Over the past few months my PowerPoint-ing skills have developed to allow me to remove the background of images. It has led to a renaissance of new images on my PowerPoints, to such an extent that I have created my own history memes. However, due to the nature of the topic, some of these have become incredibly specific. But perhaps that is the test of a good meme: something that only a select group of people “get” and understand. Although it could delay how rapidly it can be spread, which shows a successful meme in terms of adaptability and transformation.
So, let’s consider this post as a meme exhibit of some of my current “works”. First, an oldie from the old OCR specification relating to the Wars of the Roses module (England 1445-1509) detailing the problems of poor Henry VI:
And, for a while, that was that. But the recent renaissance has allowed me to experiment with images relating to the AQA module Germany 1918-1945, especially with its political and social disturbances.
The second exhibit is one connected to the temporary stability of the economic, social, and political systems of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s. The early period (1919-23) were years of crisis characterised with attempted overthrows of the government and hyperinflation, whilst the final period (1929-33) is characterised with the depression and the rise of Hitler and the Nazis; but this middle period – 1924-28 – has been hailed by some as a ‘Golden Age’. However, Gustav Stresemann – the central statesman of the Golden Age – commented that the nation was ‘dancing on a volcano’, such was the lack of clear stability during this period. The social enhancements and economic “stability” had been paid for with American loans (such as the 1924 Dawes Plan), and after the 1929 Wall Street Crash the USA called in these loans, leading to a collapse of Germany.
The third and fourth examples are more related to the content currently being covered by the first year A-level History class: the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the establishment of Hitler’s dictatorship in 1933. The first outlines the “Backstairs Intrigue”:
The second focuses on Hitler becoming Chancellor in January 1933; within two months he had pushed through the Enabling Act which gave him far reaching powers. With these powers, he was able to ban all political opposition, trade unions, and any media organisations that disagreed with him. He essentially – to use modern Marvel terminology – obtained the Infinity Gauntlet:
In many ways, such memes could be called frivolous, or perhaps even belittling of the historical events that they connect with. However, I take a different view. It offers another chance to interpret and understand the historical event, and perhaps the fusion with modern media – such as the blending of Hitler as the Marvel character Thanos – provides another opportunity to cement key ideas. Hopefully the next few months will bring forth more memes, and I’ll be sure to post them on here first to show off these dubious creations.