History 101.006

Fall 2007
Instructor (text): 
201 Wheeler
Day & Time: 
MW 4-5:30
Chad Denton is a PhD candidate in European History at UC Berkeley. His current research is on German requisitions and everyday life in occupied France during World War II.

During the First and Second World Wars, the experience of total war brought about a series of economic, demographic and social changes that transformed life on ";home fronts"; around the world. Shortages and requisitions of food and goods resulted in rationing, black markets and profiteering, as well as national collection drives. Shortages of manpower led to the employment of women, migrants, and prisoners of war. The mobilization of sons and fathers and the billeting of soldiers affected marital and sexual relations. The flux of refugees and migrant workers, as well as the racialization of conflicts, exacerbated racial and ethnic divisions.

This research seminar examines these transformations by focusing on the relationship between the media and the home front. How did official government propaganda, such as posters, newsreels, and radio editorials, attempt to influence the behavior and beliefs of housewives or factory workers? How did their messages change over the course of war? How did counter-propaganda, such as air-dropped leaflets or resistance tracts, respond? How did unofficial media such as advertisements, popular songs, and cartoons reflect the challenges of everyday life?

At the beginning of the course, each student will choose a country, time period and aspect of daily life to concentrate on. The first month of the semester we will discuss different historical approaches and methodologies by reading selected articles about the home front experience and analyzing a variety of primary sources (including posters, newsreels, and cartoons) located in the collections of the Bancroft Library and the Hoover Institution. In our discussions, comparative approaches, either geographically to other national ";home fronts"; or chronologically to the other world war, will be encouraged. These initial meetings will help students develop research strategies and methods for the completion of a research paper of 30-50 pages.