History 3364 — Spring 2012
G. Shanafelt

Twentieth Century Europe

John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe, vol. II, From the French Revolution to the Present (2nd edition
Liaquat Ahamed,
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men
Heda Margolius Kovály, Under a Cruel Star
“Vaclav Havel 1936-2011— Living in Truth,” The Economist, December 31, 2011, pp. 32-34.

The Course
Thomas More published his book Utopia in 1516. It might be said that while many aspired to design ideal societies in subsequent years, it was not until the 20th century in Europe that people for the first time possessed the power and technology to translate utopian visions into reality for whole peoples and states. The result was not a culmination of the progress of the nineteenth century, but totalitarian dictatorships, world wars, and mass genocide. With the collapse of the communist utopia in Eastern Europe, the start of the 21st century finds Europeans in a certain sense back at their starting point at the beginning of the 20th, poised between the kinder, gentler utopian promise of the European Union and a new world order that is looking less kind and gentle by the moment. How they got to that point is the subject of this course.

Course Objectives
Students will be expected to understand
1. The contours of Europe in 1914 and the course of the First World War;
2. The 1919 peace settlement and the weaknesses of liberal democracy in the interwar years;
3. The rise and nature of fascism and Nazism in Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany;
4. The Russian Revolution and the development of communism under Lenin and Stalin in the Soviet Union;
5. The origins and course of the Second World War;
6. The development of the social welfare state and regional integration in Western Europe;
7. The Cold War and the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.

You’re responsible for the material covered at every class meeting. That means if you miss a class, you should get the lecture notes from someone else. The McMurry Catalog defines “excessive” absences as missing three or more class meetings with no prior explanation. If you get into this situation, you’ll be reported to the Registrar’s Office; and in extreme cases, you can be administratively dropped from the class.

Course Grade
Your final course grade will be calculated as follows: 25% for each of three non-comprehensive tests and 25% for an 7-10 page research paper on a topic to be determined later in the course. The grade scale will be A: 90 to 100, B: 80 to 89, C: 70 to 79, D: 60 to 69, F: 59 and below. Within those parameters, plus and minus grades will be given: A: 93-100, A-: 90-92, B+: 87-89, B: 83-86, B-: 80-82, etc. There will be no A+ grades and no plus or minus grades for an F. Borderline cases (e.g., 89.6 or 79.8) will be decided on the basis of improvement in the course, class participation, and regularity of attendance. Note that if this course is part of your major or teaching field, you must get a minimum grade of a C (not a C-) for it to count in your degree plan.

Students with Disabilities
McMurry University abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which stipulates that no otherwise qualified student shall be denied the benefits of an education “solely by reason of a handicap”. If you have a documented disability that may impact your performance in this class and for which you may be requesting accommodation, you must be registered with and provide documentation of your disability to the Disability Services Office, located in Old Main Room 102. Arrangements will be made for students needing special accommodations.

State Board of Educator Certification Standards for Teacher Education Candidates
If you plan to minor in Curriculum and Instruction, with a teaching concentration in History 8-12, or in Social Studies 8-12, this course provides partial fulfillment of the following standard of the TEKS competencies:
Standard IV. History: The social studies teacher applies knowledge of significant historical events and developments, as well as of multiple historical interpretations and ideas, in order to facilitate student understanding of relationships between the past, the present, and the future.

Proposed Reading and Assignment Schedule

Jan. 17
Jan. 19

The World of Yesterday

Merriman, 860-881
Ahamed, 1-22

Jan. 24
Jan. 26

Summer 1914
Death in the Trenches

Merriman, 881-926
Ahamed, 73-95

Jan. 31
Feb. 2

From War to Revolution: Russia
Revolution in Central Europe

Merriman, 927-959

Feb. 7
Feb. 9

Stabilization in Germany

Merriman, 959-986
Ahamed, 99-176

Feb. 14
Feb. 16

Stabilization in Britain and France
Culture: From Dada to the Bauhaus

Merriman, 986-992

Feb. 21
Feb. 23

First Test
A World Destroyed: The Depression and its Consequences

Merriman, 993-1000
Ahamed, 307-421

Feb. 28
Mar. 1

Alternatives to Liberal Democracy: Mussolini’s Italy
Alternatives to Liberal Democracy: Hitler’s Germany

Merriman, 1000-1035
Ahamed, 477-505

Mar. 6
Mar. 8

Alternatives to Liberal Democracy: Stalin’s Russia
The Popular Fronts and the Spanish Civil War

Merriman, 1035-1048
Start Browning


[Spring Break, Mar. 12-16]


Mar. 20
Mar. 22

Eastern Europe: The Perils of National Self-Determination
The Road to Munich

Merriman, 1049-1057

Mar. 27
Mar. 29

From the Blitzkrieg to Total War
The Final Solution

Merriman, 1057-1086
Browning, xv-189 (skip Afterword)

Apr. 3
Apr. 5

The Grand Alliance
Second Test

Merriman, 1086-1101

Apr. 10
Apr. 12

Western Europe: The Second Coming of Liberal Democracy
Eastern Europe: Socialism with a Stalinist Face

Merriman, 1104-1146
Kovály, all

Apr. 17
Apr. 17
Apr. 19

Papers due
The Cold War

Merriman, 1147-1175

Apr. 24
Apr. 26

Prosperity and its Discontents
The Fall of the Wall

Merriman, 1176-1218
Havel, all

May 1
May 3

Europe After the Cold War

Merriman, 1219-1239

May 8

Third test (10:30-12:30)