Without history, I cannot imagine what our world or society would be like. Many events, revolutions, wars, and reformations have taken place throughout the course of history, but the era that stands out to me is the World War II and the Cold War era that lasted from 1929-1991. This was the time period where communism fell, big economic and social changes were happening, opportunities for women increased, and civil rights of racial minorities group expanded. Each time period has a specific law, piece of literature, and an artist that play a huge role in that part of history.
In this paper I will summarize the Executive Order 9066, George Orwell’s book 1984, and Mark Rothko’s Color- Field works. I will then explain their significance for the world today. After the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, U. S President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Executive Order 9066 which went into effect on February 19th, 1942. This order authorized the Secretary of War to remove any or all people from military areas “as deemed or desirable”. The United States government decided to turn its focus to the west coast where most of the population was of Japanese-American descent.
More than 120,000 Japanese-Americans were forced to leave their homes and were relocated to remote internment camps located all around the country. Even though we were at war with Japan and Germany, we did not force German-Americans to leave their homes and go to internment camps because they looked more American than the Japanese-Americans did. Living conditions at the internment camps were not ideal at all, also guards at the internment camps didn’t really care about giving the Japanese-Americans quality treatment. After a couple years of the Japanese-Americans living in the internment camps, U. S Major General Henry C. Pratt issued Public Proclamation 21.
The proclamation stated that all the Japanese-Americans that were located in internment camps could now return back to their homes. On February 19th, 1976, President Gerald Ford formally repealed Executive Order 9066, and the Civil Liberties Act was passed by Congress in 1988. The Civil Liberties Act stated the U. S military and government had done an injustice to the Japanese-American citizens, and in 1988, President Ronald Regan authorized compensation for each surviving Japanese-American and issued a public apology on the U. S government’s behalf.
This is significant in today’s society because it shows that the U. S government makes assumptions about ethnicities and cultures before finding out the truth. An example of the “Executive Order” in our world today is President Donald Trump not allowing Muslim population to enter the United States, I understand that he is trying to protect the United States, but not all Muslims deserve to be banned from the country.
If the Muslims haven’t done anything wrong (especially if they are trying to gain citizenship into the United States and haven’t caused any problems), banning them from the country is doing an injustice to them, just like it was wrong to force the Japanese-Americans out of their homes. It shows how the United States government uses its power, and at times, they base their decisions on assumptions instead of actually doing research. No matter what part of history we research or learn about, every time period in history has one thing in common; government controls everyone and everything.
In George Orwell’s book, 1984, the main character Winston Smith shows us all the ways that “Big Brother” controls his and everybody else’s life. Throughout the book he describes a society that no one would want to live in. When Winston refers to “Big Brother” in the book, he is referring to the government. Winston’s job in the book is to go through files, rewrite history, and fix any mistakes to make sure that it comes across as the party always being right. He mentions throughout the book that there is always a telescreen watching his every move, and he never knows whether it is taking in information, or letting information out.
Some spots in the book deal with betrayal of friends, family, or loved ones. The book shows us that when people get in trouble with “big brother” they are beaten to a pulp to make them confess things. Some people are also then sent to room 101 which involves people’s worst fears in order to make them confess anything further that the government wants them to confess. In the end, the government manipulates some people to love “big brother” just like they did Winston. The significance of this book, is that it is like a mirror of our government and society today.
There are cameras everywhere, and the government can hack into our cell phones, tablets, or computers, and see what we are doing without us even knowing it. Everyday people are betrayed by people they trust, just like in the book. When it comes to controlling people, or making people confess, the government isn’t afraid to use torture or punishment. That’s why we still hear the terminology Room 101. It is filled with a person’s worst fear in order for them to confess. Just like President Trump mentioned, his isn’t afraid to use torture.
The equation 2 + 2=5 shows that what’s true is true because it was told by a person with power or authority. People tend to believe whatever the government says because so many have a poor understanding of history. The past stands as standard for judging the present, and our government tries to cover up their mistakes so it looks like they are never wrong because then we cannot judge the present from past mistakes. The government (Big Brother) thrives off of controlling people’s lives. After World War II, Abstract Expressionism became the main focus for artists.
Instead of trying to portray what was going on in the world, they focused on making their works cause an inner-emotional reaction of their viewers. Mark Rothko was an American artist during this time period. He is known for his Color-Field works. Rothko really wanted to make sure that he created an inner-emotional reaction of his viewers. His paintings didn’t involve any content or messages, they just involved colors with a horizon line. The funny thing about Rothko was the way his colors were set up. He used bright colors to represent sadness, and dark colors to represent happiness.
He had huge paintings so that they could envelop his viewers, and so that his viewers could really get captured by them. His paintings also had no frames, which was quite different from other artists. The paintings had a misty and hazy quality like the Oregon Weather. A specific request that Rothko had was to keep his art separated from others so his viewers didn’t get distracted by other art and could really focus on his. The significance of Rothko’s paintings on today’s society is that it was kind of the end of abstract art. The generations after Rothko started to focus on making sure their painting represented external reality.
Most painting now a days have some type of message or content and represent something going on in the real world. Unlike Rothko, most painters don’t really mind their art or paintings being next to or surrounded by other art because they just want their art to be viewed. Artists now a days usually don’t have very big paintings, and they usually have a frame, unlike Mark Rothko where his paintings were huge and frameless. I don’t think artists now a days are as passionate about making sure that their paintings create a deep inner-emotional reaction of their viewers. Instead, they just want to ry and represent something from reality in their painting.
Mark Rothko was truly passionate about his work and his viewers, anymore that is something artists lack; true passion. In this paper I have attempted to summarize and explain the significance on the world today of Executive Order 9066, George Orwell’s 1984, and Mark Rothko’s Color-field works. Each time era in history is part of why today’s society is the way it is. History involves things of the past, but the past is what determines the present. Someday the actions and events of our society today will have a significant impact on the present in the future.