World War I in Experience and Memory

History 103B.002

Fall 2006
Instructor (text): 
2227 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Th 2-4

The seminar will examine the origins and nature of what George Kennan has called ";the seminal catastrophe of the twentieth century."; We shall begin by considering the ";war anxiety"; that preceded the crisis of the international system that led to the outbreak of war in summer of 1914; the crisis itself; and popular responses. We will then analyze the industrialized killing on the Western Front, the impact of the war on the three multi-national empires (Russian, Hapsburg, and Ottoman) in the East, the genocide of the Armenians and the pre-genocide of the Jews, and the reasons for the German defeat. In the course of our discussions, we shall be concerned with such central problems as what allows men to remain in the trenches for four nightmarish years; the sources of obedience and mutiny; the impact of rape on a society's values; and the war's reflection in culture and memory. Assignments will include historical works, documents, fiction, poetry, autobiography, and film. Perfect attendance and vigorous participation in discussion will be required; also weekly responses to the reading (one-page) and one substantial term paper (fifteen pages). There may also be a brief quizzes.