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A collaborative, international program

by academic research libraries
to encourage, recognize, and preserve
excellence in student scholarship

S 2016 and 2017
2016 and 2017


Manuscript Editors: Nathalie Joseph, Arjun Ahuja, and Amanda Blumenthal
Design: Howard Philips Smith
Production Coordinator: Tyson Gaskill

© 2017 USC Libraries Press
All rights reserved.

ISBN 978-0-9991348-1-8
Library of Congress Control Number: 2017952808

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written
permission from the publisher, except in the context of reviews.
Contents 2016
Catherine Quinlan

Nathalie Joseph

Francesca Bessey
Janie Chen

Shayna Cooperman

Isabella Estrada

Sydney Fishman

Daniella Lent-Schochet

J. August Luhrs

Jack Merritt

William Orr

Evan Pensis

Erin Rode

Marci Vogel
Contents 2017
Jennifer Bailey

Jori Barash
Miranda Drolet

Abigail Eineman

Adam M. Gonzales

Max Kapur

FROM 1933–1945
Brittney Kidwell

Jane Kim

Kenneth Lee
Connie Li and Linda Xu

William Orr

Lilly Taing

Dean of the USC Libraries

This volume marks the seventh year that the USC Libraries have collaborated
with partners on campus and around the Pacific Rim to publish a selection of USC
students’ inventive research and excellent writing. The papers have indeed been
outstanding from the very beginning, and each new volume reveals more of the
remarkable sophistication and expansive intellectual reach that our students are
capable of achieving. I am proud of their accomplishments and honored that our
libraries are able to share their work with their peers far and wide.

The subject matter of this year’s double volume of Outstanding Academic Papers
by Students (OAPS) has a decidedly international aspect. Multidisciplinary studies
of regions and nations throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America
appear in these pages and demonstrate how our students seek their discoveries
far beyond the borders of our campus. This edition of OAPS communicates—
perhaps more demonstrably than ever before—just how committed our students
are to participating meaningfully in academic and professional communities that
are truly global in thought and practice.

It’s particularly gratifying that two essays this year speak directly to issues of
urgent significance to Los Angeles and Southern California—homelessness, and
the health and wellbeing of the homeless; and the future of our transportation
infrastructure. California and the American West are major areas of collecting
for our libraries and are among our greatest strengths, particularly in terms of
primary resources. To see our students produce excellent scholarship in these
areas—and to recognize and promote the new knowledge they’ve created—is a
wonderful responsibility and privilege.

I would like to thank Professor Steve Ching of the City University of Hong Kong and
founder of the OAPS Task Force for inviting the USC Libraries to join OAPS in 2010.
I also would like to thank our manuscript editors: Nathalie Joseph, associate
professor of writing, and students Arjun Ahuja and Amanda Blumenthal. Each
year, they help us broaden the reach of OAPS among our Trojan community and
work to create a publication in which our libraries, our university, and most of all,
our contributors, can take great pride as we share it with the world.

Associate Professor, Writing Program
USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences

To be entirely transparent, a few years ago, many if not most of the articles in
OAPS were drawn from the Undergraduate Writer’s Conference. Soon thereafter,
in order to avoid a publication that represented only those subjects/majors
that seem to be easily conducive to good writing, a student editor and I began
soliciting articles and targeting underrepresented writers across campus. The
student editor for the 2016 edition was Arjun Ahuja; he worked with serious
dedication and patience to not only bring diversity to the student work that you
see here, but also a uniform quality of writing from article to article. In 2017,
Amanda Blumenthal worked with the same remarkable dedication to maintain
the impressive stature of the previous year’s edition. The appearance of both,
here in one volume, speaks to the consistency of the quality of our students’
critical thinking and writing.

But, what struck me the most during the meetings I held with Arjun and then
Amanda was that both editors repeatedly reported a lack of awareness among
students and faculty of the existence of so many undergraduate publications
on our campus, OAPS included. Recently, Professor Norah Ashe and I gave
our annual presentation to a group of Gateway Scholars to not only increase
awareness but also demystify the publication process.

If you’ve got a copy of OAPS in your hand and are reading this intro, prepare
to be wowed by the really outstanding work put together by our students
(polished by our student editor to create a uniform publication, of course).
But, while you’re being wowed, be aware that you too are capable of impressive
critical thinking and writing. You need not prepare an entirely new project for a
publication; in a sense, once you’ve done a paper for class, you’ve done most

of the work already. Then, there’s some adjustment for an audience who is free
to leave. Let me explain. Faculty, especially when we’re grading, are a captive
audience. We’ve prepared an assignment, you’ve written in response to that
prompt, and now we’re obligated by our jobs (and some guilt for assigning
thoughtful yet difficult tasks) to read your work. We read, we think about what
you’re saying, we come up with useful ways to get you to improve what you’re
saying . . . and the cycle continues.

But, the audience for a publication can just walk away or worse, flip to the next
article. So, they require some special handling, some adjustments to make
homework sound well, less like homework. You have to capture their attention,
tell them something they haven’t heard before, and then show them that you’re
actually right about it all. In short, you have to do many of the same things that
faculty do when publishing articles. But, it’s not as hard as it sounds; much of it
is remembering that you have to engage the reader and that the reader needs
quality ideas as encouragement to stay put and keep reading.

As with most things, the first step is probably the hardest and weirdest. Pick
a paper you’re proud of, ask a faculty member to mentor you or provide some
commentary for revision, and get in touch with one of the many publications on
our campus, OAPS included.

In closing, a warm thanks goes out to the Scribe staff for their careful reading
of literally hundreds of pages of student writing. A loud thanks goes out to the
authors of these articles themselves. You are the reason why we faculty come to
work to pick up stacks of papers to read semester after semester; the excitement
of finding something new, something we hadn’t thought of has us turning page
after page. Keep the “new” coming and we’ll keep reading.
SECTION ONE: 2016 Essays
Mothers Made Midwives: A Bottom-Up
Solution for Top-Down Disempowerment

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Department of International Relations
Eliz Sanasarian, Faculty Advisor

In 2015, 303,000 women around the world died from pregnancy or childbirth-
related complications—approximately 830 women per day.1 A fatality risk that
exclusively affects child-bearing women, maternal mortality poses perhaps the
greatest obstacle to parity between men’s and women’s health worldwide. For
women living in developed countries, the risk of death during childbirth represents
all but a myth; however, in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounted for more than
50% of maternal deaths in 2015, maternal mortality ratios (MMR) can be greater
than 1 in every 100 live births.2 This is not the vision of women’s health that
inspired the United Nation’s fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG 5), which
called for a three-quarters reduction in the global MMR between 1990 and 2015.3
As the international community passed the MDG deadline significantly short of its
objectives (the 2015 figures represent an approximately 44% reduction), we must
ask ourselves: why have we not met our target? To say the MDGs were idealistic or
overambitious hardly seems to be a fair argument. If billions of dollars have been
invested, if the United Nations has made this a public priority, what we have is not
a failure to be realistic about what we can achieve, but a failure to be strategic
about what we have been given to do it.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the vast majority of
maternal deaths are “completely preventable” and due to the lack of skilled care
before, during, and after childbirth. The risk of maternal mortality is highest
for adolescent girls under the age of fifteen, and complications in pregnancy
and childbirth are the leading cause of death among adolescent girls in most
developing countries.4 These data are tragic in their depiction of just how
unnecessary maternal death truly is. The international community has failed

to protect women from death in the very act of giving life, despite having
the resources to do so. As this paper will highlight, the failure has largely
to do with obstacles posed by the state and the foreign aid bureaucracy to
generating effective programming for the reduction of maternal death. What
I propose is an approach that bypasses both of these institutions and instead
focuses on building strategies within communities to provide lasting support
to mothers and vulnerable girls. A program that provides midwifery training
for at-risk young women and subsidizes these women’s services for mothers
within their communities can address both teenage pregnancy and inadequate
care in childbirth—both pieces of the tragic puzzle that is preventable
maternal mortality.

A major obstacle to effective approaches to maternal mortality in sub-Saharan
Africa seems, unfortunately enough, to be the sub-Saharan African state.
The book Women, the State, and Development outlines a useful theoretical
framework for analyzing issues concerning states and gender through three
lenses: state officials, state policy, and state definitions of politics (ideology).
I focus here on the role played by state officials, as a means of demonstrating
how the state is a dead-end in terms of effective programming to combat
maternal mortality that can be put into immediate action.

Perhaps the most obvious way the sub-Saharan African state contributes to
women’s disempowerment is that the majority of national, provincial, and local-
level governments lack adequate representation for women. This includes both
the literal underrepresentation of women in politics—the regional average
for percentage of seats in parliaments is 22%—and the lack of constructive

discussion about many of the issues facing women, including maternal mortality.5
In an effort to fast-track women’s participation in politics, many countries
throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the world have introduced quota systems,
stipulating that a certain percentage or number of government seats must be
held by women. However, the presence alone of women in government does not
necessarily translate to the validation of their voices or the acknowledgment
of their concerns. In the summer of 2013, I conducted field research in four
provinces of rural Burundi on women’s representation at the provincial and local
levels of government. The results served as a serious reality check on the limits of
gender-based quotas for increasing women’s voice in politics. As demonstrated in
the chart below, the actual representation of women was in many cases far below
the 30% mandated by law for all levels of government. Additionally, civil society
representatives I interviewed affirmed that female representatives face further
obstacles upon being elected, including a fundamental distrust of their ability to
lead by their colleagues, a lack of confidence in their own abilities, and a general
lack of support from their women constituents.6

PROVINCE Cankuzo Ruyigi Kirundo Muyinga
PROVINCIAL 1/2 3/6 1/8 3/8
REPRESENTATION 50% 50% 12.5% 37.3%
COMMUNAL 25/75 36/105 35/105 35/105
REPRESENTATION 18.75% 34% 34% 34%
HILLS 86/435 141/749 7/965 23/250
REPRESENTATION 19% 19% < 0.01% 9.2%
ADMINISTRATIVE 2/5 2/7 2/7 2/7
POSITIONS HELD 40% 28.6% 28.5% 28.5%

Given these data, we must maintain a healthy degree of skepticism about the
ability of the state to either administer effective policy on women’s needs—
particularly their needs in childbirth, an exclusively female experience. Similarly,
any political system advanced by a state that has not yet developed the capacity
to treat its female elected representatives respectfully will likely not take any
sort of productive stance against maternal mortality. This is not to say the state
is a lost cause, but rather it has little to offer women while it remains largely a
“man’s” government. In fact, the greatest role the sub-Saharan African state
seems to play in maternal mortality at present is the increase in maternal death
that occurs when a state weakens or fails.

The current political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) offers a
particularly salient example. Activist groups, NGOs, and even state governments
have long called for greater transparency in the trade of minerals originating
in the eastern DRC, a trade which is believed to finance the activities of armed
groups responsible for perpetuating conflict and mass atrocities in the region
for the past two decades. The Congolese state has neither been able to contain
the unofficial war raging within its borders nor introduce measures to protect
afflicted citizens from further attack.7 The climate of violence against civilians
and against women in particular, and the displacement of large parts of the
population have taken a serious toll on maternal health. Between 1990 and 1995,
the MMR for the DRC actually increased, and its decline since then is a far cry
from rates consistent with MDG 5. Today, the country’s MMR is one of the highest
in the world, at 670 deaths per 100,000 live births, and the lifetime risk of
maternal death is 1 in 24.8 DRC was one of just five countries that accounted for a
full 48% of maternal deaths in 2005.9

When the state and other powerful entities stand in the way of their own
development, international assistance becomes increasingly important
in providing a way out for at-risk populations—in this case the mothers
of the developing world. However, an examination of the international aid
bureaucracy reveals additional obstacles to offering women the help they
desperately need in pregnancy and childbirth. In his book The White Man’s
Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and
So Little Good, William Easterly posits that two great tragedies plague the
world’s poor. One is simply poverty itself and its devastating effects, including
widespread death from diseases completely curable in the developed world.
The second tragedy is the $2.3 trillion spent by the West in foreign aid over
the past five decades seems to have hardly made a dent in these problems
despite the existence of life-saving medicines that cost as little as twelve
cents a dose.10 This is not simply a matter of funds stretched too thin, but of
an inefficiency in the way organizations use foreign aid. A study conducted by
the Center for Global Development concluded “when aid reaches about 16%
of GDP it more or less ceases to be effective.”11 Easterly blames the inefficiency
of the foreign aid machine on bad strategy, which he largely attributes to a
traditional development approach that is prescriptive rather than reactive.
Those who advocate this approach he terms “Planners,” whom he contrasts
with “Searchers,” who investigate the needs of a particular community or
region, design programming in response to those needs, and ensure follow-
through when those needs are not met. According to Easterly, “A Planner
believes outsiders know enough to impose solutions. A Searcher believes only
insiders have enough knowledge to find solutions, and that most solutions must
be homegrown.”12 He defines Searchers as a rare breed who consistently garner
more bang for their buck.

Compounding the issue, aid-financed projects often fail to provide sustainable
development resources in the world’s neediest countries. In analyzing data
on foreign aid, economist Paul Collier points out the grim reality that the real
economic growth of these countries over the past thirty years is effectively
negligible: “Without aid, cumulatively the countries of the bottom billion would
have become much poorer than they are today. Aid has been a holding operation
preventing things from falling apart.”13 Be it increases in GDP, quality of life,
or the percentage of women who can survive a pregnancy, positive indicators
of development serve as little more than a front for foreign dependency if
international aid is the sole mechanism propping them up. Development
strategies should integrate a means of transcending such dependency—or
else face a state’s inevitable backslide the moment the aid decreases or stops
altogether, not unlike the experience of newly independent states whose former
colonizers ran off with large shares of their raw material wealth. The solution does
not lie, however, in the transference of power from developed state interests to
the developing ones. As we have seen, the sub-Saharan African state is often
complicit in the disempowerment of mothers, and women more generally, which
leaves them at greater risk of death from pregnancy-related causes. A successful
approach must tackle the issue of disempowerment head on, by giving women
the tools to protect themselves from the risks associated with maternal mortality.

What kind of programming could be designed in order to place the responsibility
for protecting mothers in the hands of potential mothers themselves? The solution
lies in a role essential to the process of childbirth, yet often forgotten or trivialized in
Western framings of the maternal mortality problem. This is the role of the midwife.

The 2013 UN Fact Sheet on MDG 5 specifically highlights midwives in a number
of its “success stories” in moving toward a three-quarters reduction of the
global MMR. These stories include increasing the number of trained midwives in
Sierra Leone as part of a national healthcare program and updating midwives’
education in Bangladesh to comply with international midwifery standards. Of
particular note when we consider the challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa is the
community midwife initiative described in Yemen. Yemen’s UNICEF-supported
program trains midwives in rural areas, and partners with local authorities
and religious leaders in order to make the initiative sustainable and to raise
awareness about its positive impact.14

When it comes to maternal mortality, sub-Saharan Africa has many obstacles
in common with Yemen, including a high percentage of women who give birth
outside a healthcare facility and low numbers of skilled birth attendants.
Taken in consideration with the risk factors outlined above, as well as the
limitations on state and traditional foreign aid, I offer the following approach
to addressing these obstacles and reducing maternal mortality in the world’s
most at-risk region.

This approach seeks to fill the massive gap of skilled birth attendants for
communities—particularly rural and impoverished communities—in sub-
Saharan Africa, while simultaneously providing young women a means of
personal and financial empowerment that reduces their risk of out-of-wedlock
or early pregnancy and thus their own chances of maternal death. This would
be accomplished through the provision of free midwifery training to young
women in targeted communities. The training would integrate both basic

knowledge and technical skills for the safe delivery of a child, as well as a
broader overview of female reproductive health—including family planning
and HIV/AIDS prevention. Following completion of the training program,
these women would receive subsidies through the program for offering their
services to pregnant women in their own and neighboring communities.
Importantly, the midwife-mother relationship would go beyond the
moment of delivery, and include consultations focusing on prenatal health
and preparing for the birthing process. In addition, such consultations
would involve maternal recovery, the transition into motherhood, and
conversations about the mother’s future reproductive health, including—if
she were open to it—discussion of contraceptive use, other forms of family
planning, and HIV/AIDS prevention. Midwifery programs would be tailored to
the communities they were in, ideally practiced in partnership with a local
hospital or health facility and supervised by several experienced, respected
women from the community, preferably mothers themselves.

An essential component of the program would involve a greater degree of
autonomy given to the midwives. Over the course of many years, several
“generations” of young midwives and older supervisors would be trained and
deployed into the surrounding community. Through their work, they would
forge relationships among themselves and with patients and get to know
the community’s specific needs. Leaders, identified among the program
participants, would solicit feedback through these relationships and
incorporate this feedback into future training and program administration.
Much would be left open to the specific program implementer and
community in question, but the eventual goal would be an autonomous
association of midwives and reproductive health educators, sponsored by

the original organization or through partnerships that may have been forged
elsewhere during the project’s evolution. Through their work, the group
would advance the creation of an important norm for changing the abysmal
status quo of services offered to women in childbirth, by making the safe
delivery of the next generation a community responsibility.

The community midwives approach outlined above offers many unique benefits
that set it apart from traditional aid approaches and allow for the opportunity to
challenge overarching societal issues threatening maternal health in sub-Saharan
Africa. The World Health Organization identifies three essential strategies for
combating maternal mortality: (1) policymakers identifying needs and acting on
them; (2) a focus on provision of care by skilled nurses and midwives, and; (3)
guaranteed financial and geographical access to the necessary resources for
childbirth.15 This approach integrates all of these elements by: responding to
a specific maternal health need that plagues many communities and placing
a high premium on community feedback regarding that response; supplying a
committed and plentiful workforce of skilled birth attendants; and subsidizing
midwifery services so all women can have access to this essential resource.
The approach also provides a platform for the future advocacy of all three of
these points by employing a “treatment literacy” model that Sunanda Ray, Farai
Madzimbamuto, and Sharon Fonn explain has been so successful in combating
the spread of HIV/AIDS.16 By creating a concentrated knowledge base around
the issues of maternal health and safety, the program contributes to the
development of a more health-literate community better able to advocate for
itself and the rights of its constituents.

The approach also tackles a powerful contributing factor to teenage pregnancy
in sub-Saharan Africa: lack of opportunity for adolescent girls, particularly those
living in poverty. In a discussion paper on youth and violence in the sub-Saharan
nation of Burundi, researcher Mark Sommers examines several societal risk
factors associated with adolescent pregnancy and maternal death. Like many
young and poor women in sub-Saharan Africa, adolescent girls in Burundi often
fall prey to a sex industry that is as unsafe as it is lucrative. In Bwiza, a densely
populated neighborhood in Burundi’s capital city of Bujumbura, infamous for its
nightlife, the majority of young women are said to be prostitutes. Undoubtedly,
sex work pays: women interviewed by Sommers reported earnings as high as
$50,000 Burundian francs a night ($33 US), more than what many unskilled
laborers might earn in a month. Reward does inevitably come with risk, however.
Bwiza’s young prostitutes face high risks of rape, HIV infection, and of course,
unplanned pregnancy. The high earning potential of Bujumbura’s sex industry
makes it extremely attractive for young women, particularly—and perhaps
ironically in the Western view—those seeking a means to finance higher
education.17 The phenomenon of young women utilizing sex work as a means
of paying school fees highlights an important paradox in Burundian society,
where environments typically conceived as empowering for young women can
actually leave them at greater risk of sexual exploitation and bodily harm. In the
interviews conducted by Sommers in rural Burundi, where sex work proper is
far less common, informal transactional sex nevertheless occurs in educational
settings; “Adults, school officials and government officials all alleged that some
schoolgirls are impregnated by teachers.”18 Some reported that officials might
accept sex as a form of payment when a girl’s family could no longer afford the
required school fees.

Sommers also discusses how cultural imperatives around marriage and family
ironically place women at additional risk of early and out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
In the interviews he conducted in rural Burundian communities, “the focus on
being fortunate enough to marry was a persistent theme for adolescent girls and
female youth.” In a society where girls are often still considered second-class
citizens and burdens on their families, and where employment and educational
opportunities remain extremely limited for both young men and women, marriage
represents the surest means of social, economic, and physical security for the
adolescent female. This places a high premium on offers of marriage, which men
frequently use to “trick” young women into having sex with them. Unsurprisingly,
such sexual relationships usually continue until the young woman becomes
pregnant. The promise of marriage unfulfilled, the young mother turns to what
is often the only option for making ends meet—prostitution. Alternatively, in
any one of these scenarios, a young woman pregnant out of wedlock might
seek an illegal abortion, another major cause of maternal mortality. According
to Sommers, several parents and government officials explained there was a
traditional plant that, when mothers ingest it, can cause an abortion. However,
the plant is so strong it can also kill the mother.19 Indeed, as many as 13% of
maternal deaths can be attributed to unsafe abortion worldwide; in certain
sub-Saharan countries, this number may be as high as 25%.20 Whether involving
student or sex worker, abortion seems to be an occupational hazard for a
significant sector of the female Burundian, and sub-Saharan, population.

Circumstances for young women in Burundi thus highlight the close relationship
between maternal mortality, teenage pregnancy, and the disempowerment of
women and girls. Without a means of securing a stable economic future for

themselves, impoverished young women resort to exchanging sex for even a
chance at such security, be it a secondary education, the promise of marriage,
or the steady income offered by sex work. Midwifery training for young women
in communities affected by maternal mortality thus would not only serve
mothers, but the midwives themselves, by providing them a means of income
that does not inherently place them at risk. Organizations could also potentially
expand on the model by offering additional educational opportunities through
the same program. Such opportunities could again serve the twofold purpose of
empowering training participants with marketable skills and providing further
benefits to the afflicted community. English language classes, for example,
would both broaden employment opportunities for program participants as
well as allow midwives to more easily communicate with foreign NGOs about
the particular struggles faced by mothers in their communities. Such training
could prove extraordinarily valuable, providing young women the foundation
to pioneer their own public awareness and educational campaigns based on
the training they have received and offering a solution for transcending the
aid dependency dilemma identified by Collier. Ultimately, such approaches—
which not only seek to empower young women, but create channels through
which this empowerment can diffuse into afflicted communities—can begin
to chip away at unhealthy social norms that create such limiting pathways for
the sub-Saharan woman and mother. The concentration of programming on
young, unmarried, and at-risk women also has positive implications in light of
the personnel shortage within Sub-Saharan Africa’s healthcare sector. Nancy
Gerein, Andrew Green, and Stephen Pearson examine this shortage and identify
two major contributing factors that cause great detriment to the quality of care
available to women giving birth: the movement of trained health care workers
out of the sectors in which they are most desperately needed, and the health

of these workers themselves. As is the case with most forms of skilled labor,
healthcare professionals are subject to the global “brain drain”; according to the
researchers, an increasing number of nurse-midwives educated in traditional
settings are leaving their home countries for higher pay and more secure work
abroad. Those professionals who stay behind concentrate in urban and private
sector settings, leaving the already poorly serviced public and rural facilities
at an even greater disadvantage. A second challenge facing those workers who
remain in sub-Saharan Africa is they also remain a part of one of the most at-risk
populations for HIV/AIDS worldwide; in other words, another factor contributing
to the healthcare personnel shortage is the simple fact many of them die of
disease.21 The proposed midwifery training, however, would address these
issues largely through the targeted participants—young women in underserved
communities who would otherwise not have the opportunity to receive a formal
education and who would be selected specifically for their commitment to local
communities. Subsidized salaries and healthcare benefits would incentivize
participants to remain in the underserved sectors, while the opportunity to
earn a wage and respectable social status, combined with a comprehensive
education on the female reproductive system, would reduce unsafe sex practices
resulting from desperation or ignorance. Finally, as they point out, “Working
in an environment of under-staffing and attrition,” an inevitable consequence
of personnel shortage in such a high-stress circumstance, can reduce job
satisfaction.22 Programs that therefore bring young women together in training
and working environments, and emphasize community-based support among
participants, have the potential to boost morale within the healthcare enclaves
created, thus increasing work efficiency and reducing the desire to migrate to
other sectors or locations.

While I firmly believe community-centered midwifery training for at-risk young
women is a far more effective use of foreign aid than many existing approaches
to maternal mortality, it is important to recognize the distinct challenges and
limitations such a program might face. From its conception phase, program
designers would have to consider and find a way to integrate a model for
responsibility and respect among the program participants. Standards of
medical ethics, as well as a comprehensive understanding of the rights of the
patient in a healthcare setting, should not be compromised in the interest of
training more women or serving more mothers. Most important, there must be a
recognition that accountability develops with time; program participants as well
as community members must be given the space to generate and internalize their
own sense of how exactly society is obligated to the woman and mother.
Dialogue and community engagement should be widely encouraged and, when
relevant, personnel from outside the community should defer to the lived
experiences of local women before prescribing their own solutions and falling
into Easterly’s “Planners” trap.

The implementers of the program will ultimately enter a community, not
a laboratory. As such, they must realize their offering of a service will not
automatically draw interested participants, particularly if a young woman has
a heavy financial burden and sex work presents a more lucrative option. At the
outset of the program in each targeted community, those implementing the
program should identify the push and pull factors drawing targeted participants
away from the program and into riskier environments that work against the
program’s goals. This is an example of a task for which participant feedback

would prove essential. Young women should be asked for their thoughts on what
these factors are, and what incentives would lead them to choose healthcare
over these factors if given the option. Even if certain challenges can be overcome,
it remains a fact that midwifery training and deployment simply cannot address
all of the major societal factors contributing to maternal mortality in a given
community. Gerein, Green, and Pearson emphasize that, while an increase
in skilled birth attendants is important, the proportion of births conducted
by doctors versus midwives correlates strongly with a reduction in maternal
mortality.23 Midwives, particularly with limited supplies or subpar facilities, can
only do so much, and may lack the expertise necessary to respond to emergency
situations. In some cases, the worst damage of a physician shortage can be
preemptively mitigated by training midwives in a select few common emergency
response techniques, but without a full-fledged medical infrastructure, childbirth
will always carry with it at least some degree of risk for the mother.24 Another
problematic and overarching issue is the correlation of maternal death and high
fertility rates in sub-Saharan Africa. Sarah Zureick-Brown et al., state:

Declines in the MMR were not rapid enough to counterbalance the effect
of increasing numbers of births in Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania, and
consequently the total number of maternal deaths increased over the
period 1990–2008 in these two regions.25

Thus, one of the greatest hidden challenges to reducing maternal death in sub-
Saharan Africa is reducing the sheer number of would-be mothers, or the number
of times each mother experienced pregnancy/childbirth. A lack of adequate,
widespread family planning practices poses perhaps the biggest obstacle to achieving

this objective. Zureick-Brown et al., estimate one-quarter of women in a marriage or
union in sub-Saharan Africa have an unmet need for contraception, a substantially
higher percentage than in other regions of the world.26 In our approaches to reducing
maternal mortality, we must not neglect the equally important goal of reducing the
exposure of women to pregnancy and its associated risks, particularly when they
already carry one or more of the risk factors for maternal death I have discussed
here, such as adolescence or lack of access to a healthcare facility. As Don Lauro
points out, the practice of abortion frequently seems to function as a substitute for
contraceptive use among women in sub-Saharan Africa, despite its elevated risk of
death.27 The framework of midwife training and deployment integrates family planning
education into both the training of the midwives themselves—for their own use—
and the pre- and postnatal advising they provide to mothers in their communities.
However, a more comprehensive approach to family planning—integrating strategies
to break down stigma as well as to meet the material demand for contraceptives, will
be necessary to address the fertility factor in full.

The 2014 Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development Conference &
Exhibition brought together hundreds of delegates from UN agencies, NGOs,
donor agencies, regional organizations, and humanitarian groups to discuss the
issue of women and international aid. The key takeaway was that while women
often comprise the most vulnerable population in a given humanitarian crisis,
they also have an essential role to play as decision-makers and agents of change.28
International feminist scholars, from Cynthia Enloe (Maneuvers) to Laura Sjoberg
and Caron Gentry (Mothers, Monsters, Whores) have worked tirelessly of late to
redefine the identity of women in global politics as more than just victims of violence

and recipients of services. It is in this spirit I advance an approach to maternal
mortality that not only addresses a pressing healthcare need for disadvantaged
women, but engages women as providers of that service and catalysts for a new
standard of maternal health in their communities. In light of the risk factors and
social, political, and economic contexts of maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa,
such a model offers an effective solution for supporting mothers, would-be mothers,
and the communities in which they live by combining the cultivation of a marketable
skill to empower young women at risk of sexual exploitation and early pregnancy
with an investment of this empowerment back into the community in the form of an
essential service for mothers.

Mothers quite literally carry the future. The international community has run out of
excuses for why so many of them continue to die in childbirth every year, and why the
UN MDG concerning maternal health has fallen so short of its goal. We have a duty
to spend international aid responsibly, to design programming that responds to the
real needs of communities afflicted by humanitarian crises and imparts a model for
long-term development, not merely a temporary service that will collapse without the
backing of a bureaucracy. Global society has too long attempted to wield the tools of
liberation for the women of the developing world; skilled birth attendance is such a
tool and it is high time women were allowed to pick it up for themselves.

World Health Organization, “Maternal Mortality Fact Sheet,” retrieved from www.
Sarah Zureick-Brown, Holly Newby, Doris Chou, Nobuku Mizoguchi, Lale Say, Emi
Suzuki, and John Wilmoth, “Understanding Global Trends in Maternal Mortality.”
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, vol. 39, no. 1
(March 2013), 32.
See note 1.
Worldwatch Institute, “Women’s Representation in Government Still Low,”
retrieved from’s-representation-government-still-
Francesca Bessey, “Supporting Women’s Effective Political Participation in Rural
Burundi,” paper prepared for Search For Common Ground, July 2013.
Jeffrey Gettleman, “The Price of Precious,” National Geographic, vol. 224, no. 4
(October 2013), 34–61.
United Nations Population Fund, “The State of the World’s Midwifery 2011:
Democratic Republic of Congo,” retrieved from
Susan London, “Sub-Saharan Africa Is Sole Exception to the Global Decline
in Maternal Deaths,” International Family Planning Perspectives, vol. 34, no.
1 (2008), 54. The other four countries being India,Nigeria, Afghanistan, and
William Easterly, The White Man’s Burden: Why the West Efforts to Aid the Rest
Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (New York: Penguin Books, 2006), 3–4.
Paul Collier, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What
Can Be Done About It (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2007), 100.
See note 10, 5–6.
United Nations Department of Public Information, The Millennium Development
Goals Report 2013, retrieved from
World Health Organization, The World Health Report 2005: Make Every Mother
and Child Count (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2005), retrieved from www.
Sunanda Ray, Farai Madzimbamuto, and Sharon Fonn, “Activism: Working to
Reduce Maternal Mortality through Civil Society and Health Professional Alliances
in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Reproductive Health Matters, vol. 20, no. 39 (2012),
Mark Sommers, Adolescents and Violence: Lessons From Burundi (Antwerp:
Institute of Development Policy and Management, 2013), 35–36.

Ibid., 33.
Ibid., 30–33.
Don Lauro, “Abortion and Contraceptive Use in Sub-Saharan Africa: How
Women Plan Their Families,” African Journal of Reproductive Health, vol. 15. no. 1
(2011), 19.
Nancy Gerein, Andrew Green, and Stephen Pearson, “The Implications of
Shortages of Health Professionals for Maternal Health in Sub-Saharan Africa,”
Reproductive Health Matters, vol. 14, no. 27 (2006), 42–43.
Ibid., 44.
Ibid., 43
See note 16, 45.
See note 3, 37.
Ibid., 39.
See note 20, 13.
“Women: Victims of Conflict or Agents of Change?” IRIN News (March 27, 2014),
retrieved from
An Education: Gendercide and China’s
One-Child Policy in Rural Regions

Keck School of Medicine of USC
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Wolf Gruner, Faculty Advisor

This paper explores the role of gendercide, or the systematic killing of a specific
sex, in the implementation of China’s one-child policy. Though activists hotly argue
the policy violates human rights, it is rarely classified as gendercide outside the
realm of academia. The conflict behind declaring the one-child policy as promoting
gendercide lies in the fact that the Chinese government bans sex selection and
infanticide. Instead of top down aggression, the main perpetrators are families,
usually mothers motivated by filial piety to give birth to sons. To make it even less
apparent and more insidious is that the trend is most prevalent in rural China. So
how can we classify the phenomenon seen in rural China as gendercide?

The term “gendercide” was first coined by Mary Anne Warren in her 1985 book,
Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection. In it, she shows the consequences
of gendercide are just as lethal as racial, religious, and class prejudice.1 Most
genocide studies focus on the killing aspect, ignoring the development and intent
that eventually culminates in violence. The development in this case occurs with
the one-child policy and how it has exacerbated female prenatal gendercide in
rural regions. The intent occurs with the mothers and families under pressure to
succeed financially who view sons as having a better opportunity to achieve that
success. Oppressed families commit gendercide out of desperation to achieve a
greater livelihood for themselves or the subsequent generation. This lines up with
Mark Levene’s observation that weak states are more likely to use violence than
failed states.2

In this case, gendercide does not come from male aggression, but from female
oppression. The one-child policy worsens the existing sex stratification in rural
China. Gendercide either comes from racist gender or classist gender according

to theorist Oystein Gullvag Holter.3 In China, victims often come from rural
areas that do not have the same cultural structure as urban societies; one
major distinction is rural societies generally do not provide girls with freedom,
urban mobility, or adequate education. The smaller chance of rural children
continuing on to college or even high school closes doors for girls; they rely
mostly on marriage for a chance at upward mobility. Thus, traditional views
of zhong nan qin nu (sons are more valuable than daughters) persist. Parents
believe sons have a greater chance at success and thus are more likely to be
able to support their elders because the educational system still presents
systemic inequalities. The buildup of aggression leads to conflict, but the slight
loosening of the policy for rural China does little to extinguish the gendercide.

China’s one-child policy has essentially led to a broadened understanding of
gendercide; state-imposed legislature facilitates this process of skewing the sex
ratio toward boys. The policy heightens rural tendencies to commit gendercide
as a result of son preference in contrast to urban regions, which have a superior
education system to protect against the effects seen in rural regions.

To place the preference for sons in a historical context, China has always been
a patriarchal society with a family structure that featured primogeniture.4 Sons
guaranteed the family income, support, and continuity of the family name.5 Men
were favored in all classes of society. Physical strength gave workingmen an
upper edge, since they proved to be more useful when performing labor-intensive
tasks.6 Wealthy sons were educated and given opportunities to run businesses
or occupy governmental positions. On the other side of the spectrum, daughters

were not highly valued, since they were traded to other families to be wives and
mothers.7 Women rarely returned home after marriage. This traditional family
structure originated during Confucian times and functions as the foundation for
gender inequalities in China today.

The first unsuccessful birth control campaign ranged from 1954 to 1958 but did
not begin in earnest until the Ministry of Health started to advocate for birth
control in August 1956.8 As of February 1957, Mao still called for zero population
growth. Things changed by the spring of 1958, however, when Mao launched the
Great Leap Forward, hoping to transform China from an agrarian economy into
one that was characterized by industrialization and collectivization. Birth control
advocacy ended quickly and was replaced with the justification that a large
population would benefit China’s industry. The government even went as far as
to adopt the motto “more people, more strength” and incentivized fertility with
“Glorious Mother” commendations for women with more than four children.9
The second birth control effort took place between 1963 and 1964. Much of
this campaign consisted of individual testimonials disseminated in women’s
magazines. A third attempt at birth control, begun in 1968, was continuously
embroiled in ideology. Early marriage became associated with Liu Shao-chi, the
disgraced successor to Mao. The power struggle for succession after Mao’s death
slowed down this campaign so that no significant change in fertility rates was
made during the 1960s.10

By the 1970s, the Chinese government urgently felt the need to implement some
kind of birth control program due to the sheer number of people they were faced

with governing. As of 1979, China was home to nearly 1 billion people—a quarter
of the world’s population—who occupied just 7% of the planet’s arable land.11
The fertility rate exceeded six children per woman.12 On top of that, the country
was on the brink of an exponential boom with two-thirds of the people under the
age of 30 and entering their prime reproductive years.13 The government feared
the staggering size of the population would stall economic progress and be an
obstacle to improving living standards.

The original argument for the one-child policy was presented to the Chinese
people in “An Open Letter to Members of the Chinese Communist Party and
Chinese Communist Youth League on Controlling Population Growth” published
by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on September 25,
1980. The state argued rapid population growth would obviously result in
decreased access to food, clothing, housing, transportation, education, medical
care, and employment for the population.14 In particular, the state claimed lack
of restraints on the population would increase consumption while reducing
capital accumulation and investment. This would make it difficult to increase the
standard of living for the population, lead to smaller per capita arable land and
thus reduced food supply, and overuse and degradation of natural resources.
In short, the letter hammered home the idea that the absence of population
controls would directly result in the deterioration of living conditions.15

The one-child policy evolved out of the three former unsuccessful attempts
at limiting fertility. Combined with market reform, the new policy was a set of
rigidly enforced government rules regulating family size, late marriage, and
childbearing intervals (in instances where second children were permitted).

There are few exceptions to the one-child rule for urban residents. Cities falling
under the central government’s jurisdiction—Chongqing, Jiangsu, Sichuan,
Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjing—all must strictly adhere to the one-child policy.
Unless the first child has a disability, the parents work in high-risk occupations,
or the parents are themselves from one-child families, the urban population has
no way of maneuvering around the rule. For rural parents however, a second child
is permitted if the first child is a girl and only after a period of five years. This “1.5
children policy” came into existence when the policy was first implemented with
a “one-size-fits-all” approach.16 Fierce resistance from rural counties led to policy
readjustments in 1984 and 1986, relaxing the policy for rural populations. One
more exception is made for ethnic minorities who live in remote underpopulated
areas of the country. The revised policy has resulted in a birthrate of 1.47 children
per couple.17 Thus, China’s history of lackluster birth control advocacy and fertility
limitation ultimately drove the government to adopt a radical one-child policy as
a desperate means to control population growth and achieve first world status.

The policy has promoted and established a large-scale use of contraception
unheard of in most developing countries. In China, 87% of all married women
use contraception compared to one-third in other developing countries.18
Studies show long-term contraception is preferred over more popular forms
typically used in Western countries like condoms, oral contraceptive pills, and
others. Intrauterine devices and sterilization account for more than 90% of birth
control. Family planning workers commonly recommend long-term contraception
methods.19 Abortion rates have been kept comparatively low at 25% because of
such widespread use of contraception.20 When abortion does occur, it is mainly
due to contraceptive failure or lack of approval for the pregnancy.

At first, both urban and rural parents fought the one-child policy; many
were angry with the government for infringing upon their personal rights.
Having grown up in the 1950s, these parents came from large families,
often with five or six siblings each. The norm was skewed toward large
families. Yet, in urban areas like the city of Dalian, few spoke out against
the policy. Their hesitation originated from events like the Great Leap
Forward famine (1959–1961), the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), and the
loss of jobs, pensions, and medical insurance during the 1990s—events
that defined their generation and their fears.21 As the policy became widely
implemented, China’s women were subjected to birth control policies
that were astonishingly aggressive and invasive. Women submitted to
surveillance, often by their work manager, who had the authority to withhold
paychecks if women could not prove they were menstruating.22 Women
were also put through compulsory contraception, physical examinations,
a strict birth permit system, and fines or loss of jobs as punishment for
having second children. These indignities were all part of the daily lives of
women in the 1970s and ’80s when urban families still strongly hoped to have
more than one child. As time and policy implementation went on, Chinese
urban families accepted the policies and compliance rose to 95%.23 Drastic
measures of enforcement are largely no longer necessary among urban
couples, who feel having another child is simply too much trouble.

Education contributes to a large portion of the urban nondesire for more
children. Children have always been investments to Chinese parents and this

mentality has not changed with the advent of the one-child policy. However,
the ever-increasing cost of raising not only a child but, more important, a
successful child, keeps many parents from wanting a second child. A second
child would detract parents’ time, attention, and economic resources from the
first child, thus lowering the first child’s chances at success. Educating a child
in China is both mentally and emotionally draining. Children stay at school more
than eight hours a day and are required to complete homework and additional
study materials when they return home. Students from middle- and upper-
class families attend tutoring or after-school classes in addition to school and
homework. Parents both support and discipline their singletons throughout
the education process, worrying and dedicating all they have for the child. This
mental and financial stress on both the parents and the child prevents families
from even thinking that having more than one child is a good idea.

Meanwhile, as more and more children choose higher education as their path
toward success, girls tend to delay marriage and the start of a family.24 The
long education process and subsequent launching of careers forms a system
that keeps the family size of modern urban couples small. This phenomenon is
not just seen in China where there is an explicit birth control policy; it happens
in the United States and other first-world countries as well. Studies done in
Los Angeles show higher education is associated with fewer children and a
decreased probability of marriage.25

The educational system as a result of the one-child policy has eliminated the idea
that filial duty is reserved for sons only. Slowly throughout the past generation,
urban parents have realized daughters have just as many opportunities to be

successful in society and will use that success to fulfill filial duty toward their
parents. The phrase given to the trend is guniang dang erzi yang (raising a
daughter as a son). In fact, many urban parents even prefer daughters to sons
now; daughters are considered to be more loyal and dedicated to their parents.
Boys are stereotyped as more wild and troublesome.26 Statistics taken in 1989
might provide data to support the belief girls are more loyal than boys. Analysts
measured the person who contributed the most to elder care, showing 15% of
elders named a son, 27% named a daughter, 11% named a daughter-in-law, and
1% named a son-in-law as the person who took care of them the most.27

Rural China, on the other hand, is a completely different story, a different culture,
and almost a different country when it comes to the one-child policy. Son
preference continues to dominate the countryside, resulting in skewed sex ratios
and contributing to an epidemic of missing girls. The differences in the policy in
regard to urban and rural populations highlights key aspects of the culture that
contributes to gendercide. In rural China, shame and guilt are both products
of families, particularly mothers, trying to adhere to the one-child policy while
fulfilling their filial duty of producing a son. As Holter states in his theory on
gendercide, a “shame culture creates shame-related violence . . . shame and
guilt work together but the guilt element is central to most of the conflict
phenomena.”28 The shame and guilt then work together to build up oppression;
oppression engendering such a strong emotion it transforms into aggression
toward females. Gendercide becomes the only action people feel they can take in
this kind of repressive situation.

The guilt is associated with societal pressure to establish wealth and power
for the family and the desire to achieve first world success the government
advertises and promotes with the one-child policy. In fact, the government
makes this dream seem easily attainable for Chinese citizens by dangling hope
in the form of the reasoning behind the one-child policy—increased standard
of living. By stating one child per household will lead to a better economy and
increased wealth, government propaganda creates an illusion that motivates
families to try to have a son who will bring the family security. The combination
of filial piety and the one-child policy together form a dangerous recipe for
gendercide. Having a son is seen as the ultimate goal for rural families who hope
to ascend the social ladder.

Since state officials do not directly enforce policy rules, local legislative systems
and officials oversee compliance through a system of rewards and penalties.
Leaving local officials with the power of administration inherently creates a
system afflicted with discrepancies, allowing rural families to easily get away
with gendercide. Nonmedical sex selection utilizes sophisticated modern
technology to perform sex-selective abortions. Technologies like ultrasound
are misused to allow rural parents to know the sex of the child, thus allowing
them to decide whether or not they would like to keep the child based solely
on sex. Baby girls are often aborted so the parents can try for a son. Originally,
ultrasounds were placed in all hospitals and family planning service stations
for the purpose of monitoring pregnancy and checking IUD placement.29 The
widespread use of ultrasounds since 1982 soon led to parents bribing physicians
to abuse ultrasounds to check the sex of the baby. Regulations were enacted
to curb prenatal sex selection, though to no avail; there is little evidence that

son preference decreased after these laws were written. Quite the opposite has
happened instead. Private services have cropped up to meet the demands of
families seeking to control the sex of their children. Consequently, it has been
estimated 40.9 million women are “missing” from China’s countryside. A national
census held in the year 2000 shows worrisome sex ratio at birth (SRB) as skewed
as (100:200), that is 100 girls are born to every 200 boys. Normal SRBs typically
seen in nature are (100:105) ± 2.30 Today, Chinese academia and media confirm
the seriousness of the issue but public officials still give the excuse that female
births are being underreported in rural regions.31 The international community
upholds the belief “selective abortion and infanticide are the primary causes
of high sex ratios at birth,” while “Chinese scholars tend to believe that faulty
statistics are the cause.”32

Though most women agree sex selection is wrong, the practice is still
common. A survey also done in the year 2000 in central rural China
determined 36% of the women admitted to having had sex-selective
abortions. While 25% of female fetuses were terminated, the rate for males
was only 2%.33 Surveys show nearly half of pregnancies are subjected to
prenatal sex determination and nine out of ten female pregnancies are
aborted during second pregnancies. Clearly, prenatal sex determination has
been a significant cause of the high sex ratios in China’s rural counties.34

Another reason for the distorted ratio is postnatal discrimination, or female
infanticide. Though against the law in China, the crime persists. Again, the
pressure women face to give birth to sons drive them to commit these murders,
as infanticide is most often committed by women. Infanticide is not a new

ocurrence in China; it was practiced for about 2000 years prior to the creation
of the one-child policy.35 Because the practice has long been used in China
even before there was any kind of birth limitation, it seemed like an acceptable
method of sex selection when it became more vital for families to have sons.
Infanticide, however, still does not occur as frequently as prenatal sex selection
due to its inconvenience. Mothers or other family members who commit
infanticide face difficulty concealing the crime. Despite this challenge, it remains
a method through which rural families can conceive sons. Though legislature
against infanticide does exist, it has little if any consequences.

Abandonment of baby girls in state-run orphanages is yet another type of
postnatal gendercide. In these orphanages, 95% of the children are girls.36
Boys who are found in the orphanages are either mentally or physically
disabled. Reports indicate about a million baby girls are abandoned every year
by parents surely hoping to have a son. These state-run orphanages lack funding
and staff to care for the girls. The average death-to-admission ratio of one of
these orphanages was 77.6% per year.37 This astonishingly high figure reflects
the reality that abandonment often equals death. Even if orphaned girls escaped
the malnutrition and neglect of orphanages, few Chinese couples are looking
to adopt them, resulting in a small number of domestic adoptions compared to
international ones.

Socially, mothers feel pressured to produce a son for the family since a
comprehensive education system that promotes female equality is missing in
the rural counties. The sense of duty most rural women feel to conceive a son

who will continue the family lineage is only relevant when the system excludes
daughters from having the same opportunities as sons. A missing education for
girls remains one of the key differences between rural and urban culture fueling
the preference for sons. These types of feelings continue to perpetuate sex
selection and make it an acceptable facet of Chinese rural society.

Though the education system in rural China is more advanced than other
developing countries, it is still not comparable to urban China. Rural education
levels lag behind their urban counterparts, making it harder for rural children
to pass the national college entrance exam and advance to higher education.
In addition, son preference manifests itself during childhood when preferential
treatment is generally given to boys. This disparity is evident when it comes to
rural girls’ and boys’ education. According to survey data taken by the Center
for Chinese Agricultural Policy compared to data from the State Statistical
Bureau, men average about 6.5 years of education vs. 4 years for women.38
Another study finds boys have a higher level of enrollment at all grade levels
and the gap widens when households experience duress, mostly of a financial
nature.39 Girls held back in primary school are more likely to drop out than boys.
Poorly performing boys, on the other hand, generally stay in school until junior
secondary school before they drop out. The earlier dropout period for girls may
be explained by a gender bias in educational investment. Parents might prefer
to invest in education for their sons rather than for their daughters due to the
belief girls are less likely to pay homage to filial duty once they are married.
Unequal education opportunities unfairly challenge girls and highlight the
social inequality between women and men, encouraging the already existing
patriarchal mindset.

Parental education increases the likelihood of their children gaining more years of
schooling. Parents with more education are likelier to realize the value of schooling,
thus children of educated parents are less apt to drop out of school. Since rural
fathers have more influence when it comes to decision making, “for every additional
year of a father’s education, the probability of his child dropping out of school falls
by 12–14%.”40 Wealthier rural students have a greater chance of continuing their
education as well.

Statistics show rural workers with higher education levels earn higher wages.
“Between 1988 and 1996, the real wage rose more than 10% faster annually
for those with higher education levels compared to those with only elementary
schooling.”41 Education also opens more doors when it comes to migrant workers
looking for off-farm work; education is associated with skills marketable in
the workplace, leading to higher wages. Women with little schooling are at a
disadvantage and face cultural restrictions that limit their advancement. The
value of education especially reveals itself when women start looking for work
to generate income as a means of supporting their families. Rural women are
less likely to cross the agricultural divide into fields of technology and sales like
rural men have. Women with little to no education have an even lower chance of
attaining profitable jobs, let alone careers. Rural women continue to work as farm
hands and raise animals to generate income, creating a gender gap in terms of
ability. The education difference only widens this gap, keeping women on the farm.

Rural China, unlike urban China, has not yet had the chance to realize women can
equally fulfill the role of filial duty because the education system has prevented

them from gaining this awareness. Providing rural areas with a more adequate
and comprehensive education system will present women with the opportunities
to demonstrate their abilities and shatter outdated perceptions that devalue
women. At the moment, rural China is at a turning point. With new sex-
selection technologies arriving on the market, rural regions can either choose to
continue existing gendercidal processes or shift gears by increasing educational
opportunities.42 One such technology is MicroSort, a technique that sorts
sperm before conception. The sorted sperm are then utilized with intrauterine
insemination (IUI) to achieve a success rate of 81% for male babies.43 Sexual
determination strategies have the potential to skew the sex ratio even further,
creating a fork in the road where China can either continue down the same path
or decide on a different course of action.

China’s skewed sex ratio has resulted in the demographic repercussion of
millions of excess marriage-age males in the population.44 These bachelors
will find themselves at a loss when seeking wives, since the numbers just are
not in their favor. These “bare branches,” as they are called, are especially at a
disadvantage if they come from poor households. An overwhelming amount of
drifting male youths in China’s population also puts the country more at risk for
insurrections. Because they generally carry a “nothing to lose” attitude, such
“bare branches” are the perfect fuel since this phenomenon is a manmade one.
Thus, violent social engineering could be the final outcome of the one-child
policy. Therefore, it is even more vital for rural China to decide whether or not
the trend of sacrificing female babies for male ones purely due to a traditional
perception men have a greater chance at success is worth the overall social
impact on the future.

Though the bare branches phenomenon is hard to solve at the individual
level, rural Chinese can still start to improve female education to alleviate and
eventually remove gendercide from their midst. Installing better education in
rural communities and improving dropout rates can exponentially benefit rural
communities with each generation. As educated children grow up to pursue
more profitable jobs, they will place more of an importance on investing in their
children’s education. More educated parents will also promote the education
of young girls, hopefully curbing the gendercidal tendencies of mothers to seek
out prenatal or postnatal sex selection methods. Rural women’s greater role in
fulfilling filial piety can end the mad scramble to conceive a son for the family.
Advancing the education of rural females to the point where it reaches that of
their urban counterparts will present women with more opportunities, and an
increased standard of living. After all, as Chairman Mao once said, women “hold
up half the sky.”

Mary Anne Warren, Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection (Totowa, NJ:
Rowman & Allanheld, 1985).
Mark Levene, “Why is the Twentieth Century the Century of Genocide?” Journal
of World History, vol. 11, no. 2 (2000), 305–36.
Adam Jones, ed., “A Theory of Gendercide,” in Gendercide and Genocide
(Nashville: Vanderbilt Univ. Press, 2004), 66.
B. G. Rosenberg and Qicheng Jing, “A Revolution in Family Life: The Political and
Social Structural Impact of China’s One-Child Policy,” Journal of Social Issues, vol.
52, no. 3 (1996), 52
See note 4, 64.
Yilin Nie and Robert J. Wyman, “The One-Child Policy in Shanghai: Acceptance and
Internalization,” Population and Development Review, vol. 31, no. 2 (2005), 314.
See note 4, 64.
Therese Hesketh, Li Lu, and Zhu Wei Xing, “The Effect of China’s One-Child
Family Policy after 25 years,” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 353, no. 11
(2005), 1171.
See note 9.
See note 11.
Wang Feng, “Can China Afford to Continue Its One-Child Policy?” Asia-Pacific
Issues, no. 77 (March 2005), 7.
Anhui Ribao (Anhui Daily), “Family Planning Regulations Announced,” reprinted
in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), China Report, Political,
Sociological and Military Affairs, no. 21 (March 7, 1985), 45–49.
Susan Greenhalgh, “Shifts in China’s Population Policy, 1984–86: Views from the
Central, Provincial, and Local Levels,” Population and Development Review, vol.
12, no. 3 (September 1986), 491–515.
See note 14.
Q. Yin, “Choice of Contraceptive Methods Among Women of Child Bearing Age
and Influencing Factors,” from Theses Collection of 2001 National Family Planning
and Reproductive Health Survey (Beijing: China Population Publishing House,
2003), 116–26.
See note 16.
Edwin A. Winckler, “Chinese Reproductive Policy at the Turn of the Millennium:
Dynamic Stability,” Population and Development Review, vol. 28, no. 3
(September 2002), 379–418.
Vanessa Fong, Only Hope: Coming of Age Under China’s One-Child Policy
(Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 2004), 73.

Ibid., 74
See note 20.
See note 21, 79
William Sander, “More on the Determinants of the Fertility Transition,”
Biodemography and Social Biology, vol. 37, nos. 1–2 (1990), 52.
See note 21, 130.
Shixun Gui and Jieping Li, The Problem of Old Age Care for Parents and
Singletons (Shanghai: Huadong Normal University Press, 1996).
See note 3.
Chu Junhong, “Prenatal Sex Determination and Sex-Selective Abortion in Rural
Central China,” Population and Development Review, vol. 27, no. 2 (2001), 260.
Jing-Bao Nie, “Non-medical Sex-selective Abortion in China: Ethical and Public
Policy Issues in the Context of 40 Million Missing Females,” British Medical
Bulletin, vol. 98, no. 1 (2011), 3.
Baochang Gu and Yi Xu, “A Comprehensive Discussion of the Birth Gender Ratio
in China,” Chinese Journal of Population Science, vol. 6, no. 4 (1994), 429.
See note 29.
See note 3.
See note 27.
Tom Hilditch, “A Holocaust of Girls,” World Press Review, vol. 39, no. 2 (1995), 42.
Tom Hilditch, “Waiting to Die: The Babies Sacrificed For China’s One Child
Policy,” The Human Life Review, vol. 21, no. 4 (1995), 99.
See note 35.
Lingxiu Zhang, Jikun Huang, and Scott Rozelle, “Employment, Emerging Labor
Markets, and the Role of Education in Rural China,” China Economic Review, vol.
13, nos. 2–3 (2002), 317.
Philip H. Brown and Albert Park, “Education and Poverty in Rural China,”
Economics of Education Review, vol. 21, no. 6 (2002), 524.
Ibid., 533.
See note 38, 318.
Gabrielle Kennedy, “Couples in Japan Aim for Female Kids,” Mainichi Daily
(December 14, 1999), 11.
Monica Sharma, “Twenty-First Century Pink or Blue: How Sex Selection
Technology Facilitates Gendercide and What We Can Do About It,” Family Court
Review, vol. 46, no. 1 (2008), 200.
See note 14.
A Case Study: How the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act Tests the Effectiveness of
the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Department of Health and Humanity
Elizabeth Garrett, Faculty Advisor

This case study of lobbying activity concerning the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act provides a way to assess whether the Lobbying Disclosure
Act of 1995 is achieving its primary three objectives, or if it falls short in some
important ways. This paper argues that while the Lobbying Disclosure Act has
maintained its effectiveness, a changing political climate, such as the one that
exists as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act manifests itself, will
continue to test out the effectiveness of lobbying disclosure.

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA)1 was signed
into law in March 2010, the lobbying environment differed from that which exists
today. In 2011, as America debated the constitutionality and wisdom of a bill that
required healthcare for all Americans, the lobbying atmosphere continued to be
full of activity—in fact, health was one the largest sectors of lobbying. However,
by January 2014, when the PPACA was poised to debut, reported lobbying activity
began to fall. Supporters and critics alike watched closely to see if the PPACA
could deliver on all it promised, and reduced their reported lobbying activity as
they determined their next steps.

Although the rollout of the PPACA was met with a series of obstacles at first,
support for the PPACA today stands stronger than before, with eight million
(and counting) constituents signed up for President Obama’s unprecedented
effort at healthcare reform. At this point, repeal of the PPACA is no longer a
feasible option—the PPACA has given many previously uninsured Americans
access to healthcare, creating a generally positive image of the measure in
the eyes of constituents and thus cementing its position as a law. Now, and in

the foreseeable future, the primary avenue for changes to the PPACA will be
regulation regarding implementation. The courts still grapple with issues of
interpretation that may change the scope and effect of the Act. Finally, with the
passage of time and change in Congress, the possibility of legislative amendment
is somewhat greater than it has been in the past.

No governmental data reflects this trend away from first enacting the PPACA
(and thereafter questioning its existence) and toward tinkering with the logistics
of the bill more concretely than federal lobbying data. Data reported under
the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA)2 demonstrates this paradigm shift.
In 2009 and 2010, the time period within which the bill was written, debated,
and ultimately signed into law, lobbying activity was at peak levels. However,
in recent years, lobbying activity has dropped off sharply. These data are
misleading, however: this drop-off does not signify lobbying activity is grinding to
a halt. Rather, it may be proceeding in more covert ways—ways that do not fall
under categories required to be disclosed under the LDA. Whether this change
in lobbying is intended to circumvent the Act and shroud certain behavior from
public scrutiny, or merely represents a shift to activity the LDA was not intended
to disclose, is not discussed here. However, this paper argues the move toward
“soft” lobbying not covered by the LDA, and therefore not disclosed to the public,
is driven by the metamorphosis of interest group activity toward implementing
the PPACA through regulation and, to a lesser but important extent, to the
judicial arena.

Part I of this paper will examine the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995,
analyzing the law’s purpose and differentiating between lobbying activity

covered by the LDA—“hard” lobbying—and activity that influences laws
and regulation but is not covered by the LDA—“soft” lobbying. I base these
terms on the familiar distinction between “hard” money and “soft” money in
campaign finance, a political activity closely related to lobbying.3 Both are
simply different ways of influencing legislative behavior—through selecting
lawmakers during campaigns and then influencing them through lobbying
once they are in office. Part II of this paper will measure lobbying activity
against the timeline of the Affordable Care Act’s progress by focusing on
three industries highly impacted by the PPACA: business associations,
pharmaceutical companies, and health professionals.

The LDA has three central findings that drove its enactment:

1. Responsible representative government requires public awareness of the efforts
of paid lobbyists to influence the public decision-making process in both the
legislative and executive branches of the federal government;

2. Existing lobbying disclosure statutes have been ineffective because of unclear
statutory language, weak administrative and enforcement provisions, and an
absence of clear guidance as to who is required to register and what they are
required to disclose; and

3. The effective public disclosure of the identity and extent of the efforts of paid
lobbyists to influence federal officials in the conduct of government actions will
increase public confidence in the integrity of government.

This case study of the lobbying activity concerning the PPACA provides a way to
assess whether the act is achieving all those objectives, or if it falls short in some

important ways. Part III of this paper will offer predictions about future lobbying
activity in this arena, and then conclude with an analysis of whether the LDA has
fulfilled its original purposes.


Regulating lobbying would prove to be a complex constitutional Rubik’s Cube.
How could a comprehensive bill about lobbying be justified and carefully drafted
when it implicates the First Amendment’s protection of free speech, the right to
petition, and the right of political association? The First Amendment test, devised
by the Supreme Court in a variety of political speech cases (most notably those
involving campaign finance regulations, particularly as applied to disclosure
provisions) would be applied to lobbying regulation to see if, in fact, such a bill
could pass constitutional muster.

The First Amendment test “require(s) the government to show a ‘compelling’
or ‘sufficiently important’ state interest, depending on the extent of the burden
on expression, and to demonstrate that the regulation of political speech is
‘narrowly’ or ‘closely’ tailored to serve that interest.”4 If the state interest is
sufficiently compelling, and if the provisions are crafted to precisely achieve that
compelling state interest without imposing an undue burden on speech, the bill
may withstand a First Amendment challenge.

The test is best articulated in the various campaign finance reform cases. In the
seminal case, Buckley v. Valeo, the court applied the test and struck down certain
provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act,5 while upholding others. In
doing so, the court found “the substantial public interest in disclosure identified

by the legislative history . . . outweighs the harm generally alleged.”6 In the
context of disclosure provisions, Buckley described the compelling state interests
served by disclosure:

First, disclosure provides the electorate with information “as to where political
campaign money comes from and how it is spent by the candidate” in order to
aid the voters in evaluating those who seek federal office . . . Second, disclosure
requirements deter actual corruption and avoid the appearance of corruption by
exposing large contributions and expenditures to the light of publicity . . . Third,
and not least significant, recordkeeping, reporting, and disclosure requirements
are an essential means of gathering the data necessary to detect violations of
the contribution limitations described above 7 . . . The same First Amendment
test was used in the most recent influential case concerning campaign finance,
Citizens United v. Federal Exchange Commission.8 The Court used the test to rule
that the government cannot restrict independent political expenditures made
by corporations or labor unions, other than through disclosure. Indeed, even
some of the dissenting justices, including Justice Stevens, Justice Ginsburg,
Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor, upheld the disclosure provisions from First
Amendment challenge.

The test has been applied to lobbying in United States v. Harriss,9 which held
that disclosure of federal lobbying activities and registration of lobbyists
were constitutional under some conditions. Most recently, the DC Circuit, in
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) v. Taylor, upheld the provision of
the LDA governing disclosure of members of a coalition engaged in lobbying.10
The state interest justifying regulation in this case was to increase disclosure

of all associations that lobby on behalf of “unnamed parties,” and the burden
of disclosure was determined to be constitutionally acceptable. Just as in
the campaign finance cases, disclosure provisions have been viewed as less
burdensome than prohibitions of certain activity or requirements of segregated
funds raised specifically for political purposes.

The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 balances the need to regulate lobbying with
the necessity of protecting rights to free speech, in this case core political speech
to petition the government and the related First Amendment right of association.
Unlike campaign finance laws, which include limitations on contributions, the
LDA regulates through registration and disclosure, typically considered lesser
burdens on speech.

The three state interests articulated nearly two decades earlier in Buckley appear
to have inspired Congress when it constructed the principles that supported
the LDA. The purposes of the Act were included in the text of the statute: 1) to
make the public aware of the attempts of paid lobbyists to alter and influence
the decision-making process in both the legislative and the executive branches
of government; 2) to provide an effective lobbying disclosure statute with clear
language and a feasible mechanism for implementation; and 3) to increase
the confidence of the public in the integrity of the government by effectively
disclosing the identity of paid lobbyists and extent of their activities to affect
the opinions of lawmakers and executive branch officials.11 The three purposes
can be summed up as follows: disclosure to empower the public, especially
voters; ensuring workability; and increasing public confidence in government by
exposing activity that may be—or appear to be—corrupt.

The first purpose reflects a sentiment similar to one expressed in Buckley with
regard to providing information to voters. By granting public access to lobbying
records, the government will be acting as a “responsible representative” that
“requires public awareness of the efforts . . . to influence the public decision-
making process.”12 The first purpose specifically targets paid lobbyists, requiring
them to complete reports (commonly LD-2 or LD-203 forms) that can be made
accessible on internet databases. Applying these regulations only to paid
lobbyists ensures that there is no impact on ordinary citizens’ right to petition
their representatives directly. As a result, the LDA is less problematic from
a constitutional standpoint than, for example, a ban on all lobbying (paid or
unpaid) or a restriction on the amount of money an individual or company can
spend on lobbying. It is also less onerous than a provision prohibiting any paid
lobbying, an activity that can enhance the effectiveness of ordinary citizens
exercising their right to petition.

The second purpose listed by the LDA is the foundation for the first and third
purposes, and correlates to the third interest provided by the Buckley court: the
government cannot achieve its objective of successful disclosure to empower
the public and prevent corruption if there is no workable system to carry out
the goals of the act. The LDA was a response to a previous lobbying regulation
passed in the 1940s that was essentially a dead letter due to ineffective
enforcement, unclear drafting, and large gaps in coverage.13 By creating a clear
and straightforward law with respect to the action of lobbyists, the government
will more effectively alert the public of the inner dealings of lobbyists and
their interactions with legislators and executive branch officials. Its cohesive
structure of enforcement purports to make the LDA user-friendly and not overly

burdensome to lobbyists or the public, which is important to consider when
dealing with thorny First Amendment rights issues.

There are links between the act’s third purpose and the familiar state interest
from campaign finance jurisprudence: combatting quid pro quo corruption and
its appearance.14 Just as in the passage from Buckley above, disclosure provisions
rely on publicity to drive out corruption. For instance, the Citizens United
decision upheld disclosure provisions as necessary to combat quid pro quo
corruption and the appearance of such.15 Thus, it is likely that required disclosure
and registration in the LDA could withstand judicial attack, as it has in National
Association of Manufacturers v. Taylor.16 As those cases observe, however, there
may be instances where a specific disclosure of some activity in a particular case
presents specific concerns.17

The LDA tries to achieve its purposes (informing constituents and combatting
corruption/encouraging accountability in an effective and workable way) through
a clearly defined set of registration and disclosure provisions. In this way, the
act works to meet the First Amendment requirement that regulation be narrowly
tailored. The definitions seek to limit the application of the LDA only to those
cases that most directly implicate the reasons motivating its enactment. The
key definitions are of “lobbying contact”18 and “lobbying activities”—one is
a perquisite for the registration and disclosure requirements and the second
shapes the scope of what is disclosed.

Through these definitions, the burden of regulation is limited to a very specific
population who conduct specific activities: people who make two lobbying

contacts and spend 20% of their time preparing/carrying out lobbying activities.19
In the case of a lobbying firm or organization that lobbies on its own behalf,
there are particular monetary thresholds that must be satisfied before a lobbyist
must register.20 A “person or entity” that must register is broadly defined as “any
individual, corporation, company, foundation, association, labor organization,
firm, partnership, society, joint stock company, group of organizations, or state or
local government.”21

There are many important exceptions to the definition of a lobbying contact,
including a communication made by a public official acting in his or her official
capacity, and any statement made in a medium of mass communication, among
others.22 Unlike previous federal lobbying laws, coverage is triggered not only by
a contact with certain legislative officials but also with some executive branch
officials as well, such as “the President, the Vice President, officers/employees
in the Executive Office of the President, and any officer or employee serving
in a senior position in the executive branch.”23 The LDA also defined covered
legislative branch officials, including:

A Member of Congress, an elected officer of either House of Congress, or any
employee of, or any other individual functioning in the capacity of an employee
of—(i) a Member of Congress; (ii) a committee of either House of Congress;
(iii) the leadership staff of the House of Representatives or the leadership staff
of the Senate; (iv) a joint committee of Congress; and (v) a working group or
caucus organized to provide legislative services or other assistance to Members
of Congress.24

Thus, the LDA defined executive and legislative branch lobbying so that the LDA
would not apply to people who are not considered highly influential presences in
Washington, but to expand the scope past elected officials.

Once a person triggers the LDA’s coverage, then he or she must disclose, among
basic information (including the names and addresses of lobbying clients and
basic business descriptions), a statement of

(A) the general issue areas in which the registrant expects to engage in
lobbying activities on behalf of the client; (B) to the extent practicable,
specific issues that have (as of the date of the registration) already been
addressed or are likely to be addressed in lobbying activities; and (C)
the name of each employee of the registrant who has acted or who the
registrant expects to act as a lobbyist on behalf of the client . . .25

“Lobbying activities” that must be disclosed are “lobbying contacts and efforts
in support of such contacts, including preparation and planning of activities,
research and other background work that is intended at the time it is performed
for use in contacts, and coordination with the lobbying activities of others.”26

As this brief overview suggests, coverage by the LDA is extensive but does
not fully cover every action designed to influence policy. Throughout this
paper, all lobbying covered by the LDA will be referred to as “hard” lobbying
and all references to lobbying not covered will be called “soft” lobbying. The
difference between hard lobbying and soft lobbying is akin to the difference
between hard money and soft money in the campaign finance realm.27 In some
cases, Congress intended not to cover certain activity, perhaps to assuage

constitutional concerns or for other policy or political reasons; in other cases,
those who wish to avoid disclosure for various reasons have taken advantage of
unintended gaps in coverage.

For the purposes of this paper, soft lobbying can be characterized by political
activity designed to inform more than to persuade, and takes place mainly in
the form of building up goodwill and networks. Common soft lobbying vehicles
vary, but some examples of soft lobbying were provided by the Washington
Post: “companies are investing in other messengers, such as nonprofit groups or
academicians, that can provide expert testimony, shape news media coverage
and change public opinion in ways that ultimately affect decisions in the nation’s
capital.”28 Grassroots lobbying, otherwise defined as “attempts to influence
legislation by attempting to affect the opinion of the public with respect to the
legislation and encouraging the audience to take action with respect to the
legislation” is also considered soft lobbying.29 The LDA was designed in a manner
that excludes the definition of soft lobbying: “the Act focuses its attention on
persons who are paid by others to lobby on their behalf.”30

Congress responded to the growth of some soft lobbying after experience with
the LDA when it enacted the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act
(HLOGA)31 in 2007. The HLOGA contained one of the largest additions to lobbying
regulations since the LDA. Perhaps the key provision of the HLOGA was to lower
the thresholds for reported lobbying activity and to require quarterly (as opposed
to semiannual) reports on lobbying activities. More closely tied to the concept
of soft lobbying, however, is that the HLOGA required lobbyists to reveal all
the members of coalitions that hired them. This is essential to our discussion

because interest groups (often the hotbeds of soft lobbying) exert their influence
through such coalitions, which have preexisting influence and resources, as a
way to broaden support.32 It should be noted this rather forceful amendment
was counterbalanced by language to “protect individuals from disclosure and
that allows a coalition to meet some of the disclosure requirements by posting
information on its website.”33 In addition, President Obama placed further
regulations on registered lobbyists through executive orders; for example,
lobbyists have been barred from certain jobs and opportunities in the executive
branch by executive order.34

As federal lobbying laws began to more severely restrict the activities of paid
lobbyists and the stigma associated with lobbying continued to increase among
the public, some lobbyists began to deregister and curtail their activities so they
fell just under the limits of lobbying regulations.35 In addition, there continued
to be a lack of strong enforcement of the LDA, which may encourage people
to characterize borderline activity so it is not regulated. As a result, significant
amounts of lobbying expenditures continued without any true traceable
source36—one characteristic of soft lobbying. Unregistered lobbyists keep a low
profile and utilize other means of influence that do not require registration, such
as grassroots lobbying and lobby days.37

The PPACA is one of the first large-scale opportunities to observe the effects
of the LDA as amended by the HLOGA. It is important to keep in mind lobbying
is not the only way to alter the shape and structure of the PPACA. The LDA lists
eighteen exceptions to coverage38 but it should be noted officials acting under
these exceptions could still exert heavy influence over the law, particularly
through involvement in the formal processes of administrative rulemaking. Some

executive branch contacts will be disclosed under the LDA, however. Courts,
frequently including the Supreme Court, also hold substantial power to influence
the law by determining the constitutionality of certain provisions or interpreting
ambiguous provisions.39 The activities of entities involved in litigation—either as
parties or amici, which can be viewed as a sort of lobbying in the judicial realm—
are not covered by the LDA but may still affect the contours of healthcare policy.


With this foundation and structure in mind, we now turn to a case study to see
how the LDA operates in practice and over the life of a policy as it is enacted
and implemented, and serves as subject of litigation, over several years. I will
track lobbying activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
(PPACA) over the course of five and a half years, from the time it was signed
into law through the first half of 2014. The nature of lobbying activity is likely to
change depending on the industry and its specific interests, so this case study
focuses on three different industries that are and will continue to be heavily
impacted by the new policy: business associations, the pharmaceutical industry,
and health professionals.

A business association is defined as “chambers of commerce, as well as
small businesses, pro-business and international trade associations.”40 The
pharmaceutical industry, or “pharma,” is defined as “drug manufacturers, dealers
of medical productions, nutritional and dietary supplements.”41 Finally, health
professionals include “various physicians, psychiatrists, dentists, chiropractors,
pharmacists, nurses, nutritionists, and anyone else providing health care
services—as well as their professional associations.”42

The data on these groups comes from lobbying reports compiled on, a website from the Center for Responsive Politics, a research
group that “tracks money in US politics and its effect on elections and public
policy.”43 The reports themselves are filed with the House of Representatives.
Lobbying data are compiled from quarterly reports as required under
amendments to the LDA made by the HLOGA. Enacted in 2007, the HLOGA
contained one of the largest additions to lobbying regulations since the LDA.
The data differentiates each industry, including total expenditures per industry,
bills lobbied, and a list of top spending clients per industry. The data also
include the total number of lobbyists and clients per year as well as names of
officials contacted.

The PPACA marked controversial changes in America’s health care environment.
President Obama’s monumental health insurance reform bill began discussion
and debate about various reforms and launched a long legislative battle. During
this legislative effort, lobbyists retained by or employed by clients involved in
healthcare engaged in higher levels of activity, with federal lobbying expenditures
reaching their highest peak in 2010.44 After 2010, lobbying statistics show a slow
decline in activity. In the first half of 2014, federal lobbying was only down $4
million from the equivalent time period in 2013, a relatively small gap. Lobbying
activity appears to be leveling off, but future activity will depend on many factors,
which I will discuss in Part III.

Three principal themes will clarify and anchor the analysis of the specific lobbying
activity by these economic groups:

1. Pharma had a particular interest in negotiating a deal with the government
early in the legislative battle surrounding PPACA, and it succeeded in this goal.
Since the law was passed, pharma has not been as involved in the legislative
process as the other two industries in this case study because it is enjoying the
benefits obtained from the administration in return for early support of the bill.

2. The business industry consistently lobbies many bills, but during the years
examined in this case study it had a number of important concerns with
regard to the PPACA. Then, when the act was passed, the industry turned its
attention back toward issues outside the realm of the PPACA, such as tax laws,
employment issues, and trade policy. It is worth noting that bills regarding
taxes and employment issues that the business industry began focusing on
include bills related to the PPACA, but only in targeted and minor ways (as
opposed to sweeping reforms and calls for repeal). Also, this sector was
arguably the most affected by the economic downturn in 2011, causing it to
scale back its lobbying activity.

3. The issues for health professionals in this arena are enduring. The PPACA
itself did not introduce new matters on which to lobby, so much as it served
as a vehicle that implicated some of these longstanding concerns. These
issues continue to draw the attention of this sector even in what was a largely
gridlocked Congress.


The earlier years of the PPACA’s life—even before it was written—were most
essential to the pharma industry’s strategy of negotiating a quick deal. In 2009,
the pharma industry saw its highest amount of reported lobbying expenditures,

the highest total of all the industries in this case study.45 During this time, the
pharma industry was lobbying primarily the legislative branch, but was also
seeking to influence the executive branch given the president’s key role in pushing
this proposal, and as leader of a unified Democratic Congress.46

Lobbyists for the pharma industry wanted to negotiate deals early on to protect
its interests. Around this time, several brand name drugs were facing expiring
patents, which would result in a flood of cheaper generic drugs. In this vulnerable
state, the pharma industry saw a two-fold benefit to supporting the PPACA. The
first benefit of endorsement would be to increase the number of customers.
The PPACA would provide healthcare to a population of citizens that did not
have access to it before, and these citizens were previously untapped potential
sources of revenue for drug companies. Further, by engineering legislation that
would minimize any negative financial impact on the drug industry by the PPACA
(which contained provisions that had potential to be a large financial drain to the
industry), pharma would be able to “maximize profits.”47


In 2010, when President Obama signed the PPACA into law, the pharmaceutical
industry began to slowly decrease its lobbying activity. The industry apparently
focused more heavily on the executive branch of government as a means to
shape the regulation of the legislation in its favor. In August 2010, one of the
pharmaceutical industry’s last major legislative modifications to the PPACA was
passed. This was a bill that expanded the definition of average manufacturer
price (AMP) to include drugs that are not necessarily retail drugs (AMP usually
only applies to retail drugs distributed in retail pharmacies).48 It should be noted

this bill is an FAA bill that appears at face value to be entirely unrelated to the
PPACA, however, this points to how difficult it must have been to amend the
PPACA—small amendments had to be put on unrelated bills.

In contrast, 2010 was a peak lobbying year for the business associations, with
spending reaching nearly $200 million.49 Lobbying in this industry was targeted
primarily at the legislature.50 Most of the lobbying expenditures of this industry—
around $157 million of the $199.8 million—came from the United States Chamber
of Commerce, using its own lobbyists. The Chamber of Commerce is a business
advocacy group that represents the interests of a variety of businesses, both
large and small, throughout the United States.51 It is a microcosm for businesses
in the United States as a whole. Its activity was heightened during this time
primarily due to the legislative push to get the bill signed into law with favorable

Lobbying reports disclosed on reveal in 2010, the Chamber
of Commerce was focused on several key issues, primarily implementation,
funding and appropriations to accomplish the bill’s ambitious purpose, the
individual mandate (discussed in more detail below), and Medicare Part D
noninterference legislation. The Medicare Part D subsidy provides prescription
drug coverage to Medicare participants who are also retirees.52 Under the
PPACA, the Part D subsidy was eliminated. As a result, employers would have
to take on an increased income tax liability. It would cost employers more
to provide prescription drug coverage to retirees, and thus, the business
association sector sought to shape legislation to avoid heightened costs to
the industry.

In 2010, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) was the third
largest contributor from the business sector that year, spending $6.5 million.53
The NFIB is a group that represents small businesses, and thus has a narrower
scope than the US Chamber of Commerce. The NFIB describes its typical member
as one that “employs 10 people and reports gross sales of about $500,000
a year.54 Under the PPACA, small businesses were concerned they could not
afford mandated insurance for their employees, notwithstanding the proposal
to provide tax credits. The utility of the credits was doubtful because of the
elaborate framework to determine the amount of credit a small business could
receive and the restrictive nature of the credit.55 This particular provision was
burdensome to many small businesses, and resulted in a considerable amount of
lobbying activity from the NFIB.

The health professionals industry was also active in 2010. Health professionals,
especially physicians, began to be concerned about their income because the
PPACA would cut physicians’ Medicare reimbursement. This concern would
remain relatively constant over the years of this case study, and is a likely
contributor to the relatively stable pattern of lobbying in the legislative branch of
government.56 In fact, the current reimbursement scheme is a matter of constant
legislative activity; thus, this interest extends beyond the PPACA.57

However, Figure 1 shows despite an increase in lobbying expenditures of around
$1,000,000 by this sector, the number of registered lobbyists in the health
professionals industry went down from 2009 to 2010. While this dip does not
in itself seem significant, it is worth noting the number of registered lobbyists
decreases while the total expenditure amounts increase. Assuming some

of those previously active remain active but in ways that escape disclosure,
a substantial amount of lobbying expenditures may be overlooked by data
disclosed under the LDA. While lobbyists may deregister and curtail their
activities so they fall just under the limits of the lobby laws, their influence may
continue to affect the government.58

Unregistered lobbyists “make the difference [in unexplained expenditures],” not
only by keeping a low profile, but also by utilizing other means of influence that
do not require registration.59

Number of Registered Lobbyists vs. Total Lobbying Expenditures per Year
(Health Professionals)


850 A
Number of Registered Lobbyists

800 B
A 2009
750 B 2010
F D C 2011
D 2012
650 E 2013

600 F 2014
40 50 60 70 80 90
Lobbying Expenditures (in millions of dollars)


The US Chamber of Commerce, the largest indicator of business association
activity in this case study, nearly halved its total expenditures in healthcare in

2011, but continued to lobby both the executive and legislative branches. The
number of registered lobbyists for the industry as a whole was at a new low since
the HLOGA increased lobbying restrictions.60 This trend is more typical than the
one described above. As the total amount of expenditures decreased, the total
number of registered lobbyists also decreased.

Two bills that passed in 2011 were pertinent for the business association industry
and may explain this reduction in lobbying activity. The first bill repealed the
paperwork mandate requiring that vendors completing transactions of $600 or
more fill out 1099 forms.61 Repealing this bill saved many businesses a substantial
amount of money. The second bill repealed a program that would have allowed
“free choice vouchers.”62 Said vouchers would have encouraged many workers
(particularly young and healthy ones) to opt out of their employer healthcare plans.
The repeal of this program also saved the industry money. These two laws were
major successes for the industry, and could explain why spending by lobbyists in the
business sector dropped off sharply following their enactment, reaching only $106.5
million.63 Once the industry achieved these successes, they may have reduced their
spending, at least until the next issue arose. This decline could also have been a
result of causes other than increased regulation on registered lobbyists, including
the economic slump in 2007–2008 that the United States was slowly recovering from
and continued political gridlock in Congress.64

Turning to the pharma industry, we find the period of 2011–2012 marks the years
during which one of the most important deals the pharma industry cut with
the PPACA—the introduction of increased prescription drug rebates—became
effective.65 This deal would reduce healthcare costs by shifting most of the

expense of making drugs to the pharmacies and drug companies, rather than the
patients’ pockets. In return, the pharma industry would receive rebates anywhere
between 15–23% for brand name drugs and 11–13% for generic drugs.66 Estimates
of the income the pharma industry would gain from this deal range between $10
billion to $35 billion.67 As their lobbying expenditures go down, so too does the
amount of registered lobbyists and clients, a trend that would be expected. These
data indicate a shift away from governmental focus toward the regular course of
business for the pharma industry.

In 2011, topics of interest for health professionals relating to the PPACA included
repealing such provisions as the one that limited Medicare exceptions to the
general rule of prohibiting physician referrals to particular hospitals. In addition,
proposals made in Congress included transparency reports regarding physician
ownership and/or investment interests.68 Such reports would help increase the
public awareness of pecuniary relationships between health professionals and
drug/device manufacturers.69 These proposals sparked lobbying efforts directed
primarily at the legislature.


In 2012, the business association sector saw an increase in overall spending
by lobbyists, reaching about $173 million. Figure 2 demonstrates an interesting
change in the business sector’s lobbying expenditures this year: since the PPACA
was passed, the fewest number of lobbyists were registered that year, yet
2012 had higher amounts of recorded lobbying expenditures than 2011, again
indicating likely undisclosed lobbying activity. Such a phenomenon could indicate
that the number of lobbyists is not the main factor driving expenditures. Other
causes will be explored shortly.

Number of Registered Lobbyists vs. Total Lobbying Expenditures per Year
(Business Associations)
Number of Registered Lobbyists

A A 2009
B 2010
700 D C 2011
E D 2012
F E 2013
500 F 2014

0 50 100 150 200 250
Lobbying Expenditures (in millions of dollars)

In 2012, both lobbying expenditures and the number of registered lobbyists in
the health sector continued to fall. The American Medical Association, one of the
primary sources of lobbying dollars,70 was still advocating for the same issues it
had pushed in the years 2009–2011.71


In 2013, reported lobbying expenditures for the business industry returned
to 2011 levels. Perhaps this occurred because the provisions of the PPACA
implemented in 2013 did not have a devastating or burdensome effect on
businesses. The year 2013 saw the elimination of the Part D subsidy in Medicare
coverage.72 To reduce their resulting increase in expenses, employers simply
stopped offering retiree prescription drug benefits, and Medicare (as enhanced
by the PPACA) closed gaps in this retiree drug coverage. All parties would save
money, although such savings may have occurred at the expense of the federal

deficit. The interests of the business sector were, on the whole, mollified,
potentially explaining the decrease in spending that year. Although the bulk
of lobbying surrounding this specific issue occurred in 2010, as stated earlier,
residual lobbying continued in 2013, likely due to delayed effective dates.73
For the health professionals sector, the level of lobbying expenditures finally
increased, as did the number of registered lobbyists. Figure 3 shows the change
in lobbying in the health professionals industry relative to the two other fields
studied in this paper. Given the stable nature of the total amount of lobbying
expenditures, this amount does not seem significant, especially since reports on demonstrate the same issues relating to healthcare reform in
this industry continued to be raised.74

Overall Lobbying Expenditures Per Industry

Expenditures (in millions of dollars)




2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

A Business Associations B Pharmaceuticals C Health Professionals


Currently, legislative activity regarding the PPACA has reached a plateau. Since
January 2014, the public has observed the law in action. According to lobbyist
Julianne Broyles of California Advocates, lobbying activity in two to three
years will likely increase from current levels, as Americans begin to interact
more directly with the PPACA than before and develop opinions regarding
its effectiveness.75 In addition, 2014 was an election year for Congress. Many
political officials scaled back involvement in such partisan issues as the PPACA,
and this shaped at least part of the lobbying activity. Moreover, it is possible
the industries spent more money on campaign contributions and expenditures
(rather than lobbying expenditures) to shape the legislature that will deal with
the issues over the next several years. However, lobbying expenditures in 2014
appear to be higher than those observed at the halfway points in the other years
examined in this case study. Thus, it may be too early to draw firm conclusions.
However, the second half of the year will be more indicative of the lobbying
climate in Washington, DC, and historically, lobbying expenditures decline in the
second half of the year.76

Although the data collected on lobbying expenditures only covers the first six
months of the year, several of the most important provisions of the PPACA have
gone into effect this year, including the individual mandate. And for the first
time, the PPACA has begun to offer healthcare coverage to the majority of the
public. More important to the business sector is the employer mandate, which
created a substantial paperwork burden for businesses and deep concerns about
compliance.77 This mandate leaves businesses (especially large businesses)
rushing to meet deadlines of regulations they find difficult to understand. For

example, many are working to correctly classify employees as part-time or full-
time in the face of unclear regulations and the threat of large penalties. The
implementation of the employer mandate accounts for lobbying activity observed
in this industry.

For the business industry, one important bill that passed Congress in 2014 did
away with the cap on deductibles for small group plans, thus allowing small
businesses more freedom to offer their own plans with high deductibles.78 For
the business industry, particularly the NFIB, this would be a huge success.
Relatively high levels of lobbying in the early part of 2014 may reflect efforts
to influence the shape of this law.

As for soft lobbying, it is difficult to ascertain the amount actually occurring, but
if recent trends hold true, it is highly probable unregistered lobbying practices
are also continuing. As a result of soft lobbying, expenditures reported under
the LDA do not fully reveal the amount of influence industries actually have
over the enactment, amendment, and implementation of the PPACA. Further,
after enactment, litigation by the business industry increasingly shapes and
influences the PPACA. Recent court cases, which will be examined in Part III,
exert considerable influence over how the PPACA is implemented throughout the
United States. Of course, expenditures relating to litigation activity by parties and
amici is not disclosed by the LDA.


The case study of the three industries and the PPACA allows us to draw
preliminary conclusions about the future of lobbying activity related to PPACA

and to offer more general conclusions about whether the LDA has achieved its
originally intended purposes, including suggesting modifications to ensure the
LDA better serves those purposes.

A. Future Lobbying Activity Surrounding the PPACA
Given the consistent downward trend in pharma lobbying and the absence of
any change in the regulatory environment, it is likely the amount of lobbyists
and overall expenditures in the industry will continue to decrease, or will at
least level out. Lobbyists for pharma already shaped the legislation to the
benefit of the industry; thus, the only matters that could cause a considerable
amount of lobbying activity from this sector would be new ones. Pharma
remains in a monitoring posture to ensure nothing unravels its deal or
threatens it. Such monitoring often falls outside the activity disclosed under
the LDA because it can be characterized, for example, as strategic advice
falling outside the LDA’s definitions.

The issues that attract the highest amounts of lobbying in the business industry
are not necessarily specific to the PPACA. Therefore, lobbying directly related
to the PPACA is likely to decrease as lobbyists turn to similar issues elsewhere.
After several years of implementing the PPACA, lobbying activity may increase
again as practical questions of application are raised, but it is doubtful such an
increase would be notable in the near term, given gridlock in the government.
This industry is also more sensitive than the others to economic slumps that may
occur; pharma is relatively safeguarded as a result of its negotiations, and health
professionals will always have ill patients that require attention.

In the healthcare professional industry, Medicare/Medicaid payments and
reimbursements and other provisions affecting incomes are a constant cause
of lobbying activity. In the future, the cause of lobbying activity surrounding the
PPACA specifically will probably be a result of the American public’s experience
with health care shaped by the PPACA. More likely than not, the lobbying activity
will not cause a large disturbance in the health professionals industry in the
future. Specific issues with regard to implementation may arise, but it is doubtful
lobbying activity related to the PPACA will change considerably.

This analysis has differentiated each industry, but all are subject to the same
current reality of the legislative process. Given the current state of gridlock, it
is unlikely major changes to the PPACA in the near term will occur by lobbying
the legislative branch, or even the executive branch. The effect of lobbying
attempts in the coming years will depend on the nature of both the legislative
and executive branches. Whether or not the government will be receptive,
and the extent of the government’s reaction to lobbying efforts relies on the
type of officials in a position of power. For example, until 2017, there will be
a Republican Congress, but a Democratic President. It seems gridlock in the
future is quite likely.

However, while gridlock certainly decreases the need for industries to lobby,
reduced expenditures may reflect a shift in lobbyist behavior from hard to soft
lobbying. The Center for Responsive Politics79 suggests the reported declines in
lobbying activity may be exaggerated “in the context of overall trends.” It argues
that while it is true lobbying expenditures and numbers of registered lobbyists
have declined, these lobbyists continue to influence policy from just under the

LDA registration requirements. They are able to do this by “simply changing their
job duties to avoid needing to disclose their lobbying activities.” The data of the
case study may support this conclusion: the lobbying clients spending the most
in 2012 spent more than previous years (thus reversing the overall downward
trend of lobbying) by at least 19% more than the equivalent group in 2007 (the
year heavier lobbying restrictions under the HLOGA went into effect) but did
so with 25% fewer lobbyists. Assuming those people are still engaged in the
same general activities they were when they were registered lobbyists, we might
conclude their activity is no longer being captured by the LDA requirements.

There are several other plausible explanations for such observations, including
consolidation of the market, or fewer clients being involved (or more clients
choosing to work through coalitions), to name a few. Moreover, the nature
of work that needs to be done in the absence of legislative action is not the
kind of activity covered by the LDA. Such an explanation does not implicate
lobbyists in “shadow advocacy,” as the Center for Responsive Politics suggests.
For example, the three industries may have shifted their attention from the
political branches to the judicial realm as they use lawsuits to challenge the
PPACA and its provisions.

In the years following enactment, a large chunk of the opposition to the PPACA
has been expressed through lawsuits, which, if successful, could greatly hinder
the workability and original purpose of the PPACA. Significant current lawsuits
concerning the PPACA present questions of statutory interpretation that may
undermine the ability of the law to achieve its desired ends; earlier challenges
focused on the constitutionality of the PPACA. In National Federation of

Independent Businesses v. Sebelius,80 the Supreme Court, in an opinion written
by Chief Justice Roberts, upheld the constitutionality of the bill as a tax, thus
allowing the administration to move forward with implementation of PPACA.
From that point on, the judicial branch would see various attempts to restructure
the PPACA by attacking particular provisions.

More recent attempts to undermine the PPACA emerged in two conflicting
appellate court cases: King v. Burwell81 and Halbig v. Burwell.82 Both cases
centered on the question of whether or not it was within the federal government’s
right to provide tax subsidies to qualified taxpayers who purchase insurance
on federal rather than state exchanges. The PPACA called for insurance
marketplaces (“exchanges”) to be established by the states, and tax subsidies
were provided to some purchases of such insurance. However, many states
did not create exchanges, but relied on the federal government to do so. The
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allowed certain purchasers of insurance through
federal exchanges to take advantage of the tax subsidy, notwithstanding unclear
legislative language on this question. Both King and Halbig ruled on the question
of whether or not the IRS’s regulation that provided for subsidies on both state-
and federal-run exchanges is permitted. The PPACA only explicitly provides for
subsidies at the state exchange level. In other words, these cases are questions
of how strictly or loosely the language of statutes, such as the PPACA should be
read and interpreted.

The two circuit courts reached different conclusions about the meaning of the
PPACA. The Supreme Court subsequently toook the King and Halbig cases,
and joined them. It ruled in June 2015 that under the PPACA, tax credits were

available to eligible citizens for insurance purchased on either state- or federal-
run exchanges. The importance of these two cases with respect to shaping the
PPACA is nearly as monumental as the first judicial challenge. If the plaintiffs had
prevailed, the cost of health care coverage in states that did not establish state
exchanges would have risen, leaving many citizens unable to afford insurance.
This would have resulted in a “mass exodus” from the health coverage mandated
by the PPACA.83 In both of these cases and before the Supreme Court, numerous
amicus briefs were filed84—evidence of efforts to sway the court’s decision. Of
course, “lobbying” does not occur with respect to the judicial branch, but the
expenditures directed at influencing the judicial outcomes through briefs and
argument require financial resources not available for efforts directed at the
less active political branches. The action is now largely in a realm expressly and
appropriately unregulated by the LDA, a situation that surely affects the level of
reported lobbying expenditures.

B. Effectiveness of the LDA
The drafters of the LDA set out, in 1995, to achieve three purposes: disclosure
to empower the public, especially voters; provisions to ensure workability; and
transparency to increase public confidence in government by exposing activity
that may be corrupt or has that appearance. The type of political landscape that
existed in 1995 when the LDA was passed into law is a different landscape (not
only politically, but also socially, culturally, and economically) than the one that
exists today. The LDA since its creation has undergone major changes to enhance
its effectiveness in the political sphere.

First and foremost, the LDA is designed to inform the public through disclosure
of the efforts of paid lobbyists to alter policy: the documents that are searchable

and downloadable on public databases (the LD-2 forms) serve as vehicles
to inform the public and serve the value of transparency. Such forms were
instrumental in this case study, and were found on various public websites. While
it is true these forms are available and easily accessible, the forms themselves
are confusing, with jumbled information. Some are incredibly detailed, listing
each provision being lobbied and why, while others are sparse, listing only
general bills sparking lobbying activity likely to be more targeted to specific
issues. Such inconsistency in the quality of the information provided requires a
thorough and relatively time consuming examination of each form to find what
one is looking for, a task that can sometimes be unsuccessful.

Further, the sheer number of forms is daunting. Should a citizen know precisely
what he or she is looking for, perhaps the process of finding the LD-2 form in
question will be efficient, but to the curious constituent, the path to being an
informed citizen becomes a burden. To this end, the LDA becomes a victim of its
own implementation. Lobbying reports under the LDA possess great capacity
to provide citizens and voters with the information they need to make good
decisions, provided they know what they are looking for. As a general search
database, the Office of the Clerk of the US House of Representatives’ website is
tedious and requires specific knowledge of the particular group, provision, or
lobbying form being searched for. This undermines the open and informative
spirit of the LDA by alienating those who are more generally curious about
lobbying activity.

In cases where a voter is looking for a general sense of the landscape or does
not have a specific issue in mind to investigate, the effectiveness of the LDA is
dependent on an intermediary. Websites such as provide more

visually pleasing and cohesive data compilations using the official reports. Such
intermediaries offer information that can be accessed from very general search
terms, and are, on the whole, more user-friendly. For this paper, OpenSecrets.
org proved more beneficial in the beginning stages of research, providing general
information and background to point the research in the right direction. It also
contained more detailed listings, including specific bills lobbied and copies of the
accompanying official LD-2 forms.

The presence and importance of intermediaries, such as, can be
a potential cause for suspicion in some citizens, however, because such sources
may have their own agendas.85 It may be preferable and more trustworthy, in
some citizens’ minds, to rely on government websites; thus, governmental
entities should consider presenting data in the same style as OpenSecrets.
org. To enhance the ability of the LDA to meet its purpose, especially for the
curious constituent, the government should create a more synthesized and
cohesive database. It is likely the reason such changes have not already been
made stems to why lobbying regulation was difficult to pass in the first place:
opposition from politicians. As such, it is even more unlikely politicians will
advocate for the synthesis of information into user-friendly formats. Constituents
will be left relying on intermediaries, hopefully taking account of the reality that
such intermediaries may have their own separate agendas that will shape their
presentation of the data.

We can also draw some conclusions from the case study about the content of the
reports, not just their presentation. Here, there is a gap in the LDA with regard
to soft lobbying, particularly grassroots lobbying. This activity is not mentioned

in the above case study because it is not as traceable as hard lobbying, but it
is a crucial (albeit unchecked) facet of public influence. Congress has not been
willing to regulate grassroots lobbying, drafting the LDA explicitly to exempt
such activities from coverage.86 As was the case in campaign finance reform, it
is difficult to broaden the scope of the type of lobbying activity being regulated
without treading on constitutionality complications. However, in today’s age of
advanced computer technology, information has become more accessible than
in the past, and the influence of grassroots lobbying may have thus grown. The
changes in technology make it more possible for individuals to lobby, if not
directly, then indirectly by stirring the emotions of a public that is constantly
“plugged in.” Again, any attempts to address this issue will most likely run into
the same constitutional roadblocks seen earlier. Perhaps government needs
to retest its priorities in today’s age of mass communication, and determine
whether regulating grassroots lobbying (now more influential than ever) is in
fact weightier than the burden on free speech and the right to petition. If this
question fails the First Amendment test, the influence of grassroots lobbying
will remain unchecked.

Regardless of how lobbying is specifically disclosed, or how user-friendly such
disclosure is, if the LDA has discouraged corruption, it has achieved at least
one of its goals. The vast majority of citizens will most likely not hunt for LD-2
or LD-203 forms, or even go on sites such as However, should
a scandal involving lobbyists erupt, or should “nefarious” activity end up in
national news, public confidence in the integrity of the government will further
erode. In other words, the strength of the LDA is not necessarily the direct
effect it has on citizens, but rather, on members of the political community who

are concerned about publicity caused by a major influence-peddling scandal,
which the media or other intermediaries might find easier to detect because of
LDA disclosure. The ongoing direct effect on citizens is, in actuality, secondary.
The LDA’s true test of effectiveness lies in its ability to deter corruption, or the
appearance of it, from the politicians themselves.

To this end, there is confusion as to whether or not corruption decreased since
the LDA. In 2007, the LDA was found lacking in some areas, and thus the HLOGA
Act was written to enhance effectiveness.87 Since that time, there have been no
major changes of a similar nature made directly to the LDA. That being said, there
have been several occasions on which the integrity of the government has been
questioned as a result of certain lobbying activities. An example of this type of
occasion was when the public gained insight into the pharma industry’s role in
shaping the PPACA.

Pharma’s 2009 deal is a case of the LDA completing its first purpose (to inform
voters) while thwarting its third purpose (to increase voter confidence in the
integrity of the government). The fact that pharma was able to benefit as much
as it did while the other two industries did not is suspicious to many. However,
what the deal boils down to was essentially a compromise. Facing an uncertain
future and expiring patents, the pharma industry was eager to negotiate with
the government to maximize profits. While such a deal has made pharma appear
to be the “winner” in some constituents’ minds with respect to the PPACA, it
becomes evident upon investigation that such a deal was just business-as-
usual in politics. The LDA seemed to enhance the appearance of corruption,
when it is not clear whether or not such corruption occurred. The public looked

suspiciously at the creation of the PPACA once revelations about this deal
came to light. However, in the political sphere, such deals are commonplace.
Disclosure of such day-to-day dealings can become harmful, and create an
illusion more corruption is occurring than actually is.88 In the case of pharma
and the ACA, such deals were considered a compromise, not quid pro quo. To
change the words of Chief Justice Louis D. Brandeis, “sunshine” may not actually
be “the best of disinfectants.” The LDA can, and has, increased the perception of
corruption where there may be none, essentially obstructing its own purposes.
However, this does not mean disclosure should be eliminated for the sake
of the public’s confidence in government—the solution is not that simple.
Disclosure might reduce public confidence, but it also is an effective way to
combat true quid pro quo types of deals. The truth is legislative action relies on
compromise—some a bit unsavory—and that is not going to stop, and it is going
to be disliked by the public.

By using lobbying data surrounding the ACA, we can better understand how well
the LDA meets its three primary objectives. The analysis of the specific lobbying
activity regarding the ACA allows us to determine the effectiveness of the LDA
is ultimately a balancing act. The LDA serves the difficult task of preventing
actual corruption and stemming the appearance of corruption through dis-
closure, but constituents may not understand certain publicized behavior may
be necessary for legislative compromise and progress. Here the LDA reaches its
ultimate dilemma: if amendments were made to scale back the coverage of the
LDA, there is room for actual corruption to occur. An additional complication
also arises: if coverage is extended, not only might voter confidence actually
erode, but questions of constitutionality come into play. Overall, the LDA is more

successful in meeting its objectives than not. There may be a time in the future
where we find ourselves in a similar situation to the one that existed in 2007—a
situation that calls for amendments or updates to the LDA. Given the changing
political and social climate, it seems likely such a situation will arise. Should that
time come, it would be in the best interest of the public and the government to
balance state interests undergirding the amendment, which may change over
time, against First Amendment concerns. Such an analysis will help the LDA
maintain a tight connection to state interests, while continuing to meet the three
objectives laid out in 1995.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119
(2010) (codified at 42 U.S.C.).
Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-65, 109 Stat. 691 (codified as
amended at 2 U.S.C. §§ 16011607 (2008)).
Anthony Corrado et al., The New Campaign Finance Sourcebook (Washington,
DC: Brooking Institution Press, 2005), 32.
William Eskridge, Jr., Philip Frickey, Elizabeth Garrett, and James Brudney, Cases
and Materials on Legislation and Regulation: Statutes and the Creation of Public
Policy (St. Paul: West Academic Publishing, 2014), 209.
Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) (per curiam).
Buckley, 424 U.S. at 72.
Id. at 66–68.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010).
United States v. Harriss, 347 U.S. 612, 623–24 (1954).
National Association of Manufacturers v. Taylor, 582 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2009).
Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-65, 109 Stat. 691 (codified as
amended at 2 U.S.C. §§ 16011607 (2008)), § 1602
Id. at §1602
William V. Luneburg et al., The Lobbying Manual: A Complete Guide to Federal
Lobbying Law and Practice (Chicago: American Bar Association, 2009), 11–15.
See, e.g., Buckley, 424 U.S. at 27; Citizens United, 558 U.S. 310 at 41.
Id. at 41.
National Association of Manufacturers v. Taylor, 582 F.3d. 1 (2009).
Id. at 49–60. The National Association of Manufacturers was specifically
concerned the LDA would “chill NAM members from participating in public policy
initiatives for fear of the consequences of public disclosure.”
Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-65, 109 Stat. 691 (codified
as amended at 2 U.S.C. §§ 16011607 (2008)), § 1602(3), in which a “lobbying
contact” is defined as: “an oral or written communication (electronic
communication included) to a covered executive branch official or a covered
legislative branch official that is made on behalf of a client with regard to changes
to i) Federal legislation ii) Federal rules iii) administration or execution of a
Federal program or policy or iv) the nomination or confirmation of a person for a
position subject to confirmation by the Senate.
See note 13, 77.
Id. at 77. The most current monetary threshold regulations are: income for a
lobbying firm on behalf of a client must exceed (or expect to exceed) $3,000 in
a quarterly period, and registration is determined on a client-by-client basis;
and for a lobbying firm, income must exceed (or expect to exceed) $11,500 in a
quarterly period.

Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-65, 109 Stat. 691 (codified as
amended at 2 U.S.C. §§ 16011607 (2008)), § 1602(3)(14).
Id. at § 1602(3)(8)(b).
Id. at § 1602(3)(3).
Id. at § 1602(3)(4).
Id. § 1602(4)(5)(a).
Id. at § 1602(3)(7).
See note 3, 26.
Tom Hamburger, Soft Lobbying’ War between Sugar, Corn Syrup Shows New
Tactics in Washington Influence, (February 12, 2014),
politics (search “soft lobbying”; then follow “Soft Lobbying War between Sugar,
Corn Syrup” hyperlink).
Direct and Grass Roots Lobbying Defined, retrieved from
See note 13, 48.
Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, Pub. L. No. 110-81, 121
Stat. 735.
See note 4, 301.
Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel, 74 Fed. Reg. 4673 (January
26, 2009). Beyond this executive order, there are revolving door laws that
regulate how soon political officials can become lobbyists, thus increasing the
social stigma.
Kate Ackley, Street Talk: Unregistered Lobbyists Keep Business Humming,
retrieved from
See note 31.
See note 31.
Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-65, 109 Stat. 691 (codified as
amended at 2 U.S.C. §§ 16011607 (2008)), § 1602(3)(8)(b).
See National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius, 132 S. Ct.
2566 (2012); see also King v. Burwell, F.3d 358 (4th Cir. 2014); Halbig v.
Burwell, 758 F.3d 390 (D.C. Cir. 2014)
Monica Venditouli, Business Associations Background, retrieved from www.
Aaron Kiersh, Pharmaceuticals/Health Products Background, retrieved from
Monica Venditouli, Health Professionals Background, retrieved from www.

Center for Responsive Politics, Our Mission, retrieved from
Russ Choma, Lobbying in First Six Months Almost Level With Previous Year, retrieved
Center for Responsive Politics, Pharmaceuticals/Health Products, retrieved from
Center for Responsive Politics, Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs of America:
Bills Lobbied 2009, retrieved from
Bruce Jaspen, Obamacare Will Bring Drug Industry $35 Billion in Profits,
retrieved from
FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, Pub. L. No.
111-226, 124 Stat. 2389, 2394 (2010).
Business Associations, retrieved from
php?id=N00&year=2014. Discussion taken largely from this source rather than
noted in separate footnotes.
US Chamber of Commerce Bills Lobbied, 2010, retrieved from www.opensecrets.
About the U.S. Chamber, retrieved from
Institute for Healthcare Consumerism, Health Care Reform: Elimination
of Retiree Drug Subsidy Deduction, retrieved from
Business Associations, retrieved from
Nat’l Fed’n of Indep. Bus., Who NFIB Represents, retrieved from
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Health Care Implementation Timeline, retrieved
Center for Responsive Politics, Health Professionals: Industry Profile,
Summary 2010, retrieved from
Center for Responsive Politics, American Medical Assn: Issues, retrieved from (for
the years 2009–2014 on dropdown menu labeled “Year”).

See note 31.
See note 31.
Center for Responsive Politics, Lobbying Expenditures Slump in 2011, retrieved
Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy
Overpayments Act of 2011, Pub. L. No. 112-9, 125 Stat. 36 (2011).
Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011,
Pub. L. No 112-10, 125 Stat. 38, 168.
Center for Responsive Politics, Business Associations Industry Profile:
Summary, 2014, retrieved from
php?id=N00&year=2014. Discussion taken largely from this source rather than
noted in separate footnotes.
See note 60.
Medicare Newsgroup, Medicare FAQs: What is the Pharmaceutical Industry’s
Position on the Affordable Care Act?, retrieved from www.medicarenewsgroup.
See note 47.
Center for Responsive Politics, American Medical Association LD-2 Disclosure
Form, retrieved from
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Fact Sheet for Physicians, retrieved
Center for Responsive Politics, Health Professionals, Industry Profile:
Summary, 2010, retrieved from
Center for Responsive Politics, American Medical Association Bills
Lobbied, 2012, retrieved from
See note 55.
Center for Responsive Politics, Medicare and Medicaid, Specific Issues, 2013,
retrieved from
See note 68.
Telephone Interview with Julianne Broyles, Legislative Advocate, California
Advocates (Aug. 1, 2014).
See note 44.
See note 55.
Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, Pub. L. No. 113-93, 128 Stat. 1040.

Dan Auble, Lobbyists 2012: Out of the Game or Under the Radar?, retrieved from
National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius, 132 S. Ct. 2566
King v. Burwell, 759 F.3d 358 (4th Cir. 2014).
Halbig v. Burwell, 758 F.3d 390 (D.C. Cir. 2014).
Jonathan Turley, Get Ready for an Even Bigger Threat to Obamacare, retrieved
See generally amicus briefs for King v. Burwell, 759 F.3d 358 (4th Cir. 2014), 2014
WL 2891602, 2014 WL 1219113, 2014 WL 1220343 et al.
Center for Responsive Politics, Our Mission: Inform, Empower, Advocate,
retrieved from The Center for Responsive Politics
(CRP) has three central tenets: “to inform citizens about how money in politics
affects their lives, [to] empower voters and activists by providing unbiased
information, and [to] Advocate for a transparent and responsive government.”
The CRP is financially supported by “a combination of foundation grants,
individual contributions and income earned from custom research and licensing
data for commercial use.” The CRP also does not accept contributions from
businesses, labor unions, or trade associations, remaining unaffiliated.
See note 13.
Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, Pub. L. No. 110-81, 121
Stat. 735.
Shaun Bowler and Todd Donovan, The Limits of Electoral Reform (Oxford:
Oxford Univ. Press, 2013), 94–95. Bowler and Donovan assessed data on how
well constituents in various countries responded to campaign finance reform.
Ultimately, they found reform can have “unintended consequences”: increased
transparency about donations also increases transparency of “foibles and failings
of donors.” Further, they assert public perception follows the ideology that
money and political corruption are so interwoven reforms will be unsuccessful
at disentangling the two. The same line of reasoning can be applied to lobbying
Blurred Lines: Rwanda’s
Children and Their Role in Genocide

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Department of History
Wolf Gruner, Faculty Advisor

The mistreatment of women and children during instances of genocide
is sometimes a topic left out of the larger discussion about human rights
atrocities. These two groups are often perceived as “weaker” than their adult
male counterparts; therefore, various stereotypes are applied to them during
times of warfare or violence. The most common of these is the belief women
and children naturally assume the role of an innocent bystander who is
incapable of either defense or perpetration. Though this has been continuously
disproven within genocide studies, it is still a pervasive belief deserving of
more extensive research. My goal for this paper, therefore, was to explore the
involvement of children during a single instance of genocide. I selected the
1994 genocide in Rwanda as my medium of analysis for one key reason. Of the
many organized militias engaged in the genocide, youth wings were among the
most brutal. This image is inconsistent with the views many have of violence—
that young people either reject it or are impervious to the indoctrination
necessary to carry it out. I opted to tackle this misconception not only to
diversify my own view of genocide, but to discover how and why these young
people were driven to kill.

I quickly realized this process would require knowledge of not only the genocide
itself, but Rwanda’s preexisting conditions, as well as the means of social
manipulation utilized before the murders took place. No single form of research
satisfies all three dimensions, and therefore it was necessary for me to consult
a variety of sources. In the end, survivor testimonies and articles depicting
Rwandan society proved most useful. Together these sources formed the basis
of my argument, and from there, I was able to develop my thesis with help from
existing genocide research.

The lack of distinction between adulthood and childhood in Rwanda, which
caused adults to overestimate the maturity level of young people in many
aspects of daily life, contributed to the prevalence and brutality of youth
militias in the 1994 genocide. This dynamic infiltrated schools and other public
spaces, deeming them perfect settings for the distribution of hateful messages
and propaganda.

“Hutu and Tutsi lived together, not just as neighbors but also intimately, often
through cohabitation, sometimes through intermarriage. The history of cohabitation
spans centuries.”1 Today, most individuals familiar with the Rwandan genocide
would find it hard to believe the Hutu and the Tutsi—Rwanda’s two major ethnic
groups—ever lived peacefully among each other. Though images of cruel and violent
murders cloud our modern perception of Rwanda, this region was once home to
friendly exchanges and shared cultures. The divisions between Hutus and Tutsis
were indistinct for many centuries. In addition to intermarriage, both Hutus and
Tutsis spoke Kinyarwanda as their native tongue.2 It was only in the fifteenth century
that ethnic relations began to polarize. The establishment, and then expansion,
of a Tutsi-dominated monarchy influenced the way Rwandans interacted with one
another: “The appropriation of private pasture lands by the Tutsi monarchy and
the institution of payment of dues—in commodities or service—by the Hutus and
socially lower-ranked Tutsis in exchange for access to land was a major contributor
to this changed texture of relations.”3 Consistent with this trend of increasing
animosity, racial tensions became palpable when Belgium asserted its colonial rule
over Rwanda.

It was this very “colonial intervention” that further distorted “what the
categories meant and how they mattered.”4 Foreign officials identified what
they perceived as superior qualities among members of the Tutsi population
and allocated government positions accordingly.5 What resulted was an
imbalance of political representation that sparked resentment among the Hutu
majority. Though the Tutsi represented a demographic minority, they enjoyed
disproportionate influence within the government and all of the benefits
associated with such expansive representation. Anger and frustration were
natural responses to these injustices.

Colonial reforms also intensified the disdain many Hutus felt toward members
of the favored Tutsi population: “Belgians introduced compulsory labor for
public projects which Hutus had to carry out while being supervised by Tutsis,
who were exempt. Few Hutus were able to get an education. Even for the
ones that did, there were few jobs available.”6 These policies inhibited upward
mobility for Hutus and worsened the racial tensions building in the region. At
this point, ethnic identities were no longer seen as flexible terms. Instead, they
became distinct and inherent labels that dictated one’s status in life. For many
Hutus, their identity became a “symbol of oppression”7 while members of the
Tutsi minority enjoyed a privileged status. This dynamic existed until the mid-
twentieth century when external forces intervened and caused Belgian officials
to augment their behavior.

According to Scott Strauss, Belgian favoritism was redirected after World
War II: “Under pressure from the newly established United Nations, Belgium
introduced reforms that increased Hutu political representation.”8 From there,

an inverse relationship developed between Tutsi resistance to these reforms
and the “Belgian commitments to change and radicalize the emergent Hutu
counter-elite.”9 Once the Hutu population restored its political influence,
radical forces organized the 1959 Hutu Revolution that toppled the Tutsi
monarchy and then conferred most positions of authority on Hutu officials.
These changes, however, do not mark the extent of this movement’s
impacts. The revolution also produced a “monstrous ideology that preached
intolerance and hatred” against the Tutsi minority. It was this mentality that
led to further aggressions:

The killing of Tutsi in 1959 was the first of several alleged genocides.
The number of victims would vary widely but the methods used to trap
and kill victims would remain largely the same. And in each case the
role of propaganda and a distortion of history were paramount. In the
years between 1959 and 1994 the idea of genocide, although never
officially recognised, became a part of life.10

In the spring of 1994, the Rwandan president, a Hutu, was killed. With his
death came the end of the random and unpredictable Tutsi murders that
were unclassifiable under existing definitions of “genocide.” By April, the
Hutu government began persecuting Tutsis through systematic and organized
methods of violence that did suit these definitions. This marked the beginning
of what is today known as the Rwandan genocide.

Though background knowledge is helpful, it is not the goal of this paper to
identify the events that led to the Rwandan genocide. Rather, I intend to

explore how and why young people engaged in this conflict to such a great
extent. Each of the following sections are included to achieve this goal—it
is through these very lenses that I have traced a connection between youth
violence and the various elements of Rwandan society I feel are responsible for
this phenomenon.

Violence and military involvement are behaviors commonly associated with
adults. To understand why the Rwandan conflict violated this relationship,
one must familiarize oneself with the family dynamics accepted in this region.
Rwandan families stress maturity and mutual contribution, therefore children
are integrated into adult society at a young age: “Very early in their lives,
Rwandan children learn how to perform various domestic chores and help their
parents around the house. While girls assist their mothers with duties inside
the house, boys help their fathers with agriculture and rearing livestock.”11
Children raised under such conditions learn from an early age that participating
and contributing are imperative. If practiced in the right environment
and to an appropriate degree, imparting these values to children can be
tremendously beneficial. General stability and peacefulness are two aspects
of the aforementioned “right” environment. Together, they form a constructive
adult atmosphere children may benefit from once they are integrated. Rwanda,
however, has failed to meet these standards due to various economic and
social factors.

Poverty is among the most pervasive of these issues. Beyond its suppression
of positive growth and stability, poverty has also taken part in the distortion

of family roles. For many Rwandan families, the contributions of a mother and
father alone are inadequate. Children are often pressured to find jobs in an effort
to compensate for this deficit. Once hired, some employment opportunities
place children under cruel conditions: “In the North of Rwanda in particular,
many children work on the tea plantations in order to support their families.
Workers are paid per amount of tea picked, so very small children have to carry
large sacks of leaves. In more urban areas, children report being sent out to beg
by their parents, or being ‘sold’ as ‘slaves’ to work in the houses of the rich.”12
This excerpt does not suggest Rwandan parents are negligent, nor does it imply
they willingly send their children to work. However, it does communicate one
very important message—young people can function as adults in a time of need.
This idea of variant family roles violates the social boundaries that distinguish
childhood from adulthood. The same can be observed in the Rwandan genocide.
Here, this belief informed how young people were conditioned and finally driven
to participate in the genocide.

In what can be viewed as an extension of this principle, those responsible for
mobilizing children disregarded social boundaries while transmitting their
own hatred. Elementary schools were among the public spaces impacted
by conflict. Because children dominate these locations, a disregard for their
innocence was necessary for these actions to occur. Many Rwandan teachers
were guilty of this. By bringing discrimination into the classroom, their actions
suggested they lacked interest in protecting their students or maintaining an
ideal classroom setting. This ideal setting is a neutral academic zone, free
from biased messages or discriminatory practices. This type of atmosphere

was nonexistent in the years leading to the genocide. By endorsing anti-Tutsi
behaviors and lesson plans, some teachers helped usher innocent children into
the violent adult sphere.

Hutu teachers frequently mistreated Tutsi students as if they were adults.
Interviews with Tutsi survivors provide the most compelling evidence of this—
specifically, accounts from those attending primary school during the early
1990s. Among the worst of these offenses were physical acts of violence:
“ . . . teachers slapped and denigrated Tutsi children for various minor
infractions, which they overlooked when committed by Hutu children, or just
out of pure spite and cruelty.”13 By being targeted for small offenses, Tutsis were
characterized as inherently guilty. Meanwhile Hutu students grew to believe
they were always innocent. This expanded the “license to kill” many Hutus
felt they possessed. If their actions went unpunished, there was no incentive
to maintain friendly relations with their Tutsi peers. Coupled with the way
Tutsis were perceived—either as enemies or “cockroaches”—brutal acts were
considered justifiable. Various accounts described how even murder occurred
on a frequent basis: “Hutu teachers commonly denounced their Tutsi pupils to
the militia or even directly killed them themselves. As one of them told a French
journalist: ‘A lot of people got killed here. I myself killed some of the children.
We had eighty kids in the first year. There are twenty-five left. All the others, we
killed them or they have run away.’”14

Other accounts depict nonviolent forms of discrimination that proved equally
harmful. While reflecting on his own experiences, Yves Kamuronsi described
common practices that occurred during school hours: “[Teachers] come and

they say who is Tutsi and who is Hutu . . . Those who don’t know can go and ask
their mom or their parents . . . When you go back, then you stand up. You could
also hear that history they were teaching us; the king was very bad, he would
do bad things to Rwanda. You could not feel comfortable when it comes to that
discussion . . . You could see that only five children were standing up, from that
group you see who you are . . . You feel like you are common.”15 His reference to
forceful identification reflects a general trend in Rwandan classrooms. In those
classrooms comprised of both Hutu and Tutsi students, the teachers would ask
Tutsi children to stand in front of the class. This emphasized racial divisions by
establishing a collective identity among the Hutus who could remain seated.

Another important feature of discrimination was how early it began. When
asked what year he was first exposed to hateful messages, Yves responded by
saying: “I think with the third year or the fourth year of elementary school . . .
When you started to be seven years old, eight years, nine years that’s when you
started to be teached about that because we had history and another course
called civics.”16 He goes on to describe how these courses were riddled with
anti-Tutsi sentiments. Given their age group, the students exposed to these
biased “histories” most likely accepted them as fact. Most third and fourth
grade children do not possess the resolve necessary to challenge adults, nor
would they ever suspect malicious behavior from their teachers. By violating
the trust students had in them, these teachers compromised the youthful
innocence of those they instructed.

Class-time conditioning proved tremendously effective for those exposed to
it on a regular basis. With every year that passed, Rwandan children began

exhibiting more signs of indoctrination. Tutsi survivor Freddy Mutanguha
describes this trend in his testimony: “We became used to standing up. It
was not a problem. Each and every Monday, we had to stand up and then we
would continue with school. I find out it’s a big problem when I started to
open my mind and eyes, after the sixth year . . . It was very very difficult for a
student in the sixth year because we start to have a very big division between
us and realize the hatred between Hutus and Tutsis in that time.”17 Though
he experienced discrimination throughout his primary schooling, Nutanguha
noticed that attitudes became outwardly hateful only in later years. Before
then, tensions were more contained.

The same trend was noted in adult society: “Numerous interviewees comment
on how each year, beginning in 1990 until the commencement of the genocide
in April 1994, became ever more tense and volatile.”18 As tensions grew
between Rwandan adults, the same attitudes were imparted to children.
Here, adults represent the catalyzing agents. They violated normal social
boundaries—that are typically heightened in a school-type environment—in
order to condition their students. By setting an example of this nature, teachers
encouraged Hutus to not only adopt similar ideologies, but to engage in the
same physical behaviors as well.

Many Hutu students took to these suggestions and began acting aggressively
toward Tutsis. Often, they received direct orders from the very authority figures
that should have discouraged violence: “Vénuste Kayimahe, a Tutsi high school
student in Save, was chased out of his classroom by Hutu classmates who had
been told by local civil and military authorities to bring machetes and knives

to school.”19 Freddy Mutanguha recalls a similar instance of violence in his
testimony: “They organized actually after school. Many many Hutus, they had
sticks. They beat the Tutsis when they went out of the class. They were beaten
and sent to the hospital.”20 This statement reflects the same increasing trend
of violence mentioned above. Acting in the same manner as their elders, Hutu
students began expressing their hatred physically. The failure on behalf of
school officials to punish those responsible only worsened the situation: “Those
students were not punished, and I was expecting the director of the school
to sack them from school but he didn’t do that.”21 By not administering the
appropriate punishment, officials were effectively condoning these behaviors.
This, in turn, psychologically affected both Hutu and Tutsi students.

Because they were constantly degraded—both physically and mentally—Tutsi
students began exhibiting signs of indoctrination as well. Repeated exposure
to offensive remarks caused many of these children to denounce their own
heritage. When asked how discrimination affected him, Freddy replied with
the following: “I saw my teacher was very harsh to the Tutsis and very friendly
to the Hutus. So I wanted to belong to the Hutu group. If I could be a Hutu,
my teacher would love me. We were not loved in that school.”22 Rather than
questioning the motives behind anti-Tutsi behavior, he began rejecting his
own community. This speaks to the relentless manner in which some Rwandan
adults manipulated their students.

As Mutanguha revealed in his testimony, repetition is a necessary element of
indoctrination. It can turn even the most resolved of individuals against their
own beliefs or community. Many of the citizens that participated in the 1994

genocide embodied this same principle: “The main agents of the genocide
were the ordinary peasants themselves . . . This was the result of years of
indoctrination in the ‘democratic majority’ ideology and of demonization of the
‘feudalists.’ So even in cases where people did not move spontaneously but
were forced to take part in the killings, they were helped along into violence
by the mental and emotional lubricant of ideology.”23 Though described at the
adult level, this statement explains what also occurred among Rwandan youth.
Children who were exposed to hateful messages on a regular basis embraced
equally hateful attitudes that guided their future actions. The next sections will
reveal how the Hutu youth accepted these beliefs and grew to be involved in
the genocide.

Beyond the teachers themselves, various other authority figures communicated
anti-Tutsi attitudes in the classroom. Tutsi survivor Kizito Kalima recalled in his
testimony how representatives of the Rwandan military reinforced the divisions
between Hutu and Tutsi students during their recruitment visits. Though officials
appealed to the entire male body, only Hutu boys were considered for service:

The Rwandan military were coming to schools to pick the best student
to go to the military academy. So they came to my school and I was
one of the best students there. So we filled out the papers and you
have to put Tutsi or Hutu. I put Tutsi, and one of my friends he was a
Hutu, he got picked. And I had better grades than him . . . And he was
my best friend, and when we were going back home I asked him why
they didn’t pick me, and he said because you are a Tutsi.24

By citing his ethnic affiliation as the reason Kalima was denied access to the
academy, Kalima’s friend proved he was both aware of and committed to
these ideologies. His remark can only be attributed to his upbringing and the
influence Hutu adults had on his perception of ethnic identities.

Additionally evident in this remark is a push for military involvement directed
toward Hutu youth—yet another example of how children were encouraged to
participate in adult matters. Recruiting officers implored all Hutu boys to apply
for the academy, even those that demonstrated poor academic capabilities.
This action positively reinforced the notions of superiority that caused many
Hutu boys to target Tutsis.

The social conditioning that occurred in the early 90s produced a generation
of radicalized young people who lacked proper outlets. Conscious of
their potential manpower, political figureheads began capitalizing on the
untapped resource these young men represented: “In the early 1990s, the
Interahamwe militia sprang up, initially in the form of patriotic associations
and soccer clubs for local youth.”25 These nonviolent activities were soon
replaced by military training.26 After this transition was made, youth wings
were officially integrated into Rwanda’s political framework: “Starting with
the ruling party, one by one, political parties began reaching out to this
constituency. The ruling party created its own youth wing in early 1992. It
was called the Interahamwe . . . Once it had formed its own political party,
the CDR, the extreme Hutu Power tendency followed by organizing their own
youth wing.”27 As more parties began rallying young men to their cause, the

number of militarily active youth soared; in 1994 this number was reported as
somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000.28

Youth wings and their ubiquity have been referenced to explain why the
genocide in Rwanda developed so rapidly: “The recruitment of young men
into militias in the years leading up to 1994 placed extremists in a position to
unleash the whirlwind when the appropriate moment arose.”29 The success of
these youth wings depended on the commitment of their members. Had they
not been exposed to brutality as children, young Rwandan men might have
been less passionate about their respective cause and therefore less likely
to join violent militias. However, this hypothetical situation did not occur.
Once mobilized, these groups engaged in the most gruesome of their party’s
behaviors: “Interahamwe militias forced parents to bury their children alive,
and as the children tried to dig themselves out of the pit, the parents were
forced to beat them with the shovels and continue covering them with dirt or
risk the murder of the entire family.”30 Rampant sexual offenses were another
prominent feature of their image: “the Interahamwe militias raped 250,000
women and children, leaving more than 70% HIV positive.”31 By violating
children, young members of the Interahamwe displayed a total rejection of
social boundaries, thus completing the process of forceful maturation started
by their elders.

Beyond those involved in organized militias, independent youth were also
guilty of violent acts. In addition to the several hundred women retained in
a Rwandan prison, eight hundred children—“their ages ranging from seven
to seventeen years old”32—were imprisoned for genocidal acts. Though it is

clear these children engaged in violent activity, one must not assume they
participated willingly. In 2004, Donald and Lorna Miller published a book of
testimonies that addresses this misconception. By interviewing numerous
Rwandan children affected by the genocide, the authors were able to demystify
some elements of childhood perpetration:

Q: Were you forced to kill?
A: There is one child who was brought to me and I was asked to kill
him as a sign that I was a Hutu otherwise I would show that I was a
Tutsi. I told them I was not able to. So they gave me a cup of pepper
mixed with water and asked me to pour it in his eyes. I did it, then
they told me that I was one of them.33

This account reveals that fear-induced cooperation accounted for some of the
acts committed by Hutus and also depicts yet another instance of childhood
exploitation. Even if a young Hutu was able to resist brutality in school, he or
she might have still been forced to act aggressively toward Tutsis outside of
the classroom.

In addition to organized youth militias, independent youth were involved in
the 1994 conflict as well. Together, these two forces—each cultivated and
influenced by adult authority figures—contributed to the image of violence
now associated with the Rwandan genocide. Had distinct social boundaries
existed between children and adults, youth involvement might not have
proliferated to such an extent. I have identified traditional family dynamics in

Rwanda as the foundation on which this proliferation occurred. By exposing
children to adult responsibilities at an early age, these patterns conveyed
one very important message to young people—that they were to complete
the tasks expected of them, regardless of whether or not they exceeded their
maturity level. A similar directive is what drove youth involvement in the
genocide. Though foreign to the issues that motivated the conflict, many young
Rwandans were recruited as military allies. This is reflective of their tendency
to act beyond their years in times of need, a message they had accepted early
on in life. Together these values help explain the connection between youth
militias and Rwandan society itself.

I came to this conclusion after doing extensive research on the Interahamwe,
as well as on Rwandan social dynamics and existing information about this
particular conflict. The connections were rather evident; after reading through
various testimonies and secondary sources, I realized the rate of radicalization
among young people was almost identical to that of Rwandan adults. Another
general theme also became apparent; because adults exerted a tremendous
amount of influence over younger populations—and used it to transmit their
own hatred—it may also be assumed they had the inverse potential to shelter
children from negative messages. Why they neglected to do so was a result of
their upbringing. Because these individuals were raised with an unorthodox
perception of “childhood” and “adulthood,” they had no incentive to preserve
the innocence of children. Rather, the exact opposite action proved most
viable. By robbing children of their innocence, either in school or at home, Hutu
radicals were able to mobilize a key portion of their perpetrating body.

Mahmood Mamdani, When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and
the Genocide in Rwanda (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2001), 53.
Scott Straus, The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and the War in Rwanda
(New York: Cornell Univ. Press, 2006), 19.
Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, Rwanda’s Genocide: The Politics of Global Justice
(New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 10.
See note 2, 20.
See note 2, 21.
David Whitehouse, In Search of Rwanda’s Génocidaires: French Justice and the
Lost Decades (Niagara Falls, ON: Seraphim Editions, 2014), 35.
See note 2, 21.
Linda Melvern, Conspiracy to Murder: The Rwandan Genocide (Brooklyn:
Verso, 2004), 8.
World Trade Press, Rwanda Society and Culture Complete Report (Petaluma,
CA: World Trade Press, 2010), accessed November 9, 2015. ProQuest ebrary.
Kirrily Pells, “We’ve Got Used to the Genocide; It’s Daily Life That’s the
Problem,” Peace Review, vol. 21, no. 3 (2009), 339–346.
Samuel Totten and Rafiki Ubaldo, We Cannot Forget: Interviews with Survivors
of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press,
2011), 14.
Gérard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia
Univ. Press, 1995), 254.
Yves Kamuronsi, interview by Karen Jungblut, USC Shoah Foundation Visual
Archives (January 13, 2011), segment 31, minutes 30–31.
Ibid., segment 31, minute 33.
Freddy Mutanguha, interview by Karen Jungblut, USC Shoah Foundation Visual
Archives (September 1, 2010), segment 31, minute 32.
See note 13, 13.
See note 6, 47.
See note 17, segment 42, minute 41.
See note 17, segment 43, minute 42.
See note 17, segment 26, minute 25.
See note 14, 247.
Kizito Kalima, interview by Benjamin Musuhukye, USC Shoah Foundation Visual
Archives (July 24, 2010), segment 19, minute 19–20.
See note 6, 40.
See note 2, 27.

See note 1, 204.
See note 1, 206.
Luke Fletcher, “Turning Interahamwe: Individual and Community Choices in
the Rwandan Genocide,” Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 9, no. 1 (March
2007), 25–48, esp. 37.
Jared Cohen, One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda
Genocide (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), 2.
Ibid., 1.
See note 1, 225.
Donald Miller and Lorna Miller, Orphans of the Rwanda Genocide (Los
Angeles: USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, 2004), 26.
Understanding the Mechanisms
of ITCZ Migration

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Department of Environmental Studies
Sarah Feakins, Faculty Advisor

The Intertropical Convergence Zone, or ITCZ, is a band of convection and
precipitation found in the tropics, which migrates seasonally, bringing rainfall
to ecosystems and societies within its path. In relying on it to bring rainfall
for agriculture, people are susceptible when it fails to migrate; anthropogenic
impacts on the climate system add to the uncertainty of these life-sustaining
rains. To better understand the migration of the ITCZ and potential anomalies in
its movement, this paper will first investigate the main mechanisms governing its
migration and potential causes of its failure. A brief discussion of climate regimes
throughout geologic time will consider past iterations of ITCZ behavior. Next,
a case study on the collapse of the Mayan civilization will emphasize societal
dependence on ITCZ migration and consequences of anomalous behavior, and
will highlight methods used to reconstruct its behavior from proxy data. Finally,
more recent examples of its migration anomalies and predictions of future
behavior will be explored.

The Intertropical Convergence Zone, as its name implies, is a region found within
the tropical latitudes where the northeast and southeast trade winds converge.
This creates a band of low pressure, convection cells, and high precipitation
due to the rising of moist air parcels and the condensation of water vapor at
high altitudes. These convection cells, better known as Hadley Cells, denote
the location of the ITCZ.1 The ITCZ is not a static location; it migrates seasonally,
controlling seasonal rainfall patterns. In the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, it is
usually found between 2ºN and 9ºN, depending on the season. It is furthest north
during boreal summer, and furthest south during boreal winter (see figure 1). It is

important to note that while the most concentrated areas of convection are found
within this 2–9ºN zone, the ITCZ is not a narrow line, meaning that the convection
cells and precipitation can extend further north and south than this zone.2

Figure 1: Location of maximum seasonal tropical rainfall averaged over 1979–1999.3

The most important process governing the location of the ITCZ is the interplay
between Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and the Hadley Cell.
These work in tandem to control energy fluxes across the equator, which in turn
determine the ITCZ position. AMOC is the system within the Atlantic basin, which
brings heat from the tropics to the high latitudes via surface ocean currents
and exports cold, salty, deep water back toward the equator via North Atlantic
Deep Water. AMOC draws 0.8PW of energy from the tropics, bringing immense
energy into the North Atlantic. Some of this energy is drawn from the tropics in
the Southern Hemisphere, meaning there is a loss of energy in that hemisphere.
However, Hadley Cells compensate for some of this energy loss; the southern
ascending branches of Hadley Cells draw 0.3PW of energy from tropical waters
and bring it back to the Southern Hemisphere as they descend, for a net energy
loss of 0.5PW in the Southern Hemisphere. When AMOC changes intensity, the
Hadley Cell energy transport also changes intensity.4

Knowing the energy flux of the Hadley Cells, we can calculate the location
of the Energy Flux Equator (EFE). This conceptual line spanning the tropical
Atlantic denotes where the southward energy transfer from the Hadley Cells
is originating (see figure 2). Therefore, if we know where the Hadley Cells are
forming and exporting energy southward, we can closely approximate the
location of the ITCZ.

Figure 2: The Energy Flux Equator and related energy fluxes from AMOC and Hadley Cells.5

Using the equation shown below in figure 3 and simple climate parameters,
the latitude of the EFE ( ) can be calculated. For this equation we define the
southward energy flux of the Hadley Cells (F0) as negative; northward energy flux
is positive. The other variables in the equation are as follows: a = Earth’s radius;
S = net downward shortwave radiation; L = outgoing long wave radiation; O = any
ocean energy uptake owing to transport or storage in the oceans. Sample climate
values used are: F0= -0.3; S0 = 323 Wm2; L 0 = 251 Wm2; O0 = 54 Wm2.6

Figure 3: Equation to calculate the latitude of the Energy Flux Equator.

Using varying climate values to simulate seasonal changes, it has been found
that = 4ºN ± 3º.7 This indicates that the ITCZ can also be found in this range of
latitudes, which is broadly consistent with the rainfall patterns in figure 1 and
other observations.8

Any changes in AMOC strength would affect the size of Hadley Cell transport F0
and therefore ITCZ location. Two factors during a glacial world that would likely
influence AMOC and ITCZ locations are sea ice cover and freshwater perturbations
from rapid ice melt.9 Sea ice cover in the North Atlantic would shift the entire
system toward the equator, pushing the zone farther south.10 More punctuated
shifts of it also likely occurred during Heinrich events in the last glacial period,
when large amounts of ice floated into the open ocean and melted, lowering
the salinity and impeding the formation of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW).
During Heinrich events, NADW formation likely shut off for 500–700 years—this
was modeled using a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean General Circulation Model
(GCM), ECBilt-Clio. Shutoff of NADW formation also weakened the surface ocean
currents of AMOC, leading to cooling in the Northern Hemisphere and warming

in the Southern Hemisphere.11 With AMOC severely weakened, energy transport
by Hadley Cells would be minimal southward and could even be northward,
meaning the ITCZ would be at or even south of the equator.12 Simulations of its
location during a greenhouse world have also been conducted. Using the Global
Environmental and Ecological Simulation of Interactive Systems (GENESIS)
GCM—an atmospheric GCM coupled with a land model and other submodels—
two experiments were done to model today’s sea surface temperatures versus
much warmer sea surface temperatures based on oxygen isotope proxies
from the Eocene. In a run with a global average sea surface temperature of
30ºC, the GENESIS GCM showed a 3º northward shift in mean ITCZ position.
The combination of stronger AMOC and increased convection in the tropical
atmosphere (i.e., stronger Hadley Cells) may have caused the zone to be further
north in the Eocene than under today’s conditions.13

In the Pacific Ocean, El Niño-Southern Oscillation is another factor influencing
ITCZ location. During El Niño the temperature differential between the
Northern and Southern Hemispheres becomes 0.08K higher than under normal
conditions; one would expect the zone to be even farther north as a result.
However, we observe a 2º southward shift during the transition from La Niña to
El Niño, and up to a 5º southward shift during strong El Niño events. This can be
explained by the changes in the EFE equation parameters that occur—during El
Niño, especially during boreal winter, O0 (ocean energy uptake) is 15 Wm2 smaller
than its baseline value. This means that the denominator of the EFE equation is
larger, leading to a smaller value of —the EFE location is reduced by a factor
of 2 (see figure 3). Therefore, the ITCZ only gets half as far north during El Niño
years as it would during normal years; this is the 2º southward transition we

observe.14 Altered migration of it during El Niño can also be observed via rainfall
anomalies (figure 4). We observe negative precipitation anomalies of up to 100
mm/year along the northern edge of normal ITCZ convection band location,
indicating its southward migration.15

Figure 4: Precipitation anomalies during El Niño events. Note the negative anomaly in the eastern
tropical Pacific, indicating lesser northward migration of the ITCZ.16

Hadley Cell strength is also governed in part by orbital variations, specifically
precession and obliquity. Orbital precession alters temperature gradients
seasonally, which influences the maximum and minimum values of ITCZ
location. Obliquity also plays a role by influencing annual mean temperature
differences between the hemispheres; greater temperature differences between
the hemispheres strengthen AMOC and pull the zone northward. Finally, any
other changes to variables in the EFE equation will alter the EFE calculations,
indicating a change in the location of the ITCZ (see figure 3). For instance, just
a 7 Wm2 decrease in the radiation budget of the EFE equation increases by a
factor of 1.5—the EFE moves from 4ºN to 6ºN. The EFE equation and location of
the ITCZ are very sensitive to changes in initial conditions, meaning the zone can
migrate as a result of small changes to climate or AMOC.17

As mentioned previously, the ITCZ has supported human civilizations throughout
history by delivering rains necessary for agriculture. One such civilization that
relied on seasonal rainfall was the Maya. Archaeological and anthropological
records indicate the Maya founded their civilization around 1300 BC and grew
steadily before reaching their peak in AD 550–750. Following this, multiple city-
centers were abandoned between AD 800–1000; by AD 1200 the remaining
Mayan people were living in decentralized villages throughout the region, as they
do today. Anthropologists had speculated that a prolonged and severe drought
exacerbated social unrest, which led the people to lose faith in their leaders and
walk away from the cities. Within the past fifteen years, scientists have been able
to reconstruct the climate during this time period with incredible resolution,
lending credence to the drought hypothesis.18 These climate proxies came from
sediment cores taken in the Cariaco basin, off the northern coast of Venezuela.
The Cariaco basin is located at 10.5ºN, which is at the northern edge of the
average ITCZ migration band. The Maya lowlands are located on the Yucatán
peninsula from 15ºN–20ºN, which is outside the average ITCZ location. However,
we know from satellite and in situ observations that the zone bends northward
over the peninsula during the summer, meaning this region experiences ITCZ
migration and behavior comparable to the Cariaco basin (see figure 5).19 This
is ideal for climate scientists, as the Cariaco basin provides some of the finest
proxy data for precipitation in the world. The sediment cores contain dark and
light laminae that were laid down each year, corresponding with the seasonal
migration pattern of the zone. The Cariaco basin receives runoff from the South
American continent during the rainy season, forming dark sediment layers;
during the dry season the sediment is lighter. The Cariaco basin is anoxic at

depth, meaning the layers are unperturbed by biogenic activity. The two proxies
most often studied in these sediments are titanium (Ti) and iron (Fe), which are
both proxies for runoff from land. Higher metal concentrations indicate more
runoff and therefore more rainfall. Spanning the last 14ky, the Cariaco basin
sediment records provide subdecadal resolution for rainfall in the region, making
them the best tool for reconstructing ITCZ migration during the period when
Mayan civilization collapsed.20

Figure 5: Typical ITCZ location in the boreal summer (top) and winter (bottom), as well as the
locations of the Maya lowlands and Cariaco basin.21

Figure 6: Titanium concentrations in Cariaco basin sediment records during the time of Mayan
civilization collapse. The region experienced an extended dry period from AD 760–950 (light gray
box). Note the four periods of severe multiyear drought highlighted by dark gray bars.22

Titanium concentrations from the sediment cores revealed anomalous
ITCZ migration patterns during the height of Mayan civilization growth and
advancement, as well as during the period of collapse and disbandment
(figure 6). From AD 550–750 (not shown in figure 6), Ti concentrations revealed
anomalously high rainfall, which corresponds with archaeological evidence
of growing populations found at Mayan ruins. Increased rainfall, brought by a
more northward migration of the ITCZ, allowed the Maya to grow more crops
on marginal land and support a larger population. The growing populations
put strain on the environment and lived at the carrying capacity of the land,
but the higher rainfall supported them. However, beginning in AD 760, the
Cariaco basin and the Maya lowlands experienced a period of prolonged drought
lasting two centuries. This dry period, which already strained the society’s
agricultural capabilities, was punctuated by four major multiyear droughts
beginning in AD 760, 810, 860, and 910 (see figure 6). Over the course of the
200-year dry period, the ITCZ northward migration was dampened, limiting the

amount of rainfall reaching the region. In the case of the severe droughts, the
zone completely failed to reach the Yucatán. The essential summer rains never
came and the land failed to support the population, leading to civil unrest. In
this time, large-scale disbanding of cities occurred in a matter of decades.23
With greater understanding of ITCZ variability comes more questions—the
Cariaco basin sediment records do not give any clues as to why the zone failed
to migrate as expected. However, the high-resolution precipitation record could
potentially be used in future research and modeling using GCMs or MICs (Model
of Intermediate Complexity). Attempting to re-create conditions that cause this
particular pattern of migration failure or observing a time progression of these
conditions could provide insight on the anomalous rainfall patterns.

Though we cannot fully understand how anthropogenic climate change will
influence systems such as the ITCZ, we do have evidence that humans are
impacting climate patterns. For instance, from the 1950s–1970s the northern
midlatitudes cooled 0.6K relative to the southern midlatitudes. This was
due to aerosol loading from fossil fuel burning and other polluting activities;
the aerosols in the atmosphere had a cooling effect. Atmospheric cooling
weakened the Hadley Cells, particularly in the Atlantic, and reduced the size of
F0. ITCZ northward migration was dampened as a result (see figure 3). The Sahel
region in northern Africa, located at the upper end of the normal migration
zone, experienced severe droughts during this time. Once environmental
regulations became more stringent in the 1970s, aerosol loading was reduced
and the anomaly dissipated.24 Though we may be unable to predict with
certainty where warming or cooling will occur over the next century, we can
be aware that small changes in temperature or other conditions can have
significant impacts on the system.

Another concern regarding climate change that is relevant to ITCZ migration
is that AMOC will shut down as a result of ice melting in the high northern
latitudes. Similar to Heinrich events, there is evidence that during the Younger
Dryas period (believed to have been caused by freshwater perturbations in
the North Atlantic), ITCZ migration was altered. Cariaco basin sediment cores
revealed lower Fe and Ti concentrations from 12.6-11.6kya, indicating a dryer
regional climate and a reduction in the extent of northward ITCZ movement.25
To better understand if a similar drastic event could occur as a result of human-
induced warming, 25 GCMs and 5 MICs were used to observe the effects of
the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) four Representative
Concentration Pathways (RCP) on NADW and AMOC. For all models, abrupt
AMOC shutoff did not occur. However, weakening of AMOC occurred in all
experiments as follows: RCP 2.6—22% average AMOC weakening; RCP 4.5—26%
weakening; RCP 6.0—29% weakening; RCP 8.5—40% weakening.26 Considering
the slow movement toward renewable energy and more efficient energy usage,
RCP 8.5 and subsequent effects are likely.

Considering only the results from the 30 models, we would expect to see a
more southward ITCZ as a result of weakened AMOC. To be fair, we do not
know how weaker AMOC will impact climate patterns. Yet scientists should be
aware of the possibility of altered tropical rainfall patterns and bring this to the
attention of politicians and decision-makers. Altered ITCZ migration will certainly
impact future societies, as any place that experiences more or less rain than
usual will have to grapple with the ecological, agricultural, and sociopolitical
consequences of a changed environment.

Larry C. Peterson and Gerald H. Haug, “Variability in the Mean Latitude of the
Atlantic Intertropical Covergence Zone as Recorded by Riverine Input of Sediments
to the Cariaco Basin (Venezuela),” Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeo-
ecology, vol. 234 (2006), 97–113.
John C. H. Chiang, Yochanan Kushnir, and Alessandra Giannini, “Deconstructing
Atlantic Intertropical Convergence Zone Variability: Influence of the Local Cross-
equatorial Sea Surface Temperature Gradient and Remote Forcing from the
Eastern Equatorial Pacific,” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, vol.
107, no. D1 (January 2002), ACL 3-1–ACL 3-19.
Reproduced from source in note 2.
Tapio Schneider, Tobias Bischoff, and Gerald H. Haug, “Migrations and Dynamics
of the Intertropical Convergence Zone,” Nature, vol. 513 (September 4, 2014),
Figure produced by author from Google Maps, using data from source in note 4.
See note 4.
See note 2.
See note 1.
See note 4.
Uta Krebs and Axel Timmermann, “Fast Advective Recovery of the Atlantic
Meridional Overturning Circulation after a Heinrich Event,” Paleoceanography,
vol. 22, no. 1 (March 2007), PA1220.
See note 4.
Matthew Huber and L. Cirbus Sloan, “Climatic Responses to Tropical Sea
Surface Temperature Changes on a ‘Greenhouse’ Earth,” Paleoceanography, vol.
15, no. 4 (August 2000), 443–50.
See note 4.
Aiguo Dai and T. M. L. Wigley, “Global Patterns of ENSO-induced Precipitation,”
Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 27, no. 9 (May 1, 2000), 1283–86.
Reproduced from source in note 15.
See note 4.
Gerald H. Haug, Detlef Günther, Larry C. Peterson, Daniel M. Sigman, Konrad A.
Hughen, and Beat Aeschlimann, “Climate and the Collapse of Maya Civilization,”
Science, vol. 299, no. 5613 (March 14, 2003), 1731–35.
Gerald H. Haug, Konrad A. Hughen, Daniel M. Sigman, Larry C. Peterson,
and Ursula Röhl, “Southward Migration of the Intertropical Convergence Zone
through the Holocene,” Science, vol. 293, no. 5533 (August 17, 2001), 1304–8.
Reproduced from source in note 18.

See note 18.
See note 4.
See note 20.
Andrew J. Weaver, et al., “Stability of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning
Circulation: A Model Intercomparison,” Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 39,
no. 20 (October 28, 2012), L20709.
The Pathology of Hutchinson-Gilford
Progeria Syndrome: A Model for Normal
Geriatric Cardiovascular Disease

Davis School of Gerontology
Norah Ashe-McNally, Faculty Advisor

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is a rare genetic disorder that
causes children to age at a significantly faster rate than normal. An abnormal
buildup of a toxic protein called progerin, which contributes to cellular
senescence, causes this disease. Scientists discovered the characteristics
of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in progeria and in the aging population to
be remarkably similar. However, the main difference is that HGPS children
experience cardiovascular events faster and in a shorter time span. Additionally,
progerin deposits were apparent in the vascular lesions of both HGPS children
and aged tissues. Scientists believe these similarities are so strong that HGPS
can act as a model for age-related CVD. Currently, there are four drugs being
investigated for prolonging the life of children with HGPS: rapamycin, FTI
lonafarnib, pravastatin, and zoledronic acid. All four drugs have been shown
to improve the pathology of HGPS in vitro and in vivo by inhibiting progerin
accumulation. Of these drugs, lonafarnib seems to best improve CVD in HGPS
transgenic mice. In recent clinical trials using lonafarnib treatments, most HGPS
patients improved their cardiovascular abnormalities by reducing peripheral
artery stiffness. Currently, researchers are continuing clinical trials using a triple
drug therapy, which combines lonafarnib, pravastatin, and zoledronate. The
results have yet to be released and there is still more research to be done in
this area, but scientists are interested in finding a cure for HGPS as successful
treatments may be useful to the aging population as well.

Adalia Rose’s skin is wrinkled, she has no hair, and has little body fat to support
her delicate frame. Her heart is weakening dramatically and she often suffers from

severe hip dislocations, brittle bones, and atherosclerosis. She makes regular visits
to her cardiologist and primary care physician. Adalia Rose is only seven years old.

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is a genetic disorder that causes
children like Adalia to age eight times faster than normal. This disease is very rare,
and only one out of every four million births will have the LMNA mutation, which
is believed to cause this syndrome. Currently there are about 100 known children
from 32 countries with HGPS.1 Children with the disease will face cardiovascular
events similar to the aged. They experience arteriole stenosis, angina, heart
attacks, and strokes—similar to people in their seventies, eighties, and nineties.
However, the main difference is that HGPS children experience cardiovascular
events faster and in a shorter time span. Consequentially, researchers can use
HGPS as a model for normal cardiovascular aging.

HGPS children appear normal at birth, but noticeable characteristics of the
disease begin to appear after about one to two years of life. On average, children
with HGPS live until about age thirteen, but some die younger and few live
beyond twenty years.2 Children like Adalia Rose commonly have such features
as a narrowed face, beaked nose, slowed growth, below average height and
weight, hair loss (alopecia), hardening and tightening of skin on extremities
(scleroderma), disproportionately large face, thin lips, visible veins, prominent
eyes, high-pitched voice, abnormal tooth formation, diminished body fat, stiff
joints, hip dislocation, insulin resistance, seizures, and cardiovascular disease.
Many of these symptoms are extraordinarily similar to characteristics associated

with normal aging.3 As is the case with older people, the number one killer of
HGPS patients is cardiovascular disease. Almost all children with HGPS eventually
die from myocardial infarction (heart attack) or strokes.4

There is no current cure for progeria. Interestingly, clinicians will treat the children
using standards of care for geriatric CVD. For example, some children will undergo
coronary artery bypass surgery or angioplasty to slow the progression of their
cardiovascular disease (CVD). Some doctors will also suggest the children take low
doses of aspirin to slow down the often-fatal effects of CVD.5

In order to understand the correlation between normal cardiovascular diseases
and HGPS, one must first understand the pathology of HGPS. Progeria is a disease
of the nuclear membranes. In normal cell development, progerin like proteins are
normal intermediaries in the cascade production of a structural protein named
lamin A. In normal cells, lamins are structural proteins involved in maintaining
cell strength and stability, and may have a role in gene expression.6 Lamin A
is normally produced in the HMG-CoA reductase pathway, which is closely
involved in cell membrane maintenance. As prelamin A matures, it is farnesylated
(attachment of a farnesyl group) by the enzyme farnesyltransferase on its
C-terminal end. Next, the gene Zmpste24 encodes for the removal of 15 amino
acids and the attached farnesyl group from the C-terminal end by Zmpste24
enoprotease. The mature lamin A is released into the nuclear membrane and
can effectively recruit DNA repair factors (figure 1).7 As a result of the prelamin A
maturation, a normal cell maintains a spherical shape.8

The Normal and Aberrant HGPS lamin A Pathway
This image displays the normal pathway of lamin A production. In the wild type (normal pathway),
and farnesyl group it is attached to prelamin A. In HGPS, there is a deletion of 50 amino acids,
and, consequently, the farnesyl group is permanently attached to prelamin A. The permanent
fusion of prelamin A and farnesyl group is termed progerin. Progerin causes genome instability
and fails to recruit DNA repair factors. Progerin is believed to be the cause of cellular senescence.9

Children with HGPS, however, have a silent mutation of the LMNA gene, which
normally codes for the prelamin A protein. Consequently, 150 messenger RNA
bases are deleted.10 This abnormal protein, progerin, lacks 50 amino acids
essential for the removal of its C-terminal farnesylated peptide by Zmpste24
enoprotease.11 Consequentially, progerin remains as an intact farnesylated
peptide and is bound to the inner nuclear membrane (figure 1). Normally,

prelamin A is a transient intermediate protein, which is detected at very low
levels in normal cells. In HGPS, however, prelamin A and its attached farnesyl
group are permanent, and concentrations build up with successive cellular
divisions. As a result, DNA repair factors are not recruited and the cell’s genome
becomes unstable.12 The progerin accumulation results in an abnormal bulging
of the HGPS nuclei, called “blebbing.” Researchers believe this abnormality
greatly contributes to cellular senescence, causing the HGPS-aged phenotypes.13
There are no known risk factors for developing the LMNA gene mutation and the
mutation appears to be random.14

Scientists have recently examined how progerin accumulation relates to both
HGPS and age-related cardiovascular disease (CVD). The connections between
HGPS and age-related CVD have been remarkably similar.15 Scientists identified
medial smooth muscle cell disruption in both HGPS and in normally-aged
arteries. The intima thickens, elastic fibers are disrupted, and sclerotic plaques
form in the aorta and coronary arteries. In both the aged arteries and HGPS
arteries, vascular smooth muscle cells’ integrity decreased, proteoglycan
deposition accumulated within the medial wall, and thickening of the vascular
walls occurred. Clinical findings suggest that HGPS children, like in normal CVD,
have poor vascular compliance and elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure
levels. Like in older people, the blood vessels of HGPS children also showed
evidence of inflammation and plaque erosion. Macrophages were present in
most HGPS lesions, which is consistent with a normal age-related atherosclerotic
inflammatory response.16

However, HGPS tissues and normal CVD patients’ tissues are not completely
identical. In contrast to the traditional aged lesions, the majority of the lesions
in HGPS tissues are specifically categorized as fibrous and very rich in collagen.
These lesions were also highly calcified (fibrocalcific).17 The HGPS tissues lacked
some classic risk factors that greatly contribute to the normal pathology of
atherosclerosis such as hypercholesterolemia.18 Recent findings also suggest that
the blood vessels of chidren with progeria do not completely fit the standard
atherosclerotic description. Compared to typical geriatric CVD, the vasculature in
HGPS showed significantly reduced preservation of vascular smooth muscle cells
(VSMC), intimal thickening, and layered thrombosis.19

Researchers also evaluated whether progerin is directly involved in HGPS
cardiovascular disease. They determined most HGPS vascular lesions contained
progerin-positive cells, and specifically, progerin colonized in VSMCs. Also,
progerin-positive cells were identified in the intimal plaque, adventitial
fibroblasts, and arteriolar VSMCs.

These results indicate progerin is embedded in all layers of the coronary
vasculature in HGPS patients.20 Progerin was also greatly aggregated in the
adventitia, which suggests its large role in HGPS cardiovascular disease.21
Researchers also considered whether progerin deposits are similarly prevalent
in aged arteries. Interestingly, in non-HGPS aged tissues, progerin staining
increased by about 3.34% per year in the arterial wall layers.22 Progerin also was
present in their coronary arteries, and the highest progerin-positive cells, similar
to HGPS individuals, were localized in the adventitia. This suggests the possibility
that some vessel injury begins in the deep vessel layer and subsequently

damages the intima, ultimately causing plaque formation.23 Researchers still
need to consider whether the comparatively small but steady amounts of
progerin in non-HGPS individuals influences geriatric atherosclerosis. Progerin
accumulation in HGPS vascular cells may cause nuclear defects and increased
susceptibility to mechanical strain, which causes an inflammatory response
and ultimately atherosclerosis. It is possible that part of the normal aging
process is related to a decline in vascular integrity related to defective Lamin
A processing. Such defective processing may emerge as a result of a decrease
in Zmpste24 activity and/or defective splicing, leading to low but significant
levels of progerin production.24 The increasing accumulation of progerin in the
cardiovasculature of the aged tissues gives scientists a new and interesting
perspective on the pathology of CVD. The presence of progerin in aging vascular
tissues of non-HGPS individuals elicits discussion as a new element affecting
vascular health with aging.25

Dr. Francis Collins, who discovered the importance of the LMNA genetic mutation
in HGPS pathology, conducted a study trying to identify a common genetic link
between progerin accumulations and normal aging. He examined 1,000 people
over the age of ninety-four and found that four single nucleotide polymorphisms
(SNP) differed from the general population. SNPs are random variations within a
population that can be described as a single nucleotide change in the genome.
Further studies will determine if an increase or decrease of progerin is linked to
these SNPs. Perhaps they are linked to the amount of progerin located in vascular
smooth muscle cells, and as a result play a role in age-related CVD.26

Scientists are interested in finding a cure for HGPS, and if treatments prove
to be beneficial for progeria-related CVD, clinicians may apply treatments to
the normal aging population as well. Currently, there are four drugs being
investigated for prolonging the life of people with HGPS: FTI lonafarnib,
pravastatin, zoledronic acid, and rapamycin.

The first drug discovery, lonafarnib, is a farnesyltransferase inhibitor (FTI). It
is traditionally used as a cancer treatment, but has been shown to reverse the
abnormal shape in progeria cells in a laboratory.27 The drug works by inhibiting
the enzyme, farnesyltransferase, which farnesylates prelamin A. As a result,
progerin production is “paralyzed” and progeria can restore itself (figure 2).28
Unlike the round, symmetrical nuclei in normal cells, progeria cells have
abnormally shaped nuclei with multiple lobes (figure 3). Progeria cells treated
with FTI revert back to their normal nuclei appearance (figure 3).29 Furthermore,
scientists treated HGPS transgenic (Zmpste24 -/-) mice with FTI and found the
mice experienced significant improvement in their symptoms such as increased
weight gain, decreased rib fractures, and increased overall life span.30 This
discovery has provided extensive evidence that FTI drugs may be used to improve
the condition of children with HGPS.31
such as increased weight gain, decreased rib fractures, and increased overall lifespan.30 This

discovery has provided extensive evidence that FTI drugs may be used to improve the condition
of children with HGPS.31

Figure 2: FTI, Provastatin, and Aminobisphosphonates Inhibitory Pathway. This diagram
FTI, pravastatin, and Aminobisphosphonates
shows the pathway of progerin production and howInhibitory
current drugPathway
treatments inhibt the synthesis
This diagram shows the pathway of progerin production and how current drug treatments inhibit
of progerin. Provastatin treatments inhibit the HMG-CoA reductase, and, as a result, progerin
the synthesis of progerin. Pravastatin treatments inhibit the HMG-CoA reductase, and, as a result,
prevents the
progerin farnesyl
production group from attaching
is terminated.
is terminated. to prelamin
Bisphosphonates also A. prevent
prevent progerinConsequentially,
accumulation progerin production
by inhibiting the by
inhibiting32the enzyme farnesyl-pyrophosphate synthase. The FTI drugs inhibit farnesyltransferase,
is disrupted. enzyme farnesyl-pyrophosphate synthase. The FTI drugs inhibit farnesyltransferase, which
which prevents the farnesyl group from attaching to prelamin A. Consequentially, progerin
production is disrupted.32

Figure 3: cells
HGPS HGPS cells Treated
Treated with FTI
with FTI Drugs Drugs (Lonafarnib). When a HGPS cell was treated
When a HGPS cell was treated with FTI drugs, the HGPS cell reverted from its blebbing shape to
with aFTI
normal cellular
drugs, shape.33cell reverted from its blebbing shape to a normal cellular shape.33
the HGPS

Provastatin and Aminobisphosphates as Drug Treatments

Although FTI drugs work to inhibit farnesyltransferase, after long-term use, FTI may become

Although FTI drugs work to inhibit farnesyltransferase, after long-term
use FTI may become less effective. Researchers hypothesize that when
farnesyltransferase is inhibited using FTI drugs, prelamin A undergoes an
alternative pathway, allowing for progerin accumulation. Drugs like pravastatin
and aminobisphosphates work to inhibit the alternative pathway of farnesyl
attachment to prelamin A.34 Studies have shown combined treatment of
pravastatin (from the class of statins) and aminobisphosphonates (zoledronic
acid) results in inhibition of progerin. In vitro treatment using both pravastatins
and aminobisphosphonates show the abnormal blebbing shape of progeria
cells reverted back to normal cell shape after treatment.35 Pravastatins work by
inhibiting the progerin-farnesyl production early on in the pathway. It inhibits the
enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, and by inhibiting this pathway, the farnesyl group
cannot attach to prelamin A (figure 3).36 Typically, statins are used as a lipid-
lowering drug and they inhibit cholesterol synthesis. However, pravastatin is not
currently being used for this purpose and clinicians are investigating the benefits
of pravastatins on improving HGPS phenotypes.37

Aminobisphosphonates (zoledronic acid) also work by inhibiting the farnesyl
attachment, but, unlike statins, they inhibit a different enzyme known as
farnesylpyrophosphate synthase,38 and as a result, the progerin production is
terminated (figure 3).39

Researchers used transgenic mice models (Zmpste24 -/-) with the clinical
features of progeria and treated them with daily doses of pravastatin and
aminobisphosphates alone, and with a combination of both treatments.
No survival benefits were observed using the drugs alone; however, when the

drugs were used together, the researchers saw substantial recovery of the
progeroid symptoms in the mice.40 The HGPS mice had improved body weight,
reversed alopecia (hair loss), and extended longevity. On average, mice treated
with both drugs had an increased life span of about 78 days.41 The researchers
did not report any specific improvement in cardiovascular health as a result of
treatments. However, it is very possible these drugs increased the mutant mices’
life spans because the drugs improved their cardiovascular health.

Recently, scientists discovered the drug rapamycin might also improve HGPS.
Rapamycin has been shown to increase longevity in various organisms including
yeast, C. Elegans, and mice.42 It regulates cell growth, integrates nutrients
and hormonal signals, and regulates diverse cellular processes. It may be
used as an anticancer, immunosuppressant, and neurodegenerative disease
treatment. Also, new studies reveal rapamycin may have therapeutic effects for
Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases. Both HGPS and the above
neurodegenerative diseases involve an accumulation of toxic proteins, which
rapamycin seems to target and reduce. Overall, rapamycin may have benefits
for improving brain function. Recently, researchers found it diminishes nuclear
defects, extends cellular life, and improves the turnover of progerin in HGPS
fibroblasts.43 It decreases the production of insoluble progerin accumulation
and helps clear soluble progerin through autophagy. One serious side effect
of rapamycin is its ability to induce immunosuppression, which may lead
to an increased risk of infections.44 Clinicians and researchers are currently
constructing a clinical trial for treatment of HGPS using Everolimus, a type of
rapamycin drug.45 The results from this trial may determine if this rapamycin
would be beneficial to older people.

Although experimental trials show progeria cells and progeria-induced mice
benefit from FTI treatment, it is difficult to know how FTI drugs will affect
children with progeria. Researchers are hopeful FTI will improve the disease
in children with HGPS. In 2007, twenty-eight children with HGPS, ranging from
ages three to fifteen, participated in the first-ever clinical trial at the Boston
Children’s Hospital, using lonafarnib (FTI drugs) only.46 The patients took
lonafarnib in a pill form, twice per day for a minimum of two years. Although
some clinicians reported children had temporary diarrhea, fatigue, nausea,
vomiting, and anorexia after treatments, FTI drugs appear to be a relatively
nontoxic and manageable treatment option.

Researchers and clinicians evaluated changes in the children’s weight in order
to assess the efficacy of treatments. Although cardiovascular disease is the
most important indicator of health and mortality in HGPS patients, it is not
a feasible primary outcome of the treatment. Some patients on the trial had
strokes or myocardial infarctions before starting the trial, the damage from which
is irreversible. The most accurate assessment of cardiovascular improvement
would be to measure the mean age of death. However, this requires doctors to
follow HGPS patients for ten to fifteen years. Rather, physicians use the patient’s
weight gain, another signature feature of HGPS, as a determinant of the efficacy
of current treatments.47 Overall, the drug alleviates cardiovascular stiffness and
improves the rate of weight gain. Some measures did not significantly change
after treatments, including electrocardiogram (ECG) and carotid ultrasound
findings, dental abnormalities, and joint rigidity.48

Leslie Gordon et al., also analyzed the effectiveness of FTI drug clinical trials49
on increasing the life span of children suffering from HGPS. As of now, 11.6%
of HGPS patients died in the treated group and 48.8% died in the matched
untreated groups. During the first six years of treatment, the mean survival was
14.6 years and average life extension was 1.6 years.50 Although this improvement
appears insignificant, it is likely that beginning treatments at an earlier age may
further increase life span. Gordon also notes that survival on FTIs is independent
of gender and medical advances. This implies the progerin-related morbidity is
the overwhelming factor in survival. In addition, since FTIs were administered
the longest, it seems the increase in survival is largely due to the FTI’s therapy.
This is the first study to demonstrate an increased HGPS survival in humans.
Gordon emphasized FTIs are not a cure for HGPS, but are certainly a worthwhile
treatment to thwart the devastating effects of progeria.51

The Progeria Foundation and Children’s Hospital in Boston also conducted a
second clinical trial. This larger trial is currently treating 45 children with HGPS
and administering three different drugs to the children. Clinicians used two
drugs, pravastatin and zoledronic acid, in conjunction with FTIs in order to
maximize the efficacy of treatments.52 Scientists are optimistic the triple drug
trial will be highly effective in improving HGPS because each drug acts on
different pathways of progerin production. Researchers believe this new clinical
trial will further improve symptons from the disease and increase the children’s
life span.53 To date, the most significant side effect of zoledronic acid is a flu-
like symptom after the initial injection. For pravastatin, patients experienced

transient muscle pain and mildly increased creatine phosphokinase. The
combination therapy is ongoing, and a progress report should be published in
the near future.

Since CVD is the primary killer of persons with HGPS, researchers assessed the
benefits of the drugs mentioned, specifically FTI drugs, on the cardiovascular
symptoms associated with HGPS. Researchers administered FTI drugs to
transgenic mice that developed HGPS. These studies show the FTI drugs
successfully prevented the abnormal phenotypes and progression of
cardiovascular disease.54

Two main characteristics of both HGPS and geriatric CVD that researchers
target in treatments are proteoglycan accumulations and VSMCs loss. Increased
proteoglycan is commonly associated with age-related vascular diseases.55 It is
present in early intimal thickenings and characteristic of atherosclerotic lesions,
and tends to accumulate in human vessels susceptible to atherosclerosis.56
With regard to VSMCs and CVD, the underlying mechanisms contributing to
VSMCs aging are not fully understood.57 However, scientists believe DNA-
damage response is a critical regulator in VSMCs senescence. Prelamin A
accumulation during VSMCs aging alters nuclear lamina function and activates
DNA damage signaling. Consequently, this leads to VSMCs senescence. Research
has suggested that during normal atherosclerotic events, the DNA damage
impairs the integrity of nuclear lamina, and as a result, ruins the maintenance
of VSMCs health and functionality.58 Therefore, when assessing the efficacy of
drug therapies in treating CVD, researchers evaluate improvements to both
proteoglycan aggregations and VSMCs maintenance.

Transgenic mice treated with FTI drugs showed significant improvement to
VSMCs loss and proteoglycan accumulation.59 These results were even seen in
HGPS mice that developed the disease for nine months before starting a six-
month treatment plan. Researchers identified that tripling the mices’ doses
of FTI drugs (450 mg/kg/day) displayed the most significant improvement in
vasculature.60 These results give the first evidence FTI may have beneficial
implications in reversing detrimental vascular changes associated with progeria,61
and perhaps these drugs could have possible therapeutic effects for the typical
CVD pathology. Some researchers hypothesize the VSMCs are especially ruined
in HGPS vasculature due to the usual mechanical stress in the larger arteries,
combined with the unstable nuclear framework due to defective lamin A.62 The
permanently farnesylated progerin proteins are thought to anchor themselves to
the overlying inner nuclear membrane, and as a result, leads to disorganization
of the transcription factors bound to it. These effects may be responsible for the
misregulated gene expression seen in genes involved in VSMCs proliferation in
HGPS. Similarly, it is possible genetic instability and vascular breakdown seen in
the geriatric population is driven by the increasing amount of progerin deposits
in aging blood vessels. Using FTIs to inhibit the levels of farnesylated progerin
available may decrease nuclear damage caused by progerin, resulting in the
repair of damaged vessels.63

Since FTI drugs have improved VSMC loss and decreased proteoglycan
accumulation in mice models, FTI may be beneficial in treating the CVD
associated with HGPS. Typically, children with HGPS have stable cardio-
vasculature for most of their lives, but in later life, they exhibit dramatic
acceleration of cardiovascular symptoms. The combined results from
transgenic mice treatments and the FTI clinical trial suggest FTI drugs are

effective for treating HGPS-related CVD. Clinicians also explain that FTI
specifically improved the cardiovascular abnormalities in HGPS children by
improving peripheral artery stiffness, which is a predictor of cardiovascular
and stroke mortality. Gordon et al., say FTIs were so successful in HGPS it may
have important applications for the general aging population’s CVD.64 It is
unclear if pravastatin and zoledronic acid cause the same benefits regarding
CVD, but pravastatin and aminobisphosphates may show similar benefits,
since both also target progerin accumulation.

Scientists now consider the possible therapeutic effect of FTI drugs for normal
age-related CVD. Since research has shown FTIs can improve VSMCs integrity
and decrease proteoglycan accumulation, which are both features of CVD,
FTI drugs may be able to significantly improve CVD in the aging population.
Furthermore, now that scientists know age-induced CVD may be related to
progerin accumulations in aged arteries, it is possible research will now focus
on ways to reduce progerin production in aging individuals. Researchers may
consider using treatments similar to those used for HGPS, such as lonafarnib,
pravastatin, zoledronic acid, and rapamycin. There is still more research to be
done regarding HGPS and normal age-induced CVD, but the scientific community
is optimistic they can use information about HGPS to benefit CVD. Perhaps if
clinicians and researchers can find a way to cure HGPS, or at least delay the onset
of its devastating effects, then the same methods could potentially be used to
cure or significantly improve age-related CVD.

Leslie B. Gordon, Christine J. Harling-Berg, and Frank G. Rothman, “Highlights of the
2007 Progeria Research Foundation Scientific Workshop: Progress in Translational
Science,” Journal of Gerontology, vol. 63A, no. 8 (August 2008), 777–87.
Melissa A. Merideth, Leslie B. Gordon, Sarah Clauss, et al., “Phenotype and
Course of Hutchinson–Gilford Progeria Syndrome,” The New England Journal of
Medicine, vol. 358, no. 6 (February 7, 2008), 592–604.
J. L. V. Broers et al., “Nuclear Lamins: Laminopathies and Their Role in
Premature Ageing,” Physiological Reviews, vol. 86, no. 3 (2006), 967–1008.
Brian C. Capell, Michelle Olive, Michael R. Erdos, et al., “A Farnesyltransferase
Inhibitor Prevents Both the Onset and Late Progression of Cardiovascular Disease
in a Progeria Mouse Model,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
vol. 105, no. 41 (2008), 15902–7.
Howard J. Worman, “Nuclear Lamins and Laminopathies,” Journal of Pathology,
vol. 226 (January 2012), 316–25.
Bruce Korf, “Hutchinson–Gilford Progeria Syndrome, Aging, and the Nuclear
Lamina,” The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 358, no. 6 (February 7,
2008), 552–55.
Jose Candelario, “Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome and the Role of Lamin
A in the Onset of the Progeroid Cellular Phenotype” (PhD diss., University of
Southern California, 2010).
Kan Cao, Cecilia D. Blair, Dina A. Faddah, et al., “Progerin and Telomere
Dysfunction Collaborate to Trigger Cellular Senescence in Normal Human
Fibroblasts,” Journal of Clincal Investigation, vol. 121 (July 2011), 2833–44.
See note 1.
Michelle Olive, Ingrid Harten, Richard Mitchell, et al., “Cardiovascular Pathology
in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria: Correlation With the Vascular Pathology of Aging,”
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, vol. 30, no. 11 (2010), 2301–9.
See note 1.
See note 15.

Derek T. Warren and Catherine M. Shanahan, “Defective DNA-damage Repair
Induced by Nuclear Lamina Dysfunction is a Key Mediator of Smooth Muscle Cell
Aging,” Biochemical Society Transactions, vol. 39, no. 6 (2011), 1780–85.
See note 15.
See note 1.
Michael Glynn and Thomas W. Glover, “Incomplete Processing of Mutant Lamin
A in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Leads to Nuclear Abnormalities, Which are
Reversed by Farnesyltransferase Inhibition,” Human Molecular Genetics, vol. 14,
no. 20 (2005), 2959–69.
Loren Fong, David Frost, Margarita Meta, et al., “A Protein Farnesyltransferase
Inhibitor Ameliorates Disease in a Mouse Model of Progeria,” Science, vol. 311, no.
5767 (March 17, 2006), 1621–23.
See note 27.
Shao H. Yang, Margarita Meta, Xin Qiao, et al., “A Farnesyltransferase Inhibitor
Improves Disease Phenotypes in Mice with a Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome
Mutation,” Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol. 116, no. 8 (August 2006), 2115–21.
See note 1.
Ignacio Varela, Sandrine Pereira, Alejandro P. Ugalde, Claire L. Navarro, et al.,
“Combined Treatment with Statins and Aminobisphosphonates Extends Longevity
in a Mouse Model of Human Premature Aging,” Nature Medicine, vol. 14, no. 7
(July 2008), 767–72.
Mikhail Blagosklonny, “Progeria, Rapamycin and Normal Aging: Recent
Breakthrough,” Aging, vol. 3, no. 7 (2011), 685–91.
See note 34.
See note 35.
Andrew R. Mendelsohn and James W. Larrick, “Rapamycin As an Antiaging
Therapeutic? Targeting Mammalian Target of Rapamycin to Treat Hutchinson–
Gilford Progeria and Neurodegenerative Diseases,” Rejuvenation Research, vol.
14, no. 4 (2011), 437–41.
See note 35.
See note 1.

Leslie B. Gordon, Monica E. Kleinman, David T. Miller, et al., “Clinical Trial of
a Farnesyltransferase Inhibitor in Children with Hutchinson–Gilford Progeria
Syndrome,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 109, no. 41
(October 9, 2012), 16666–71.
See note 44.
Leslie B. Gordon, Joe Massaro, Ralph D’Agostino, et al., “Impact of
Farnesylation Inhibitors on Survival in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome,”
Circulation, vol. 130 (July 1, 2014), 27–34.
See note 48.
See note 34.
See note 7.
Thomas N. Wight and Mervyn J. Merrilees, “Proteoglycans in Atherosclerosis
and Restenosis,” Circulation Research, vol. 94, no. 9 (May 14, 2004), 1158–67.
See note 15.
See note 24.
See note 7.
See note 24.
See note 1.
See note 24.
See note 55.
See note 48.
The Origins of Human Reactions
to Death: Grief Behavior in Highly
Encephalized Animals and the Mortuary
Practices of Homo Neanderthalensis

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Departments of Creative Writing and Cognitive Science
Stephanie Bogart, Faculty Advisor

In order to better understand humans’ enigmatic reactions to death, we must
look to our ancestors for clues and the roots to some of the most complex
phenomena in humanity’s vast repertoire of behaviors and customs. What
better path to elucidating why and how we mourn, how our funerary traditions
have developed into their modern manifestations, and how we conceptualize
mortality than our knowledge of grief in animals—especially our primate
cousins—and the burial customs of our Neandertal forebears? By looking at
animals with large brain-to-body-size ratios comparable to that of humans, we
can see how our seemingly unique emotions regarding dying and bereavement
are not far off from those animals’ similarly complex cognitive processes; by
analyzing the archeological remains of some of our closest prehistoric kin,
we may also find one biological basis for humanity’s rich ritualistic traditions
surrounding the burial of the deceased. Setting up this framework of evidence
allows us to trace an evolutionary path from our earliest conceptions of death
as primitive animals, to a middle step where we began using our new-found
cognitive advancements to develop more complex reactions to death, to finally
connecting the dots in our diverse, modern thanatological traditions—traditions
that appear to go back much farther than previously imagined.

What do animals “think” about death? In what way do they perceive not only
the deaths of their conspecifics but of themselves? If they are able to ascribe
mortality to their own species, do they then also understand the impermanence
of the flora and other fauna of their environment? More tangibly, what kinds of
behavioral and physiological changes do animals go through as a direct result of
the processing of a close death? Unfortunately we do not fully know, as research

into these topics is still in its infancy and much of the available data on death-
related behaviors in animals is merely anecdotal or lacking statistically significant
sample sizes.1 However, the recent studies that have attempted to tackle these
issues have at least dismantled the long-held idea that humans alone have an
awareness of death.

Although it is now clear humans are not alone in our pain surrounding the loss
of those around us, we must be careful in overly anthropomorphizing complex
animal behavior. Humans are the only animals who have a symbolic, existential
relationship to death that is expressed through language, art, and elaborate
cultural rituals, but as Jessica Pierce states, animals have ways of perceiving the
world that are totally foreign to us, and therefore they may understand death
in their own unique way.2 Take, for example, Oscar the Cat, a nursing home pet
famous for being able to accurately predict imminent patient deaths, even before
the doctors and nurses could.3 By sleeping on the beds of only those who would
pass in the next few hours, Oscar was able to alert staff on when to call in the
patients’ families. Although there exists a possible explanation for how Oscar
is able to sense death coming—by smelling subtle chemical changes in the
patient’s body, such as the breakdown of carbohydrates4—no one knows why he
does it in the first place.

Companion animals such as dogs and cats offer the largest supply of information
regarding death-related behavior, and although they do not rank in the upper
echelon of animals with a high encephalization quotient, Pierce states there is no
doubt they possess some understanding of death.5 More specifically, companion
animals have a depth of grieving behaviors including first responses such as

howling, whining, and other acute crying reactions, searching for miss-
ing companions, standing vigil at a corpse, and exhibiting signs of “depression”
(loss of appetite, listlessness, more frequent vocalizations, and changes
in affection). Grief in companion animals is so well documented that the
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals urges pet owners
not to hide deaths from other animals in the house, as cats, dogs, and horses
who see the deceased body of an animal they knew can adjust very well and
spend less time searching and grieving than pets who have not seen their
companion’s remains. We now know death in animals is a critically important
social event, and human interference with natural death rituals can cause
major trauma in surviving individuals.6

Elephants are a prime example of one such animal that can suffer serious
psychological damage if exposed to traumatic deaths. Wild elephants exposed
to mass deaths by poaching or habitat loss have been shown to display
symptoms commonly associated with human PTSD: abnormal startle responses,
depression, unpredictable asocial behavior, and hyperaggression.7 These findings
are not surprising, as it has long been common knowledge that elephants
have an advanced awareness of death. African elephants (Loxodonta africana)
not only display dramatic reactions to the dead bodies of other elephants,
they systematically investigate elephant bones and tusks more often than the
remains of other species.8 It has also been suggested elephants visit the bones
of relatives, however this may simply be due to the fact family members usually
die within their own home range, and therefore their remains are closer to
inquisitive kin. They do, however, gather around the body of a recently-dead herd
member and gently touch the body with their trunks and feet, often standing

vigil for days; sometimes they will put food in the mouth of the deceased, pack
its wounds with mud, and bury it under vegetation; and one mother was even
observed to stand beside her stillborn baby for three days, seemingly suffering
from acute grief.9

Similar to elephants in their encephalization quotient, bottlenose dolphins
(Tursiops truncatus) seem to offer the clearest examples of death-related
behavior for water-based animals. Because cetaceans have spindle neurons—
specialized neurons that have been related to the processing of emotions in
humans, including grief—scientists speculate dolphins are capable of feeling
grief as well.10 One particularly chilling account tells of a mother lifting her dead
newborn to the surface of the water, in an apparent attempt to get it to breathe,
and continuing to do this for two days, never separating from the calf and
repeatedly calling to it while touching the body with her snout and pectoral fins.11
There appears to be a distinction in mourning behaviors, however, depending
on whether or not the individual died suddenly or suffered from a prolonged
illness. In contrast to the previous story, in which the newborn had suddenly
died as a result of a violent attack, Rowan Hooper tells of a pod surrounding a
two- to three-month-old dolphin suffering from severe exposure to pollution—
the group appeared stressed, swimming erratically and attempting to help the
dying animal stay afloat, but after it finally died, the group immediately left the
area, as if they had prepared themselves by keeping it company and offering
whatever support they could.12 Dolphins clearly exhibit similar reactions to death
as ours, including stopping to “pay respects” to (or merely acknowledge) a dead
conspecific, but also show many confusing death-behaviors, including carrying
dead infants in much the same way primate mothers do.13 K. M. Dudzinski offers

two more examples of strange mourning behaviors in bottleneck dolphins,
including two males “standing guard” over a female corpse in one instance,
and a group of at least twenty males attending the body of a young adult male
in the other.14 In the latter account, the authors suggest the attendant males
were communicating among themselves with respect to the position of the
dead male within the social structure of the group, oddly enough by exhibiting
a common socioaggressive pointing gesture with their erect penises. In that
instance, the authors also suggest intensive investigation occurred, where
the surviving dolphins were able to confirm the death of their conspecific by
using echolocation to determine the density of organs normally filled with
air but had now changed due to the individual’s confirmed cause of death:
drowning. Whether dolphins have a cross-modal understanding of their own
visual anatomy with reference to auditory information, however, has yet to be

Of all thanatological animal studies, those dealing with nonhuman primates are
clearly the most relevant for understanding how aspects of human responses to
death might have evolved.16 Especially since primates are such social creatures,
the death of a conspecific may be a significant social event, representing the loss
of an ally and/or resulting in disruptions to the dominance hierarchy.17

Jacqueline S. Buhl describe the response of a group of rhesus macaques
(Macaca mulatta) to the body of a conspecific that died from a fatal, intragroup
attack—several high-ranking males, whom the researchers suspect to have
been the ones who carried out the attack, and one high-ranking female dragged

and bit the dead body for about two hours after the death, exhibiting a rate of
aggression twenty times greater than baseline levels.18 The authors suggest these
aggressive behaviors directed at the dead body could have been a result of the
continued release of adrenaline from the initial attack in the case of the males,
and could represent an instance of agonistic social contagion for both the males
and the female, although the reason for the attack in the first place is unknown.
It is important to note as well that the nonaggressive group members that were
visually orientated toward the dead body seemed to increase their rate of social
grooming and self-directed behaviors (e.g., self-scratching), two common
responses to increased stress levels in nonhuman primates. It is evident the
circumstances surrounding an individual’s death affect how others respond to the
event and to the corpse; as in humans, the context is supremely important—a
traumatic death is treated much differently than a peaceful one.19 Since the
macaque death was obviously on the violent end of the spectrum, perhaps now it
serves us to move one notch down and look at a traumatic, yet accidental death
of a nonhuman primate.

We can look to the reaction of a wild male marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), a
neotropical New World monkey, to the accidental death of its long-term (3.5
years) female mate for one such death. Bruna Martins Bezerra describes how
after the female fell, hit its head on a ceramic vase, and was gravely injured,
the male embraced, sniffed, sat by, mounted, watched, and protected (by
scanning and using alarm calls) the female for the 153 minutes she took to die.20
The male would not allow the subordinate and infant members of the group to
come into contact with the female, and performed several caretaking behaviors
toward the female, which the authors have suggested might indicate some level

of compassion. Although a form of compassion may have been a factor, it is
perhaps more likely the male was merely acting out of habit, or responding
instinctually if the female were pregnant with his offspring, which the authors
believe was a possibility. Regardless, this clearly shows just how important
social bonding is between these primates, and illustrates how long-term
relationships play a major role in their reaction to a dying conspecific, much
as in humans.

We can then look at a few relatively calm deaths in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)
to fill out the other end of the spectrum. Anderson describes the reactions of
group members to the peaceful demise of an elderly female in their safari park
enclosure, which include remarkably humanlike behaviors.21 When the elderly
female, Pansy, was near her end, three other adults—Blossom, Rosie (Pansy’s
daughter), and Chippie (Blossom’s son)—groomed her and nested near her
instead of their usual night area platforms, since by then she rarely left her nest
(which had been made by Blossom, suggesting care and anticipatory grief). In the
ten minutes preceding Pansy’s death, the others groomed or caressed her 11 times
(more frequent than normal), although none groomed her after death, and when
she died, the others appeared to test for signs of life by closely inspecting her
mouth and manipulating her limbs (akin to testing for a pulse or breath). Shortly
thereafter, Chippie attacked Pansy, possibly attempting to rouse or resuscitate
her, or possibly expressing anger or frustration (similar to denial or anger in
human grief). Pansy’s daughter Rosie remained near the corpse throughout the
night as if in vigil, while Blossom groomed Chippie for an extraordinary amount of
time (suggesting consolation, social support, especially by an older individual for
another who maybe hadn’t experienced as much death). All three chimpanzees

changed posture during the night at abnormally high rates (eleven, fifteen, and
forty-two times as opposed to a standard four or five times per night), reflecting
disturbed sleep. The next morning, they cleaned Pansy by removing straw from
the body, and for five consecutive nights, no chimpanzee nested on the platform
where Pansy died, even though this platform had previously been used extremely
frequently for nesting (akin to leaving objects or places associated with the
deceased untouched). Finally, for weeks post-death, the survivors remained
lethargic, quiet, and ate less than normal, behaviors with clear parallels to human
depression while grieving. This is without a doubt one of the most striking cases
of animal grief similar to our own species, and even though chimpanzees lack
symbolic representations of death or death-related rituals, it is clear they show
self-awareness, empathy, and at least a basic idea of mortality.22

Another chimpanzee death-behavior that is extremely interesting is when
mothers are seen carrying the corpses of their dead infants, often to the point
where the bodies become mummified. Dora Biro describes three cases of this
in the forests surrounding Bossou, Guinea, where mothers exhibited highly
similar behaviors directed at the deceased, including carrying the bodies during
all travel (typically gripping a limb with one hand or by slinging the corpse
over their shoulder), grooming them regularly, and chasing away flies that
circled the corpses—all factors that may have facilitated mummification.23 The
environment of these experiences may also contribute to the mummification,
as extreme conditions such as an arid, dry season may slow the natural rate
of decomposition.24 It is also worth noting despite the bodies’ intense smell of
decay and unusual appearance, the mothers and even the rest of the individuals
in each group never showed any response that could be interpreted as aversion

or disgust.25 This adds to the confusion surrounding what beliefs these mothers
had regarding the state of their infants—in many ways they treated the corpses
as live infants; however, they also demonstrated awareness the bodies were
inanimate, most notably by adopting carrying techniques never normally
employed with healthy infants. Chimpanzees have been known to differentiate
between living and dead conspecifics before, however, as they will often lick
the blood of chimpanzees that have been injured, but will not lick the blood of
those recently dead.26 At the very least, this phenomena demonstrates these
primates’ ability to make the distinction between the capacity for agency
(alive) and the absence or cessation of agency (dead).27 One possible basis for
this carrying behavior suggested by Biro is that physiological changes in the
mothers may play a role; postpartum amenorrhoea in chimpanzees lasts around
four years, but is much shortened after an infant’s death.28 Because lactation
ceases once an infant dies, the mother’s reproductive cycle returns, and such
hormonal changes may contribute to a gradual “letting-go” of the previous
infant’s remains. Physiological parallels in human mothers, for example when the
cessation of breast-feeding may cause exaggerated desires to hold their infant,
are interesting to note. As for the individual differences in these chimpanzee
mothers in terms of how long each held their respective infant, the authors
suggest longer periods of infant corpse carrying may be due to more experience
as a mother or by a younger age of the infant when it died.

Chimpanzees are not the only species to exhibit this strange maternal behavior
however, and Peter J. Fashing et al. performed a nearly four-year study with
Old World monkeys in Guassa, Ethiopia, in which they observed fourteen
female geladas (Theropithecus gelada), carrying dead infants from one hour

after death to more than forty-eight days afterward.29 Three of the geladas
carried infants longer than normal (13, 16, and >48 days), and in all three cases
the bodies underwent mummification. In fact, the longest-carrying mother
continued to bear the corpse long after the flesh had rotted away from most of
its skull. Interestingly, there were a few occasions in which unrelated mothers
carried the dead infants, and even one surprising instance where a mother from
another group was seen carrying one of the dead infants. The longest-carrying
mother also poses a problem to the hypothesis proposed by Biro30 regarding
abandonment due to hormonal changes, in that she resumed mating about
two weeks before abandoning her infant’s mummified carcass, clutching it in
one hand whenever copulating.31 Anderson states that compared to Old World
primates, New World monkeys appear to carry or care for dead infants rarely or
only for a short time.32 One example of a capuchin mother carrying her stillborn
infant for more than one day is noteworthy however, as she both carried it
despite getting stung by carnivorous wasps that came to forage on it, yet allowed
the infant to be fully submerged in water while she drank, calling into question
the exact relationship between death awareness and some other biological
process in these infant carrying cases. The fact that continued attraction and care
toward dead infants occurs to some extent in all the major primate taxa suggests
an underlying biological mechanism33 and is a poignant testament to the close
mother-infant bond across all primate species.34 This raises a question—are we
going against deeply rooted evolutionary instincts in instances when hospital staff
refuse to allow a mother to hold her recently deceased child or stillborn infant?

It was long assumed animals lacked the ability to think about the past or the
future, but recent research clearly proves the opposite in at least some species

of nonhuman animals, as many are able to anticipate future needs and plan
accordingly,35 something human children cannot do before age four or five. Some
might say this is an example of misguided anthropomorphism, but clearly the
reverse is actually true—recall that our own relationship to temporal perception
is merely a naturally selected primal adaptation, just like that of some animals.
Colin Allen and Marc Hauser offer an adaptive explanation for the conceptual
representation of death as a guide to behavior, in that it would be advantageous
if it allowed rapid modification of behavior in a wide variety of situations.36 In
the case of a death of a mature animal, this manifests as an understanding of
the loss of an important group resource, and in the case of an infant death,
this occurs so that further “caring” behavior does not waste any more potential
resources (although clearly some primate mothers operate differently). Humans,
however are unique in that they are able to internally represent something
as dead, as opposed to merely perceiving evidence for death as in animals.
The ability to recognize dead conspecifics will evolve in any species where the
removal of the dead confers a selective advantage,37 and it is this hypothesis that
forms the adaptive foundation for human burial practices.

In order to trace the shift between our basic, animalistic reactions to death
and the complex traditions anatomically modern humans developed, we must
first look at the emergence of symbolism in early humans. Like our primate
family, humans are incredibly social animals, and symbolism and social life
are strictly linked in the dominant expression of social symbolism: language.38
Although Neandertals and Homo erectus lacked the anatomical developments
needed to pronounce all the phonemes we use today, the complexity of their

way of life required oral communication to describe water, fire, hunting, tools,
the harvesting of edible fruits and vegetables, as well as any semblance of ritual
practices. It is this last phenomenon that calls our attention. Fiorenzo Facchini
states that the ancient awareness of death can be recognized in the way Homo
erectus treated their skulls, and it is plausible to recognize a symbolic dimension
in the treatment and burial of Neandertal dead, albeit not definitively. Some
scholars even deny Neandertals purposefully buried their dead—objections we
will address shortly—but this paper takes the viewpoint these intentional burials
show at least by Homo neanderthalensis, death had changed in meaning for man.

Before examining how Neandertals exhibited symbolic burial, we must first
find support for the idea Neandertals were capable of such advanced behavior
at all. There exists a popular trend (thankfully recently reduced in validity) to
presume Neandertals must have been less developed culturally, mentally, and
physiologically than humans since they went extinct shortly after the arrival of
anatomically modern humans into Europe. Recent research shows this not to be
the case.39 Michelle Langley et al. proposed if the research shows Neandertals
had similar cognitive capabilities to our own and therefore cognitive inferiority
cannot be cited as a factor leading to their extinction, then cultural advantages
such as technological superiority might be far more likely factors in their
demise.40 We only have to look at the widespread destruction of the indigenous
cultures of the Americas by the technologically superior but cognitively similar
Europeans to see a clear parallel.

The chief denier of Neandertal cultural intelligence is Robert Gargett, whose
famous 1989 article upended longstanding beliefs in the anthropological

community. His main arguments against the belief Neandertals intentionally
buried their dead include: 1) Neandertals sleeping in caves (where their
remains are primarily found) were likely buried alive by sudden rockslides; 2)
deposits of sediment in supposed grave cavities do not reflect a new stratum
being created when the pits were filled by gravediggers; 3) animal bones and
horns found in burial sites do not reflect grave goods but rather are evidence of
carnivores depositing both animal and Neandertal bones in a cave shelter; and
4) pollen from supposed flower offerings in burial sites were merely deposited
naturally by wind or incidentally by rodents carrying vegetation for nests.41 He
argued Occam’s Razor for his deconstruction of the “pre-1960s discipline-wide
naiveté,” but a discipline-wide opposition was quick to respond. Although the
use of flowers in funerary practices has been effectively disproven,42 the rest of
Gargett’s contentions have been convincingly eliminated. To debate Gargett’s
rockslide-burial theory, Paul Pettitt showcases the Shanidar burial sites in order
to demonstrate the extreme unlikelihood seven adult Neandertals were, on
separate occasions over at least 15,000 years, all killed and buried by ceiling
collapses in the same cave. Pettitt offers another important argument against
the idea individuals seeking shelter near cave walls for sleep were then entombed
by ceiling collapses in that several burials were located in the central parts of caves,
away from cave walls (notably the Amud 1 skeleton, which was recovered four
meters from the cave wall and right below the cave’s overhang line—clearly not a
protected position). In the comments of Gargett’s article, Harvey Bricker challenges
his assumption that the strata of unearthed burial sites do not reflect purposeful
filling, by citing the commission’s report from the original exhuming of the La
Ferrassie burial sites, which was authored by several of the most experienced and
competent archaeologists of the early twentieth century. Bricker suggests Gargett’s

criticism rests on a misunderstanding of digging procedure and that it was evident
in the commission’s report the pits were filled with a mixture, in about equal parts,
of the two strata that made up the grave surroundings—as would be expected
in an artificially dug trench. To contest his carnivore theory of bone distribution,
Jan Burdukiewicz notes the important observation of the rare occurrence of
accompanying remains of the kinds of predators that could drag Neandertal remains
into a cave.43

It is clear that aside from his main negations, Gargett simply was arguing on the
wrong side of future evidence. For example, at the end of his critique he suggests
we do not share any of our genes with Neandertals and we may never know the
truth. However, a few years after the publication of his article, it came to light
that humans from outside Africa—mainly those of European descent—have up
to 4% Neandertal DNA, therefore proving definitively the Neandertal gene pool
is a substantial part of the people living today.44 Overall, recent scholarly opinion
converges on 32–36 convincing Neandertal burials, regardless of whether or not
symbolic funerals or ritual traditions existed in each instance.45

In light of recent literature reflecting the solid belief Neandertals did, at least in
some instances, bury their dead, Kimbel posits remarkably obvious reasoning
these burials were in fact symbolic, suggesting it is difficult to accept these
burials were hygienic procedures, as had been previously considered, since there
are much simpler ways of disposing a dead body that has no special meaning
to the people burying it (e.g., throwing it away or simply leaving it unburied).46
With regard to all symbolic behaviors, Langley offers a detailed analysis of
complex Neandertal behaviors and artifacts more than 120,000 years old, clearly
indicating they developed increasingly sophisticated symbolic expression.47

Burdukiewicz lists some of these advanced indications of symbolic culture: a
deliberate removal of large feathers of birds for ornamentation or ritual; use of
hematite and ochre—colorants probably used to paint and ornament the body
or for cave and rock art—and the boring of a femur fragment of a cave bear
with holes, which may be interpreted as an early flute with the four notes of the
diatonic scale.48 Further evidence exists specifically in the burial realm, as the
partial skeleton of a child found at La Ferrassie 6 was apparently covered with
a limestone block engraved with small cup-like depressions on one surface
that are believed to be of Neandertal manufacture and possibly a meaningful
decoration.49 It is likely at least some mortuary tradition was transmitted
culturally among some Neandertal groups as well, perhaps focusing on the cave
as a fixed point in the landscape that could be used to hide, process, and bury
the dead.

Grave goods such as stone tools and animal bones in particular are important
to note, as their deliberate symbolic placement has not been convincingly
proven. Pettitt suggests grave goods (potentially placed in graves during
funerary rituals) may or may not have directly related to metaphysical notions
of an afterlife or bodily extension, but more likely speak of self-expression and
concepts of ownership.50 He postulates the treatment and exploration of the
corpse postmortem is a logical extension of the social role of the body in life,
and therefore perhaps the deceased might be entitled to expect grave goods as
objects playing a role in social dynamics. Burdukiewicz suggests similarly that
Neandertals might have looked at death in a seemingly religious light—as an
extension of life—thus believing people play similar social roles after death as
in everyday life.51 Regardless of the potential meaning of grave goods or religious
belief, the fact most prospective instances of grave goods were found at a level

above the head of the buried Neandertal is enough to cast a rather dubious light
on the symbolic nature of grave goods.52

It is both eerie and comforting to see just how similar animal reactions to
death are to our own, particularly with that of our closest relatives,
chimpanzees. Neither the biologically adapted nature of our own grieving
processes nor the commonalities found in Neandertal burials in reference to
our own is surprising, however. Even though there exist incredibly differing
cultural, religious, and scientific beliefs surrounding the proper treatment
of dead bodies in human history, all human cultures have some method
for disposal or treatment of dead bodies, and all have some type of formal
and informal mourning—clearly indicating some sort of biological need for
mourning behavior in response to the death of close associates.53 Perhaps a
greater cognizance of the roots of our not-so-unique reactions to mortality can
help us humans today come to a better and healthier understanding of how to
deal with the universal inevitability that is death. 

Jessica Pierce, “The Dying Animal,” Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, vol. 10, no. 4
(2013), 469–78.
David M. Dosa, “A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat,” New England Journal of
Medicine, vol. 357, no. 4 (2007), 328–29.
See note 1.
G. A. Bradshaw, Allan N. Schore, Janine L. Brown, Joyce H. Poole, and Cynthia
J. Moss, “Elephant Breakdown,” Nature, vol. 433, no. 7028 (24 February 2005),
Karen McComb, Lucy Baker, and Cynthia Moss, “African Elephants Show High
Levels of Interest in the Skulls and Ivory of Their Own Species,” Biology Letters,
vol. 2, no. 1 (2006), 26–28.
See note 1.
Rowan Hooper, “Do Dolphins Have a Concept of Death?” New Scientist, vol. 211,
no. 2828 (3 September 2011), 10.
K. M. Dudzinski, M. Sakai, K. Masaki, K. Kogi, T. Hishii, and M. Kurimoto,
“Behavioural Observations of Bottlenose Dolphins towards Two Dead
Conspecifics,” Aquatic Mammals, vol. 29, no. 1 (2003), 108–16.
James R. Anderson, “A Primatological Perspective on Death,” American Journal
of Primatology, vol. 73, no. 5 (2011), 410–14.
Jacqueline S. Buhl, Bonn Aure, Angelina Ruiz-Lambides, Janis Gonzalez-
Martinez, Michael L. Platt, and Lauren J. N. Brent, “Response of Rhesus
Macaques (Macaca Mulatta) to the Body of a Group Member That Died from a
Fatal Attack,” International Journal of Primatology, vol. 33, no. 4 (2012), 860–71.
See note 16.
Bruna Martins Bezerra, Matthew Philip Keasey, Nicola Schiel, and Antonio Da
Silva Souto, “Responses towards a Dying Adult Group Member in a Wild New
World Monkey,” Primates vol. 55, no. 2 (2014), 185–88.
James R. Anderson, Alasdair Gillies, and Louise C. Lock, “Pan Thanatology,”
Current Biology, vol. 20, no. 8 (2010), R349–51.
Dora Biro, Tatyana Humle, Kathelijne Koops, Claudia Sousa, Misato Hayashi,

and Tetsuro Matsuzawa, “Chimpanzee Mothers at Bossou, Guinea Carry the
Mummified Remains of Their Dead Infants,” Current Biology, vol. 20, no. 8 (2010),
Peter J. Fashing, Nga Nguyen, Tyler S. Barry, C. Barret Goodale, Ryan J. Burke,
Sorrel C. Z. Jones, Jeffrey T. Kerby, Laura M. Lee, Niina O. Nurmi, and Vivek
V. Venkataraman, “Death among Geladas (Theropithecus gelada): A Broader
Perspective on Mummified Infants and Primate Thanatology,” American Journal of
Primatology, vol. 73, no. 5 (2011), 405–9.
See note 23.
Fiona Anne Stewart, Alexander Kenneth Piel, and Robert C. O’Malley,
“Responses of Chimpanzees to a Recently Dead Community Member at Gombe
National Park, Tanzania,” American Journal of Primatology, vol. 74, no. 1
(2012), 1–7.
See note 16.
See note 23.
See note 24.
See note 23
See note 24.
See note 16.
See note 23.
See note 1.
Colin Allen and Marc D. Hauser, “Concept Attribution in Nonhuman Animals:
Theoretical and Methodological Problems in Ascribing Complex Mental
Processes,” Philosophy of Science, vol. 58, no. 2 (June 1991), 221–40.
Fiorenzo Facchini, “Symbolism in Prehistoric Man,” Collegium Antropologicum,
vol. 24, no. 2 (2000), 541–53.
Jan M. Burdukiewicz, “The Origin of Symbolic Behavior of Middle Paleolithic
Humans: Recent Controversies,” Quarternary International, vols. 326–327 (2014),
Michelle C. Langley, Christopher Clarkson, and Sean Ulm, “Behavioural
Complexity in Eurasian Neanderthal Populations: A Chronological Examination of
the Archaeological Evidence,” Cambridge Archaeological Journal, vol. 18, no. 3
(2008), 289–307.
Robert H. Gargett et al., “Grave Shortcomings: The Evidence for Neandertal
Burial,” Current Anthropology, vol. 30, no. 2 (1989), 157–90.
Paul B. Pettitt, “The Neandertal Dead: Exploring Mortuary Variability in Middle
Paleolithic Eurasia,” Before Farming, vol. 1, no. 4 (2002), 1–19.

See note 39.
See note 42.
Erella Hovers, Yoel Rak, Ron Lavi, and William H. Kimbel, “Hominid Remains
from Amud Cave in the Context of the Levantine Middle Paleolithic,” Paléorient,
vol. 21, no. 2 (1995), 47–61.
See note 40.
See note 39.
See note 42.
See note 39.
See note 42.
See note 36.
South Tyrol, Südtirol, or Trentino?
National Community on the Linguistic Frontier
of Austria and Italy, 1848–1945

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Department of History
Paul Lerner, Faculty Advisor

When I was conducting research for this thesis in Italy during the summer of
2014, I had the opportunity to witness for myself the constant tug-and-pull
between Tyrol’s German and Italian cultural groups in the northern regions of
Italy. What a world of difference six hours by train from Rome makes; the bright
lights of the città eterna, or “eternal city,” gradually give way to fields of grass
and flowers and finally to mountains of granite.

The modern regions of Tyrol, South Tyrol, and Trentino. This is the result of a breakup of the Habsburg
region of Tyrol after World War I. The bottom two, South Tyrol and Trentino, are considered part of
Italy, but what this map calls “Tirol” remains a region of Austria. Courtesy the Common Office of the
European Region Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino.

The mountains with their rugged beauty were awe-inspiring, certainly, but
they also inflicted a sense of isolation, as if the towns and communities could
have grown undisturbed by outside influence for thousands of years. Even the
architecture in Bolzano exhibited a dual identity, combining the Italian flair for
the dramatic with the German emphasis on practicality. Tyrol’s multiculturalism
did not limit itself to its buildings. Most of the restaurants do their best to feature
plates of Italian and Austrian-German provenance. At a café in Piazza Walther,
Bolzano’s main square, I was given a menu in German, but because I felt like
doing something different, one polite per favore (“please”) later found an Italian
one in my hands—I still remember every detail of the expression on the waitress’s
face. Maybe I just looked like most of her customers, who spoke German. As

much a stranger as I was to the city and its customs, another traveler would
have left wondering how long Bolzano had been a part of Italy, if ever. In Tyrol,
multiculturalism is a part of everyday life. The very identities of those who live
there have been shaped by associations of language and nationality.

This thesis covers the time period spanning 1848, in the waning years of the
Habsburg Empire, to the end of the Hitler-Mussolini Option in 1943. The Option
was the final separation of the German and Italian nationalities in Tyrol, a
mountainous region that today lies in northern Italy and Austria. The year 1848
was marked by a revolution in European politics that propagated nationalist
awareness within the modern German and Italian states, as well as its respective
cultural groups. In fact, the so-called “Liberal Revolution” of 1848 provided
the impetus for ideas of political autonomy, which took hold all across Europe.
Before 1848, there were the beginnings of political unity along national lines
in France, but Germany and Italy’s various regional cultural groups had yet to
experience any kind of movement for a single nation-state that would consolidate
their respective cultural groups within a national community. On the contrary,
what one calls Germany and Italy today were once the locations of several
regionalized kingdoms, often one for each regional cultural group: Bavaria, the
Florentine republics, the Kingdom of Venice, Prussia, and still many others. The
differences from region to region were not only political; in the absence of a
national language, regional kingdoms were often demarcated by variations in
local language, customs, or religion, sometimes even from town to town. This
partially explains the existence of dialects in spoken German and Italian today.
For hundreds of years, there was no single, central entity that could combine the
disparate regional cultural groups in a single political unit.

Therefore, the Liberal Revolution of 1848 marked the starting point for a wave of
state-building, as well as the creation of national community in central Europe.
The Habsburg Empire’s national government was based in Vienna, and made the
first attempt at unifying a nation-state from a varied mix of political, cultural,
and linguistic groups in Central Europe. The nationalist question was especially
contentious in the border regions, such as Tyrol, which were physically and
figuratively remote from the center of power in Vienna. Meanwhile, calls for
political autonomy and economic rights competed with the formation of the
modern German and Italian nation-states. Tyrol’s cultural groups felt the pull
of nationalist politics, but their place within a larger national system was far
from a settled question. The Liberal Revolution of 1848 was the first impetus for
Tyroleans to feel conscious of their national identity, but the Habsburg monarchy
faced myriad obstacles in its attempt to keep Tyrol a part of Austria. For the most
part, the Habsburgs could not court the German-speaking upper class without
divorcing themselves from Tyrol’s Italian-speaking population. The Habsburgs’
local administration in Innsbruck favored the German-speaking population at the
expense of the Italian-speaking minority. By the eve of World War I, the German
and Italian cultural groups in Tyrol were sufficiently divided from each other,
eliminating all possibility of inclusion within the Habsburgs’ multicultural empire.

The time period between 1848 and the end of World War II marks Tyrol’s
involvement with the formation of nation-states. Consolidating a specific,
privileged group within a nation-state required defining how that group ought to
be constituted. Who will be allowed to take part in the new state? How is that
decided? The ruling powers in the new nation-states faced these questions. To
this end, different nation-states defined their ideal citizens through geographic,
linguistic, racial, and religious means throughout history.

The political strategies of nation-building were also exhibited in a variety of
ways. Though the Habsburgs’ aim was to move national patriotism in Tyrol
to the public sphere, elsewhere the nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw
the growth of authoritative regimes in Central Europe, dedicated to enforcing
national consensus with violence or policies of ethnic cleansing. In Tyrol’s case,
the evidence indicates that new nation-states at this time were wholly obsessed
with the consolidation of the national community along the nation’s margins,
which were displaced from the center of political power as a matter of geography
and as a matter of local culture. Participation in the nation-state in Tyrol during
this time turned to more subtle forms of nationalist allegiance, either in public
acts, or in schools, churches, and town squares. For the Habsburg Empire, Tyrol’s
place as a regional player was inculcated in monuments, festival celebrations,
and public patriotism; for the Kingdom of Italy, Tyrol’s regional character was
deemphasized in local education and enforced linguistic exclusivity. The Fascist
Party would later co-opt local policies in order to promote Tyrol’s place in an
invented national Italian history. As I will demonstrate, the roots of the Fascists’
cultural co-optation are found in the national festivals of the Habsburg era.
This study aims to weigh the fluid idea of the “nation” against the waves of
multinational empire, Italian Fascism, and ultranationalism. Especially after
1900, in direct contrast to Tyrol’s place in the Habsburg Empire, the region took
on a specifically Italian character that conformed to the PNF’s vision for the new
nation. Culminating in the Hitler-Mussolini Option in 1939, Tyrol’s German and
Italian-speaking communities witnessed the rise of ultranationalist politics that
rendered Tyroleans’ regionally-based identity incompatible with the formation of
the nation-state.

More generally, the study of South Tyrol’s linguistic minorities is important
when considering the state’s interaction with groups on the margins of the
nationalist narrative. This is because forming the national community requires
the creation of popular consensus as to what the community’s standards are. The
various nation-states under which Tyroleans were subject became aggressively
more concerned with the formation of national identity over time. For those
governments, namely the Habsburg Empire, the Kingdom of Italy, and Nazi
Germany, assimilating Tyrol into the nation-state was critical. If shaping the
national community could be possible in Tyrol, where diverse languages and
religious customs had developed independently for hundreds of years, then the
nation-state would be successful at creating unity and belonging. With so much
at stake, the leaders of these new governments used overt methods to bring
their new subjects into the nationalist fold. National governments sought to use
these methods to manifest themselves on the local level. In order to create new
generations of citizens loyal to the nation-state, the state needed to reinforce
a particular nationalist image. This study will look toward local manifestations
to see how the national government perceived Tyrol’s various characteristics,
either natural, religious, or cultural, for the sake of nationalism. As it turns out,
questions of national loyalty are much more difficult to answer when concepts of
the nation change radically over time.

One concept that informs the analysis of the relationships among national
groups in the rise of the nation-state during this time is the formation of invented
traditions. A national government employs a set of signs and symbols in order to
give validity to the historical claim to shared history, which provides the basis for
the national community. Very often, these signs and symbols take on a ritualistic

nature through repetition, which makes them more familiar or easily understood
by those who would take part in the nation-state. It is through the simplicity
of those symbols that invented traditions become descriptions of perceptions
between a nation-state and its people. The collection of signs and symbols can
leave clues as to how identity was constructed for citizens in the new nations that
formed between 1848 and the end of World War II. Within the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries, the invention of tradition contrasted with the modernizing
innovation of the modern world; in short, there is always some attempt to
structure some part of life within an imagined past shared between the national
government, whoever that may be, and the people.1 In Tyrol’s case, the assertion
of shared history took on a variety of manifestations that will form the major part
of the forthcoming chapters. Religious processions, monuments, photos, and
propaganda all are evidence of the ways Tyroleans who spoke German and Italian
perceived each other, usually in relation to a national government. When the
nation-state gradually came into being, Tyrol’s distinctly regional culture became
incompatible with the assertion of shared history and invented traditions. Tyrol’s
unique position at the confluence of three distinct nationalist regimes magnifies
the competition between maintaining regional identity and participating in
nationalist allegiance. On the local level, the loss of regional culture promoted
the homogeneous view of the national community at the expense of one linguistic
group in Tyrol or another.

Partially as a response to the exclusionary tactics of ultranationalist regimes,
national political groups in Tyrol became irreparably fractured between 1848 and
1945. A map of Tyrol from 2014, bearing the modern names “Tyrol,” “South Tyrol,”
and “Trentino Alto-Adige,” looks drastically different from the way it did even

one generation prior. Its half-and-half split between German and Italian speakers
rendered it intensely sensitive to disagreements of nationalist representation.
What makes Tyrol’s situation more unique is the confluence of three conservative
regimes of varying degrees of nationalism, namely the Habsburg monarchy in
Austria, the Italian Fascists, and the Nazi Third Reich. The Habsburg Empire’s
multicultural state will form the principal background, but this study will also
explore the interactions between the Fascist Party in Italy and administration
on the local level in the years after the Fascist takeover in 1922. Additionally,
the Fascists’ and Nazis’ consideration of the region, which came to the front
with the agreement of the Hitler-Mussolini Option in 1939, will be explored in
detail. All three national governments had various reasons for constructing their
own images of “German-ness” or “Italian-ness,” but the result was consistent:
sacrificing the characteristics of one of Tyrol’s cultural groups in favor of the other
for the sake of building consensus in the new nation-state. The Tyrolean question
ultimately illustrates the fragility of the rights of political minorities, as well as
the influence of regionalism on the traditions invoked by the nationalist state.

Contemporary scholarship on nationalism in Tyrol, especially works by European
authors, tends to take a political stance on the history of nationalism and
national identity in the region. That is, depending on perspective, scholarly
interpretations on the topic of Tyrol in the twentieth century range from glorious
recovery of Italian irredentism to portrayals of a dormant Volk.2 Indeed, the
largest body of work concerning South Tyrol’s recent history is in German, and
focuses on either the World War I–World War II period or the 1850s. Both of
these were transformative periods in the region’s history, but they are never
considered to have informed each other. Filling the gap between the Habsburg
era and the Fascist takeover in 1922 is another goal of this research, as both the

Habsburgs and the Italian Fascist Party had direct influence over the ways in
which Tyroleans were included and excluded in the Austrian and Italian nation-
states. Historiography of nationalism in Central Europe during this time, much
less Tyrol’s historiography itself, have yet to take such a long-term view as to the
development of its disparate political groups. This project aims to synthesize
Austrian, German, and Italian sources in an effort to bring a new, more balanced
perspective to the subject.

How the Austro-Hungarian Empire was formed by violating peoples and kingdoms: six
broken and oppressed nationalities under the yoke of two patriarchal peoples: Germans and
Hungarians.—“The Empire of Prey, namely the Habsburg Octopus” propaganda poster, 1915

The narrative of Tyrol’s struggle for national identity begins in the rural towns
of what is today considered northern Italy. A traveler gazing upon the same
mountains and valleys in the 1800s, when the Habsburg Empire claimed Tyrol
as part of its territory, would have made drastically different conclusions about
where he or she was. Austrian Tyrol in the nineteenth century encompassed three
regions that would become separate political entities about 200 years later:
Tyrol, South Tyrol, and Trentino/Alto Adige. Nestled between the Alps and the
valleys that give Austria and Italy their unique flairs for skiing and wine, Trentino
province in northern Italy possesses a natural beauty as well as modern railway
stations and cities, such as Bolzano and Trento. The province where Bolzano
and Trento are located is called Trentino today, though it was called Tyrol and
later South Tyrol at different times. Its Italian name, Trentino, refers to its largest
Italian city, Trento, populated by about one hundred thousand people.3 Tyrol’s
borders extended north beyond the city of Innsbruck approximately 10 miles, and
to the south about 25 miles past Trento.

The border of northern Italy in 1915. The bold line indicates the political border between the
Habsburg Empire and the Kingdom of Italy through the nineteenth century and up to World
War I. From Lilli Gruber, Eredità (Milan: RCS Libri, 2012), 23.

During the Habsburg Empire’s reign over Tyrol, the presence of German and
Italian culture was simultaneous and ultimately sowed the seeds of nationalist
conflict in the region. Tyrol as a whole featured a majority of German speakers,
but a greater proportion of Tyrol’s inhabitants south of Bolzano spoke Italian.
The result was a 52–48% German-to-Italian linguistic split according to multiple
official reports carried out by the Habsburg government.4 The nearly even split
created a unique Tyrolean regional culture that could not exist within the new
framework of the nation-state, which relied on the creation of a distinct national
community. Further, while most of Tyrol’s German-speaking population was
concentrated in the more urbanized, northern landscape, the Italian-speaking

population to the south largely engaged in agriculture on small plots of land. The
most politically active groups in the south were large landowners, some of which
could claim mixed German-Italian ancestry.5 These families also represented
most of the individuals who spoke both languages, usually for economic benefit.
However, national allegiance in Tyrol was soon equated with one’s spoken
language. Despite the best plans of the ruling house, which were to create a
multinational order in the empire, loyalty to the monarchy became a polarizing
question for Tyrol’s linguistic groups. Over time, the existence of Tyrol’s linguistic
minorities became divisive due to the fact that allegiance to the Habsburg
monarchy was an exclusive choice. The Habsburgs’ assertion of a shared regional
history within the empire unwittingly became a point of difference, especially in
Tyrol, where an equal number of people spoke German or Italian.

Tyrol historically grew in isolation from the Habsburgs’ center of power due
to its location near the Alps. Local political life in the nineteenth century was
directly influenced by the Habsburg Empire’s seat in Innsbruck. The landowning
aristocratic class was mostly Catholic and German-speaking, and would continue
to be so well into the 1840s.6 Innsbruck was also the seat of government for the
region’s representative assembly, or Landtag, which was composed primarily of
German-speaking Catholic landholders who actively promoted the agenda of the
Habsburgs’ Catholic-dominated rule.7

The process by which Tyrol was broken into three pieces along linguistic lines by
the end of World War I was a delicate one in that the Habsburg Empire used a
variety of strategies in order to resolve the issues presented by the existence of
two linguistic groups with no shared regional identity. As rulers of a multinational

empire, the Habsburg monarchy promoted a message of unity despite the
disparate cultural traditions of its members. Further adding to the complexity
of the Habsburgs’ attempt at nation-state building was the fact that the Empire
existed in a specifically prenationalist framework for most of the nineteenth
century. Tyrol existed before the creation of self-declared nation-states in
Europe, excepting France. After modern Germany and Italy were formed in the
1870s and 1880s, Tyrol’s linguistic groups became the subject of the Habsburgs’
own intense efforts to define a national community for the emerging nation-state
of Austria. The difficulty resided in creating a sense of belonging and community
in a multinational empire across several different languages, geographic regions,
religions, and cultures, even while the very concept of a “nation” was developing.

As many scholars have argued, any burgeoning nation-state must rely upon
a set of symbols to reinforce the legitimacy of a shared tradition among its
constituent people. In the realm of a nation-state, these symbols give meaning
to participation in the national community.8 However, in a multinational empire
as in the Habsburg Empire, any assertion of nationality for “Austria” could not
exclude any of the national groups which took part. The common denominator in
the process of nationalization, then, was to venerate the figure of the emperor,
Franz Joseph I, as a symbol of the state’s historical claim to the multitude
of communities in Central Europe. Through festivals, processions, jubilee
anniversary gatherings, and imperial inspection tours throughout the empire, the
nationalist message could be adapted in order to fully elevate the emperor’s, and
the state’s, status above its citizens.9

In Tyrol, the emperor took part in religious, Catholic-based festivals on behalf
of the Cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a Catholic sect particular to Tyrol, in

order to reaffirm the sacred nature of his political authority. The Habsburg-
administered festivals featured predominately German-language speeches
and celebrations invoking the timeless rural character of Tyrol’s land and its
people. The festivals often featured a grand procession through the city square,
combined with religious symbolism harkening back to historic associations with
the Sacred Heart.10 The religious implications of the ceremonies associated
the Habsburgs’ national political power with the church’s local power over the
region’s inhabitants; the multinational state and the unique character of its
disparate groups in the Habsburg Empire were closely linked. Because this sect of
Catholicism was primarily German, however, Italian speakers remained excluded
from such rituals. At the same time, ceremonies in Tyrol offered no possibility of
autonomy for Italian speakers, an isolated linguistic group that did not yet have
the political opportunity to reject the Habsburgs’ homogenized celebrations.

The Italian-speaking peasant population also was predominately Catholic, but
their identification with the Habsburg-sponsored festivals was nevertheless
limited. This was due to the Sacred Heart group’s historical connection with
Tyrol’s German-speaking communities through Andreas Hofer, a German
revolutionary who led a revolt in Tyrol against the French during the Napoleonic
Wars. Despite his leading the resistance against a nationalist entity, Andreas
Hofer’s image would be co-opted by the Habsburgs in the 1900s during the
celebration of the centennial of the 1809 uprising against Napoleon. Indeed,
the local Andreas Hoferbund, or Andreas Hofer League, would be responsible
for many of the local calls for autonomy in Tyrol and, later, in South Tyrol on the
eve of World War II. Back in the nineteenth century, however, participation in
the actual Hofer uprising came from the economically self-sufficient, German-
speaking class in Tyrol that could identify with German cultural heritage.11 The

Landtag’s members combined with the church to hold a great deal of power in
establishing the ideal of a “morally pure” German-speaking people in Tyrol, loyal
to the Austrian state.12

Representation of the Italian-speaking minority in Tyrol was conspicuously
absent from local politics before the liberal revolutions of 1848, despite the
fact Italian speakers constituted nearly half of Tyrol’s population. Emperor
Franz Joseph I actually possessed political power within the Habsburg national
government. On one level, appearances he made for the anniversary of his
coronation in 1847 were merely functions of this political power: to make
an annual check on local policy, to conduct meetings with local Landtag
representatives, and so on. However, like Queen Victoria of England and other
monarchs of this period, Franz Joseph’s public appearance carried the power
of symbolism for the Habsburgs’ historical authority.13 Replete with traditional
costumes, marching bands, and plays put forth in his honor, extravagant public
displays created a sense of loyalty to the Empire through Franz Joseph and the
royal house he represented.

Festivals and observances took on a highly visible role in co-opting a distinctly
Austrian-German history for that which some scholars describe as the “theater
state” of the Habsburg Empire.14 This term is used to denote the pageantry
supported by the Habsburgs as the means by which the monarchy appeared to
include local, regional identity in the imagined national history of the empire.
In Tyrol, these celebrations were key to the monarchy’s efforts to maintain the
loyalty of the Landtag as the national empire’s glorification of the relationship
between Vienna and Innsbruck. While the plays, festivals, and patriotic

dedications bore the appearance of inclusiveness in the formation of the
multinational body politic, they had the effect of alienating the Italian-speaking
Tyrolean communities. Of course, there was no space for the Italian minority
in these public celebrations, and indeed many Italians looked toward other
historical figures, such as Dante Alighieri, in creating celebrations of their own.
Proposals for a monument dedicated to Dante found resounding success with
the Trentine authorities near the end of the nineteenth century.15 Noticeably, the
Italian choice for a monument was a literary figure renowned for his religious
works, a testament to the power of the church in the local imagination as well as
a response to the religious invocations made by the pro-German activists.

The outwardly multinational Austrian monarchy repeatedly resorted to these
celebratory occasions as symbols in order to appear inwardly stable to the
German-speaking Landtag in Innsbruck. The failed revolution of 1847–1848 was
certainly a turning point for the Habsburgs’ perception of the place that “other”
nationalities occupied within the Empire. Between 1847 and 1848, national groups
all across Europe intensified demands for constitutional governments founded
on “liberal” principles to serve as a check on the exclusive power of the nobility,
namely free economic movement, the right to vote, and the establishment of
equal rights for all citizens. Faced with modernizing, industrializing societies for
the most part, the ruling powers of France, Germany, and Italy formed nation-
states with new constitutions. In the German and Italian examples in particular,
1847 and 1848 represented the first signs of a growing national culture that would
come to define their respective states.

Procession of the Cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Bolzano, June 1896. Courtesy Tiroler
Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum.

On the one hand, the “revolutions” created some of the first political oppor-
tunities for national groups to voice discontent with the status quo, and to
demand formal plans of government that could guarantee individual rights—in
Tyrol’s case, linguistic or otherwise. On the other hand, in the Habsburg Empire,
the calls for political rights in Hungary and elsewhere were fiercely put down by
armed units led by Austrian generals. The Habsburg ruling house fully declared
its commitment to a multinational empire led by a single, powerful emperor.
After 1848, the Habsburgs took on a much more active role in demonstrating the
continued relevance of the monarchy in the lives of its subjects, especially on the
empire’s fringes. The same state-sponsored festivals continued after the advent
of liberal politics, but competed with national movements thereafter. In Tyrol,
loyalty to the monarchy became a counter to demands for political autonomy on
behalf of the Italian-speaking national group.16

Though the representatives of Tyrol’s Italian-speaking communities repeatedly
faced obstacles in the form of intransigent opposition among the Catholic
conservatives, their constituents finally could find a voice in the representative
body. For a time, the Italian delegation grew stronger as the Habsburg authority
could no longer rely on the same nationally-nested regional identity. King Franz
Joseph I was seen by many Italians as a Tyrolean leader neutral of color or
creed, but the festivals devoted to the religious and political jubilation of the
royal family soon became a point of opposition for many members of the Italian
linguistic minority. Accordingly, the pro-Catholic, antiliberal message of the
regionalist festivals remained very popular in the towns and municipalities of
Tyrol, but the unification of the established conservative-Catholic political forces
polarized the Italian population.17

Anonymous drawing from 1915 translated as “The Empire of Prey—the Habsburg Octopus.”
Under “Trentino,” it says, “stripped from the Kingdom of Italy in 1815 in order to guarantee the
road through the Po Valley,” referring to the Brenner Pass, which is the lowest pass through the
Alps. Courtesy Historical Archives, Municipal Library of Trento.

Leading up to World War I, writers addressing the Italian-speaking section of the
region made ever bolder claims regarding the Habsburgs’ abusive policies toward
various national groups within the empire. Increased political awareness among
the Italian-speaking population in Tyrol can be seen within propaganda pieces
such as the one above. The flyer asserts that the Habsburg Empire violently and
unjustifiably destroyed the regional independence of the areas covered by the
octopus’s tentacles, representing the wide, strangling reach of the Habsburg
government’s attempts to “nationalize” these diverse communities throughout
Central Europe, including Tyrol. Additionally, the flyer directly contradicts the
Habsburgs’ claim to shared history, thereby indirectly exposing the ostentatious

veneer of the festivals. Propaganda such as “The Habsburg Octopus” contributed
to widely-held conceptions in Trentino that the Habsburgs’ rule was incompatible
with a particular Italian regional history imagined by members of the Italian-
speaking linguistic minority.

Even for Italian speakers who still felt some belonging to the culture of the alpine
valleys, particularly in their agricultural ways of life, there were signs of newfound
avenues of political expression. Distinct examples of what the newspapers in
Trento called “Italian-ness” (italianità) garnered significant attention amid calls
for political independence for the Italian-speaking southern half. A literal and
figurative separation found its way into Tyrolean culture as a result. A separation
of distinguishable Austro-German and Italian spheres of influence grew in
this time to the point where Italians began to call their community Trentino,
borrowing from Trento, which was the name of the largest city with a primarily
Italian population. These factors quickly formed the basis for increased sensitivity
to regional identity within the context of the Tyrol created by the Habsburgs. The
price of promoting individualistic self-expression was paid for by intensifying
cultural debates over what constituted the “true” Tyrol. These debates continued
well into the twentieth century.

The liberal movement in Tyrol was certainly unique in the relatively extreme
stance the Italian-speaking delegation took in regard to the region’s place in the
European political field. Italian-speaking Tyroleans sought to free themselves
from the Austro-German identity created for them by the state, but did not seek
to become a part of the provinces of Lombardy, Piedmont, or Veneto, all of which
were relatively strong regional powers of the Kingdom of Italy.18 Rather than
decide upon making the region distinctly Italian or German, they avoided the

dichotomy altogether, citing instead a history of common rural heritage among
the trentini. In the absence of real political and property rights, the linguistic
Italian minority followed their own forms of representation in the wake of the
1848 revolutions, which emphasized the history of the region for what it was
in their own terms, that of Italian-speaking Trentino, and the question of local
autonomy for the Italian-speaking group in Tyrol would only intensify in strength.

As the pro-Italian faction found out, the legacy of liberalism excluded entirely
the possibility of two separate autonomous regions. After the radical politics of
the 1848 revolution ebbed, the German particularist notion of a multinational
Austrian state held sway. All the talk of the Grossdeutsche, or the “Large German
State,” which would have included Austria, found a favorable audience in
Innsbruck. Additionally, Innsbruck and, to a larger extent, Tyrol were uniquely
situated to receive all the benefits of trade and migration between Germany and
Austria. The German Landtag roundly rejected all possibilities of dividing the land
of Tyrol and allowing the southern section to become a part of Italy. The Landtag
granted Tyrol’s Italian-speaking communities one concession: dividing Tyrol into
two administrative sections, North and South. Trento became the new capital of
the southern district.19 This provided the basis for the political organization of the
region, which continues to this day.

Though the Habsburgs’ concession might appear to be a step in the direction of
autonomy for Tyrol’s Italian-speaking minority, the new administrative division
had the effect of tightening the Habsburgs’ and the Landtag’s grip over politics
in Tyrol, especially in the south. Calling upon “unity of faith, unity of territory” to
uphold their image of an Austro-German-Catholic regional polity, the Landtag
passed new ecclesiastical laws that prevented any new church from existing

without express permission from the Habsburg government, which gravely
offended those who were still connected to their town affiliations.20 Unfortunately
for the Italian-speaking Tyrolean representatives at Innsbruck, radical politics
were powerless to influence the elite politicians who still held the reins over
Tyrol’s industrial and urban development, as well as Church-state relations,
which had been the provenance of local politics for generations.

The Habsburg state’s increasing authoritarianism inflamed internal divisions,
which grew ever more fractious through the 1850s and beyond. Meanwhile,
Tyrol took on a more ambivalent character toward the fate of its two cultural
groups, culminating in the state making poorly-veiled attempts to court the
Italian minority. Ideally, the Austrian state’s regionalist-centered rhetoric should
have prevented such mutually exclusive choices of identity; however, increased
cultural dissent truly brought into question the validity of the harmony of the
monarchy’s message. When the railroad was finally built by national decree in
1851, those in the north saw it as a source of great benefit for connecting the
people to Vienna and, even further, to Germany; those in the south, naturally,
felt a strong pull toward Italy, to which one could now also travel.21 Finally, the
1860s saw the increasingly literate Italian-speaking population make the most
vocal calls for Trentino’s unification with the newfound Kingdom of Italy further
to the south.22 Moving closer to World War I, the Habsburgs’ festivals continued
to occur, but they did not have the same significance they possessed only twenty
or thirty years earlier, particularly because Italian-speakers finally had a cultural
space in which they could express their aspirations for national belonging. At the
same time, the Italian-speaking group sacrificed the possibility of finding a place
within the Habsburgs’ multicultural empire, whose foundation was crumbling.

In summary of the Habsburg Empire’s reign over Tyrol and Trentino, the signs
and symbols employed by the monarchy were unsuccessful in integrating the
disparate parts of what remains in contemporary scholarship a multinational,
multicultural empire. For Germans, the festivals, drinking songs, and religious
processions served several functions that reinforced the power of the
conservative Catholic milieu. Beyond being simply a forum for popular local
sentiment, the celebrations collectively asserted a connection to local history
that relied upon the citizens’ taking part in a culture based in religious and
socioeconomic tradition. Secondly, they were a mark of identification: playing
a part in these cultural manifestations indicated sympathy toward the German
language and heroes within Tyrol’s own struggle against a national power.
Revolutionaries such as Andreas Hofer were co-opted by the Habsburgs in
order to highlight the activity of Germans in its history, though much of Hofer’s
agitation had been directed toward a nationalist state. As a result, the Italian-
speaking group was entirely isolated from the festivals, yet gained the ability
to access a voice in contemporary political debate, albeit for a very short time.
For Italian-speakers in Tyrol, the festivals represented a shallow caricature of
the very qualities that made Trentino their home, and a poor representation of
Vienna’s perception of Tyrol’s regional history in the broader shared history of
the Empire. As a result of the Habsburgs’ failed attempts to create a modern
nation-state, the monarchy’s inability to enforce a political agenda that required
a uniform regional identity failed to make inroads or quiet the incendiary
debates leading up to World War I. Gestures and appearances at festivals were
no longer feasible. The people needed a single, unifying event in order to even
cooperate on the issue of nationalism.

Today laziness cannot be granted to anyone, either at work or in the trenches! Those who
desert the battlefield will be given the red mark of disgrace. Those who will not give their
strength to the common cause will not be worthy of the Italian name.
—La Libertà (Liberty) newspaper, 1918

The nationalist transition to World War I and the Fascist Ventennio was a
change of sweeping scope for the identities of South Tyrol. In this period, Tyrol
underwent a political annexation to the Kingdom of Italy, which the Versailles
Treaty rewarded for having sided with the victors during the war. Many scholars
fittingly attribute the rise of fascism to the general economic downturn after 1918,
which coincided with fledging republics in Germany and Italy failing to maintain
their legitimacy and stability. As a result of the post-World War I settlements,
the Habsburg Empire disintegrated; Italy meanwhile was desperately holding
onto the ideal of the republic, which was deeply fragmented along political lines.
Similar to Italy, the Weimar Republic in Germany represented the attempt to build
a more inclusive republic without resorting to the Prussian sense of supremacy
that escalated the World War I conflict. Tyrol’s southern half, appropriately called
South Tyrol or Trentino, also created a new, provisional military government
headed by General Pecori Giraldi. Giraldi oversaw the area’s assimilation into
national Italian politics, though he would later clash with ambitious Fascist
Party officers ambitious to bring South Tyrol into the fold.23 Nevertheless, all
of these provisional governments fell victim to extremist politics. The PNF and
NSDAP leapt into the political scene in both countries by taking advantage of the
poor economic climate, fear of Communism, and ultranationalist rhetoric that
reflected the idea of returning each nation to an image of former greatness. Any
claim to a nation’s ideal community requires an imagining of the glorious past,

so Tyrol became exposed to the push and pull of intense nationalist fervor in
this period in ways that were unprecedented in the Habsburg Empire. Therefore,
there was a significant change in the way national governments in Germany
and Italy perceived Tyrol’s place in the national community between the start
of World War I and 1922, when King Vittorio Emmanuele II nominated Benito
Mussolini as Prime Minister after the Duce’s popularity essentially forced him into
office. More than a mere political change, the latter year signifies the beginning
of the Ventennio, or the Italian Fascists’ nearly twenty-year hold on the popular
consciousness. Since the NSDAP achieved power in Germany nearly a decade
after the PNF’s ascension, the Nazis’ influence on German nationalism in Tyrol will
be explored in the next chapter.

Keeping in mind the economic scene in Europe after World War I, the fact that the
PNF and NSDAP’s rhetoric took advantage of postwar dissatisfaction cannot be
ignored. While the German and Italian perspectives of fascist rhetoric have been
well documented, analyses from a regional perspective such as South Tyrol’s are
few and far between. What is important here is not how fascist regimes co-opted
ancient symbolism in order to construct their respective nationalist narratives,
which is a familiar argument, but rather how those symbols were interpreted by
citizens of a region on the literal and figurative margins of the national community.
Though post-World War I inflation and later depression in Europe were not the
beginning of the end for South Tyrol’s local autonomy, the desperation caused
by poor economic conditions led the region on a collision course with political
nationalism in its most concentrated form. That form was fascism, and South
Tyrol was caught between two of the most powerful examples in recent history.
As a result, Tyrol’s linguistic minorities faced a drastically changing policy in

regard to their self-determination. Whereas Giraldi’s military government initially
advocated for greater respect of the rights of German speakers in South Tyrol
in the aftermath of the Versailles Treaty, political extremism changed the initial
tolerance into policies of exclusion toward the second linguistic group. Policies of
linguistic primacy were later co-opted by the PNF and taken to the extreme in the
form of programs of denationalization. Branded by the PNF as “Italianization,” these
programs were at the center of reimagining Tyrol’s local history along exclusively
Italian lines through the elimination of German surnames and place names, as well
as its use in public administration.

South Tyrol’s place in Italy’s national community was difficult to fathom, even
after the Treaty of Versailles. However, the PNF took matters into its own hands
when it sought to assimilate Tyrol into its vision of Italy. In fact, some of the first
pro-Fascist marches took place in Bolzano and preceded the infamous March
on Rome by a few weeks. The violence in the new northern territories did not
solidify Fascism’s claim to power, but rather consolidated the PNF’s claim to
historical symbolism, which was necessary for creating a new image of Italy
as a “whole” nation.24 In the aftermath of World War I, the protection of Tyrol’s
linguistic minorities was completely unrealized once the strength of politically
liberal governments evaporated. The liberals’ principles of guaranteeing local
autonomy and respecting local ways of life without the use of force gave way to
the nationalists, who openly desired drastic reform in all aspects of public life in
order to immediately reestablish Tyrol’s character of Italianità, or “Italian-ness.”25
As events unfolded and the postwar Versailles settlement became increasingly
untenable, the preservation of Tyrolean autonomy went from fragile to near
impossible, despite the best wishes of the victorious world powers.

Even before World War I, the turn of the twentieth century witnessed increased
strife that questioned the vision of Tyrol’s place within the Habsburg Empire.
A contentious debate intensified between Italian nationalists, also called
irredentists, and pan-German organizations in Tyrol. The nationalists, led
by groups such as the Tyrolean People’s League and the Pro Patria Italiana,
advocated for the “recovery” of lands they perceived to be historically Italian.
Their goals were not limited to the annexation of South Tyrol, either; Trieste,
which lies between the Adriatic Sea and what is today Slovenia, and parts
of modern-day Croatia had been long-standing goals for Italian nationalists
after unification. Simultaneously, the pan-German organizations, such as
the Hoferbund, Tiroler Volksbund, and Allgemeiner Deutscher Schulverein,
energetically advocated for the use of the German language in local
administration, schools, and public projects.26

In fact, both German and Italian nationalist groups built statues on behalf of
their respective nationalist groups within a few years of each other. The mayor
of Trento, Paolo Oss Mazzurana, accepted a proposal to build a monument to
Dante Alighieri, who was lauded for being one of the first to publish literary
works in the Italian vernacular. The Italian nationalists officially commemorated
Alighieri’s statue in front of the train station in Bolzano in 1901. Mazzurana,
a member of the liberal political movement, nonetheless expressed strong
reservations about the nationalist symbolism of the statue, and rightly so.
Dante’s figure rose high above the main square, hand reaching out to the
north. The statue immediately became a rallying symbol for the nationalist
organizations, which interpreted Dante as a bulwark against the influx of
German culture from the north.27 In direct response, German nationalist groups

dedicated a statue to Andreas Hofer in 1905. Popular political groups on both
sides of the cultural divide added to the frenzy of Tyrol’s national question in
the years leading up to the war. For many, Tyrol’s future did not appear to be
compatible with the Habsburg Empire’s multinational framework.

The initial conditions of World War I’s nationalist causes are important to note
since they form the foundation of the national communities imagined by the
war’s proponents, especially Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Prussian-born leader of the
newly-formed German Empire. Similar to the liberal revolution nearly 60 years
prior, the realities of a war unprecedented in human history made hollow the
promises given by the political elite; this time, however, the proclamation came
not from Vienna, but from Berlin. When Kaiser Wilhelm appealed to the young
German nation’s sense of belonging and unity in the kingdom for all German
speakers, termed as Burgfrieden, he spoke about the impending conflict with the
most recent wars in mind: the German Wars of Unification that resulted in the
establishment of a unified German state.28 Italy was in the same situation, having
fought its own Wars of Unification in the 1860s. Prior experiences led to the belief
on both sides of World War I that the conflict would consist of a few decisive
engagements, ending in a few months’ time with the Prussian state victorious on
the battlefield and on the home front.

From Kaiser Wilhelm’s point of view, victory in war would be a victory for the
German polity, all the more critical considering the Wars of Unification had
taken place only fifty years prior. Wilhelm’s assertion of German nationalism
contributed to the image of a German nation forged from the maelstrom of armed
conflict. The military foundations of Germany’s national politics found their

greatest test in World War I. South Tyrol’s place in a national body politic, already
an unsettling question to the Habsburg monarchy, would come under attack in
this period because Tyrol’s connection to Wilhelm’s cause was tenuous at best.
Allegiances in Tyrol at this time were regionally based, and were becoming
polarized based on spoken language. Therefore, they were independent of
Wilhelm’s calls to fight on behalf of a national ideal.

In stark contrast to the prewar promises of national community, the soldiers
who had the fortune to survive the war posed a visceral set of challenges to
South Tyrol’s local infrastructure. Refugees and veterans of both sides of the
conflict also posed the question of what constituted a citizen who could be
entitled to public services, a question made all the more sensitive by fluctuating
conceptions of national identity. Luigi Luzzatti, head of the national government’s
High Commissariat for Refugees of War, recommended to the provincial
government in Bolzano that the rights of refugees to food, supplies, lodging, and
medical assistance be guaranteed, so long as soldiers fighting on Italy’s behalf
were occupying Tyrol. The sudden influx of troops and people amplified the
scarcity of resources, and intensified comparisons in popular perception between
the prigioneri austriaci, or “Austrian prisoners,” and the resident population.
Above all, the Austrian prisoners-of-war were victimized by the general
perception that their cause and Tyrol’s place on the frontier of armed conflict
were not the same.29 The soldiers who returned from the Austrian-Italian front
contributed to the general atmosphere of uncertainty; uncleanliness, disease,
and malnourishment were a common tragedy for many communities, where
the soldiers became the objects of contempt and intense “Otherization” in local
Italian-speaking communities.30 Appropriately, Italian-language newspapers such
as La Libertà were wary of the possibility of relegating Tyrolean men, women,

and children to second status in local hospitals. Neither the local government
in Innsbruck nor the Habsburg government in Vienna could devote sufficient
resources. As the infrastructure of the Habsburg government proved incapable
of providing the resources necessary for handling the influx of veterans, the local
population in Tyrol began to face the question of their place in an impending
postwar settlement.

South Tyrol’s place on the postwar map became a source of confusion among the
Versailles delegation, which could not put an end to the struggle of its linguistic
minorities. Though the representatives of the victorious Allied powers were quick
to reward Italy for being on their side, there was a general lack of understanding
regarding the actual confines of the territory ceded to Italy. For the writers of
the Versailles treaty, there was the question of defining the region along a more
ambiguous cultural border marked by “Italian-ness,” or demarcating the region
of annexation along a natural border, such as the Brenner Pass.31 In the end,
Italy was a signatory to one of the smaller treaties produced by the Versailles
Conference, namely the Treaty of Saint-Germain. This was done without the
attendance of a Tyrolean delegation, whose presence the Italian government
questioned from the beginning of preparations for the conference. The Consiglio
dei Ministri, which is the practical equivalent of the Italian prime minister’s
cabinet, actively advised against the possibility of entering discussions with
representatives of Tyrol’s German-speaking population.32 In reward for assisting
the Allied victory, Italy absorbed the part of Tyrol that was south of the Brenner
Pass, about thirty miles north of Bolzano. This meant the northern part of what
was called Tyrol became a part of Austria, while the southern half, with its
considerable amount of German-speakers, was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy,
under the name Trentino.33 By side-stepping the national question in Tyrol entirely

by drawing an arbitrary border at the Brenner, the Treaty of Saint-Germain gave
no conditions for minority protection or regional autonomy.

At the same time, the nationalist mindset of World War I, which underlied
the Versailles settlements, meant there could be no possibility for regionalist
considerations. Take, for instance, this quote from a speech made by a member
of the South Tyrolean delegation to the National Assembly in Vienna, shortly
before the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Germain were accepted:

In the face of this treaty, we say with every fiber of our being, with
rage and pain: No! In South Tyrol, a desperate struggle will now begin
for each farm, each townhouse, each vineyard. This will be a struggle
utilizing all the weapons of politics. And it will be a desperate struggle
because we—a quarter of a million Germans—are being pitted against
40 million Italians in what is truly not a battle of equals.34

After World War I, Tyrol was officially ceded to Italy. As a result, the center of
power relative to Tyrol’s German-speaking citizens became Rome, rather than
Vienna. Until German speakers in South Tyrol had the opportunity to identify with
a wider brand of nationalism in Austria or Germany, there was little to no political
access for this linguistic group. On the other hand, Italian speakers in South Tyrol
now occupied an exclusive space where they were now the majority. In short, the
tables had turned.

For the Allied nations, including Italy, which had just gained territories on their
borders, issues of political and national assimilation in the “new provinces” were
more sensitive than ever before. Policy decisions regarding the moral and ethical

health of citizens in South Tyrol were critical for politicians eager to assert Italian
identity. The new provincial government in Trentino, the new Italian name for
South Tyrol, was instituted immediately following the Versailles settlement and
would continue to govern along the lines established by the national government
until the Fascists came to power. Assertions of Italian nationalism by political
parties eager to reverse Versailles’ vittoria mutilata, or “mutilated victory,” were
counterbalanced by the leadership in South Tyrol, which was unwilling to let the
Treaty of Versailles settle the question of Tyrolean autonomy. The result was a
hardening of positions on both sides of the political extremes.

The provisional military government in South Tyrol was ultimately very poorly
integrated into the existing political structure, and therefore could not anticipate
the unprecedented political divide between the German and Italian nationalists.
General dissatisfaction uprooted popular opinion in South Tyrol; public discourse
took on a hostile, antagonistic character between the region’s two linguistic
groups. The German-language press became very active in this time period,
voicing calls for economic solidarity, parliamentary representation, and strictly
German-language local customs on behalf of German nationalist groups.35

The press became a microcosm for the daily linguistic battles waged by Tyrol’s
nationalist groups. The Italian nationalists always responded quickly and
decisively, questioning the opportunism of the German groups’ reopening the
nationalist question in Tyrol. Politician, journalist, and future Fascist Party
prelate, Ezio Maria Gray, wrote an editorial against South Tyrol’s pan-German
movement in Bolzano’s Giornale d’Italia, or Newspaper of Italy:

Having denied the Fatherland one time, when the Italian represented
a danger, they then renounced themselves a second time when they
realized that remaining Austrian required both suffering and misery.36

Nationalism in South Tyrol by this time had lost its center. From both the German
and Italian point of view, it appeared South Tyrol had “represented” one linguistic
group all along. Further, now that the Italian speakers constituted a majority
in a new nation-state, extremist politics would stop at nothing to enforce its
particularist image of a national community founded by Italians exclusively for
Italian speakers.

When the PNF arrived, it presented itself as a solution to the ineffectiveness of
postwar liberalism. Much like in Germany, Italy’s fledgling republican government
was susceptible to the Fascist Party in the absence of a moderate parliamentary
majority. Benito Mussolini in particular quickly became a popular figure by
voicing a set of ultranationalist politics that played on Italians’ desire to return
to the days before the hard times, World War I, and economic recession; he also
intimidated and killed many of his political enemies and therefore silenced his
opposition. The end result was a movement for the foundation of a new Italian
nation based on invented traditions that recalled the glory of ancient Rome. The
PNF consequently saw coexistence with German speakers as a direct threat to the
well-being of the new Italian nation, and therefore impossible.

The PNF sought to put an end to political discussion with the boldest forms of
violent intervention. Some of the first episodes of Fascist violence occurred in
Bolzano, a city in South Tyrol with a significant German-speaking population.

The first occasion was on April 24, 1921, since called the domenica di sangue,
or “Bloody Sunday.” On the same day when North Tyrol voted on annexation
to Germany, several hundred Fascist foot soldiers in black uniforms, called
squadristi because they moved in teams, interrupted a procession of the
Hoferbund. The Hoferbund was a German nationalist group hosting the
procession as part of a town fair celebrating the life of Andreas Hofer. The merry
music of the procession stopped when the squads arrived with their clubs and
black uniforms. The squads clubbed everyone who participated in the parade
at central Piazza Walther. Over a two-day period, the Fascists roamed about
the city, resorting to beatings, bombings, shootings, and taking hostages. One
particular target was a German-speaking school, where a teacher named Franz
Innerhofer was kidnapped while he was protecting a group of children. His body
was later found in the street, shot dead. Scores of wounded lived to tell the tale
of their encounters.37 Exactly one person was killed in the blackshirts’ first attack
on Bolzano, but that was all the Fascists needed to make the message clear.
There could no longer be any debate about another linguistic group in Tyrol.

Added to the mix was Ettore Tolomei, foremost among the Italian nationalists in
Tyrol, who would go on to become a major proponent of the PNF’s program of
“Italianization” in the region. In the middle of Tyrol’s fractious political climate,
he started the publication, Archive of Alto Adige. Alto Adige was a term denoting
South Tyrol’s geographic location near the Adige River. In his publication, he also
argued Tyrol had always been Italian, but had been “Germanized” throughout
the various centuries. Due to his educational and linguistic background, the
transitional government in Tyrol named him the head of a new commission, the
Commissariat for Culture and Language, which he used to add some scientific

validation to his theories. He also began to “restore” various German-language
surnames back into Italian. In 1916, he published his first Handbook for Local
Names of Alto Adige, which would become the cornerstone of “Italianization.”
In many ways, he was a forerunner of the PNF’s aggressive interaction with
Tyroleans. His proposals rejected not only a shared regional history for South
Tyrol, but also the political solutions presented by the republican government.

In the meantime, Tyrol’s liberalized political institutions faced tremendous
difficulty with Tyrol’s assimilation into the Kingdom of Italy. As of August 1921,
all residents in the new territories were required to attend Italian-language
schools. In the belief of Luigi Credaro, the head of the transitional provincial
government, the language of one’s school instruction determined the language
of their nationality.38 However, such definitions were unwieldy in Tyrol,
given that many Italian speakers in the former Habsburg Empire sent their
children to German schools, motivated by perceptions that German schools
were outstanding by comparison and a command of the German language
might be more economically beneficial.39 Many heads of families challenged
administrative decisions regarding the schooling of their children. Even by
1922, after about six months of enforcement, the true Italian character of
the region’s inhabitants was very much in doubt among local officials.40 In
fact, local newspapers were quick to point out the difficulty of the school
policy by saying, “What have we done? Officially, one could say nothing.”41
National identity, strictly speaking, was nearly impossible to determine in an
area in which German and Italian speakers had lived together for hundreds
of years. The fragile balance between local interests and assimilation to
the ideal of “Italian-ness” could be precariously preserved only for so long.

Though linguistically-exclusive schooling policies had been enacted before the
Fascists’ arrival, the PNF co-opted them and granted them new meaning under
their ultranationalist ideology.

The second example of Fascist violence was more extreme than its predecessor.
On September 30 and October 1, 1922, the PNF moved on Bolzano again, this
time taking a thousand members, reflecting the PNF’s growing popularity in the
northern cities in the year-and-a-half or so since the last coordinated attack.
This time, however, the Fascist squads had trucks, trains, and cars, which they
used to crowd one of the larger German schools, the Elisabethschule, which
had yet to close down due to the local administration’s vacillations regarding
the new education laws. Led by some of the PNF’s most seasoned leaders, they
encountered little resistance when they occupied the school and local city
hall. Demanding the dissolution of the democratically-elected government, the
Fascists were met by Credaro, who caved in to all three demands. By October 4,
a prefect loyal to the PNF was established in his place, signaling the beginning of
the disenfranchisement of the German political leadership in Trentino. This so-
called “March on Bolzano” helped to legitimize Fascism’s power in the popular
consciousness and preceded the March on Rome by a few weeks, when Mussolini
formally seized power of the national government in Italy.

Despite the Fascists’ general consolidation of power from the highest levels of
government by force, the South Tyrol example demonstrates Fascism’s obsession
with the periphery of the national territory. Fascism as a political philosophy
desired to remake the very lives of its subjects. Especially in Italy, the program
for fashioning citizens into models for Fascist behavior was to inculcate Fascist

idealism through education and linguistic exclusivity. Therefore, the crux for
building consensus for Mussolini’s regime depended on the ability of the PNF
to execute their ideology on the border regions, where consensus was most in
doubt. As popular as Fascism was becoming in the time period immediately
following World War I, the PNF was desperately clinging to the idea that an
area like Tyrol could be remade through politics. In the next chapter, it is clear
the Fascists were ultimately unsuccessful since subversion of their policies of
“denationalization” in Tyrol was quite common.

If the Germans on both sides of the Brenner don’t toe the line, then the Fascists will teach
them a thing or two about obedience. South Tyrol is Italian and bilingual, and no one would
even dream of trying forcibly to Italianize these German immigrants. But neither can the
Germans imagine they might push Italy back . . . —Benito Mussolini, 192142

So Hitler says himself! The same man who rushes us into nationalistic adventure reveals
a shameless German country: “The friendship of such a great nation as Italy must not be
marred because of an obstacle such as South Tyrol.” —German propaganda poster from
1932, translated as Hitler: The One who Smashes Everything43

The advent of the Fascist regime in Italy placed South Tyrol’s concept of regional
identity on a collision course with the party’s ultranationalist ideologies. The
twenty years of Fascist rule, or Ventennio, were a time of intense pressure for
South Tyrol’s linguistic groups. Between 1918 and 1922, due to increasingly
extreme politics on behalf of nationalists and liberals, Italy’s attempt to welcome
South Tyroleans into the national framework failed. The dedication to principles
of keeping local autonomy intact after the Treaty of Versailles amounted to mere
lip service on behalf of South Tyrol’s provisional military government. While
the liberal political representatives in Rome and Innsbruck were very willing
to respect regional differences, their desire to form “Italians” loyal to the new

republic was incompatible with Tyrolean autonomy. This is reflected by the fact
the Republic seriously enforced policies of linguistic and cultural primacy in
South Tyrol. Once the PNF gained popularity across the country, the policies
were adapted to fit the party’s claim to Italy’s historical traditions. Leading up to
World War II, both of South Tyrol’s linguistic groups felt the strength of the PNF’s
nationalist fervor. Italian speakers could identify with the PNF’s claim of Italian
cultural supremacy, though not all were sympathetic to Fascist politics; German
speakers, on the other hand, were repeatedly abused by PNF violence as targets
in the Fascists’ rise to prominence. Therefore, the cultural divide seen in the
Habsburg era had completely reversed. German speakers now saw themselves as
the subject of abject indifference on behalf of the national government, this time
in Rome instead of Vienna.

Though South Tyrol’s annexation might have made sense to a German speaker
facing Fascist persecution in 1939, such an assertion of German national
consciousness would have gone against the more than decade-long PNF takeover
in the region. The disintegration of local autonomy arguably began as far back as
1919, but the outright “degermanization” of the school system in Tyrol was not
seriously undertaken until 1923, nearly a year after Mussolini formally came to
power. Longtime operative of the PNF and head of the Commissariat for Language
and Culture in Alto Adige, Ettore Tolomei, first clashed with the local government
when he was given authority to enact his proposal to sanitize the German
language from place names, schools, and public administration. His ambitious
32-point plan, complete with over 10,000 translations of German place names,
was opposed by the more liberally-minded local government, headed by former
General Pecori Giraldi.44 He was appointed head of South Tyrol’s provincial
government when the territory became a part of Italy at the end of World War I.

Giraldi publicly opposed making such rapid changes to the very fabric of local
life. Instead, he argued, there ought to be a “peaceful dissemination” of the
Italian nation’s values in the border region. Much like in Germany, the interwar
political scene in Italy saw a hardening of positions on both sides of the political
spectrum in the absence of a strong moderate voice to propose a solution in
the middle. In fact, even Giraldi’s proponents had a difficult time imagining the
possibility of the Italian nation-state encompassing multilingual communities
simultaneously; such views would become even more widely held under Fascism.
The clash between Giraldi and Tolomei underscores the importance of the
dissemination of language and symbols to the new Fascist regime. Therefore, the
politics of linguistic monopolization far preceded the German troops’ movement
toward the Brenner Pass, the mountainous border between Tyrol and South Tyrol
that had been in place since 1918.

In direct competition with German nationalism in the pre-World War II period,
the Italian Fascist Party outlawed all teaching in the German language in South
Tyrol irrespective of learning level, effective April 1923. Such measures were
zealously enforced by local officials who, after having been distanced literally and
figuratively by Tyrol’s periphery, perceived the regulations as an opportunity to
impress superiors.45 This meant the creation of “true Italians” lay in the discovery
of patriotic Italian history. For the PNF, part of that history was the enforcement
of linguistic primacy of the Italian language. In South Tyrol, a border region
historically independent in affairs of local language, enforcing a single-use policy
regarding Italian was critical to consolidating the PNF’s consensus. Though other
authoritative regimes in the pre-World War II period drastically emphasized
differences between their ideal subjects and communities of “outsiders” who

opposed them, especially Jews, homosexuals, artists, and still many others,
exclusion on the basis of spoken language should be considered as well, as
demonstrated by South Tyrol’s plight during the Ventennio. Linguistic differences
represented an obstacle to the creation of the Italian fascist state that was wholly
unlike that encountered in Germany. Language became the basis for exclusion
in South Tyrol in a way that was much more visible than in German communities
facing the NSDAP during the period leading up to World War II.

As the Fascists solidified their positions of power, they grew bolder in their
measures to undermine the Tyroleans’ political will. For the PNF, schooling
represented the primary opportunity with which to introduce ideals of fascism,
Italian cultural and linguistic superiority, and the veneration of Mussolini. In a
region such as South Tyrol, education presented a necessary ideological battle:
as some scholars argue, especially Pieter Judson. Educational policies in this
era were a form of political opposition where liberals could advocate for a local
language in schooling independent of that spoken elsewhere.46 Local policies in
the Habsburg era, for example, in Germany and other central European nations
were relatively open-ended regarding their policies toward the official civic and
educational languages of each region. In sharp contrast, open-endedness was
not the goal of the Italianization program. One of the first orders of business was
to eliminate the use of the word “Tyrol” from all printed publications, instead
referring to the region as Tridentine Veneto, or Venezia Tridentina, a term
which called to mind an exclusively Italian regional history through the Venetian
Republic. The term was widely used within the public sphere referring to Tyrol’s
place in the “new Italy.” The connection between South Tyrol and the Venetian
Republic was completely invented by the PNF.47

Despite the Party’s plans, the process of forced Italianization was not without
its own failures of enforcement. The German language still found its way into
the school system, though not out in public. The cancellation of teaching in the
German language provoked strong opposition from German-speaking women,
some former schoolteachers who no longer could seek employment under the
new Fascist way of life. Along with German-speaking parents who objected to the
PNF’s undue influence over their spoken language, these teachers formed the
Katakombenschulen, or “catacomb schools.” It was in these meetings where the
former German-speaking schools continued underground in secret. The meetings
for these schools often took place in the homes of former teachers, but were
frequently disguised as simple religious prayer meetings for young children. The
catacomb schools asserted German national and linguistic consciousness at a
time when the space for such expression was extremely limited. However, casting
the schools as resistant to fascism is not entirely accurate: some of the books the
teachers used were actually funneled from Nazi Germany.48

The PNF perceived the dissemination of such ideas as a threat. Any form of
resistance, especially resistance as surreptitious as practicing one’s own
language in secret, could not be tolerated. The Fascist police disbanded the
Katakombenschulen with fierce acts of violence. Laws were suspended regarding
the search of farms and homes, as well as private correspondence; confiscations
of textbook materials deemed to “disturb the future of Italy” occurred with great
brutality until 1943.49 Only a few years after the Fascists came to power, the
PNF made clear one of the first priorities of the new regime was to remake new
Italians who could be subjects of the new state. By eliminating local opposition
to forms of political control, the party vehemently opposed any and all types of
linguistic choice in its campaign to “deregionalize” South Tyrol and Trentino.

The PNF’s school policies were not the limit to its hold on local life in South
Tyrol. Tolomei’s measure requiring the “restoration” of surnames with origins in
other languages took effect in January 1926. Nationalist associations on behalf
of Austrians, Croats, Hungarians, and Germans were quick to publicize the
difficulties faced by thousands of South Tyroleans who decided to stay in Italy and
therefore were required to apply for Italian citizenship under their new names.
The commissions declaring Italy to be these citizens’ one, true home did so in
the vast majority of cases.50 The PNF eagerly attempted to merge their image of
true “Italian-ness” with the very self-perception of individuals within South Tyrol’s
German-speaking communities. For the PNF, “remaking” South Tyrol’s identity
by granting individuals new Italian-language surnames was the most profound
evidence of Fascism’s claim of cultural supremacy.

Going beyond a nationalist program, the PNF and local leadership executed
a plan to completely “fascistize” the region in all aspects of life, including
remaking the physical places in which people lived. The obsession with remaking
contemporary architecture in a style that might be typical of “the new Fascist
age” is revealed by the redesigning of the city of Bolzano between 1933 and 1935.
PNF-supported architects drew grand plans to move the “new” town center
away from the “Germanic” Piazza Walther to a Piazza alla Vittoria, or “Victory
Plaza,” so named for a Monument to Victory which had yet to be constructed.51
The Monument to Victory was originally a mausoleum for Austrian troops who
had died fighting in World War I, but Mussolini was quick to reappropriate the
tomb as a dedication to the party’s perceived triumph over South Tyrol’s German
cultural elements. Other buildings, such as the Central Savings Bank, were
deemed to be “outside the fashionable style,” redesigned, torn down, and rebuilt.
Finally, in 1935, Mussolini appeared at a Fascist rally in order to commemorate

the removal of the statue of Walther von der Vogelweide, a poet who was the
city’s foremost literary figure. The eponymous Piazza Walther was named for the
statue that had stood there since 1889. Perhaps as a testament to Mussolini’s
popularity, or perhaps as evidence of the fear induced by widespread violence
in South Tyrol, crowds of thousands huddled together in Piazza Walther to hear
Mussolini’s “incisive, manly, and historical words.”52

The PNF rally hosted by Mussolini in Bolzano in 1935. Fascist adherents in the camicie nere, or
black shirts, extend the salute usually associated with Adolf Hitler, but which actually originated
as a salute to the PNF’s leader. Notice the statue of Walther von der Vogelweide in the top right.
Courtesy Historical Archives, Municipal Library of Trento.

As part of an ongoing campaign to claim an ideological victory over South Tyrol,
the PNF subjugated the Tyroleans’ day-to-day lives. These efforts reflected a
larger goal of reducing South Tyrol’s regional identity to an identity that was
homogenous with the Fascist vision. By 1935, none of Tyrol’s local culture or
public spaces were immune to the purview of Fascism.

Despite their ideological alignment, an alliance between Hitler and Mussolini
seemed rather unlikely in 1935, partially because of competing nationalism in
South Tyrol. Something had to change in the status quo. For one, the two sides
would have had to ignore the Italianization program in South Tyrol and Trentino,

which contradicted everything Hitler had advocated for German unity because
of the exclusive assertion of Italian cultural superiority. Paradoxical to Hitler
and Mussolini’s programs for creating national unity, the issue of South Tyrol’s
place in the national community had largely been set aside for the previous few
years while the two leaders pursued policies elsewhere on the European map to
conform to their visions of the world. Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric urging the complete
unification of all Germans is well-known; what is less known, however, are the
effects of his rhetoric on the frontiers of the radically changing German nation. As
early as 1935, some German Tyroleans perceived the annexation of the Saarland
as a sign of hope for the annexation of South Tyrol into Germany.53 Voicing
rhetoric that advocated for the unity of all German speakers in a single nation,
Hitler and the NSDAP rapidly and forcefully annexed a series of border regions
over the next few years. German speakers in South Tyrol witnessed the growth of
the German national community: the Saarland in 1935, and then the Rhineland
in 1936, then the Sudetenland, which was the western edge of Czechoslovakia
in 1938. Finally, parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia were absorbed into the
German nationalist project in the Anschluss in 1938. German-speaking Tyroleans
finally saw their opportunity arrive when German troops arrived at the Brenner
Pass in March 1938. After nearly two decades of violence and abuse at the hands
of Tolomei’s “Italianization,” the German-speaking communities in South Tyrol
became keenly interested in the possibility of reuniting with Germany, which now
included Austria. Up to this point, Hitler had utilized the same strategy as before,
which emphasized the insignificance of Tyrol’s geographic border when compared
to the cultural border as a justification for its inclusion into the Reich. Despite
this, South Tyrol would never become a part of the Third Reich. Hitler refused to
push strongly on the position of German nationalism in South Tyrol in order to
sign the Pact of Steel and create an alliance with an ideological ally.

On May 22, 1939, the two heads of state consolidated their alliance by signing
the so-called Pact of Steel. Until then, the connection between Mussolini and
Hitler had been purely ideological. They saw common ground in their politics,
and had been cast aside by other world powers as a result. As part of the
agreement, Hitler and Mussolini agreed to a policy of emigration for German
speakers in South Tyrol, proudly calling it the “Hitler-Mussolini Option.” Under
this Option, German speakers in South Tyrol had the choice of staying in
Italy—thereby remaining a subject of “Italianization” and “Fascistization”—or
emigrating to Germany. From the point of view of South Tyrol’s German-speaking
population, the pact became a symbol of optimism for reuniting with their
German cultural heritage, since Hitler’s position on a “Germany for all Germans”
was well-known. As it turned out, however, the practical result for those who
decided to take the option, called optanti, put people into the position of being
deemed a Nazi sympathizer on one hand, or cast as a traitor to the German
culture of their forefathers.54

The text of the Option made several assumptions about the nationalist
allegiances of South Tyrol’s residents. A national decree was published in both
German and Italian newspapers, where the Option was declared a month after
the Pact of Steel was signed:

All native residents of [South Tyrol] must, therefore, in an unequivocal
and irrevocable manner, decide for themselves according to their
free conscience if they will remain Italians, brothers among brothers
with the other citizens of the Kingdom, or become German citizens
[cittadini germanici] for reason of intimately-rooted sentiments.
Consequently, they will choose to emigrate to Germany, where they
will find altogether full moral recognizance and worth, as well as
convenient economic accommodation.55

Usage of the word “germanici” to describe German cultural heritage is of note,
since it implies independence from speaking the German language, which has its
own word in Italian. The Italian word for the German language, tedesco, is usually
used to refer to people of the German nation. Normally this implies a link between
linguistic heritage and national affiliation. However, documents from PNF officials
substitute the word germanici, similar to the word “Germanic” in English, which
possesses its own connotation of barbarism. The word implies a sense of national
community beyond Hitler or Mussolini’s aims, which linked national heritage
with one’s spoken language, as in, “la nazione germanica,” or German nation.
Still, this statement concedes that Tyrol’s consolidation into the German nation
was a difficult political problem for two leaders whose success originated with
ultranationalist rhetoric. Furthermore, the announcement’s assumption that all
residents were Italian to begin with, hence the use of the word “remain,” goes hand-
in-hand with the implications made at the beginning of the declaration. The PNF’s
nationalist project sought to emphasize the “Italian-ness” of the region by divorcing
local history from all usage of the German language, as well as its traditions and
culture. Therefore, the assumption that only Italians lived in Trentino and South
Tyrol is a loaded one. In contrast to such an assumption is the announcement that
there might be legitimate reasons for wanting to emigrate to Germany rather than
stay in Italy: “for reason of intimately-rooted sentiments.” The last part reflects
concern for the moral and economic health of the new national communities Hitler
and Mussolini attempted to create.

The sheer number of German speakers who took advantage of the Option
effectively allowed Hitler and Mussolini to sidestep the question of competing
forms of nationalism for the sake of their alliance. Between 1939 and 1943 the
number of optanti approached nearly 40,000. This represented a sizable number

considering the region’s rural population.56 Two commissions were established
with an official headquarters in Bolzano, the largest city in South Tyrol and the
site of the strongest enforcement of the Fascist Party’s program of Italianization.
The Option created two separate commissions, one dealing with German
speakers and the other with those speaking Italian, empowered with the same
task of enforcement of the Option. Additionally, the commissions had branches
in six other cities in South Tyrol: Bressanone, Brunico, Merano, Vipiteno, and
Tarvisio. However, documents from the time clearly show the head commission at
Bolzano received the most requests from German speakers for the Option, most
likely due to the concentration of German-speaking residents.57 Additionally,
about a fifth of those also applied for “re-option”; that is, they filed formal
requests to return to Italy. However, the number of those who applied to return is
artificially reduced by the fact much of Italy’s infrastructure had been destroyed
by the time it withdrew from the war in 1943.

Mussolini originally intended for the Option to be a show of friendship to Hitler
on the question of competing German and Italian nationalism in South Tyrol, but
the Option’s enforcement had several negative effects for Italy’s national and
local governments. As stated above, the Option resulted in tens of thousands of
German-speaking South Tyroleans moving to Germany. For the most part, the
bureaucracy in Italy was unequipped to handle the volume of people who were
migrating; the Italian government’s lack of efficiency in handling the requests was
frequently compared to that in Germany. The Nazi government appeared more
“efficient” likely because fewer requests were handled, but also because the
Germans were a model of an efficient bureaucracy when compared to the PNF in
1939.58 The practical matter of enforcing the Option played an assumed role in the
agreement between the two leaders.

On another level, the Option was the culmination of the nationalist debate in
Tyrol due to the fact it formally reduced citizens’ choices of fixed nationalist
allegiances, rather than cultural or linguistic categories. As such, another
difficulty for the commissions was determining who could be eligible for the
Option. Archival documents show those who applied represented a cross-
section of Tyrol’s local society. Registers from the commissions in Bolzano
reveal the optanti came from all walks of life, regardless of name or economic
status. While there were a few examples of bilingual families, a phenomenon
exacerbated by Tolomei’s school policies, the commissions always assumed
each person who applied could belong to one nationality or the other.59 One of
the application’s main parts was the valuation of material goods, which varied
significantly from city to city and even within the groups of cases handled by
the same commission.60 For the commissions, evaluating the flow of trade
was important for practical reasons, for the physical movement of material
goods was a sensitive wartime issue. By determining the movement of material
goods, the local government could better determine allocations for rations.
However, from the point of view of those actually moving from South Tyrol or
Trentino into Germany, their personal property symbolized limitless worth
since they were of cultural as well as monetary significance. Not only did the
émigrés have to carry whatever they took with them, but their possessions
had to survive the trek through the Brenner Pass, the mountain road that was
the formal boundary between Austrian-German Tyrol and South Tyrol, and the
Alps. For those who decided to take the Option, life did not get any easier since
emigrating represented a rejection of their regionalized identity in favor of a more
generalized, national one.

The transformation was far from complete, but the Fascists had taken several
strong steps toward insuring their concept of italianità, or “Italian-ness,” would
leave its mark on the landscape of this area on the linguistic and geographic
frontier of interwar Europe. In fact, Mussolini and Hitler had precisely these
nationalist assertions in mind when they signed the Pact of Steel and established
the Option. For nearly a decade, Mussolini pursued a political strategy in South
Tyrol that brought him dangerously close to compromising his foreign policy
goals of an alliance with Hitler and the creation of a new empire recalling the
glory of ancient Rome. While the annexation of South Tyrol by military conquest
or appeasement may have been likely, the Italianization of the region was too far
advanced for Hitler to make the claim that the region belonged in his vision of the
German national community. Instead, he and Mussolini sacrificed the autonomy
of hundreds of thousands of individuals for the sake of an alliance founded in
economic and, as events unfolded, military strength.

Tyrol’s history demonstrates nationalist systems are historically contingent, and
therefore construct identities that are completely artificial, even in the process
of local assimilation. Tyrol represents an example of a set of national groups,
differentiated by language, that clashed with the model of the ideal citizen in the
national community. A series of nation-states sought to make ideal citizens that
exemplified “Italian-ness” or “German-ness” in the process of forging national
unity. However, the tools for constructing those national identities—German
and Italian—changed over time. For Tyrol, the move from the Hapsburg
Empire to republican and then Fascist nation-state was accompanied by
a predictable change in focus from the monarch as the symbol that tied
the periphery to the center in the ideal of nationhood. The South Tyrolean

example shows us, however, that the process of incorporating peripheries
into twentieth-century European states was uneven and incomplete. Nazi
Germany declined to capitalize on the Habsburgs’ legacy of close ties to
German speakers in the region, because of the deal struck between Hitler and
Mussolini in 1939 that hastily “settled” the question of competing nationalisms
in South Tyrol. Fascist Italy in turn tried unsuccessfully to “Italianize” the
region through violence and exclusion as a continuation of the nationalist
project started after World War I. The rise of a new world order after World
War II created a space where South Tyrol remains less-than-completely
incorporated into the system of nation-states.

Tyrol was caught between the two republics of Germany and Italy, which formed
in the latter half of the nineteenth century, a time when a wave of nationalist
movements swept across Europe, and the Habsburg monarchy’s representations
of Franz Joseph I no longer placated the disparate national groups that
constituted the Empire itself. The plays, processions, and festivals were, from the
point of view of the Italian-speaking communities, a poor identification of what
they considered to be Tyrol’s historical character. Since the Habsburgs invented
traditions that were divisive in nature, they were exclusive to the German-
speaking population that absorbed the influence of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s appeals to
unite Germany under a single polity. It was only after World War I that this same
German or Italian polity came to be defined by language, and increasingly by
race. Nationalism’s linguistic associations took advantage of the cultural divide
that had grown between the German and Italian-speaking communities in Tyrol
by this time. Popular manifestations in newspapers and propaganda asserted
their own mutually exclusive versions of Tyrol’s history. The devastation caused
by World War I and the contentious legacy of the Versailles settlement sparked

protests and calls for independence that intensified local angst over Tyrol’s place
in the Italian nation. By then it was impossible for a Tyrolean to be considered
specifically Tyrolean; regionally-based identities had no place in the nation-state.

Tyroleans were thus caught between state-building projects that idealized
linguistically homogeneous national communities. The “liberalized” Kingdom of
Italy’s provisional government made initial concessions toward the protection
of the rights of South Tyrol’s linguistic groups. However, the politics of idealism
gave way to the practical assimilation of South Tyroleans into the nation-state.
The process of combining regional identity with the particular image of the
Italian citizen failed again, this time due to the weight of interwar politics on
both extremes. Nationalist positions hardened on both sides of the political
spectrum. Members of the national and local government in Trento fell victim
to the strength of the nationalist movement, whose goal was to mold Italian
identity from the ground up. The role of the border regions, such as South Tyrol,
increased due to the contemporary debate surrounding its cultural character.
As such, policies of linguistic primacy in education became matters of national
interest. The political result favored the Italian linguistic group and reflected the
concept of an Italian nation for Italian speakers. The Kingdom of Italy entered the
process of building a state based on an Italian national community that remained
exclusive. Even before the Fascist Party arrived in South Tyrol, spoken language
and nationalist allegiance were one and the same.

One obstacle to the Fascist government’s attempts to “deregionalize” South
Tyrol and Trentino was Italy’s own regional history. The PNF actively disregarded
centuries of regional identity, not only within Tyrol, but also within Italy as a
whole. After all, a unified Italy was still only about 50 years old by the end of

World War I. Much like in Germany, Italian national identity was forged in regional
conflict. In the case of South Tyrol, a distinct regional identity was only sharpened
by Tyrol’s location on the periphery of the new Italian nation. The question of
Tyrol’s inclusion should logically have come after answering the question of either
German or Italian regional identity. However, with the onset of ultranationalist
regimes, the use of ancient symbolism became a vital part of legitimizing
authority. The festivals and statues gave way to outright linguistic subversion,
paradoxically giving credence to local history based in German language and
customs. Mussolini and his PNF ideologues attempted to overcome regional
identities with their concept of “Italian-ness,” but the results were violence
and ethnic exclusion that only magnified differences between German and
Italian speakers. The Fascists’ aim to create a homogenized cultural space
was entirely incompatible with the balanced regional identities that the Italian
nation-state must require.

The third authoritarian regime in South Tyrol’s history, Nazi Germany, essentially
declined nationalist identification of German speakers that originated in the
Habsburg era, through the Hitler-Mussolini Option. It seems puzzling Hitler was
so willing to refuse annexation of a region where the German population was
historically very active. The Option’s thinly-veiled attempt at what should be
considered an “ethnic cleansing” certainly served Hitler’s goal of constructing
a racially pure German polity. Hitler’s racist ideology considered all Germans,
even those who had been living in mixed-language communities, to be “German”
enough in order to become citizens of the Third Reich. His hypernationalist vision
entirely rejected the possibility of a nation-state founded in regionalism. The
Option then marked the final stage in the subjugation of Tyrol’s local autonomy. In
fact, it allowed the NSDAP to entirely sidestep the assimilation of a border region

where national identity had been controversial. Regional culture, once based in
ancient symbolism of the Church and linguistic diversity, became co-opted by the
concept of race within Hitler’s national community. Nazi Germany made the most
explicit overtures to Tyrol’s German-speaking population who could identify with
Hitler and the NSDAP’s cultural message.

The Monument to Victory in 2014. Photograph taken by the author.

Even in 2014, the confrontation with the historical past of Fascism remains a highly
sensitive local issue. Only on July 21, 2014, was the Fascist Monument to Victory
opened to the public. The building had been a site of nationalist demonstrations
ever since its dedication by Mussolini and King Vittorio Emmanuele II in 1928. A
Latin inscription on the façade reads: “Here are the borders of the Fatherland.
Set the banner down here. From this place we educated others with language,
the law, and the arts.” Because of the monument’s historically fraught reputation,
only a joint effort on behalf of local officials from Austria, Germany, and Italy
made its opening possible. They made every effort to ensure the exhibit within the

monument’s confines traced local history from both points of view in a balanced
manner. The public response to the monument’s opening was positive, perhaps
reflecting a new desire to put an end to the cultural conflict that has plagued South
Tyrol’s recent times.

The plight of South Tyroleans brings considerable perspective on the competition
between regionalist accommodation and nationalist dominance. Tyrol’s
history demonstrates the fragility of self-realization in the face of authoritarian
regimes. Within the greater context of the process of nationalization, the most
remarkable development in Tyrol’s recent history is perhaps the international
framework of the European Union, which put into place structures to ensure the
relegation of regional identity for broad-sweeping nationalist objectives does not
happen again. For this reason, South Tyrol is currently a mutually autonomous
region administered between Austria and Italy, though it is still technically
considered a part of Italy. Even so, whether South Tyroleans share the European
Union’s optimism for the protection of minority groups remains to be seen.
Perhaps reflecting Italians’ skepticism toward the European Union in general,
dissatisfaction regarding the perceived disparity in economic rights between the
two linguistic groups is a common discussion in South Tyrol’s local life.

Graffiti written on a wall in Via Portici in Bolzano. The bold print reads, “We must reacquire national
sovereignty or it will be the end!” A second set of handwriting crosses out the bold print with an
expression of vulgarity. Photograph taken by the author.

For example, graffiti occupies many public spaces in northern cities, such as
Bolzano. The vast majority of the street art is written in Italian. These words
convey specific political messages that decry the cultural gap between Germans
and Italians. Looking toward the future, it will be interesting to see how the
opening of the Monument to Victory will influence cooperation between South
Tyrol’s linguistic groups in a new international framework.

Archivio Centrale dello Stato (Central Archive of the State), Rome
Archivio di Stato di Bolzano (Archive of State of Bolzano)
Archivio Provinciale di Trentino/Alto-Adige
(Provincial Archive of Trentino/Alto-Adige)
Biblioteca Civica di Bolzano (Civic Library of Bolzano)
Biblioteca Comunale di Trento (Municipal Library of Trento)
Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma (National Central Library of Rome)
USC Libraries Special Collections

See Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (New
York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983); Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes:The
Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991 (London: Abacus, 1994). For more
contemporary analyses, see Nóra de Buiteléir, Tyrol or Not Tyrol: Theatre as
History in Südtirol/Alto Adige (Bern: International Academic Publishers, 2012);
Gabriella Elgenius, Symbols of Nations and Nationalism: Celebrating Nationhood
(New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011); Laurence Cole, ed., Different Paths to the
Nation: Regional and National Identities in Central Europe and Italy, 1830–70
(New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
For examples of the politicized body of work on regional history in both German
and Italian, see Laurence Cole and Hans Heiss, “‘Unity Versus Difference’: The
Politics of Region-building and National Identities in Tyrol, 1830–67,” in Different
Paths to the Nation: Regional and National Identities in Central Europe and Italy,
1830–70 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 38; Enrico Dal Lago, “Society,
Economy, and Politics in Restoration Italy: Towards a Regional Synthesis,” The
Historical Journal, vol. 45, no. 1 (2002), 179–193; Peter Haslinger, Grenze im Kopf:
Beiträge zur Geschichte der Grenze in Ostmitteleuropa (Frankfurt am Main: P.
Lang, 1999); John Breuilly, Nationalism and the State (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago
Press, 1994).
Italian National Institute of Statistics, 2011 Population Housing Census, retrieved
Umberto Corsini and Rudolf Lill, Alto Adige 1918–1946 (Bolzano: Provincia
Autonoma di Bolzano, 1988), 10.
Maps 391–398 of the Districts of Trento and Lavizza 1814–1815, Surveying Maps
from the Napoleonic Age (1815–1850), Provincial Archive of Trentino/Alto Adige.
Maps of the Local Province (1855–1875), Provincial Archive of Trentino/Alto Adige.
Laurence Cole, “Military Veterans and Popular Patriotism in Imperial Austria,”
in The Limits of Loyalty: Imperial Symbolism, Popular Allegiances, and State
Patriotism in the Late Habsburg Monarchy (New York: Bergahn Books, 2007),

See note 1 (Elgenius), 7, 14.
Daniel Unowsky, The Pomp and Politics of Patriotism: Imperial Celebrations in
Habsburg Austria, 1848–1916 (West Lafayette: Purdue Univ. Press, 2005), 7.
See note 2 (Cole and Heiss), 43, 49, 54.
Andrea Leonardi and Paolo Pombeni, Storia del Trentino: L’eta contemporanea,
il Novecento (Bologna: Mulino, 2005), 73.
Massimo Baldi, Austriaci d’Italia: Tra storia dimenticata e identità (Trento: UCT,
2005), 10.
See note 9, 77–79.
See, among others, Stauter-Halsted, Haas and Stekl, Hecher, Riesenfellner,
and Unowsky, cited by Laurence Cole in “Patriotic Celebrations in Late-
Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Tirol,” in Staging the Past: The Politics
of Commemoration in Habsburg Central Europe, 1848 to the Present (West
Lafayette: Purdue Univ. Press, 2001), 105–6, notes 3–4.
See note 2 (Cole and Heiss), 50; note 14, 93.
See note 9.
See note 14, 89–95.
See note 2 (Cole and Heiss), 48.
See note 12, 68.
Ibid., 72.
Ibid., 42–45.
Ibid., 75.
The Italian Fascist Party is abbreviated here as “PNF” for Partito nazionale
fascista. The German Nazi Party is abbreviated elsewhere as “NSDAP” for
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or simply referred to as the
Nazi Party.
R. J. B. Bosworth, Mussolini’s Italy: Life under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915–
1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2007), 180–81.
Giuseppe Motta, The Italian Military Governorship in South Tyrol and the Rise of
Fascism (Rome: Edizioni Nuova Cultura, 2012), 18, 37; see note 4, 33–35.
Ibid., 11.
See note 12, 39.
“Burgfrieden” is a German term meaning “Peace in the castle,” as indicated by
the quote attributed to Kaiser Wilhelm II: “I see no political parties anymore, I
see only Germans.” He reportedly stated this before the onset of World War I.
The term used by nationalist newspapers to indicate Austrian prisoners-of-war.
One such newspaper in Bolzano, Il Chianti, is quoted in Baldi (see note 12), 42.
See note 4, 27; note 25, 15; note 12, 40–41.
See note 12, 35. Baldi asserts that the representatives at the Versailles

Conference drew upon previous knowledge obtained by the Battisti brothers.
Cesare Battisti would become a Fascist idol for, among other things, his mapwork
that classified the various alpine valleys as being of the “German element”
(elemento tedesco) or Italian. In reality, we know he often incorrectly classified an
area as one or the other.
Telegrams between Chief of Staff Augusto Battioni and Advisor to Secretary
of the Cabinet Modestino Pietrozzullo, February 5–6, 1919, Archive of Vittorio
Emanuele Orlando, Central Archive of the State, Rome.
Though Trentino is a more proper name for the region annexed by Italy, it will
be used interchangeably with the English name South Tyrol, which reflects the
region’s geographic location.
Eduard Reut-Nicolussi, delegate to the National Assembly in Vienna, quoted
in Rolf Steininger, South Tyrol: A Minority Conflict of the Twentieth Century (New
Brunswick: New Transaction Publishers, 2003), 5–6.
Article on behalf of Andreas Hoferbund and Deutscher Verbund, Sudtiroler
Landeszeitung (South Tyrol Newspaper), November 21–22, 1921, Case 19.15.1,
Collection “Occupazioni militari e questioni politiche,” Archive of the Presidenza
del Consiglio dei Ministri, Central Archive of the State, Rome.
Ezio Maria Gray, “In Alto Adige non si vuol commemorare Dante” (In Alto Adige
One Does Not Want to Commemorate Dante), Giornale d’Italia (Newspaper of
Italy), September 20, 1921, 3. Case 19.15.6, Collection “Occupazioni militari e
questioni politiche,” Archive of the Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, Central
Archive of the State, Rome.
See note 25, 75–76.
Circular from Luigi Credaro, Commissary General for Venezia-Tridentina, Case
19.15.6, Affairs Regarding Public Education in the New Provinces, Central Archive
of the State, Rome.
Pieter M. Judson, Guardians of the Nation: Activists on the Language Frontiers
of Imperial Austria (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 2006), 241–44.
Telegrams between the Commissariat for the New Provinces and the Ministry of
Justice, April 1922, Case 19.15.6, Affairs Regarding Public Education in the New
Provinces, Central Archive of State, Rome.
Translated from “Che abbiamo fatto noi? Ufficialmente si può dire nulla!”
from “The School Problem in Alto Adige,” Giornale d’Italia (Newspaper of Italy),
September 14, 1921, 3–4. Case 19.15.2, Affairs Regarding Public Education in the
New Provinces, Central Archive of the State, Rome.
See note 34, 9.
“Der zertrümmert des Alles!” propaganda poster, 1932, Leon Jacobsohn papers,
USC Libraries Special Collections.

See note 39, 244; note 34, 14–20.
Maura E. Hametz, In the Name of Italy: Nation, Family, and Patriotism in a
Fascist Court (New York: Fordham Univ. Press, 2012), 70–71.
See note 39, 26–48; Ernst Bruckmüller, “Patriotic and National Myths: National
Consciousness and Elementary School Education in Imperial Austria,” in The
Limits of Loyalty (see note 7), 11–38.
See note 12, 41.
See note 34, 30.
See note 45, 42–43; note 34, 29–35.
See note 45, 47. From a pool of about 10,000 filings, nearly 90% were decreed
Italian citizenship.
In fact, the Monument to Victory still stands in Bolzano, a haunting reminder of
the past. See the concluding chapter for a more detailed exploration of the past’s
role in South Tyrol’s local politics.
Armando Vadagnini, “Dai venti di guerra alla ricostruzione,” in Storia del
Trentino (see note 11), 135.
See note 4, 263.
Emma Lantschner, “The Radical Solution: The Option,” in Tolerance through
Law: Self-Governance and Group Rights in South Tyrol (Boston: Martinus Nijhoff,
2008), 8–9.
Otto Bene and Giuseppe Mastromattei, “Norme per il rimpatrio dei cittadini
germanici e per l’emigrazione di allogeni tedeschi dall’Alto Adige in Germania”
(Rules for the Repatriation of German Citizens and for the Emigration of
German-speaking Residents of Alto-Adige to Germany), La Provincia di Bolzano,
October 26, 1939. This was an Italian-language newspaper printing of the formal
document outlining the emigration of German speakers from South Tyrol.
Registers of Individuals who Applied for the Option, 1939 to 1943, box 10,
Documentation Regarding the Option, Archival Series of the Prefecture of
Bolzano, Archive of State of Bolzano.
Requests for Option to the Italian-German Commission at Bolzano, 1939 to
1943, cases 1 and 3, Documentation Regarding the Option, Archival Series of the
Prefecture of Bolzano, Archive of State of Bolzano.
See note 52, 134–35; Leopold Steurer, “Der Optionsverlauf in Südtirol,” in Die
Option: Südtirol zwischen Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus (Innsbruck:
Haymon, 1989), 217–21.
See Lilli Gruber, Eredità (Milan: RCS Libri, 2012), 17, 87 for an example of a
Tyrolean family that spoke Italian in the household, but considered Tyrol to
exhibit a distinctly German culture.

Requests for Option to the Italian-German Commission at Bolzano, 1939 to
1943, cases 1 and 3, Documentation Regarding the Option, Archival Series of the
Prefecture of Bolzano, Archive of State of Bolzano.
Reckless and Indiscriminate: The Impact of
Japanese bombing in the Second Sino-Japanese
War on Pre-World War II American Morality

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Department of History
Phil Ethington, Faculty Advisor

“It is my profound conviction that conditions have altered since the rules
of war were formulated—in the days which preceded the invention of
airplanes—and that the conscience of mankind abhors the wholesale
destruction from the air of innocent non-combatants.”
—Joseph Grew, American Ambassador to Japan, July 4, 1938

Dresden, Guernica, London, Hiroshima. These may be the cities that most
often come to mind when we think of the bombing of cities and civilians
during the era of the Second World War. We may recall the images of Picasso’s
Guernica, St. Paul’s cathedral silhouetted by the smoke of the Blitz, or the
defiant last buildings standing in Hiroshima. Lost in this litany of destruction,
however, are the names of Chinese cities like Hankou, Shanghai, or Chongqing.
Lost, too, may be the image of an American cruiser silhouetted by the smoke
of Japanese bombing vehemently condemned by American morality. Predating
the Blitz, the firebombing of Germany, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima,

while at the same time exceeding the scale of Guernica, the suffering of Chinese
cities at the hands of Japanese bombers during the Second Sino-Japanese War
constituted, at the time, the largest and most notorious destruction of cities
from the air. While the United States did not enter the war until 1941, much of
the world had plunged into war a number of years earlier. As early as 1935, the
world watched as the mechanized armies of Mussolini’s Italy invaded Ethiopia,
whose eleven armored vehicles and thirteen aircraft were outnumbered to say
the least.1 From 1936 to 1939, Republicans and fascist Nationalists fought for
control of Spain as foreign resources poured into the coffers, supply depots,
and regiments of both sides. By 1937, and after years of Japanese territorial
annexation, Japan and China entered an all-out, yet undeclared, war. Despite
this tumultuous international environment, highlighted by the massive new
utilization of aerial bombing, American military historians focusing on the
air war of World War II frequently either ignore or minimize the impact of
significant prewar international developments.

For some of these military historians, Japanese bombing in China persists in
our memory as only a small-scale prologue to the large-scale bombing of the
1940s. In discussing the development of air war doctrine in the 1930s, historian
Barrett Tillman argues “the Sino-Japanese conflict . . . and the Spanish Civil
War (1936–1939) seemed to indicate the need for bomber escorts. But neither
war provided many solid case studies of modern, large-scale air operations.”2
Thus, in Tillman’s mind, “the limited examples of China and Spain could be
ignored.”3 Speaking from a European perspective, the English philosopher A.
C. Grayling only mentions the bombing of Nanjing in 1937 as a less sensational
companion to the bombing of Guernica in the same year.4 Conrad Crane, in

Bombs, Cities, and Civilians, touches on how “the bombing lessons from
conflicts in China and Spain received much attention in class [at the US Air
Corps Tactical School].”5 For Crane, then, military pedagogues were among the
few who recognized the significance of Japanese bombing in China.

Taken as a whole, the historical discourse surrounding bombing during the
Second Sino-Japanese War tends to sort into several categories: ignorance
of the conflict altogether, dismissal of its significance by casting it as a lesser
companion to bombing in Spain, or a limitation of the influence of bombing
itself on prewar discourse and attitudes. As I will argue below, though, the
extensive, world-famous, and historically influential bombing during the
Second Sino-Japanese War consolidated American opinions against the
bombing of cities not only because of the fascist identity of the bombing, but
also because of the ways in which news media sources represented this new
modern form of warfare. Far from being unprecedented, bombing during the
Second World War in East Asia must be evaluated within the broader context
of its not-so-distant ancestor of bombing in China just a few short years earlier.

Between Chongqing, China and Tokyo, Japan lies thousands of miles of
vast Chinese hinterlands, snaking rivers, and an oft-contested ocean. From
Chongqing and other Chinese cities between 1937 and 1941, correspondents
and cameramen exposed their cameras, and the world, to the fury of Japanese
strategic bombing directed against the cities and will of the Chinese people.
From bombers above Japan between 1942 and 1945, correspondents and
cameramen once again showed the world the hellish effect of a bombing
campaign, albeit this time directed at the homes and city centers of the

Japanese people. Between these two cities and these two times also lies
a significant and often overlooked reversal of American public disapproval of
the bombardment of cities and civilians.

As China burned, America watched, read, and heard. American newspapers
brought tales of devastation and woe to America’s doorstep. Newsreels
illuminated the suffering of a distant people. These media sources castigated
the allegedly barbarous Japanese leaders and sympathized with the plight of
the victims. American diplomats, influenced by public opinion, emphatically
protested the indiscriminate nature of Japanese bombing. A few short years
later, however, Japan burned. American bombers attacked the home islands
with near impunity. American leaders no longer protested indiscriminate
bombing, but instead highlighted the heroism of the bombers.

The drastic shift in American media depictions of aerial bombardment, public
opinion, and official government principles from the bombing of China to
the bombing of Japan illustrates the evolving public perception of aerial
bombardment and the concerted efforts of American leaders to reconcile their
moral systems and values with wartime necessities. By condemning Japanese
actions and the indiscriminate bombing of civilians, American media and
statesmen painted themselves into an ethical corner in which they established
a righteous and uncompromising stance on area bombing that would soon have
to be redefined, reshaped, or discarded altogether to endorse the American
area bombing of Japan.

To analyze and interpret the developments of American public discourse, public
opinion, and diplomacy, I will utilize newspaper and newsreel databases from

1937 to 1941, Gallup and other public opinion polls, the US State Department’s
documentary records in their Foreign Relations of the United States series,
and the records of the Combined Chiefs of Staff from ProQuest’s History
Vault. First, I will trace the development of the conflict concurrent with the
changing climate of public discourse in America. Second, I will demonstrate
how instances of Japanese bombing covered by the American media closely
correlate to increases in American sympathy with victims of bombing and a
categorical rejection of the morality of bombing civilians. Third, through an
analysis of diplomatic cables and memoranda, I will illustrate how American
statesmen stressed the relevance of public opinion on the government,
absolutely condemned Japanese bombing, and rejected Japanese justifications
of bombing. Fourth, through an analysis of air war educational materials, I will
show how prewar American military leaders came to the same conclusions,
but with different justifications. Fifth, through an analysis of wartime military
planning documents, I will illustrate how the air force selected, defined, and
attacked urban bombing targets in Japan and how American bombing methods
paralleled Japanese methods. Finally, I conclude by explaining the obstacles
that had to be overcome for American civilian leaders to endorse area bombing
despite their previous, official abhorrence.

The Second Sino-Japanese War firmly rooted American views on the
unacceptability of bombing civilians. The adoption of area bombing as an
American strategy subsequently became a significant uprooting of these values
and views. This analysis does not seek to pass judgment on the morality of
the bombing of Japan. Nor does this analysis aim to provide an exhaustive
answer regarding the intricacies of American military morality. Instead, it
seeks to highlight the magnitude of the transformation of American public and

governmental morality from the righteous humanitarian formalism during the
Second Sino-Japanese War to the stoic consequentialism of the air campaign
against the Japanese mainland in 1945.

While warplanes debuted in large number during the First World War, Japan
was among the first nations to implement a major strategic bombing campaign
when its air forces embarked on a mission to pound Chinese cities into
submission during the first half of the Second Sino-Japanese War. In the four
years before Pearl Harbor, over a period of time longer than the American
war with Japan, an estimated 6,500 Japanese raids killed more than 60,000
people and destroyed 300,000 homes.6 The wartime capital of Chongqing
alone suffered 35,000 casualties at the hands of Japanese bombers, with
15,000 fatalities.7 The escalation of hostilities by the Japanese brought the
war into the homes of the Chinese people with a callous disregard for human
life and the laws of war. Moreover, the escalation of hostilities brought the war
home to American audiences, drawing headlines in the press and vehement
condemnations from American leaders.

Japan and China plunged into undeclared war on July 7, 1937, when Japanese
forces escalated a small skirmish with Chinese troops at the Marco Polo Bridge
just outside of Beijing. By August 13, Chiang Kai-Shek, the leader of nationalist
Chinese forces, committed his best, German-trained soldiers to attack the
Japanese marine garrison in Shanghai. Over the course of this bloody three-
month struggle for Shanghai, Japanese air forces first introduced large-
scale tactical air support for its ground forces. Tactical bombing aimed to

achieve smaller-scale objectives such as destroying a defensive position or a
single building. As Japanese bombers took aim at Chinese troops, they also
indiscriminately rained incendiaries on residential, industrial, and international
districts. This extensive collateral damage soon drew international ire and
condemnation as hostilities escalated in the world-famous metropolis.

The first large-scale civilian casualties were inflicted by Chinese bombers,
however. On just the second day of fighting in Shanghai, Chinese bombers
attempting to hit the Japanese cruiser Izumo, anchored on the river in
Shanghai, accidentally dropped bombs on the international heart of
Shanghai.8 American newspapers across the country, utilizing information from
international newswires, brought news of the destruction wrought from the
air. The Los Angeles Times published a United Press newswire describing the
“frightful holocaust” in visceral detail from the perspective of an eyewitness.9
The frightening scene featured “black-winged Chinese bombing planes,”
“terror-stricken Chinese,” and “dying people on the tile floor, which was wet
with blood.”10 This type of carnage described indicates a negative depiction
of Chinese action, but absent among these reports and other short factual
accounts detailing the number of dead and wounded was an accusation of
malicious intent on the part of the Chinese.11

Later newspaper reports seemed to partially exonerate Chinese actions. An
Associated Press excerpt running in the New York Herald Tribune emphasized
the bombing was an “error,” and that the bombs were “misdirected.”12 On
August 14, the Boston Globe ran a front-page article, based on an Associated
Press dispatch, which placed more attention on the increasing intensity of

ground combat rather than on the bombing. When referring to the bombing,
the article stressed that the Chinese bombs missed their targets by the
“narrowest margin.”13 Going beyond this, the Washington Post ran an article
partially exonerating the Chinese bombing by merely calling the pilots “over-
enthusiastic.”14 This same article heavily quoted John H. Jouett, an American
aviation expert who helped develop China’s air force, in defense of the Chinese
pilots and in opposition to Japanese tactics. He remarked: “The [Japanese]
ships in the harbor were too close to the congested areas,” and regretted
the Chinese pilots’ “over-enthusiasm and over-confidence.”15 Whether Jouett
merely aimed to defend the pilots whom he personally trained or instead
to exonerate Chinese collateral damage is difficult to discern. Regardless,
his published opinion added to the growing newspaper consensus partially
exonerating Chinese action, despite the bombings claiming the lives of several
American citizens. These samples represent a wider trend among papers that
described this Chinese bombing as unintentional, yet regrettable destruction.

American newsreels brought to audiences the destruction wrought by the
errors of the Chinese bombers. A newsreel released on September 5, 1937,
exposed viewers to the scene of the bombing.16 Bodies and rubble filled the
street as the voiceover described how “War at its most bestial strikes the
helpless and unarmed.”17 Far from blaming the Chinese, however, the film
merely regretted that, “Many natives have paid in death and injuries for the
blind turn of fate.”18 Newsreels broadcasted the visceral horrors of aerial
bombardment in a way print media or still photography could not, but, like the
newspaper accounts of the incident, they did not attribute malicious
intent to the Chinese pilots.

The depictions of the Chinese bombing as an unfortunate incident illustrates
that American media sources tolerated some civilian collateral damage if it
appeared accidental and isolated. Soon, however, the repeated instances of
Japanese bombings of civilians wore out the trust of the American media and
led public discourse into condemnation and protest.

Despite initial gains by Chinese forces in Shanghai, the Japanese military
executed amphibious counterattacks on the outskirts of the city, which soon
pushed the brunt of the brutal close-quarters fighting into the dense urban
core. As movement on the ground slowed, activity in the air quickened. As
early as August 19, 1937, American newspapers began to carry stories of
indiscriminate Japanese bombing.19 Japanese incendiary bombing of the
Chapei and waterfront districts created fires that “spread unchecked with
no fire-fighting forces to combat them.”20 These bombings and fires left
many districts “nearly leveled” and drove out civilian and soldier alike.21
Associated Press cameramen wearing “tin hats” frequently were on the
scene just moments after bombings to capture the destruction on film.22
The tone of many articles seemed to paint a picture of aerial bombardment
as a callous extension of ground combat by a Japanese force indifferent to
collateral damage.

In the waning days of August 1937, American newspaper descriptions of
Japanese bombings took a permanent turn toward condemnation and
accusation. On August 27 and 28, Japanese bombers took aim at civilian,
noncombatant targets. An Associated Press dispatch published on the front
page of the Boston Globe exclaimed, “Japanese Bomb Shanghai Crowd.”23

This “leisurely, thorough” bombing of the Nantao District wrought “death and
destruction through its narrow, crowded streets.”24 Plunging into more specific
detail, the article explained that observers “knew of no military objectives in
Nantao,” but the Japanese had “threatened to bomb it as they had previously
punished Chapei and other Chinese sections of Shanghai.”25 These bombs
exploded on streets filled with “some of the city’s most lowly, inoffensive
residents, reaping a grim harvest.”26 Other newspapers carried the same
newswire,27 and this marked a shift in American press perception of Japanese
bombing. No longer was destruction from the air a regrettable, perhaps
accidental byproduct of urban combat. Instead, international newspapers
recognized the destruction of civilian residences and targeting of
noncombatants as an intended goal of Japanese bombing.

The American newspaper-reading public understood the effects of Japanese
aerial bombardment, but the true landmark moment of the fighting in Shanghai
came from an unforgettable photograph now called “Bloody Saturday.” On
August 28, thousands of refugees fleeing the destruction of Shanghai waited
at the city’s South Station for a train that would take them away from the
destruction of war. As the anxious crowd continued to grow, Japanese bombs
struck the station. H. S. Wong, a cameraman for Hearst Media, rushed there
and captured the aftermath on film. Amid flaming rubble and overturned
railcars, the most lasting image was of an abandoned, injured baby sitting in
the ruined train station. After running in newsreels throughout September, it
appeared as a full page photo in the October 4 edition of Life magazine where
an estimated 136 million people saw the picture.28 It caused such an uproar that
Japanese government officials tried to discredit it as a forgery, and even placed
on Wong’s head a $50,000 bounty (approximately $800,000 in 2015).29

Newsreel coverage of Japanese bombing brought visceral images like this
one directly to the American public. Instead of print separating the victims
from the observers, film footage broadcast the suffering of humans in a lifelike
medium. Newsreels, like one released on October 13, 1937, condemned the
new horrors of war.30 Flaming planes plunged from the sky and rubble rained
upon the cameraman as a voiceover explained: “Huge Japanese bombers
drone over the national capital, dropping a hail of high-explosive missiles as
Tokyo acts to execute its threat to destroy the city.”31 Not only did the Japanese
take aim at destroying the city, as the towering walls of flame demonstrated,
but the narrator added that, “Chinese civilians suffer in horrible darkness
punctuated by the flash and roar of gigantic steel bombs.”32 What makes
this newsreel significant was the explicit focus on the destruction of the city

and the suffering of the people, instead of an explanation of any military or
industrial targets. The film made it quite clear the real victims of Japanese
bombings were not soldiers, but civilians in harm’s way.

An additional newsreel in the March of Time series titled “War in China”
continued this train of thought in late 1937.33 As the camera panned across the
destruction of downtown Shanghai—bodies lying in the streets amid burned-
out cars—the voiceover poignantly drew attention to the character of modern
war. In a solemn and serious tone, the narrator explained: “For in a war of today
there is a new element, a fearsome haphazard modern fighting that takes its
toll on peaceful cities and their noncombatant population.”34 Such a comment
does not seem to indict Japanese action as much as it seems to adopt a “War
is Hell” mentality and resignation to the current character of modern war. Such
a mentality will matter significantly as American area bombing develops only a
few years later.

The newsreel cameramen had a dash of adventure about them for the American
public. The dangerous coverage of Japanese bombing in China provided much
of the source material and setting for the 1938 film Too Hot to Handle.35 While
the film soon sees its swashbuckling protagonist, played by Clark Gable, sent to
South America, the opening of the film focuses on Gable’s character capturing
daring footage in China amid the Japanese bombing. The film highlights the
familiarity of newsreel correspondents to the American people and portrayed
the role of the cameraman as a fearless journalist attempting to expose the
destruction wrought by Japanese aggression.

The accumulation of newspaper and newsreel reports cataloging the
widespread killing of civilian noncombatants—especially women and
children—turned American public discourse against the Japanese empire and
began to establish within the media a depiction of the aerial bombardment of
civilian populations as an immoral, unlawful, and inhumane act.

Shanghai, however, was just the beginning of the Japanese escalation of the war
in China and a concurrent escalation of American condemnation of Japanese
bombing. The urban fighting and bombing in Shanghai brought the war to
European observers trapped in the city, but, perhaps more importantly, brought
the war home to international newspaper, newsreel, and radio audiences.

By late 1937 and early 1938, Japanese ground forces encountered heavy
resistance as they pushed deeper into China. Japanese air forces switched
from tactical bombing in support of ground troops to strategic bombing of
provincial capitals. This change in strategy reflected wartime developments.
First, improvements in “bombing tactics and formations,” allowed the
Japanese to bomb more effectively and destructively.36 Second, Japanese
ground forces captured inland air bases from which heavier bombers could
be based.37 Previously, carrier or Formosan-based aircraft conducted the
bombing of Shanghai. The increased range and effectiveness of Japanese air
forces resulted in raids against Guangzhou, Nanjing, Hankou, Yichang, and
others.38 Third, aerial engagements around Wuhan in the summer of 1938
resulted in the “achievement of general Japanese air superiority over China.”39
Finally, with progress on the ground grinding to a stalemate, Japanese

military leaders “came to see airpower as the most practical means of striking
at the Nationalist regime and bringing it to the negotiating table.”40 These
factors contributed to an increased Japanese focus on strategic bombing as a
path to victory.

Japanese naval air forces proceeded to pursue three different avenues of
bombing in 1938 (and its naval strategy is important to understand since the
navy possessed more heavy bombers than the army). First, bombers took aim
at Chinese supply and transportation routes, with a particular emphasis on
rail lines. Second, bombers continued to support Japanese ground forces with
tactical bombing directed against Chinese troops in the field. Third, long-range
strategic bombers began a campaign of terror-bombing against cities beyond
the reach of ground forces in an attempt to force Chinese leaders to capitulate
at the negotiating table.41 Terror-bombing meant Japanese attacks looked to
destroy not only material support for the Chinese resistance, but also civilian
morale and will to fight.

Over the course of 1938 this was the de facto strategy of Japanese air forces. The
Associated Press and United Press newswires fed American newspapers a steady
diet of locations, targets, and results of Japanese bombing attacks. From reports
of maternity wards of hospitals being hit,42 to headlines announcing “1500
Chinese Casualties in Jap Bombing,”43 newspaper reports continued to condemn
Japanese air raids and their significant collateral damage.

The Japanese escalated their bombing campaign in December of 1938 with
two Imperial General Headquarters Directives—numbered 241 and 345. These
orders were transmitted to commanders in China and “decreed that the

air war would be given highest precedence and authorized attacks against
strategic and political targets. Attached to the directive was a joint army-navy
agreement that delineated respective areas of aerial operations and the air
units involved.”44 Finally, the official strategy of both the Japanese army and
navy was set for the air war against China. Tactical bombing remained in use to
support ground offensives, but the focus of the protracted war strategy against
China was to be strategic bombing in the hopes of bringing Chiang Kai-Shek to
the negotiating table.

Japanese long-range strategic bombing soon set its sights on the Chinese
capital of Chongqing. Japanese ground forces controlled Wuhan, the military-
industrial heart of China, and Nanjing, the previous capital. This left Chongqing
as the last bastion of the Nationalist regime. The city possessed minimal
industrial output and was nearly inaccessible to Japanese ground forces.
Approximately 1,000 miles separated Chongqing from Shanghai, and the only
value to be gleaned from attacking Chongqing was to attempt to force Chinese
leaders to negotiate a peace with Japan.

Japanese air forces bombed Chongqing more than 200 times between
February 1938 and December 1941 (compare 200 raids over 45 months to
the Luftwaffe’s 71 raids over 8 months on London).45 During these 200 raids,
“Japan’s campaign saw more than 9,500 aircraft drop approximately 21,600
bombs on the inland capital.”46 By the war’s end, official Chinese government
sources estimated that “15,000 Chinese lost their lives as a result of these
attacks, and 20,000 people suffered injuries.”47 While this may seem like a
minor loss of life compared to the later bombings of Tokyo, Hiroshima, and
Nagasaki, at the time it was a remarkable scale of casualties to be inflicted

from the air—about half the number of Londoners killed in the Blitz. American
newspaper coverage generally only focused on the major raids on Chongqing,
despite an average of eight raids per month—when summer weather
permitted—during the prolonged bombing of the beleaguered Chinese capital.

On back-to-back days of May 3 and 4, 1939, Japanese air forces raided the
capital in the most lethal attack of the war to date. Despite the relatively small
size of the raid,48 bombers dropped a potent combination of high-explosive
and incendiary bombs. The bulk of these bombs fell on the “commercial and
residential sections located in the lower half of the Old City.”49 Official tallies
put civilian losses in the range of “3,700 deaths, 2,650 injuries, and close to
4,900 structures destroyed.”50 A New York Times report on the bombing, sent
from a correspondent in Chongqing, emphasized that the Japanese “ignored
the western section of Chungking, where the government buildings are situated,
and dropped their missiles within the walled downtown area.”51 Other American
newspapers also condemned the widespread death and destruction. These
accounts particularly criticized the “indiscriminate” nature of the bombing in
which Japanese high-explosives and incendiaries fell on densely populated
residential areas.52 On May 6, the New York Times ran an article containing the
official Japanese explanation for the destruction of the British and German
consulates. The Japanese blamed the “accidental” destruction of civilian
buildings on Chinese antiaircraft guns positioned near the consulates and
residential districts.53 The British ambassador to Japan, Sir Robert Craigie, is
quoted as calling this explanation “an entirely unacceptable excuse.”54

Chinese civilians streaming past the burning remains of Chongqing after
an incendiary raid.

A uniform consensus from these articles and reports condemned the
indiscriminate bombing of cities by the Japanese air forces. The particularly
dreadful destruction wrought by the incendiary bombing of May 3–4 and
subsequent negative press reaction illustrated the increasing displeasure
within the public discourse with aerial bombardment of civilian populations.
Of note is the official explanation by the Japanese government. By describing
the actual targets of their bombing raids, they appeared to recognize the
global sentiment against indiscriminate bombing and sought to minimize an
international backlash.

Until late 1941, when forces were diverted to the coming war against the
United States, Japanese bombers continued to strike at Chinese cities as
part of a long-range strategic bombing campaign. After the devastating
raids of May 1939, bombing continued until the weather of November halted
operations. In May of 1940, the Japanese increased the scale of strategic
bombing when it initiated “Operation 101.” Over the course of 110 days,
Japanese bombers hit Chongqing “over 50 times” and the bombers “left few

areas in the city untouched, as schools, civilian neighborhoods, and industrial
and airport facilities alike came under bombardment.”55 This summer of
bombing resulted in 4,100 killed and 5,400 wounded.56

Before the eventual shift of Japanese naval and army air forces to the
Pacific to face America, they engaged in one last flurry of bombings against
Chongqing during the summer and fall of 1941. On June 5, a combination
of Japanese bombs and widespread fear caused one of the worst tragedies
during Chongqing’s long ordeal. In the midst of a bombing raid on the city,
thousands of civilians piled into underground shelters chiseled out of the
limestone bedrock of the city. Severe oxygen deprivation, caused by the raid’s
incendiary bombs, combined with a fear-stricken stampede in one of the city’s
largest shelters, left nearly 1,000 civilians dead and 150 hospitalized.57 This
disaster exemplified how the physically destructive effects of incendiary bombs
magnified the fear and terror experienced by the victims.

In an interesting strategy, perhaps for psychological rather than destructive effect,
Japanese bombers struck nearly continuously at Chongqing over a seven-day
period from August 8–14, 1941, in smaller squadrons of bombers. The “constant
stream of bombers” hit the city roughly “every six hours.”58 This sort of bombing
exemplified an emphasis on attacking morale instead of military-industrial targets.
Such small-scale sorties would not wreak significant destruction, but would
terrorize a city by keeping it in a constant state of panic and fear.

By the eve of the attack on Pearl Harbor, American media sources consistently
criticized Japanese bombing of civilian centers through indignant and ghastly
depictions of the destruction on the ground. The public discourse, both in

print and on-screen, set the boundaries of the debate regarding the morality
of bombing and limited the ability of anyone to justify the action against
civilian centers. These reports candidly and grimly described the suffering of
a faraway people at the hands of an equally distant destructive force; but they
also matter to an evaluation of American attitudes on bombing, because they
brought home this new form of warfare in a way that consolidated national
opinion against bombing.

Chinese civilians packed into a subterranean shelter in Chongqing.

Media coverage of Japanese bombing in China possesses historical
significance on its own merits, because it highlights the editorial decisions
made to repeatedly carry news and condemnations of bombing to the
American people. It also creates the opportunity to observe whether

American perspectives and attitudes changed in response to this coverage.
Public opinion polls from the period indeed show a change over time in
American sympathy with China, as well as a vehement condemnation of
the bombing of cities and civilians. Opposition to bombing likely does
not account for the entirety of opinion against Japanese action in China,
because anti-fascist and anti-Japanese attitudes still found traction in
American public discourse. Beyond looking at poll results as merely an
effect of media coverage of bombing in China, changes in public opinion
also created pressure on American leaders to act. As American minds
changed over time, the intensity of pointed condemnations from American
leaders grew correspondingly.

At the outbreak of the conflict, a majority of Americans expressed no
opinion regarding which country was in the right or wrong. As Japanese
aggression spread and news of their bombings arrived on front steps and
in neighborhood theaters, Americans increasingly came to view Japanese
conduct in a negative light. Because the majority of news coming out of China
reported on the bombing of cities and a few other sensational events like the
sinking of the Panay,59 the evolution of public thought can be linked to these
depictions and perceptions.

Between August 1937–February 1940, Gallup polled Americans on the war
in China four different times. Gallup asked respondents, in essentially the
same language each time, “In the present war between China and Japan,
are your sympathies with China, Japan, or neither side?”60 In the first Gallup
poll, 43% of Americans expressed sympathy with China and 55% expressed

no preference.61 By February 1940, 78% of American expressed sympathy
with China and only 20% expressed no preference.62 Over this time period,
American sympathy with China significantly changed from a mostly apathetic,
or at least ambivalent, attitude to one of sympathy and support.

The dates of the polling, and the events that occurred between polling,
demonstrate a correlation between increased incidents of Japanese bombing
and greater coverage of those bombings. There are three time periods between
the four polls: (1) August 1937–October 1937, (2) October 1937–May 1939, and
(3) May 1939–February 1940.

In the first period, August–September 1937, American newspapers and newsreels
extensively covered the destruction caused by Japanese bombers during the
battle for Shanghai. Additionally, the “Bloody Saturday” photograph attracted
international attention. Between the August and October polls, American
sympathy with China increased from 43% to 59%.63

In the second period, spanning October 1937–May 1939, Japanese forces
continued to bomb Shanghai and Nanjing, sank the US gunboat Panay, and
began bombing Chongqing. Admittedly, the bombing of the Panay constituted
a flashpoint in American media coverage of the war, but also significant about
the May 1939 poll was its timing. Japanese forces, as detailed previously,
bombed Chongqing with a mix of explosives and incendiaries in the first week
of May 1939. The Gallup poll followed only a short week later. Thus, although a
significant amount of time passed between October 1937 and May 1939, Japan’s
fire-bombing of Chongqing constituted the most recent and well-known

incident of the conflict. Over the course of this period, American sympathy
with China swelled from 59% to 74%.64

In the final period, May 1939–February 1940, Japanese bombing efforts
plateaued and did not reach the level of devastation of the May 1939 raids.
However, they still drew attention in American media sources, even though
the number of casualties leveled off. Thus, American sympathy with China
unsurprisingly only increased from 74% to 78%.65

In the graph below, these trends show the shift as a transition from apathy to
sympathy for the Chinese. American public opinion already expressed nearly
zero support for the Japanese when the conflict began. Japan’s conduct
drove up sympathy for China, whose people were seen as the victims of
unbridled aggression.
In the graph shown below, these trends show that the shift was a transition from apathy to sympathy

for the Chinese. American public opinion already expressed nearly zero support for the Japanese

American  Sympathies  During  the  Second  Sino-­‐Japanese  War  
The  quesIon  generally  repeated:  "With  which  side  do  your  sympathies  reside  in  the  
current  conflict  in  China?"  

Aug-­‐37   Oct-­‐37   May-­‐39   Feb-­‐40  

China   Japan   Neither  

when the conflict began. Instead, Japanese conduct and bombing drove up sympathy for China,

whose people were seen as the victims of unbridled aggression.

A shortcoming of these poll questions, however, is that they did not ask respondents why they were

expressing sympathy with China. They do not mention bombing in the questions and none of the

answer choices reference bombing at all. Of course, correlation should not be confused with

causation, but an analysis of other public opinion polls can bolster the strength of the correlation

A shortcoming of these questions, however, is that they did not ask
respondents why they were expressing sympathy with China. They do not
mention bombing in the questions and none of the answer choices reference
bombing. Of course, correlation should not be confused with causation,
but an analysis of other public opinion polls can bolster the strength of the
correlation and infer some causation.

So, why should these results indicate the American public sympathized with
the plight of the Chinese because of the Japanese bombing of civilians?
First, repeated aerial attacks against cities constituted a significant portion
of American media coverage of the war. The American newspaper-reading
and newsreel-watching public responded to polls inquiring about China from
a base of knowledge filtered by the editorial decisions of the news media.
Second, other surveys specifically illustrate an underlying general opposition
to the bombing of civilians anywhere and by anyone.

In April 1938, Gallup conducted a survey asking half of the respondents “Do you
think all nations should agree not to bomb civilians in cities during wartime?”
With only two possible answer choices (“yes” or “no”), an overwhelming 91%
of respondents replied in the affirmative, that nations should agree not to
bomb civilians in cities.66 The same poll asked the other half of the respondents
the slightly different question of “Do you think all nations should agree not to
bomb women and children in cities during wartime?”—but with a spectrum
of answer choices (“YES!,” “yes,” “no opinion,” “no,” “NO!”).67 In this sample,
an enthusiastic 72% of respondents chose the exclamatory “YES!,” nations
should agree to not bomb civilians in cities, and an additional 18% chose the

less enthusiastic “yes” choice.68 The latter poll demonstrates the firm resolve
with which Americans opposed the bombing of civilians. The timing of this
survey, conducted in the aftermath of the bombings of late 1937 in Shanghai
and Nanjing, helps to reinforce how bombing was a significant topic of public
discourse and worthy, in the eyes of Gallup pollsters, of evaluation. Yes,
the bombing of Guernica had occurred in April 1937 and may have started
a conversation on bombing, but the hot-button issue of the time was the
continued aerial bombardment of Chinese cities.

Japanese military forces, through their aerial campaigns against Chinese cities,
conducted a form of warfare widely considered inhumane and illegal by the
American public. News media editors decided to repeatedly bring news, images,
and condemnations of Japanese bombing to the American public. An American
public already opposed to the bombing of cities, combined with their watching
news about the horrors of the campaign, increased sympathy for China. Not all
of the negative opinion against Japan in the prewar period can be attributed
solely to its strategic bombing. American racial, political, and religious attitudes
could have all possibly contributed to a national animus against Japan. The
callous disregard for the laws of war and the suffering of noncombatants
demonstrated by the Japanese bombing of cities in China, however, specifically
galvanized American opinion against indiscriminate area bombing and
consolidated an American moral position rejecting the acceptability of the
tactic. This rejection may have come from the nature of bombing itself, or it may
have come from an identification of bombing as a fascist method of warfare.
Regardless, the American public exhibited a vehement condemnation of
bombing and exerted pressure on American leaders to act in response.

The qualitative sampling of media sources and quantitative analysis of
American opinion combine to illustrate a public consensus against the
bombing of civilians in a pre-Pearl Harbor America. In the United States,
though, the reception of and reaction to Japanese bombing did not end with
indignant responses to polls. As shown above, the chain of Japanese action,
media coverage, and public reaction provide ample opportunity to evaluate
the significance and influence of bombing in China. American news media
editors judged Japanese warfare in China worthy of coverage and investigation.
These sources then added judgments, both explicit and implicit, which
informed American opinion of Japanese bombing in China. In turn, on top of
a foundation of vehement condemnation of the indiscriminate bombing of
cities and civilians anywhere, American surveys demonstrated an increasing
sympathy with China as Japanese bombing increased in scale and frequency.
The process did not end there, however. The rising displeasure of the American
public with Japanese conduct in China pressured leaders and diplomats to
respond to Japan in accordance with public demands for action.

American public opinion influenced the actions of diplomats in the US State
Department and added international relevance to depictions of Japanese
bombings in China. Secretary of State Cordell Hull and the American ambassador
in Japan, Joseph Grew, tried to halt the deteriorating relationship between the
United States and Japan as the conflict developed and as Japanese actions
increasingly chafed against the morality of the American public.

From September 1937 through December 1941, American diplomatic
conversations with Japan grew brusque as American protests of Japanese

conduct fell on increasingly deaf ears. Ambassador Grew stressed to his
Japanese counterpart the strength and relevance of public opinion. In doing
so, he reinforced the relevance of media depictions and public opinion polls
in establishing the official government stance on the immorality of bombing
civilian populations.

In a September 20, 1937, memorandum from Ambassador Grew to the
Secretary of State, Grew recounted a conversation he had with the Japanese
Minister for Foreign Affairs. He told the minister of the “steadily mounting
feeling which is developing in the United States and in other countries against
Japan,”69 and that this “popular antipathy” would not bode well for future
relations.70 In this conversation, the American diplomat emphasized “this
whole matter of bombing non-combatants was deplorable and was creating
a most unfortunate impression.”71 Again and again, American diplomats
acknowledged the relevance of public opinion and the force it exerted on the
State Department to attempt to resolve these issues.

On January 17, 1938, Grew informed the Japanese Minister for Foreign
Affairs that “public opinion in the United States would become increasingly
exacerbated” if bombing did not stop.72 On February 4, 1938, Grew again
informed the minister “the patience of the American people was not
inexhaustible.”73 Three years later, little had changed. On April 14, 1941,
Grew once again voiced his indignation to the minister, describing the “great
abhorrence on broad humanitarian grounds held by the American people
toward acts of wanton violence against non-combatant and defenceless [sic]

All of these statements expressed the sentiments of public opinion and
implied a connection between American diplomacy and opinion at home.
Ambassador Grew made this connection undoubtedly explicit in a July 4,
1938, memorandum addressed to the Japanese minister: “These various
issues and incidents which I have mentioned have inevitably created a marked
reaction and influence on public opinion in the United States. My Government
must listen to public opinion within our country.”75

America was and is a democracy, so one need not be surprised popular
opinion mattered to government officials. Nonetheless, to see this link so
explicitly stated by the ambassador testified to the relevance of public
opinion, and subsequently to the relevance of American public moral beliefs.
American diplomatic protests of Japanese bombing in China can thus be
viewed as an extension of American moral beliefs regarding bombing and the
implementation of an official government stance on the unacceptability of the
bombing of civilian populations anywhere and by anyone.

American diplomats consistently and vehemently protested the indiscriminate
Japanese bombing of noncombatant civilians in Chinese cities. These protests
were neither isolated incidents nor independent actions of State Department
officials. They came directly from American ambassadors in China and Japan,
the Secretary of State, and even President Roosevelt. The consistency over
time of these protests demonstrates the static nature of the official stance
on the the subject of civilians. That the American stance on the subject was
so resolute and firm during the Second Sino-Japanese War makes the later

adoption of area bombing by American forces all the more noteworthy. To
truly understand the complex morality and rationale behind the American
firebombing of Japan, one needs to understand where American leaders’
mindsets came from and how their declarations during the Second Sino-
Japanese War put them in a precarious position when it came time to defend
American area bombing.

On September 19, 1937, the Japanese navy issued a warning to the United
States in which they declared their intentions to bomb Nanjing, because
it was the “principal base of the Chinese military operations.”76 American
statesmen took great offense to categorizing the entire city of Nanjing as a
legitimate target of bombing. On September 22, in a strongly worded message
to his counterpart, Ambassador Grew declared “This Government holds the
view that any general bombing of an extensive area wherein there resides a
large populace engaged in peaceful pursuits is unwarranted and contrary to
principles of law and of humanity.”77 Not only was this statement cabled to
the Japanese government, it was released on September 28 to the American
press.78 This appears to be the first explicit declaration of the official policy
of the United States in regard to the indiscriminate bombing of civilian
populations in China.

The broadness of the declaration should be noted—Grew did not condemn
the targeting of civilians. Instead, he condemned bombing areas in which
there was a high likelihood of civilian collateral damage. This distinction is
crucial. Grew focused on the effects of bombing, whether intended or not.
He did not necessarily accuse Japan of targeting civilians. This ends versus

means distinction would become extremely important during later American
justifications of the bombing of Japan, in which American leaders categorized
civilian collateral damage as unfortunate, but necessary and legal.

American diplomats not only grounded their condemnations textually in
international laws, but also in an abstract, evolving human conscience
regarding humanitarianism in war. In a July 4, 1938, protest sent to the
Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Grew adopted an interesting approach to
condemn their actions:

There may be, as has been claimed, sanction under the rules of war
for bombing defended areas, but it is my profound conviction that
conditions have altered since the rules of war were formulated—in
the days which preceded the invention of airplanes—and that the
conscience of mankind abhors the wholesale destruction from the air
of innocent non-combatants.79

Grew partially conceded that there may have been a loophole in international
law with regard to what constituted an undefended city, but more
convincingly appealed to the “conscience of mankind” to protect the lives of
“innocent non-combatants.” This statement demonstrates American leaders
did not merely attempt to enforce the letter of the law, but actively strove to
stop conduct they truly considered immoral, inhumane, and barbarous. In
this sense, bombing was wrong not only because it was illegal, but because it
was unconscionable.

Striking about these protests is the consistent use of strong moral language
over a long period of time. The repetition of Japanese military conduct and
their apparent unwillingness to alter their ways did not dull the furor of
American protests. Although conscious of their tendency to sound like a
broken record, American statesmen did not cease their protests. On May 11,
1939, a week after the disastrous incendiary bombing of Chongqing on May
3–4, Grew reiterated to the Japanese minister, “The American Government and
people—let me repeat from previous representations—are and always will be
concerned, primarily from the humanitarian point of view, in the mass bombing
of civilian populations wherever and however carried out” [emphasis added].80
Grew, once again, reinforced and reiterated the universality of American moral
standards regarding area bombing. He declared a uniform moral principle
that the US State Department would apply to all cases of bombing, not just
Japanese ones.

Two months later, the American crusade against Japanese bombing continued.
On July 10, 1939, the Japanese ambassador to the United States spoke with
Cordell Hull. After the ambassador assured Hull commanders in the field
had been ordered to avoid civilian damage, Hull objected “without taking up
the question of what kind of instructions the military authorities were under
from Tokyo, the official facts speak for themselves and show clearly that the
Japanese military authorities are proceeding indiscriminately and recklessly
with bombings in and about Chungking.”81 Again, American leaders took issue
with the results of bombing regardless of intentions or orders. The emphasis of
American protests usually focused on the indiscriminate and reckless nature
of bombing. The use of these words (“recklessly” and “indiscriminately”) in
particular implied the Japanese killing of civilians through the air showed a

careless disregard for human life and had nothing to do with targeting military
assets. The phrase “official facts speak for themselves”82 is noteworthy for
emphasizing results instead of purported intentions. This focus on civilian
loss of life becomes an important distinction that can be juxtaposed with later
American justifications of bombing.

This in-person protest was not just a spontaneous decision of the Secretary of
State. In a cable later that day, Hull explained to American diplomats in Tokyo
“I had been asked by the President personally to make this protest.”83 From the
very top of the US government, Roosevelt took a personal interest in protesting
the continued Japanese bombing of Chinese cities. Later, Roosevelt would
more emphatically and explicitly express his abhorrence of area bombing in
an appeal broadcast on September 1, 1939. Speaking at the same time as the
outbreak of war in Europe, Roosevelt condemned, “ruthless bombing from
the air of civilians in unfortified centers of population during the course of
the hostilities which have raged in various quarters of the earth during the
past few years” [emphasis added].84 Roosevelt concluded his declaration
with the proposal that all nations’ “armed forces shall in no event, and
under no circumstances, undertake the bombardment from the air of civilian
populations or of unfortified cities.”85

While US State Department protests often contained universal statements
concerning the government’s official position on bombing, there were also
more focused protests. One in particular stands out for its later relevance
to the American firebombing of Japan. In a June 14, 1940, cable to the
Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Grew explained “The Government of the
United States cannot accept the view that the city of Chungking in general

is a legitimate target for air attack.”86 This accorded with previous American
protests of the bombing of Nanjing and brings to mind the repeatedly declared
line: “General bombing of an extensive area wherein there resided a large
population engaged in peaceful pursuits is contrary to every principle of law
and of humanity.”87 Americans maintained the stance that armed forces could
not classify an entire city as a valid target for bombing. Even if there were
legitimate targets within a city, the presence of a large population “engaged in
peaceful pursuits” would morally and legally prohibit such actions.

Up until the last significant raids on Chongqing in autumn of 1941, American
statesmen continually offered private and public protests of Japanese
bombing in China.88 During the four years of the conflict in China, American
condemnations of Japanese area bombing were both universal and specific. In
espousing a general moral and humanitarian standard of the US government,
these cables and statements limited the ability of the United States to later
justify the morality of firebombing in Japan. The firmness and supposedly
eternal moral stance of American leaders would quickly change once military
leaders decided firebombing would be the most efficient method with which
to attack Japan. Public opinion shifted away from a categorical disgust for
bombing of civilians, and civilian leaders decided on the political and moral
tenability of bombing civilian areas. American stances on area bombing not
only took shape in the positive sense of creating stances, but also in the
negative sense of discarding possible justifications. American rejections of
Japanese justifications illustrated the universal rejection of bombing as an
allowable method of warfare, regardless of the stated goals of the bomber.
These rejections also provide a useful contrast to American justifications
offered in the years to come.

While the four years of American protests may not have changed Japanese
conduct, it was not a one-way discussion. Japanese diplomats frequently
responded to American protests with justifications of why certain targets were
hit, why civilians were killed, and why the bombing was legal. These rebuttals
carry value, because they contain many of the same reasonings American
air war leaders used in 1944 and 1945. That American diplomats dismissed
these justifications out of hand while focusing on the civilian toll of Japanese
bombing also provides a poignant comparison to American bombings in Japan
in which the circumstances were flipped: leaders placed great weight on
supposedly valid justifications while regretting civilian deaths as a necessity.

Over these four years, the Japanese government offered a variety of justifications,
which I have distilled down to six recognizable and distinct categories, ranging
from the classification of entire cities as valid targets to an argument that rules of
war had never and would never be able to protect civilians.

First, in the beginning of the conflict, the Japanese Foreign Ministry claimed
all targets as intended military targets. During the bombing of Nanjing on
September 15, 1937, the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs explained “It should
be stated definitively that the objectives of their bombing are limited, from the
standpoint of humanity, strictly to those military organs and establishments, and
absolutely in no instance non-military property and civilians are ever made the
direct objectives of attacks.”89 On September 29, 1937, the minister reiterated
“The bombing of the military facilities and equipment located in and around the
said city is a necessary and unavoidable measure.”90 In these ways, the Foreign
Ministry depicted the strikes as precision bombing with regrettable collateral

damage. Note the inclusion of “direct objectives,” which concedes the possibility
of collateral damage, but nonetheless attempts to argue that intention matters
more than result.

Second, beyond describing targets as purely military objectives, Japanese
cables and statements described entire cities as valid targets. In a June 18,
1940, telegram to Ambassador Grew, Japan’s Foreign Affairs Minister explained
“In view of the fact that that regime using Chungking as a base of operations
is waging war in resistance to Japan, the Imperial Army has lawful reason to
destroy that base.”91 In this way, the Japanese government classified the entire
city of Chongqing as a military base.

Third, Japanese leaders also made teleological, ends justifying means,
arguments with regard to the merits of strategic bombing. They argued the
bombing of cities would bring an end to the conflict sooner, thus making
it a necessity. When the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Third Fleet
announced to the United States that his forces would bomb Nanjing, he
prefaced his declaration with an explanation: “It being the objective of the
Japanese operations to bring the present state of hostilities to an early
conclusion by terminating hostile actions of the Chinese forces . . . the
Japanese naval air force may . . . have to resort to such offensive measures as
bombing.”92 In this argument, the bombing had to occur in order to secure the
end of the conflict. They did not, however, add a humanitarian calculation of
lives-saved versus lives-taken, as the Americans would do later.

The fourth justification utilized by Japanese statesmen was a combination
of a historical form of the tu quoque or “you, also” argument with a “War is
Hell” mindset. In the September 15, 1937, cable previously cited, the Japanese
Foreign Minister regretted the loss of civilian life in war, but countered, “that
[the loss of civilian life], however, has been an inevitable concomitant of
hostile operations in all ages.”93 On June 8, 1938, in a statement defending
Japanese bombing, Admiral Nomura of the Japanese Navy argued “similar
bombings are taking place in other parts of the world against defended cities
and towns.”94 In these ways, the Japanese defended their bombing by alluding
to the historical inevitability of civilian casualties and by pointing out their
conduct was hardly out of the ordinary.

The fifth justification proposed by Japanese statesmen and the armed forces
was that the Japanese distributed warnings via pamphlets and radio to the
areas they intended to bomb. By doing so, they claimed their actions were
legal within Article 26 of the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. This article
mandated “The Commander of an attacking force, before commencing a
bombardment, except in the case of an assault, should do all he can to warn
the authorities.”95 Before the bombings of Nanjing in September 1937, the
Japanese navy broadcast a warning to American diplomats,96 who firmly
objected to this warning, because the Japanese essentially threatened an
entire city would be subject to bombing. In a September 22, 1937, message to
the Japanese Foreign Minister, Ambassador Grew objected “to the suggestion
that its officials and nationals now residing in and around Nanking should
withdraw from the areas in which they are lawfully carrying on their legitimate
activities.”97 This demonstrates American leaders would not accept the legality

of the bombing, even if the Japanese claimed to be operating within the limits
of international law.

The sixth and final justification offered by the Japanese aroused significant
skepticism in American diplomatic circles at the time and was repeatedly
rejected by American statesmen as an invalid excuse. The Foreign Ministry
and Armed Forces both claimed their attacks on Chinese cities were legal
in the eyes of international law because they were bombing “defended
cities.” They based this justification on Article 25 of the 1899 Hague
Convention, which stated: “The attack or bombardment of towns, villages,
habitations or buildings which are not defended, is prohibited.”98 The 1907
Hague Convention reconfirmed this article.99 On September 15, 1937, in an
explanation of Japanese bombing of Nanjing, the foreign minister described
how “the city is defended by many forts.”100 Later, on June 18, 1940, the
minister defended the bombing of Chongqing by explaining the city was
“strongly fortified.”101 In the same message, he explained that when Japanese
planes attacked the city, they are “subjected to anti-aircraft artillery fire and
attacking enemy planes against which they defend themselves. In such cases,
therefore, damage may be caused to non-combatant Chinese nationals.”102
The implication was if the Chinese would let the Japanese bomb in peace,
there would be less collateral damage.

This sort of circular and contradictory logic did not convince American
diplomats of the legality of these actions. In particular, the US ambassador to
China, Nelson T. Johnson, took issue with the “defended city” rationale. In a
cable sent on July 13, 1939, from a cratered and bomb-battered Chongqing to

the Secretary of State, Johnson vehemently protested the bombing of the city
and the trite Japanese attempts at justification:

Chungking [sic] is unarmed in any sense that might be construed
as offensive. To say that anti-aircraft weapons comprise military
establishments and therefore offensive weapons is like saying that
when I raise my hands to a defenseless[sic] position to meet the
threat of an attacker I thereby justify the attacker on the ground that
he subsequently does what he does to me in self-defense.103

Johnson’s analogy rejects the circular logic that a city attempting to defend
itself against illegal attacks from the air makes those attacks legal by the very
act of defense.

Regardless of the stated intentions of the Japanese armed forces, American
diplomats strongly objected to the heavy civilian casualties resulting
from the bombings. No ends could justify means that caused exceedingly
disproportionate civilian deaths. As noted in the previous section, these
protests came not only from textual interpretations of the laws of war, but
from a more abstract interpretation of the evolving conscience of humanity.
This formalist philosophy maintained by American leaders, in which means
are judged irrespective of ends, rejected consequentialist justifications of the
necessity of area bombing and subsequently high civilian casualties.

The declarations, protests, and philosophies of the State Department and the
President were not shared by those who were developing American air war
doctrine—military leaders and educators. In the 1920s and 1930s the doctrine
was heavily influenced by the writings of Billy Mitchell and Giulio Douhet,
American and Italian air war visionaries.104 These proponents of strategic
bombing, aimed at civilian populations to destroy morale and capacity for
resistance, influenced the curriculum of the Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS).
ACTS educated those who would conduct aerial offensives against Germany
and Japan during World War II. By analyzing the school’s curriculum and
lectures, one sees how American military leaders viewed area bombing against
civilians through the prism of an amoral analysis of efficiency—leaving moral
decision-making to civilian leaders.

General Giulio Douhet published some the earliest theories on strategic air
war doctrine following World War I. Some of his theory focused on the need
for an independent air force and development of more advanced aircraft,
but his vehement support for total war, terror bombing, and destruction of
civilian morale left a more lasting historical legacy. Douhet believed that
with the development of military aircraft, there was “no distinction any
longer between soldiers and civilians.”105 Attacks on civilian centers would
destroy the “physical and moral resistance of the people,”106 bringing wars
to an end sooner. In this way, he hypothesized “future wars may yet prove to
be more humane than wars in the past in spite of all, because they may in
the long run shed less blood.”107 This lives-saved versus lives-taken calculus
provides a humanitarian and consequentialist justification for the direct
bombing of civilians.

Just because it was written does not always mean it was read. In the case of
Douhet, however, ACTS translated his writings and incorporated them into its
curriculum.108 In 1933, the chief of the Air Corps “sent 30 mimeographed copies
of an article on Douhet’s theories to the chairman of the House Committee on
Military Affairs.”109

By the mid-1930s, however, the Air Corps Tactical School no longer whole-
heartedly embraced the Douhetian targeting of civilian centers.110 This was not
because of moral qualms, but out of concerns regarding efficiency and public
opinion. According to historian Ronald Schaffer, ACTS “knew that selective
bombing was much less likely to provoke hostility to the Air Corps within the
United States than was Douhet’s approach.”111 Later, a June 1940 lecture by
Muir S. Fairchild, the director of air tactics and strategy, discarded direct
attacks on population centers because of their inefficiency and unifying effects
on morale.112 Schaffer also explains that 1935 and 1936 ACTS textbooks “stated
that world opinion opposed ‘employment of airpower in direct attacks against
civilian personnel.’”113 In these ways, ACTS educators and air war leaders
rejected the area bombing of civilians out of pragmatic concerns for efficiency
and reputation. Therefore, if such concerns were removed, no moral qualms
would prevent air war leaders from conducting a strategic bombing offensive
against civilian population centers. This is not to say no air war leaders held
moral reservations about area bombing, but rather the doctrinal reasoning
directed against bombing found flaws in efficiency, not morality.

Later in the war, the development of highly effective incendiary bombs and
heavier bombers would soon alleviate US Army Air Force concerns regarding

how best to bomb cities. As a result, military strategists adopted new targets
for the B-29, referred to as a Very Long Range Bomber (VLR). An analysis of
the war plans of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, through a look at the documents
of the Joint War Planners, Joint Intelligence Committee, and Committee of
Operations Analysts, shows a cold, logical analysis of the efficiency, targets,
and results of the incendiary bombing of Japanese cities.

US Army Air Force planners developed a document titled “Air Plan for the
Defeat of Japan,” and submitted it to the US Combined Chiefs of Staff. This
document was approved and enclosed in a memorandum of the US Chiefs of
Staff on August 20, 1943, and sent to their planners for consideration.114 The
Air Force stated their strategy was to “accelerate the destruction of selected
systems of critical Japanese industry, the accomplishment of which will reduce
the Japanese war effort to impotency.”115 The planners went on to delineate
two phases of bombing. The USAAF would first would carry out “sustained
B-29 precision bombing attacks throughout the period to accomplish the
destruction of selected strategic Japanese industrial systems, including
aircraft factories and shipyards.”116 The second phase expanded from some
“selected” systems to more targets within a larger radius.117 This report
exemplified precision bombing’s intent to destroy vital economic systems
in order to reduce the war effort to impotency. The emphasis on precision
bombing accorded with previous American moral stances, especially in
regard to an opposition to reckless and indiscriminate destruction of civilian
population centers.

This strategy of precision bombing would not last until the end of the war,
however. On January 18, 1944, the Joint Intelligence Committee submitted a

report titled “Optimum Use, Timing, and Deployment of V.L.R. Bombers in the
War against Japan” to the Chiefs of Staff.118 This document heavily relied upon
the findings of a Committee of Operations Analysts from November 11, 1943.
After consulting this COA report, the Joint Intelligence Committee listed the
priority of targets of strategic bombing and the bases from which each target
could be attacked by B-29s. The committee endorsed the findings of the COA
report and recommended it to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for consideration.
Of particular note, the Joint Intelligence Committee report adopted the same
priority of targets as the COA. The targets that “would most seriously affect
Japan’s capacity to wage war, in order of priority, are as follows: (1) merchant
shipping, (2) steel, (3) urban industrial areas, (4) aircraft factories.”119 Part of
the value gleaned from attacking urban areas was “the dislocation of labor
by casualty.”120 While this may not seem to be a profound shift, analyzing the
Committee of Operations Analysts’s report of November 11, 1943—upon which
this Joint Intelligence Committee report was heavily based—demonstrates the
significance of the change in targeting.

The conclusions of the November 11, 1943, Committee of Operations Analysts
report were attached to the March 2, 1944, version of the “Optimum Use,
Timing, and Deployment of V.L.R. Bombers in the War against Japan.”121 Both
civilian and military analysts contributed to the COA’s report and concluded
the best way to bring about an end to the war in the Pacific was through a
strategic bombing campaign. The report declared “Urban Industrial Areas”
as the third priority behind merchant shipping and steel production.122 It
saw these areas as a priority, because of the unique nature of Japanese
war production (aside from heavy industry). According to the analysts, war
production was vulnerable to incendiary attack in urban areas due to the

widespread practice of military subcontracting production to domestic
establishments. In their view, many houses in Japan were not merely places
of residence, but workshops contributing to the production of war materials.123
This implied that since residences were also minifactories, they were industrial
targets. The report suggested this target could be destroyed by “a relatively
small weight of incendiaries effectively placed,”124 but to achieve “maximum
industrial disruption” in an urban area, attacks must be of a “magnitude
sufficient to overwhelm the firefighting resources of the area in question.”125
From this report, the Joint Intelligence Committee and Joint War Planners
both recommended the strategic bombing of urban industrial areas. The report
justified the area bombing by explaining that residences doubled as miniature
factories, thus making their laborers and property a legal target.

These early reports and conclusions explained the “what” and “why” of such
strategic targeting. Once the Combined Chiefs of Staff, Joint Intelligence
Committee, and Joint War Planners endorsed these reports, commanders
got to work on planning the “how” of bombing Japan. Remember that during
the Second Sino-Japanese War, Secretary of State Cordell Hull remarked how
regardless of intention, he objected to the Japanese bombing “indiscriminately
and recklessly.”126 Thus, not only did the reasons why the Americans bombed
urban industrial areas matter, but how they were attacked also mattered.

On November 11, 1944, the Joint Staff Planners submitted a document titled
“Weight of Strategic Air Effort Required in Operations Leading to the Earliest
Possible Conclusive Defeat of Japan” to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for
consideration.127 The objective of the strategic bombing, according to the

authors, was “the destruction of selected industrial systems, primarily in
Japan proper, to undermine her war-making capacity to a point where it is
fatally weakened.”128 While the term “selected industrial systems” seems
to imply precision bombing, it still meant a targeting of “urban industrial
areas.” The term “targeting of selected industrial systems” may be a generous
description of the methods the report proposed. In discussing operational
capabilities and requirements, the report concluded “Estimates will be based
on daylight visual bombing operations against all primary objective systems,”129
but noted “the primary strategic target systems of Japan, except possibly for
urban industrial areas, are not susceptible to a successful attack by blind
bombing” [emphasis added].130 “Blind bombing” of urban industrial areas was,
therefore, accepted as a viable strategy.

This was reinforced by, of all things, a weather report attached to the
document. It noted “in June and July weather conditions may make the
estimated number of sorties from the Marianas to Kyushu and Honshu
impossible to accomplish by visual bombing.”131 This did not preclude bombers
from conducting blind bombing, however. The next sentence of the weather
report concluded “in these months the effort from the Marianas is against the
remaining part of urban areas against which blind bombing tactics can be
used . . .”132 Thus, even when weather conditions over Japan prevented day-
light visual bombing, blind bombing was never out of the question.

So, urban industrial areas were susceptible to successful attack by blind bombing
and this could be carried out under conditions in which precision bombing was
impossible. “Urban industrial areas” may seem like a vague term, but the targeting

calculations more fully explained what was and was not a target. The report
explained the threshold levels of accuracy required to deem a mission a success
and what levels of accuracy were expected to be average. For reference, in order
for an attack on a coke oven (an essential step in steel manufacturing) to be
deemed a successful sortie, bombers “will [have] drop[ped] bombs with a circular
normal distribution such that 25% of the bombs will strike within 1000 feet of the
aiming point.”133 Plain and simple, there is a specific target, but most of the bombs
will fall more than 1000 feet from the target.

Later, in the analysis of targeting urban industrial areas, the authors calculated
the amount of bombs necessary to destroy Tokyo’s urban industrial area
was thirty tons of incendiary per square mile, after “giving due effect to roof
coverage, composition of buildings and combustible effect necessary to
overwhelm firefighting apparatus.”134 This seems like a standard, boilerplate
calculation of bombing figures, but the most significant note is how the Air Force
would evaluate whether an “urban industrial area” target was successfully hit in
the same metric as how they determined whether a coke oven was.

The analysts explained “in the calculations made herein, it is estimated that
75% of the bombs over the target will land in the target area.” This implies
some bombs, when dropped over the city, could miss their urban industrial
area targets, but the analysts added a correction to this calculation in the
next sentence: “because of the nature of the target area, this is probably
conservative. Almost 100% of bombs within the city areas should be
realized.”135 The concept that any bomb dropped over the city area had an
“almost 100%” chance of hitting a target illustrates the truly blind targeting
goals of attacking “urban industrial areas.” In essence, a bomb dropped

anywhere on Tokyo had nearly no chance of missing its intended target or
hitting the wrong target. This made entire cities targets and created a “can’t
miss” bombing approach of urban industrial targets.

The analysts drafted their objectives with an intent of destroying Japan’s ability
to wage war, but added a rather pessimistic note in regard to the possibility
of achieving this goal in a timely manner. Based on the schedule of bombing
presented, they concluded that by October of 1945, even “the neutralization
of these objectives [merchant shipping, steel, urban industrial areas, etc.] will
probably not of itself cause Japan to cease waging war or even effectively soften
her up for a land invasion.”136 Despite the report basing many of its claims on
consequentialist justifications of ending the war more quickly, it concedes that it
may not be enough.

The pragmatic, consequentialist philosophy of air war leaders and planners
left concerns regarding public opinion and humanitarian consideration for
civilian leaders to resolve. They were merely providing the most efficient and
effective methods with which to end the war against Japan, without providing
an explicit moral comment. These reports did have implications of results-
based justifications, however. By declaring certain bombing strategies would
end the war sooner or certain actions of Japanese citizens transformed them
into industrial labor to be “dislocated by casualty,” air war planners created
implications of justifications for area bombing and the targeting of residential
neighborhoods as industrial districts. As previously demonstrated, during the
prewar period, civilian leaders emphatically concluded it should not be the
policy of the United States, nor any nation for that matter, to indiscriminately
bomb civilian population centers, but the military leaders specifically

proposed indiscriminate and blind bombing tactics against cities in which
there was a near certainty of every bomb hitting a viable target.

This paper does not aim to fully explain the development of American area
bombing strategy in East Asia, but it does help to understand the importance
of Japanese bombing in China to briefly observe the pace and methods of
change in American military and moral strategy. For the United States’ civilian
and military leadership to adopt a policy of area bombing of civilian population
centers and to tolerate an inevitably high level of civilian casualties, at least
three separate issues had to be resolved. First, military air war leaders had to
determine area bombing was an efficient strategy. Scientists and engineers
developed more advanced incendiaries and heavier bombers to overcome
these technical hurdles. Military and civilian analysts in targeting groups
such as the Committee of Operations Analysts, Joint Intelligence Committee,
and Joint Staff Planners studied how to utilize these new technologies and
concluded that targeting urban-industrial cores would wreak havoc on the
Japanese economy and war effort.137

Second, American public opinion and media could not oppose the bombing
of cities to the extent they did during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Keep in
mind that in 1938, 91% of Americans surveyed unconditionally opposed the
bombing of civilians in cities and 72% emphatically opposed the bombing
of civilians. Beyond merely not opposing bombing, it would have been ideal
for American public opinion to significantly support the area bombing of
Japanese cities.

Finally, civilian leaders would have to alter their moral priorities. They would
either have to abandon their formalist objections to the indiscriminate
bombing of civilian populations they had so vociferously proclaimed during
the Second Sino-Japanese War (i.e., the evolving conscience of mankind and
international law objections) in favor of a consequentialist perspective that
tolerated civilian casualties in pursuit of a morally noble cause, or redefine
their formalist moral code to classify civilian noncombatants as military-
industrial targets in an age of total war.

As previously mentioned, the technological developments in engineering and
strategic developments in planning alleviated the USAAF’s concerns regarding
efficiency. In regard to public opinion, continued Japanese aggression in China,
Southeast Asia, and the Pacific quickly dismantled this obstacle. A Gallup
poll conducted in the week after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor asked
respondents: “Should the United States Air Force Bomb Cities in Japan?”138
Sixty-eight percent of respondents answered with an unconditional yes,
while an additional 18% added a condition to their support of bombing (only
military objectives/only if necessary/only as retaliatory strike).139 Only 10%
of Americans opposed bombing Japanese cities. A similar poll conducted in
the same period by the University of Chicago saw 57% of respondents choose
the response: “Fight an all-out war including the bombing of Japanese cities,”
while only 28% said America should solely focus on military targets.140 With
most of American public opinion supporting—and definitely not opposing—the
bombing of Japanese cities, civilian leaders in World War II were left to decide
on their own perspectives of morality while weighing the competing formalist
objections to and consequentialist justifications for the aerial bombardment of
civilian populations.

The attack on Pearl Harbor did not strip away all moral scruples of the
American public, however. Yes, they did seem to support an “all-out war”
that involved bombing cities in Japan, but respondents expressed reservations
regarding different types of attacks on the country. Later, in September 1944,
a Gallup poll asked a sample of Americans: “If it means an earlier end of the
war in the Pacific, would you approve or disapprove of Allies using poison
gas against Japanese cities?”141 Despite the appeal of an earlier conclusion
to the war, 71% of respondents disapproved of the use of poison gas.142 This
demonstrates that even when given a consequentialist moral justification for
bombing or gas (to end the war earlier), American civilians still held some
reservations about possible actions in war.

By the summer of 1945, when the American air force bombed the urban cores
of major and minor Japanese cities, upper echelon civilian leaders had either
given their explicit consent to the firebombing campaign or tacitly consented
to a USAAF strategy that prioritized the destruction of urban centers. Historian
E. Bartlett Kerr proposes Roosevelt and Stimson did the latter by tacitly
consenting to a USAAF strategy supported by the Committee of Operations
Analysts.143 Historian Ronald Schaffer instead attributed the civilian and
military responsibility more widely, but more expressly. He explained Roosevelt
had always “depicted the central issue of the air war in absolute terms, with
civilization on one side and the forces of death and destruction, represented
by Japan and Germany, on the other.”144 Schaffer deduced from this, and other
pieces of information, that Roosevelt must have explicitly consented to the
firebombing of Japan.

Regardless of the intricacies of the process, the result of these American
decisions was widespread devastation and death in the cities of Japan. The
dramatic shift of US government policy from an absolute rejection of the
indiscriminate bombing of civilians to an extensive firebombing campaign
illustrates the equally significant moral evolution of American leaders’
attitudes. This is not to say their decision to bomb Japanese cities was
immoral. Instead, it shows how quickly the war catalyzed a redefinition of
wartime values.

Before this change, however, the Second Sino-Japanese War influenced the
prewar development of American opinion regarding the bombing of civilians.
By reinforcing and broadcasting American stances on aerial bombardment,
the conflict provided a wealth of information illustrating the government’s
objections to the bombing of civilians and its rejection of Japanese
justifications—some of which America would use to justify bombing in Japan.
To truly grasp the significance of the moral transformation of American
civilian leaders during World War II, the legacy of bombing in the Second
Sino-Japanese War must be understood as America’s first prolonged exposure
to the effects of modern aerial warfare on civilian noncombatants. It was
in this conflict the American public experienced the confluence of global
journalism, international laws of war, and rapidly advancing technologies of
destruction. Faced with this prototype of modern war, Americans ranging from
President Roosevelt to the moviegoer formed resolute moral opinions on the
unacceptability of the indiscriminate bombing of civilians in cities.

To grasp the magnitude of the shift from prewar attitudes to those of 1945,
we need not plot every intermediary step of the war effort from 1941 to 1945.

Juxtaposing American bombing in 1945 against Japanese bombing in the
1930s does not necessarily condemn American actions to the same level of
immorality as Japanese war crimes in East Asia, but it does help to show the
drastic changes seen across social, governmental, and military spheres.

Employing the laws of war or defining the bombing of World War II as
“unprecedented,” historical analysis appears to mimic the form of a
trial of history, battling to reach the verdict that will stand as our lasting
interpretation. Although it is hazardous to oversimplify the issues at hand, we
can use this same model of the trial to envision the different roles played by
Japan, Chinese civilians, and the American public, news media, and leaders.
This courtroom drama played out in the bombed cities of China, on the front
pages of newspapers, and in the confrontations of diplomats. Japan and China
naturally played the role of defendant and victim, respectively. News media
bore witness to Japanese destruction and Chinese suffering. Perhaps, like
many a witness, their testimonies reflected their desire for a specific outcome.
Newspaper-readers and newsreel-audiences smoldered with moral indignation
as jurors sympathizing with the plight of the Chinese. Lastly, American political
leaders and diplomats served as both prosecutor and judge. They proclaimed
the moral principles at stake, condemned the gross violations of the Japanese,
and ultimately set the precedent for the next case on the bombing docket, in
which American air forces stood as defendants and the Japanese became the
victim. Although the defendant and victim soon changed, the roles of American
news media, their audiences, and their political leaders remained the same,
but reached a vastly different verdict.

A. J. Barkera, The Rape of Ethiopia, 1936 (New York: Ballantine Books, 1971), 29, 57.
Barrett Tillman, Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan, 1942–1945 (New York:
Simon & Schuster, 2010), 18.
A. C. Grayling, Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the
WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan (New York: Walker, 2006),
Conrad Crane, Bombs, Cities, and Civilians: American Airpower Strategy in
World War II (Lawrence: Univ. Press of Kansas, 1993), 22.
John Ellis, World War II: A Statistical Survey (New York: Facts on File, 1993),
Edna Tow, “The Great Bombing of Chongqing and the Anti-Japanese War,” in
The Battle for China: Essays on the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War
of 1937–1945 (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 2011), 257.
Associated Press, “Bombers Wreck Shanghai: 3 Yankees are Slain,” Austin
Statesman (August 14, 1937), 1.
John R. Morris, “Dead Litter Streets in Shanghai Bombing: Witness Tells of
Holocaust as Thousands See Huge Shells Drop Missiles of Death,” Los Angeles
Times (August 15, 1937), 2.
Associated Press, “Death Toll of Bombing at Shanghai set at 582,” Boston
Globe (August 15, 1937), A28.
Associated Press, “863 Die as Chinese Planes Bomb Center of Shanghai,” New
York Herald Tribune (August 15, 1937), 1A.
Associated Press, “Bombs Fall on Shanghai,” Boston Globe (Aug. 14, 1937), 1.
“Shanghai Bombing Blamed on Overenthusiastic Pilots,” Washington Post
(Aug. 16, 1937), 7.
Universal Newsreels, Release 595, September 5, 1937 (Los Angeles: Universal
Pictures, 1937), 9:57, retrieved from
Ibid., 4:03.
Associated Press, “Night Bombers Blast Shanghai,” Boston Globe (August 19,
1937), 1.
Anthony Billingham, “Japanese Air Bombs Spread Fire and Terror in
Shanghai,” New York Times (August 22, 1937), 1, 3.
Associated Press, “Photographers Wear ‘Tin Hats’ for Shanghai Action
Pictures,” Washington Post (August 26, 1937), 28.

Associated Press, “Japanese Bomb Shanghai Crowd,” Boston Globe (August
28, 1937), A1.
Associated Press, “Japanese Bombs Kill 200 in Shanghai,” Chicago Daily
Tribune (August 29, 1937), 1.
H. S. Wong, “The Camera Overseas,” Life (October 4, 1937), 102.
Paul French, Through the Looking Glass: China’s Foreign Journalists from
Opium Wars to Mao (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Univ. Press, 2009), 192.
Universal Newsreels, Release 606, October 13, 1937 (Los Angeles: Universal
Pictures, 1937), retrieved from
“War in China” newsreel, from The March of Time, vol. 4, episode 1 (New
York: Home Box Office, 1937), retrieved from
Ibid., 00:56.
Too Hot to Handle, directed by Jack Conway (Los Angeles: MGM, 1938).
Edward J. Drea and Hans van de Ven, “An Overview of Major Military
Campaigns during the Sino-Japanese War, 1937–45,” in The Battle for China:
Essays on the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937–1945
(Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 2011), 31.
United Press, “Hankow and Canton Silent After Bombing,” Austin Statesman
(February 1, 1938), 3.
Hagiwara Mitsuru, “The Japanese Air Campaigns in China: 1937–45,” in The
Battle for China: Essays on the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War of
1937–1945 (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 2011), 246.
See note 36, 31–32.
United Press, “New Japanese Bombing Raids Fulfill Threats to Foreigners,”
Washington Post (July 13, 1938), 1.
Associated Press, “1500 Chinese Casualties in Jap Bombing,” Hartford
Courant (May 29, 1938), 1.
See note 7, 259.

Tillman Durdin, “Hundreds Killed in Chungking Raid,” New York Times (May 4,
1939), 16.
See note 44, 261
See note 48.
Tillman Durdin, “Embassies Ruined in Chungking Raid,” New York Times (May
5, 1939), 1.
Hallett Abend, “Japanese Explain Damage,” New York Times (May 6, 1939), 4.
See note 7, 261.
See note 7, 275.
See note 7, 262.
The true nature and scale of atrocities in occupied China was not fully
grasped by the American public, because of the lack of significant coverage—
with the exception of H. J. Timperly’s excellent What War Means: The
Japanese Terror in China (London: Victor Gollancz, 1938).
American Institute of Public Opinion, “Gallup Survey 94, Interviewing Date
August 4–9, 1937,” in George Gallup, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1935–1971,
vol. 1 (New York: Random House, 1972), 69.
American Institute of Public Opinion, “Gallup Poll, February 1940,” retrieved
from iPOLL, The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, Cornell University.
Question ID 5575.
American Institute of Public Opinion, “Gallup Survey 100, Interviewing Date
October 6–11, 1937,” in George Gallup, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1935–
1971, vol. 1 (New York: Random House, 1972), 72.
American Institute of Public Opinion, “Gallup Survey 158-A, Interviewing Date
May 20–25, 1939,” in George Gallup, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1935–1971,
vol. 1 (New York: Random House, 1972), 159.
American Institute of Public Opinion, “Gallup Poll, February 1940,” retrieved
from iPOLL, The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, Cornell University.
Question ID 5575.
American Institute of Public Opinion, “Gallup Survey 117-A, Interviewing Date
April 2–7, 1938,” in George Gallup, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1935–1971,
vol. 1 (New York: Random House, 1972), 97.
American Institute of Public Opinion, “Gallup Poll, April 1938,” retrieved
from iPOLL, The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, Cornell University.
Question ID: 4267.

United States Department of State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations
of the United States, Japan: 1931–1941, vol. 1 (Washington, DC: US Government
Printing Office, 1943), 500, retrieved from
Ibid., 506.
Ibid., 566.
Ibid., 577.
Ibid., 711.
Ibid., 615.
Ibid., 499.
Ibid., 504.
Ibid., 506
Ibid., 618.
Ibid., 647–48.
Ibid., 656.
Ibid., 656.
Ibid., 660.
Appeal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Aerial Bombardment of Civilian
Populations, September 1, 1939, retrieved from
See note 69, 693.
Ibid., 595.
Ibid., 724.
Ibid., 498.
Ibid., 507.
Ibid., 694.
Ibid., 499. 1st omission: “and Nanking being the principal base of the Chinese
military operations,” 2nd omission: “after 12 o’clock noon of September 21,
Ibid., 498.
Ibid., 601. This is an American paraphrasing what the Admiral said in a
Convention with Respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Hague
II (July 29, 1899), retrieved from
Ibid., 498.
Ibid., 504.
Convention with Respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Hague
II (July 29, 1899), retrieved from

Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Hague IV (18
October 1907), retrieved from
See note 69, 498.
Ibid., 694.
Ibid., 661.
The impact of Douhet and Mitchell is not lost on modern members of the
Air War College either. The Douhet-Mitchell International Airpower Trophy
recognizes papers that exemplify “extraordinary vision into future military
aerospace requirements.”
Giulio Douhet, The Command of the Air (Washington, DC: Air Force History
and Museums Program, 1998), 10, retrieved from
Ibid., 25.
Ibid., 61.
Ibid., ix.
Ronald Schaffer, Wings of Judgment (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1988), 29.
Ibid., 30.
US Army Air Force Planners, “Air Plan for the Defeat of Japan,” enclosed
within “Memorandum from the U.S. Chiefs of Staff,” August 20, 1943,
pg. 1. Available within the Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Part 1:
1942–1945, The Pacific Theater, retrieved from
Ibid., 2.
Ibid., 7.
US Joint Intelligence Committee, “Optimum Use, Timing, and Deployment of
V.L.R. Bombers in the War against Japan,” January 18, 1944, pg. 1. Available
within the Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Part 1: 1942–1945, The Pacific
Theater, retrieved from
Ibid., 2.
Ibid., 8.
Committee of Operations Analysts, “Memorandum for General Arnold,”
November 11, 1943, attached to the Joint Staff Planners’ “Optimum Use,
Timing, and Deployment of V.L.R. Bombers in the War against Japan,” March
2, 1944, pg. 10. Available within the Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,

Part 1: 1942–1945, The Pacific Theater, retrieved from
Ibid., 10–11.
See note 121.
See note 121, 11.
See note 69, 656.
Joint Staff Planners, “Weight of Strategic Air Effort Required in
Operations Leading to the Earliest Possible Conclusive Defeat of Japan,”
November 11, 1944, retrieved from
Ibid., 1.
Ibid., 5.
Ibid., 8.
Ibid., 23.
Ibid., 24.
Ibid., 24.
Ibid., 9.
E. Bartlett Kerr, Flames over Tokyo (New York: Donald I. Fine, 1991), 46.
American Institute of Public Opinion, “Gallup Poll December 1941,” retrieved
from iPOLL, The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, Cornell University.
Question ID: 6728
National Opinion Research Center, “News In Wartime, December 1941,”
retrieved from iPOLL, The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, Cornell
University. Question ID: 12712
American Institute of Public Opinion, “Gallup Poll, September 1944,”
retrieved from iPOLL, The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, Cornell
University. Question ID: 2564.
See note 137.
See note 110, 170.
Canticles, Parodies, and Bangers:
Sonic Queerness in Drag Queen Music Videos

Thorton School of Music
Jack Halberstam, Faculty Advisor

“The time has come for you to lipsync for your life!”—RuPaul

Every week, the iconic drag queen and international entrepreneur RuPaul
Andre Charles summons two drag queen contestants to the runway for a final
duel: the litmus test of standard drag performance. The ultimate success of
each performer hinges on their ability to perform femininity more convincingly
than the competitors. RuPaul not only summons the competitors to the
stage, but demands a demonstration from them of femininity that privileges
musical performance. The lipsync voice-off demonstrates the extent to which
compelling gender performances consist of both visual and sonic markers.
Countless drag queen performance artists continue to explore the sonic bond
between queerness and music through the production of their own cover,
parody, and original songs.

Due to the incorporation of both visual and sonic cues of gender (mis-)
information into drag performances, it is no wonder drag queen music has
expanded into the production of music videos. Straddling both the visual and
acoustic aspects of gender, drag queen music videos create opportunities
to practice, reify, and/or disrupt standard acoustic perceptions of gender.
The proliferation of such videos over the past ten years merits a theoretical
analysis of queerness, gender, and sound that recognizes the multifaceted
dimensions of these works. Standing apart from traditional popular music,
drag queen music videos employ a different recognition-reward system
for “queer” listeners, at once criticizing dominant cultural discourse while
musically instantiating experiences of queer subcultures. This paper will
examine three drag queen music videos with attention to the ways that they
deploy a queer system of recognition-reward to engage with varying levels of
cultural critique. Through textual and musical analysis, participant-observation

study, and an ethnomusicological application of semiotic theory, I argue that
drag queen music videos manipulate vocal register, appropriate dominant
popular music idioms, and utilize the technique of dis-recognition to simulate
recondite, nonhegemonic modes of listening.

The lipsync is one of the oldest forms of performance for female impersonators.1
Originating in the 1960s, both the lipsync and its live-sung counterpart, the cover
song, were primary modes of musical performance for female impersonators. In
her ethnographic account of drag queens living in Chicago and Kansas City, Esther
Newton notes these two forms of performance as predominant drag shows of that
time.2 Newton also stresses the hierarchization between these two styles, with
live performers receiving higher pay for their shows than the lipsyncing queens.
This economic hierarchy inevitably filtered into drag queen communities, and
live performers derided the lipsyncing performers as less talented. For the live
performers, lipsyncing reminded them of drag queenery’s roots—low budget,
theatrical, and caked in maquillage.

Although the lipsync remains elementary to the drag queen community, it offers
a unique opportunity for queer improvisation. In lipsync performance, the drag
queen attempts to synchronize her physical gestures to the sound track so as
to create a verisimilitude of “authentic” performance. In a sense, the lipsync is
an act of persuasion: of persuading the audience that the drag queen could be
the source of the singing voice were they to suspend their disbelief throughout
the song’s duration. Inviting the audience to perceive the female impersonator
as the primary voice-r queers the hegemonic, ontological relationship between
voice and voicer. In conventional listening, the voice is not an object, but

rather an echoic effect experienced dialogically through voicing and listening.
In Queer Voices, Freya Jarman-Ivens evaluates this ontology of the voice and
its potential to be queered. In particular, she explores how the relationship
of voicer–voice–listener possesses a unique ability to disrupt conventional
modes of passive listening.3 The concept of “third space” describes the voice’s
ability to detach itself from the producing body (voicer) and hang on the
edges of identification before being nailed down by the listener’s perception of
the sound’s source.4 She continues, addressing the voice’s “capacity always-
already to detach the signifier of the vocal wave form from the signified of
the identity of the voice’s producer, and in turn to keep open the possibility
for multiple gender identities, at least until such time as identity is conferred
upon the voice’s producer by the listener.”5 Because the voice is produced
as an effect of a body, it cannot exist without a sourced body. The listener
must map (visually or imaginatively) the voice onto a perceived voicer in an
acoustic-ontological game of “pin the tail on the donkey.” By mapping voice
onto the voicing body, the listener assumes “authenticity” of the voicing body
as in fact being the source of the voice. Within lipsync performances, it is this
authenticity that is contested by the gender illusionist. When drag queens
succeed in suspending the audience’s disbelief, they succeed in “passing” as
the primary voicer. For a moment, the listener reorients normative frames of
authenticity and maps, alternatively and productively, the prerecorded track
onto the drag queen’s embodied dance and mimesis of the song. The power of
the lipsync rests in its ability to challenge dominant assumptions of listening;
within each challenge exists an alternative diva-dom that continues to fuel
lipsync performances in nightclubs across the nation.

When the audience does indeed suspend their disbelief and view the drag
queen as the primary voicer, the drag queen temporarily “passes.” While
some performers use this temporary passing to comically juxtapose the sonic
engendering of the track,6 passing as a more general phenomenon consists
of both reifying and co-opting forms of drag. In his work on the legendary Ms.
Vaginal Davis, Jose Esteban Muñoz addresses the politics of passing, stating
that “passing can be a third modality, where a dominant structure is co-opted,
worked on and against.”7 For the lipsyncing drag queen, sonic passing allows the
physical embodiment of the music to develop in ways that would not otherwise be
acceptable or logical. Because the recorded tracks are often popular and familiar
tunes, the general audience will identify the track and recall various experiences
or memories acoustically indexed by the tune. Thereby, the lipsync allows
expressive physical movements and gestures to rescript the familiar narrative
of the recorded track. Using Jarman-Ivens’s paradigm, the vocal track replaces
the voice as “sign” and moves similarly to occupy the “third space.” Covertly
passing as voicer, the drag queen has the capacity to write anew the narrative
and associations of the song’s lyrical context. In this way, sonic passing allows
a choreographic co-opting of dominant acoustic familiarity, where the ligature
between acoustic and visual manipulates dominant frames of listening to fashion
alternative sonic realities.

While the lipsync remains an inveterate mode of performance in drag clubs
and bars, it has not translated across platforms into drag queen music
videos. Because the music video requires music that is uniquely arranged
or composed, the music video instead engages with the parody, cover, and
original song genres. Historically, the earliest studio recordings of drag queen

music included cover songs such as Divine’s 1985 cover “Walk Like a Man” and
RuPaul’s 1993 smash hit “Supermodel.” Originating from an urban hodgepodge
of disco and punk aesthetics, Divine’s songs were the first drag musical
pieces to become dance club anthems—with RuPaul’s following suit shortly
thereafter. Divine’s self-assured “I’m So Beautiful” from 1985 remains one of the
earliest recorded drag queen music videos.

Both Divine and RuPaul recorded and released numerous albums in the
1980s–1990s. Although both the cover and original song genres appeared
in these early albums, the parody song as a recorded product caught on
later. While the parody song has existed in clubs and bars since the dawn
of contemporary American female impersonation,8 its inherently political
nature could contribute to its relative lack of prominence as a commercialized
product in the earlier stages of drag queen music-making. The parody
song poses an overt threat to dominant discourse in its appropriation and
occupation of familiar popular melodies. However, in the current corpus
of drag queen music videos, the parody video maintains the greatest
prominence—with the well-known performers Sherry Vine and Jackie Beat
transforming their parody songs from live shows to music videos in the early
2000s. With the explosive growth of the internet in the past two decades,
services such as iTunes, YouTube, and Soundcloud have opened new doors of
affordable mass musical production and dissemination to drag queens across
the high fidelity recording and studio audio art genres. Over the past twenty
years, internet platforms have amassed a sizeable body of queer drag musical
work—a subcultural production that has constructed and honed queer modes
of listening in its productive application of queer performance.

Before delving into the three case analyses, it is necessary to mention and
address several issues that plague subcultural production. The tension
between subversion and assimilation bedevils many arenas of subcultural
performance and manifests in the product’s uncritical reenactment of
hegemonic stereotypes around race, gender, class, and/or sexuality. While
earlier scholarship carried out by Jack Halberstam illustrates the racism and
classism experienced in the 1990s New York drag king scene9 and the work of
Sarah Jenkins examines racism and xenophobia on the reality TV show “RuPaul’s
Drag Race,”10 issues of representation also complicate the realm of music
videos. Because the music video genre enjoins visual and aural elements of
gender performance, drag queen music videos risk participating in oppressive
representations of gender, race, class, and sexuality perpetuated in dominant
public discourse. Therefore, my case analyses will not only intermix queer
theory and ethnomusicology to explore sonic ways that drag queen musics
reconstitute listening but also explore the implications of aurality in terms of
hegemonic assimilation and subcultural sublimation.

As mentioned earlier, the parody video is the dominant genre of drag queen
music videos and as such, it commands giant audiences relative to other drag
music genres online. In their 2013 parody song, the tripartite group DWV’s
music video “Boy is a Bottom” received nineteen million views—a height of
popularity not yet surpassed by any other drag queen music video. The raunchy
three-minute song relentlessly redubs Alicia Keys’s “Girl is on Fire” and En
Vogue’s “Never Gonna Get It.” Acronymized by their first names, DWV was the
temporary musical alliance of Detox Icunt, Willam Belli, and Vicky Vox—all of
whom are drag queens that regularly perform around Los Angeles.

The narrative of “Boy is a Bottom” plays on a common trope in gay male
communities. The central character, a gay man who is ashamed about his
sexual preference for bottoming,11 carries out his daily tasks and attempts to
exaggerate heteronormative masculinity in order to hide his sexual-positional
preference.12 However, three Charlie’s Angels—turned—Hocus Pocus drag
queens thwart his attempts at masculine passing by following him through
his diurnal routine, anthemically proclaiming that “this boy is a bottom”
in plangent, three-part harmony. The drag queen’s song catchily foils the
character’s hypermasculine posturing as the three queens accompany him
on his outings to none other than the gym and the vitamin store. In a larger
sense, this song provides silver-tongued commentary on the growing trend of
hegemonic masculinizing in gay male spaces. Recent scholarship among gay
male subcultural cohorts highlights homophobia and effeminaphobia rampant
in contemporary gay male scenes.13 Because hegemonic power in patriarchal
society lies in the hands of the patriarch, the act of three femme queens
using their voices to destabilize masculine passing at once empowers and
demonstrates the queer potential of the voice. Beyond mere representation,
there are aspectual elements to the parody song that also contribute to a
queered recognition-reward system.

What, then, constitutes the politics of the drag queen parody song? Acoustic
occupation. By redubbing a well-known melody, the queer-ed parody version
occupies acoustic familiarity while challenging normative listeners with the
queer-ed text. In “Boy is a Bottom,” musical appropriation occurs immediately,
as every melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic element except the original key center
and text of “Girl is on Fire” is reused.14 However, after the second arrival of the

chorus, Detox raps the third verse—diverging from the original song structure.
The rap is followed by a breakdown à la “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)”
which acts as a bridge, moving from the tonal center of AM to the submediant
f#m; the slight veering away from tonal center then penultimately drives the song
back to the home key for a final chorus and tag.

Due to its reliance on preexisting media, the parody song must also be studied
in terms of its conformity to and/or deviation from its original source song.
In “Boy is a Bottom,” the rapped verse divides the song structurally while
also queering the notion that gender illusion is confined to the affectation
stereotypically associated with the gender being performed. While the sung
portion of the song sits in a vocal range marked as feminine, from B3 to F#5,
the vocal range of the spoken verse lies comfortably in the [male] chest voice,
acoustically signified as masculine.

Juxtaposing the high vocal register with the low spoken verse can be read in
multiple ways. In his essay on the queer Cuban-American performer Albita
Rodriguez, Mario Rey recognizes that “the drum connotes phallic power among
many cultures.”15 Exploring the ways in which the drum personifies reliability,
power, and pattern, Rey evaluates the genderqueer potential of the drum
(and drumlike elements) to be exploited in subcultural musical works. In “Boy
is a Bottom,” the percussive texture also mirrors the rap’s lyrical content—a
hypermasculine ode to being “a top.” Detox’s syntax commands the listener’s
attention and her graphic verbalization of gay sexual acts is predicated on the
priapic power differentials between “top” and “bottom.” Thus, the rap section
colligates lyrical content and textural orchestration within the otherwise sonically
“feminine” setting of “Boy is a Bottom” to portray hegemonic masculinity.

However, the musical shift from singing (perceived as feminine) to rapping
(perceived as masculine) is not visually corroborated. Throughout the entire
rap, Detox remains, importantly, in full drag. All three elements—the deeper
vocal register, percussive rap, and lyrical content—create disunity with Detox’s
visually performed drag. The disunity between sound and sight can be read as
disidentification, a term used by Jose Esteban Muñoz to describe a “tactical
recognition” of performative codes. Disidentification’s misreading of these
codes productively avoids the interpellating calls of counteridentification.16
This theoretical distinction between counteridentification and disidentification
proposes a method whereby subcultural production is not limited to
mimicking hegemonic cultural practices but can explore its own queer means
of subcultural expression and production, free from the problematics of
interpellation.17 When Detox, a glamorous femme performer, inhabits the
character of a hypermasculine rapper “top” she distorts heteronormative and
homonormative concepts of “top” and vis-à-vis, power.18 In Muñoz’s sense,
Detox performs a disidentification of the hegemonically masculine queer
male—a tactical occupation and misrendering of the hypermasculine trope
that defangs its hegemonic power with humor and camp. As Detox creatively
spits her sexual commandments to the camera, the audience becomes
keenly aware that the embodied femme is not weak or passive but rather a
multidimensional and powerful performer.

Throughout the song, the lyrics are rife with innuendo, double entendre, and
explicit reference to gay male sexual acts and practices. From the outset,
the lyrics cue the listener to the specific arena and practices of gay male
communities with terminology arising from online personal ads, even including

a snapshot of a Grindr profile view in the music video’s introductory verse; they
continue to expose the listener to gay slang (e.g., gutbucket, top, bottom)
as well as symbolic (verbal) representations of gay iconography (e.g., gym,
jockstrap, pig). In this way, the song functions as a musical archive, both
celebrating and critiquing commonly shared aspects of North American gay
male sociosexual experiences. The lyrical commingling of popular cultural
references with gay cultural references affirms “Boy is a Bottom” as a lexicon
of gay cultural practices. Furthermore, “Boy is a Bottom” does not refer once
to the content or subject matter of Keys’s “Girl on Fire.” In this vein, DWV’s
co-opting of a Top40 hit also lends itself to the concept of disidentification,
where the group occupies the acoustic familiarity of “Girl on Fire” to reauthor
a commentary applicable to their subcultural experience. Woven together with
powerful commentaries as relayed in Detox’s genderqueer rap segment, “Boy
is a Bottom” as a visuo-musical product contains multilayered and polyvalent
narratives for its queer audience. With these conclusions in mind, how do the
techniques of parody and musical appropriation create alternative systems of
sonic recognition-reward for the music’s queer listeners?

For one, the techniques create a system of sonic dis-recognition. Because many
of the parodied songs are Top40 songs—songs in heavy radio rotation—the
likelihood of encountering the original songs in public spaces is high. Malls,
movies, clubs, stores, and even schools provide spaces within which these
songs are bound to echo at some time. However, for the listener familiar
with the parody version, identifying the original tune consequently recalls
the parodied version as well. This act of acoustic co-opting offers a visceral
dis-recognition with the original song and cites an ulterior knowledge, an

alternative setting of the song—or rather, an alternative song for the setting—
that ignites a chained process of recognition-reward for its queer listeners.

Proposed by the philosopher C. S. Peirce and further developed by Thomas
Turino, the semiotic theory of signs provides a means for organizing and
conceptualizing various sonic constituents in music-cultural experience. The
semiotic chaining process, according to Turino, conceptualizes a framework
that “avoids strict body-mind and emotion-thought dichotomies.”19 Turino goes
on to demonstrate how a given sign-object relation creates an effect which in
return serves as a secondary sign, and thusly creates a secondary effect . . .
ad infinitum.20 In application, the unaltered melody of the parody song acts
as the initial sign, with the primary effect being acoustic melodic recognition;
this primary effect of familiarity then serves as a sign for the contrasting set
of lyrics, and thus, a contradiction between the two textual song versions
emerges, each indexical of the melody (in the Peircean sense). The contradiction
between texts then becomes its own sign, triggering the ultimate effect of
dis-recognition. While the process in normative listening shares the first two
levels of sonic recognition, the queered process of recognition-reward relies
on the third level of dis-recognition—a familiarity with the redubbed version
that appropriates the pop song’s shell and inserts into it a body of experience
and subcultural knowledge only coherent to the members of that subcultural
identity. Peirce’s model links sound, physical effect, and mental experience in
a dynamic chain of reactions that helps define the nuanced ways in which drag
queen parody musical pieces reward its listeners. While the paradigm does not
differentiate processually from non-queer works, it constitutively culminates in
dis-recognition rather than standard recognition. The drag queen parody song

employs techniques that empower its queer listeners through an alternative aural
recognition-reward system that differentiates the musical events of drag queen
performers from nonqueer popular musicians.

Both drag queen parodies and lipsync performances repurpose songs of the
common or pop cultural repertoire. They write over preexisting pop cultural texts
to create spaces for queer narratives, choosing the most well-known public items
for their queer palimpsests. Yet within both genres, there exists a possibility
to reinforce heteronormative conventions. Many of the parody music videos
created by Jackie Beat in the early 2000s uncritically engage with dominant
stereotypes of race and reify misogynistic rape myths.21 While she remains a
trailblazer for the genre of internet drag queen parody songs and videos, Jackie’s
opus remains rooted in “ambivalent drag” as Judith Butler terms it. In her critical
essay on Paris is Burning, Butler articulates the complex and often contradictory
forces behind drag performance, describing the construction of “a subject who
repeats and mimes the legitimating norms by which it itself has been degraded,
a subject founded in the project of mastery that compels and disrupts its own
repetitions.”22 Butler recognizes the act of drag itself is not subversive, and
relies on an iterability of norms that can either disrupt and subvert or reify and
reinstate. Similarly, both parody and cover songs operate on repetition—
a repetition of melodic material or of the entire recorded track itself. These
performances portend the risk of reinforcing oppressions and erasures through
ambivalent or uncritical composition and performance of drag.

Furthermore, there exists an ambivalent element of drag yet unexplored
by scholarship: vocality. In relation to musical performance, the choices of
vocal register—whether to sing higher or lower, to feminize/masculinize the

voice—imply acoustic expectations of gender performance. In Judith Peraino’s
perceptive article, “Listening to Gender,” she declares that “[g]ender has been
degenitalized.”23 Peraino goes on to state that because the public discourse
around gender has migrated from primary sexual characteristics (i.e.,
genitalia) to secondary sexual characteristics (e.g., facial hair, Adam’s apple),
the voice has become an important determinant of gender in public discourse
as well.24 Exemplifying this relocation of gender from genital to vocal, drag
queen music explores vocal range and register across all four genres. However,
the genre of original songs engages with vocality in ways atypical of the
parody and cover song genres. This ability to explore novel forms of vocality
reflects the original song genre’s freedom relative to the melodic and musical
strictness of the cover and parody song genres. Because of this freedom, many
drag queens of late have been releasing albums or extended play records. In
her book Listening to the Sirens, Peraino also argues that the technologies of
production, in Foucauldian terms, play an integral role in developing queer
subjectivities.25 By extending Peraino’s framework for homosocial music
development to the original song genre, the final two case analyses will explore
contemporaneous drag queen music composition and production.

One artist contributing to this burgeoning genre is former “RuPaul’s Drag
Race” star Manila Luzon. While Manila maintains she is not a singer, her album
features three singles that have enjoyed relative success in the world of drag
queen music videos. In one of the album’s first singles, “This Body,” Manila
both encodes and decodes acoustic facets of gender. The video begins with
Manila in elderly drag, posed with a choice between studying the Bible or
watching a provocative video celebrating/sexualizing the human body.

The ensuing four minutes are an erotically charged audiovisual paean to the
human body. Suggestive body pans, movements, and embraces interweave
visually amidst the ever-present bass drum pulse. Soon, between the scenes
of self-sexualization, we see the elderly presenting Manila join the dozen other
people in performing their sexualities on screen. Both the song and music video
offer significant messages and complement one another through rhythmically
synchronic editing of image to sound. Throughout, Manila’s vocal lines are
dovetailed, with each fading into the next a few milliseconds before the
previous vocal line fades out. Between these layers of sung text, Manila’s voice
is simultaneously heard speak-singing, a modality between melodic intonation
and spoken phonation. Thus, an approximation of melody is achieved that
stands out prominently from the autotuned layers of sung text. Although brief,
these melodic approximations illustrate a key component found across virtually
all of the drag queen original songs. Whereas “Boy is a Bottom” maintains rigid
boundaries between vocal registers and their associated genders, “This Body”
fluctuates between registers, where Manila’s melodic approximations defy an
assumption of gender on the voicer. In this sense, Jarman-Ivens’s framework
whereby a listener maps the auditory voice to a perceived voicer is disjointed
at the points in the song where Manila vocally approximates. By fluidly
incorporating the sung text and melodic approximations, the music disrupts
associations between gender and vocal registers.

The ability of “This Body” to subvert socially gendered vocality is bolstered by
the supraphrasal construction of the song. Whereas Mario Rey observed the
masculine gendering of the drum in many cultural musical practices, so too
can the four-to-the-floor beat be associated with masculinity. This reading
also supports Peraino’s description of disco and house music in Listening to

the Sirens as being able to “communicate raw physicality and promiscuous
sexuality.”26 Everything the beat provides—synchronicity, pulse, reliability—
acts as a metaphoric skeleton upon which all other musical elements hang.
Building on this skeleton, many disco and house beats historically feature the
female vocal singers: divas. Unmistakably perceived as feminine, the vocal
lines transcend the barlines, sonically soaring above the repetitive throb of
the drum beats, offering emotionality, expression, and melodic iconicity. In
“This Body,” Manila’s vocal line transcends the house beat and marks her voice
as “feminine.” While most of the sung text lies in an alto range (perceived
as feminine), Manila’s spoken textual approximation of melody is also drawn
out in a feminized style along the unrelenting drum loop—putting the vocal
register marked as male in the place of the diva’s voice. Throughout this
repositioning of style and register, it is important to remember the capacity
for subcultural production to offer a mode of critique (or deconstruction)
to dominant discourse requires an intent to avoid the reidealization of that
discourse. Manila Luzon, in “This Body,” engages with the politics of gendered
vocality to locally “pass” in supraphrasal musical elements, but uses this
local “passing” as a means to transgress the static associations of gender
and vocal register. The multifarious approach Manila deploys to acoustically
instantiate her gender performance carries with it the potential to cement
norms of “feminine” to “melody,” and conversely, “masculine” to “rhythm,”
but her melodic approximations toe the line between conforming to gendered
expectations of vocality and transgressing them.

While “This Body” subtly exploits the politics of voice and gender, the melodic
approximations also reward its queer listeners. Against the backdrop of
markedly feminine vocal singing, the approximations function as sonic markers

of a sexualization not often permitted in dominant discourses: the effeminate
male body. Thus, when Manila approximates her speech amid the overlapping
Top40 higher pitched melodies, she places the range of her spoken voice
(sonically perceived as nonfeminine) in the place of the gender-marked melody.
Through this dialectic, Manila sexualizes the femininely marked male voice and
the nonpassing speaking voice. For an audience largely constituted of gay and
queer men, the recognition-reward system utilized in “This Body” also relies on
an experiential knowledge of its minoritarian listeners, appropriating gendered
elements of vocality and orchestration to reward its queer listeners.

The final case examines a music video from a much more overtly political
drag performer. PerSia, a member of the postdrag Black Glitter Collective,
stands apart from the earlier performers in the way she represents her
gender, sexual, and racial identity as well as issues of class and gentrification.
Her contumacious drag alludes to the ways drag as an art form has been
sublimated by some drag queens through increased commercialization and
homonormative success. Her music foregrounds these issues both contextually
and sonically. Set in her hometown of San Francisco, her song “Google Google
Apps Apps” details the gentrification of the Mission and its deleterious effects
on San Francisco’s queer minority populations. Over the course of three verses,
PerSia catalogs the various tech companies overtaking San Francisco, chronicles
the move of queer and minoritarian subjects to the “East Bay . . . living life the
broke way,” and critiques the cultural undertow that usurps many minoritarian
subjects of their respective cultural (and cross-cultural) heritage in the name
of aspirational whiteness. Using the hook “gentrify my love” as a quasi-bridge,
both PerSia and her backup crew don white, affluent drag—exchanging wigs
and vestments while they paste white makeup across their faces and necks.27

The musical elements of “Google Google Apps Apps” are dripping with
dominant cultural and subcultural critique. An excerpt of the first verse and
chorus is shown below.

Twitter, Twitter me
Facebook, Facebook me
Hey girl, did you tag me in that pic?
Silicone, silicone valley
Hey girl, did you get that that eviction notice?
Google google apps apps (3 times)
Gringa gringa apps apps
I just wanna wanna be white!

Critiquing the ubiquity of technology, internet, and necessity in contemporary
urban cultures, PerSia juxtaposes common internet applications with
geographic displacement. The song goes on to critique common practices in
normative gay male spaces (i.e., “How does one become white?/Some bleach
might help/I bleach my asshole does that count?”) and cuts sharply into
hegemonic issues around race, class, and gentrification. The song’s discordant
content is reflected in its musical setting. Unlike the songs aforementioned,
the lyrics to “Google Google Apps Apps” are entirely spoken. Much of the text,
particularly during the latter half of the song, is shouted rather than spoken,
intensifying the vocal delivery and emoting aggression and bitterness. PerSia
vocally approximates all parts of the text that she does not shout and thus
the gendered modality of melody discussed earlier is never imprinted on any
of the vocal lines. The musical setting centers around C minor, however, by
the second verse the bass sustains an anatural pedal tone, creating harmonic

dissonance through the diminished quality. This dissonance echoes social
disruption via harmonic instability. The song’s defiance of a unified texture—
vocal cacophony colliding with instrumental euphony—sonically evinces the
uneasiness that drives PerSia’s politics of drag throughout the music video.

At the heart of both “Google Google Apps Apps” and, to a lesser extent,
“This Body,” is an element of participatory music that reinforces the queer
recognition-reward system. The vocal approximation of melody sing-spoken by
both artists creates a microtonal effect, where pitch variance leads to a more
participatory climate in musical performance. Within the queer system of sonic
recognition and reward, this nontrained affect promotes a sense of “any one
can do this” and in many songs, this nontrained affect permits an inclusive
participation of queer audiences with the queer drag queen performers.
This facet of participatory music, as outlined in Music as Social Life, is not
distinct to drag queen music, however given that the media is experienced in a
presentational format, it is notable the vocal line defies conventions of Western
presentational music. Whereas such music traditionally requires certain levels
of training, proficiency, and performance experience,28 the drag queen musics
surveyed in this study employ the nontrained affect freely throughout their
songs. Importantly, this inclusivity invites listeners to participate, to join in the
production and re-creation of the musical event rather than sit back and merely
replay it. The unique subcultural product of drag queen music videos, via
Judith Peraino’s outline of the technologies of homosocial production, provides
an opportunity for drag performers to imagine queer subjectivities and perform
various “subjecthoods.” Thus, the genre of original songs not only solidifies the
distinct system of recognition-reward, but also instantiates queer subcultural
cohorts through queer subcultural visuo-musical production.

There exists a trend in many music-cultural histories from antiquity to
contemporary times to imbue music with certain sexual affinities. Described
aptly by Suzanne Cusick in Queering the Pitch, music is unremittingly
perceived as “ravishing.”29 While hegemonic responses to this “power” have
included attempts at political, religious, and social control of music, music
as a cultural act can be defiant of those hegemonic applications as well.
Throughout the corpus of drag queen music videos, music and image are used
to criticize, lampoon, and mock hegemonic masculinities, sexualities, and
cultural practices; the parody song effectuates this political occupation and
subordination sans pareil.

Yet, the association between musicality and sexuality also bestows a
tremendous power upon music-makers. Through the technologies of
production, music-makers can create musical products that interweave
sexuality with musicality—and the mass proliferation of drag queen music
videos harmonizes the visual nature of drag with the musical nature of
sexuality. In this comparison, Cusick’s redefinition of music as a “means
of negotiating power and intimacy through the circulation of pleasure”
inextricably links sex and music together as acute transmitters of aural and
thereby physical pleasure.30 In light of this redefinition, the system of queer
recognition-reward imparted through drag queen music videos constitutes
the very nature of a queer mode of listening—the space in which a dominant
cultural practice is co-opted and re-signified in order to travel across queer
channels of desire and expression. The corpus of drag queen music videos
contains both critique and celebration, affirmation and subversion, canticles of
queer bodies, and testimonies to the violence experienced by those bodies.

As drag queen performance adapts with technological innovation and
increasing subcultural literacy, drag queen music faces exigent issues of
sublimation, assimilation, and corporatization. However, certain tools and
techniques continue to be implemented in the production of these queer
artworks that distinguish the drag queen music as unique and potent discursive
artwork; the queer recognition-reward system evinced through melodic
approximation and appropriation remains a similarity among drag queen music.
Spanning more than thirty years of music-in-the-making, the continued growth
of drag queen music warrants deeper exploration of the various techniques
developed throughout these case studies—an inquiry that is as much a poetics
as it is a politics, rife with as many tensions of hegemonic assimilation as it is
with possibilities for insurrectionary imagination.

The terms female impersonator, drag queen, and gender illusionist have
minor distinctions; however, for the scope of this essay, they will be used
interchangeably. In general, the term female impersonator is aged but
utilized predominantly in early studies of drag queens. The term drag queen
originates from a cross-dressing (drag) gay man (queen). Gender illusionist,
on the other hand, is preferred by some performers, notably Latin American
and non-US artists.
Esther Newton, Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America (Chicago:
Univ. of Chicago Press, 1972), 55.
Freya Jarman-Ivens, Queer Voices: Technologies, Vocalities, and the Musical
Flaw, Critical Studies in Gender, Sexuality, and Culture (London: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2011), 13.
Ibid., 3.
See note 2, 48. Newton notes the trend for live-singing drag queens to
fluctuate between “male” and “female” registers as an act of comedy, an act
of defied expectation of the presented and expected gendered norms between
registers and affectation.
Jose Esteban Muñoz, “The White to Be Angry: Vaginal Davis’s Terrorist Drag,”
Social Text, vol. 15, nos. 3–4 (1997), 80–102, esp. 92.
See note 2. Newton notes the existence of this type of performance as a
humorous offspring of the cover song.
For a more detailed account of racial and class issues in the drag king scene,
see Judith Halberstam, “Mackdaddy, Superfly, Rapper: Gender, Race and
Masculinity in the Drag King Scene,” Social Text, vol. 15, nos. 3–4 (1997), 104–
30, esp. 117–19.
Sarah Jenkins, “Hegemonic ‘Realness’? An Intersectional Feminist Analysis of
RuPaul’s Drag Race,” (Florida Atlantic University: ProQuest, 2013), 112. Jenkins
asseverates the dissonance between exotifying values placed on queens of
color and their subsequent failure to achieve success on the show; many drag
queen music videos share this element of exotification.
In normative gay male penetrative sex acts, the penetrator is referred to as
the top and the penetrated as the bottom.
The sexual-positional preference of bottoming is often shamed in normative
gay communities as feminine.
Angélica Pino, “ManShape: Conflicts and Ambiguities Regarding the
Embodiment of Hegemonic Masculinity among Gay Bears,” (Manchester: Univ.
of Manchester, 2014), 47–48, retrieved from

Due to copyright laws, many of the parody songs must have a slightly different
musical setting. DWV adds a distorted bass part to the 2nd verse through the
end of the song that distinguishes the parody from the original and adds
another layer of sonic density.
Mario Rey, “Albita Rodriguez,” in Queering the Popular Pitch (New York:
Routledge, 2006), 119.
See note 7, 83.
Ibid., 84.
The heteronormative construct of sexual power being aligned with the
penetrator has filtered into some gay male communities. Therefore, the
position of top is frequently regarded as the sexual actor with the most
power and agency.
Thomas Turino, Music as Social Life, Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology
(Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2008), 12.
Ibid., 11–12.
In her music video, “Baby Got Front,” Jackie racially fetishizes black men
with regard to “flavor” and size, common stereotypes encountered in gay male
media. In “Santa’s Baby,” she attempts to renarrate the sexually suggestive
original song as an account of being raped by Santa Claus.
Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter (New York: Routledge, 1993), 338.
Judith Peraino, “Listening to Gender: A Response to Judith Halberstam,”
Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, vol. 11 (2007), 59–63, esp.
Ibid., 62–63.
Judith Peraino, Listening to the Sirens: Musical Technologies of Queer Identity
from Homer to Hedwig (Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 2006), 152.
Ibid., 176.
The video segment of white, affluent drag, can also be read as a subcultural
critique of more prominent drag queens who engage ambivalently in the
process of impersonation, often appropriating and mocking nonwhite
femininities. For more scholarship on the appropriation of nonwhite
femininity in contemporary drag performance, see note 10, 57. Criticizing
dominant cultural discourse as well as dominant subcultural discourse,
PerSia’s manifesto solidifies the earlier points about both drag’s potential for
See note 19, 46.
Suzanne Cusick, “On a Lesbian Relationship with Music,” in Queering the
Pitch: The New Gay and Lesbian Musicology (New York: Routledge, 2006), 79.
Ibid., 78.
Car Crazy to Metro Manic:
The Future of Rail in Los Angeles

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Department of Environmental Studies and
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Department of Print and Digital Journalism
Ekaterina Svyatets, Faculty Advisor

For the purposes of this essay, I concentrate on Metro’s rail services only, not its
extensive bus program.

Ask any Los Angeles County resident to describe his or her commute, and the
answer will probably sound more like “the 110 to the 10” than “the Expo line
to the Red line.” Los Angeles is a car city, and because of this, it is known for
its expansive freeway system, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and smog—certainly
not for an efficient and easy-to-use rail system. Even as Angelenos frequently
complain about the city’s smog problem, they continue their driving habits.
Carbon emissions from personal vehicles are a main contributor to air pollution,
so by reducing the number of drivers through increased rail use, smog levels
could be reduced. However, Los Angeles citizens are accustomed to their driving
habits, and are hesitant to transition to rail. In fact, overall ridership has recently
decreased. Efforts to reduce carbon emissions through increased use of public
transportation are held back by the combination of residents’ social inclination
to drive and the current organization of Los Angeles’s public transportation
system. Los Angeles residents frequently complain about the rail system’s limited
reach, and fare evasion continues to plague the agency. Meanwhile, residents
still view cars as a superior mode of transportation. In spite of all this, it is not
too late for Los Angeles to undergo a transportation renaissance. Public use
could be increased through a multistep process. First, the Los Angeles County
Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro for short, must solve existing
problems to maximize both efficiency and profits; expanding the rail line will take
care of efficiency, while reducing fare evasion increases profits. After improving
the system as a whole by solving these problems, Metro can utilize strategic

marketing and social media to change attitudes about public transportation
in Los Angeles. This combination of solving old problems and starting new
marketing campaigns will work together to rebrand Metro as a whole,
transforming the City of Cars to the City of Rail.

Since nearly 80% of Southern California commuters use personal vehicles,1
the region struggles to escape its notorious “No. 1 rankings for worst smog and
heaviest traffic”2—two of the primary effects of car culture. Clearly, if more
commuters utilized the Los Angeles Metro, there would be fewer cars on the
road, reducing both smog and traffic. Although there are many different causes
of air pollution, personal vehicles are one of the worst offenders, representing
“43% of the City of Los Angeles’s emissions, including carbon dioxide.”3 These
emissions come with significant consequences, such as “health risks resulting
from transportation emissions and the difficulty . . . in meeting federal clean air
standards.”4 Transportation emissions and the resulting smog is not just an issue
of aesthetics, it is an issue of health. Los Angeles has experienced these negative
health effects firsthand, with ozone levels that violate “federal health standards
an average of 137 days a year.”5 As commuters use their personal vehicles to get to
work, they are figuratively and literally driving themselves into an unhealthy city.
The high levels of air pollution in Los Angeles caused by personal vehicles prove
that more commuters need to switch to mass transit.

In spite of cars’ negative impact on air pollution, Angelenos continue to favor
them over rail. According to Metro’s own statistics, average weekday boardings
have decreased from 359,855 in March 2013 to 339,094 in March 2016.6 Although
this is only a 1% decrease, these stagnant numbers are not promising for the

Metro system. In order to truly make an impact on the 43% of Los Angeles
emissions that come from personal vehicles,7 Metro must increase its ridership.
The numbers are especially disappointing when compared to other cities.
While Los Angeles Metro transports an average of 350,000 daily riders by rail,
Washington, DC and San Francisco carry 745,000 and 400,000, respectively,
despite both cities having smaller populations.8 Granted, other major cities
tend to have “strong rail traditions.”9 Meanwhile, Angelenos remain attached to
their cars. This tendency could be explained by consumer research studies that
“have found people . . . are reluctant to change established behavior without
good reason. Travel behavior—and particularly daily commuting—consists of
patterns that become deeply ingrained.”10 In Los Angeles, this means driving is
deeply ingrained in peoples’ daily commute habit. But, by giving residents a good
reason to change, Metro may be able to convert drivers to rail riders. This good
reason could come in the form of a response to user complaints about Metro’s
inefficiency in select regions.

The current Metro Rail system’s absence from several areas is one major reason
Los Angeles commuters continue to use their cars religiously. Metro’s inefficiency
is exemplified by the fact that “only 36% of zero-vehicle households [in Los
Angeles] can get to their place of employment in 90 minutes or less.”11 The key
phrase here is “zero-vehicle households.” The people included in this statistic
are those who are using the Metro not because they want to, but because they
have to. With service this poor, it begs the question of why anyone would opt
to use mass transit if they had another alternative. Part of Metro’s inefficiency
is due to Los Angeles having dispersed job centers, ranging from downtown, to
Burbank, to Beverly Hills.12 Other major cities may have higher ridership, but they

also have “dominant cores,” simplifying the system.13 Additionally, the current rail
map shortchanges major job hotspots in the region, such as the San Fernando
Valley and the Inland Empire.14 For commuters who work in a region not served
by Metro, using rail for their commute is never an option to begin with. Los
Angeles’s lack of transportation infrastructure is not only a common complaint
among residents, “in a widely recognized report card issued by the American
Society of Civil Engineers, LA County transportation infrastructure earned a C+
grade.”15 This critique serves as strong support for the notion that Metro has room
for improvement. The lack of mass transit options in certain geographic areas is
preventing workers from using it for their daily commute, giving them no other
choice but to use their cars.

However, Measure R, which took effect in July 2009, and Measure M, passed
in 2016, provide Metro with much-needed funding, allowing the rail line
to expand. Combined, the two measures impose a one-cent sales tax for
LA County to partially fund a dozen rail projects.16 The measures’ broad
support suggests the public is willing to invest in Metro. New rail projects
in Los Angeles include the recently opened Gold Line Foothill Extension,
which expands the route from Pasadena to Azusa, and the Expo line to Santa
Monica.17 Other projects include the multistage extension to the Purple Line,
which will take it to La Cienega Boulevard and eventually, Westwood; a
downtown regional connector that will unite the Gold, Blue, and Expo lines;
and the Crenshaw Line, which will connect the Expo Line to the Green Line and
finally provide mass transit access to Los Angeles International Airport.18 These
expansive new projects solve two of the primary problems that have plagued
Metro: a slow commute for those who do use rail, and an inability to use the

system for commuters who work or live in unserved areas. As a result, “these
rides will provide a significant boost to ridership”19 and “enable people to get
to work more quickly.”20 These planned rail extensions are largely a direct
response to resident complaints. Expanding the Metro system eliminates
some of the barriers keeping Angelenos inside their cars, and should spur an
increase in ridership.

While Metro is in the process of adding these new lines, it must solve a major
problem plaguing existing ones—too many people boarding the rail system
without paying. At many stations, “turnstiles are unlocked, security is lax, and
commuters often hop over or pass through undetected.”21 For Metro users, the
choice can be unfortunately easy; without security or locked gates, there is
nothing stopping a determined fare evader. A study by the Los Angeles Times
found as many as 40% of riders could be avoiding payment, potentially costing
the agency “tens of millions of dollars in revenue.”22 Given that Metro is projecting
a $36 million deficit in its 2016 operating budget, those tens of millions of dollars
certainly count.23 Until Metro figures out how to combat fare evasion, adding
new rails will only multiply the problem. According to LA City Council member
Paul Krekorian, who also serves on the Metro Board of Directors, “before we
even begin to talk about expanding capacity, we have to make sure the people
that are currently riding it are paying their fares.”24 At first glance, it may seem
as if fare evasion and rail expansion have no correlation. However, new rail lines
mean more entrances, providing additional opportunities for people to board the
train for free, and more money lost for Metro. For this reason, it is imperative a
solution to fare evasion be found before expanding the rail system.

The solution to fare evasion seems rather obvious—locked turnstiles. Transit
planners first decided to leave turnstiles unlocked because they “thought locked
gates would make it even harder to persuade Los Angeles residents to dip their
toes into the mass transit water,”25 instead choosing to rely on the honor system,
trusting riders would pay because it is the right thing to do. However, with
rampant fare evasion, it is now clear the honor system is not working, and it is
time for a change. Simply put, “if given the option to slip onto a train without
paying a fare, there will inevitably be evaders.”26 By the same logic, taking away
the option to enter the rail system without paying by installing locked turnstiles
will keep people from evading fare. Installing locked turnstiles is neither
groundbreaking nor innovative; most other cities began locking their subway
gates years ago. In New York, for example, passengers can only enter the subway
by swiping fare-cards to unlock turnstiles, resulting in an annual average subway
evasion rate of just over 1% compared to Los Angeles’s estimated rate of 40%.27
Additionally, Metro already has its own case study in locked turnstiles. The
agency tested locking gates at ten stations and reported increased revenue at
the 7th Street/Metro Center and North Hollywood stations by 18% to 22%.28 The
results of this study are not surprising—locking turnstiles forces people to pay,
resulting in increased revenue.

Some officials believe the increase in revenue is not worth the price of turnstile
installation, but ending fare evasion will provide more than just monetary benefits.
Opponents question “whether the supposed recovery of lost revenue would
cover the $46 million installation cost, plus $103,000 a month in maintenance.”29
However, in addition to some monetary benefit, installing locked turnstiles would
also bring intangible benefits, such as greater respect for Metro. “Income from

fares covers just 26% of Metro’s bus and rail system operating expenses, one
of the lowest rates of any major world city.”30 This places pressure on Metro to
increase its own ticket revenue, especially as the rail network expands. But with
fare evasion, increasing revenue is difficult, especially since “the widespread
perception of fare evasion undermines public confidence in the agency and makes
it harder for Metro to convince riders and taxpayers that it needs more money,”
as “Metro makes the case for future fare increases and, potentially, for a sales tax
increase in 2016.”31 When a large portion of riders are using the system for free,
people who actually pay are not likely to support a fare increase. Additionally,
taxpayers and riders may assume that if Metro was truly desperate for revenue,
it would crack down on fare evaders. Making riders pay “could serve as an
investment in mass transit, which, in turn, will hopefully translate into a stronger
connection between the rider and the system.”32 If consumers are paying for a
service, they will care more about its quality. Enforcing fares will allow Metro to
prove it should be taken seriously. Consumers do not expect to use airplanes or
rental cars for free, because that has never been an option. By eliminating the
option of a free ride, Metro will increase its credibility, as well as riders’ feeling of
investment in and connection with the agency.

As important as it is for Metro to expand its rail service and reduce fare evasion,
these ventures alone will not cure the underlying problem facing it: Los Angeles’s
car culture. The next step is to utilize the power of marketing to change residents’
attitudes toward Metro. In a video interview about marketing the system, Clayton
Lane, a transport expert for EMBARQ telecommunications service, poses the
question: can rail compete with cars by competing for airwaves, advertising
space, and commercial times? “The auto industry spends over 20 billion dollars

a year promoting automobiles. What would happen if transit agencies spent a
similar amount promoting mass transit?”33 With this, Lane suggests mass transit
must advocate for itself through marketing. Agencies such as Metro cannot just
sit in silence and wait for consumers to come to them. One marketing strategy
is to clearly show not just why rail is a good option, but why it is better than
driving. Marketing departments “can (and must) capitalize on the fact that there
are weaknesses in the competition’s position: not all automobile drivers are
very happy with their situation.”34 Pointing out problems with personal vehicle
transportation to audiences will be key to such a campaign.

Developing a strategic marketing campaign to change public attitudes would not
be difficult for Metro, as the agency could easily build upon past examples. An
early example of public transportation marketing that portrayed rail as a superior
alternative to cars came from Columbus Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), which
in the 1980s “developed a creative advertising campaign to change attitudes by
illustrating the financial benefits of riding the bus in order to provide nonriders with
an additional rationale for switching modes.”35 The campaign’s tagline was “Ride
to an $1,800 Vacation,” a nod to possible savings from using the bus instead of
driving. This method specifically appeals to people who do not already use public
transportation, and implies the money they spend on their cars could be spent
elsewhere, like on a vacation. In the case of COTA, the bus is the hero; riding it saves
passengers money, allowing them luxurious trips they previously could not afford.
Metro can use a similar strategy to paint rail as the hero of transportation, like it
did during the height of gas prices in 2008, when it ran a creative ad campaign
pitting the rail and car against each other. The “opposites” or “problem/solution”
campaign juxtaposed transportation problems with Metro as the solution. Examples

included the word “naughty” paired with a smog graphic, alongside the Metro logo
with the word “nice”; an empty gas tank with the word “bitter” contrasted with the
Metro logo as “sweet”; and a traffic jam as “stress” with the Metro as “relief.”36 These
advertisements portrayed Metro as not just an alternative to cars, but a superior
alternative. They are effective because they speak directly to common problems
drivers face. Reviving or revamping such a marketing campaign, especially at
this key juncture in the agency’s existence, will again remind the public of Metro’s
important role in the county. As Metro continues to improve, strong marketing will
convince new riders to utilize the system.

In addition to advertising, Metro can utilize social media to connect with its
current and future customers. According to Matt Raymond, former Chief
Communications Officer for Metro, “the key is attracting new riders and getting
people interested in using the system again . . . one of the key goals with our
transportation department is making public transportation cool.”37 In today’s
digital age, social media is certainly perceived as “cool.” Everyone from Justin
Bieber to the President of the United States operates a social media account,
utilizing its power to build fan bases. With social media, “influence and
information happen instantly, creating word-of-mouth communications at the
speed of light.”38 Through clever marketing, Metro can use existing online social
networks to its advantage. The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA)
exemplified this through a contest to name the agency’s smart card; consumers
were invited to post ideas on JTA’s Facebook page.39 Contests such as these
expand the agency’s sphere of influence. When someone posts on JTA’s wall, their
friends can see it, even if they are not following JTA. Therefore, new potential
riders are exposed to the agency.

Metro could benefit from similar social media contests, such as an Instagram
photo contest of consumers riding the train. Every time a user posts a Metro-
tagged photo, they are subtly marketing the agency to their peers. This marketing
is actually very effective; “individual behavior can also be influenced by the
values and attitudes of others and a desire to obtain approval for conforming with
other people’s behavior patterns.”40 In other words, if an Angeleno is scrolling
through their Instagram feed and notices photos of many of their friends on the
Metro, they may feel more inclined to use its services in the future. Clearly, Metro
has much to gain from bolstering its social media presence.

An increase in mass transit ridership will undoubtedly help the city as a whole,
as reducing the number of cars on the road will in turn reduce both traffic and
air pollution levels. However, Metro has a fair amount of work to do in order
to convince Angelenos to break up with their cars. Utilizing funds from 2008’s
Measure R, and 2016’s Measure M, will allow Metro to increase its reach, opening
up rail as an option for countless commuters. Installing locked turnstiles will
provide additional funds, while increasing consumer respect for the agency as
a brand. Both forcing users to actually pay for their ride and expanding its rail
line will prove Metro is here to stay. Finally, strategic marketing and engaging
social media campaigns will bring the system more public attention, especially to
nonriders. Convincing these people to use mass transit is key, and through social
media, they may be swayed by their own friends’ Metro use. This could result in a
domino effect, as more and more Angelenos begin to use the rail system. In a few
decades, asking an Angeleno how s/he gets to work could yield the response “the
Expo line, to the new Purple line, to Westwood.”

International Energy Agency, EV City Casebook (2012), retrieved from www.iea.
Steve Gorman, “Los Angeles Retains Notorious Rankings for Worst Smog, Traffic,”
Reuters (April 24, 2013).
See note 1.
National Research Council, Driving and the Built Environment (Washington, DC:
Transportation Research Board, 2009).
See note 1.
LA Metro, “Ridership Statistics,” April 2015.
See note 1.
Ethan N. Elkind, Railtown: The Fight for the Los Angeles Metro Rail and the
Future of the City (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2014).
Dan Weikel, “OFF THE RAIL; Metrolink, Once the Nation’s Fastest-Growing
Commuter Line, Struggles with Declining Ridership,” Los Angeles Times
(September 8, 2014).
Christopher H. Lovelock, Marketing Public Transit: A Strategic Approach (New
York: Praeger, 1987).
Matt Sledge, “Los Angeles Public Transit Access Top Among Major Metropolitan
Areas, Besting Even New York,” The Huffington Post (August 18, 2011).
See note 9.
Simone Wilson, “Fake L.A. Subway Map: What Los Angeles Would Look Like
With a Comprehensive Rail System,” L.A. Weekly (April 11, 2012).
California Legislature, Senate Committee on Transportation, Impacts of State
Transportation Funding Reductions and Budget Proposals on the Los Angeles
Region (Sacramento: Senate Publications, 2004).
AirTalk, “The Past, Present, and Future of Metro Rail in Southern California,”
Southern California Public Radio (October 9, 2014).
See note 8.
See note 11.
Ari Bloomekatz, “Metro to Get Serious on Fare Evaders; the Agency is to Draw Up
a Plan for Locking Gates at Subway and Light-Rail Stations,” Los Angeles Times
(February 24, 2012).
“Metro’s Numbers Game; Is Fare Evasion a Big Problem on L.A.’s Rail and
Subway System? No One Knows, and That Is a Problem,” Los Angeles Times (July
30, 2014).
Laura J. Nelson and Jon Schleuss, “How Many Passengers Are Paying to Ride the
Los Angeles Metro Trains?” Los Angeles Times (July 28, 2014).

Adam Nagourney, “For Los Angeles, an End to the ‘Free’ Subway Ride,” New York
Times (May 4, 2013).
Daniel Rothberg, “Doing Away with Metro Rail Honor System Is Common Sense,”
Los Angeles Times (June 19, 2013).
Alla V. Reddy, Jacqueline Kuhls, and Alex Lu, “Measuring and Controlling Sub-
way Fare Evasion,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation
Research Board, no. 2216 (December 2011), 85–99.
See note 21.
See note 25.
See note 23.
See note 22.
See note 26.
“LA Metro: Promoting Mass Transit,” (EMBARQ Network, 2010), retrieved from
See note 10.
See note 33.
Susan Bregman and Kari Edison Watkins, Best Practices for Transportation
Agency Use of Social Media (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2014).
See note 10.
To Dream the Impossible Real: Christine’s Path
as Case Study in Medieval Dream Poetry

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Department of English
Joseph Dane, Faculty Advisor

Dreams teach us. Our dreams are the greatest poets.1

On the last day of March 1403, a poem of some 6,400 lines was presented to
the duke of Berry in his Paris residence. Two additional copies were given to the
dukes of Burgundy and Orléans, and while the manuscript is dedicated to the king
himself, “illustrious in honor, exalted in dignity . . . most worthy lily of magnificent
splendor,”2 King Charles VI had, by now, been stricken with the incapacitating
mental illness that threatened his reason and his reign. The name of the woman
who composed the poem is not spoken within its text until line 6329, but she was
known to the dukes, each maneuvering for power in an ailing kingdom.

The poem relayed a dream the woman had on the night of October 5, 1402, a
dream in which the woman travels to the far ends of the earth and the firmament
above; a dream in which she comes not face to face with God, but with others
who have—others real and imagined who have served as teachers in the books
the woman has read. In this dream, the woman is not only voyager but witness to
a celestial dispute, charged to transmit a worthy account to the French court, so
that it might render wise judgment to remedy human-made destruction.

The poem’s dedication asks these real-world men of power to excuse the woman’s
“simplemindedness” and “mistakes through ignorance,” imploring “Powerful
princes, do not despise my little poem because I am worth little.” Nevertheless,
in the manuscript she at once imagines, authors, transcribes, and messengers,
its maker ventures not only to realize the seemingly impossible, she undertakes
to instruct a king.

No, the dreamer-sleeper (at the heart of sleep, in its profound center, inaccessible,
insensible) is not prey to the grief that presses heavily on all the living, neither is [s]he
simply resting; [s]he is busy inventing h[er]life.3

Born in Venice in 1364 and brought to France as a young child after her father
accepted a position as royal physician and astrologer in the court of King Charles
V, Christine de Pizan has been widowed thirteen years when we meet her at the
poem’s beginning, neither dreaming nor sleeping, but grieving anew the untimely
death of her husband. His loss, and those of her father and King Charles the
Wise, left Christine responsible for the care of her three small children, mother,
and a niece in a country beset by internal and external strife. She was just
twenty-five and easily might have remarried. Instead, she decided to earn a living
through writing.

Alone now in her study, Christine reveals to the reader the full force of her
despair, blaming Fortune for depriving her of a past happy life and for imprisoning
her heart “in such tight bonds that it is weary of struggling.” And yet this heart
is not so weary that that woman in whom it beats does not take up her pen to
write the book that becomes the book we are reading, Le Livre du chemin de long
estude [The Book of the Path of Long Study].4 In this regard, Christine’s Chemin
works exactly as other dream poems of the time period: as a literary construction,
making its reader aware, “that it has a beginning and an end . . . ; that it has a
narrator, whose experience constitutes the subject-matter . . . ; that its status is
that of an imaginative fiction . . . ; in short that it is not a work of nature but a
work of art.”5

It is as a made thing, too, that distinguishes the medieval dream poem from
mystical literature, sometimes called the dream vision. As Helen Philips notes:
“Most dream poems are consciously literary. . . . Dream poems make the worlds
inside and outside the dream frame seem significantly distinct. Mystical visions,
in contrast, are presented as a direct knowledge of God’s truth, the divine reality
suddenly present within everyday, waking reality, and breaking any distinction
between them.”6

In the Chemin, as with other medieval dream poems—Chaucer’s Parliment of the
Fowls or Jean de Meun’s reworking of Guillaume de Lorris’s Le Roman de la Rose,
for example—the dream as it is recounted may include startling imagery, divine
beings, or seemingly visionary truths, but these always occur as part of the dream
narrative and never does that story claim to write itself. What “the fictional
device of the dream” does facilitate is a multiplicity of literary techniques, subject
matter, and places of slippage whereby a reader might enter as if she, too, were
a dreamer, crossing a threshold from one realm of consciousness to another. If
ever there existed a literature of intertextuality, of entering into existing texts as a
method both of response and of creation, it would be the medieval dream poem.

When we speak of the Middle Ages as the ages of authority we are usually thinking about the
authority of the Church. But they were the age not only of her authority, but of authorities. If
their culture is regarded as a response to environment, then the elements in that environment
to which it responded most vigorously were manuscripts. Every writer, if he possibly can, bases
himself on an earlier writer, follows an auctour.7

As expected, Christine will indeed embark on a voyage, but just as the planets
were thought to transmit certain influences, so, too, will the narrative of
this dreamer be affected by bedtime reading matter. Still very much awake
and looking to assuage her despair, the book Christine selects is Boethius’s
Consolation of Philosophy.

Written in the sixth century and acknowledged by C. S. Lewis as “one of the
most influential books ever written in Latin,” the Consolation combines prose
and poetry, Greek philosophy and Christian faith, as it recounts Boethius’s
dream-time encounter with Lady Philosophy while he awaits death for
treason. Before falling out of favor with Roman Emperor Theodoric, Boethius
had served as a high-ranking government official, and Lewis maintains that
“the consolation Boethius seeks is not for death but for ruin,” that which
Lady Fortune wreaks at whim.8 The only constructive response to such
capriciousness—which is to say, the contingency of life—arrives in those truths
revealed through the conversation Lady Philosophy has with the imprisoned
Boethius, many of which Christine relays in the Chemin: “Happiness can only
result from a goodness which cannot fail. . . . How . . . can the clarity that
illumines enlighten you if you remain dark, having in you none of your own
brightness?”9 In the double-consciousness encompassed by the dream poem,
in the darkness that sleep brings, such brightness might be found.

Along with these glimmerings, the Consolation offers suitable gravitas for
the darkening thoughts of an autumn evening,10 and in reaching for Boethius,
Christine allies herself, too, with a particular gravitas of authority. If, as Christine
claims of her choice, a “good example is very helpful in achieving comfort and
removing displeasure,” this particular example also lends credence to Christine’s

account, confirming her as a worthy teller, as it points the reader to the kind
of auctours that may be encountered in the narrative to come—venerated
ancestors human, imagined, and allegorical. True to “the characteristically
medieval type of imagination” of the writers of her time, Christine’s imaginings
in the Chemin are not “a transforming imagination like Wordsworth’s or a
penetrative imagination like Shakespeare’s. [Hers] is a realizing imagination.”11
Even as the author of her own experience, Christine respected the accepted role
of narrator-dreamer as one who composes within a well-regarded lineage and
does not venture out alone.

O glory and light of other poets, let the long study and the great love that has made me
search thy volume avail me.12

These are the words a relieved Dante, lost in the middle of the journey, exclaims
to Virgil after he appears to help the lone pilgrim upon his arduous path. Christine
relays his invocation, almost word for word, when her dream-self declares she “. .
. would use [it] instead of the Gospel or the sign of the Cross when I encountered
various dangers and perils.” That Christine avails herself of Dante’s model as both
author and protagonist of the Chemin is perhaps no surprise: The Commedia was
written in Christine’s native Italian, and while she was certainly fluent in French
and adopted it as the language in which she composed, she makes explicit note
of Dante’s words “to describe what Virgil had taught: how to compose in the
beautiful style.”13

Christine is believed to have had at least some knowledge of Latin, but as
revolutionary as Dante’s vernacular was for the late-medieval literary world, the

effect of an unmediated reading experience must have felt an unprecedented
freedom. The status both of Christine’s father and her husband (a court notary)
had opened unique access to the extensive library of Charles V, but the serious
knowledge acquired by Christine came about primarily after their deaths as
she embarked on a rigorous decade-long program of self-study. While never a
mystic, Christine maintained an active religious faith, and to rely on the words of
a poet over those of the church speaks to the depth of trust she must have felt
for their teaching.

As for the figure selected to guide the Chemin’s pilgrim on her path—the Cumaean
Sibyl—she, too, has a direct line to Dante; after all, who could be more fitting
than the one who led Virgil’s hero, Aeneas, through the frightening caves of the
Underworld?14 Christine names her Almethea, the one who prophesies, too, in
Virgil’s Eclogues. Helen Phillips notes that “authoritative dream guides go back to
classical dream narratives such as Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis (ca. 55 BC), and
may arrive in the guise of deity, human or a personification.”15 In the Chemin, the
Sibyl appears as

a lady of great stature, with a very virtuous and wise appearance, and a
dignified manner. She was neither young nor pretty, but aged and very
calm. She did not wear a crown, for she was no crowned queen; rather,
she was simply coiffed with a veil tied around her head, and she wore,
according to the old-fashioned manner, a wide tunic. She gave the
impression of strength and durability. This lady seemed to me to be an
honorable, calm, temperate, and very wise woman—the mistress of all
her powers.

This is not how the Sibyl is portrayed by another poet of Christine’s certain
acquaintance, Ovid. Neither does Christine ask for Ovid’s assistance on the path,
though he certainly makes an appearance. For her spurning of Phoebus, Ovid’s
Sibyl ages until she is reduced to an ampulla prison, but Christine restores full
body, voice, and prophetic power to the one who will guide her. It is perhaps
a daring move, reversing a fate reported by Ovid and placing an aged human
woman in the exalted position of auctour, but Christine also knew well that to
receive even a morally worthy male companion in dream would be to compromise
her reputation as a woman of virtue. Christine’s dreamer might not “possess
enough knowledge for [her] understanding to be worthy” of the Sibyl’s guidance,
but Christine the writer understood fully the implications of her chosen teacher.

[Poetic reverie] is a reverie which poetry puts on the right track, the track an expanding
consciousness follows. This reverie is written, or, at least, promises to be written. It is
already facing the great universe of the blank page. . . . Poetic reverie gives us the world of
worlds. Poetic reverie is a cosmic reverie.16

I was amazed at these wonders, but nevertheless I kept turning my eyes back to earth.17

The Sibyl appears at a crucial time in the text: after Christine has found personal
consolation for her grief through reading Boethius, but before the narrative of
the dream proper begins. Between waking and sleeping, a liminal space opens
whereby might be entered a world made possible by dream. But, on the edge
of sleep, before this world can be experienced, the reality of the world as it is
enters Christine’s consciousness—and that world is so filled with discord, strife,
and chaos, that to imagine it otherwise seems itself an impossible dream. It is
between these two states—impossible and possible, real and imagined, waking

and sleeping—that the journey of the Chemin will occur. Such does Christine’s
depiction remain in keeping with other dream poems of the Middle Ages as
described by Steven F. Kruger: “associated with both earth and heaven. . . .
Navigating a course between upward- and downward-looking visions, the middle
vision offers a way of exploring the connections between the world in which we
find ourselves and the transcendent realm for which we yearn.”18

The Sibyl arrives at exactly that point where Christine’s desire for the
“peace, joy, concord, and love” found in heaven exceeds her ability to create
them on earth. But it is because of that desire—and the diligence already
demonstrated—that the Sibyl believes Christine worthy: In this sense,
dreamer and guide choose each other—one earthly, one equipped to ascend
the firmament.

For all the far reaches of their travels, Christine never abandons hold of her
own place. When they catch sight of the nine muses bathing in the Fountain of
Wisdom, Christine neither approaches them nor asks for a sip from the fountain,
as did those male philosophers and poets who “in times past . . . when they
wanted to slake their thirst in the sweet water that kept them wise.” Nor do the
venerated men in fact appear, as they do in Dante’s Elysian Fields; only their
names are brought into existence through the Sibyl’s voice. And while Christine’s
own father is among this illustrious enumeration, the Sybil reminds the beloved
daughter that she “cannot be part of this noble school,” as was Dante.

Neither, however, is Christine made to enter the “dark and obscure” path that
leads “to hell with no hope of return.” Her path is the one called Long Study,
“. . . reserved for those of noble heart and subtle mind.”

They tell me their stories in their language, in the twilight, all alike or almost, half gentle half
cruel, before any day, any hour. I don’t wake, the dream wakes me with one hand. . . . Docile
I say not a word. The dream dictates. I obey eyes closed. . . . The dream commands. I do.19

When the path leads beyond the terrestrial realm, the Sybil calls upon
Imagination, which releases a ladder made out of a material “called speculation,
beloved by all subtle intelligences.” With the Sybil’s help, Christine begins her
ascent—not as far as Dante scaled the Golden Ladder, nor as far as Jacob to
hear God’s voice, but as far as the fifth heaven, “beautiful, clear-shining and
most exalted.” That Christine’s method of entry is a ladder-that-mirrors reflects
a common trope in dream poetry,20 and makes sense in the Chemin, not only as
a method of extending knowledge beyond the self, but as a signal to the self-
reflexive act the genre performs, “examining its own constructs and movement.”
As articulated by Kruger, “the self-conscious dream poem is not independent
of the external reality or truth that it attempts to represent. The dream poem’s
self-reflexivity, in other words, often leads it into questions of epistemology.”21
Such questions of knowledge and truth, value and virtue, are exactly what occupy
the last section of the Chemin, as Christine assumes the role of silent listener
and scribe for the allegorical debate waged by Ladies Reason, Wealth, Nobility,
Chivalry, and Wisdom.

Keeping in mind the words of these noble figures do in fact spring from the same
brain that guides Christine’s pen, the debate recounted is intended neither as
showy display nor star-shot philosophical exercise: as she notes in the Chemin’s
prologue, Christine intends the message she delivers to help King Charles VI “render
a judgment” that will help resolve the many crises threatening the kingdom. In

extending the dream poem’s multiplicity to include a mirror for princes, the Chemin
itself becomes a mirror of the right path, whereby all the knowledge and learning
displayed—literary, historical, geographical, astronomical—lead to a genuine goal:
the betterment of the world. As Andrea Tarnowski notes, “Like her predecessor
Boethius, [Christine] feels compelled to find another, greater, more lasting meaning
in what goes on around her; whether as a traveling protagonist in the Chemin or a
developing author, Christine is a perpetual pilgrim, an idealist and moralist with her
sights set beyond the visible.”22

And yet those sights, however impossible, always return to the real. Maybe this
is part of their impossibility, and yet, in the very fact of the Chemin’s existence as
a written text, Christine does achieve it: She dreams the impossible real. Within
the dream, she imagines the music of celestial movement and then writes it into
a book so we can turn the pages in our hands. Like Dante glancing earthward
or the heavenly traveler reported in Scipio’s Dream,23 so too does Christine look
down to see what “seemed to me (I assure you) . . . the entire earth as a little
sphere, as round as a ball.” She might not ascend as high as the Empyrean
Sphere, but neither will she fall “like Icarus,” for, as the Sibyl points out, “it is not
presumption that leads [Christine] into this exalted region, rather [a] great desire
to see beautiful things that impels.” Such has been the dream of poets since the
first dreams written down.

Dreams pave the way for life, and they determine you without you understanding
their language. One would like to learn this language, but who can teach and learn it?
Scholarliness alone is not enough; there is knowledge of the heart that gives deeper insight.
The knowledge of the heart is in no book and is not to be found in the mouth of any teacher,
but grows out of you like the green seed from the dark earth . . . 24

A case study is single example of many, but in the case of the Chemin, it is also
singular, meaning at once representative and wholly exceptional. Its author
took as her example those who came before—their methods, their figures,
their images, sometimes even their very words. Those of Dante she read in the
language of her birth. Those of Boethius solaced her to dream. But Christine
was the one who placed herself in the text. Though not physically imprisoned as
was Boethius, nor exiled as was Dante, Christine nevertheless worked within the
confines of restriction. Some of these she broke by writing publicly as a woman.
Others she broke simply through diligent study of what the men wrote, and of
how they wrote it. As Lewis notes, “At his most characteristic, medieval man
was not a dreamer nor a wanderer. He was an organiser, a codifier, a builder of
systems.”25 So, too, was Christine a wholehearted believer of a “single, complex,
harmonious Model of the Universe.” In re-creating the inner workings of their
common cosmology, she looked to exemplar magicians and adopted their very
best tricks. The Chemin is a record of that learning. The singular thing she did
was to accomplish it.

From everywhere, images invade the air, go from one world to another, and call both
ears and eyes to enlarged dreams. Poets abound, the great and the small, the famous
and the obscure, those who love and those who dazzle. Whoever lives for poetry must
read everything. When one allows himself to be animated by new images, he discovers
iridescence in the images of old books. Poetic ages unite in a living memory. The new age
awakens the old. The old age comes to live again in the new.26

The poem ends abruptly with a sharp knock into the domestic everyday realm,
Christine’s mother awakening her late-sleeping daughter. No matter how grand
her dreams, a woman of 1402 did not easily realize her imaginings into existence.

Even in the fifth heaven, Christine knew her place, but it didn’t keep her from
taking a seat at her desk, writing as the auctours had. It didn’t stop her from
reading their manuscripts, creating her own, and writing in this one that her
“name will be resplendent long after [her] death.” She doesn’t (yet) claim this
herself: it’s prophesized by Almethea on the October night of her dream. We
cannot know for certain how The Book of the Path of Long Study was received
by its royal recipients, or even if it was read. Clearly, it did not intervene in
the events of history—by 1420, those particular dukes of Berry, Burgundy,
and Orléans were all dead, the French kingdom shattered by war, the ordered
workings of the cosmos on their way to nostalgic renderings. But five hundred
years after its initial dreaming—almost to the month—a poet named Rilke will
place Christine’s name in a book, and her Chemin in a king’s hands. Through the
glass case of his madness, Rilke’s king will be moved by the dream he reads, but
it won’t be the surety of its transcription nor the earnestness of its debate. As
with Boethius, as with Dante, the mechanism of resonance will be the dreamer’s
singular humanness, broken and enduring though a seemingly impossible real:

On such days the king was filled with benign awareness. Had a painter
of that time been seeking some indication for existence in Paradise,
he could have found no more perfect model than the assuaged figure
of the king, as it stood at one of the high windows in the Louvre under
the droop of its shoulders. He was turning the pages of the little book
by Christine de Pisan [sic] which is called ‘The Way of Long Learning’
and was dedicated to him. He was not reading the erudite polemics of
that allegorical parliament which had undertaken to discover the prince
who should be worthy to rule over the whole earth. The book always

opened for him at the simplest passages: where it spoke of the heart
which for thirteen long years, like a retort over the fire of suffering, had
only served to distil the water of bitterness for the eyes; he understood
that true consolation only began when happiness was long enough gone
and over forever. Nothing was more precious to him than this comfort.
And while his gaze seemed to embrace the bridge beyond, he loved to
see the world through this heart moved to great ways by the powerful
Cumaean—the world of those days: the adventurous seas, the strange-
towered cities held shut by the pressure of distances, the ecstatic
loneliness of the assembled mountains, and the heavens, explored in
fearsome doubt, which were only now closing like an infant’s skull.27

Hélène Cixous, “The School of Dreams,” Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing,
translated by Susan Sellars (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1994), 79–80.
Christine de Pizan, The Path of Long Study, translated by Kevin Brownlee in
Selected Writings, edited by Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski (New York: W. W.
Norton, 1997), 59–87.
Jacqueline Risset, Sleep’s Powers, translated by Jennifer Moxley (Brooklyn: Ugly
Duckling Press, 2008), 41.
For a complete translation of the Harley 4431 manuscript into modern French,
see Andrea Tarnowski, Le chemin de longue étude (Paris: Lettres Gothiques,
2000). An English version of Tarnowski’s introduction is found in Christine
de Pizan: A Casebook (New York: Routledge, 2003), 181–97. In its use of “the
Chemin” to designate Christine’s poem, this essay respects Tarnowski’s example.
A. C. Spearing, Medieval Dream-Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press,
1976), 4.
Helen Phillips and Nick Havely, eds., Chaucer’s Dream Poetry (London:
Longman, 1997), 7.
C. S. Lewis, The Discarded Image (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1964), 5.
Ibid., 75–77
The section of The Consolation to which Christine refers is found in Book
3.met.10, quoted here from a translation by Scott Goins and Barbara H. Wyman
(San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012), 94–95.

Come here and be freed,
chained captives of earth
caught in desire-bound minds . . .

Neither Tagus nor Hermus
offering ripe golden sands,
nor hot-flowing Indus,
brewing its jewels,
sparkling, gleaming, clear and green—
can illuminate the vision
of man’s darkened mind.

Helen Phillips confirms the literary intentionality implicit in such decisions:
“Analysis of dream poems reveals that their use of frames and the first-person
narrator are rarely merely conventional or perfunctory. The Roman de la rose had
firmly established the seasonal opening as virtually a standard part of the dream
poem but later poets seem to calculate carefully the different effects of a winter,

spring or harvest reference.” From “Dream Poems,” in A Companion to Medieval
English Literature and Culture (c. 1350–1500) (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing,
2007), 378.
See note 7, 206.
The lines from Dante’s Inferno are found in Canto I.82–84.
See note 2, 74. Nadia Margolis also notes Dante’s Divine Comedy, particularly
the Inferno, as “the first obvious example of Dante’s influence in French literature”
in An Introduction to Christine de Pizan (Gainesville: Univ. Press of Florida, 2011),
96. Additionally, Tarnowski credits Christine as the “second author in France,
after Philippe de Mézières” to speak of Dante, “but she was the first to make
use of the Inferno as a model for her own work.” See note 4, 155 (note 3), my
In her extensive biography of Christine, Charity Cannon Willard surmises: “It
has been supposed that Christine could not have known the Aeneid directly, even
though she quotes some verses from it in The Book of Peace, but she could have
known some copies of this text which were produced in Paris workshops during
the early years of the fifteenth century.” Willard also details the opinion that
Christine knew, “in any case, Boccaccio’s De claris mulieribus, a principal source
for The Book of the City of Ladies, as well as the Moralized Ovid, both of which
retell the story of the sibyl Almethea.” See Christine de Pizan: Her Life and Works
(New York: Persea, 1984), 101, 231 (note 35).
See note 10, 377.
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Reverie, translated by Daniel Russell (Boston:
Beacon Press, 1960), 13.
Macrobius, Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, translated by William Harris
Stahl (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1990), 74.
Steven F. Kruger, Dreaming in the Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ.
Press, 1992), 130.
Hélène Cixous, Dream I Tell You, translated by Beverly Bie Brahic (New York:
Columbia Univ. Press, 2006), 1.
Kruger (see note 18) provides a detailed discussion regarding mirrors as a
traditional image for spiritual ascent, wisdom, or truth, including Dante’s depiction
in the Paradiso (21.15–17): “Set thy mind behind thine eyes and make of them
mirrors to the shape which in this mirror will appear to thee.” Kruger notes, “The
association between mirrors and a knowledge of the highest realities is, of course,
ultimately biblical; see 1 Corinthians 13:12 and Wisdom 7:26” (217, note 69).
See note 18, 136
See note 4, A Casebook, 187.
Brownlee contends that “For the Middle Ages, the single most important
instance of a heavenly traveler looking back toward earth was Cicero’s Scipio’s

Dream, read along with Macrobius’s famous Commentary (81, note 2). The
importance of Macrobius to the medieval world is confirmed by Lewis
(see note 7, 60–69).
Carl Jung, The Red Book (Liber Novus) (W. W. Norton, 2009), 233.
See note 7, 10–11.
See note 16, 25.
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, translated by M. D.
Herter Norton (New York: W. W. Norton, 1949), 185.
SECTION TWO: 2017 Essays
Mental Illness among the Homeless
and Incarcerated of Los Angeles

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Department of Social Sciences

Homelessness is a longstanding problem in Los Angeles County, and the data
show that it is getting worse. Between 2013 and 2015 alone, the homeless
population in Los Angeles increased by 12%.1 In many cases, homeless individuals
are struggling with mental illness, substance abuse, or both. These problems
often go untreated, which can cause the individual to engage in criminal activity
for financial purposes, in turn leading to incarceration. The prevalence of serious
mental illness among prisoners is as high as 14.5% for men and 31% for women.2
Individuals often cycle through homelessness and incarceration, which is referred
to as the revolving door phenomenon.3 Numerous nonprofits in the Los Angeles
area aim to ameliorate this problem, but they often struggle financially due to a
multitude of factors.

This study aims to map the mental health services available for homeless
individuals who live in or near Downtown Los Angeles’s Skid Row district to
further understand what resources are available for utilization. In addition, the
clinicians, advocates, and law enforcement officers behind these resources will
be interviewed to further understand the problems faced by this population, the
solutions proposed, and the barriers they face. This thesis proposes to detail the
issue of homelessness and incarceration among those with severe mental illness
in Los Angeles County. Ultimately, the goal of this thesis is to identify options for
improving care for those in a population who deeply need it, as the prevalence
of severe mental illness among the homeless and incarcerated is a problem too
significant to ignore.

The issue of mental illness among the homeless and incarcerated has long been
a problem in the United States. The roots of this problem can be traced back to
the deinstitutionalization movement that took place following the passage of
the federal Mental Health Act of 1963. This bill aimed to reduce the numbers of
Americans with mental illness being housed (often indefinitely) in psychiatric
hospitals by shifting to an outpatient-based model. In order to accomplish this,
the act promised the creation of community mental health centers throughout
the United States that would allow individuals with mental illness to receive
their treatment on an outpatient basis and remain fully integrated into society.4
However, most of these community centers were never built.

Individuals of different socioeconomic statuses have different levels of access
to mental health care, with lower income individuals receiving fewer mental
healthcare services.5 As a result, many individuals with mental illness who
need care do not have access to it and thus do not receive it, which often leads
to homelessness. Past research has shown that individuals with more severe
mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are more likely to
become homeless compared to individuals with less severe diagnoses, such as
depression.6 Living on the fringes of society, they cycle through incarceration and
homelessness, never truly receiving the care they need. In previous research,
several factors have emerged as crucial in allowing this cycle to continue.

Historically, those with the greatest need for mental health care have not had
access to insurance. Until the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in
2010, low-income adults aged 18 to 64 who did not receive insurance through
an employer were often left without insurance. In California, these adults

were ineligible for Medi-Cal insurance unless they had a severe disability.
Even those considered severely disabled due to mental illness were often not
covered as enrollment was a tedious process involving paperwork that many
did not understand.7 This was seen to be a particular problem for the homeless
population as they lacked insurance and instead utilized emergency treatment
services and inpatient hospitalization more than those who were not homeless.8
Even now, following the passage of the ACA, many eligible individuals are not
enrolled in an insurance program as the online marketplace can be tedious,
incomprehensible, and inaccessible to homeless individuals.9 In fact, many have
not even heard of the Affordable Care Act.

Another barrier to treatment that must be considered is the issue of trust.
Homeless individuals often fear persecution by the police, and therefore are
reluctant to move beyond the areas they feel are safe.10 This suggests that efforts
should be directed toward the implementation of services in areas where the
population density of homeless individuals is the greatest. Furthermore, the issue
of trust has not been fully resolved even after an individual has reached a clinician
for treatment. Clinicians state that with some clients, particularly those with
paranoid schizophrenia, it may take up to a year to gain their trust.11 In addition to
individuals continuing to receive care upon release from inpatient clinics, attention
must be paid to the stability of their relationship with their clinician.

An individual beginning to receive care for mental illness is only the first step on
the long road to recovery and successful reintegration into society. For this reason,
continuity of care is crucial. Past research by Anne Wuerker and Colleen Keenan
examined a population of individuals from Skid Row receiving care through Skid
Row Mental Health and found that upon release only half of the patients came to

the service again for care.12 While many of these individuals did not have diagnoses
of psychosis and instead had less severe diagnoses, it is still likely they needed
some type of care to continue staying healthy following treatment. Continuity of
care for homeless populations is difficult due to high population mobility, however
it is a crucial part of building trust within the patient-provider relationship.13

Unfortunately, many individuals with mental illness end up imprisoned. In a study
of more than 800 prisoners, Henry Steadman and colleagues found that 14.5%
of male inmates and 31% of female inmates had a serious mental disorder, which
includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression.14 Furthermore,
in a study of nearly 8,000 inmates in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,
inmates with the aforementioned mental illnesses were found to have higher
rates of recidivism than other inmates.15 Inmates with schizophrenia or another
psychotic disorder also have higher rates of prevalence for violent crimes and
drug possession. However, it is important to note that nearly 80% of those with
these severe mental illnesses are nonviolent.16

When those with severe mental illness do not receive treatment there are often
consequences, as it is not uncommon for them to lose touch with reality. In such
cases, hallucinations and delusions can lead them to behave in violent ways that
then result in being arrested. Many cope with their mental illness through drug
abuse when no other treatment outlets seem to be available.

Other Western countries have attempted to tackle the problems of homelessness
and incarceration among those with mental illness. One meta-analysis of these
services in European capitals as part of the PROMO project found that the barriers
seen in these cities were quite similar to the problems faced in the United States.17

For example, the experts on mental health among the homeless reported the
most important barriers to overcome were the chaotic life circumstances of the
homeless population, high mobility, unwillingness to engage in health services
due to lack of trust, lack of insurance, and substance abuse. These issues do not
seem to be resolved by the national universal healthcare systems that exist in
these countries. Instead, the homeless population continues to receive subpar
healthcare and individuals are often turned away for mental health treatment due
to problems such as substance abuse, which often co-occurs with mental illness.18
These individuals also often make their way into the criminal justice system, which
was observed in a Dutch study by Tina Dorn and colleagues.19 Screening for mental
health issues is not required upon intake in the Netherlands, but when inmates
were screened as a part of this study, nearly 40% tested positive on the Brief
Jail Mental Health Screen, a result suggesting a need for further evaluation. This
percentage is much higher than what was recorded in a comparable study in the
United States. Additionally, those who screened positive were more likely to lack a
permanent address, a fact that suggests, but does not confirm, homelessness. It
seems that issues of mental health among homeless and incarcerated populations
is still a problem in these nations.

Awareness of the problem of homelessness and incarceration among those
with severe mental illness in the United States has increased in recent years in
mainstream publications. In June 2015, an in-depth profile of Cook County Jail
in Chicago, deemed “America’s Largest Mental Health Hospital,” appeared in
The Atlantic, and discussed the failings of our mental health system and the
county’s attempt to cope.20 Due to the high volume of mentally ill patients, the
correctional officers employed by Cook County Jail receive 60 hours of advanced
mental health training before starting their jobs, and there is a dedicated Mental

Health Transition Center designed to help inmates adjust after their release. The
fact there are often fewer mental health services available outside of jails and
prisons speaks to the systemic issues found within the nation’s mental healthcare

The inadequate level of services for the homeless and mentally ill population was
recently further reinforced by the deaths of mentally ill individuals on Skid Row. In
July 2015 GQ published an article countering the Los Angeles Police Department’s
statements regarding the death of Charly Keunang, a Cameroonian immigrant who
had previously been hospitalized for mental illness.21 The LAPD claimed the officer
shot Keunang in self-defense as he was reaching for the officer’s gun, a statement
which has since been cast into doubt. Furthermore, when put into the context of
the shootings of Carlos Ocana and Ezell Ford, two men who also had a history of
mental illness, a pattern of misunderstanding emerges on the part of the LAPD
regarding homeless individuals with mental illness.22

On September 22, 2015, the Los Angeles City Council declared a state of emer-
gency on homelessness and pledged $100 million to address the problem.23
While the announcement was criticized for a lack of specificity, if implemented it
could provide stability to the many homeless with mental illness who would have
newfound access to housing. Its true impact remains to be seen, however, and it
seems that for the time being, homeless individuals will have to rely on nonprofit
organizations to help them receive the care they need.

Interviews were conducted with healthcare providers who work on Skid Row
and with the incarcerated. They were affiliated with organizations including

Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles, the Downtown Women’s Center, and the Los
Angeles County Department of Health. Interviews were structured around the key
issues the healthcare providers face when working with these populations and
what changes they would make to the system if more resources were available.
All interviews were conducted in person in order to observe the clinic and the
surrounding environment. The main conclusions from these interviews are
presented below.

The major issues in providing healthcare to the mentally ill homeless population
can be categorized according to co-occurring problems for the populations
themselves and systemic barriers. For these providers, caring for the homeless
and incarcerated presents a unique set of challenges, though their work
ultimately has an impact on many residents of Los Angeles. The homeless and
incarcerated of Los Angeles face several barriers that make it difficult for them
to access mental healthcare. The problem of drug abuse was mentioned at
every interview. According to Mark Casanova, Executive Director of Homeless
Healthcare Los Angeles (HHCLA), the homeless often face judgment from the
very individuals who are providing them with care:

“A lot of people who work with this population lack basic kindness. They
also believe that drugs are inherently bad, which they are not. People
use drugs for a reason. They make you feel good. So many people who
work with the homeless are focused on getting them to quit using drugs,
which isn’t going to happen.”24

Because of this view, only recently has funding been given to nonprofit organizations
with a focus on harm reduction. This is one of the main focuses of HHCLA, which

has a syringe exchange clinic located on Skid Row. At this clinic, individuals who
use drugs can turn in used syringes and receive the same amount in return plus five
new ones daily. The service is completely free and anonymous, and the intake form
only asks for a respondent’s initials, age, ethnicity, whether they are a new visitor,
and what drugs they use.25 The clinic also hands out overdose kits and has a doctor
available to treat abscesses for free. Programming like this significantly improves
the quality of life for homeless individuals who use drugs. When they do not have to
worry about an untreated wound or where to get clean syringes, they can use drugs
in a safer manner, removing a barrier to receiving healthcare.

However, providers that were interviewed also spoke of the need to do better.
Both Casanova and Rolando Tringale, a physician at the HHCLA’s Center for Harm
Reduction on Skid Row, spoke of the need for supervised injection facilities where
drug users can inject in a public place and receive care in the event of an overdose.
While these facilities are still controversial in the United States, HHCLA has already
taken steps toward implementation. At their syringe exchange clinic on Skid Row
drug users have access to a private bathroom. However, a timer is set for five
minutes when someone enters, after which they are checked on to be sure they
did not overdose.26 Tringale reaffirmed the need for these facilities, stating, “[Drug
users] need a safe space to use their drug of choice. We know they aren’t going to
stop using drugs so we need to focus on helping them do it in a safe way.”27

In Los Angeles a large number of the homeless do not speak English as their
native language and thus face linguistic and cultural barriers. According to
Stephanie Pozuelos, a social work graduate student interning at the Downtown
Women’s Center (DWC), there is a need for more Spanish speaking clinicians, as
many women at the DWC do not speak English. Pozuelos notes, “We have a group

of women who isolate themselves from other ladies in the center because they
don’t speak English and can’t understand the day-to-day activities.”28 For therapy
to be most effective for women like these, it will have to be conducted in Spanish.
At DWC, mental health services are limited and mostly short-term in nature.
Pozuelos is currently the only provider able to conduct therapy in Spanish, and
the waiting list is extensive. Navigating mental health treatment for those from
different cultural backgrounds can be challenging. Pozuelos adds, “It’s a matter
of breaking stigmas and stereotypes surrounding mental health.” DWC recognizes
the need to provide services that match the background of their clients and is
working toward adding more culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

Both the homeless and incarcerated are mobile populations, which makes it
harder for them to access mental health treatment. According to Tringale, the
lack of housing for these clients is the biggest barrier to treatment:

“Specifically, outpatient care is the biggest need because individuals
who are homeless may not have a home, but they have a lot of stuff they
may not want to let go of. If they want to do a program that requires
them to leave, where is that all going to go? They can’t afford a storage
unit but they develop attachment to things like all human beings.”

At HHCLA, clients can have their mail sent there and check it daily, which adds
a sense of stability. However, for such a mobile population, it is hard to book
appointments in advance because they do not plan far in advance. “Asking one of
these individuals to make an appointment in advance and show up three weeks later
is like finding a needle in a haystack with this population,” Tringale said. For this
population to receive effective care, the system will need to adapt to their needs.

It seems this adaptation is in process. The Housing First Model, which gives
homeless men and women homes without any preconditions of sobriety or
attendance in therapy, has shown to be effective. Organizations such as LAMP in
Los Angeles have adopted this model, which is recognized as a best practice by the
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The model was first
used in New York in 1992 and has since spread throughout the country.29

Similarly, those in the Los Angeles County jail system are difficult to access
for care. This system is the largest in the United States, housing between
15,000–20,000 inmates at a time, two-thirds of whom have a serious medical
condition.30 According to Jenica Ryu, a family medicine physician who works
both on Skid Row and at the JWCH Institute’s Center for Community Health
Downtown Los Angeles and within the Los Angeles County jails, the medical
system is defunct. Coordination of care is difficult and must be balanced with
custody needs, which often take priority. “The reason they’re there is to be locked
up. You have to be able to work with the deputies, the officers, and the sheriffs
to find a way to balance behavior control and medicine.” Furthermore, patients
themselves can be a barrier to their own treatment. Often, their priorities are not
with their medical conditions. Says Ryu, “These patients are extremely chaotic
and they have competing priorities. What is a priority to them is often not their
medical condition.” As inmates stay in jail for a much shorter time than in prison,
there is a rapid turnover of inmates, meaning those with mental illness will not
be treated by the same clinician over the long-term. Similar to the homeless, the
incarcerated are highly mobile, which makes caring for them even harder.

An important systemic issue is that services for the homeless in Los Angeles are in
different locations. This issue is not limited to mental health; the homeless who need
to utilize mental health resources often also need primary healthcare, substance

abuse resources, as well as social services, such as help with enrolling in disability
payments. The clinic where Ryu works offers all of these services in one location, but
according to her this model is not standard: “Not enough services are co-located.
That is why [the JWCH Institute’s Center for Community Health Downtown Los
Angeles] is so great. Too often medical services, social services, food banks, HIV
care, and mental healthcare are all separate when these people often have co-
morbidities. It is so much better to co-locate services and guide patients.” When an
individual is attempting to gain access to necessary services, it can be difficult to
figure out where to go for each resource.

To make matters worse, the waiting time for these services is often long. While
patients in crisis can be treated within a few hours, such as at the Exodus Clinic near
the Los Angeles County Hospital, healthcare providers still feel this is too long. “They
can go to Exodus Clinic but the wait is still three to five hours, which is a long time
to wait for someone who is severely mentally ill, addicted to drugs, or both,” says
Tringale. When a client is more stable, their wait can be much longer as emergencies
take priority. While this triaging of patients is necessary, it presents difficulties for a
highly mobile population with low health literacy; it requires providers to be more
flexible. Ryu added to this point:

“Flexible care is very important in an unstably housed population. They
aren’t going to follow your normal rules. They aren’t going to check in at the
normal times and they are going to be needy. Instead, there is this idea of
practice transformation, which is making your system of care open to the
needs of this population.”

What follows is a map of mental health organizations on Skid Row and a
description of available services. The majority of these interviews were
conducted at the locations on this map.






Los Angeles Men’s Place (LAMP) Restrooms, showers, and program linkage to those
A Community Frank Rice Access Center rejected by mainstream providers due to the severity
627 San Julian St. | of their mental illness.

Los Angeles Men’s Place (LAMP) Support groups and case management for members
B Community Village on the path to permanent housing.
527 San Pedro St. |

Los Angeles Men’s Place (LAMP) Medication management, health and psychiatry ser-
C Community Wellness Center vices, support groups, case management (Medi-Cal
619 East 5th St. | certified outpatient mental health center).

Skid Row Housing Trust (the TRUST) Psychiatry and medication management, mental
D 1317 East 7th St. health care, individual and group counseling.

Downtown Women’s Center On-site clinic run with JWCH, which provides mental
E 442 South San Pedro St. health counseling, short-term psychiatric sessions, and referrals when necessary.

Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles (HHCLA) Social workers from the HIVE Project available to
F Center for Harm Reduction provide short-term therapy on-site and refer clients
512 East 4th St. [Interview conducted 1/28/2016] through the San Julian Access Center.

Volunteers of America Greater Los Angeles Provides medical evaluations, referrals, and daily
G (VOALA) San Julian Access Center therapy groups.
628 San Julian St. |

Los Angeles County Dept. of Mental Health Medication management, case management, self-
H (LACDMH) Downtown Mental Health Center help groups, support services, linkages and referrals
& Wellness/Client-Run Services Program from consumers in recovery as well as experts.
529 West Maple Ave. | (pamphlet)

LACDMH Adult Full Service Partnership An intensive mental health program for adults 26-59
I & Project 180 LA with severe mental illness, which includes 24/7 crisis
426 South San Pedro St.| availability and a low client-to-staff ratio.

John Wesley Community Health (JWCH) A public/private partnership that provides mental
J Institute–Center for Community Health health services, along with other health and ancillary
Downtown Los Angeles services, to the community outside of the traditional
522 San Pedro St. | mental health outpatient setting to access clients
with barriers such as location or stigma.

Los Angeles County Dept. of Mental Health Mental health services designed to remove barriers to
K (LACDMH) CalWORKS Program employment and improve self-sufficiency with a focus
631 Maple Ave. | on managing symptoms and functional impairment.

John Wesley Community Health (JWCH) Specialty referrals provided in the clinic and health
L Institute Inc. Outpatient Clinic 114 East 5th St. assessments and referrals offered by outreach workers walking skid row. Collaborates with HHCLA and DWC.

Los Angeles County Dept. of Mental Health Short-term programs designed for older adults to treat
M (LACDMH) Prevention & Early Intervention mild to moderate mental health issues to enhance
Services 224 East 6th St. | quality of life. Utilizes evidence-based practices such
as problem-solving therapy, interpersonal therapy,
and group cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Homelessness and incarceration among the mentally ill have clear roots in
the deinstitutionalization movement of the mid-twentieth century. While
institutionalizing those with mental illness had many consequences of its own,
eliminating these facilities left many individuals with mental illness no place to
go. As a result, the homeless population increased rapidly and in some cases
they formed communities, such as Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles. These
communities, and the homeless in general, have become so isolated that issues
of trust developed. Law enforcement officers have found it difficult to gain the
trust of the homeless, who now fear police persecution. Healthcare providers
face similar barriers, which can prevent treatment altogether or delay it until an
emergency has occurred. Even in cases where the homeless receive treatment,
continuity of care is often lacking.

The complexities of insurance are difficult for many Americans to understand,
let alone those with severe mental illness. The Affordable Care Act has expanded
coverage, but if a person does not understand they need coverage, it has no
impact. Many of the individuals on Skid Row do not possess identification, which
complicates the enrollment process. In situations where the aforementioned
factors are present, incarceration is often an unfortunate result. Individuals in
custody are often moved between crowded facilities in which many other inmates
are suffering from a serious health issue, and being subjected to this type of
environment does not do them any favor. The overarching issue at hand is the
problem of homelessness itself. As many of the clinicians interviewed stated,
it is difficult to access the healthcare system regularly without a stable address.
In response to this obstacle, the Housing First Model has grown in pop-ularity.
Several other solutions to aspects of this crisis are discussed below.

Allocate More Resources to Continue Implementation of the Housing
First Model
On the map of mental health care services shown on page 354, the ones that
also provide access to housing resources emphasize they practice Housing First.
The stability provided by permanent housing makes it much easier to take
care of mental health issues, substance abuse problems, or any other health
concerns as the client will have a permanent address and will not have to
worry about where to spend each night. This model could be expanded
by allocating resources spent on supportive resources toward solving the
primary problem: a lack of housing. The bureaucratic barriers that now seem
significant can be overcome with more funding and staff; the permanent
housing units of DWC are not full, but women are currently going through the
screening process of the Coordinated Entry System.31

Create More Public/Private Partnership Clinics
A public/private partnership allows for more resources in a single clinic than a
county clinic or private clinic alone could provide. The Center for Community
Health Downtown Los Angeles, the clinic in which Ryu works, is a public/
private partnership between the Los Angeles County Department of Health
and the JWCH Institute. In this clinic, there are medical resources, such as HIV
care, optometry, and mental healthcare, along with ancillary resources such
as substance abuse treatment and assistance with enrolling in supplementary
security income.32 More clinics based on this model will allow clients to address
all of their needs in a single visit, which is better aligned with the lifestyle of
this population.

Address Linguistic and Cultural Barriers
If a client only speaks Spanish and the waiting list for therapy in Spanish exceeds
a reasonable length of time, that client will likely never get the care they need.
This problem does not have a simple solution seeing as it would take a significant
amount of time for current providers to become linguistically competent to
provide therapy in other languages. Instead, focus should be directed toward
educating physicians-in-training and other healthcare providers early on in
their careers about the needs of this population. The providers interviewed for
this thesis seemed to stumble upon caring for the homeless, beginning with a
fellowship following medical residency or an interest in a specialty relevant to
the homeless, such as addiction medicine. Cultural barriers can be addressed
more directly through public health campaigns in places where this population
congregates, such as the bus shelter areas on Skid Row. These campaigns could
have messages in both English and Spanish with themes that explain mental
illness in a relatable, non-stigmatized way.

Create Supervised Injection Facilities
This proposal has not gained much traction in the United States since oppo-
nents believe it condones drug use. Individuals will use drugs regardless,
but placing a supervised injection facility within Skid Row would help them
do so in a safe way. This facility would provide clean syringes and be staffed
with clinicians who could help in the event of an overdose. Additionally, detox
resources would be available for clients who want to cut back on their use
of drugs or quit altogether. While this idea does not relate directly to mental
health, it is important to consider because people who use drugs in an unsafe
way often do so to self-medicate an untreated illness.33 Using drugs in a facility
like this would introduce someone who uses drugs to the healthcare system,

hopefully building a level of trust that would allow them to come in for other
issues, such as an untreated mental illness.

Develop a Tracking System for Utilization of Mental Health Services
Tracking of the numbers of homeless is already being done by the Los Angeles
Homeless Services Authority, which currently sends out more than 8,000 people
to count the number of homeless in the city.34 When utilizing services at some
centers homeless individuals are required to fill out the VI-SPDAT questionnaire,
the results of which are then inputted into a system all providers can access.35
The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) currently in use records
information about an individual and the services they utilize at each place,
but the use of this service needs to be expanded and standardized.36 A similar
system could be created specifically for utilization of mental health services that
documents the care a client receives on each visit. Therefore, if someone who
is homeless uses several different services, providers will at least know what
has been done in the past without having to start from the beginning. While
this does not provide the trust traditional continuity of care provides, it would
allow clinicians to provide better care based on accurate information about past
treatments and ongoing health issues.

These proposals are all subject to limitations. Financial constraints will be
significant, especially in the development of new clinics or supervised injection
facilities. However, a public health campaign focused on mental illness does not
seem out of reach. The implementation of a tracking system could be completely
computer-based and low-cost, perhaps even accomplished just by modifying the
HMIS currently in place. Sending clinicians-in-training to Skid Row could assist
in providing care within a system that is quite backlogged, while also exposing
clinicians to future career opportunities.

While no end to homelessness or even mental illness among the homeless is in
sight, it is important to acknowledge the efforts of healthcare providers on Skid
Row. In researching this thesis, it became apparent just how much clients trust
and rely on these clinicians. Ryu discussed seeing the same patients over time
and even having some resurface after several years: “Every once in a while you’ll
see a patient you haven’t seen in years. It’s really great because sometimes
they are in a different place in their lives and are more open to treatment.”
Similarly, the social workers at the syringe exchange clinic spoke of seeing
the same patients come in every day, and how this helped to strengthen the
patient-practitioner relationship by building trust and rapport. While there are
undoubtedly changes that could be made to improve the system, there is great
work being done on a daily basis by providers who care for those marginalized
by society.

Peter Jamison, David Zahniser, and Matt Hamilton, “L.A. to Declare ‘State
of Emergency’ on Homelessness, Commit $100 million,” Los Angeles Times,
September 22, 2015.
Henry Steadman, Fred Osher, Pamela Clark Robbins, Brian Case, and Steven
Samuels, “Prevalence of Serious Mental Illness Among Jail Inmates,” Psychiatric
Services, vol. 60, no. 6 (June 2009), 761–65.
Anne Wuerker and Colleen Keenan, “Patterns of Psychiatric Service Use by
Homeless Mentally Ill Clients,” Psychiatric Quarterly, vol. 68, no. 2 (1997), 101–16.
Jacques Baillargeon, Ingrid Binswanger, Joseph Penn, Brie Williams, and Owen
Murray, “Psychiatric Disorders and Repeat Incarcerations: The Revolving Prison
Door,” The American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 166, no. 1 (January 2009), 103–9.
Margarita Alegría, Rob Bijl, Elizabeth Lin, Ellen Walters, and Ronald Kessler,
“Income Differences in Persons Seeking Outpatient Treatment for Mental
Disorders,” Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 57, no. 4 (April 1, 2000), 383–91.
David Folsom et al., “Prevalence and Risk Factors for Homelessness and
Utilization of Mental Health Services Among 10,340 Patients With Serious
Mental Illness in a Large Public Mental Health System,” The American Journal of
Psychiatry, vol. 162, no. 2 (February 2005), 370–76.
Rodger Farr, “The Los Angeles Skid Row Mental Health Project,” Psychosocial
Rehabilitation Journal, vol. 8, no. 2 (October 1984), 64–76.
See note 6.
Lauren Fryling, Peter Mazanec, and Robert Rodriguez, “Barriers to Homeless
Persons Acquiring Health Insurance Through the Affordable Care Act,” The
Journal of Emergency Medicine, vol. 49, no. 5 (2015), 755–62.
See note 7.
See note 3.
See note 7.
See note 2.
See note 4.
Réamonn Canavan et al., “Service Provision and Barriers to Care for Homeless
People with Mental Health Problems across 14 European Capital Cities,” BMC
Health Services Research, vol. 12, no. 222 (2012).
Tina Dorn, Manon Ceelen, Marcel Buster, and Kees Das, “Screening for Mental
Illness Among Persons in Amsterdam Police Custody,” Psychiatric Services, vol.
64, no. 10 (October 2013), 1047–50.
Matt Ford, “America’s Largest Mental Hospital Is a Jail,” (June 8,

Jeff Sharlet, “The Invisible Man: The End of a Black Life That Mattered,” GQ, vol.
85, no. 7 (July 2015).
See note 1.
Interview with Mark Casanova, Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles, January 15,
HHCLA Center for Harm Reduction clinic observation, January 28, 2016.
Interview with Rolando Tringale, Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles, February 5,
Interview with Stephanie Pozuelos, Downtown Women’s Center, February 2,
US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy
Development and Research, The Applicability of Housing First Models to
Homeless Persons with Serious Mental Illness (Cambridge, MA: Abt Associates,
Inc., 2007).
Interview with Jenica Ryu, JWCH Institute’s Center for Community Health
Downtown Los Angeles, February 22, 2016.
See note 28.
See note 30.
See note 4.
Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, 2017 Greater Los Angeles Homeless
Count Results (May 2017), available from
See note 25.
See note 28.
Withstanding Ovation: Elitism in the
American Orchestra

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Department of Economics/Mathematics
and Thornton School of Music
Alison Dundes Renteln, Faculty Advisor

Something is wrong in classical music. At least that is what the critics say. Many
considered Beethoven’s Eroica the death of humble Baroque music at the time.
Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring caused a literal riot at its premier, in part because
the bassoon played unusually high. Few could believe it when Strauss wrote
Ein Heldenleben about himself. Still, the arts go on. Contemporary composers
debut thousands of pieces every year, and the major symphonies fill concert
halls. The music itself usually finds a way. Instead, what is of greater concern is
the commentary from outside the music world. Pierre Bourdieu, a preeminent
cultural sociologist, created a model for tastes and preferences, which predicted
participation in classical music, among other highbrow arts, would face dramatic
declines in the future.1 His arguments catalyzed an academic frenzy around the
question of the arts’ relationship with society’s most powerful citizens, and the
debate formalized the stereotype that classical music is elitist. Upon tracing this
stereotype through the sociological and psychological literature of the last few
decades, this elitist stigma will be seen as a primary factor—and a reversible
one—behind the dissolution of classical music in America.

In the field of musicology, the term classical music strictly refers to only one
hundred years in Western music history, but in its colloquial form, the phrase
describes all music performed on Western instruments (think bassoon, timpani,
and violin), and usually in a concert setting. Although classical music includes
choral and operatic works, this paper will focus on orchestral music. An
examination of the history of this genre provides insight into the elitist stigma
surrounding classical music in the United States, and why so many people think
classical music is for someone else.

To start, classical music is not American. The musical style developed out
of the Renaissance in Western Europe. Thus, before there was any American
classical music tradition to speak of, European musicians had defined the
art. Performances of classical music began in America in the early nineteenth
century, just as the German-dominated classical period gave way to the French-
dominated romantic era. Until fairly recently, there were few popular American
composers. Joseph Horowitz argues that besides Gershwin, Ives, and Copland,
there is not an American “sound.”2 While some Americans developed a unique
voice in the classical context, European influence overwhelmed the musical
culture. The country’s great conductors mostly programmed works by Beethoven
and Brahms well into the twentieth century. Today, it is no longer expected
that all American composers study music at the Paris conservatory, and there
is a flourishing, diverse contemporary music scene in America—but concert
programming barely reflects this change. American-composed music is generally
classified as “new music” that is distinct from the classical repertoire, which
leads Americans to associate classical music (consciously or unconsciously) with
a different culture due to its European roots.

Of course, America does have its own music tradition outside of classical
music: jazz, bluegrass, and rock are all uniquely American, but classical music
is considered distinctly pretentious. Until recently, it was the only style where
musicians trained in a conservatory to perform with sheet music for an audience
of well-dressed elites. In contrast, many American styles integrate improvisation
and reject formal education, appealing to the masses through their ease of
accessibility.3 Conversely, classical music was developed in European courts for
royalty with a history of arts patronage. As a highbrow art, classical music caters

to an elite audience, and classism appears to be inherent in the culture. A music
article from the early twentieth century demonstrates this trend by admonishing
“emotionalist” contemporary composers for attempting to bridge the gap
between classical music and the “plain man’s musical taste.”4 This throwaway
line reflects the attitude of the cultural elite of the early twentieth century: that
classical music should have a limited, sophisticated audience and was not meant
for the ears of the uncultured masses. Most Americans had no place in the genre;
instead, they were meant to enjoy the “commonplaces” and emotionalism of folk
music. Use of such rhetoric only served to further contribute to the elitist label
placed on classical music.

Sociology explains the trends and stereotypes of classical music through models
of choice in arts participation. Pierre Bourdieu introduced two pivotal concepts to
the discourse: cultural capital and taste as rejection. He suggests that members
of the elite class transfer status to their children through participation in the arts.
Parents and their children involve themselves in “high art,” like classical music,
to develop robust appreciation and ability, which serves as cultural capital. By
investing in markers of refined taste, members of the elite accrue cultural capital,
thus increasing their value in social circles. Educational institutions also play
a role in perpetuating the elitist stereotype of classical music by rewarding the
“gifted” children of elite families for their sophistication in the arts by opening
the door to the best educational opportunities. Ultimately this cycle provides for
reentrance into the elite class and preserves the stereotype of classical music
only being meant for a specific group of people.5

Bourdieu’s other claim, that taste preferences are exclusive, supports the idea
musical genres are antagonistic. Therefore, exclusivity is necessitated in order
for classical music to be useful as cultural capital, meaning an appreciation for
Brahms is not authentic without a rejection of the Beatles. If the elite participate
in classical music to self-identify with sophistication, and its value is dependent
on the low value of other art forms, then classical music’s audience will largely
abandon it when other art rises in relative cultural value. The elitist stereotype
places classical music in a difficult situation since on one side “plain” people
reject high arts as pretentious and inaccessible, while on the other side the
elite begin to leave when substitutes become more suitable. Stereotypes are
culturally ingrained and this one in particular has deep roots, so even if the
elite abandoned classical music, it is not likely others will pick it up in their
stead due to all the negative stereotypes associated with classical music.

More contemporary sociologists tend to verify parts of Bourdieu’s model—and
thus the pervasive nature of the elitist stereotype—but reach more tempered
conclusions about the future of music. Paul Dimaggio and Toqir Mukhtar
examine Bourdieu’s broad questions of taste in America by tracking the National
Endowment for the Arts’ Survey for Public Participation in the Arts. From 1982
to 2002, involvement in classical music steadily declined to 11.6% for the
general population,6 and much more quickly among youth, with a 22.5% decline
among university students and 40% decline among high school graduates.7 The
relatively significant drop among youth suggests classical music appreciation
is less necessary today as culture capital. According to the model, youth
participated in the highest proportions in the past in order to develop an air of
sophistication, whereas now they can accomplish this same goal via other arts

forms. Richard Peterson and Albert Simkus examined arts participation among
professionals and found that while only a small portion of each professional
segment attends concerts, professional prestige correlates to classical music
preference.8 Lawyers, doctors, and academics attend classical music at much
higher rates than plumbers and salespersons. Studies indicate arts participation
continues to segment by class. One possible explanation for this is that elite
professionals respond to behavioral expectations set by musical stereotypes.
However, Hennion suggests fewer elites actually attend concerts now because
of a backward stigma, or a “sociology of taste.”9 In interviews with self-declared
aficionados, Hennion found these individuals to be apologetic and embarrassed
about how class advantage led them to their passion. These mixed findings lead
to a balanced approach to taste, sometimes called omnivorism.

While cultural capital is still relevant, the nature of arts participation is changing.
New technologies and cultural norms allow, or perhaps reinforce, personal
choice that blends several art forms. No longer is high art exclusive. Rather
than strictly rejecting popular music for classical or vice versa, people are more
commonly opting for the practice of musical omnivorism, which allows them
to consume a variety of musical genres and to strike a balance that’s culturally
appropriate and personally satisfying. For example, while classical music might
have once been the only “intellectually serious music,” university classes now
critically address the influence of popular icons like Beyoncé. Technology also
mobilizes changing tastes by impacting patterns of consumption. Streaming
services like Spotify advance the effect records had in the twentieth century,
allowing people to “participate” in the arts without ever going to a concert.

As private consumption of music becomes more prevalent and culturally
accepted, people feel less pressure to enjoy high arts through live cultural
events like concerts. Omnivorism might limit the impact of stereotypical
thinking on why historically loyal audiences are now leaving classical music,
but it does not preclude the old stigmas from deterring new listeners.
Unfortunately, classical music still faces other problems, such as a lack of
participants willing to financially support the art form in the way the industry
has historically required.

While sociology creates a broad framework for understanding perceptions of the
genre, psychology explains how elitist stereotypes influence what people outside
of classical music think of listeners, what musicians think of themselves, and
what professional musicians think of each other. Findings in the psychological
literature warrant qualified optimism about the future of classical music. The
elitist stigma both benefits and burdens participants of the genre, ingraining
itself as a core factor of individual identity. In general, participation breeds
strong but unhealthy attachment due to the personal validation gained from
classical music’s air of sophistication. Peter Rentfrow and Samuel Gosling found
classical music fans are more likely to be associated with positive descriptors
like artistic, intelligent, open, intellectual, and wise, than fans of other
genres. Also, subjects attributed the terms to classical fans more consistently
than most other genres, indicating that the stereotypes of classical music
participants are particularly well defined.10 For music listener and musician
alike, elitism branches into positive stereotypes, but also into unobtainable
ideals of the cultured artist and critic.

Erik Erikson’s model of identity formation frames how musicians shape and
maintain their identities.11 In the psychoanalytical tradition of Freud, Erikson
breaks the life cycle into seven stages, with seven corresponding “crises” of
identity. This paper will focus on late childhood, as this is the time when most
musicians begin their studies, up until early adulthood, “where sophisticated
engagement with music peaks for large parts of the population.”12

In the third crisis, which Erikson refers to as the crisis of “industry versus
inferiority,” elementary school-age children begin to distinguish themselves
through their abilities, staying on track for healthy identity formation by
competing with other children and seeking validation. Participation in classical
music allows talented children to achieve types of praise that are unique from
other activities, such as athletics. While both sports and music teach skills such
as self-mastery, musical education connotes a level of sophistication on its pupils
that is more impressive to adults. In addition, classical music garners more
respect from adults because of the association between high art and power.13
The star 12-year-old soccer player gets a pat on the back, but the talented child
pianist gets adultlike respect and admiration. After discovering music, some
children experience so much adoration they rarely struggle with inferiority at
this stage, and are not yet able to question if they deserve the praise. In a way,
early success in music indicates early entry into adulthood, and this begins to
solidify identity before the child has the chance to explore much else. According
to Erikson, healthy individuals should embrace both extremes of each crisis.
However, in the case of budding classical musicians, the gratification of the elitist
stigma tends to reject one extreme in favor of the other, denying children the
important lesson of coping with inferiority.

Many adults expect the star musician to be someone special, with more talent
than anyone else, and this leads to the emergence of conflicting and unrealistic
stereotypes about what musicians are actually like. Even positive stereotypes,
such as being intellectual or talented, place a burden upon individuals who are
still trying to define their own identity. This issue of expectations becomes more
problematic during the next crisis, referred to as “identity versus role confusion.”
At this stage, adolescents experiment with various niches in society, eventually
finding a community and a unique sense of self. Erikson warns against parents
overregulating this process; if too restricted, adolescents might suffer from
identity diffusion, which occurs when adolescents do not make the personal
choices that would lead to solidifying their identity. Unfortunately, the parenting
culture surrounding classical music education is not conducive to adolescents
exploring their identities.

Parents take pride in their children with music ability, and the child’s talent and
its air of sophistication reflects well on the parents. Such positive reinforcement
can lead parents to encourage adolescents to participate increasingly more in
music and develop their talents further. According to one substereotype, young
musicians are locked (or lock themselves) inside, practicing hours a day with
few other outlets. Stereotypes such as this might actually encourage parents
to push their children in classical music, and pressure their children to meet an
unattainable ideal. Returning to the sports comparison, athletes usually have
the opportunity to both win and lose as a team, and generally manage their ego.
Whereas with auditions, awards, and chairs tests, classical musicians succeed
or fail on their own merit. The musician cannot “reconcile his conception of
himself and his community’s recognition of him”14 because classical music’s
conception of the child musician idealizes the sophisticated virtuoso. Addicted

to the validation, sense of purpose, and community, the young musician will
aspire to be the ideal artist, while never fully identifying as it or being given the
opportunity to explore other identities.

Identity problems do not plague musicians only during their formative years.
Professional musicians create stereotypes about each other as a result of their
identity conflict. Joseph Bensman describes rivalries in classical music, like how
other orchestras perceive the Boston Symphony Orchestra as both well balanced
and dull.15 Members of an orchestra will take pride in the positive stereotype,
while others perpetuate the negative one. Jack Lipton expands on perceptions
of instrument sections within the orchestra, finding that brass, woodwinds,
and strings rate themselves with lower levels of negative qualities than how
others rate them. For example, the brass players think the sound they produce
is attractive, but the woodwinds and strings think brass instruments are mostly
just loud.16 Both researchers’ findings support the idea that musicians maintain
a positive personal identity at the expense of finding fault in other members of
their community, mismanaging their egos, and projecting feelings of adequacy.
Writing about the professional identity, Erikson suggests healthy adult egos seek
out “psychosocial equilibrium” and “conflict-free energy.”17 It seems professional
musicians express their diffused identities through further stereotyping after
failing to meet the expectations of the primary elitist stigma.

The classical music industry cannot survive with only a passive approach to
elitism. The cultural perception of the genre no longer attracts its historical
audience, limits the introduction of new listeners, and places psychologically
harmful burdens on its musicians. The only solution is to change both public

perception of classical music and the way in which the art form itself is
practiced. Public arts participation will continue to decline until a new incentive
replaces the old force of cultural capital. Since concert performance is the
lifeblood of orchestral art, music directors and educators must sell live music
to the American public. They must actively destroy elitism instead of merely
demonstrate occasional counterexamples to it. Tear down the barriers with
other genres. Introduce symphonic orchestration’s depth of emotion and color to
new facets of society. Encourage a recognizable American sound. Play concerts
outside—maybe even lose the tuxes. End the mandatory encores. Tear down
the invisible curtain between performers and audience. Update education from
the bottom up. Let the shy instruments play a concerto. Give every child an
instrument or a good pair of headphones and prioritize self-expression over
technical improvement. Ask a teenager how they feel today and pair that angst
with a Schoenberg. Thin the stock of unemployed professionals and admit fewer
musicians to conservatory. For the students accepted, ask them how they felt
the first time they heard Tchaikovsky rather than hearing the same excerpt for
the 153rd time. Don’t beat the love out of them with history, theory, and juries.
Pay professionals to work on their own projects and let them pick some of the
repertoire. Cut the ropes that bind a diverse, humanistic, and timeless art form
to the stuffy European courts of centuries past. It does not matter where change
begins, but it must happen now.

Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1984).
Joseph Horowitz, Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall (New
York: W.W. Norton, 2005).
Hervé Glevarec and Michel Pinet, “La ‘tablature’ des gouts musicaux: un modèle
de structuration des préférences et des jugements [The ‘tablature’ of musical
tastes: A new model for contemporary tastes and social judgments],” Revue
Française de Sociologie, vol. 50, no. 3 (July–September 2009), 599–640.
Michel-Dimitri Calvocoressi, “Innovation and Cliché in Music,” The Musical
Times, vol. 64, no. 959 (January 1, 1923), 25.
Paul DiMaggio and Toqir Mukhtar, “Arts Participation as Cultural Capital in the
United States, 1982–2002: Signs of Decline?” Poetics, vol. 32, no. 2 (2004),
Ibid., 173.
Ibid., 180–83.
Richard Peterson and Albert Simkus, “How Musical Tastes Mark Occupational
Status Groups,” in Cultivating Differences: Symbolic Boundaries and the Making
of Inequality (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1988), 152–86.
Antoine Hennion, “Music Lovers: Taste as Performance,” Theory, Culture &
Society, vol. 18, no. 5 (2001), 5.
Peter Rentfrow and Samuel Gosling, “The Content and Validity of Music-Genre
Stereotypes among College Students,” Psychology of Music, vol. 35, no. 2 (2007),
Erik Erikson, Identity and the Life Cycle (New York: Norton, 1980).
Daniel Müllensiefen, Bruno Gingras, Jason Musil, and Lauren Stewart, “The
Musicality of Non-musicians: An Index for Assessing Musical Sophistication in the
General Population,” PloS One, vol. 9, no. 2, e89642 (2014), 21.
Joseph Bensman, “Classical Music and the Status Game,” Trans-action vol. 4,
no. 9 (September 1967), 55.
See note 11, 120.
See note 13, 57.
Jack Lipton, “Stereotypes Concerning Musicians within Symphony Orchestras,”
The Journal of Psychology, vol. 121, no. 1 (1987), 85–93.
See note 11, 166.
Liberated Queer, Repressed Muslim:
The Problem with Pinkwashing Palestine

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Departments of Spanish & Law, History, and Culture
Sarah Gualtieri, Faculty Advisor

In the case of the Israeli­-Palestinian conflict, the United States government stands
firmly on the side of Israel as a political and economic ally. However, since 1948,
Israel has been occupying Palestinian territory, oppressing the Palestinian people
while the United States looks on approvingly or turns a blind eye. Throughout the
years, Israel has used various tactics to preserve American support. In recent
years, this has turned to appeals to homonationalism, touting Israel’s legal
protections for LGBT citizens as a symbol of Israeli “goodness” in the middle of
a “bad” Muslim region, making Israel morally worthy of American support. This
method of using LGBT rights to distract from other forms of oppression committed
by the government is called pinkwashing. Israeli pinkwashing exploits established
Manichean dichotomies to frame Western attitudes toward the Israeli­-Palestinian
conflict, ultimately shaping American support of the Israeli apartheid to preserve
control over the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

As the body in power, the Israeli government controls the narrative of the
Palestinian occupation. Israelis believe the land is their birthright, viewing
themselves as a diasporic people coming home centuries later. However, the
same land has been home to Palestinians for just as long. The State of Israel
was established in 1948, after what Israelis and the Western world call the War
of Independence. However, the Palestinians refer to this event as the Nakba,
which means “the catastrophe,” demonstrating the stark narrative difference
between the two sides of the conflict.1 While thousands of Jews were celebrating
a homecoming after years of living in diaspora, thousands of Palestinians fled
their homes to become a diasporic people themselves. Those who remained were
subjected to oppression and occupation, and corralled into two territories: Gaza
and the West Bank.

The Palestinians who live in these territories are subjected to daily humiliating
checkpoints that hinder transportation, all in the name of Israeli security.
They are forced into “segregated living and working zones” and treated like
second-class citizens and unwanted guests in their own homeland.2 There
is a clear Us vs. Them dichotomy in Israeli policy, designed to ensure Israeli
supremacy and keep the Palestinians under occupation. This narrative is
exported to the United States, framing our perception of the conflict. The
narratives perpetuated by both the Israeli and American governments
conflate various identities until all Palestinians are considered Muslim, all
Muslims are considered terrorists, and thus all Palestinians are a threat to
Israel and—by extension—Western interests. Through repetition, these
conflations become “essential . . . sticky” to the point where many Americans
and Israelis implicitly associate “Palestinian” with negative attributes such
as “primitive” or “dangerous.”3 Because “Palestinians have no human face to
America,” no well-known Palestinian to represent or speak out on behalf of
their struggle, Americans never see the other side of the narrative.4 According
to the mainstream narrative, Israel is “Good” and Palestine is “Bad,” with no
gray area in between—the essential Manichean dichotomy. These dichotomies
are a “central mechanism for establishing the moral grounds for war” and
occupation, essential in Israel’s appeal for western support.5

Homosexuality plays into this in a big way. The Israeli government has gone to
great efforts to paint Israel as a “gay­-friendly” country—in fact, as the only gay­
friendly country in the Middle East. This is an appeal to what Jasbir Puar terms
“homonationalism.” Homonationalism “hails ‘queer’ as productive toward nation
building,” conflating “gay friendliness” with true democracy and modernity as

defined by the West.6 In terms of the dichotomy, a country with LGBT rights and
protections is a Good country, regardless of any other policies, while a country
without these is Bad.

Demonstrating the success of Israel’s homonational appeals, American groups
perpetuate this binaristic narrative by printing slogans such as “Where in
the Middle East Can Gay Officers Serve Their Country? Only in Israel. Support
Democracy. Support Israel”7 and “Which of the Middle East nations protects
the legal rights, safety, and freedoms of the LGBT communities? Only
Israel. Israel is the by far most democratic state in the entire Middle East.”8
Granted, Israel did implement admirable protections and freedoms for LGBT
people, including “protection against workplace discrimination, increasing
institutionalization of same­-sex partner benefits . . . greater inclusion in the
Israeli Defense Forces” and marriage equality, well before the United States.9
However, using gay rights as a blanket determination of a democratic—and,
therefore, Good—country conveniently glosses over any other injustices the
government may be committing.

This willful method of distraction is what has come to be considered
pinkwashing. In the context of Israel­/Palestine, pinkwashing “skirts the
human rights violations of colonial and military occupation” by exploiting
the homonationalistic dichotomy created between Israel and the Arab world,
most specifically Palestine.10 Pinkwashing not only “denies Israeli homophobic
oppression of its own gays and lesbians,” but also “denies the impact of
colonial occupation on the degradation and containment of Palestinian
cultural norms and values” by reiterating the image of Palestine as backward

or homophobic.11 By pinkwashing to appeal to homonationalism, the Israeli
government claims an unwarranted moral high ground from which to justify the
persecution of Palestinians.

This type of ideology is symptomatic of many colonial regimes. Throughout
history, colonizers have perpetuated narratives describing the colonized people
as backward or uncivilized, in need of Western assistance. Colonizers justify
their actions as paternalistic, oppressing and colonizing people “for their
own good.” Throughout American history, this type of thinking was used to
justify American slavery, Native American boarding schools, and the colonial
structure surrounding Spanish missions, situations where “foreigners claimed
to be helping the savages” who were unable to help themselves.12 This colonial
narrative is also used to “justify imperialist violence,” because the colonizers
believe they are in the right.13 In more recent years, Israel and allied countries
have justified occupation and oppression of Arab countries by claiming the
treatment of Arab women is backward, a violation of morals and human rights
the Western world must stick around to fix. Now the LGBT population has been
added to the list of “victims” in need of saving from “oppressive” Arab—read:
Muslim extremist—regimes. By occupying Palestinian territories, the Israeli
government is supposedly protecting women and LGBT people from their own
culture, a “neocolonial narrative of missionization” that is seen as Israel’s
attempt to “[draw] up excuses for the continued colonization of Palestine.”14
Americans support the State of Israel for much the same purported purposes—
to promote freedom and democracy in the Middle East. However, the truth is
not nearly so simple.

Surely, Americans do value freedom and democracy. On the whole, Americans
would agree we support human rights and civil liberties worldwide. On the
microscale, many Americans would likely agree our continued military presence
in the Middle East has beneficial social effects for the common Arab citizen, and
they may not be entirely wrong. However, our military and political alliances
in the Middle East are part of a much larger goal: economic empowerment.
If we buy into the homonationalistic idea that Israel is Good and Palestine is
Bad due to the treatment of LGBT people, it would follow that countries like
Saudi Arabia—where a person can be killed for being gay—are Bad countries.
However, “regimes whose repression of same-sex sexuality is most notorious,
like the Saudi kingdom and Egypt, are among the closest US allies in the
region.”15 Saudi Arabia and Egypt are known for their oil reserves, and US
foreign policy is largely motivated by our economic interests—“preserving the
security . . . of the entire Persian Gulf region and the flow of Middle Eastern
oil”—so American companies can continue to profit from them.16 By supporting
Israel, the United States maintains an established presence in the Middle East
within a so­-called “Westernized” nation founded on Judeo­-Christian principles.
In other words, an Us in a region of Them. When looking at our foreign policy as
a whole, it is clear that citing LGBT rights to legitimize our support of Israel and
military presence in the Middle East is merely a pretense to further American
political and economic interests.

Economic interests are a part of what has fueled the rise of pinkwashing. In
2002, the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry began a “three-­year
consultation with American marketing executives” to create “Brand Israel”—a
“campaign to ‘rebrand’ the country’s image to appear ‘relevant and modern’

instead of militaristic and religious” and “counter its growing reputation
as a colonial power.”17 Over $26.2 million was allocated to the Brand Israel
campaign, $8.8 million of which was allocated specifically to “brand Tel Aviv as
an international gay vacation destination.”18 The Tourism Ministry stated their
support for “targeted marketing campaigns likely to increase tourism to Israel,”
and these campaigns paid off.19 In 2011, Tel Aviv won the title of “Best Gay City”
in an American Airlines competition.20 Pinkwashing is a direct symptom of Brand
Israel; in April 2010, Israeli Pride Month in San Francisco was fully “instigated,
funded, and administered by the Israeli government” to illustrate Israel’s “culture
of democracy and toleration.”21 Listening to the Israeli government’s appeal to
American tourists, it would appear Israel is a queer oasis—a place where any
LGBT person can safely visit and be completely welcome. However, this image
fails to recognize the experience of LGBT Palestinians living under occupation.

While any LGBT American may be welcome in Israel, that is far from the case
for Palestinians. The most well­-known embodiments of Israeli occupation are
the checkpoints monitoring Palestinian movement throughout the occupied
territories and Israel proper. All Palestinians are subjected to this debasing
treatment, even when simply on their way to work.22 While Israel claims to be
welcoming of all LGBT people—American, Israeli, or Palestinian—there is “no
pink door leading to a secret pathway through the Wall [between Israel and
the occupied Palestinian territories]” for LGBT people.23 They “undergo Israeli
oppression like any other Palestinian,” in addition to discrimination based on
their queer identity, which “tends to constitute an additional source of abuse
rather than a means of tempering it, more of a liability than an asset,” despite
what the Israeli narrative would purport.24 Some Palestinians have difficulty

participating in LGBT events because “they can’t come through the checkpoint”
through the Wall of Separation to meetings and events held at LGBT centers in
Israel proper.25

Even when queer Palestinians manage to make it through the checkpoints without
problems, they are subjected to similar “checkpoints” in LGBT spaces. Bouncers
at Israeli LGBT clubs control who does and does not enter, often humiliating
Palestinians during the process or denying them entry altogether. Oftentimes
an “identification card that reveals an Arabic name” or other outward identifiers
such as “language and physical appearance” are sufficient to elicit discriminatory
treatment or exclusion.26 Once inside, LGBT Palestinians may encounter “drag
performances that unabashedly draw on racist stereotypes of Arabs, Palestinians,
and Muslims,” or bartenders who are reluctant to “serve customers perceived
as Arab.”27 Though the Israeli government has de jure civil rights and protections
for all LGBT people, there is no protection against the racial discrimination of
LGBT Palestinians. For all the United States claims to be in support of LGBT
Palestinians, we only seem to be in support of part of their identity—the LGBT
side, not the Palestinian side. As Maya Mikdashi asserts: “The United States will
protect your right to not be detained because [you are] gay, but will not protect
you from being detained because you are Palestinian.”28 This type of thinking—
that only one identity, Palestinian or queer, can be addressed at a time—
influences American conceptualizations of Palestinian LGBT people.

The dichotomies reinforced by pinkwashing and Brand Israel appeal to
Americans because they play into the narrative we receive from our own
media and government. By portraying Palestinian culture as inherently

violent and homophobic, we buy into the same colonial justifications. By
compounding conflations, we finally have arrived at a point where Palestinian
means Arab, Arab means Muslim, Muslim means fundamentalist, and
fundamentalist means terrorist. Palestinian therefore means not only Bad,
but Dangerous as well. Playing off the binaries, we assume Muslims—read:
all Palestinians—are backward and homophobic, and use that to justify our
distrust and support of their occupation while ignoring the homophobia and
transphobia still highly prevalent in our own society. Under this conception,
we assume there can be no such thing as a queer Palestinian; one must be
one or the other, because Palestinian has become “rendered incompatible
with queerness.”29 Americans then assume LGBT Palestinians must be
oppressed by their culture and in need of Western assistance. However, we
fail to give the same attention to the oppression they face at the hands of the
Israeli government.

Some American LGBT groups and supporters have rallied around the idea
of assisting LGBT Palestinians. However, to assume they need or desire our
assistance is the first level of queer imperialism at play. Queer imperialism is
the idea that Western queer people—predominantly white gay and lesbian
cis-gendered men and women—must step in to help rescue LGBT people from
their oppressive cultures so they can achieve a Western conceptualization of
equality: “White queers saving brown queers from brown straights.”30 However
well intended, “Western ideas of the gay trajectory [are] not always helpful or
applicable to Palestinian queers,” and American queers rarely take the time to
listen or learn why.31 Part of imperialistic thinking is assuming one’s own culture
is superior to all others, and others must be wrong. Assertions that people are

happy with their current state are brushed off as ignorance, almost as if to say,
“You only think that because you don’t know it can be any different”—different,
of course, meaning Western and therefore “better.” However, by looking at
Palestinian conceptualizations of same­-sex attraction, it is understandable that
expectations of Palestinians adopting a Western conceptualization are both
imperialistic and largely unrealistic.

Same­-sex attraction is not new to the Middle East. It is not a product of
colonization or globalization. Art and literature depicting same­-sex attraction
and intercourse date back to the early Ottoman Empire and before. In fact,
the Ottoman Empire was exoticized by some reports to be an “Eden for same­
sex practices.”32 As Schulman reports, “there is homosexual desire and practice
under many different conceptualizations, wherever there are humans.”33 The key
phrase—the phrase most queer imperialists fail to comprehend—is “different
conceptualizations.” Sexual orientation as we consider it in the United States
is a “Western paradigm,” and a “fairly recent” one at that.34 Americans now
largely consider orientations such as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender to be
essential identities; LGBT people are “born this way” and LGBT identity becomes
a rallying point around which to establish “communities of lifestyles similar to
those of ethnic groups.”35 Because orientation is an essentialist aspect of identity,
a person can be gay without ever acting on their same-­sex attraction; action
is not directly linked to identity. However, this type of thinking did not become
commonplace until around the end of World War II. Up until the early 1900s,
a man could have sex with other men without being labeled gay if he did not
perform the stereotypical effeminacy associated with “homoseuxals.”

The traditional Arab conceptualization of same­-sex attraction is much the same.
Like the pre–World War II Americans, Arab ideas of same­-sex attraction are
“limited to same­-sex practices,” and do not “presuppose an individual’s self­
definition” based on their actions.36 As such, there is no such thing as “gay” in
traditional Arab culture, though there have certainly been individuals attracted
to members of the same sex. Rather, “there are no ‘homosexuals’” because
traditionally “there is no word for ‘homosexuality.’”37 Same­-sex attraction is
not something often discussed, but Palestinian culture discourages “open
conversation about sexuality in general,” even regarding heterosexual couples.38
In situations where a term for “homosexual” has been adopted, the definition is
usually “limited to the passive partner in the sexual act,” putting the emphasis
on performativity rather than desire, much like the earlier Western school of
thought.39 Despite both men having sex with another man, “only the passive
partner is the homosexual while the active one is heterosexual” because he
performs the more stereotypically “masculine” role.40

Though there is clear evidence of acknowledged same­-sex attraction in
Palestinian culture, Americans still buy into the Israeli narrative that queer
Palestinians are “in need of sexual liberation” by Western influences because
they do not share our modern conceptualization of sexual orientation.41 Some
American LGBT groups support “‘missionary’ efforts to impose the binary
categories of heterosexual/homosexual” upon queer Palestinians in a clear
demonstration of queer imperialism.42 Because Palestinian culture does not
inherently include the same subjectivities as modern America, we aim to force
our subjectivities upon them in the name of sexual liberation. It is ironic that
LGBT Americans, like the Israeli government, impose upon Palestinians in the

name of their cultural freedom. To impose a Western view of sexuality as the
only true way to be liberated is “insensitive to the particularities of the sexual
culture”—declaring Palestinian culture is lesser and requiring paradigm shifts
that often fly in the face of established cultural and religious norms.43 In the
American view supported by Israeli propaganda, “Muslim [is] ‘foreign’ to
queer”—we don’t believe the two identities could ever successfully coincide.44
Because the conflation of Arab identities has caused Muslim to be synonymous
with Palestinian, Americans therefore have homonationalistic justification for
persecution and oppression of Palestinians.

Queer imperialism expects Palestinians to conform to a series of imposed
binaries that did not previously exist in Palestinian culture: straight or LGBT,
Palestinian or queer, backward or modern, Bad or Good. In many cases, this
“ultimately replicate[s] . . . the very structures [LGBT Americans] challenge in
their own home [country]” such as homophobia.45 While Israel does have de
jure laws against discrimination, we can look at our own country for evidence
that such laws do nothing to stop de facto discrimination. This discrimination
would be new for many Palestinians who have never before encountered the
subjectivities constructed by the queer/straight binary—and it would have to be
a binary. Queer imperialism demands complete assimilation, leaving no room for
cultural adaptation that would give queer Palestinians more agency to create an
LGBT identity and culture better fitting their cultural needs.

However, some Palestinian groups have fought to do so anyway by creating
their own grassroots LGBT organizations without the so­-called helping hand
of American LGBT influence. Some same-­sex-attracted Palestinians are in

fact moving toward a “concept of an exclusively gay identity” and adopting
a more essentialist view by identifying with labels such as gay or lesbian.46
Arguably, essentialist queer identity is a Western philosophy that may have been
introduced through networks of global communication such as television and
internet.47 However, this is not the victory many queer imperialist groups perceive
it to be. To claim Palestinians are organizing and forming LGBT communities
solely due to the actions of American LGBT groups is not only factually incorrect,
but also erases Palestinian agency.

Palestinians are creating their own LGBT organizations to address issues specific
to their cultural needs, needs ignored by most international LGBT groups.
Organizations such as Aswat and al­Qaws were created by Palestinians, for
Palestinians. Al­Qaws, for example, has meeting places throughout Israel and
the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Haifa, Jaffa, Jerusalem, and
Ramallah.48 By studying the issues Palestinian groups address, we can see where
queer imperialist groups fall short. Organizations such as al­Qaws are “built on
anti­colonial and queer-­feminist values.”49 Most American organizations do not
include any support for anticolonialism; on the contrary, by imposing American
views on sexuality and claiming a moral superiority over Palestinians, American
organizations support Israeli colonialism.

Some believe queer Palestinians should “distinguish between ‘gay rights’ and
‘Palestinian issues’” and focus only on one issue at a time, such as solidarity
with all Palestinians to end occupation, before turning to more contentious LGBT
issues.50 However, these Palestinian organizations believe the two identities
are not incompatible, and that it is possible—perhaps necessary—to address

both. When the oppressive Israeli regime occupies “in the name of gay rights,”
the two issues become intricately linked.51 With so much American money going
toward Israeli military, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is largely dependent on
American support and funding. Israel maintains that support in part by appealing
to homonationalism, highlighting their purported support of LGBT Palestinians in
order to obscure their treatment of all Palestinians. Fighting against pinkwashing
and homonationalism are therefore a part of fighting against Israeli occupation.
LGBT Palestinians know this and are organizing accordingly. It is the job of
Americans to listen and learn, adjusting to the Palestinian LGBT culture rather
than imposing our own.

Some groups have been created both within Israel and the United States to
work in solidarity with LGBT Palestinians to expose pinkwashing and oppose
homonationalism. Israeli LGBT organizations such as Black Laundry and Isha
L’Isha work alongside Palestinian organizations to actively oppose Israeli
occupation and pinkwashing.52 More LGBT Americans are becoming aware of
pinkwashing and its effects through “pinkwatching”—a response to pinkwashing
started by queer Palestinians to create “a global movement to promote queer­
powered calls against pinkwashing.”53 Palestinian and American groups alike
have been boycotting events funded by the Israeli government since the early
2000s, led by groups such as the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic
and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian Queers for Boycott,
Divestment, and Sanctions (PQBDS).54 Supporters boycott events from academic
conferences to LGBT film festivals, anything that receives funding from the Israeli
government, especially if it is part of a Brand Israel pinkwashing campaign. While
it is a relatively small and peaceful action, it can carry a strong message when

esteemed academics such as Judith Butler refuse to attend conferences, or film
festivals fail to bring in large audiences.

Critics claim critiques and boycotts of Israeli policies and events are a form of
anti-­Semitism. However, to do so is a misrepresentation. Critiques of Israel are
critiques on the politics and injustices of a regime, whereas anti­-Semitism is a
form of racism against Jewish people. When we label any critique of the State
of Israel as “anti­-Semitic,” we ignore the fact that “anti­-Semitism still exists” by
conflating criticism of government practices with attacks on individuals.55 When
used in this manner, the very real claim of anti­-Semitism begins to lose force and
becomes “a blanket alibi for repression of a complicated conversation around
the Israeli­-Palestinian conflict”—a silencing technique that simplifies issues
and supports the group in power.56 We therefore need to be conscious of how
we react to criticism of Israel, our political ally, whether we are silencing a valid
criticism of the government’s practice, or standing up against a hateful attack on
the Israeli people or Jewish people as a whole.

Like any group in a position of privilege, Americans need to start becoming
aware of the lived experience of others who are not so lucky. Americans hold a
great position of privilege on the global scale, to the point that our fiscal support
of a country’s military allows them to occupy and oppress an entire group of
people. The United States and other Western countries need to be aware of the
narratives we consume from our own governments and allies, and think critically
of the policies with which we tacitly agree. As Sara Schulman noted upon visiting
Israel, “As an American, it’s my tax dollars.”57 When we accept our own American
media saying we oppress Palestine for the good of LGBT people, we ignore our

economically imperative support for other extremely homophobic regimes. When
we buy into the pinkwashing coming from Brand Israel­-sponsored platforms and
proponents, we aid in the oppression of an entire group of people. When we
blindly accept legal rights and protections for LGBT people as a determinant of a
Good country, we overlook the de facto homophobia that still runs rampant, as
well as any other injustices the country is committing.

The world is not split between Good and Bad, modern and backward, queer
and Palestinian, good Judeo-­Christians and bad Muslims. There is a vast
expanse of gray area between the black-and-white Manichean dichotomies.
Only by seeking out the gray area and thinking critically of the narratives we
consume can we help to dismantle oppressive regimes and truly claim to
support freedom in the Middle East.

Sarah Schulman, Israel/Palestine and the Queer International (Durham: Duke
Univ. Press, 2012), 161.
Jasbir Puar, “Citation and Censure: Pinkwashing and the Sexual Politics of Talking
about Israel,” in The Imperial University: Academic Repression and Scholarly
Dissent (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2014), 284.
Sara Ahmed, “Problematic Proximities: Or Why Critiques of Gay Imperialism
Matter,” Feminist Legal Studies, vol. 19, no. 2 (2011), 125.
See note 1, 82.
See note 3, 126.
See note 2, 283.
BlueStar PR, “Gay Rights,” retrieved from
Anti­Defamation League, “Religious Freedom. Israel: The Facts,” retrieved from (page no longer available).
See note 2, 284.
Rachael Byrne, “Cyber Pinkwashing: Gay Rights under Occupation,” in The Moral
Panics of Sexuality (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 136.
See note 2, 287.
Edward L. Jackson, “What is the Experience of the Gay Arab Muslim Male Living
in the United States: A Phenomenological Investigation” (PhD diss., Michigan
School of Professional Psychology, 2014), 34.
See note 2, 283.
See note 10, 134.
Peter Drucker, “Arab Sexualities and Imperial Agendas: LGBT Liberation East and
West?” Against the Current, vol. 23, no. 5 (2008), 38.
Toby Craig Jones, “America, Oil, and War in the Middle East,” The Journal of
American History, vol. 99, no. 1 (June 2012), 208.
See note 1, 179, 183; note 2, 286.
See note 1, 183.
“American Airlines Presents Best of Gay Cities 2011,” retrieved from www.
See note 1, 183; Ted Swedenberg, “Mizrahi/Arab/Israeli/Queer: The Cultural
Politics of Dana International,” in The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary
Jewish Cultures (New York: Routledge, 2015), 242.
See note 1, 94–95.
Sami Shamail, quoted in Schulman (see note 1), 154.
Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, quoted in Schulman
(see note 1), 179; see also Jason Ritchie, “Pinkwashing, Homonationalism, and
Israel–Palestine: The Conceits of Queer Theory and the Politics of the Ordinary,”
Antipode, vol. 47, no. 3 (2015), 624.
See note 1, 138.
See note 24 (Ritchie), 629.

Ibid., 628.
Maya Mikdashi, “Gay Rights as Human Rights: Pinkwashing Homonationalism,”
Jadaliyya (December 16, 2011), retrieved from
See note 24 (Ritchie), 626.
See note 3, 126.
See note 1, 153.
Max Kramer, “Sexual Orientation: The Ideological Underpinnings of the Gay
Advance in Muslim­-Majority Societies as Witnessed in Online Chat Rooms,” in
Islam and Homosexuality, Volume One (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010), 134.
See note 1, 25.
See note 32; Katherine Pratt Erwing, “Naming our Sexualities: Secular
Constraints, Muslim Freedoms,” Focaal, no. 59 (Spring 2011), 90.
See note 32, 137.
Ibid., 133.
Dervla Sara Shannahan, “Sexual Ethics, Marriage, and Sexual Autonomy:
The Landscapes for Muslimat and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered
Muslims,” Contemporary Islam, vol. 3, no. 1 (April 2009), 67.
See note 1, 139.
See note 32, 139.
Ibid., 139.
Ibid., 134.
Joseph Massad, quoted in Schulman (see note 1), 136.
See note 32, 155.
See note 3, 131.
See note 42.
See note 32, 133.
Ibid., 136.
Marc Berthold, “‘Pinkwashing’—Wash Delicately!” Palestine-­Israel Journal of
Politics, Economics, and Culture, vol. 18, no. 2 (2012), 178.
alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, “Our Politics,”
retrieved from
See note 24 (Ritchie), 626.
See note 10, 147.
See note 1, 28, 123.
Pinkwatching Israel, “About Us,” retrieved from
See note 1, 23, 126.
See note 2, 293.
Ibid., 292.
See note 1, 57.
Freedom to Choose, Freedom from Choice:
Defining the Causal Link between the Post-
Communist Transition and Gender Equality

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Department of International Relations
Nina Rathburn, Faculty Advisor

Prevailing modernist and liberalist theory holds that economic liberalization
and democratization lead to increased equality of opportunity and meritocratic
(rather than prejudiced) societies.1 However, some recent scholarship points
in the opposite direction, indicating that even the most capitalist economies
and democratic systems have institutional and social prejudices against
women, although these have been obfuscated by the Western liberal narrative
of freedom and equality.2 Narrowing the gap between equality and equal
opportunity has been a struggle for proponents of social democracy and
meritocracy in states experiencing a postcommunist transition. There is no
one “female experience” of this transition. Thus, this paper will qualify and
complicate mainstream understandings of women’s interactions with changing
governments, economies, and civil societies. Preliminary data indicate mixed
levels of gender equality among the fourteen nascent European democracies.
Due to this variation in several equality indicators, this paper will evaluate
three different hypotheses to explain the link between the nature of the
postcommunist transition and gender equality:

Hypothesis 1: European postcommunist states with a weaker degree
of Communist legacy (as measured by political reform, civil society
strength, and economic transformation) will demonstrate a relatively
lower degree of gender equality, as measured by educational
attainment, economic agency, and social safety nets afforded to women,
than those with stronger Communist legacies.

Hypothesis 2: European postcommunist states that experienced more
severe transformation-induced economic crises (as measured by
change in unemployment, per capita GDP, and size of national debt) will

demonstrate a lower degree of gender equality, as measured above,
than counterparts with less severe transformative crises.

Hypothesis 3: European postcommunist states that experienced a larger
change in the presence of religion (as measured by religious affiliation
and observance, number of churches relative to population, and
membership of religiously associated political parties) will demonstrate
lesser gender equality, as measured above, than counterparts
experiencing a smaller change in the influence and presence of religion.

Measuring Legacy
The first independent conceptual variable, Communist legacy, has been
measured in the past by Linda Cook, Philip Roeder, and Jeffrey Kopstein3 through
a variety of indicators, but this normative concept can vary greatly. Following
the work of the aforementioned scholars, this paper examines three sides of
Communist legacy—political reform, state services, and economic growth—and
supposes the extent of reform in each area indicates the extent of departure from
the Communist value set and operational structure present under the USSR. The
use of multiple measures in assessing political reform allows better identification
of anomalies and biases in certain indices. For example, political reform will be
measured by growth in new political parties and the size of opposition parties.

State services, as measured by stipulations in legislation,4 will indicate the
strength of the Communist norm of state support. Some of the non-gender-
related indicators used for measuring state services include unemployment
benefits, job training and education grants, and retirement welfare.

Lastly, the economy is possibly the greatest dimension of change in a state’s
transformation from Communism to democracy, and abundant literature exists
on the postcommunist economic transition.5 Drawing from this literature, the
World Bank Privatization Index, and primary sources (such as legislation and
policy statements), this paper will measure the extent of state ownership
of capital, bureaucratic regulation, and GDP per capita by combining the
indicators into a 1 through 10 ordinal system and testing the significance of the
value using ordered probit analysis. The details of this process can be found in
the methodology section.

A Note on Case Selection
This paper examines the seven Soviet satellite states and the seven post-Soviet
states in Europe. The selection excludes the Central Asian states to increase
internal validity as it is more valid to make inferences about cases that share as
many commonalities as possible. The European states share a regional identity
that includes historical, religious, ethnic, linguistic, and political similarities
predating the USSR. In contrast, the Central Asian states have a very different
Communist narrative and precommunist experience; if included, potential
confounding factors could not be held constant. While exclusion of the Central
Asian states from this research yields a more homogenous sample, considerable
variation still exists in both the dependent variable (women’s status) and
independent variable (extent of liberalization), as previous research suggests.

The time period used for this research was set from 1980 to 2000 to establish a
pretransition baseline and limit time after transition in order to isolate the effects
of immediate transitional changes versus posttransition trends.

The methods used for this research project include trend mapping quantitative
analysis, ordered probit using a combination of indices and numerical
measures, and process tracing. The qualitative research is intended to inform
the quantitative findings, which alone do not explain the causes of change in
the relative indicators or flag the existence of omitted variables. The cases will
be quantitatively compared with data from the World Bank, the OECD’s Gender
Equality portal, the UN’s Gender Development Index (and A. Geske Dijkstra
and Lucia Hanmer’s alternative measure, the Relative Status of Women
index),6 the EU’s Gender Equality Index, the EU Open Data Portal, and state-
level statistics bureaus.

Greater preservation of economic institutions in states undergoing the
postcommunist transition would have led to greater gender equality because the
pretransition economy, controlled by the state, enforced employment equality.
Left intact, the preexisting policies would have resulted in greater female
representation across employment levels than an unplanned economy. The
higher degree of political legacy in some cases represents retained bureaucratic
structures, political actors, and systems of executive control. The self-interest of
individuals in the most preserved political systems implies preserved structures,
which can reasonably lead to greater gender equality than in heavily revised
democracies because proequality Soviet-era policies and popular sentiment
would be stronger in the former. Strong religious influence, a sign of a weaker
Communist legacy (with its atheist principles), could reasonably lead to lower
gender equality because the church exerts a traditionalist influence on health

services, marriage, and work, pushing women out of power positions in favor of
caregiving roles, while also reducing access to reproductive health.

In an economic crisis, the disproportionate impact on women is well recorded
across economic systems, time periods, and regions. The occurrence of such
crises could be a reasonable cause of gender inequality because, by pushing
women out of gainful employment, a crisis increases female reliance on males in
the home and in higher systematic levels, like largely male government systems
cutting largely female-utilized welfare programs to reduce expenditures.

This research is situated in middle-range theories concerning institutional
change, civil society, religion, and gender equality. While grand theories like
liberalism and Communism will come into play, the interaction of smaller
forces creates the interesting phenomena under study. This review of relevant
theoretical literature is organized by hypothesis and addresses the legacy
hypothesis, the economic crisis hypothesis, and the religion hypothesis. In
general, theory provides a strong intuitive sense of what value the dependent
variable (women’s status in society) ought to have, but little research has actually
been done to test the applicability of the following theories to this variable.

Communist Legacy: Political Reform, Civil Society, Economic Transformation
The power of institutions in determining societal structure and political culture
is well documented7 and provides some tentative hypotheses for the effects
changing institutions may have had on women’s status in postcommunist
Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). These effects were largely due to the external

pressures placed on institutions to change or retain policies, depending on
the institution’s accountability to women. Isabelle Allemand, Odile Barbe, and
Bénédicte Brullebaut8 studied the presence of women on European executive
boards and determined that institutions can create coercive pressures in other
social areas. Therefore, a progressive institution may, through legislation,
contracts, or regulation, pressure firms and organizations to employ more
women. Applying this theory to postcommunist CEE, one would expect women
to enjoy more economic benefits in countries where there are progressive
ruling parties and high electoral accountability (or, in other words, a strong
“women’s vote”).

Barbara Geddes congruently theorizes that institutions with higher accountability
(including representational parliaments and shareholder firms) are more
susceptible to change than institutions with more elite control (exemplified by
presidential systems and privately-held or state-owned companies).9 Thus it
would be expected that states under tight elite control would be less beholden
to Western normative pressures building at the social level while states with
more accountable institutions would govern in accordance with popular attitudes
toward gender equality and women’s role. These attitudes may be pro- or anti-
equality, however; theory does not predict which attitude a population will take.

At its core, institutional theory is governed by the self-reinforcing mechanism,
which can be used to explain why institutions persist throughout changes in
the domestic environment and international system. Institutions are influenced
by norms, historical patterns, and self-interest to maintain their behaviors and
structures. Ruth Berins Collier and David Collier, along with Arthur Stinchcombe,

summarize the rationalist model, where power encourages institutional leaders
to preserve the institution.10 Preserving the institution maximizes power gain and
minimizes risk to the leader, implying that powerful leaders during the transition
would have tried to preserve their organizations. If these organizations, including
welfare organizations and political arms controlling the market, changed less
during transition, one would expect women to continue benefitting from them as
they had pretransition.

Beverly Crawford and Arend Lijphart, however, argue that variation in external
pressures and internal self-reinforcing mechanisms can lead to institutions
reforming in contradicting ways, with some states (such as Belarus and Albania)
adhering to established ways and others (e.g., East Germany) caving to external
pressures to liberalize.11 Whether this institutional liberalization results in
greater gender equality is unclear because of competing arguments within the
Communism and liberalism literatures. The causal mechanism for this hypothesis
will be discussed in greater detail further on in this paper.

The two large ideologies at the core of postcommunist CEE literature are
Communism (as a political, economic, and social system) and liberalism
(represented by democracy, capitalism, and a rich civil society). Their relative
influences on the CEE states vary widely, and no consensus exists regarding
whether each expressly predicts better or lesser women’s status. Ruth Abbey
and Carol Hay note that in highly liberal democracies, strong principles of equal
opportunity and individual liberty manifest in a more skilled female workforce
and greater freedoms.12 In contrast, Jytte Klausen, Melissa Williams, and Tricia
Ruiz argue that these same societies are more susceptible to institutional sexism,

therefore leaving women more dependent on predominantly male-controlled
institutions.13 These conflicting findings mean more liberal states are not
necessarily friendlier to women.

Research on Communism also yields incongruities. Chris Corrin argues women
were highly oppressed under Communism,14 while Jiřina Šiklová asserts men were
similarly oppressed, which would mean political freedom is not an appropriate
measure of women’s status.15 Qualitative researchers have emphasized the
significance of the “double burden” on women, which is the expectation
women in the Communist state work and also provide the state with children.16
If the double burden is the most influential factor, then a more Communist
posttransitional state would exhibit lesser women’s status and quality of life. The
mechanism for this link is as follows: Under Communism, the same amount of
work was demanded of both men and women, but women had the additional task
of creating and raising children. Women were disproportionately affected by the
double burden because traditional notions of motherhood and caregiving being a
woman’s duty permeated Soviet ideology as well as pre-Soviet social norms. With
these expectations of women deeply ingrained in the public consciousness years
before the postcommunist transition occurred, women in the postcommunist
society were faced with the same social role expectations, but now without state
childcare benefits.

In a state that more strongly eschewed Communism, the double burden would
be replaced by traditionalist expectations for women to return to the home.
Reduced childcare services would encourage women to leave the workforce
and also place pressure on them to cohabitate with a provider (usually a male

family member or husband). Previous literature can inform, but not answer, the
question of whether Communist mechanisms help or harm women in general.
While all Communist states had explicit gender equality provisions in their
constitutions or legal frameworks, only some retained these measures after
transition, implying that goals differed under Communism versus liberalism.17
Social goals under Communism ostensibly included full gender equality and
the welfare of all, while liberal capitalist goals include individual wealth
based on work and welfare based on deservedness. Economic indicators are
more representative of changing women’s status than legal ones, because
implementation and interpretation issues often prevent gender-related
legislation from achieving its desired effect.

Patronage and Social Engineering
The liberal or Communist trend of a particular case is related to the support
it received during and after transition. Patron states provide client states
with material and immaterial support, including bilateral trade agreements,
knowledge sharing, and security pacts. Usually the patron intends to foster its
own interests and ideologies in the client, as seen during the Cold War. Andrew
Yeo and Jinwung Kim theorize the client state will adopt ideologies and practices
from the patron that persist even after the relationship weakens unless an
exogenous shock occurs to spur a large-scale reversal.18 CEE exemplifies this
cycle: even states that distanced themselves from the USSR (like East Germany)
continued to replicate its ideology and practices until Moscow’s collapse shocked
the system and forced ideological and material realignment. Some cases became
clients of Western states (such as the Baltics and the Nordics) while some
remained with nascent Russia (e.g., Belarus and Ukraine).

Geography plays an important role in the formation of relationships between
patron and client states. A potential client will gravitate toward the closer
of two available patrons,19 and in CEE, most “return[ed] to Europe.” Karl
Moskowitz predicted as times change, a client state will be reluctant to adjust
if the patron is also reluctant, and eager to adapt if the patron’s conditions are
improving in the changing circumstances.20 From this assertion, the hypothesis
is deduced that if a patron has many implicit and explicit gender equality
protections, its client is likely to adopt similar provisions.21 The patron-client
relationship is an indicator of Communist legacy and lends itself easily to
process tracing due to publicly available records and diplomatic messages.
A state’s trajectory, however, is at the discretion of more factors than just its
patron’s preferences.

Some research has used modernist theory and the related social engineering
theory to predict the trajectory of the CEE cases. Modernism posits that
democracy, and its liberal principles, is most likely to thrive in a state with a
market economy and an educated, urbanized population.22 In CEE, modernism
has limited applicability because its populations were highly educated, but its
economies were command-based. While some scholars use CEE as an example
of modernism at work,23 others argue CEE did not “modernize” during transition
because Communist industrialization occurred prior to and without privatization,
a key element of capitalism and a prerequisite to classical modernism.24
Modernization theorists have adapted to such criticism using social engineering
theory, which predicts that a state’s population will embrace democratic
structures and privatization when confronted with an exogenous shock.25
Elites will craft a new economy and bureaucracy with support from the

population and under an “imperative to liberalize.”26 The varying degrees of
change undergone by the CEE cases would therefore create wide variation in
women’s status as a part of the larger Communist legacy hypothesis.

The aforementioned critics of modernism and social engineering instead
explain postcommunist trajectories using cultural historicism. Ken Jowitt is the
preeminent cultural historicist,27 cited and interpreted by Akos Róna-Tas, Beverly
Crawford, Arend Lijphart, Barbara Geddes, and Stephen Hanson.28 According
to this theoretical lens, populations will resist the shrinking state, privatized
economy, and political risk-taking in a democratic direction, because opposing
ideas are historically ingrained in institutions and the popular mind. Róna-Tas
found Hungary’s transition was better predicted by cultural historicism, while the
Czech Republic’s development is more consistent with social engineering. This
interpretation is sensible given the Czech Republic was effectively a “new state”
and could break more easily with its past. In general, prior research indicates
both theories have varying and measurable explanatory power in postcommunist
CEE.29 If cultural historicism is more applicable to a given case, then women’s
status should be expected to change less radically, because institutions and social
attitudes are changing at a slower rate. This paper includes a test comparing the
dependent variable in the Czech Republic and Hungary in order to discern the
applicability of these theories, neither of which has been applied to women’s
status and gender equality in this region.

Economic Crisis: Timing of Transition
All cases experienced economic turbulence to some degree during the transition
process. Unfortunately, limited research has been done differentiating the

economic crises as an independent variable. Economic crisis is often cited
(mostly by social engineering theorists) as one core commonality among the
cases that caused the “blank slate” of posttransition. However, scholars such
as Geddes, Róna-Tas, and Barbara Łobodzińska have identified important
differences in the economic crises of these cases, which went on to impact many
other variables.30 Róna-Tas, for example, finds when privatization took place
before democratization, the economic transition was less damaging than when
the two changes were concurrent. The severity of the crisis in each case differed
based on how the government reformed the economy, how prepared firms were
to operate in the market, and the state of concurrent political reformation.
Therefore, economic crisis is a potentially interesting independent variable and
could predict the severity of change in women’s status. Economists and political
scientists widely agree that any economic crisis disproportionately affects women
and minorities,31 but more research is needed on postcommunist CEE to measure
how the timing of transition impacted severity of recession and thus women’s
status. If a crisis is more severe, then women should be more adversely affected,
and those adverse effects should last longer after the crisis is over.

The patron-client relationship again becomes relevant when testing the impact of
an economic crisis on women because the factors contributing to the failures and
successes of the CEE economies were often adopted at the suggestion of Western
patron-state economic advisors.32 The leaders structuring these economies were
also nudged toward privatization by the potential for EU membership, which
was more likely if their economies emulated those of their European neighbors.
Additionally, emulation was simply the best option for many inexperienced new
elites, and Western Europe was the closest model. The acceptance of economic

advisors from Western European countries supports this claim. Advisors came
from a wide range of economies, including Nordic welfare capitalism and more
laissez-faire capitalism, with proportionally varying social safety nets. Depending
on the extremity of recommendations from these advisors, protections for women
in the market were reduced by varying degrees.33 The social safety net, including
childcare, welfare, and tax benefits, shrunk in all cases, but the degree to which
they were affected differed, and the well-being and status of women could be
expected to differ as a result. This theory predicts women will be worse off in
states that followed the advice of deregulated capitalist countries, while advice
from social democracies may have had a more positive effect.

Religion’s Pressure on Civil Society and Government
Civil society, the arena of popular participation outside of the state, is used
by many as an indicator of the strength of democracy in a particular state34
because it ostensibly indicates the government’s respect toward personal
autonomy, privacy, and freedom of thought.35 Religious life relates closely
to civil society as an apolitical sphere of social interaction and popular
participation, but differs in that it dispenses an ideology. If civil society does
positively indicate strong democracy, this would imply states with a vibrant
civil society afford relatively better status to women than states with weak
civil society. This theory does not appear to apply to postcommunist CEE, and
merits further investigation.

While some credit civil society’s weakness in the region to the USSR’s suffocating
control over private life,36 this weakness could also be attributed to religion,
which exists in different levels in each of the cases. The church is often

considered a part of civil society, but it can also wield influence over the state,
depending on how strong the church-state separation narrative is in that state.37
The church reentered CEE in force during transition, including national Orthodox
denominations, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism. All have traditional
attitudes toward women to some extent, so it is legitimate to hypothesize the
greater the church’s influence on a transitional government, the more limited
women’s status and opportunities will be. This theory is congruent with Tim
Müller’s argument38 that the religiosity of a given state is inversely correlated to
the representativeness of its political system (in contrast with Jonathan Fox’s39).
Most research into this link had been done on the majority Muslim states of the
Middle East, not the Christian CEE states, but translates readily and has also
yet to be applied to gender equality specifically. It is hypothesized a negative
correlation exists, but the impact could also be positive in cases where the
church invites female participation (Protestant cases in particular), and in cases
where religiously supported political parties also advocate for gender equality
more strongly than secular parties.

The church and the government both represent top-down mandates for social
behavior and political action, just as Communist ruling parties mandated gender
equality. Traditional gender roles were suppressed, but not eliminated, under
Communism, with motherhood remaining at the core of the female identity.40
Therefore, the “double burden,” defined as the expectation a woman both to
bear children and work full-time, became a powerful concept in Communism
research.41 However, scholars have more recently argued the double burden
is still present under capitalism,42 citing reduced childcare and wages as tacit
imperatives both to work and raise a family. The church had a large influence

on childcare after transition, often replacing state-owned facilities but with
reduced capacity, and requiring clients to be church members. It also sponsored
traditionalist political parties. Therefore, the strength of the church and the state
of gender equality in postcommunist CEE are likely to be inversely correlated.
This inverse correlation hypothesis argues the increased institutionalized
traditionalism most likely present in states experiencing substantial religious
pressure would have motivated or coerced women to inhabit those traditional
roles. It is subject to debate whether these home and family roles were worse
than positions in the workforce or other areas, but it is a fact that in being limited
to homemaker roles, women had fewer choices than men. Less choice in where
to work is an inequality regardless of the relative merit of the options.

Hypothesis 1—Communist Legacy
Prior to the founding of the USSR and its satellite governments, these states
were similar in governance and society to other European states. They all
displayed a clear gender division that the new Communist establishment
endeavored to erase. The USSR and its satellites adopted nearly identical
constitutions, all containing clauses mandating the full equality of the sexes.
Over decades of engineering, the male-female ratio of primary schools,
vocational training centers, colleges, and all sectors of the workforce
approached (or even exceeded) 1:1. While women still outnumbered men
in some highly emasculated fields, the ratio was far less extreme than in
many Western democracies. Over time, many have argued this continued
workplace and educational parity created a lasting egalitarian sensibility
in CEE populations. These populations, having become accustomed to the

normalization of female workers, would reasonably elect more women to
public office, hire them in firms (or work for them in firms), and consider them
equal in more respects than would Western populations.

The Communist legacy was both informal and formal, normative and material.
Normatively, Communism advocated for gender equality and the Marxist maxim,
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Materially,
firms were already structured to provide women with a monthly “house day,”
paid maternity leave, and workplace protections. Schools had been admitting
women in large numbers for decades, and existing legislatures were relatively
highly female. These elites would rationally attempt to keep their jobs through
transition, and, if successful, the posttransition legislature would have similar
demographics. In summary, the legacy hypothesis is demonstrated by the link
between how well Communist equality policies “stuck,” both ideologically and as
actual policies in new governments, and how represented women were in post-
transition societies.

Hypothesis 2—Economic Crisis
The severity of the economic crisis will be judged quantitatively by the change
in unemployment, per capita GDP, and debt-to-GDP ratio. Qualitative measures
will include the nature of the state’s patronage relationship and its application
of social engineering. The causal mechanism linking the IV and DV is based on
classical explanations of “losers” and “winners” in the market economy. When
the state transitioned from Communism to capitalism, employers no longer
confronted gender-based employment quotas, mandatory maternity leave, or
childcare benefits requirements. Many previously state-operated firms were

closed or downsized to eliminate redundancy, creating thousands of newly
unemployed. Faced with depreciating currency, new foreign competition,
outdated production mechanisms, and dried-up state benefits, firms could
afford to hire only the cheapest workers and these were men, who used far
fewer costly benefits.

Even where women were not laid off in favor of men, many had to leave the
workforce because childcare that had enabled them to work full-time was
drastically reduced. Entirely unprepared for unemployment, women returned to
the home, obligated to rely entirely on a working husband, apply for Western-
style welfare, or both. While the pretransition state placed a high ideological
premium on gender equality, business owners and elites in transition faced
hardships that revealed weaknesses in commitment to those ideals. The greater
the extent of these problems, the more hardship women faced, and the greater
the inequality became between women and men.

Hypothesis 3—Religiosity
All of the religions commonly practiced in CEE prior to communization had
traditional, conservative tenets, although some have demonstrated adaptability
to changing social mores.43 These religions include Eastern Orthodox
Christianity, Lutheran/Protestant Christianity, Evangelical Christianity, and
statistically insignificant Judaism and Islam. These religions prioritize the
sanctity of traditional marriage, fealty to the husband as a representation of
God, childbearing, virginity until marriage, and dowries. It can be argued that
these concepts, if not explicitly stated in the religion’s core text, are enforced
by religious leaders and communities as interpretations of moral codes under

the influence of a broader patriarchy. In the highly ethnically homogenous
CEE states, religion was not a contentious issue when it began to reenter the
transitioning states, especially when religious leaders provided the guidance
and principled wisdom previously dispensed by the state. Churches used
existing infrastructure, donor support, and party sponsorship to regain a
foothold in these cases, returning society to normal after a long period of
artificial atheism. Churches in states where religion enjoyed large followings
were well funded and supported parties with a shared conservative platform.
Therefore, the size and influence of the church positively affected the social
conservatism of the government. Policies including abortion restrictions,
unpaid maternity leave, and reduced childcare (to be substituted by limited
childcare within the church) are therefore indicative of both reduced gender
equality and greater religiosity. Two causal mechanisms exist here. One is the
mechanism whereby a stronger church affects the populace and causes more
religious politicians to be elected, and the other is the mechanism whereby the
church motivates and affects the government outside of the electoral process.
These two mechanisms cannot be distinguished from one another in this paper,
but this ambiguity should not affect the results of this research so long as the
link between religiosity and government exists.

Analyzing the causal mechanisms with quantitative data aims to reveal patterns.
These patterns could be effects of economic hardship as well, which is why
qualitative methods will trace the reemergence of religion and its specific
targeting of these factors. The informal and invisible ways in which religion affects
individual behavior and thus social life are studied in previous case studies and
found in memoirs, religious leaders’ public statements, political party behavior,

and public opinion. These measures reflect the attitudes of decision-makers and
regular people, whose perceptions of the church’s role are indicative of its power.
The qualitative work will test the internal validity of the quantitative indicators.

The cases selected for quantitative analysis are the Central and Eastern
European former Communist satellite states, Russia as the USSR successor
state, and the newly formed post-USSR states in CEE. These states are Albania,
Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Germany/
East Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia,
Slovakia/Czechoslovakia, and Ukraine. The case selection consciously does
not include the Central Asian and Near Eastern Soviet satellites and republics,
which are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Inclusion of only CEE cases
minimizes the possibility of confounding variables by holding certain factors
stable between cases.

The CEE cases have European geography, Christianity, historical development,
and culture in common. Geographical proximity eliminates possible confounding
elements like urbanization and agrarian population differences, ethnic social
stratifications and differences, and access to natural resources. Discounting
the Central Asian cases also holds religion relatively constant by not including
Islam and numerous tribal and ethnic minority religions. By only studying
predominantly Christian cases, this paper applies theories to the selected
CEE cases previously only applied to predominantly Muslim cases to test their

generalizability. For example, the effect of Islam on women in the Middle East
has been the ongoing subject of intense research, but far fewer researchers have
studied how Christian sects impact women in postcommunist Europe. Including
only Christian cases also eliminates the issue of determining whether gender-
divided worshipping spaces and other practices specific to Islam or Christianity
impacted or signaled women’s status.

The final factors held constant by excluding the Asian cases are historical
development and culture. In Europe, populations experienced key historical
events together, as far back as the Black Death, the Thirty Years War, the Peace of
Westphalia, and, more recently, the two World Wars. The Asian cases, however,
did not experience these formative events and instead share an entirely different
historical and cultural developmental background. The possibility of historically
entrenched ideas affecting the results is eliminated by including only states that
are likely to have similar experiences and ideas.

After quantitative analysis has ranked the three hypotheses in order of percent
of variation accounted for by each hypothesis, two in-depth case studies will
test the hypothesis that explains the most variation by evaluating its causal
mechanism. As a Soviet satellite, East Germany retained statehood throughout
the Soviet era. Ukraine, on the other hand, was a part of the USSR up until its
dissolution, and retained ties with Russia in a careful attempt at East-West
neutrality. Ukraine experienced one of the worst economic crises in CEE,
including a 50% GDP decrease in five years. It also rotated through former
Communist elites and antiestablishment liberals in its first few elections,
retaining many Soviet-era practices. It has experienced several social movements

and other turbulence between Western Europe and Russia. Other cases of
interest include Romania, which was ruled alternately by a pro-central planning
conservative party and a proliberalization Communist successor party;
Bulgaria, where economic output and living standards were lower than under
Communism for ten years following independence; and Poland, which is unique
in its religiosity because it is predominantly Roman Catholic, and not Eastern
Orthodox, and because of the church’s support for the anticommunist Solidarity
movement. A full discussion of each of these case studies is beyond the scope of
this paper, which will instead focus on the cases of East Germany and Ukraine.

East Germany is an unusual case among the CEE states, having developed
alongside its sister state, West Germany, under very different conditions. While
East Germany shared the European precommunist past, it developed differently
from West Germany after World War II under the influences of the USSR. Germanic,
European, Soviet, and East German identities competed in defining the East German
zeitgeist, especially during reunification. West German political parties began
spreading ideological and political messages, workers fled over the border to the
West in search of jobs, and the church began an endeavor to reestablish itself in
the East, one of the world’s most atheist states. Less state control meant both
greater individual liberty and reduced protection from discrimination, so a detailed
examination of women’s personal histories, changing party platforms, and public
opinion will reveal which narratives were more powerful and which factors most
influenced employers, politicians, and women themselves in making decisions
that would affect their equality. East Germany experienced extremes in each
independent variable, making it an atypical case.

East Germany provides an interesting test for Hypothesis 1 because East German
women aligned with Communist gender equality norms, but changed completely
after the transition, embracing newly available home goods and having more
children. Formal indicators of Communist legacy were few after the Western
government takeover, but informal indicators remained strong in public opinion
and successor party politics, providing a puzzling test for this hypothesis. Formal
institutions and political parties entered East Germany from West Germany rather
than developing from previous East German institutions and parties. Perhaps
because they did not develop out of East German sentiments, the Communist
legacy was much slower to fade socially.

East Germany is a good test of the economic crisis hypothesis because it
suffered far less economic turbulence than most other CEE states. Absorbed
into West Germany, firms were able to share information and expand within
the border, reducing costs. However, widespread unemployment in the
East led to massive internal migration of young adult men to the West.
The tilted demographics meant women placed disproportionate stress on
a reduced welfare system. So, while East Germany did not experience the
catastrophic hardship like some of its post-Soviet comrades, its unique
circumstances created new situations that both helped and harmed women.
These complexities are better explored with a detailed case study to test if the
economic crisis hypothesis is an adequate explanation.

The religiosity hypothesis is an interesting one in East Germany because its first—
and only—democratic election resulted in landslide support for the Christian
Democratic Union (CDU). The election was won largely because of CDU chairman

Helmut Kohl’s rapid reunification plan, but the victory placed the CDU in a long-
lasting majority role and gave it control over the development of unified Germany.
The party’s center-rightist religious background encouraged the development
of traditional families and churchgoing. However, East Germany, measured by
its former counties, remains one of the EU’s least religious regions. Why the
CDU’s policies failed to take hold, and why religion is an ever-diminishing part of
German life today, provide an interesting test of the religiosity hypothesis.

Ukraine has remained close to Russia ever since its independence in 1991,
making it much different from East Germany. Its declared neutrality was at
odds, however, with military cooperation and economic reliance on Moscow.
Institutions were slow to change in order to maintain operational coherence
with Russia and retain elites who had been active prior to transition. The clash
between East and West would come to the fore in the 2000s, but in the decade
following independence, Ukraine was distinctly more Soviet than European. As a
post-Soviet state, it was more directly controlled by Moscow during the Soviet era
and became independent with the same structures of Communist government
that Khrushchev installed when he moved from Ukrainian party leader to Soviet
premier. The leadership vacuum created by an absent USSR was filled by a
series of powerful presidents and holdovers from the Communist government.
Ukraine is more religious than East Germany, which is itself surprising because
of Ukraine’s ostensibly more Communist past, but this may be because of its
traditionalist, agrarian roots.44 In any case, the increased religiosity would predict
that fewer women participate in the workforce. During transition, Russian-owned
businesses pulled out and the state reduced benefits, so any growing trade was

not met by increased production, and inflation created economic collapse that
required a new currency be introduced in 1996.

Ukraine is a good test of the Communist legacy hypothesis because while Ukraine
retained many political structures, sentiments, and elite actors, its economy
was changed completely and the state’s protections were reduced. Therefore,
women in Ukraine were forced to find other means of self-sufficiency, often at the
expense of personal safety. A legacy of top-down control and large government
was so strongly entrenched that Ukraine was one of the few CEE states to design
its democracy with a president and unicameral legislature. This strong political
legacy would imply gender equality would be comparatively higher in Ukraine,
but preliminary quantitative analysis suggests this may not be the case. Data
for the Communist legacy hypothesis come from policy statements of new
governments and politicians, as well as poll results and interviews on popular
attitudes toward Communism and democracy.

The crisis hypothesis is appropriately tested on Ukraine not because it is a tough
test, but because it is a case “in the herd.” In other words, Ukraine falls where
theory would predict it to fall. Testing the hypothesis on Ukraine is appropriate
because it will either strengthen the hypothesis if true, or severely weaken/reject
it if false. The hypothesis predicts that a state undergoing a more damaging
economic transition will display lower gender equality, and Ukraine represents
an extremely high value of the independent variable. Although it varies from East
Germany, it is not extremely varied compared to most of the other CEE countries.
If Ukraine’s gender equality result is high, it will reject the hypothesis, and if
gender equality is low (but not as low as was seen in the extreme cases of the

quantitative phase), the hypothesis will be strengthened. Women’s experiences in
Ukraine were highly influenced by the informal economy and social pressures, so
qualitative study will capture their status more accurately than only data would.
Qualitative data on the crisis hypothesis can be drawn from personal accounts of
hardship and statements by banks, the finance ministry, and business owners.

Ukraine is also a compelling test of the religiosity hypothesis because of its
conflicting Communist and traditional historical narratives. Under Communism,
religious practice was heavily suppressed and atheism mandated by the
state, but today, three-fourths of Ukrainians believe in a god figure. As in
all predominantly Orthodox countries, church demographics are not well
represented by sect-specific polls, so some data underreport Ukrainian
religiosity. When pollsters survey general attitudes about faith, rather than
church allegiance, Ukraine is one of the more religious CEE countries, although
it is less so than Poland or Romania. This mixed state of religiosity, where the
church itself may not have as much influence on individual lifestyle as do general
spiritual beliefs and biblical guidance, creates an interesting test. One could
hypothesize that, without popular followings, church leaders may not be as
successful in establishing profamily policies, but researchers have yet to agree on
whether this premise is true.

This research will begin with mapping the covariance of each indicator for each
country in homogenously scaled tables and graphs. The graphs will start with
the oldest available data, though no inferences can be drawn from time points
where a data point is missing. Trend mapping like this identifies the indicators

that co-vary most strongly over time, indicating relationships more likely to be
causal. Once these relationships are identified, making an ordinal scale will be
simpler than it would be without the prior identification of strong covariance. For
all statistics, 1991 is the base year because this is the year data become available
for every case, rather than in limited quantities.

To quantitatively analyze this data, the indicators will be individually sorted into a
1 through 10 ranking, which will then be tested using ordered probit. 1 represents
the lowest extreme of the variable, and 10 the highest. Each of the indicators
that make up a variable are expected to covary; for instance, measures of church
attendance, religious political parties, and church activism in civil society should
all be at the low end of the ranking if they are truly related measures. Based
on this logic, indicators should create a unimodal distribution across the 1-10
ranking when their values are weighted to allow them to be compared. This mean
value on the scale will be the value tested with ordered probit.

To sort a particular indicator, its range will be broken up into increments of 10%.
For example, an index ranking of 0-50 would be matched to the 1-10 ranking
using 0-5, 6-10, 11-15, and so on. A value of 7 on this example index would fall
into the second category of this ranking system. For numerical indicators, like
the difference between male and female unemployment, the high end of the
range will be the smallest difference reported among all cases (representing the
most equal unemployment distribution), and the low end will be the greatest
difference between male and female unemployment. Once the total range of
values for a numerical indicator is established, sorting values according to
percentile will be simple. Once all of the values of each indicator are sorted, the

scale should indicate a clear average value, exempting outliers. Ordered probit
should produce a prediction for the dependent variable’s value on a 1-10 scale
when the independent variable is any value from 1 through 10.

The qualitative portion of the research will follow the quantitative analysis,
which will have identified the strongest causal effect. The case studies will
test the causal mechanism of this relationship and the other mechanisms.
Case studies will be crafted by following elites through history and tracing
the development of legislation, including concurrent press accounts, election
cycles, and political statements. Public opinion, as measured by the press
and numerous surveys, is also instrumental. Research will principally focus
on looking for indications leaders made conscious decisions that led to
measurable effects on women’s status. The following questions will guide
investigation of the selected case studies:

a. Communist legacy mechanism: Do the leaders demonstrate a
commitment to upholding pretransition values and institutions? Are
governments conscious of the effect reducing workplace protections
and gender-based regulations on educational institutions will have on
women? Does the population consider gender equality a social priority
or an unrealistic ideology?

b. Economic crisis mechanism: Do personal narratives and polling
data show if women left the workplace and returned to the home, and
do these sources show the reason was economic? Did women feel
forced to choose work or the home, as evidenced by political parties
courting their vote and the state’s declared priorities for women? Do the

experiences of business owners and the accounts of economists support
the notion that they believed men were cheaper to employ? How much
of this perception was influenced by sexism, as evidenced by poll data
and interviews?

c. Religiosity mechanism: Do religious leaders publicly support certain
political parties or individuals? Do churches espouse recommendations
for social and familial behavior, including the role of women? How close
is the case’s Catholic Church to the Holy See in ideology and practice,
as shown by written religious edicts and contacts between the leaders
of these groups? What social role do church leaders and the population
believe the church should occupy?

The purpose of undertaking this research project will be to broaden mainstream
understanding of transitions to democracy and the problems these transitions
can face, even in the developed world. This research also aims to deepen and
complicate conventional wisdom on the fall of the USSR as gender studies
emerges as a growing subfield of international relations. The research will
attempt to resolve contradicting predictions made by theories not typically
applied to gender equality, including both large laws like liberalism and middle-
range theories like institutional relearning. In addition, it will apply quantitative
methods to a largely constructivist subfield that has produced abundant case
studies and historical narratives. This research will, by eliminating spurious
connections and revealing the reality of women’s status, potentially illuminate
avenues for improving quality of life and opportunity for women experiencing
regime change in other parts of the world and in other time periods.

This paper proposes the research design for a study to examine the relationship
between women’s status and the type of postcommunist transition a country
underwent by determining the extent of liberalization in each case study,
assessing the status of women in each case, and then testing which theory is
correct in explaining the relationship between the variables.

See Seymour Lipset, Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics (Garden City, NY:
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Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1971).
See Jytte Klausen, ed., Has Liberalism Failed Women? (New York: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2001); Melissa Williams, “Tolerable Liberalism” in Minorities within
Minorities: Equality, Rights, and Diversity (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press,
2005), 19–40; Ian Hall, “The Triumph of Anti-liberalism? Reconciling Radicalism
to Realism in International Relations Theory,” Political Studies Review, vol. 9, no.
1 (January 2011), 42–52.
Linda Cook, Postcommunist Welfare States: Reform Politics in Russia and
Eastern Europe (New York: Cornell Univ. Press, 2007); Philip Roeder, “The
Rejection of Authoritarianism,” in Postcommunism and the Theory of Democracy
(Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2001), 11–53; Jeffrey Kopstein, “Postcommunist
Democracy: Legacies and Outcomes,” Comparative Politics, vol. 35, no. 2 (2003),
Eva Kolinsky and Hildegard Nickel, Reinventing Gender: Women in Eastern
Germany Since Unification (London: Frank Cass, 2003).
Connie Squires Meaney, “Foreign Experts, Capitalists, and Competing Agendas:
Privatization in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary,” 91–125; and Ákos Róna-
Tas, “Social Engineering and Historical Legacies: Privatization and the Business
Elite in Hungary and the Czech Republic,” in Liberalization and Leninist Legacies:
Comparative Perspectives on Democratic Transitions (Berkeley: International and
Area Studies, 1997), 126–41; John Mutti, “Economic Policy and Democratization
in the Former Communist States,” in Democratic Theory and Post-Communist
Change (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997), 217–47.
A. Geske Dijkstra and Lucia Hanmer, “Measuring Socio-Economic Gender
Inequality: Toward an Alternative to the UNDP Gender-Related Development
Index,” Feminist Economics, vol. 6, no. 2 (2000), 41–75.
Guy Peters, The Politics of Bureaucracy (London: Routledge, 2001); David Apter,
The Politics of Modernization (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1965); William
Riker, “Implications from the Disequilibrium of Majority Rule for the Study of
Institutions,” in Political Equilibrium, vol. 5 of Studies in Public Choice (Boston:
Kluwer-Nijhoff Publishing, 1980), 3–24; Elinor Ostrom, “Collective Action and
the Evolution of Social Norms,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 14, no.
3 (2000), 137–58; Eva Sørensen, “The Democratic Problems and Potentials of
Network Governance,” European Political Science, vol. 4, no. 3 (2005), 348–57.
Isabelle Allemand, Odile Barbe, Bénédicte Brullebaut, “Institutional Theory and
Gender Diversity on European Boards,” Vie & Sciences de l’Enterprise, vol. 46, no.
2 (2014), 73–92.

Babrara Geddes, “A Comparative Perspective on the Leninist Legacy in Eastern
Europe,” in Liberalization and Leninist Legacies: Comparative Perspectives on
Democratic Transitions (Berkeley: International and Area Studies, 1997), 142–83.
Ruth Berins Collier and David Collier, Shaping the Political Arena: Critical
Junctures, the Labor Movement, and Regime Dynamics in Latin America
(Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1991); Arthur Stinchcombe, “The Conditions of
Fruitfulness of Theorizing About Mechanisms in Social Science,” Philosophy of the
Social Sciences, vol. 21, no. 3 (September 1991), 367–88.
Beverly Crawford and Arend Lijphart, Liberalization and Leninist Legacies:
Comparative Perspectives on Democratic Transitions (Berkeley: International and
Area Studies, 1997).
Ruth Abbey, The Return of Feminist Liberalism (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s
Univ. Press, 2011); Carol Hay, Kantianism, Liberalism, and Feminism: Resisting
Oppression (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
See note 2 (both Klausen and Williams); Tricia Ruiz, “Feminist Theory and
International Relations: The Feminist Challenge to Realism and Liberalism,”
retrieved from
Chris Corrin, ed., Superwomen and the Double Burden: Women’s Experience
of Change in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (London:
Scarlet Press, 1992).
Jiřina Šiklová, “O feminismu women a gender studiích u nás a na západě
[About feminism, women and gender studies in our country and in the West],”
Documenta Pragensia XIII (Prague: Archiv Hlavního města Prahy, 1996), 24.
Bistra Anachkova, “Women in Bulgaria,” in Family, Women, and Employment
in Central-Eastern Europe (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995), 55–69; Anna
Zajicek and Toni Calasanti, “The Impact of Socioeconomic Restructuring on
Polish Women,” in Family, Women, and Employment in Central-Eastern Europe
(Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995), 179–93.
See note 11.
Andrew Yeo, “Signaling Democracy: Patron-Client Relations and
Democratization in South Korea and Poland,” The Journal of East Asian Studies,
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Changing South Korean-American Relationship,” Journal of American-East Asian
Relations, vol. 2, no. 3 (Fall 1993), 303–25.
Richard Anderson, M. Steven Fish, Stephen Hanson, and Philip Roeder,
Postcommunism and the Theory of Democracy (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press,
Karl Moskowitz, From Patron to Partner: The Development of U.S.-Korean
Business and Trade Relations (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1984).

Max Weber, Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology (New
York: Bedminster Press, 1968).
See note 1 (Lipset).
See note 1 (Dahl); Anders Åslund, “Lessons of the First Four Years of Systemic
Change in Eastern Europe,” Journal of Comparative Economics, vol. 19, no. 1
(1994), 22–38.
Ken Jowitt, New World Disorder: The Leninist Extinction (Berkeley: Univ. of
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David Lipton and Jeffrey Sachs, “Creating a Market Economy in Eastern Europe:
The Case of Poland,” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, no. 1 (1990); Josef
Brada, “The Transition from Communism to Capitalism: How Far? How Fast?”
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See note 11.
See note 24 (Jowitt).
See note 5 (Róna-Tas), note 11 (Crawford and Lijphart), note 9 (Geddes); and
Stephen Hanson, “The Leninist Legacy, Institutional Change, and Post-Soviet
Russia,” in Liberalization and Leninist Legacies: Comparative Perspectives on
Democratic Transitions (Berkeley: International and Area Studies, 1997), 228–52.
William Reisinger, “Choices Facing the Builders of a Liberal Democracy,” in
Democratic Theory and Post-Communist Change (Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Prentice Hall, 1997), 24–51.
See note 9 (Geddes), note 5 (Róna-Tas), and Barbara Łobodzińska, ed., Family,
Women, and Employment in Central-Eastern Europe (Westport, CT: Greenwood
Press, 1995).
See note 16 (Zajicek and Calasanti) and for Maca Jogan, “Re-domestication of
Women and Democratization in Postsocialist Slovenia,” 229–36.
See note 5 (Meaney).
Martina Dieckhoff, Vanessa Gash, and Nadia Steiber, “Measuring the Effect of
Institutional Change on Gender Inequality in the Labour Market,” Research in
Social Stratification and Mobility, vol. 39 (2015), 59–75.
Anders Uhlin, Post-Soviet Civil Society: Democratization in Russia and the Baltic
States (London: Routledge, 2006).
See note 29.
Marc Morjé Howard, The Weakness of Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe
(Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2003).
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as Conflict,” Social Compass, vol. 55, no. 2 (2008), 127–39.
Tim Müller, “Religiosity and Attitudes Towards the Involvement of Religious

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vol. 2, no. 1 (2009): 1–29.
Jonathan Fox, An Introduction to Religion and Politics (London: Routledge,
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See Ildikó Asztalos Morrell, Helen Carlbäck, and Sue Bridger essays in Gender,
Equality and Difference During and After State Socialism (New York: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2007).
Gillian Pascall, Gender Equality in the Welfare State (Bristol: Policy Press, 2012).
Inna Naletova, “Other-Worldly Europe? Religion and the Church in the Orthodox
Area of Eastern Europe,” Religion, State and Society, vol. 37, no. 4 (2009),
Natalia Kochan, “The Clash of Churches, Politics, and Religion in Ukraine,”
Osteuropa, vol. 59, no. 6 (2009), 161–72.
Prenatal Anxiety and Relationship
Satisfaction within First-Time Parents

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Department of Psychology
Darby Saxbe, Faculty Advisor

As couples transition to parenthood, there are small but noticeable declines in
marital satisfaction.1 Therefore, even though the transition to parenthood is one
of the most significant events in a couple’s life together, it is often accompanied
by marital dissatisfaction. Some factors that play a role in this decline are the
stress and anxiety associated with childrearing, including challenges around the
division of labor and loss of sleep for both parents.2

A 1957 study posited the addition of the first child constitutes a “crisis event,”
forcing a married couple to move from an adult-centered pair-based family
organization into a child-centered triadic system. This “crisis” may lead to
a period of disorganization, recovery, and subsequent reorganization of the
relationship.3 The addition of the child forces the parents to reorganize their
family system with a new focus on their child. Thus, the addition of a child
constitutes a significant and life-altering event in first-time parents’ lives.

In addition to a new baby impacting the couple, the resulting changes to the
couple relationship could affect the child’s well-being. During pregnancy, couples
often experience a great deal of anxiety and stress. This anxiety can stem from
feelings of unpreparedness and hinder further adjustment to parenthood.4
Specifically, compared to nonexpectant fathers, expectant fathers may drink
more, may be more depressed and irritable, and may suffer from more somatic
symptoms.5 Fathers have been shown to typically experience their peak level of
distress during pregnancy.6 Prenatal distress is also prevalent in mothers and
can be detrimental to their pregnancy.7 Pregnant women’s stress and anxiety are
associated with spontaneous abortion, structural malformations, and reduced
birth weight and head size.8

Mothers’ marital dissatisfaction is associated with higher rates of behavioral
and emotional problems in their children,9 while fathers’ marital dissatisfaction
is associated with a lack of child involvement.10 Similarly, mothers’ marital
dissatisfaction is associated with a lack of maternal involvement with the child.11
This lack of involvement is potentially damaging, since less maternal involvement
can lead to psychological distress in children.12 Moreover, children of fathers
who are less satisfied with their marriage are more likely to exhibit depressive
symptoms.13 Thus, the addition of a child can negatively affect parents’ marital
satisfaction, potentially causing negative outcomes for their child’s well-being.

Overall, the literature suggests that having a child is an event of great importance
both individually and as a dyad. Not only is it associated with challenges among
the parents themselves, but the parents’ relationship problems may even affect
the child psychologically, behaviorally, and socially.

Protecting couples from relationship distress is of great importance, since
having a child is associated with declines in marital satisfaction. Relationship
satisfaction may not only impact parents, but can also impact children in
multiple ways. Parents’ relationship dissatisfaction can cause the child
unnecessary psychological distress. Therefore, it is important to investigate the
factors that contribute to relationship satisfaction after the birth of a child. For
example, couples’ emotional and psychological well-being during pregnancy
might shape their relationship quality in the postpartum period. Mothers and
fathers experience a great deal of stress and anxiety during pregnancy, and it’s
possible that this stress/anxiety can be associated with declines in couples’

relationship satisfaction after the child is born. Thus, the current study aimed
to investigate how prenatal anxiety is associated with postpartum relationship
satisfaction, examining how anxiety during pregnancy potentially carries over
into early parenthood.

We examined within-person associations between prenatal anxiety and
postpartum marital satisfaction. In addition, we explored cross-partner
associations within couples, examining 1) mothers’ prenatal anxiety in relation
to fathers’ postpartum relationship satisfaction and 2) fathers’ prenatal anxiety
in relation to mothers’ postpartum relationship satisfaction. We predicted there
would be an inverse association between prenatal anxiety and postpartum
relationship satisfaction; specifically, higher prenatal anxiety would be associated
with lower relationship satisfaction both within and across partners. From this
knowledge, we may be able to learn about the benefits of targeting prenatal
anxiety in order to potentially prevent later declines in relationship satisfaction
during early parenthood.

This study is novel in that it links the anxiety experienced during pregnancy
with how partners may be affecting each other during this important transition.
Limited research has focused on these cross-partner associations, and most
studies have only investigated how marital satisfaction changes across the
transition to parenthood rather than looking at how partners’ individual prenatal
experiences can potentially affect their partners’ postpartum relationship
functioning. Overall, this study will contribute to our understanding of changes in
marital satisfaction across the transition to parenthood.

The current study included 28 opposite-sex couples. Participating couples had
a single and not a twin pregnancy, and this was the first pregnancy for both
partners. Both members of the couple were also living together and planned to
live together after the pregnancy. Additionally, participants were over 18 and
fluent in English. Exclusion criteria for either partner included being a heavy
smoker, taking medication that might interfere with hormone levels (e.g.,
steroid medications or Androgen Replacement Therapy), or having a condition
that might affect cortisol or testosterone levels (e.g., Cushing’s disease). The
recruitment for this study was primarily conducted through advertisements
posted online and the distribution of flyers detailing the requirements and
monetary incentives of the study. The mean age of our participants was
34-years-old and the average amount of weeks pregnant was 27.7. Most
participants (33 out of 56) were white and married (22 out of 28) and many
had attained their bachelor’s degree (26 out of 56).

The current study was part of a larger project called the Hormones Across the
Transition to Childrearing (HATCH) study. The HATCH study is being conducted
by the Neuroendocrinology of Social Ties (NEST) Lab at the University of
Southern California and is a longitudinal investigation of couples’ psychosocial
adjustment across the transition to parenthood and how their brains and bodies
change from pregnancy through early childrearing. Couples who consented to
participate in the HATCH study attended two in-lab study visits, one prenatal
visit at 20–30 weeks pregnant, and one postpartum visit approximately six

months after the birth of their child. During these visits, couples participated
in a series of discussions and tasks. Participating fathers also received prenatal
and postpartum functional and structural neuroimaging scans. Both partners
filled out a battery of questionnaires at each visit, and responses to these
questionnaires were used in the current study.

Relationship Satisfaction
Relationship satisfaction was measured using the Dyadic Adjustment Scale
(DAS).14 The DAS is a 32-item scale designed for married or unmarried
cohabiting couples. The scale is comprised of four subscales: dyadic
satisfaction, dyadic cohesion, dyadic consensus, and affectional expression.
Dyadic satisfaction is the degree to which the respondents feel satisfied with
their partner. Dyadic cohesion is the degree to which the respondent and
partner participate in activities together. Dyadic consensus is the degree
to which the respondent agrees with their partner. Affectional expression
is the degree to which the respondent agrees with their partner regarding
emotional affection. These subscales are summed for an index of total dyadic
adjustment. Respondents answer each item on a 5-point scale ranging from
1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).15 The DAS has demonstrated
construct, content, criterion-related validity, and reliability for relationship.16

Pregnancy-Related Anxiety
Pregnancy-related anxiety was measured with the Pregnancy-Related Anxiety
Scale (PRAS).17 The PRAS consists of ten items that assess the frequency with
which the participants feel worried about their health or their unborn child’s

health, or experience concerns about the labor or delivery.18 The items included
statements such as, “I feel well informed about the labor and delivery of my
baby,” and “I have a lot of fear regarding the health of my baby.”19 Responses are
provided on a 4-point scale, where 1 is never or not at all and 4 is a lot of the
time.20 The PRAS has demonstrated strong internal consistency.21

Data Analysis
This study’s primary analyses were conducted with multiple linear regression
models to estimate associations between postpartum relationship satisfaction
and both own and partner pregnancy-related anxiety. Associations for own and
partner prenatal anxiety were estimated in the same model to isolate the unique
contribution of each partner’s anxiety in predicting postpartum relationship
satisfaction. Models controlled for prenatal relationship satisfaction in order to
investigate changes in this domain across the transition to parenthood. Since
these results may differ by gender, associations with postpartum relationship
satisfaction were tested in separate models for mothers and fathers. Models were
also run with relevant covariates, including participants age, relationship status,
ethnicity, education level, and days pregnant.

Results are presented in Table 1 on page 440. In expectant mothers, pregnancy-
related anxiety predicted postpartum total dyadic adjustment after controlling
for prenatal dyadic adjustment, = -0.41, t(19) = -2.28, p < .05. This result
is illustrated in Figure 1. Mothers’ own pregnancy-related anxiety predicted
their postpartum dyadic cohesion, = -0.45, t(19) = -2.54, p < .05, and dyadic
consensus, = -0.34, t(19) = -2.10, p < .05, controlling for their own prenatal

dyadic cohesion and consensus. Fathers’ own pregnancy-related anxiety also
predicted mothers’ dyadic consensus, = -.034, t(19) = -2.10, p < .05, after
controlling for mothers’ prenatal dyadic consensus. These results are shown in
Figure 2. Fathers’ pregnancy-related anxiety did not predict fathers’ postpartum
dyadic adjustment, and mothers’ pregnancy-related anxiety also did not predict
fathers’ postpartum dyadic adjustment.

The current study demonstrated how pregnancy-related anxiety experienced
by first-time parents is associated with changes in maternal dyadic adjustment
across the transition to parenthood. In mothers, higher pregnancy-related
anxiety was associated with prenatal to postpartum declines in total dyadic
adjustment, dyadic cohesion, and dyadic consensus. Additionally, fathers’
pregnancy-related anxiety was significantly associated with prenatal to
postpartum declines in mothers’ dyadic consensus. These results support our
hypotheses that prenatal anxiety will be associated with changes in dyadic
adjustment both within and across partners (see Table 1). Although there
were not any significant results for fathers’ dyadic adjustment (see Table 2),
we initially predicted there would be declines in relationship satisfaction in
association with their pregnancy-related anxiety for both parents since studies
have shown both partners often experience a decline in their postpartum
satisfaction along with a great deal of prenatal anxiety.22 However, that study
assessed relationship satisfaction 11 months after the child was born, whereas
we assessed dyadic adjustment only 6 months after the child was born. This may
indicate the amount of time after the child is born may play a significant role in
association with couples’ changes in relationship satisfaction.

Mothers and fathers both experience anxiety during pregnancy.23 However,
based on the current study’s results, fathers’ pregnancy-related anxiety may
be less important in predicting how maternal dyadic adjustment changes
from pregnancy to early childrearing. This difference between maternal and
paternal results may be due to the unique experiences mothers face across the
transition to parenthood. For example, compared to fathers during pregnancy,
mothers are more often confined to the home, and for reasons like this the
prenatal stage may consist of more anxiety and distress for mothers.24 Studies
have also shown women experience declines in relationship satisfaction
slightly more often than men, with 45% of men and 58% of women showing
decreases in marital satisfaction. The results of this study agree with the
results found in the literature seeing as declines in relationship satisfaction
were only noted for the mothers in relation to their prenatal anxiety.25 Thus,
mothers’ prenatal experience may be more distressing, explaining why mothers
experience declines in relationship satisfaction slightly more than fathers in
the postpartum phase.

Overall, our study illustrated how parents’ pregnancy-related anxiety is related
to postpartum relationship functioning. Interestingly, both fathers’ and mothers’
prenatal anxiety may make the transition to parenthood difficult for mothers
with respect to dyadic consensus (see Figure 3). This could potentially be due to
the couples’ prenatal anxiety causing more issues in their relationship and thus
causing them to be less satisfied. Such adversity is associated with relationship
dissatisfaction and could be causing the mother to be in less agreement with her
partner after their child is born. Results revealed that mothers, in comparison
to fathers, generally have a lower level of postpartum relationship satisfaction

in association with their pregnancy-related anxiety, are in less agreement with
their partners, and spend less time with their partners after the addition of their
first child. Therefore, our results suggest the potential benefit of addressing both
mothers’ and fathers’ pregnancy-related anxiety and how that may benefit the
couples’ postpartum relationship functioning.

Limitations of the current study include a small, relatively homogenous sample,
incomplete postpartum data due to the study still being in progress, and running
a large number of analyses. Therefore, current results of the study should be
considered preliminary and exploratory.

Some future directions for this line of research include the addition of
intermediate and future time points for the assessment of dyadic adjustment.
Additional follow-up time points could be valuable given that fathers have
been shown to experience declines in marital satisfaction midway through their
second postpartum year.26 The addition of intermediate time points could also
prove useful since this would allow us to track and monitor when these declines
in relationship satisfaction are occurring in association with pregnancy-related
anxiety levels within the 6-month postpartum time period.

Ultimately, we would also like to analyze behavioral mediators of the association
between pregnancy-related anxiety and postpartum relationship satisfaction.
Partners’ prenatal anxiety may cause them to interact in a certain way, such as
arguing and fighting more, and this behavior may result in changes in relationship
satisfaction across the transition to parenthood. We would also like to analyze

behavioral moderators for mothers and/or fathers who are more prone to anxiety
as pregnancy-related anxiety is even more important in how their relationship
changes as they become parents.


Mothers’  Dyadic  Adjustment  Total  
Mothers’  Change  in  Dyadic  






0   1   2   3   4   5  
Mothers’  Pregnancy-­‐Related  Anxiety    
 Figure 1
 Scatter plot of mother’s own pregnancy-related anxiety and changes in their own total dyadic
adjustment. Regression line shows the association between these variables.

Mothers’  Dyadic  Adjustment  Consensus  
Mothers’  Change  in  Dyadic  


0   1   2   3   4  
Fathers’  Pregnancy-­‐Related  Anxiety  
 Figure 2
 Scatter plot of mothers’ own pregnancy-related anxiety and changes in their own dyadic cohesion.
Regression line shows the association between these variables.
Table 1. Results for mothers’ change in dyadic adjustment including sociode
covariates. *p<.05
Mothers’  Dyadic  Adjustment  Consensus  
Mothers’  Change  in  Dyadic  


0   1   2   3   4  
Fathers’  Pregnancy-­‐Related  Anxiety  
Figure 3
Scatter plot of fathers’ pregnancy-related anxiety and changes in mothers’ dyadic consensus. Regression
 line shows the association between these variables.
  Table 2. Results from mothers predicting fathers’ postpartum dyadic adjustme




Table 1
Results for mothers’ change in dyadic adjustment including sociodemographic covariates.  
*p < .05



Table 2
Results from mothers predicting fathers’ postpartum dyadic adjustment including sociodemographic
*p < .05

Danielle Mitnick, Richard Heyman, and Amy Smith Slep, “Changes in Relationship
Satisfaction across the Transition to Parenthood: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of
Family Psychology, vol. 23, no. 6 (2009), 848–52.
See Erika Lawrence et al., “Marital Satisfaction across the Transition to
Parenthood: Three Eras of Research,” in Strengthening Couple Relationships
for Optimal Child Development: Lessons from Research and Intervention
(Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2010), 97–114; Jean
Twenge, W. Keith Campbell, and Craig A. Foster, “Parenthood and Marital
Satisfaction: A Meta-Analytic Review,” Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 65,
no. 3 (August 2003), 574–83.
E.E. LeMasters, “Parenthood as Crisis,” Marriage and Family Living, vol. 19, no. 4
(1957), 352–55.
Alice Rossi, “Transition to Parenthood,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, vol.
30, no. 1 (1968), 26–39.
John Condon, Philip Boyce, and Carolyn Corkindale, “The First-Time Fathers
Study: A Prospective Study of the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Men during the
Transition to Parenthood,” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry,
vol. 38, nos. 1–2 (January 2004), 56–64.
Anne Buist, Carol Morse, and Sarah Durkin, “Men’s Adjustment to Fatherhood:
Implications for Obstetric Health Care,” Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic &
Neonatal Nursing, vol. 32, no. 2 (March/April 2003), 172–80.
See Antoinette Lee et al., “Prevalence, Course, and Risk Factors for Antenatal
Anxiety and Depression,” Obstetrics & Gynecology, vol. 110, no. 5 (November
2007), 1102–12; Eduard Mulder et al., “Prenatal Maternal Stress: Effects on
Pregnancy and the (Unborn) Child,” Early Human Development, vol. 70, no. 1
(2002), 3–14.
Ibid. (Mulder et al.); Shwu-Ru Liou, Panchalli Wang, and Ching-Yu Cheng,
“Effects of Prenatal Maternal Mental Distress on Birth Outcomes,” Women and
Birth, vol. 29, no. 4 (August 2016), 376–80.
See Elizabeth Fishman and Steven Meyers, “Marital Satisfaction and Child
Adjustment: Direct and Mediated Pathways,” Contemporary Family Therapy, vol.
22, no. 4 (December 2000), 437–52; Paul Howes and Howard Markman, “Marital
Quality and Child Functioning: A Longitudinal Investigation,” Child Development,
vol. 60, no. 5 (1989), 1044–51.
Chih-Yuan Lee and William Doherty, “Marital Satisfaction and Father
Involvement during the Transition to Parenthood,” Fathering: A Journal of Theory,
Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers, vol. 5, no. 2 (Spring 2007), 75–96.
See note 9 (Fishman and Meyers).

See note 9 (Fishman and Meyers); Linna Wang and D. Russell Crane, “The
Relationship Between Marital Satisfaction, Marital Stability, Nuclear Family
Triangulation, and Childhood Depression,” The American Journal of Family
Therapy, vol. 29, no. 4 (2001), 337–47.
Graham Spanier, “Measuring Dyadic Adjustment: New Scales for Assessing the
Quality of Marriage and Similar Dyads,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, vol.
38, no. 1 (1976), 15–28.
Christine Killingsworth Rini et al., “Psychological Adaptation and Birth
Outcomes: The Role of Personal Resources, Stress, and Sociocultural Context in
Pregnancy,” Health Psychology, vol. 18, no. 4 (1999), 333–45.
Pathik Wadhwa et al., “The Association between Prenatal Stress and Infant
Birth Weight and Gestational Age at Birth: A Prospective Investigation,” American
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 169, no. 4 (1993), 858–65.
See note 17.
See note 1.
See note 6 (Buist et al.); note 7 (Lee et al.).
See note 2 (Twenge et al.).
Carolyn Pape Cowan and Philip Cowan, “Interventions to Ease the Transition to
Parenthood: Why They Are Needed and What They Can Do,” Family Relations, vol.
44, no. 4 (October 1995), 412–23.
Carolyn Pape Cowan and Philip Cowan, When Partners Become Parents: The Big
Life Change for Couples (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000).
The Making of the Kim Ku Mystique

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
East Asian Languages and Cultures
and Thornton School of Music, Jazz Studies
Kyung Moon Hwang, Faculty Advisor

Modern Koreans regard activist Kim Ku (1876–1949) as a national hero. Kim worked
during the period of Japanese occupation (1910–1945) and after to advocate for a
sovereign, unified Korean nation-state. Because of his efforts, he is now the most
cited historical independence activist on Twitter in South Korea.1 In 2002, the Kim
Koo Museum and Library in Seoul was opened in his honor. The museum’s website
announces that Kim’s pursuit of a unified Korean state was “based on autonomy,
democracy, and peace.”2 Yet many times in his career, Kim was far from peaceful.
In 1896, according to Kim himself, he encountered a Japanese traveler and, seeing
his concealed saber, assumed him either to be Miura Gorō, who is believed to
have ordered the assassination of Korea’s Queen Min a year earlier, or “a member
of his gang.”3 Kim claimed to have stabbed the traveler repeatedly, drunk his
blood, and verbally threatened those gathered nearby. Kim Ku also engaged in
anti-Japanese terrorism while working for the Korean Provisional Government,
engineering several attacks on Japanese officials in China. Although run-of-the-
mill Korean nationalism might explain these instances of violence, accusations by
some scholars that Kim was responsible for the critical political assassinations of
Yŏ Un-hyŏng, Song Chin-u, and others have generated calls for a reconsideration
of whether his legendary standing is well-founded.

This paper traces the history of the Kim Ku mystique, beginning with the 1947
publication of his autobiography, Paekbŏm Ilchi, a text widely read and cited by
Kim’s followers and commonly taught in Korean secondary schools. Although the
biography was well received at the time of its publication and Kim Ku was liked
by Koreans for the majority of his career, this paper argues he was not upheld as
a singular, incomparable nationalist icon immediately after his assassination in
1949. Rather, it appears to have taken until the early 1970s for this perception of

Kim Ku to fully emerge. This may have been a project of chaeya activist writing
and scholarship published in protest against the Park Chung Hee regime,4 or it
may have emerged for other reasons. In either case, the ideas put forward by
these authors survive to this day in the widespread public perception that Kim
Ku represented a missed chance for a unified Korea, the last unsullied nationalist
who was tragically martyred before his wish could be realized.

Whereas the Kim Ku mystique persists in mostly the same form in popular
culture, in scholarly circles, it has mutated. In the wake of Bruce Cumings’ The
Origins of the Korean War (1981) and other texts criticizing Kim Ku, pro-Kim
scholarship shifted in tone. Instead of mining Kim’s writing for sagely wisdom
and upholding his life as a nationalist example, pro-Kim scholars were forced to
answer the accusations of violence leveled against him. At the same time, South
Korea’s democratization and the growth of a freer academic culture stimulated
scholarly interest in overturning the myths of previously lauded figures like Park
Chung Hee and Syngman Rhee. Because modern pro-Kim scholars have receded
from the hagiographic approach, scholars currently hold a more continuous
spectrum of pro- and anti-Kim views than in the 1970s.

Thus, the modern understanding of Kim Ku has multiple components: Kim Ku
persists in the popular imagination as the unsullied nationalist figure. Scholars,
meanwhile, have turned their attention to debating his responsibility for post-
liberation period political assassinations. In doing so, these scholars both
articulate the mystique by providing Kim with scholarly support, and depart from
it by shifting the conversation about his legacy away from his ideology and vision
and toward the effect his actions had or failed to have on Korean history.

Kim Ku’s autobiography, Paekbŏm Ilchi (Paekbŏm is his penname and ilchi
means “journal”), is critical to understanding the emergence and development
of the Kim Ku mystique. Kim’s supporters have mined the text for moral wisdom,
arguing that Kim himself was a paragon of virtue who should serve as a model
for contemporary Koreans. The text is commonly taught in Korean high schools,
especially the appendix “My Wish,” a summary of Kim’s political philosophy. “My
Wish” appears in English on the website of the Kim Koo Museum alongside his
biography, making it the first thing many foreigners will read about Kim. Whether
or not Kim intended it, through his book he played a significant role in authoring
his own mystique.

The Life of Kim Ku
The basic account of Kim’s life given in the Ilchi is widely accepted.5 He was born
to a commoner family in 1874 in Haeju, a rural town on the west coast just north
of the current North–South border. Kim was raised by an abusive, alcoholic
father, and his entire family suffered from the discrimination of the local elite. Kim
resolved to join the elite, and studied the Chinese classics in preparation for the
civil service exam. After failing the exam in 1892, he continued his studies under
the new teacher Ko Nŭng-sŏn. Kim converted to the Tonghak religion in 1893 and
participated in their 1894 uprising. He then made two trips to China with the hope
of pleading the Qing government to protect Korea. He participated in a failed
1895 Righteous Army attack on Kanggye Castle. In 1896, Kim killed the traveling
Japanese man and was imprisoned in Inch’ŏn. His initial death sentence was
commuted to imprisonment by King Kojong. Kim escaped from prison in March
1898. He then converted to Buddhism and become an abbot at Mogak in 1899. He

left the temple that fall and returned home to his family and teacher. His father
died in 1900, and Kim claims he attempted to save his dying father by feeding
him a piece of flesh cut from his thigh.

During the first decade of the 1900s, Kim worked for the enlightenment move-
ment. He converted to Christianity in 1902 and began teaching at a Western-
style school in 1907. He toured his home province and gave public lectures. As
Japan implanted the colonial system, Kim became involved with Sinminhoe, an
independence organization. He was implicated in a 1910 case for organizing anti-
Japanese activities and imprisoned until 1915. After his release, Kim worked to
enlighten the peasantry and lived among farmers until 1919.

When he heard about the March 1919 uprising, Kim followed some of its leaders
to Shanghai for the first meeting of the Korean Provisional Government (KPG).
Soon thereafter he was appointed police commissioner, then promoted in 1922
to the KPG’s interior minister, and in 1926 to premier. Kim organized several
assassinations in 1931 as well as the notorious Sakurada Gate and Hungk’ou Park
terrorist attacks in 1932, all of which targeted Japanese officials. Kim went into
hiding after this, and the nationalist movement was scattered and fractured until
the end of the decade when he became president of a refashioned KPG. During
World War II, Kim petitioned various global powers to recognize the KPG, to no
avail. After liberation in 1945, he campaigned against the US–Soviet trusteeship.
He toured Korea, gave nationalist speeches, and presided over late funerals of
fallen KPG heroes like Yun Pong-gil. In 1947, Kim published his autobiography and
“My Wish,” his manifesto.

In 1948, after Paekbŏm Ilchi was published, Kim participated in his defining
political gesture when he attended the South–North Joint Conference in
P’yongyang. This was an ostensibly bipartisan prounification conference, but
because it was hosted by Kim Il Sung, some saw Kim Ku’s attendance as an
example of Communist collaboration. Kim’s reputation profited in the long
term from attending the conference because his willingness to engage with
the Communists (even though they were his avowed enemies) showed he put
Korean national solidarity before his political preferences.6 Kim’s popularity
caught the attention of Syngman Rhee, another rightist vying for power in
South Korea. Rhee saw Kim as a threat and, according to some,7 had him
assassinated in June 1949 by An Tu-hŭi. Kim received a public funeral attended
by hundreds of thousands.8

The 1947 Kuksawŏn edition of Paekbŏm Ilchi is generally seen as the definitive
version. It was the indirect basis of the only English translation currently in print,
and contained both the first and second volumes (which were written more
than a decade apart) as well as “My Wish,” and bore his authorization in the
introduction. The immediate public reception of the autobiography in 1947 is
unclear, but a favorable reception is assumed by both pro-Kim writers and those
who have criticized him.9 Why Kim chose to publish it in 1947 is also unclear,
since the first volume was completed in 1929 and the second in 1943.10 But the
question is worth discussing, given that Kim attended the contentious Joint
Conference—a potential source of his mystique—the year after he published the
Ilchi, and then died the year after that.

“My Wish,” the only part of the book actually written in 1947, gives some
indication of Kim’s assessment of the historical moment. The text is an
impassioned nationalist manifesto with repeated expressions of the author’s
love for his country. It contains a call for action asking young people to
overcome Korea’s current state of foreign dependency and occupation and
“stand as main actors on the world stage,”11 implying that Kim saw Korea
as a victimized nation at a historical low point. Kim also harshly rejects the
“flawed theory” of Marxism and those who accept it as “the ultimate truth.”12
Kim recognized Korea’s sovereignty was in danger and wanted his book to
serve as a wake-up call to an apathetic nation.

If in 1947 Kim saw his autobiography as a political commentary on his immediate
circumstances, for those who subscribe to the Kim Ku mystique, the charisma of
Paekbŏm Ilchi is linked to how it seemingly anticipated his death. Disregarding
politics, it makes sense he decided to publish the Ilchi as a whole alongside
“My Wish” in 1947, given that he had spent the previous year directing funerals
for his former compatriots in the KPG. It is likely Kim’s legacy was on his mind
during his last decade. The second volume of Paekbŏm Ilchi is littered with
end-of-life platitudes such as, “My greatest desire is to die after returning to my
motherland upon achieving independence.”13 Though he could not have predicted
his death, it almost seems he wrote the Ilchi as a preparatory exercise. So strong
is his apparent clairvoyance that one pro-Kim author erroneously called his
autobiography a posthumous work.14

Authenticity and Editor Yi Kwang-su
It is ironic Kim’s enduring charisma is so dependent on his writing, since a
major issue surrounding the 1947 edition of the Ilchi is its authenticity. Yi

Kwang-su, the pro-Japanese activist and writer, was the primary editor of
the Ilchi.15 It is surprising Yi and Kim had a collaborative relationship at all.
Yi was a notorious pro-Japanese collaborator and openly called for Koreans
to assimilate into Japanese culture during the military mobilization period.
This view was widely criticized by proponents of hard ethnonationalism, who
rejected Japanese colonization and the postliberation trusteeship at all costs.
Kim Ku himself articulated this near the end of his autobiography, writing
in 1947, “I have learned the teachings of Confucius, Buddha, and Jesus, and
I do admire them as saints. However, even if there exists a utopian nation
established by joint efforts of all these saints, I would not drag our people into
that nation. This is because that nation was not founded by our people.”16 Kim
saw acceding to foreigners as completely unjustifiable, so his collaboration
with Yi Kwang-su necessitates investigation into how Yi may have influenced the
content of Paekbŏm Ilchi.

Kim’s relationship with Yi began well before Paekbŏm Ilchi was written, although
Yi seldom appears in the text’s narrative. Kim describes opening a Western-
style school in 1909 at which Yi was an instructor.17 This was before Yi became
pro-Japanese; although he attended secondary school in Tokyo, his literary
career was just beginning and he would not undergo his “conversion”18 for more
than a decade. Kim, too, had not yet arrived at his uncompromising nationalist
stance in 1909. Their early collaboration suggests Kim and Yi’s ideologies were in
fact very similar when they met. Both had backgrounds in the Tonghak religion
and the enlightenment movement. Both went on to endorse the March First
Movement in 1919 and were present at the first gathering of what would become
the Korean Provisional Government (KPG) in Shanghai.19 Kim acknowledges only
in passing that Yi had “surrendered to the Japanese” when he discusses his

own appointment to Premier of the KPG in December 1926, the first and only
indication in Paekbŏm Ilchi that Kim and Yi had diverged.

There are many possible reasons why Kim had Yi edit his autobiography and
hesitated to criticize him in the text despite their clear differences in opinion,
which came into relief in 1926, before Kim began writing. An obvious explanation
is that Kim did criticize Yi, but Yi simply edited it out, although it seems unlikely
that Kim would give his editor a manuscript critical of him in the first place.
Alternately, perhaps Kim withheld direct criticism of Yi because their friendship
persisted even as their views diverged; Kim simply agreed to have Yi edit the Ilchi
because he admired his writing. A pro-Kim translator favors this view, stating
that Yi’s primary contribution to the autobiography was his “smooth literary
style and the coherence of editorial structure.”20 Indeed, if Yi’s contributions
were too political, it would significantly undermine the authenticity of the text.
This criticism has been invoked by at least one modern scholar.21 The question
of why Kim allowed or sought Yi Kwang-su to edit his autobiography is therefore
closely related to the nature of Yi’s edits. This is difficult to determine, because
the autographic manuscript is kept by Kim Ku’s son, Kim Sin, and it has appeared
in print only once. The best-known Korean editions of the autobiography, as well
as the only English translation, are based on the edited 1947 edition, not the Kim
Sin-held manuscript. An impartial comparison of the different editions would be
useful for determining what sort of edits Yi made.

Regardless of the extent to which Yi altered Kim’s text, the symbolic significance
(or lack thereof) of their collaboration must be considered. It would be
problematic to assume Yi’s editing amounted to an endorsement of Kim’s political

philosophy, let alone that Kim endorsed Yi’s pro-Japanism. In Kim’s foreword
(dated November 1947), he omits discussion of Yi’s contribution, instead thanking
the other editors who worked for his publisher. Kim likely foresaw that the
contribution of an outspoken pro-Japanese activist to his nationalist text would
compromise its authenticity. Alternatively, perhaps he plainly resented Yi because
Yi had become a collaborator, and the omission was a personal attack rather than
a strategic move. This prompts the question of Yi’s perception in the time leading
up to the publication of Paekbŏm Ilchi. A Korean-language encyclopedia’s entry
on Yi emphasizes his literary career and independence activism and downplays
his collaboration activities, but also admits his endorsements of Japan were
very controversial, especially after liberation.22 At that time, Yi apologized for his
pro-Japanism in the essays “My Confession” and “Apology of a Collaborator.”23 It
is conceivable as part of his recantation, Yi attempted to restore his nationalist
credentials by working with Kim Ku. If so, it is unclear whether the attempt
succeeded. The history of Yi Kwang-su’s perception in Korea needs further study.

Whether because of or despite Yi’s editing, the 1947 edition of the
autobiography sold well, and Kim was well liked in Korea at the time of his
death. However, it took some time for Kim to be elevated to the unquestionably
lofty status he enjoys today. According to translator Jongsoo Lee’s survey
of Paekbŏm Ilchi’s publication history, the 1947 edition of the text was not
recompiled until 1989. Then, a flurry of new editions appeared in the mid-
1990s. This suggests public and scholarly interest in the book varied over time.
The mid-1990s publication surge might reflect an increase in Kim’s popularity.
But given that the 1990s editions attempted to claim greater authenticity than
previous printings by returning to the original manuscript text, they may also

reflect the scholarly impulse to represent Kim in his own words24—whether or
not readers actually agreed with them. Studying only the publication history of
Paekbŏm Ilchi is of limited use in determining when the Kim mystique emerged.
So, I turn to the scholarly literature in order to see how his reception changed
over time and how writers with diverse perspectives used the autobiography for
their own ends.

South Korean scholarship and popular media alike have regarded Kim Ku very
positively. The attendance at his funeral in 1949 shows he was seen as a hero at
the time of his death, but he was praised more for what he had accomplished
during his life than the legacy he was expected to leave. In this section, I trace
Kim’s rise from the limited status of a nationalist hero whose contributions were
restricted to the colonial and postliberation periods to a singular icon whose
legacy far outlives him.

Early Pro-Kim Writing
University of Washington student Ralph Keating Benesch wrote a master’s
thesis on Kim Ku in 1964.25 Benesch chose to study Kim primarily because
he had not been widely discussed in American scholarship, in spite of
his prominence as the head of the Korean Provisional Government. In
his introduction, Benesch notes Kim was very well-liked by Koreans and
“symbolised a patriot of patriots,”26 suggesting the Kim Ku mystique existed
already in some latent form. Benesch gauges Kim’s popularity by the fact
his autobiography was banned by the Syngman Rhee regime and points
out the ideological similarities between Kim and Rhee made them natural

competitors for centrality in rightist Korean nationalism. But Benesch does
not make the popular perception of Kim a primary object of his study, instead
focusing on narrating his life story and correcting errors made by Western
scholars. Benesch identifies analyses of Kim by Western scholars as the
most interesting to study, rather than those by Kim’s Korean followers, which
suggests Kim had not yet become the object of hagiography that would
emerge in the following decades.

That said, Kim’s popularity in Korea can be identified at least as early as 1945.
Benesch demonstrates Kim “had immense prestige in Korea at the time of his
arrival”27 from Shanghai after liberation, citing a Korean Free Press editorial
calling Kim a “gleam of sunshine in the long Korean night” and lauding him as
a nationalist hero.28 A later pro-Kim scholar, Rhee Seung-Keun, recalled that
when he was a child in the summer of 1947, he talked with his friends about Kim
as a hero.29 The abundance of evidence that Kim Ku was well-liked in Korea at
least as early as 1945 shows the Kim Ku mystique that emerged in the 1970s did
not come out of nowhere. But the postliberation-era sources presented Kim as
more of an abstract symbol of nationalism who was one among many fighting
for the sovereignty of Korea. They emphasized his relevance to contemporary
Korea, not future Korea. Only later was Kim Ku elevated to the singular standing
he enjoys today.

A 1974 conference paper by Key S. Ryang is one of the first accounts of Kim Ku
published in English to suggest this special standing.30 Ryang’s study largely
reiterates the narrative given in Kim’s biography, praising his precocity and
critical insight into the problems in the Korean social system. Ryang’s narration

of Kim’s early adulthood suggests a traveling sage who eschewed material
comfort in search of wisdom: “In a cold and snow-clad February 1896, he
crossed the Yalu river from Haesanjin to the Shantung area in China with two
hundred yuan in his pocket.” Ryang may have invented the part about Kim
crossing the Yalu river in February; this detail does not appear in the 2000
edition of the Ilchi. The emphasis that it was “cold and snow-clad” suggests
part of Kim’s legitimacy comes from how he suffered with dignity, a recurring
theme in Ryang’s account. Ryang situates Kim’s conversion to Christianity
in a period of “intense inner wrestling”31 and argues his “identity crisis” was
important because it “sharpened his intellectual and political growth.”32 Kim
emerges as more than simply an activist. Ryang takes special interest in Kim’s
inner world, citing the threat of “eternal negation” as the explanation for his
embrace of nationalism in 1910.33 Ryang refers to Paekbŏm Ilchi frequently and
calls Kim by his changing given names as the narration goes on, first Ch’ang-
am, then Ch’ang-su (from 1896), then Ku (from 1897). Ryang’s focus on Kim’s
psychology and personal life suggests he admires Kim primarily as a person,
rather than as a politician or activist.

Ryang allows some caveats in his praise of Kim Ku but turns them in Kim’s
favor. He dodges the point that Kim ended up becoming an unconditional
nationalist, instead arguing “the final resolution of his identity crisis occurred
clearly with his culminating investment in ‘modern vision’ as shaped under
Western influence.”34 Ryang does not date this event or cite the phrase
“modern vision,” but alludes to Christianity as an important part of the
transition. Perhaps the ambiguity of this claim is meant to distract from
Ryang’s defense of the political violence Kim undertook with the KPG in the
name of nationalism. Ryang claims the Sakurada Gate (January 1932) and

Hungk’ou Park (April 1932) incidents “proved both historically and clinically
necessary for the defense and success of the modern Korean nationalist
movement,” yet they were “most costly” in terms of the KPG’s international
standing.35 Again Kim’s legitimacy appears to stem from his willingness to
risk his own reputation. He was committed to his beliefs and acted on them
decisively. The fact “Kim Ku’s lack of political realism and effectiveness in
actual realization of ideals was decisive in his final defeat”36 confirms for
Ryang that Kim nobly fought for what he knew was right even though doing
so would postpone his vindication until after his death. In other words, Kim’s
ideals were too advanced for his own time but have been “carved in the
consciousness of his country”37 to be aspired to by future generations.

Another account available in English that uplifts Kim as a paragon of moral
virtue is a 1975 article by Rhee Seung-Geun, which was first published in Korean
then translated in The Korea Observer. Rhee’s study is even more exalting than
Ryang’s. His stated goal is to describe the development of Kim’s ideology over
time. According to Rhee, Kim began as a premodern nationalist but shifted
toward enlightened nationalism in 1898 and then “jingoistic nationalism” when
he embraced violent protest in Shanghai. Rhee does not explicitly define these
terms. Instead, they serve as loose scaffolds around a chronological narration of
Kim’s life, quoting extensively from Paekbŏm Ilchi. The study is more an analysis
of the autobiography than of Kim Ku. Rhee’s opening anecdote is that he keeps
the Ilchi on his desk, and he argues Koreans should “utilize such lessons as may
be derived from it for the development and prosperity of our national society.”38
This suggests Rhee is more concerned about Kim Ku’s legacy and the political
ideas in the Ilchi than with his actions.

The significance of Kim’s life for Rhee is didactic, rather than historical. Rhee
retells and comments upon passages from the Ilchi in a way that recalls
traditional Chinese commentaries on the Confucian classics, suggesting
Kim as a paternal figure or sage whose writing and actions can be mined for
moral wisdom. For example, after quoting Kim’s recollection of his teacher Ko
Nŭngsŏn’s lament over the July 1894 occupation of the Korean royal palace, Rhee
reflects that the “simply but toughing [sic] expression of nationalism greatly
stirred up Kim Ku’s indignation.”39 Rhee applauds Kim for his quick discernment
of injustice and openness to his instructor’s teaching, claiming from their first
meeting, “Kim Ku followed Ko Nung-son’s teachings, regarding him as a sage, and
was profoundly influenced by his teachings.”40 This is not completely accurate.
When Kim visited his former teacher in January 1901, he describes Ko as set in his
ways and unreceptive to his support of Westernization.41 Rhee himself mentions
this, allowing Ko’s acceptance of “the conventional ‘serve-the-greater-power
[China]’ ideology”42 was old-fashioned and that Kim went on criticize it. But Rhee
foregrounds Kim’s obeisance to Ko and downplays his criticism of the teacher,
suggesting Rhee seeks to present Kim as a man of good character who did not let
political differences impede his relationships.

Rhee upholds Kim’s achievements as transcending his immediate political
circumstances, which sources before the 1970s had not done. In his brief
discussion of Kim’s terrorist activities in Shanghai—the “jingoistic nationalist”
phase—Rhee claims the KPG “achieved considerable results, both psychological
and spiritual.”43 As Ryang noted above, these results came at a considerable cost
to the legitimacy of the KPG. And “it was impossible with such a method alone
to inflict a crushing blow to imperialism.”44 For a pro-Kim scholar, construing
the 1932 terrorist attacks as having a positive impact on Korean history is a

major challenge, and it is unsurprising Rhee would fall back on the vague claim
they carried psychological and spiritual significance. Rhee does not elaborate.
The section on Kim’s jingoistic nationalism is less than a page long, and Rhee
moves on to a quote from “My Wish” in which Kim imagines “the nation as the
consanguineal community”45 (Rhee’s words). Rhee’s portrayal of Kim emphasizes
the virtues of his ethnonationalist political philosophy. Even where Rhee
questions the naïveté of Kim’s “simple theories,” he maintains “every[one] should
accept Kim Ku’s basic attitude toward his people as a great lesson.”46 Rhee’s
emphatic defense of Kim’s nationalist spirit gives Kim a forefatherly standing
in the long narrative of modern Korean history and disregards the question of
whether his activism delivered durable results.

Rhee’s article concerns itself more with justifying Kim’s mystique than with fully
or accurately representing Kim’s life. Rhee omits any discussion of Kim’s 1902
conversion to Christianity and his 1911 imprisonment for anti-Japanese activities,
but includes an extended discussion of the March First Movement in which
Kim was not directly involved (an error Ryang also commits), although he later
endorsed it.47 These omissions and conflations show Kim Ku’s transition from
an everyday nationalist hero to a figure deserving of hagiographic treatment.
Rhee praises not only Kim’s ideology, but Kim himself, and shows how pro-Kim
scholarship compresses diverse strains of historical nationalism in order to
construct a narrative in which Kim Ku was on the right side of history.

Pro-Kim Scholarship as Chaeya Activism
Ryang and Rhee’s laudatory portrayals of Kim Ku suggest the Kim Ku mystique
first came into relief sometime during or before the mid-1970s. This may have
been a product of chaeya activism in protest of Park Chung Hee’s yusin system in

the 1970s.48 Chaeya ( , lit. “in the wild”) means those out of power o
r office. These activists favored literary resistance and internal horizontal
organization over partisan politics, although they aligned themselves with
the Nationalist Democratic Party at times. A major project of the chaeya was
to identify the good and bad actors in Korean history and uplift them as the
standard by which Park Chung Hee should be judged. Myung-Lim Park mentions
in a footnote that Kim Ku was among the nationalist heroes they championed,49
citing a Korean secondary source that appears to be a poll asking members of the
chaeya about their favorite Korean historical figures. This could suggest either
that the chaeya were responsible for promoting Kim Ku at this time or that he had
already been elevated to legendary standing among those who would become
the chaeya before they came together. In either case, the speculation can be
tested by considering whether Ryang and Rhee were chaeya.

Ryang and Rhee did not identify themselves as chaeya and neither of their pieces
is explicitly critical of the yusin system, but both offer a few indications they had
reservations about contemporary Korean society. Ryang reads Kim’s description
of his childhood as a strong critique of the Korean social hierarchy, highlighting
Kim’s anecdote that the yangban (literati) made his family address even yangban
children using honorific speech. For Ryang, Kim is primarily a critic of Korean
domestic policy whose “insight was exceedingly penetrating in social analysis.”50
But in my reading of the Ilchi, the primary antagonist is the Japanese, not the
Korean social elite. Ryang may have chosen to emphasize Kim’s portrayal of his
“ssangnom” (a vulgar rendering of sangmin, “commoner”)51 childhood because
he perceived the primary antagonism in 1970s Korea to be among Koreans
themselves, not between Koreans and foreigners. This was a widespread belief

among chaeya activists. Under the yusin system, inter- and intra-Korean divisions
worsened. The yusin system prioritized military defense and economic growth
above all, building tension between the Koreas and exacerbating class disparity
within South Korea. Ryang’s focus on similar issues of social division in his study
of Paekbŏm Ilchi may reflect his sympathy for the chaeya cause.

For his part, Rhee writes critically of those who upheld the colonial status quo
in Kim’s time, and suggests the existence of Japanese collaborators reveals
even in Kim’s theory, “there is a falsehood in his concept of nation, which was
regarded as a single stratum.”52 Rhee appears to be saying even in an ethnically
cohesive nation, those who betray their nation (by collaborating with Japan)
should not be entitled to the benefits of liberation. Enforcing the distinction
between nationalists and collaborators requires more than a single conceptual
“stratum,” which is not possible under Kim’s system. Perhaps this is a veiled
criticism of how Park Chung Hee betrayed his nation and surrendered his
Koreanness in normalizing relations with Japan in 1965, which the early chaeya
regarded as selling out. Rhee ends with a call to action: “On the occasion of the
25th anniversary of Kim Ku’s death, we believe we will be able to execute the
will of Kim Ku by justly learning about his basic attitude toward his people and
drawing new lessons from the problems that formed some limits and tiding over
such limits.”53 This seems to imply that to Rhee, the problems facing 1970s Korea
were mirrored in the circumstances of Kim’s death, as he was “killed by one of
the fellow countrymen whom he loved so dearly, not by one of the Japanese
imperialists whom he hated so much.”54 Rhee’s account, like Ryang’s, suggests
contemporary Korea as a nation turned against itself. Rhee, then, also may have
sympathized with the chaeya.

Kim Ku likely enjoyed very high standing among chaeya activists,55 and it
is plausible Ryang and Rhee were activists who worked to popularize him.
This does not rule out the possibility Kim was elevated from everyday hero
to singular, mystical status sometime prior to the chaeya’s emergence. But
Ryang and Rhee, writers who probably shared some of the chaeya’s concerns,
were the first to put unquestionably hagiographical claims about Kim in
print. Thus, there might have been a relationship between the rise of chaeya
activism and the emergence of the Kim Ku mystique. More importantly, the
writers who upheld Kim as a nationalist hero during the chaeya era laid
the groundwork for the claims that define the Kim Ku mystique today: Kim
was a visionary and unrelenting defender of Korean sovereignty. Therefore,
according to Kim’s modern followers, his martyrdom altered the course of
Korean history for the worse. Had he lived, he would have prevented the
Korean war and national division.

Not all accounts of Kim Ku have been positive. As his mystique grew in
scholarship and the popular imagination, it was met with other studies
that questioned his popularity. These studies argued he was an ineffective
politician who had little—or even negative—impact on Korean history.56
In some cases, they invoked his overblown mystique in Korea. A central
accusation of these studies was that Kim Ku assassinated several important
political figures in the postliberation period, including Song Chin-u in
December 1945 and Yŏ Un-hyŏng in July 1947. In order to address these
accusations, pro-Kim scholars shifted their attention away from Kim’s ideo-
logy and legacy, toward considering Kim’s actions and the evidence for hi

complicity in the assassinations. In the popular imagination, however, Kim Ku’s
mystique was mostly unaffected. It remains strong, and tied to his perceived
legacy as the martyr for Korean nationalism.

Critical Scholarship: From Dismissal to Disparagement?
Chong-Sik Lee suggested as early as 1963 that Kim’s standing underwent a
long decline between 1931 and liberation. Lee’s critique focuses on the general
failure of the KPG to achieve political clout during the colonial period, and he
names “the personal weaknesses of the leader”57 (Kim) as a contributing factor.
Lee translates the 1936 testimony of O Myŏn-jik, one of Kim’s followers, who
said under interrogation that Kim was uneducated and undiscerning, and he
“wastes time meaninglessly.”58 O said “he also lacks the penetrative insight to
judge people,”59 an interesting counterpoint to Ryang’s claim Kim’s “insight was
exceedingly penetrating in social analysis.”60 If Lee is correct Kim was not well-
liked in the 1930s, then Kim must have experienced a sharp uptick in popularity
between liberation and his death, given the anecdote from Rhee’s childhood
and the editorial Benesch cites. Or, O’s testimony was an isolated example of a
follower who deserted Kim under duress, and in reality Kim enjoyed more loyal
support outside of his immediate circle. In either case, Lee’s study had some
problems. His criticism of Kim lacked sticking power because it concentrated on
deficiencies in Kim’s character—deficiencies that were negated by the surefooted
self-image Kim cultivated in Paekbŏm Ilchi, which was far more widely read.

Another example of early scholarship critical of Kim is a 1967 study by Dae-Sook
Suh, The Korean Communist Movement. It included Kim as one of the “extreme
right-wing nationalists” whose “activities were concentrated on terrorist

activities,” adding “the majority of the Korean Nationalists rejected Kim Ku” in
response to his obsession with terrorism.61 This echoed Lee’s suggestion Kim was
not taken seriously during his own life. Lee and Suh did not task themselves with
assessing Kim’s legacy, and thus neither is widely cited by pro-Kim scholars as
important detractors.

In 1981, Bruce Cumings assigned Kim responsibility for the December 1945
Song Chin-u assassination.62 Cumings did not comment extensively on Kim
or his popular perception, favoring a more general treatment of the Korean
Provisional Government. He did, however, include General Hodge’s remark that
he would “kill him [Kim] if he double-crossed me again.”63 Jongsoo Lee blamed
American sources (citing mostly Cumings) as well as a few Japanese ones
for Kim’s “fearsome reputation.”64 However, the sources he cited seem more
dismissive than afraid of Kim, even in the case of the more critical treatments
written by Chong-Sik Lee and Suh. So, the vindictiveness of early studies on Kim
has, to a certain extent, been exaggerated by pro-Kim scholarship. That said,
scholars became more openly critical of Kim’s character as time went on. For
example, in a 2015 editorial, Andrei Lankov described the man who killed Kim
Ku’s assassin in 1995 as a “a firebrand who took the inflammatory rhetoric a bit
too seriously,” implying pro-Kim fanaticism is overblown regardless of whether
his ideology was sound.65

What the above sources show is a wide range of appraisals of Kim Ku in
the secondary literature, even among those who are critical of him. Only
some completely disparaged him, but all of them presented arguments that
problematize the hagiographic claims of followers who tout his moral purity

(whether they invoked the Kim Ku mystique or not). This highlights two
important ways in which the critical scholarship differed in methodology from
the pro-Kim historiographical precedent: First, these scholars worked from
the assumption Kim was a typical postliberation politician who acted mainly to
protect his interests. Pro-Kim scholars, by contrast, gave him the benefit of the
doubt, taking him at his word when he said, “If I hurt others out of selfishness,
the entire world will hurt me out of selfishness.”66 Second, the critical
scholarship on Kim Ku was concerned primarily with questions of historical
fact: how much violence Kim was actually responsible for and whether or not
that violence was justified in the immediate circumstances. This may be simply
a matter of efficiency. Scholars like Bruce Cumings maximized their time by
focusing on US military and Korean sources that addressed multiple figures.
Because Kim’s autobiography had not yet been translated into English, critical
scholars (who were mostly American) did not see it as efficient to undertake
textual analyses of the Ilchi of the kind written by Rhee.

Modern Pro-Kim Critical Scholarship
With the exception of the Andrei Lankov editorial, the sources above encap-
sulated the critical perspective on Kim Ku when pro-Kim scholar Jongsoo
Lee published his English translation of Paekbŏm Ilchi in 2000. Lee tasked
himself with refuting accusations against Kim in his introduction to the
autobiography. In this essay, Lee relies on the assumptions of the pro-Kim
scholarship that emerged in the 1970s to articulate a pro-Kim stance even while
claiming historical objectivity and writing for a Western audience. Lee allows
in a footnote that some Korean scholarship has been “highly nationalistic and
even hagiographic in tone,” which may be an understatement.67 Lee then argues

non-Korean scholars who hold Kim responsible for the assassinations of his
political competitors between 1945 and 1949 do so based on shaky evidence. He
only discusses the Song Chin-u assassination in depth, arguing Bruce Cumings
should be discredited by his reliance on US military sources.68 Lee claims Kim’s
“habitual mode of operation”69 was to plan extensively for his terrorist attacks
and personally deliver orders to his subordinates; because there is no record
of this and “it is impossible to go inside Kim’s head and to determine what his
motives were,” he should be given the benefit of the doubt.70 This is an “appeal
to ignorance.” The argument holds currency only among readers who treat Kim’s
unsullied moral virtue as a given.

That said, Lee’s text should not be written off as a rearticulation of the Kim Ku
myth. Although Lee was ultimately pro-Kim in his analysis, his methodological
approach shares greater similarity with critical scholarship than with previous
hagiographical scholarship in an important way: where Korean scholars such
as Rhee Seung-Keun and To Chin-sun (whose han’gŭl edition of Paekbŏm Ilchi
is the basis of Lee’s translation) assumed Kim Ku as an ideal embodiment of
a nationalist, prounification ideology, Lee embraced the possibility Kim was
less perfect than his autobiography made him out to be even as he argued for
Kim’s innocence in the postliberation political assassinations. Lee identified a
primary goal of his introduction was “to challenge the prevailing images of Kim
in the hope that a more balanced and definitive assessment of Kim will result
from works of others in the future.”71 Lee invited his readers to consider the
complexities of Kim’s character, discarding the notion that his mystique elevated
him above reproach.

To a certain extent, Lee’s call for objectivity and balance has been answered in
the scholarly sphere, but Kim remains peerless in the popular imagination. In
an interview, Young Sun Park, a graduate student in the University of Southern
California’s history department who completed her bachelor’s degree in Korea,
noted that educated Koreans who have been exposed to critiques of Kim Ku’s
assassinations and terrorist activity as well as to the popular hagiography have
difficulty reconciling the two positions. Park said, “I would not live like him, but I
wonder how many people actually could sacrifice themselves for other people or
for their cause.”72 Park’s ambivalence shows how it is difficult for some to cling to
Kim Ku as a nationalist hero in the modern era, where scholars routinely question
the value of violent resistance.73

This tension exists in the popular sphere, too, as illustrated by the biography
found on the Kim Koo Museum’s website. It manages to describe Kim’s terrorist
activities in Shanghai without any mention of violence: “He organized the
Korean Patriotic Corps (KPC) in 1931. In the following year he led the struggle
for independence with those of Yi Bong-chang and Yun Bong-gil, which
generated a great response inside and outside Korea and energized the national
independence movement.”74 The way the author self-consciously censors Kim’s
violence suggests he or she perceives violence is not a universally accepted
form of resistance. Rather than uphold Kim’s KPC assassinations and bombings
as an example, the biography focuses on Kim as one of the “patriotic Korean
forefathers,”75 emphasizing his symbolic legacy rather than his immediate
achievements as an anti-Japanese terrorist.

That said, pro-Kim accounts in the popular sphere remain as laudatory as ever.
I observe only a shift in emphasis: some recent pro-Kim popular sources have
chosen to center their admiration on the strength of Kim’s ideological conviction,
rather than his specific (violent) contributions to the nationalist movement.
Although not all sources evade discussion of Kim’s terrorist activities with the
same blatancy as the Kim Koo Museum’s website, this trend may be a response
to the changing moral standing of violent resistance. An example is Amsal
(Assassination), a 2015 action movie about a pro-Japanese double agent who
infiltrates the ranks of the KPG. Amsal portrays Kim as a decisive, shot-calling
leader who is friendly to members of his inner circle yet drives a hard bargain
with adversaries.76 Kim comes across as brilliant and passionate in character, but
the film does not suggest his actions delivered immediate positive results.

Likewise, Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church (the
“Moonies”), in his 2009 autobiography incorporated the KPG into his pacifist
philosophy by emphasizing the ideological conviction that working for them
demanded. Moon endorses the KPG, naming Kim as its head, and notes, “My
responsibilities in this position could have required me to give up my life. I
did not hesitate, though, because I felt that, if I died, it would have been for a
righteous cause.”77 But Moon is careful not to endorse the KPG’s violent methods;
his book, titled As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, explicitly rejects the morality of
violence.78 When Moon recalls a confrontation in which he used a bridge railing to
fight Japanese police officers during the second Sino-Japanese war, he explains
the violence as naïveté: “In those days, I was a ball of fire.”79 Moon presents
himself as a born-again pacifist and a “globalist” (as opposed to a nationalist),80
but his support for the KPG shows how historical terrorism can reconciled with

these modern attitudes toward violence by separating the resistance movement’s
driving ideology from its methods.

In light of the changing academic (and moral) climate regarding the KPG’s anti-
Japanese terrorism, the most recent Korean scholarship has begun to embrace a
balanced approach toward Kim. Modern scholars acknowledge the areas in which
he may have fallen short as a leader while also recognizing his charismatic power
and importance in shaping contemporary political thought. The success of a 2014
book entitled Kim Ku Ch’ŏngmunhoe (A Hearing for Kim Ku), “which chips away at
the Korean myth about Kim Ku and attempts a new appraisal of him,”81 indicates
growing interest in Korea about new perspectives on Kim Ku. Shortly after the
book’s publication, Paek Si-na wrote an editorial entitled, “Kim Ku, the People’s
Hero: How Did He Become a Symbol of Progress?” that is partially a review of Kim
Sang-gu’s book and partially a reflection on Paek’s own education. The editorial
echoes Rhee Seung-Keun’s essay of nearly forty years earlier, recalling when the
author first read Kim Ku’s “My Wish” in grade school, he was captivated by Kim’s
incisiveness and foresight. But rather than simply reanalyze Kim Ku’s words as
Rhee did, Paek notes myths (sinhwa) should not be accepted unconditionally.
“The Korean myths of Syngman Rhee and Park Chung Hee have been in a large part
broken. But Paekbŏm’s Korean myth has not even budged,”82 he points out. Paek
welcomes Kim Sang-gu’s critique even while leaving it unclear whether or not he
agrees, suggesting the conversation about Kim Ku remains polarized but that such
polarization needs to be overcome.

The decided ambivalence of Paek’s editorial shows the success of Kim Ku’s
Hearing does not indicate its readers agree with its thesis or that the book has

enjoyed much popularity with casual readers. Indeed, it seems outside the circle
of scholars and reporters who are interested in overturning historical orthodoxy,
Kim’s mystique remains “unbudged.” Proponents of Kim Ku evade criticism of his
violent methods by emphasizing his ideological conviction as his distinguishing
characteristic. As Young Sun Park explained, for Kim’s followers, “At least he was
honest to his fight.” When modern followers of Kim defend his impact on Korean
history, they credit the charismatic voice he gave to Korean ethnonationalism,
not any direct actions he undertook. This was reflected in a 2014 blog post on a
website designed to promote Korea-Canada relations: “He is the father of South
Korea’s nations [sic] whom we will never forget!”83 Kim is for modern South Korea
a symbolic progenitor. Like Tan’gun five thousand years before, though Kim’s story
may change, the essence of his mystique and his standing as a forefather of Korea
may never be washed away.

“Kim Koo Most Cited Independence Hero on Twitter,” Korea Times, August 12,
Paekbŏm Kim Ku Kinyŏmgwan [Kim Koo Museum and Library] web page,
retrieved from
Kim Ku, Paekpŏm Ilchi: The Autobiography of Kim Ku, trans. Jongsoo Lee
(Lanham: Univ. Press of America, 2000), 76. Referred to in all following
references as Ilchi. Page numbers in arabic numerals refer to the main text of the
autobiography. Roman numerals refer to the introduction written by Jongsoo Lee.
The association of 1970s pro-Kim scholarship with chaeya activism is not made
explicit in the texts about Kim Ku that I cite, but the link has been suggested by
at least one Park Chung Hee scholar. See Myung-Lim Park, “The Chaeya,” in The
Park Chung Hee Era: The Transformation of South Korea, ed. Byung-Kook Kim and
Ezra Vogel (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 2011), 696 n. 2.
See Ilchi, xxiii–xxviii and the chronological table at 314–26 for a longer outline of
Kim’s life as well as the biography found on the Kim Koo Museum website.
Ilchi, xxxiv–xxxv.
See Andrei Lankov, “What Happened to Kim Ku,” Korea Times, September
4, 2008. For a more specific consideration of Rhee’s suspicion of Kim and his
ban of Paekpŏm Ilchi, see Ralph Keating Benesch, Kim Ku: A Study of a Korean
Nationalist (master’s thesis, University of Washington, 1964), 1–2.
According to Ilchi, xxvii. Footage of the funeral is widely available online.
See Seung-Keun Rhee, “Ideology and Activities of Kim Ku,” The Korea Observer,
vol. 6, no. 2 (Spring 1975), 150, erroneously assuming that the Ilchi was published
posthumously, thereby conflating its publication with his martyrdom, and Lankov
(see note 7).
According to Jongsoo Lee, Ilchi, lxxvi.
Ilchi, 302.
Ilchi, 304–5.
Ilchi, 209. This was written in 1942.
See Rhee (note 9), 150.
Throughout this section, I rely on several secondary sources about Yi Kwang-
su. For the basic facts of his life, see Ilchi, 352–53, a translation of Han’guk
munhwa taebaekkwasajŏn [Great Encyclopedia of Korean Culture] (Seoul:
Han’guk Chŏngsin Munhwa Yŏn’guwŏn, 1991), 17.708–9; this is a nationalist
source that downplays his collaboration. For his collaboration efforts, see Jun-
Hyeok Kwak, “Domination through Subordination: Yi Kwangsu’s Collaboration
in Colonial Korea,” Korea Observer, vol. 39, no. 3 (autumn 2008), 427–52. For
his literature and ideology, see Ellie Choi, “Yi Kwangsu and the Post-World
War I Reconstruction Debate,” The Journal of Korean Studies, vol. 20, no. 1

(spring 2015), 33–76. For a consideration of the ethical debates surrounding Yi’s
collaboration, see John Whittier Treat, “Choosing to Collaborate: Yi Kwang-su
and the Moral Subject in Colonial Korea,” The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 71,
no. 1 (Feb. 2012), 81–102.
Ilchi, 300.
Ilchi, 151.
This is the term used by Kwak (see note 15), 427.
Yi signed the Tokyo Student Declaration of Independence that inspired the
March First declaration and worked for the KPG in the early 1920s, according
to Choi (see note 15), 37. Kim endorsed the March First protest after the fact,
according to Ilchi, 203.
Ilchi, lxxxviii. This argument finds circumstantial support in the fact Kim omitted
mention of Yi as the editor in the foreword to Paekbŏm Ilchi, discussed below.
The omission could suggest Kim deeply resented Yi at the time of publication
despite Yi having recanted his collaborationist stance.
See the book discussed by Kim Ch’ŏl-gwan, “Paekbŏm Ilchi nŭn Ch’unwŏn Yi
Kwang-su ga yunmun kaksaek han chakp’um [Paekbŏm Ilchi a Work Embellished
and Dramatized by Ch’unwŏn Yi Kwang-su],” Daily Korea News, September 9,
Ilchi, 353 (appendix), Lee’s translation of a Korean encyclopedia.
These essays are cited by Kwak (see note 15), 433 and 436 as appearing in a 1962
anthology of Yi’s works. Their original date of publication is unclear.
This is not to say the 1990s editions of Paekbŏm Ilchi were especially close to
the autograph. Many of these sources relied on the hastily made Yi Sŏkhŭi copy of
the Kim Shin manuscript. See Ilchi, lxxviii–lxxix.
See Benesch (note 7).
Ibid., 1.
Ibid., 93.
See Rhee (note 9), 150.
Key S. Ryang, “Kim Ku, A Young Idealist and the Ŭibyŏng Movement,” in
Korea’s Response to Japan: The Colonial Period 1910–1945 (Proceedings of the
Conference on Korea, November 1974), 316–26.
Ibid., 320.
Ibid., 321.
Ibid., 328 n. 28. “Eternal negation” is a term borrowed from an obscure E.H.
Erikson essay. The specific meaning is unclear; it does not appear in any major
encyclopedia of psychoanalysis. According to Ryang’s reading, Kim was faced
with the possibility of eternal negation when he was arrested in 1910 in the

Sinminhoe case. Kim had to come up with a positive statement of his own
identity, or else accept subjugation by the Japanese. He chose to identify as a
nationalist rather than as a collaborator.
Ibid., 323.
Ibid., 324. Whether by “modern Korean nationalist movement” Ryang means the
KPG or the then-contemporary yusin government is unclear.
Ibid., 326.
See Rhee (note 9), 151.
Ibid., 154.
Ilchi, 137.
See Rhee (note 9), 155.
Ibid., 162.
Ibid., 162–63. For a smoother translation of the passage he quotes, see Ilchi,
See Rhee (note 9), 164.
See note 30, 323. For Kim’s endorsement of the March First Movement, see Ilchi,
For background information on the chaeya I rely on Park (see note 4).
See note 4, 696 n. 2.
See note 30, 317.
See Ilchi, 11. Ssangnom was a derogatory form used by the yangban to refer to
commoners, but Kim uses it ironically to refer to himself.
See Seung-Keun (note 9), 165.
Ibid. The phrasing is opaque, but what Rhee seems to mean is we should
learn from the problems that limited Kim in his time and use that knowledge to
overcome those limits. This implies Rhee saw the problems of the post-liberation
period and the 1970s as similar.
It is worth pointing out Park considered himself a nationalist and would
probably have agreed with the chaeya’s positive assessment of Kim Ku.
But according to the chaeya, Park was not a true nationalist, but a pro-
Japanese collaborator masquerading as one; no true nationalist would adopt
a modernization strategy modeled after Meiji Japan. Following this logic, in
uplifting Kim, the chaeya activists also sought to uplift themselves as the rightful
heirs to Kim’s nationalist legacy. See Jung-Hoon Lee, “Normalization of Relations
with Japan: Toward a New Partnership,” in The Park Chung Hee Era (see note 4),

Similar arguments have been applied to the KPG as a whole. For a consideration
of the KPG’s struggle for legitimacy in the years after the March 1919 uprising,
see Oh Hyang Mi, “The Controversy over the Legitimacy of the Korean Provisional
Government during the Period of the National Representative Conference in
Shanghai,” Korea Journal, vol. 51, no. 3 (Autumn 2011), 169–95.
Chong-Sik Lee, The Politics of Korean Nationalism (Berkeley: Univ. of California
Press, 1963), 187.
Ibid., 188.
See note 30, 317 (also quoted above).
Dae-Sook Suh, The Korean Communist Movement, 1918–1948 (Princeton:
Princeton Univ. Press, 1967), 216–17.
Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War: Liberation and the Emergence of
Separate Regimes, 1945–1947 (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1981), 220.
Ibid., 221.
Ilchi, xliii.
See Lankov (note 7).
Ilchi, 311.
Ilchi, xxvii n. 10. Among the works Lee cites is a Korean-language study by Son
Ch’ung-mu of Kim Ku with the tantalizing title, Paekpŏm Kim Ku sarok: mangguk
ŭi han [Historical Record of Kim Ku: Chagrin of A Perishing Nation] (Lee’s
Ilchi, xliv.
Ilchi, xlvi.
Ilchi, xlvii.
Ilchi, xxx.
Young Sun Park, personal interview, March 8, 2016.
For example, see Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan, Why Civil Resistance
Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (New York: Columbia Univ.
Press, 2011), arguing nonviolent civil resistance is both morally preferable to
and more historically effective than violent resistance; Peter Ackerman and
Jack DuVall, A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-violent Conflict (New
York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), arguing nonviolent resistance disrupts the
oppressor’s means of power; and Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature:
Why Violence Has Declined (London: Penguin, 2011), using empirical data to
argue violence has gradually declined throughout history.
See note 1, “Biography.”
See note 1, landing page.
Dong-hoon Choi, Amsal [Assassination] (Caper Film, 2015).

Sun Myung Moon, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen (Washington: Washington
Times Foundation, 2011), 68. Originally published as P’yŏnghwa rŭl sarang hanŭn
segyein ŭro (Seoul: Gimm-Young, 2009).
See ibid., 343–47 for Moon’s statement of pacifism.
Ibid., 69.
Ibid., 343.
Summary from Paek Si-na, “Minjok ŭi yŏngung Kim Ku, ŏttŏk’e chinbo ŭi
sangjing dwaenna? [Kim Ku, the People’s Hero: How Did He Become a Symbol of
Progress?],” Jabo (August 9, 2014).
“Some Great Heroes in the History of South Korea,” Korea-Canada Blog
(February 14, 2014).
Portrait of the German-American
Economic Relationship from 1933–1945

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Departments of Economics & History
Wolf Gruner, Faculty Advisor

This is a study of Germany’s economic relationship with the United States from
the rise of the NSDAP in 1933 to its demise in 1945. Following World War I,
Germany was forced to borrow money from the United States in order to pay
reparations to the Allies under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The Great
Depression had a large impact on many countries, including Germany and the
United States, resulting in protectionist economic policies in both countries.
Anger over reparations and the economic crisis are two of the factors that helped
the Nazi party come to power in Germany, as people demanded an end to the
onerous conditions of the treaty and a solution to the high levels of inflation and
unemployment caused by the world economic crisis. When it came to power
in 1933, the Nazi party implemented new economic polices to tackle these
problems, along with Germany’s dependence on foreign imports and subsequent
trade deficit. The goal of this paper is to address both how these new policies
impacted the German-American economic relationship, as well as how this
relationship changed over time due to evolving aspirations in both countries.

The current state of research on this topic is relatively limited. While there
are books that cover the economic state of Germany and the United States
individually during this period, there so far has not been a study explicitly on the
two countries’ economic relationship. Therefore, a majority of the sources used
for this paper are contemporary primary sources such as American newspaper
articles, speeches, and papers. In regard to secondary sources, books on
Germany’s economy mention certain developments in the German-American
economic relationship and were therefore cited in this paper. Ultimately,
however, the conclusions reached here are original.

Prior to 1933, the economic relationship between Germany and the United
States was most strongly influenced by Gustav Stresemann, Germany’s Foreign
Minister from 1923 to 1929.1 Stresemann believed the United States was the
key to Germany’s recovery after World War I, and therefore pursued close
economic ties between the two countries.2 The joint policies thus implemented
allowed for the stabilization of the Reichsmark, and most significantly,
established the Dawes and Young loan plan, under which American investors
provided money for Germany’s reparations to Britain and France.3 Not only
did this allow Germany to enjoy a higher standard of living than otherwise
possible, it also led to increased American interest in the health of Germany’s
economy.4 Therefore by 1928, US investors were actually lobbying for the
lowering of Germany’s reparations to the Allies so as to limit the risk of a
German economic crisis.5

Still, to ensure Germany’s reparations to the Allies were paid, the Bank for
International Settlements was founded in 1930, which consisted of banks
from multiple countries including Germany and the United States.6 However,
international economic relations were hindered by the Great Depression, the
effects of which spread from the United States to many countries by 1930. This
economic crisis led to protectionist policies around the world, as countries
raised tariffs on imports to protect domestic producers.7 Such policies were
implemented in the United States and later Germany, thus impacting the two
countries’ trade relations for years.8

When the Nazi party first came to power, it worked to reassure the US govern-
ment of the validity of Germany’s new political system, as well as its desire for
German-American economic collaboration. This is demonstrated most clearly
by a speech made by Hans Luther, the German ambassador to the United
States, at a meeting of the Academy of Political Science on April 28, 1933. Luther
hoped to dissuade the opinion that the new German government was not solely
nationalistic, but a promoter of “International Coöperation.”9 With regard to
specific economic policies, Luther made the case that the United States ought
to import more German goods so Germany could repay its debts from the Dawes
and Young loan plan.10 In this instance, it is unclear if Luther wanted the United
States to simply accept the German goods as repayment for the debt, or if he
expected the United States to pay for the additional goods, allowing Germany
to repay its dollar-denominated debts with its newly increased foreign reserves.
Luther’s final economic issue was the need to reestablish firm currency exchange
rates at the upcoming World Economic Conference, a goal which he felt could
only be achieved through sacrifices on all sides.11

As a whole, Luther’s speech indicates that at the start of the Nazi era, Germany
was determined to improve its economic relationship with the United States.
This theory is further substantiated by a visit to the United States by Hjalmar
Schacht, the President of the Reichsbank, a month later in which he espoused
the same goal of international economic cooperation as Luther.12 As the World
Economic Conference approached, German officials continued to promote the
idea that Germany and the United States ought to work together to improve their
respective economies. Baron von Neurath, Germany’s Foreign Minister, argued

Germany and the United States faced similar economic problems, particularly
when it came to unemployment, and should therefore promote similar policies at
the impending conference.13

Neurath’s wish came true. At the June economic conference, the United States
pulled its offer of a ten percent reduction in tariffs, arguing individual national
economies needed to improve before the world economy could recover, one of
the ideas espoused by Luther in April.14 This action was praised by Voelkische
Beobachter, the official newspaper of the NSDAP, which then predicted
recovery of the German economy would only be possible through an alliance
“with a country that pursues similar aims and employs similar economic and
political methods—namely, the United States.”15 In this way, Germany began
to emulate certain US economic policies, the principal one being the tackling
of high unemployment through government-funded job creation. The German
government studied public works projects in the United States for inspiration and
to avoid making similar mistakes.16 By November 1933, Germany had invested
$150,000,000 in job creation, and eventually planned to spend just over a billion
Reichsmarks on employment policy.17 While this plan was quickly canceled in
December 1933 due to the lack of foreign reserves, it demonstrated the original
optimism of the German government in following America’s footsteps.18

However, while Germany was excited for the prospect of improved economic
relations with America, the United States was hesitant. Nazi promotion of anti-
Semitism hurt Germany’s political and economic standing after only a few months
under Nazi rule.19 Germany’s treatment of its Jewish citizens led to an unofficial
boycott of German goods, as consumers in the United States and elsewhere

protested the Nazi party’s attempt to alienate the Jews.20 Also, despite the efforts
of German representatives, there remained a distrust of the NSDAP for some
American officials, who believed Hitler’s accession to power was partly due to a
German desire to avoid repaying its debts.21

In August 1934, Schacht was made head of the Reich Ministry of Economic
Affairs (RWM), while still maintaining his role as President of the Reichsbank.22
Schacht then implemented the so-called “New Plan” to save Germany from
an impending foreign exchange crisis caused by the lack of foreign reserves.23
While there were many facets to this plan, two of the impacts on the United
States had to do with Germany’s levels of imports and exports. One of
Schacht’s goals for Germany was autarky, or economic self-sufficiency, which
required a sharp reduction in imports.24 Germany also implemented a 25%
subsidization for exported goods, which allowed German producers to sell
their products at a lower value than the cost of production and therefore
“dump” them in other countries.25

In addition to the “New Plan,” German repayment of its debts to the United
States began to falter. At first, Germany singled out its American creditors
who had protested Germany’s partial moratorium on debt repayment in
summer 1933, and therefore were repaid at a rate 30 percent lower than British
creditors who had accepted the new terms.26 Then in late August 1934, Schacht
announced that Germany did not have the money to pay the coupons on the
Dawes and Young Plan bonds because of its large trade deficit with the United
States.27 Over the previous ten years, the United States had accumulated a

trade surplus of 8 billion Reichsmarks with Germany, and in 1933, Germany
bought twice as much from the United States as the United States bought from
Germany.28 According to Schacht, it was up to the United States to establish a
better trade balance and accept more German imports, otherwise Germany
would be forced to cut its level of US imports.29 This was the first of many
threats issued to the United States under Schacht’s rule. Then on August 30th,
Schacht announced a complete moratorium on debt repayments for several
years was necessary for Germany’s economic recovery.30 In addition, once
repayments started, the total of Germany’s foreign debt would have to be
reduced in order to make it bearable in the long run.31

The United States retaliated. In June 1934, the United States had begun to
pursue more liberalized trade through the enactment of the Reciprocal Trade
Agreements Act, an unconditional trade policy that lowered tariffs on all
imports regardless of other countries’ tariff policies.32 This in effect gave all
American trading partners “most-favored-nation” status by establishing that
concessions given to one country would be automatically given to others.33
The hope in establishing this was that other countries would then follow suit
and lower their trade barriers, thus allowing for world trade to recover to its
prerecession levels.34

The only country excluded from these benefits was Germany.35 The official
reason given for this decision by Secretary of State Cordell Hull was Germany’s
discriminatory policies against the United States, which came in the form of
Germany’s “New Plan” and German discrimination toward American shareholders

of German securities.36 However, the final spark was Germany’s withdrawal
from the Treaty of Trade and Friendship in October 1934.37 The trade decision
angered Germany, and many German newspapers accused the United States of
not playing fairly.38 According to them, the United States did not appreciate the
natural advantage it had over Germany, nor did it acknowledge that until recently
the United States had promoted protectionist policies similar to Germany’s.39
These feelings were clearly known in the United States, as demonstrated by the
New York Times article, “Germans Resent Our Trade Policy.”40 Still, American
trade policy toward Germany did not change, indicating the window for improved
German-American trade relations had closed.

Schacht was very successful in achieving his main goal, which was to lower
Germany’s trade deficit with the United States and thus replenish its store of
foreign reserves. This first required Germany to decrease its level of American
imports, which Schacht had threatened to do in August 1934.41 This goal was also
assisted by Schacht’s decision to implement a barter system with Germany’s
trading partners, a policy which increased Germany’s foreign reserves but hurt
American exporters.42 Thus, German imports from the United States fell from
$15,700,000 in January 1934 to $2,600,000 in December 1934.43 In 1935, German
imports from the United States fell again, this time by 35.4 percent of the 1934
import value.44

In order for Schacht’s plan to work, however, it required Germany’s exports to
the United States remain relatively constant or increase. This did not happen in
1934, as German exports to the United States fell from $6,500,000 in January

1934 to $5,500,000 by December, a less drastic change than for German imports
but one still felt by Berlin businesses.45 Julius Lippert, Berlin’s State Commissar
and member of the NSDAP, blamed Jewish boycotts for the fall in export levels,
and warned if the boycotts didn’t stop, Germany would be forced to permanently
cease importing American cotton.46 Whether there was a conscious shift or
not, German exports to the United States thus rose in 1935 by 7.4 percent.47
Subsequently, Germany’s trade deficit with the United States was reduced to
71,200,000 Reichsmarks in 1935, compared with 214,900,000 in 1934 and
236,900,000 in 1933.48

However, while Schacht was successful in this realm, his policies were not
always popular in Germany. In July 1935, the Reichs-Kredit-Gesellschaft
Bank criticized his claim that the Reichsmark was stable at full value.49
According to the bank’s biannual report, Germany should follow countries
such as the United States, whose decision to devalue its currency had
led, at least in part, to reduced unemployment, increased foreign trade,
increased production, eliminated deflation, and restoration of liquidity in
the credit market. 50

In addition, Schacht’s decision to cut imports from the United States led to
two problems. First, goods Germany had previously imported from the United
States but couldn’t produce on its own were now being imported from other
European countries with inferior quality, at higher prices, or both.51 Second, it led
to arguments between Schacht and members of the NSDAP about which goods
Germany should continue to import from other countries and which should be
produced domestically but at a higher cost. In this instance, Schacht actually

argued Germany should continue to import goods such as synthetic rubber and
oil, but Nazi party members wanted to produce them domestically to follow the
Four-Year Plan, a strategy enacted in May 1935 to make Germany self-sufficient for
the anticipated war.52

At the same time the Four-Year Plan was enacted, Schacht was named the
Plenipotentiary-General of the War Economy.53 However, he still wanted more
control over Germany’s economy, specifically to deal with Germany’s increasing
need for foreign exchange, so he concocted a plan with Werner von Blomberg
and Hanns Kerrl, two government officials.54 The plan was for Hermann Göring to
become the Commissioner for Raw Materials and Foreign Exchange, a position
Göring would de jure hold but would de facto be under the control of Schacht.55
However, once Göring was appointed in April 1936, he immediately took over
Germany’s foreign trade, changing the course of Germany’s foreign interactions
and causing friction with Schacht.56

While Schacht had always been focused on limiting Germany’s trade deficit and
procuring more foreign exchange reserves, Göring’s main goal was to provide
Germany with the resources it needed for war. Thus Germany, directed by Göring,
made the following proposal to the United States in June 1936: the United States
would no longer exclude Germany from its Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act,
and in return Germany would increase its import of American goods.57 There were
three main reasons for this shift in policy. First, Germany was running low on
raw materials, which had been depleted to the point they were hurting German
industries.58 Second, Germany had abandoned its use of the barter trade system,
a switch most likely driven by Göring in opposition to Schacht.59

Finally, the United States’ success at signing multiple fair trade treaties with
other countries posed a threat to German exports, as it could make German
goods more expensive and therefore less desirable for people in the United
States.60 In addition to promising to import more American goods, Germany had
also recently instated an agreement to pay in dollars part of the interest due to
American holders of Dawes and Young bonds, payments Schacht had stopped
in 1934, so as to promote good will between Germany and the United States.61
However, the United States did not accept Germany’s offer, and their trade
relationship stayed the same.

Despite this rejection, Göring continued to pursue policies to make Germany
self-sufficient in the long run, specifically by increasing imports to stockpile
necessary goods and domestically producing raw materials such as metals,
rubber, and oil, policies Schacht directly opposed.62 In July 1937, Hitler held a
meeting between the two in an attempt to patch up their differences.63 However,
tensions continued and Schacht eventually resigned from his roles as Minister
of Economics and Plenipotentiary-General of the War Economy in November
1937.64 For a few months, Göring acted as Germany’s Minister of Economics, but
a replacement was eventually found in February 1938, and with him came a new
economic relationship with the United States.65

Walther Funk was selected to become Germany’s new Minster of Economics.
A Nazi party member since 1933, Funk rose to power because of his previous
editorship of the Berliner Zeitung, a prominent economic and financial
journal that granted him good relationships with German businessmen

and industrialists.66 Following Schacht’s resignation, Göring had begun the
reorganization of the Ministry of Economics to better align its goals with that of
the Four-Year Plan.67 In this way, Funk’s directive as Minister of Economics was to
assist Göring in preparing Germany’s economy for war, a goal that required better
trade relations with the United States.

In March 1938, Funk appealed to the United States for increased trade between
the two countries.68 While this request was mostly driven by Germany’s need
for raw materials, another contributing factor was Germany’s recent fall in
exports.69 At the same time, he called for the regulation of Germany’s debt, thus
echoing the call of his predecessor, Schacht.70 However, despite Funk’s pleas for
better German-American economic cooperation, he simultaneously announced
Germany’s continued promotion of a closed economy, a policy the United States
viewed as an obstacle to such cooperation.71

This did not deter Nazi officials from continuing to appeal for better German-
American economic relations. In August 1938, Rudolf Brinkmann, State
Secretary of Germany’s Economics Ministry, issued a plea to the United States
for better trade relations, lamenting the fact that Germany remained the only
country excluded from the United States’ Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act of
1934.72 Brinkmann argued the United States would benefit greatly from renewed
trade relations, claiming Germany could annually purchase at least 3,000,000
bales of cotton, as well as metals, manufactured goods, lard, and canned
goods.73 Brinkmann was particularly eager to promote this plan because
Germany’s imports had fallen three percent the previous month, and the
country was desperate for raw materials.74 However, Brinkmann demanded this

trade be bilateral, as opposed to multilateral, and that Germany be allowed to
pay for American goods with German goods, two stipulations the United States
did not support.75

At the same time German officials were publicly appealing to improve German-
American economic relations, they were also working behind the scenes to
maintain such relations and not anger the United States. Beginning in March 1938
with the Anschluss, Germany sought to create an economic bloc in central and
eastern Europe by acquiring capital and firms under state holding companies, the
largest of which was the Reichswerke.76 In Austria and Czechoslovakia, the Nazi
government applied considerable pressure to natives and foreigners alike, forcing
them to sell their stocks and shares to Germany.77 Only American shareholders
were treated more cautiously, partly to protect German holdings in the United
States, but most likely to protect Germany’s concurrent attempt at brokering
better trade relations.78

On September 1, 1939, World War II can be said to have officially started with
Germany’s invasion of Poland. At this time, the United States chose not to enter
the war due to a prevailing isolationist mood, and therefore continued economic
relations with Germany.79 However, tensions had been rising since the previous
year due to Germany’s interest in Latin America as a source for raw materials,
and as a location to export Germany’s finished products.80 The United States saw
this interest as a threat, and there were domestic fears that if Germany invaded
or gained power over Latin America, the United States could be easily targeted.81
This spurred the “Americans All” movement, where the United States strove

to strengthen its political, social, and economic relations with Latin American
countries to prevent German interference.82

These actions were not tolerated by the German government, and in July 1940 they
threatened the United States. According to Funk, if the United States didn’t stop
interfering with Germany’s overtures to Latin America, the United States would
not be allowed to trade with Europe when Germany eventually won the war.83 In
addition, the United States’ gold reserves would be useless under the new regime,
which would use the Reichsmark as the main form of currency.84 This warning relied
entirely on Germany’s hubris and therefore never became a reality, but it indicated
the economic power Germany foresaw itself attaining. It also demonstrated a
return to Germany’s previous policies of threatening the United States in order to
achieve the German government’s desired outcome, a tactic that had not been
implemented since Schacht resigned in 1937.

While German-American trade relations had been decreasing, they finally ceased
altogether when the United States entered World War II in December 1941.85 While
the two countries were no longer trading, they continued to impact each other’s
economies, as Germany was forced to switch from small-scale to mass production
to keep up with the United States’ manufacturing capabilities.86 At the same time,
the United States was forced to start creating important chemicals it had been
importing from Germany, a feat the United States did not fully achieve until 1944.87

The last major change in German-American economic relations was the
disbandment of the Bank for International Settlements. Thomas McKittrick,
an American bureaucrat, had been the president of the BIS since 1939, an

organization increasingly filled with Nazi officials.88 Over time, the BIS had
transformed from its original purpose of providing the Allies with German
reparations to funneling money from Britain and the United States to help fund
Nazi Germany.89 While resolutions had been introduced by US congressmen in
March 1943 and January 1944 calling for an investigation of the BIS, the issue
was not properly dealt with until the International Monetary Conference in July
1944.90 While there were some arguments for maintaining the BIS until after
the war had ended, it was ultimately decided the organization needed to be
disbanded immediately.91 At this point, German-American economic relations
ceased until the end of World War II and the end of the Nazi era.

Adam Tooze, Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi
Economy (New York: Viking Press, 2007), 4.
Ibid., 5–6.
Ibid., 7.
Charles Higham, Trading With the Enemy: An Exposé of The Nazi-American
Money Plot, 1933–1949 (New York: Delacorte Press, 1983), 1–2.
Hans Luther, “International Coöperation,” Proceedings of the Academy of
Political Science, vol. 15, no. 3 (June 1933), 89.
Ibid., 85.
Ibid., 90.
Edwin L. James, “Schacht Will Measure Cost of Antisemitism,” The New York
Times, May 7, 1933.
“Our Aid for Reich Asked by Neurath,” The New York Times, June 21, 1933.
“Nazi Paper Praises Our Stand at Parley,” The New York Times, June 25, 1933:
“International Cooperation.”
R. J. Overy, War and Economy in the Third Reich (New York: Oxford Univ. Press,
1994), 76–77.
H.P. Greenwood, “German Economy Based on Trade and Debts,” The New York
Times, April 1, 1934; see also note 1, 42.
See note 1, 79.
See note 12.
Willford I. King, “Ought the United States to Resume Lending Abroad?” Journal
of the American Statistical Association, vol. 29, no. 187 (September 1934), 321.
Edward R. Zilbert, Albert Speer and the Nazi Ministry of Arms: Economic
Institutions and Industrial Production in the German War Economy (Rutherford,
NJ: Associated Univ. Presses, 1981), 79.
See note 1, 90.
Ibid., 91–92.
Ibid., 91–92.
Ibid., 86–88. See also A. O. Ritschl, “Nazi Economic Imperialism and the
Exploitation of the Small: Evidence from Germany’s Secret Foreign Exchange
Balances,” The Economic History Review, vol. 54, no. 2 (May 2001), 329.
“Schacht Disavows Pledges on Loans,” The New York Times, August 26, 1934.
Otto D. Tolischus, “New Tactics Used to Aid Reich Trade,” The New York Times,
April 12, 1934.

See note 27.
Guido Enderis, “Reich Can’t Pay Any Debts for Years, says Schacht; He Demands
Cut in Total,” The New York Times, August 31, 1934.
Charles P. Schleicher, “Equality of Treatment in International Trade as a Political
and Economic Policy,” The Southwestern Social Science Quarterly, vol. 20, no. 4
(March 1940), 375.
See note 1, 88.
See note 32.
Ibid.; See also note 1, 88.
“Germans Resent Our Trade Policy,” The New York Times, December 2, 1934.
See note 27.
“U.S.-German Trade Shows Huge Losses,” The Baltimore Sun, February 26, 1935.
Otto D. Tolischus, “Reich Penetrates the Boycott Here,” The New York Times,
December 8, 1935.
See note 42. See also “That Nazis Writhe Under Boycott is Evidenced by Lippert
Speech,” The Jewish Exponent (March 1, 1935), 8.
See note 44.
Robert Crozier Long, “World Money Cut Urged by Germans,” The New York
Times, July 4, 1935.
See note 22, 78–83.
Ibid., 79.
Ibid., 82.
Ibid., 83.
Otto D. Tolischus, “Reich, Anxious, Bids for Trade with U.S.,” The New York
Times, June 3, 1936.
See note 22, 85.

Ibid., 85–86.
Ibid., 86.
Ibid., 93.
Ibid., 94.
Ibid., 95.
Otto D. Tolischus, “Nazi Minister Bids for U.S. Trade; Suggests World Clearing
System,” The New York Times, March 7, 1938.
See note 68.
Otto D. Tolischus, “Reich Makes Plea for Trade with U.S.,” The New York Times,
August 18, 1938.
“German Trade Overtures to America Made,” The Baltimore Sun, August 18,
See note 72.
See note 16, 317.
Ibid., 319–20.
Ibid., 320.
Uwe Lübken, “‘Americans All’: The United States, the Nazi Menace, and the
Construction of a Pan-American Identity,” American Studies, vol. 48, no. 3
(2003), 391. See also note 26 (Ritschl), 332.
Ibid., 393.
Ibid., 392.
Ibid., 390.
“Funk Warns U.S. on Trade Policies,” The New York Times, July 26, 1940. See
also “Nazi Warns South America Against Havana Trade Plan,” The Wall Street
Journal, July 26, 1940.
See note 26 (Ritschl), 332.
Alan S. Milward, The German Economy at War (New York: Oxford Univ. Press,
1965), 92.
H. W. A., “The United States in the World Economy,” Bulletin of International
News, vol. 21, no. 6 (March 18, 1944), 222.
See note 6, 2.
Ibid., 2.
Ibid., 11–15.
Ibid., 14–15.
Maternal Health in Nigeria

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Departments of Biological Sciences & Social Sciences
Michael Cousineau, Faculty Advisor

In the year 2000, the United Nations established eight international
development goals to be achieved by 2015 called the Millennium Development
Goals (MDG). MDG 5A set out to improve maternal health, aiming to reduce
the maternal mortality ratio (MMR, given in number of maternal deaths per
100,000 live births) by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015. MDG 5A also
hoped to ensure that 100% of all deliveries be assisted by a skilled birth
attendant.1 Figure 1 depicts the progress in reducing MMR in Nigeria. The
labeled points are actual numbers taken from available data while the points
in between were filled in using a simple slope formula to show general trends.2
The blue line represents real data, while the red line shows what progress
needs to be made in order to reach the target. While Nigeria seems to have
made significant progress (52% decrease since 1990) in reducing MMR, Figure
1 shows that from 2008 to 2013, there was no statistically significant change
in MMR and Nigeria is not on track to achieve MDG. In fact, the efficacy of
maternal health improvement efforts seems to have plateaued.

Figure 1: Changes in Nigeria’s Maternal Mortality Ratio

Furthermore, it is important to note these aggregate numbers tend to gloss
over any disparities in progress, which is a huge problem in Nigeria because
of the country’s diversity. Nigeria is divided into six geopolitical zones: North
East, North West, North Central, South West, South East, and South South;
these geopolitical zones are further divided into thirty-six states that are,
in turn, divided into local government areas (LGAs). Despite progress in the
nation as a whole, a 2012 study showed MMR decreased in only two zones,
remained relatively stable in three, and markedly increased in the Northeast
where Boko Haram has been active since 2009.3

Moreover, Nigeria’s large population is divided in even more complex ways. First,
the southern half of the country is predominantly Christian while the northern
half is almost entirely Muslim, where several states have adopted, to varying
extents, some form of Sharia law. Second, there are more than 500 ethnic groups
living in the country, many with unique language and cultural beliefs. Figure 2
shows the burden of disease is much higher in the northern states, which are
significantly poorer and where women have less autonomy and are less educated
than in the southern states.4

In general, wealth, or the lack thereof, is an indicator of maternal health, so it
is initially surprising that Nigeria, which has the largest economy in Africa by
nominal GDP,5 has the second highest MMR in the world.6 However, a closer
analysis shows more than half of the population lives under the poverty line.
Additionally, the rural poverty rate in 2004 was 64%, or 1.5 times higher than
the urban poverty rate of 43%. These socioeconomic differences among Nigeria’s
regions may help explain the disparities in MMR throughout the country.

Figure 2: Maternal Mortality Ratio by Geopolitical Zones

Figure 2 shows the estimated MMR in four of Nigeria’s six regional zones. A
UNICEF study showed that 67% of the North East population lived in poverty
compared to 34% in the South East zone. This coincides with the higher
instance of maternal deaths in the North East (MMR 1549) compared to the
South East (MMR 165).7

However, the differences are not proportional, indicating there are other
obstacles to maternal health, which are often classified into three delays:

1. The delay in deciding to seek care may be due to lack of education
about care, mistrust of the government or health systems, and family

2. The delay in reaching care is often associated with distance
from health facilities, lack of roads, and inadequate means of
communication. In Nigeria, 73% of women aged 20–34 reported
having at least one problem in accessing healthcare (see Table 1).8
Some of these numbers would vary depending on the woman’s level of
education, wealth, authority within her household, and even something
as simple as living in an urban as opposed to rural area.

3. The delay in receiving appropriate care on arrival is a result of
inadequate or incompetent manpower and shortage of drugs and

a) A subcategory of the third delay is the delay in referral; in other
words, when complications beyond the local facility’s capacities arise,
there isn’t an efficient emergency response to get them more specialized
care. Table 2 lists the immediate causes of maternal mortality in
Nigeria.9 Approximately 80% of these causes can be prevented or
treated relatively simply if only women had proper access to care. These
complications can be difficult to predict in any particular individual, but
a woman’s risk of dying from these causes falls dramatically if she seeks
and has access to effective antenatal care and if she delivers her baby in
the presence of a skilled birth attendant.10

Table 1: Problems Accessing Health Care

Table 2: Immediate Causes of Maternal Mortality in Nigeria

Maternal health is not a novel problem to Nigeria and it “has been of particular
interest to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.”11 In the past decade, and

especially since the publication of the 2008 Demographic and Health Survey,
several new initiatives have been introduced in order to meet the MDG goals.

The earliest of these solutions is the Midwives Services Scheme (MSS), which
sought to address the issue of unattended deliveries by training and deploying
4,000 midwives to 1,000 primary healthcare centers. In these targeted
facilities, there was an average reduction of 26% in maternal deaths. Under
MSS, midwives were promised a small salary from the federal government,
supplemented by a stipend from state governments and housing from LGAs.
However, due to corruption at the local and state level and the government’s
refusal to prioritize maternal health, the midwives weren’t properly
compensated and they left the program.12

Abiye is a pilot program in the Ondo state (South West zone). Started in 2009,
this program focused on addressing the aforementioned delays and introducing
a surveillance system to ensure evidence-based planning. The delay in seeking
care is offset by appointing, training, and posting health rangers to rural areas
to act as intermediaries between pregnant women and the designated Abiye
maternity health centers. Twenty-five pregnant women are assigned to each
health ranger, who visits them regularly. The health ranger is responsible for
customizing a prenatal checklist, detecting potentially high-risk pregnancies,
carrying out a birth plan, educating and advising on family planning, ensuring
the use of impregnated bed nets, etc. The delay in reaching care is addressed by
giving each health ranger a locally-manufactured, low-tech tricycle ambulance
to transport women who are in labor and may not be able to sit on the back of
a motorcycle. The delay in receiving quality care is addressed by constructing

and refurbishing existing facilities, training more midwives and health workers,
and task-shifting—which gives more responsibility to less-skilled health workers
so that highly-trained doctors and nurses can focus on more exigent cases.
Finally, nonpneumatic shock garments, which help redirect blood flow to the
vital organs, can keep a woman suffering from postpartum hemorrhage alive for
up to several hours, thus giving her time to be moved to more specialized care
and compensating for the delay in referral. But perhaps the most innovative
aspect of the Abiye program is their focus on data collection and evidence-based
planning. The program itself was preceded by four months of surveys to see what
interventions would be most cost-effective; it also implemented a better data
system in order to assess and amend the impact of the program.

The Abiye pilot program was carried out in one LGA, Ifedore. Prior to the
program, Ifedore only saw about 100 deliveries per year in a health facility,
but that number grew to 2,000 by the first year and 6,000 by the second year.
Furthermore, the number of women registered for antenatal care who eventually
delivered in the hospital increased from 16% to 60% by the second year. When
the program was expanded to several other LGAs between 2010–2012, they saw a
45% reduction of maternal mortality cases, 58% increase of registered patients,
and 96% increase in number of live births.13

Lastly, in 2012, the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P)
funded the expansion of MSS and a new conditional cash transfer program
(CCT).14 The SURE-P Maternal and Child Health initiative (SURE-P MCH) offers the
equivalent of US $32 to women who follow through on at least three antenatal
care visits, deliver their children in the presence of a skilled birth attendant, have

one postnatal visit, and have their children immunized. The program is still in
pilot mode so it is difficult to measure its impact on maternal health,15 but there
was a positive impact on infant health and a definite increase in attended births.16

It is important to note more women delivering in health facilities does not
necessarily mean better maternal health. For example, India’s Janani Suraksha
Yojana (JSY) program compensated women for delivering in a healthcare facility,
but the positive impact on maternal health was less clear.17 The Nigerian health
system “has been plagued by problems of service quality, including unfriendly
staff attitudes to patients, inadequate skills, and chronic shortages of essential
drugs. Electricity and water supply are irregular and the health sector as a whole
is in a dismal state.”18 In order to avoid similarly disappointing results as JSY, it is
essential the Nigerian government work to improve access to care and quality of
care concurrently.

On the other hand, Brazil’s Bolsa Família welfare program is considered the most
successful CCT program in history. Like Nigeria’s SURE-P MCH program, women
are paid for getting ANC visits, delivering with a skilled birth attendant, postnatal
care, and immunization of their children; however, families continue to receive
money for other things such as children’s attendance in school. Not only does
this help impoverished families stay out of debt, it helps them escape the vicious
cycle of poverty by providing children with an opportunity to get educated.19
Although Nigeria’s CCT program is specifically focused on maternal and infant
health, not poverty, promoting education can help in the long run for several
reasons. First of all, families will be encouraged to keep their girls in school, thus
curbing the incidence of child marriages, which are linked with poor maternal

health. Secondly, girls will be educated, empowered, and more able to assert
authority in the home and in society. Finally, more educated women are more
likely to seek care, use family planning, and have fewer children, thus reducing
the risk of maternal complications. Higher levels of education correspond to
healthier behaviors.20

Though CCT programs have lots of potential, there are many obstacles. For
example, delayed implementation, which can be caused by financial crisis,
natural disaster, changes in program administration, or political leadership, can
lead to decreased efficiency and even program termination.21 Moreover, often
the neediest and poorest populations can’t follow through with the conditions
because of transportation costs (to schools and hospitals) or because the mother
can’t miss work to register or accomplish all the conditions. As mentioned
before, poor quality of care and government corruption are issues. Lastly,
corruption and lack of adequate information can lead to distrust in the program;
so even if the other issues were to be resolved, people wouldn’t take advantage
of the program.

Improving maternal health is a daunting task, and can be even more
overwhelming for Nigeria due to its size, diversity, and plethora of political and
economic issues it faces. It is imperative Nigeria implements multiple initiatives
simultaneously to address different issues regarding maternal health. One
must consider horizontal vs. vertical programs22 and top-down vs. bottom-up
initiatives.23 As a vertical, bottom-up approach, I would propose expanding the
Abiye program, tailoring it to the specific needs of each LGA and state. This

can be supplemented with horizontal, top-down initiatives such as improving
infrastructure (e.g., building roads, refurbishing hospitals) and implementing
a CCT program that focuses on healthcare as well as continued education for
children. However, in order for this to be effective, provisions need to be made
for working women and those in remote communities in order to give them a fair
chance at meeting the conditions.

A single issue, such as malaria or maternal health, typically offers more
appeal to a donor than, for instance, the building of roads. Moreover, data and
statistics can measure the impact of vertical programs more easily than those of
horizontal efforts. Because it is harder to garner financial support for generalized,
overarching programs than for specific single-issue solutions, foreign aid should
primarily fund vertical programs with targeted interventions, while government
funding should be earmarked for horizontal programs. In this way, the general
health infrastructure of the country is supported by sustainable means, and
the acute need for vertical programs and foreign aid will decrease over time as
infrastructure improves.

Additionally, government funds should be allocated using a top-down funding
system. In other words, instead of LGAs or state governments raising and using
their own funds, all financial resources should be distributed by the national
government. This will fight the huge socioeconomic disparities by reallocating
funds to the neediest areas and reducing corruption found in the lower tiers of
government, as seen in the MSS program.

While it may be evident that investing in health, education, and human capital
is not a waste of money, it is important to find concrete sources of funding. One
existing source is the US $53 million of the federal Debt Relief Fund directed
to building primary health infrastructure and strengthening training and
procurement for maternal and child health.24 However, Nigeria must streamline
its initiatives in order to optimize the use of this limited fund. In the future, it
would be ideal for Nigeria to allocate a percentage of its oil revenues to building
health infrastructure. In the past, a bill that would direct 2% of oil revenues
to primary health care faced much resistance from legislators and health
professional associations alike.25 Foreign stakeholders, including the United
States and the European Union, should put pressure on the Nigerian government
to pass such public policies.

Finally, Nigeria must establish a multitiered surveillance system. On the government
level, incorporating a policy of transparency will help stop corruption and garner the
people’s trust. Hospitals and other facilities should be rewarded for quality of care,26
but also integrate mechanisms to help subpar hospitals improve. On the individual
level, a basic data system (including birth, death, and health history) should be
created. Not only is this basic information all governments should have, it will help
assess the impact of programs and make adaptations based on evidence.

It is necessary to discuss the limitations and scope of this paper. The conclusions
are based almost solely on MMR, which does not account for the maternal deaths
that never enter the system, near-misses,27 or morbidity. For example, in Nigeria
alone, 40,000 maternal deaths occur annually, but another 1–1.6 million women

suffer serious disabilities from pregnancy and birth-related causes, obstetric
fistulas being a specific problem.28

Nigeria is an important target for MDG 5 since it accounts for about 15% of
maternal deaths worldwide.29 Success in this front would be a huge step forward
in improving global maternal health. However, specific issues regarding the
cultural, religious, and ethnic diversity in Nigeria were not explored.

Lastly, maternal health is important because it is correlated to good infant
health; is an indicator of a good overall health system; and, unlike diseases,
pregnancy cannot be eradicated. If maternal health isn’t improved, millions of
women will continue to die from easily preventable causes.

A skilled birth attendant is a medical doctor, nurse, or midwife.
Data taken from the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2013 and www.
Global One, “Maternal Health in Nigeria: A Statistical Overview,” (2012), 10. The
report is no longer published on Global One’s website but is available elsewhere
Map taken from; data taken from
According to World Bank Group statistics, available at
The State of the World’s Children 2009: Maternal and Newborn Health (New
York: UNICEF, December 2008), 19.
See note 2.
Jennifer Cooke and Farha Tahir, Maternal Health in Nigeria: With Leadership,
Progress is Possible (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International
Studies, 2013), 4.
Ibid., 5.
Federal Republic of Nigeria and UNDP, “Nigeria MDG Acceleration Framework:
A Commitment to Improved Maternal Health,” (August 2013), 8, retrieved from
See note 9, 8.
Ibid., 9–15.
A cash transfer program is one in which regular cash payments are given as a
bonus to poor households, conditional on their use of certain health services and
school attendance; the goal is to 1) provide a safety net for the extreme poor, and
2) increase human capital investment of poor households.
MMR requires a very large sample size as it is measured in deaths per 100,000
live births.
See note 9, 8–9.
See Stephen Lim et al., “India’s Janani Suraksha Yojana, a Conditional Cash
Transfer Programme to Increase Births in Health Facilities: An Impact Evaluation,”
Lancet, vol. 375, no. 9730 (June 2010), 2009–23.
Joseph Mojekwu and Uche Ibekwe, “Maternal Mortality in Nigeria: Examination
of Intervention Methods,” International Journal of Humanities and Social
Science, vol. 2, no. 20 (October 2012), 136.
Fábio Veras Soares et al., “Evaluating the Impact of Brazil’s Bolsa Família: Cash
Transfer Programs in Comparative Perspective,” Latin American Research Review,
vol. 45, no. 2 (2010), 173–90.

See note 9, 6.
Laura Rawlings and Gloria Rubio, Evaluating the Impact of Conditional Cash
Transfer Programs: Lessons from Latin America (Washington, DC: World Bank,
2003), 23.
Horizontal delivery refers to services delivered through public-financed health
systems and are commonly referred to as comprehensive primary care; vertical
delivery of health services implies a selective targeting of specific interventions,
not fully integrated in health systems; see Joyce Msuya, Horizontal and Vertical
Delivery of Health Services: What Are the Trade Offs? (Washington, DC: World
Bank, 2004), 2.
In this context, a top-down initiative refers to programs conceived at the
national level (e.g., India’s JSY program) and implemented throughout the whole
country; a bottom-up initiative would refer to programs starting in the lower
arms of government (e.g., Nigeria’s Abiye program) or among the people (e.g.,
traditional birth attendants).
See note 9, 8.
Ibid., 7.
The Abiye program has implemented a system in which hospitals receive funds
“based in part on the annual number of women who deliver in facility (based on
a calculation of costs for normal deliveries, with a proportion of complicated
deliveries or caesarian sections factored in). Maternal deaths result in a
deduction . . .” (see note 9, 13).
The World Health Organization defines a maternal near-miss as “a woman
who nearly died but survived a complication that occurred during pregnancy,
childbirth, or within forty-two days of termination of pregnancy. In practical
terms, women are considered near-miss cases when they survive life-
threatening conditions.” See Evaluating the Quality of Care for Severe Pregnancy
Complications: The WHO Near-Miss Approach for Maternal Health (Geneva:
World Health Organization, 2011), 7.
See note 9, 1.
See note 6, 19.
North Korea’s Nuclear Restraint in the 1970s:
A Critique of Offensive Neorealsim

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
International Relations and the Global Economy
David Kang, Faculty Advisor

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who visited South Korea on November 1,
2015, grabbed headlines when he toured the demilitarized zone and commented
on North Korea’s nuclear program. He asserted that North Korea “should be on
a path of doing less, and ultimately zero, in the nuclear field,” but qualified this
statement by asserting the chance for a diplomatic solution was slim, especially
since the nature of the Communist leadership and its ambitions were mysterious
and largely unknown.1 North Korea, the Kim family, and nuclear weapons are
dominant, inseparable elements in the foreign policy and international relations
discourse centered on northeast Asia. A popularly accepted notion in foreign
policy is that North Korea’s drive for nuclear weapons stems from the irrationality
of Kim Jong-Un. However, there is a dearth of media discussion regarding the
history of nuclear development on the Korean Peninsula.

One part of the history of this region’s nuclear proliferation often glossed over
is North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, which largely began in the 1980s,
started well after South Korea’s nuclearization program had already begun. The
“mystery” of North Korea’s ambitions for nuclear development has long been
cast in a neorealist security model. In other words, North Korea’s current drive
to nuclear weapons is a means to achieve state survival.2 With this in mind,
neorealism would have also predicted North Korea proliferating near or at
the same time South Korea was engaged in the program, portraying a classic
escalation of the security dilemma. The neorealist framework suggests both
hyperoffensive realist states would immediately drive for nuclear weapons
capability as the security dilemma unfolds.

Inter-Korean relations are immensely tense but also elastic; a major move by
one country is expected to affect, if not impact, the other. However, there is a
puzzling incongruence within this theory because South Korea began a nuclear
program much earlier than North Korea, and ended it before North Korea
developed their own.

Through an examination of the 1960s and 70s, this paper posits the Koreas’
divergence from expectations during nuclearization is not in fact a complete
rebuttal of the neorealist analysis, as there is much value to neorealist
considerations.3 While the neorealist security framework sufficiently explains
South Korea’s drive to nuclearize, it is inadequate in fully explaining North
Korea’s nuclear restraint in the 1970s and the start of their program in the
1980s. In the case of North Korea, despite their Juche ideology of self-
reliance that would seem to endorse nuclearization, security concerns were
of secondary concern to the country’s desire in maintaining foreign relations
and perceptions of power rather than objective comparisons of power.
Understanding that security and self-preservation are not the only factors
affecting the desire for nuclear weapons is critical in providing additional
context to North Korea’s current nuclear program beyond the common one-
dimensional neorealist security explanation.

This paper will deal with why North Korea did not go nuclear in the 1960s and ’70s
despite the security dilemma posed by South Korea’s program, and its significance
to current issues of North Korean proliferation. The first part will present how the
neorealist framework explains the self-reliance ideology present in North Korea.
The second part illustrates how while this framework is effective in explaining

South Korean actions to nuclearize in the 1970s, it is insufficient in explaining
the lack of an arms race with the North. Finally, the third section rectifies this
incongruence by offering explanations for North Korea’s foreign policy posturing
in its relationships with China and the Soviet Union, and how the power dynamic
between the North and South is perceived.

Among scholars, neorealism is the dominant theory used to explain North and
South Korean relations, especially during the 1960s and ’70s when levels of
tension and competition were high between these states. Corresponding well
with the theory of neorealism is the national defense ideology of North Korea,
known as Juche. This ideology, which promotes independence, autonomy, and
self-reliance mixed with strains of nationalism and ethnocentrism, served as a
distillation of neorealist principles in the context of the respective states acting
within an anarchic structure and pursuing self-help. North Korean leadership,
who viewed security in the context of Juche, sharpened the tension and power
struggle with South Korea because it motivated the country to engage in power
augmentation. The combination of elements that make up the concept of Juche
are what propelled neorealism forward as the most favored framework through
which to analyze the relationship between the Koreas.

What Is Juche?
In North Korea, the idea of Juche ( ) first appeared in Kim Il-Sung’s 1955
speech “On Eliminating Dogmatism and Formalism and Establishing Juche in
Ideological Work.” The literal translation of Juche means “owning one’s self,” with
the first character signifying ownership and the second meaning body. While it

was originally meant in terms of focusing on Korean ideological works and cultures
rather than foreign works (i.e., Soviet culture), by 1965 it had transformed to a more
general ideology, and even became the theme of Kim Il-Sung’s speech “On Socialist
Construction and the South Korean Revolution in the Democratic People’s Republic
of Korea.” By 1972, Juche became the general focus of the new North Korean
constitution, and this transformation led to many political changes.4

Underlying the idea of Juche was the development of Jaju ( ), interpreted as
political independence; Jalip ( ), in regard to economic independence; and,
most importantly, Jawi ( ) when it came to military autonomy.5 There is clear
evidence these were not seen as just lofty ideals, but were intended as an actual
framework for North Korean policy. This new policy wasn’t implemented until well
after 1955 because North Korea drew significantly from foreign aid in the initial
years after the Korean War. Once North Korea had recovered, Soviet and Chinese
influence in their politics dropped off significantly (often through purges of Soviet
Koreans and Chinese sympathizers), which led to an increase in the country’s
political autonomy. The leadership attempted to shift the country toward
becoming economically vibrant and self-sufficient through the construction of
industries such as tool factories and steel plants. When Soviet military advisers
and hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops left North Korea after the end of
the war, Pyongyang achieved even greater military autonomy.6

The North Korean ideology generally values the nation-state as the most impor-
tant unit, with power augmentation as the critical link not only to protect inde-
pendence, but also prosperity of society. North Korea’s fixation on the ideas of
independence and self-reliance inevitably stemmed from the devastation the

country suffered during the Korean War and the Japanese colonial period, both
of which were instances where events were out of the control of the Korean
people (although Kim Il-Sung initiated the Korean War). Juche became about far
more than simply self-reliance. Later on in history it came to include Kim Il-Sung
cult-of-personality worship and history-distorting propaganda that revised North
Korea’s past to reflect the country’s commitment to self-reliance with Kim Il-Sung
as the catalyst.

Neorealism’s Principles and Critiques
Kenneth Waltz argues the distribution of capabilities across the states defines
the structure of the international system, and accordingly, a state’s goal to survive
is inherently linked to the relative power and capabilities of other states. In the
midst of an anarchic world where there is no supragoverning structure, states
have the same task to fend for oneself in a zero-sum game where the increasing
power of one state comes at the cost of another.7 Neorealism’s hallmark trait is
the view of states as unitary actors, with the system being the driving and most
important area of analysis. Neorealism is also best explained when compared
with the theory it was crafted to replace: classical realism.

Hans Morgenthau, who developed classical realism into a comprehensive
analytical framework, wrote that “international politics, like all politics, is
a struggle for power,” with the basis being the insatiable human desire for
power—a concept tied to Hobbesian views on human nature. With “politics,
like society in general . . . governed by objective laws that have their roots in
human nature,” classical realists start with the individual level of analysis as an
explanation and basis for larger levels of analysis (i.e., states and systems).8 The

problems with classical realism that neorealism attempted to fix are that it (1)
presupposes human nature is not necessarily provable,9 (2) uses a constant
(human nature) to attempt to explain variation,10 and (3) is reductionist and
attempts to explain the whole nature of international relations through the sum
of parts, which does not truly recognize the empirical paradigm serving as the
basis for realism (i.e., the idea that realism describes the world as it is rather
than how it should be).11

In addition, neorealism also provides discourse on what power is and how it
functions. All realists view power as the “currency of international relations,”
however, how that is actualized serves as the basis of disagreement among realists.12
Waltzian neorealism focuses on materialism, a result of Waltz’s “scientific realist
approach.”13 This approach includes all the quantifiable facets and aspects of
power, such as the size of an army, the number of naval vessels, technological
sophistication, population, and the size of the economy. In contrast, Morgenthau
and classical realists view power as not only material, but also something attained
through the “subtle psychological ties by which one mind controls another.”14
Morgenthau recognizes “power . . . tends to be equated with material strength,
especially of a military nature,” but he believes more stress should be placed upon
the “immaterial aspects” of power. This viewpoint on power is also more recently
covered in the work of Joseph Nye on the topic of soft power.15

Finally, there is a distinction to be made within neorealism between defensive
and offensive realism. Some scholars, like Waltz, champion defensive neorealism,
which favors balance and security insofar as states proceed with moderate
and reserved policies to maximize security. Others, like John Mearsheimer,

are proponents of offensive realism, which views states as absolute power-
maximizers that harbor objectively aggressive intentions and whose goals are
dominance and tipping the balance of power in their favor. The only guarantee
of a state’s own security and survival is thus to have an insurmountable
amount of power. This distinction is critical when it comes to looking at
Korea because both theories draw separate conclusions that affect how the
relationship is viewed. Defensive neorealism focuses on stability and security
balancing, while offensive realism focuses on an attempt to increase power at
the expense of the other.

Neorealism in the Context of Inter-Korean Relations
Inter-Korean relations have been long characterized using offensive neorealism.
The security and military dimensions of Juche and Jaju Kukbang are particularly
compatible with neorealist thinking and have contributed to the dominance
of the theory in characterizing the inter-Korean relationship for a number of
reasons. First, geopolitically speaking, the Korean peninsula serves as a model
of neorealist assumptions of state interest in the context of anarchy in the
international structure. The 38th parallel dividing the Korean Peninsula and its
people serves as the key fault line of state interest on three scales: the global
level (i.e., Communist states vs. market democracy states), the regional level
(i.e., Communist/socialist states dominating the Asian mainland vs. the non-
Communist states dominating the western Pacific), and the bilateral level (i.e.,
North Korea vs. South Korea). Conflicting state interests play out on this fault
line, and the lack of supranational governance means the area is a breeding
ground for tension, conflict, and mistrust.

From a security standpoint, both states only have each other to worry about,
however, bilateral tensions are amplified by geography for other reasons.
North Korea has to its north both China, a historically strong ally in the socialist
fraternity, as well as the Soviet Union, while South Korea is surrounded by ocean,
with the exception of its shared border with North Korea. Additionally, the close
proximity to each other’s major population centers (Pyongyang is only 122 miles
from Seoul) means there are perpetual security concerns due to a very small
buffer and window for error.

Secondly, the idea of self-reliance in the area of security is the crucial link to
competition for power and offensive neorealism. Historically, North Korea had
security guarantees from the Soviet Union and China, while South Korea had
security guarantees from the United States and, by extension, NATO. Yet both
countries did not simply sit back in the comfort of promised security but rather
independently pursued heavy militarization programs. This is in line with Juche
ideology for the North and a similar ideology in the South called Jaju Kukbang
(self-reliant national defense), which was propagated by Park Chung-hee.16

South Korea’s adoption of Jaju Kukbang refutes many critiques made of neorealism,
namely Randall Schweller’s argument that since neorealism’s main assertion is
states are motivated by the desire for survival, they would have no incentive to
pursue power at all since it would risk undermining the goal of survival.17 However,
the case of the Koreas shows anarchy in the international system necessarily leads
to a pursuit of independent power for the state because the state is a unitary actor.
The only path toward survival for both countries, especially in the early years,
was to augment their own power to deter action (like an invasion), maintain the

possibility of uniting the peninsula under their terms, and not be overly trusting of
other bloc members by outsourcing security.

Thirdly, we see there is a limit to how much state action can affect structure,
thus defining the boundaries of state action. Classical realism’s focus on human
nature necessarily gives the state more agency in affecting change on a structural
basis, whereas in structural realism, since structure is the dominant factor, there
is necessarily less state agency. In the case of the Koreas and the 38th parallel
fault line, we see how limited state agency affects structural security realities—
the two states act within the confines of their structures by augmenting state
power through actions such as stationing an increasing number of forces on the
demilitarized zone (DMZ).

It is hard to say whether both sides increased their power simply because of
human nature. The use of human nature to explain the relationship fails to
illustrate why there is historical variation among other countries that have
worked through similar relationships. For example, the path of the Koreas differed
dramatically from the Germanies insofar as the inter-Korean relationship was far
more hostile and militaristic. The explanation offered for this by neorealism is the
anarchic structure overlaying state interests and security circumstances is what
resulted in the differing outcomes. In addition, the leadership of both Koreas
have changed over the years, but this has been accompanied by little change to
military policy or power aggrandizement.

Fourthly, the self-reliance ideologies implemented by each of the Koreas are
in themselves articulations of offensive realism. Waltz asserts “states have to

take care of themselves by whatever combination of internal effort and external
alignment. Whether the best way to provide for one’s security is by adopting
offensive or defensive strategies varies as situations change.”18 The assertion of
Juche and its Southern counterpart Jaju Kukbang in the context of security is the
expressed intent to adopt offensive realist principles and to achieve security through
the independent pursuit of military power. For both states the biggest threat to their
own security is the other Korea, a fact that has not changed since 1945. These two
countries are not simply just rivals, but their very existences challenge the other’s
legitimacy and pose as an obstacle to unification, which is a historically shared
goal. The process of unification would likely involve the subsuming of the weaker
government (which was attempted in 1950). With close geographic proximity,
immense distrust, and both states preferring unification under their own terms, the
only option for both sides has been the accumulation of power.

Waltz and defensive neorealism illustrate there is a limit to the amount of power
a state will attempt to obtain in order to prevent creating imbalance. Ultimately,
security is more important than simply obtaining sheer amounts of power.
However, we see little indication of either side limiting its attempts to gain more
power than the other side. North Korea has become the most militarized society
in the world,19 and South Korea has the world’s tenth largest military budget.20
Mearsheimer asserts that augmenting power to the point you can overwhelm
your enemies is the ultimate way to maintain power. We see this in practice at
the DMZ. The close proximity, forward posturing, and ambiguous line between
offensive and defensive military capabilities are examples of offensive neorealism
at work, with both sides actively increasing power in order to be one step ahead
of the other.

Finally, the case of the Koreas is the quintessential example of power as purely
material. Power dynamics between both sides are dominated by material power
(population, active-duty soldiers, tanks, aircraft), and immaterial aspects
like culture or diplomatic persuasiveness have been largely unimportant in
the security calculus of both sides. In North Korean propaganda and news
broadcasts, the material aspects of power are showcased, such as marching
soldiers, missiles, and tanks, and in South Korea, the evaluation of power
dynamics has largely been presented as a comparison of numbers of soldiers on
the DMZ, potential draftable men, and technology. Both states focus largely on
the development of these materialized facets that make up power.

The significance of North Korean self-reliance and autonomous action in
relation to South Korea is particularly critical to understand in the context of the
neorealist framework. Neorealism’s assumptions of lacking trust in other states,
valuing one’s own security, and believing security can only be achieved by one’s
own actions are exemplified by the idea of self-reliance. The offensive neorealist
construct meshes well with the ideas of autonomy and self-reliance. This type of
action and approach to foreign policymaking makes the inter-Korean relationship
a particularly extreme model of offensive neorealism, and would assure both
states not fall behind the other, regardless of their respective superpowers’
guarantees of safety and support.

The 1960s and ’70s were a key period in the history of the inter-Korean
relationship as they contain the emergence of the aforementioned ideologies of
self-reliant defense, the start of significant tensions and conflicts between the

Koreas, and, most importantly, the beginning of nuclear weaponization on the
peninsula. The security dilemma between the two countries began to develop
during this era, yet South Korea’s steps toward nuclearization (a well-reasoned
decision under neorealism) were not responded to by North Korea.

The Rise of Tensions and the Start of the Security Dilemma
The post-Korean war era of the 1950s saw the failure of diplomacy to bring about
peaceful unification. Starting from this point, it is relatively simple to track the
security developments that led to rising tensions and the foundation for the
development of the security dilemma. The failure of diplomacy to bring about
any meaningful advantage to either side (i.e., the failure of liberalism) led to
the resumption of violence and the use of power to attempt to bring about the
realization of state interest.

Immediately after the end of the war, there were significant overtures to bring
about dialogue and peace. The violence and devastation wrought by the
conflict and the terms of the armistice ushered in a spirit of trying to unify the
Koreas peacefully, beginning with the 1954 Geneva Conventions and followed
by attempts at bilateral talks between the North and South. North Korean
documents and cables to fellow socialist countries indicated the North’s desire
for a confederation with the belief that the majority of Koreans would support
Communism (a reasonable assumption since most South Koreans were poor
farmers).21 This belief would continue until around 1960.

One of the pieces of evidence supporting the existence of such an attitude
is the diaries of the Soviet Ambassador to North Korea, A. M. Puzanaov, who

noted in his personal diary that Kim Il-Sung viewed a confederation as the best
option, which would be accomplished through the rise of multiparty democracy
in the South.22 The hope was the protests against Syngman Rhee would lead to
a democratic system that would see the rise of leftist parties in the country.
Ideas of confederation were repeatedly opposed by Americans, as they were
predicated on all foreign troops leaving, which would disadvantage the South.

The rise of the conservative and anticommunist President Park Chung-hee in
1961 finally killed the hopes of diplomacy. Ultimately, diplomacy may have
been partly motivated by liberal intentions, but it would be too idealistic
to say the actors were motivated by the simple intention to bring about
peace. Rather, diplomacy was the tool to bring about peace and unification
in one state’s favor, and once shown to be ineffective, both sides resorted to
indirect hostilities.

After the failure of diplomacy, the foundation for the development of a security
dilemma was laid. In 1962, Kim Il-Sung announced a military strategy to the
Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea that placed increased emphasis
on irregular warfare, agitation, and propaganda to bring about unification. The
proposal of such a strategy marked a significant departure from the diplomacy-
focused efforts of the last decade.23 Although undercurrents of tension and
mistrust had always existed, they became amplified in 1966.

Between 1966 and 1969, there were low-level clashes all across the DMZ between
North and South Korean forces. North Korean commandos allegedly infiltrated
the South 57 times in 1966 and 118 times in 1967. South Korea responded with

their own raids in North Korean territory, which destroyed guard posts and killed
isolated groups of soldiers.24 These tit-for-tat attacks were particularly important
for establishing to both sides that their opponent would not hesitate to resort to
military action to achieve their goals, which brought about serious fears of either
side restarting a war.

These concerns were more acute for South Korea because its economy was
weaker than the North’s, and the North Korean military, which was significantly
inferior to the South’s in the mid-1950s, had achieved parity by the 1960s. DMZ
clashes during this time led to the deaths of 43 Americans, 299 South Koreans,
and 397 North Korean soldiers. In January 1968, North Korean commandos
attempted to assassinate President Park in the Blue House Raid, which failed but
further highlighted the rapid rise in tensions.25

When counting the number of casualties and incidents, this period of the late
1960s was objectively the most violent and turbulent time for North–South
relations since the Korean War. From the small border skirmishes in the mid-60s,
to outright attempts of assassination, to naval battles (e.g., the 1968 Pueblo
incident), to air conflicts (e.g., the 1969 hijacking of Korean Airlines YS-11), there
was a rapid escalation of conflict, marking the start of the security dilemma. Both
sides became paranoid about military moves and increases in power of the other
side. Thus, starting at this time, the North and South Korean militaries began
“remarkable growth in power” according to a retrospective US military analysis.26

North Korea’s Lack of Nuclear Tit-for-Tat
South Korea’s move to nuclearize was a rational one under the framework of

neorealism, as it was the necessary next step to assuring security amid the
aforementioned escalating security dilemma. South Korea’s decision to nuclearize
was motivated by America visibly weakening as a power due to the American
withdrawal from Vietnam and its détente with China. In addition, South Korea
had difficulty keeping up with North Korea’s militarization because America
repeatedly delayed financial aid.27 After faster and technologically more advanced
North Korean speedboats overwhelmed a South Korean patrol boat in June 1970,
Park created the Agency for Defense Development, which included a clandestine
committee devoted to nuclear weapons, according to Oh Won-Chul, a senior
adviser to Park on nuclear and military production programs.

Park believed it was a significant possibility the South Korean army would
be unable to keep up with the North’s militarization, which led Park to state
that even if they could not obtain a nuclear weapon, he wanted to have the
capability to build one in a few months’ notice, like the Japanese.28 The US
Ambassador Sneider recognized Park was driving to “seek self-sufficiency
and self-reliance through a program of nuclea