Amanda Jeanne Swain
Inquiry to discover what the war of 1939-45 was about and what it did to more than five hundred million Europeans.
From 1939 to 1945, Europe – and the world – was engulfed in war. In this course, we will address the political, social and military experience of Europe during the Second World War. We will examine the origins of the war, the course of the war, and the experience of war for those in battle zones and those on the home front. The course will be centered on key themes: comparative experiences of Eastern and Western Europe in the war; the role of ideology in the war; civilian experience in war; and genocide.
Student learning goals
Students will know a chronology of the war and be able to describe and explain the significance of key events in the war in Europe.
Students will understand the relationship between ideological, military, economic and social aspects of the war.
Students will understand the causes and consequences of the war in Europe.
Students will gain skills in analyzing primary source documents.
Students will gain skills in writing analytical papers.
General method of instruction
The course is organized around lectures, readings and discussions, with a strong emphasis on analytical writing.
Students are expected to have an interest in the topic and a willingness to complete the necessary weekly reading assignments (4-5 hours per week).
Class assignments and grading
Three short papers (3-5 pages) and in-class final exam.
All assignments are graded on the following criteria: Structure: Is the paper/essay logically divided into paragraphs that follow the progression of its argument? Exposition and Interpretation: Does the paper/essay demonstrate an understanding of the work or historical events being analyzed? Critical Evaluation and Argument: Does the writer present a clearly-reasoned argument and support it with specific examples? Clarity and Precision of Prose: Is the writing direct, with clearly structured sentences, and polished?