HIST 1002A: Europe in the Twentieth Century
Summer 2021 

Instructor: Sean Eedy

Introduction: The twentieth century has been defined differently for the purposes of historical inquiry.  Often, we are presented with what has come to be known as the “short” twentieth century from the end of World War One in 1918 to the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  These historical markers are often characterized as those instances of momentous change that cause fundamental breaks or ruptures from that which came before.  The First World War is often marked as the point where the European Balance of Power established after the French Revolution in 1789 was forever ended.  However, without the French Revolution as a starting point, identifying the beginning of the twentieth century with the conclusion of the First World War makes little sense.

As such, this course begins with the establishment of the new European order following the unification of Italy and Germany and the road to war in 1914.  Taking this long view of the twentieth century, the time period becomes one of rupture and upheaval, of civil war and revolution across the First World War, The 1917 Russian Revolution, the Second World War, the revolutionary moments of 1953 and 1956 against Soviet hegemony, 1968 in both Eastern and Western Europe, and the peaceful revolutions of 1989 that brought an end to Soviet Empire and the Cold War more broadly.

This course will introduce students to some of the problems across the European twentieth century that created the tension, conflict, and ruptures between the Great European Powers and split the world in militarized, ideological Blocs.

Class Format:  This class is remote.  All lecture material will be recorded in 15 to 20 minute videos and posted to the course website by Tuesday of each week.  Lectures will typically approach the big ideas and events associated with the course and the time period under discussion, though we will also be addressing events from a bottom up, cultural approach.  Students will also be expected to keep up with the weekly assigned readings.  These readings will focus on social and cultural activities and how people understood and adapted to the world changing around them.  Students will be asked, every two week, to submit brief reports on the reading material, connecting them to the lectures and to the broader themes of the course.

Aims and Goals:  Students should complete HIST 1002A with a greater understanding of the process of writing history and of conducting historical research.  Students are encouraged to develop their analytical and interpretational skills through the critical examination of a wide array of historical writing and representations of history.  Students should be able to critically assess evidence and develop original arguments and analyses, communicating their ideas clearly, effectively, and logically.

Assessment:  Students should note that this course is reading and writing heavy.

Five times throughout the term, students will be asked to submit a brief reflection (2-3 pages) on the assigned reading material for that week, demonstrating an ability to plumb the readings of main points and arguments, to connect those readings each other, to the lecture content, and to the broader themes of the course.  There will also be mid-term and final take-home examinations.