Paul Weisko

Political Science and History
“Russian Civil War Propaganda Posters and their Effects on Cold War and Post-Cold War History”

Paul Weisko

The purpose of my project is to trace the ideas espoused by Red and White Russian Civil War leaders in their memoirs and political tracts to White and Red Russian Civil War propaganda posters. I am interested in seeing how the ideas of xenophobia and anti-Communism, which are two of the two main ideologies of the twentieth century, crystallized during the Russian Civil War. To do this, this project will use the writings of important leaders on both sides of the Russian Civil War in an attempt to measure how consistent the propaganda posters from both sides are with the writings of each sides respective leaders.

How did you find your mentor for year research project?
I had a class with Dr. Brown.

How did you know this was the project you wanted to do?
I have been interested in the Soviet Union since I was six. For a very long time, I have wanted to do in-depth research on the Russian Civil War.

Is this your first independent research project?
I have completed two other pieces of research on my other interest, which is China’s rise. I have already written a 75-page paper on the People’s Liberation Army-Navy, and a paper on the Sino-Australian relationship.

Do you get course credit for this work? How much time do you put into it?
This URA also doubles as a History honors thesis. During the summer I lived in DC, and I went to the Library of Congress on a weekly basis. I also am reading books for my research for a significant portion of my day.

How did you hear about the Undergraduate Research Award (URA) program?
Through the Sondheim Scholars program.

What academic background did you have before you applied for the URA?
I have taken a few years of Russian and I have taken most of the Russian history courses offered at UMBC.

Was the application difficult to do?
It was moderately hard. Coming up with a research question that is doable in one year is very challenging. My mentor was very helpful in the process of writing the proposal.

What has been the hardest part about your research? What was the most unexpected thing?
The hardest part was finding materials that deal with this issue. The most unexpected was finding out how many religious symbols that the supposedly atheist Communist Party used in its propaganda.

What else are you involved in on campus?
Debate Team, Model UN Team, History Student Council, Jewish Student Union, and trying to manage two other majors, one minor, and two certificate programs.

What is your advice to other students about getting involved in research?
Finding a good mentor is critical. If you want to get a good mentor, stand out in a class that the mentor teaches and take it from there. Additionally, it would help if your mentor is your major adviser.

What are your career goals?

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