History 101.011

Spring 2007
Instructor (text): 
229 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
MW 4-5:30

The 20th century has been Europe's bloodiest ever, with over 55 million deaths during the course of two world wars. This research seminar will look at how the European nation-state mobilized its population twice within one generation to conduct total war. The aim is to understand how the economic, political, and cultural aspects of the preparation for and experience of war differed from 1914 to 1945.

During the first 3-4 weeks we will engage some of the major historical debates discussed in the secondary literature, considering in particular how comparative studies between national experiences can be used effectively. How did the state re-direct a civilian economy to a military one? What motivated men and women to stay in the trenches for extended periods of time? How did political life on the home front change under the duress of war? What role did the media play in fostering patriotic sentiment and handling ethnic questions? How did different countries deal with similar problems?

With this historical context in mind, students will then use primary sources to write a 35-50 page paper on a focused aspect of European war mobilization.

Stephen Gross is 3rd year history graduate student focusing on political and economic history in 19th and 20th century Germany. While his background is mostly on the German, British, and Balkan experiences, this course will cover all regions of Europe.