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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

HIST 144 (GH;US;IL) The World at War: 1939-1945 (3) In-depth study of the origins and conduct of World War II. Political and economic aspects as well as military.

HIST 144 The World At War: 1939-1945 (3)
(GH;US;IL)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

This course offers a wide-ranging description and analysis of the second world war, combining military history with political, social and cultural approaches. One major goal is to describe how large-scale war serves as a revolutionary social and cultural force in its own right, massively accelerating social change. In the case of the second world war, the course will describe how the conflict did much to create what we think of as the modern world, not only in political terms (the roots of the cold war, the collapse of European imperialism) but also in radically changing attitudes towards such basic matters as gender relations and generational conflict. Also viral were the new scientific advances of the war years, in nuclear energy, radar, aviation, and perhaps most critical of all, the computer. Particularly important to the educational justification for the course is the stress on the construction of historical memory, a theme with implications far beyond the specific instance of World War II. The course will assess and challenge many of the myths surrounding the war, and to show how subsequent accounts of the conflict were shaped by political and cultural needs. For example, the course will stress the critical importance of the Eastern Front throughout the phenomenon understated in the West because of the patriotic Anglo-American emphasis on D-Day. It will also explore the "Resistance Myth", and suggest the moral compromises necessary to survive in occupied societies of Europe and Asia. Throughout, the course will stress the impacts of war on the home front and civilian society. The course will be offered once every two years, with fifty seats on each occasion. Typically, students will be evaluated on essay exams, written book reviews, and research papers, and are expected to participate fully in class discussions of assigned readings. History 144 is an important complement to several existing courses within the History department, including 120, Europe Since 1848; 121, The History of the Holocaust; 142, History of Communism; 143, Fascism and Nazism; and 160, American Naval History. It also provides an excellent foundation for 400-level courses including 420, Recent European History; 447, Recent American History, and 454, American Military History 144 satisfies general credit requirements for the history major or minor. Majors and non-majors would both be able to use the course to satisfy their general education humanities selection.


General Education: GH
Diversity: US;IL
Bachelor of Arts: Humanities
Effective: Spring 2006

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.

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