Europe and the World: Wars, Empires, Nations 1648-1914

History 162A

Fall 2015
Day & Time: 
MW 4-530P

This upper division course surveys the rise and fall of the European Powers in the period of war and revolution preceding the downfall of Napoleon to the outbreak of World War I. Major Topics: Religious Wars and the 18th century States System, (1648-1789); French Revolution (1789-1799); Napoleonic Europe (1799-1814); Congress of Vienna (1814 1815); the Vienna System (1815-48); the Revolutions of 1848; Crimean War (1853-56); War of Italian unification waged by Cavour and Garibaldi (1859-61); the Wars of German unification waged by Bismarck (1864-71); the Bismarckian System in operation, (1871-90); Imperialism (1890 1907); the crises that led to the First World War (1904-1914). The course will contrast two periods, 1648-1815, and 1815-1914. It will argue that the first period was one of violence, rapaciousness, and unparalleled lawlessness; the second, one of peace and stability. It will, with reference to the later period, therefore seek to explain peace as much as it explains war. Peace is artificial and demands more explanation. Wars sometimes just happen; peace is always caused. Moreover, understanding why the period following the destruction of Napoleon in 1815 was more peaceful than any predecessor in European history helps explain why it ended in a war greater than any before. The explanation of this remarkable record and its disastrous end is the course's overriding theme. Mid-term, final, short paper.

Course Books

A Duel of Giants by Wetzel, David University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN: 029917494-8 Required
Bridge on the Drina by Andric, Ivo University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 10: 022602045 Required
The Leopard by Lampedusa, Giuseppe Pantheon. ISBN: (many) 97800264504 Required