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C O U R S E 
The Great War and Modern Philosophy
Nicolas de Warren, KU Leuven University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
1916 Zurich and Perspectives on the Great War
Notes taken on January 13, 2016 by Edward Tanguay
artists and intellectuals say the Great War both as
1. bringing something to an end
European civilization
2. an opportunity for something new
an alternative future
a microcosm of these different attitudes
James Joyce is writing Ulysses
1904–20: Trieste and Zurich
Hugo Ball
1916, created the Dada Manifesto
co-founder of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich,
1920, settled in Zurich
Stefan Zweig
born in Vienna
Zweig studied philosophy at the University of Vienna and in 1904 earned a doctoral degree with a thesis on "The Philosophy of Hippolyte Taine", religion did not play a central role in his education. "My mother and father were Jewish only through accident of birth."
in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most popular writers in the world
sees the Great War as the destruction of the old world
sees the war as an opportunity
"Socialism and War"
has an aggression on two fronts
1. against the imperial powers that be
2. toward other socialists
more venomous than what he has to say about imperial powers
feels other socialists have betrayed the socialist cause
in Zurich, in a neutral country, the refugees and intellectuals of the war are observing the world in flames around them
July crisis
after assassination attempt of Archducke Ferdinand
attempt in Brussels to bring together the second international
Second International (1889–1916)
the original Socialist International, was an organization of socialist and labor parties formed in Paris on July 14, 1889
brought together the social parties in Europe
to confirm what they agreed upon in 1912, that in case of war, the socialist parties would call out a strike
but what happened was that the socialist parties of various nations rallied around their national causes
the idea of defensive war is rejected by Lenin
this brings to an end the Second International
the patriotic, nationalistic contamination of socialism
war is a continuation of politics by another means, and by this he means capitalism and the imperial powers
Europe is at the last stage of imperialism after the colonization of the world
now it is a kind of infighting among the bourgeois
there is nothing progressive, it is a war for the progression of suppression of the proletariat
one of the first to see WWI in terms of European imperialism
war was necessary for capitalist expansion
Lenin had studied Clausewitz
war becomes for Lenin civil war, and civil war is class conflict
whereas for Clausewitz it had been between states
for Lenin, war now become social revolution
lays the framework for anti-colonialists struggles through the 20th century
this is very different from Clausewitz which was about territorial gain
Lenin is much more radical
the liberation of the proletariat depends on the destruction of the capitalist system
this is Lenin's sense of "the enemy has to be destroyed" a total war, unlike Clausewitz