History | War and Modern American History
A300 | 27253 | McGerr

Above class open to undergraduates and Education MA’s only
A portion of the above class reserved for majors

This course examines the interrelationship between warfare and the
development of American society from beginning of the twentieth
century to the present, from World War One to the Iraq War.  We will
focus particularly on four issues: the changing nature of battle;
the experience of ordinary soldiers; the use of war as an instrument
of American power; and war’s impact of war on American culture and
society.  Topics include: concepts of  “modern,” “total,” and
counterinsurgency war; the impact of new technologies such as tanks,
airpower, and nuclear weapons; the emergence of  the “military
industrial complex”; the draft and the “volunteer” army; the role of
women in the military; the behavior of soldiers in combat; peace
movements; and the distinctiveness of the American military

In developing your understanding of the issues noted above, this
class pursues the aims common to introductory history courses.
Through lectures and assignments, you will practice using the
analytical tools of historians.  You will increase your ability to
think historically, to recognize how the past conditions the present
and the future, to analyze historical evidence, and to read, view,
and write critically.

There is a short textbook, “War and Modern US History,” specially
printed for the course, and available for purchase.  Other articles
and primary source documents are available on the class Oncourse
website.  In addition, the class will see five films: "The Big
Parade," "They Were Expendable," "Doctor Strangelove," "We Were
Soldiers," and "Jarhead."   Students will write four short quizzes,
three short papers, a mid-term exam, and a final exam.