History | After the Cataclysm: Legacies of World War I in Europe
J400 | 12039 | Roos


Above class open to undergraduates only
Above class open to majors only
J400:  P - HIST J300

This class is not a course in military history. Instead, it focuses
on the social, economic, cultural, and political legacies of World
War I for 1920s and 1930s Europe. It is hard to exaggerate the
importance of the Great War as a watershed in twentieth-century
European history. The war caused major upheavals in established
class relations and gender roles. It led to the downfall of the
monarchies of Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Germany, and spurred
revolutionary uprisings in many other European countries. The 1920s
brought important democratic advances—for instance, a number of
European countries granted women the vote during the war’s
aftermath. Yet, the period also witnessed the growth of extreme
nationalism and the emergence of radically anti-democratic movements
and regimes like fascism. Similarly, in the area of culture, the
1920s were marked by stark contrasts between avant-garde
experimentation and the yearning for a return to traditionalist
forms. We will explore the war’s contradictory legacies for European
society, and the role of these tensions in the coming of World War
II.

Books include E. H. Carr, "The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919-1939";
Ruth Henig, "Versailles and After, 1919-1933"; Robert O.
Paxton, "Anatomy of Fascism"; and Jay Winter, Sites of
Memory, "Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural
Memory." Primary historical documents, scholarly essays, and other
shorter readings will be available as e-reserves.

Requirements: Regular attendance; several shorter writing
assignments; one 16-20 page essay.