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COURSE NAME: "A World at Arms: The Second World War"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Luca De Caprariis
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 11:30-12:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: Junior Standing; Corequisite: EN 110
OFFICE HOURS: W: 11:30-12:15, T, Th: 4:15-5:30

History Research Seminar: 300-level history courses designated by the prefix HS-RS indicate courses being offered as Research Seminars. These courses are writing-intensive and help to train students to carry out original research by guiding them through the preparation of a significant research paper. History majors are encouraged to take these before their senior year, and especially before the semester in which they prepare their thesis.
This course examines the history of the Second World War in its worldwide dimension. Considerable attention will be given to the political, economic, and ideological determinants of German, Italian, and Japanese expansionism. The military strategies and the political, social, and economic dimension of the conflict will be analyzed in detail. The course also examines the war’s impact on civilian populations, collaboration and resistance, and the economics of the war.

Satisfies "Modern History" core course requirement for History majors.
There will be two class meetings per week. Lectures will be followed by questions and discussion.
Students should develop an understanding of the origins course of the Second World War and of the forces that determined its outcome.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
A War to Be Won: Fighting the Second WorldWilliamson Murray, Allan Reed MilletHarvard University Press978-0674006805   
Japanese Imperialism 1894-1945W. G. BeasleyClarendon Paperbacks978-0198221685  
Mussolini Unleashed: Politics and Strategy in Fascist Italy's Last WarMacGregor KnoxCambridge Universiy Press978-0521338356  
The Economics of World War IIMark Harrison, ed.Cambridge University Press978-0521785037  
Hitler's War Aims: Ideology, the Nazi State abd the Course of ExpansionNorman RichW. W. Norton & Company978-0393008029  

in-class midterm examessay exam: students will answer two essay questions30%
final examinationessay exam: students will answer two essay questions35%
paperstudents will submit one 15 page essay30%
in class participation  5%

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 has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cours
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
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.
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.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance is mandatory. Students should keep their mobile phones turned off during lecture. You may use your laptop to take notes, but you are not allowed to surf the web during class. Should you fail to follow these rules I will ban laptops from classroom altogether.
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.


Schedule of topics


3   Introduction and Overview.  The roots of the conflict in Europe:  I.Versailles and the end of European Supremacy.  Rich: 3-77.

5   II. Hitler’s World View. The Nazi Seizure of Power. Rich: 3-77.  

10 III. Fascist Italy in the nineteen thirties: Mussolini’s Drive for Empire.  Knox: 3-43.

12 The roots of the conflict in the Pacific:  The Emergence of Japanese expansionism.  Beasley: 1-100.  

17 II. China and Japan to Manchukuo.  Beasley: 101-141; 175-197. MM: 143-168   

19 Appeasement and Isolationism: Europe and Asia: 1934-1938. Beasley: 198-219; Rich: 81-89.  Hitler’s First Strikes: Austria, Sudetenland and the destruction of Czechoslovakia. Rich: 90-120; MM: 1-17.

20  War in Europe. The “Strange Defeat:” the Fall of France. The Battle of Britain.  Rich 121-164; MM: 44-90; Knox 44-133. 

24  Mussolini’s “Parallel War.”  Rich 165-203; MM: 91-109; Knox: 134-230.

28 “Barbarossa:” Hitler’s attack on Russia. Rich 204-223; MM: 110-142.


1 The Road to Pearl Harbor. The Japanese offensive in the Pacific. Beasley: 220-232;  Rich: 224-250.  

3 The Japanese “Southern Advance” to Midway.  MM 169-195: Beasley: 220-232.

8  The Pacific War to Mid-1944. Beasley: 233-250;  MM: 196-233.

10  The Battle of the Atlantic. MM: 234-261.

15  North Africa and the downfall of Mussolini’s Regime.   MM 262-303; Knox: 231-285.

17   Midterm examination

22  Economy and the Home fronts: Daily Life and Social Change during the Conflict. 
I. Germany and Italy.  Harrison: 122-223.

24   II. Britain and the Commonwealth. The United States.  Harrison 43-121.

29   III. The Soviet Union. Harrison 268-301.

31   Japan.  Harrison 224-267.


5 Vichy France.   

7 Nazi policies in occupied Europe. The Final Solution. Browning.  

12 Stalingrad and the Eastern Front to 1944.  MM 273-303.

14 Mass Bombing.  MM 304-335.

19 Islands' Hopping: Offensive in the Pacific. MM 336-373.

21   D Day and the end of the War in Europe.  MM: 373-483

26   The Final Offensive in the Pacific


3 Wartime Diplomacy. The Atomic Bomb. MM: 484-526.

5 Conclusions