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COURSE NAME: "Twentieth-Century Europe and the World"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2020

INSTRUCTOR: Dario Biocca
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 3:05-4:25 PM
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.

Satisfies "Modern History" core course requirement for History majors.
The 20th century has shaped our society and our view of the past. Unspeakable tragedies and remarkable achievements characterized changes which redefined the notions of social progress, national identity and political ideology.  The course explores the causes of the outbreak of two world wars, the development of totalitarian utopias and studies the events which occurred during “the short twentieth century”. It also discusses values, principles and beliefs that in the post WWII years led to the building of multinational structures of governance, the advancements made in the realm of science and technology and the deepening of generational gaps. Finally, the course analyzes the transformations which most recently redefined the relations between Europe, the West and the rest of the world.

Satisfies "Modern History" core course requirement for History majors.

Upon conclusion of the course students will be able to:

1.     Understand the complexity of European society in its diversity and common roots
2.     Know the history and aftermath of two World wars
3.     Identify totalitarian ideologies associated to political violence
4.     Understand the new pace of progress in science and technology
5.     Verify the depth of the Cold war/East-West rivalry
6.     Recognize the new forms and instruments of imperialist domination
7.     Interpret the present day debate over cultural diplomacy and soft power
8.     Know the background of international organizations such as the EU and the UN
9.     Assess the significance and intensity of demographic, environmental and migration trends throughout Europe and beyond

Class participationClass participation means developing arguments, articulating questions, and sharing opinions in and with the class. It also means reading assignments as scheduled and preparing for class discussions. Occasionally topics generate disagreement; class participation requires a genuine effort to accept different and even conflicting opinions.10%
Midterm examThe midterm exam (1 hour) is divided into two parts. The first is intended to verify the acquisition of factual information (names, places, dates, etc.) from readings and lectures. The second part aims at testing the ability tosupport a point of view with convincing arguments. Guidelines for preparing for the midterm will be provided one week in advance.25%
Final examThe final exam (two and a half hours) is structured in the same manner. It covers the material assigned and discussed in the second half of the course. The exam also includes two broader, interpretive “open questions”. Guidelines for preparing for the final exam will be provided one week in advance.25%
 The written assignment (10-12 pages) should reflect the student’s ability to examine and discuss a particular issue, problem or debate related to the history of the 20th Century. The topic should be discussed in advance with the instructor and must include a preliminary bibliography. The final draft is due on the last day of classes.40%

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 course.
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.



You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed.

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.


HS211 – Fall 2020          SYLLABUS


Week 1. The “Great” War

a.     Europe on the eve of WWI

b.     The legacy of imperialism

 Readings: Folder 1

Week 2. The Bolshevic revolution

a.     The 1917 uprising

b.     Russia into Soviet Union

Readings: Folder 2

Week 3. The cult of the Duce

a.     The rise of Italian fascism

b.     The new propaganda machine

Readings: Folder 3

Week 4. Nazi Germany

a.     Biography of Adolf Hitler and Herman Goering

b.     The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact

Readings: Folder 4

Week 5. The Evil Empire            

Josif Stalin and the Moscow “purges”

a.     East-West relations

Readings: Folder 5

Week 6. The Spanish civil war

a.     Biography of Francisco Franco

b.     A preview of WWII

Readings: Folder 6

Week 7, Review session and midterm exam

Readings: Key—words and open questions                      

Week 8.  Class discussion

a.     20th century European historians

b.     Past and present of interdisciplinary studies

Readings: Folder 8

Week 9. Vichy France and the Jews

a.     Strange defeat and D-Day

b.     From the Wannsee conference to Auschwitz-Birkenau

Readings: Folder 9

Week 10. The fall of European empires

a.     India, Africa and the Middle East

b.     The establishment of the State of Israel

Readings: Folder 10                                                        

Week 11,  The cold war years

a.     Nuclear weapons and the Berlin crisis

b.     Peace movements and the fate of Soviet intellectuals

Readings: Folder 11

Week 12. The European Union

a.     Economic integration

b.     Political integration

Readings: Folder 12

Week 13. April 14-16 May 68

a.     The Paris uprising and the Berkeley riots

b.     The Red Brigades (Italy), Red Army Faction (Germany) and the IRA (Northern Irland)

Readings: Folder 13                                                       

Week 14. Europe and the Jihad

a.     The Munich massacre

b.      The Bataclan attack

Readings: Folder 14

Week 15.  Europe and the world

a.     Europe in the eyes of Europeans

b.     Europe in the eyes of Americans

(Review session for final exam)

Readings: Folder 15                                                       

Readings assignments are posted on Moodle and can be downloaded. Please watch videos and other material posted week by week.

Students who wish to use a reference text on the history of Europe and the world in the 20th century can find a variety of sources in the library. One suggested readings (also available in paperback and ebook) is: