of the war, as their uses were too limited, as many soldiers on the ground argued. In the course of the war, the allies would come to dominate the skies.
Tanks, another weapon making its premiere on the battlefield in WWI, would also be used later, much improved, in WWII. Tanks predecessors on the battlefield could be considered the idea of armored tractors, which were used, with not much effect, in the Crimean War. Mechanical parts were developed later that would readily solve some of the problems of the Tanks used in the Crimean War, one of these was the development of Diesel fuel in 1892. Diesel fuel powered the Simms War Car, an armored vehicle with limited weaponry, however the British government rejected this. Later with the rigid fronts causing a deadlock, the British Admiralty, Winston Churchill, began a secret project to break this stalemate, he called the vehicle in development a tank to confuse the Germans. In spite of their work, actual combat with tanks was very limited even when British factories produced them in concert with Churchill's order of 10,000 tanks from the U.S. One fundamental reason for the lack of combat worked in tandem with another vital fact, the order to the U.S was never being completely filled, American factories only made seventy-nine in the course of the war, of which, only fifteen ever made it to France, and, meriting by the few made, platoons that were sent out to assault the enemy that were too small to make any significant difference.
WWI was known as the first total war, where the government took over industry and issued rationing to their people in order to help fund the war cause. Propaganda demeaning their opponents with, usually, lies, was also a prevailing characteristic of the war. The relative peace combined with the militarism propelled countries in the creation of new, more deadly, weapons, such as chemical agents, improved artillery and guns. Although these achievements were amazing technological advances, other weapons were used too, like barbed wire, which had originally been used for nonmilitary purposes. It happens to be that the majority of injuries would come from artillery strikes, accounting for fifty-eight percent of all deaths; the likewise improved guns totaled thirty-eight percent, their bayonets, less than one. Grenades, or bombs, which had fallen out of use before WWI for an obscure reason, resulted in the majority of the remaining deaths. The drastic improvements made on weapons could be said to have ultimately cost less lives than their effects on strategy. Military strategy had previously favored a complete offensive, with trench warfare, this changed. The new improvements in weapons favored a defensive strategy while the generals of the nations still relied on the old tactics of complete offensive, it was a lesson that they would learn too little too late.
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Nihil

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Re: Nihil's Essays

Post by Nihil on Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:14 am

I thought this one's title was pretty bad XD and i thought it might be in general Sad

i had to choose a social lens of the time and interpret this play through it, i choose the Marxist lens, which is basically about social equality i thought


Nora’s Social and Economic Hypocrisy

The work, A Doll’s House, produced in 1879, was written by the Norwegian, Henrik Ibsen. It was both a work of groundbreaking social thought and typical life, two dissonant themes for the time. The complexity of the characters, like the overbearing spouse Torvald Helmer, the duplicitous Krogstad, and the loyal Mrs. Linde, provide the framework within which the somber reality of the social injustices are pictured. The female protagonist, Nora, as written by Ibsen, the wife of Torvald, was well suited to the task of filling in the picture, as her interaction with the characters around her demonstrates. As such, Nora will be the focus of this essay.
The cordial relation of Nora and Ms. Linde, her childhood friend and widower, is irregular, the give and take equality of a friendship seems to be undermined by Nora’s own feelings of economic superiority as she flaunts her husband’s new post at the bank, “Did you hear of the wonderful luck we had recently…My husband’s been made manager in the bank, just think!” (1025). This feeling is further demonstrated by the fact that Nora had said within the same context, that she wanted to make the day about Ms. Linde, who was out of work and widowed. Nora, with hypocrisy, then continues to talk about herself. This relation develops into the aforementioned inequality with Nora taking more and giving less in both respects of help and sympathy. “Yes, I’ll go get Mrs. Linde to help me.” (1044). Christine frequently meets with Linde to air her anxieties, while Ms. Linde sits in obeisance. One, however, may argue that the capitulatory relation formed between Ms. Linde and Nora revolved around the matter of the favor that Nora did Ms. Linde by getting her a job at the bank. Nevertheless, strong rebuttals are available in the text and its interpretation. Throughout the play, Ms. Linde, agreeably does whatever she deems in Nora’s favor, and completes it in the prevailing disposition of duty. What is more disheartening is that she fails to realize this predicament. This unjust inequality was the typical norm of the time and is challenged by the author’s decision to make the submissive friend the wiser and the more powerful.
What makes the short story unique, however, is that it plays two dissonant notes simultaneously; it juxtaposes the typical with radical new ideas. The prototypical society of the time period sounds harshly with the idea of more autonomy for women. Nora is revealed to have taken a loan from Krogstad to pay for a trip away to save her husband’s life, as was the practice of curing some illnesses during this time. Besides the forgery of her father’s name, as it was customary for a woman to have a male signatory, Nora does this without Torvald’s knowledge. Nora is, thus, uneasy about the subject because of its scandalous nature, “Yes, at odd jobs–needlework, crocheting, embroidery, and such–(Casually.) and other things too. You remember that Torvald left the department when we were married.” (1026). The author’s dispersion of these certain fragments of colloquial jitteriness is that queer dissonance when juxtaposed alongside the guise that Nora puts up of a typical woman, sedentary, and uniform in ideology to her husband. Nora is, however, wholly the opposite of this caricature of women. She takes the bold and necessary steps to save her husband’s life by taking a loan from Krogstad. Her boldness is shown through her blatant admission to having forged a signature in order to procure the loan and her perseverance is pointed to by her conversation with Mrs. Linde, “Then you’re the witness that it isn’t true, Kristine. I’m very much myself; my mind right now is perfectly clear; and I’m telling you: nobody else has known about this; I alone did everything. Remember that.
It is plain throughout the story that the author intended for Nora’s character to be provocative and revolutionary to the minds of playgoers. Her actions, reflecting the growing movement for more autonomy for women, would stand out most definitively in their minds, albeit, the play also displayed the immoral norm of the day, again, using Nora’s actions as a medium. Ibsen, however, uses this play to challenge accepted society and attempts to insinuate favor of women’s desire to attain their well deserved equality to their male counterparts. Sadly, this play was changed by Ibsen’s own hand in order to be showed in because of this radical tone. Thus, it was both a victory and a defeat, the play was circulated, and the idea was spread, but the play was initially put down and changed. It wouldn’t be until after his death that Women would gain the great leaps in the path to equality that they had fought for.
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Re: Nihil's Essays

Post by Nihil on Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:48 pm

a philosophical thing for my World Studies class regarding generalizations

W.S II
11.5.09


Generalization can be useful because it can give a person a sense of another without actually knowing them. In many situations, an idea of what group a person fits into can usually help a person in their approach. For instance, in a neighborhood, a man or woman might call the police to inform them of a break in by a thief to their house, if the police officer sees two different men, one dressed in work clothes and one dressed in the clothes of the street, trying to enter one house, if he doesn't know the address to the house that was being broken into, then he should pull over to the man in the street clothes. One may also think of generalization as a blind man's cane, though he can't feel the ground, he is able to feel the ground, he has a cane to define it for him. It is in this way that we are blindfolded to all individuals around us until we meet them, and to talk, one must take off their blind fold.

Unfortunately, generalization can lead to awkward situations and unwanted consequences. Generalizing an individual not only makes a person predisposed, in a sense, to like or dislike the person, because of their own view of this individual, but also may make a person uncomfortable or unkind to or around the individual. People are more likely to ignore someone they generalize into a specific group and sometimes, when their feelings are made evident to those around them, can make the target of generalization angered. Wide spread practice of this can often lead to some of the most detestable practices in human existence, slavery, and racism.

Tannen, I believe, is incorrect. Wright's belief that he cannot be classified results from his own pride. No one individual, except those who truly conform, almost solely under the pretense of gaining acceptance within that particular group, can be classified. However, every person falls into one of many broad categories, this is acceptable and natural. Every person is unique, and they should have pride in that, but what they should not do is boast that they cannot be classified. Every person acknowledges, or at least should, that every person across this planet is notable in their own way, it is what makes our species equal, but the boast that one cannot be classified is unsettling; if one enjoys running, then he/she falls into a category of runners, if a person is an early bird, then he/she falls into another category. What makes each individual in a category different is the magnitude, or the extremism of these tendencies and preferences. It is almost hypocritical to say that race or culture does effect a person, but that is not how a person should be judged. I, personally, have been friends with a wide variety of races, from Asian, to African, to Indian, to my own race, and from I have learned, is that culture and race have very degrees of intensity on a person, which is beautiful. A generalization should not include character, but preferences, and it is fair to assume, since I am a middle class white male, that I don't like rap, which I don't, or not like jazz, which I am actually quite fond of. If a person assumes this of me, then I would prefer that such a person bothers not with this, but uses it as a general idea of how I might expect a stranger to act when approaching me in friendship. So, this means that Tannen's statement cannot explain why Wright made the conclusion he did.

I believe I can classified broadly, but with varying degrees as every other human should be. If i met a bearded Muslim man, I would either assume that he was a devout Muslim or culturally influenced, but I would also assume that since he is in America and is wearing very American clothing, that he has adopted more of the American culture and that I could approach him as I would do another American, and not as I would a Muslim from another country. Again, generalizations should be adopted from the afore prescribed conditions, but also from experience. The Islamic religion is a very strict one that has gradually become less so, however, if an immigrant came here from, say, Iraq or Iran, I would treat he/she with the same air of kindness, but with caution, to get a feel of a new kind of person. If I met any person, there generalization should be based upon past experiences with such culturally influenced individuals, and of their interactions with others, so that I may get a feel of their disposition. Generalization should be a presumption, a painted face to replace one which you yourself can't fill in not knowing the person.
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