History | Colloq in Modern West European History
H620 | 18022 | J. Roos
Topic: Twentieth Century Europe
Open to graduate students only; a portion reserved for majors.
Meets with WEUR-W 605.
Maybe more so than anywhere else, the twentieth century was a time
of extreme contrasts for European civilization. Two world wars, the
rise of fascism and Stalinism, and large-scale genocide mark the
dark sides of Europe’s twentieth century. Yet, the twentieth century
also witnessed major advancements in European democracy. It brought
the downfall of property and gender-based suffrage restrictions and
the emergence of welfare states aimed at alleviating the social
inequalities and hardships of the capitalist market. In the decades
after 1945, stable parliamentary governments increasingly prevailed
in Western Europe, and by the end of the 1980s, largely peaceful
revolutions had swept away Eastern Europe’s repressive state-
socialist regimes. This class will focus on the complexities and
contradictions of European history between 1900 and 2000; we will
also ask to what extent the weaknesses of European democracy have
been overcome successfully in recent decades. What have Europeans
learned from the disasters of the twentieth century, and what are
the prospects for a transnational European identity? The readings
draw on a broad range of analytical approaches and include national
case studies as well as comparative works. Some of the books we will
read include Mark Mazower, Dark Continent:Europe’s Twentieth
Century; Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring: The Great War and the
Birth of the Modern Age; Michael Mann, Fascists; Detlev J. K.
Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition, and Racism in
Everyday Life; and Tony Judd, Postwar:A History of Europe since 1945.
Requirements: Two 4-6 page book reviews, weekly reaction papers, and
one 15-20 page essay due at the end of the semester.