History | War and Violence in 20th Century Europe
B200 | 28977 | Roseman


A portion of this class reserved for University Division orientation
program students

6 seats reserved for Jewish Studies students in #28977. Contact
clipsonw@indiana.edu for authorization

In the first half of the 20th Century, Europe witnessed an
unprecedented explosion of violence. For one thing this was the “age
of total war”. Two total wars took the lives of tens of millions of
European citizens, not just combatants but increasingly casualties
on the home front. But it was also the “age of extremes”. There were
bloody episodes of ethnic cleansing before and after the First World
War, violent revolutions in the post-WW1 period, and state-
sanctioned purges costing the lives of millions of Germans, Soviets
and East Europeans in the 1930s and 1940s. This course seeks to
understand the violence and to ask about causes and
interrelationships – what was the relationship between international
war and civil wars, between total war and political extremes? It
asks about participation – what was involved in turning citizens
into soldiers and killers, and turning whole societies into the
workshops and breeding grounds for war? And it asks about effects –
why did interwar society prove such fertile ground for violent
ideologies and renewed total war, and why did the post-1945 period
prove, by and large, so much more peaceable?

Readings will be from a text book and some articles and documents on
e-reserve. The course will explore the difference between primary
sources and secondary materials. Some documentaries and films will
also be part of the course materials. Students’ learning will be
evaluated through two papers, a final exam and in-class written
exercises.