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COURSE NAME: "Twentieth-Century Europe and the World "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2018

INSTRUCTOR: Vanda Wilcox
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 10:00-11:15 AM
PREREQUISITES: Recommended: HS 210

This course explores the history of Europe and its relations with the larger world from World War I through the aftermath of the Cold War. In it, students investigate the cultural, diplomatic, economic, political, and social developments that shaped the lives of twentieth-century Europeans. Significant attention will be given to the relationship between Europeans and peoples in other parts of the world, the experience and significance of the World Wars and the Cold War, the development of democratic, authoritarian, and 'totalitarian' political systems, and the ways in which everyday life and culture changed during this period.
Satisfied "Modern History" core course requirements for History majors.

Major themes and topics of the course include: nationalism and the modern nation state; imperialism and the relationships between Europe and the wider world; the causes and events of the two world wars, both within Europe and around the globe; the rise of new political ideologies and the failure of democracy across much of Europe in the interwar period and during the Cold War; the history of Soviet Russia; decolonization; the birth of the European Union.


By the end of the course, students should have a good general understanding of the key events and themes of the period. They will be encouraged to make comparisons across the period and between different states and societies. They will be asked to critically analyze differing interpretations and to reach their own conclusions, in order to build on their critical thinking abilities.

Students will gain experience in analyzing a selection of written or visual primary sources. They will develop and improve their skills in researching and writing, in order to produce effective research papers, as well as expressing their ideas orally.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Dark ContinentMark MazowerVintage978-0679757047  

Independent Research paper2200-word paper on a topic of the students’ own choice, agreed with the instructor. 25%
Reading response and discussionWritten and oral discussion of assigned readings, in class and on moodle. You are expected to ask and answer questions, participate in group discussions, and offer thoughtful reactions.15%
Mid-termIn-class exam: primary source analysis, drawing on lectures and reading assignments. 15%
Final ExamCumulative final exam.25%
Assigned topic paperStudents will write a 1400 word paper on an assigned prompt.20%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and displays originality of thought. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course, leading to written work of an excellent quality which fully achieves or even exceeds the criteria set by the assignment. This is an exceptional grade only achieved by a minority of students.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised. There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluate theory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture and reference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions. Written work shows a good level of research and reading beyond the required material and successfully achieves the criteria set by the assignment. This is a good grade reflecting hard work and ability.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings only. Written work shows a minimum level of research with no real further reading around the topic. It is generally competent but offers little originality, or it may have confused elements. It fulfills the basic requirements of the assignment.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material. Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included. In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail. Written work shows little evidence of research, lacks citations or cites unacceptable sources (e.g. websites not specifically authorised by the instructor for use).
Fhis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant or fails to fulfill the assignment criteria.


Students should sign in on the class attendance sheet at the start of each class. Students arriving more than 10 minutes after the start of class may be recorded as absent. Please be punctual. Attendance records are based on the sign-in sheet so it is your responsibility to make sure you sign it every class.


  Please note:

  1. It is not possible to arrange make-ups for mid-term or final exams. See catalogue for further details.

  2. Please notify me via email if you are going to miss class, in advance where possible.

  3. Please minimize all forms of disruption to the class: this includes arriving late, constantly leaving to go to the bathroom, eating, using your phone etc. This behaviour is disrespectful and above all distracting to your classmates, and it prevents us from creating a productive working environment.
  4. It is your responsibility to check the class Moodle site for messages, schedule changes, class readings etc regularly.
  5. Be aware that all work will be checked for academic dishonesty.
  6. Late work will not be accepted after the final examination date.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


3 Sep

1. Europe in 1900

5 Sep

2. International rivalries and colonialism

Three views on colonialism; Mazower: preface, pp. 1-8

10 Sep

3. The First World War as a global conflict

H. Strachan, “The First World War as a Global War”, First World War Studies, 1(1), 2010

12 Sep

4. Legacies of the First World War: nationalism and anti-colonialism in India and the Middle East

Smith, Leonard V.: Post-war Treaties (Ottoman Empire/ Middle East), in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. by Ute Daniel et al, Berlin 2014-10-08 

17 Sep

5. Legacies of the First World War: Pacifism, disarmament and appeasement in the 20s & 30s

Wilson's Fourteen Points; Mazower, pp. 8-25

19 Sep

6. The Soviet Union, 1917-41

Mazower, pp. 117-128

24 Sep

7. Fascism and Nazism

Mazower, pp.26-39; Mussolini & Gentile, Doctrine of Fascism

26 Sep

8. The rise of totalitarianism in Europe: Italy, Spain and Germany

Mazower, pp. 40-76; The 25 Points

1 Oct

9. European democracies between the wars

Mazower, pp.105-117, 128-140

3 Oct

10. Japanese imperialism and the Second World War

S. Wilson, “The 'New Paradise': Japanese Emigration to Manchuria in the 1930s and 1940s” The International History Review 17:2 (1995), 249-86. 

8 Oct

11. The Second World War in Europe

Mazower, pp.141-169; Tami Davis Biddle, “Dresden 1945”, The Journal of Military History 72 (April 2008): 413–449

10 Oct

12. Anti-Semitism from the 1880s to the Holocaust

H. Class, If I were the Kaiser;  Mazower, pp. 170-184 (Rec. Mazower pp.77-105)

15 Oct

13. European empires during and after the Second World War

Gandhi & Jinnah on the end of British India

17 Oct

14. Revision and paper-writing workshop

22 Oct


24 Oct

16. Post-war settlements: between punishment and regeneration

Mazower, pp. 185-214

29 Oct

17. Post-war settlements: the occupation of Europe and birth of the Cold War

Mazower, pp. 215-252; Churchill & Stalin on the origins of the Cold War

31 Oct

18. Post-war settlements: International organisations – the EEC, NATO and the UN

George Keenan on NATO; the Charter of the United Nations.

5 Nov

19. De-colonization in the 1950s and 1960s

UN Declaration on colonial independence, 1960; 

7 Nov

20. The Cold War in Europe and proxy conflicts around the world

Mazower, pp. 253-76

19 Nov

21. The Soviet Union, 1953-85

Mazower, pp. 276-89; Khrushchev's Secret Speech

21 Nov

22. Anti-Soviet movements in Eastern Europe: Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia

The Brezhnev Doctrine, 1968

23 Nov

23.Western European democracies and the welfare state

1945 Labour Party Manifesto; Mazower, pp. 290-316

23 Nov

24. Gender and family life in Europe since 1945

Mazower, pp. 316-331; De Beauvoir reading

26 Nov

25. Protest and political violence in the 1960s and 70s

French slogans from 1968

28 Nov

26.The fall of the USSR and the Soviet bloc

pp. 367-96; Gorbachev on reform (Rec: Mazower, pp. 332-366)

3 Dec

27. From the European Economic Community to the European Union

Mazower, pp. 402-410

5 Dec

28. Europe in 2000; Revisions and Conclusions


Primary source readings and additional secondary source readings are all provided through moodle; the class moodle also incorporates discussion spaces and is mechanism for submitting written assignments. Therefore you need to enroll in the class via moodle immediately.

1.      If you have registered for a John Cabot University moodle account already, you can go to step 2. If you have never used moodle, or used it at another university, you will need to obtain a JCU Moodle account first. Go to http://moodle.johncabot.edu/login/signup.php and follow the instructions. Use an official university email address NOT your personal account, and complete your full name correctly, not a nickname, since this is visible to other users and your professors.

2.      Log in with your JCU moodle account here: http://moodle.johncabot.edu/

3.      Enrol in the class HS211 using the enrollment key Europe20

4.      Please consider uploading a photo to your account, it helps us all to learn each other’s names!