Volume 25, Issue 1, 2014
UCLA Historical Journal
Letter from the Editors
Grace Ballor and Susan Rosenfeld
John Swinton’s Paper, a labor newspaper published between 1883 and 1887, subscribed neither to the reconciliationist nor to the emancipationist memory of the Civil War. John Swinton and his circle of reformers emphasized the issue of slavery, but they imbued it with new meaning related to labor’s circumstances in the Gilded Age. Referencing the Civil War helped labor reformers represent themselves as the true champions of the republic.
From Test Plots to Large Lots: The Gardens of San Marino, California as Natural and Social Laboratories
In 1905, the Southern California transportation, electric power, and real estate magnate Henry E. Huntington hired German immigrant William Hertrich as head gardener for his San Marino Ranch. Huntington told Hertrich that he would have the extensive ranch lands “to play with” for as long as he lived, and Hertrich continued to experiment there until his death in 1966. Establishing numerous test plots on the property, he pushed the limits of Huntington’s boosterish claim that almost anything could grow in Southern California. As it turned out, more than a few things could not. Interestingly, Hertrich’s published writings reveal that there was also a social dimension to his experimentation. He tested notions of race and class then popular among the elites of greater Los Angeles. In so doing, he tried to create a structure for his workforce that corresponded in peculiar ways with the composition and layout of his gardens. His management of the ranch employees as well as his landscaping of the gardens served to exoticize and marginalize Asians and Latinos. As with his testing of plants, Hertrich’s experimentation with his workforce was not entirely successful. If read against the grain, his published writings reveal traces of resistance. Hertrich also played a major role in planning and landscaping the suburb of San Marino out of Huntington’s ranch and surrounding properties. This final experiment was perhaps his most successful, resulting in an exclusive garden-centered community that continues to flourish long after his death.
‘Father-and-Son’ or Communist ‘Brothers’? The Significance of ‘Socialist Solidarity’ in the Sino-Soviet Split
The split between Communism’s most powerful exponents, the USSR and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), shocked socialists and non-socialists alike when it became public in the early 1960s. Enjoying vastly greater access to relevant documents, many historians today lend credence to a domestic politics interpretation of the split, with strong emphasis upon the role of ideology in shaping Soviet and Chinese decision making. This ideology-informed approach, however, should extend beyond domestic politics to encompass alliance relations as well. Surprisingly little attention has been dedicated to the differing ways in which Beijing understood its alliance relationship, as a mediating variable between the domestic and international realms. This paper examines how Chinese perceptions of the alliance shifted over time, with particular emphasis on the period between 1960 and 1962, an interregnum that is not particularly well explained in the existing literature. Throughout the life of the alliance there was a fundamental misunderstanding between the two sides over obligations of “international socialist solidarity”; such misperceptions would ultimately prove fatal as the Chinese came to question not simply the policies of the Soviets, but the very legitimacy of Soviet Union as a socialist state.
Much of the literature about the Cold War victimizes one side and puts most of the blame for the emergence of tensions on the other; thus, it is no wonder that the general public remains misinformed about the whole affair. Hence, this paper presents an analysis of the events that were crucial to the rise of the Cold War, including the question of control over Poland, the British intervention in Greece, and the incidents that increased tensions between the Allies. It examines why missteps from both sides generated further missteps and, finally, a dangerous confrontation. Finally, this paper concludes with an analysis of the combined impact of these factors. The timeframe for these events is the period from the end of World War II in 1944 to 1945 until the Berlin Blockade, which began on 24 June 1948 (and ended on 12 May 1949). The latter is commonly acknowledged as the “real” manifestation of the Cold War but will not be described in detail here, as it is not my intention to describe the Cold War itself, but rather the events and interactions that caused the conflict.
Book review of Kathleen Donegan's Seasons: of Misery: Catastrophe and Colonial Settlement in Early America (UPENN, 2014).
Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past. By Peter Boag. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2011. Pp. xii+257, $27.95 paperback.