Course Description: The seminar will examine the origins and nature of what George F. Kennan has called "the seminal catastrophe of the twentieth century." We shall begin by considering the crisis of the international system that led to the outbreak of war in summer of 1914. We will then analyze the stalemate on the Western Front, the impact of the war on the three Eastern empires (Russian, Hapsburg, and Ottoman), the Armenian genocide, and the reasons for the German defeat. In the course of our discussions we shall be concerned with such central problems as why men fight; the sources of obedience and mutiny; the impact of the war on the home fronts; and its reflection in culture and memory.
Requirements: Perfect attendance and vigorous participation in discussion is required. Grades will be based on weekly 1-page papers that respond to main assigned readings (not the background reading), due at the start of each class; a 10-page paper on a historic figure or event, due Nov. 10; class participation; and a group project, presented at the end of the semester.
Readings: The following books have been ordered:
1. Laurence Lafore, The Long Fuse. An Interpretation of the Origins of World War I
2. Robert Graves, Goodbye To All That
3. Roger Chickering, Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918
In addition, you should buy the Course Reader at Copy Central, 2560 Bancroft Way.
Supplementary readings can be found at the end of the syllabus.
Note: During weeks 10 and 12 we will be reading most of W. Bruce Lincoln, Passage to Armageddon. The Russians in War and Revolution, 1914-1918 (1986), which was the most popular assignment the last time this seminar was taught. It is out of print. The library has two copies, one of which is missing. The other is on reserve. However, cheap used copies are available through Amazon.com, and it would be a good idea to order yourself one.
8/25 Introductory discussion.
Brief autobiographies, including phone number and current address, due in my mailbox by Sep. 28
9/1 Labor Day Holiday
9/8 The International System; the Imagined Future
Reading: Laurence Lafore, The Long Fuse (1965), Introduction ("Truth and the Historian") and chs. 1-4. Anon. [Lt. Col. G. T. Chesney], "The Battle of Dorking: Reminiscences of a Volunteer" (1871), and editor's Introduction. Reader
9/15 Count-down to War
Reading: Lawrence Lafore, The Long Fuse (1965), chs. 5-7. Stefan Zweig, "The First Hours of the War of 1914," from his authobiography, The World of Yesterday (1941). Reader
Ernst Lissauer, "Chant of Hate" (14 November 1914). Handout.
Giovanni Papini, "The War as a Source of National Renewal" (15 Nov. 1914) Handout.
Filippo T. Marinetti, "The War as the Catharsis of Italian Society" (29 Nov. 1914) Handout.
9/22 The War for Germany
Reading: Roger Chickering, Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918 (1998), prologue and chs. 1-3. John Keegan, "False Heroic: Hitler as Supreme Commander," from his The Mask of Command. Reader
General progress of the war: Michael Howard, The First World War (2002), chs. 3-5. On Reserve.
9/29 Trench Warfare
Reading: John Keegan, "The Somme, 1 July 1916" from his The Face of Battle (1976). Reader
War Poetry: Reader: Rupert Brooke (British, 1887-1915, d. age 28), "Peace" and "A Soldier" from "1914"
Siegfried Sassoon (British, 1886-1967, d. age 81), "A Working Party" (March 1916)
Charles Hamilton Sorley (British, 1895-1915, d. age 20), "In Memoriam S.C.W., V.C." (8 Sept. 1915) and
"When you see millionsof the mouthless dead" (1915)
Wilfred Owen (British, 1893-1918, d. age 25), "Dulce Et Decorum Est"
Siegfried Sassoon, "Suicide in the Trenches"
Wilfred Owen, "The Parable of the Old Man and the Young" (taken from Genesis)
e.e. cummings (U.S., 1894-1962, d. age 68), "my sweet old etcetera"
Edgell Rickword (U.S., 1898--?), "The Soldier Addresses His Body"
Wilfred Owen, "Disabled"
Siegfried Sassoon, "Glory of Women"
Alan Seeger (U.S; 1888-July 4, 1916, at at the Somme), "I have a Rendezvous with Death"
John McCrae (Canadian, 1872-1918, d. age 46), "In Flanders Field"
Rudyard Kipling (British, father of one of the fallen: 1865-1936), "Common Form."
10/6 Film: Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory (1957), Starring Kirk Douglas. ROOM: Tolman: 2320.
Reading: Background for movie: On Nivelle offensive and French mutinies of Spring 1917, Michael Howard, The First World War, chs. 6-7. On Reserve.
10/13 Why Men Fight. The Experience Remembered.
Reading: Robert Graves, Goodbye to All That (1929), to page 278. Continued Discussion of War Poetry.
10/20 The Home Front I: Points West
Reading: Roger Chickering, Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918 (1998), chs. 4-5. Philip Warner, World War I: A Narrative (1998), ch. 10 "Women in the War."On Reserve.
Ruth Harris, "The 'Child of the Barbarian': Rape, Race, and Nationalism in France during the First World War," Past & Present 141 (1993). Reader.
James F. Mc Millan, "French Catholics, Rumeurs infâmes, and the Union Sacrée, 1914-1918, in Frans Coetzee and Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee, eds., Authority, Identity, and the Social History of the Great War (1995). Reader
Mata Hari, "Letter to Captain Bouchardon, 5 June 1917," in Margaret R. Higonnet, Lines of Fire: Women Writers of World War I (1999). Reader
Rebecca West, "Hands that War: The Cordite Makers," in Margaret R. Higonnet, Lones of Fire: Women Writers of World War I (1999). Reader
Jay Winter, "Spiritualism and the 'Lost Generation,'" from Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning (1995). Reader
10/27 Home Front II: The Armenian Genocide
Reading: Philip Warner, World War I, last para. of p. 61 to last para. of 69; p. 121 to last para. of 130. On Reserve. Erik L. Zürcher, Turkey: A Modern History (1998), excerpts. Reader
Richard G. Hovannisian, "The Armenian Question, 1878-1923," in Pierre Vidal-Naquet, The Permanent People's Tribunal: A Crime of Silence, the Armenian Genocide (1985). Reader
Stephan H. Astourian, "Modern Turkish Identity and the Armenian Genocide. From Prejudice to Racist Nationalism," in Richard G. Hovannisian, ed., Remembrance and Denial. The Case of the Armenian Genocide (1998). Reader
Eyewitness accounts: (all in Reader)
Moush Town: Miss Alma Johannsen, German (or Swedish) missionary, to US Ambassador Morgenthau.
Erzindjin: Two Danish Nurses, in service of German Red Cross, reporting to Swiss and German humanitarian and missionary organizations.
Erzeroum: Interview between Rev. H.J. Buxton and the Rev. Robert Stapleton, U.S. missionaries resident in Erzeroum.
Trebizond (aka Trapezunt): Report of U.S. Consul at Trebizond, Oscar Heizer, to American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief."
Moush (District): Armenian woman's narrative reported to Mr. Vartkes of Moush on 25 July 1915, published in Armenian journal Tan-Tosp.
Harpout: Mary W. Riggs, US missionary worker, to U.S. Consul at Harpout.
Talaat Pasha, “Posthumous Memoirs of Talaat Pasha,” Current History XV/2 (Nov. 1921). Reader
Turkish government's version of these events: See its website (Turkey). The website devoted to its response to charges of genocide is constantly changing, but it allows you to search via "Armenian Allegations." At the moment it is at http://www.turkey.org.
11/3 Russia's War I: The Origins of Revolution?
Reading: W. Bruce Lincoln, Passage Through Armageddon. The Russians in War and Revolution, 1914-1918 (1986), pp. 97-100, 110-13, 136-65, 168-87, 198-203, 206-12, 216-223, 238-60, 283-312. On Reserve.
11/10 Film: Jean Renoir, Grand Illusion (1937 ). PAPERS DUE! Room: Tolman: 2320.
Optional Reading: For a quite different view of the treatment of prisoners: Niall Ferguson, "The Captor's Dilemma," from The Pity of War (1998), 367-388.
11/17 Russia's War II: The Potential for Genocide?
Reading: W. Bruce Lincoln, Passage Through Armageddon. The Russians in War and Revolution, 1914-1918 (1986), 315-425. On Reserve. Mark von Hagen, "The Great War and the Mobilization of Ethnicity in the Russian Empire" (1998). Reader
Mark Levene, "Frontiers of Genocide: Jews in the Eastern War Zones, 1914-1920 and 1941," in Panikos Panayi, Minorities in Wartime. National and Racial Groupings in Europe, North America, and Australia during the Two World Wars (1993). Reader
11/24 The End
Reading: Michael Howard, The First World War, chs. 8-9. Mark Cornwall, "Morale and Patriotism in the Austro-Hungarian Army, 1914-1918," from John Horne, ed., State, society and mobilization in Europe during the First World War (1997). Reader
Jay Winter, "Communities in Mourning," in Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning (1995). Reader
Roger Chickering, Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918 (1998), ch. 6 and epilogue.
12/1 GROUP PROJECTS: I (no assigned reading)
12/8 GROUP PROJECTS: II and FINAL DISCUSSION
Reading: Capt. B.H. Liddel Hart, The Real War, "Epilogue." Reader Niall Ferguson, "War without End," from The Pity of War (1998). Reader
Paul Kennedy, "The First World War and the International Power System," International Security 9/1 (Summer 1984). Reader
Supplementary Reading for those who want greater depth on the military narrative, the following books are on reserve in the library. All were written by Brits and (especially the first four) concentrate on the Western Front. (Paperbacks, even for those out of print, are also available from Amazon and other internet outlets).
• Michael Howard, The First World War (Oxford, 2002). Paperback scheduled for Sept. release.
•Cyril Falls, The Great War, 1914-1918 (1959). Out of print, but available from Amazon. The best short history of the military war.
•Capt. B.H. Liddell Hart, The Real War, 1914-1918 (1930). Still in print. Extremely influential analysis in its day, concentrating on military lessons to be learned. For buffs.
• Philip Warner, World War One. A Narrative (1995, 1998). Out of print; copies available from Amazon. Also published under the the title: World War One. A Chronological Narrative. Shorter than Falls, with more on culture and the home front, but not as reliable on Germany.
Other possibilities, if you are a glutton for information, are also by Brits:
•John Keegan, The First World War (1998, paper) (technical military history and not as good as many of his others).
• Martin Gilbert, The First World War. A Complete History (1996, paper). As complete as advertised -- full of politics, culture, and human interest, along with military developments -- but incoherently organized and very long.
•Hew Strachan has begun a projected three-volume history entitled World War I that promises to out-do all the competition in every way. But the first volume (1999, hardback) goes only to Christmas 1914 (except for the sea war and events outside Europe).