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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 336
Course Title: Twentieth- Century Europe
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Europe's 20th century witnessed ferocious ideological and military conflicts among liberal- democratic, communist and fascist states. As the Cold War came to an end and the ideal of a united European community emerged, the relations between countries and peoples changed dramatically. In addition to confronting the profound ethical dilemmas which accompanied one of the darkest centuries of Europe's history, students complete this class with a factual and conceptual understanding of the political, economic, social and cultural factors which affected Europe between 1914 and the twenty-first century. Prerequisite: HIST 102 or HIST 112. 

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

HIST 102 or HIST 112.

Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered even Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

A required text must be assigned and supplements with a minimum of two recommended texts. Additional primary and secondary sources may be assigned as well.  Use the most current editions from among the following:

- Choose one textbook from texts 1-5 below.


The End of the European Era, 1890 to the Present
By Felix, Gilbert (Norton)
A History in Fragments: Europe in the Twentieth Century
By Vinen, Richard (Da Capo Press)
Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century
By Mazower, Mark (Vintage)
A History of Modern Europe
By Merriman, John (W. W. Norton & Company)
Contemporary Europe: A History
By James Wilkinson and H. Stuart Hughes (Prentice Hall)
The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin and Prague
By Ash, Timothy Garton (Vintage)
Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland
By Browning, Christopher (Harper Perennial)
The Stranger
By Camus, Albert (Vintage)
How Fascism Ruled Women: Italy, 1922-1945
By de Grazia, Victoria (University of California Press)
Václav Havel: Living in Truth
By Vladislav, Jan, ed. (Faber and Faber)
From Tsar to Soviets: The Russian People and Their Revolution, 1917-21
By Reid, Christopher (Oxford University Press)
This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
By Borowski, Tadeusz (Penguin)
The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan War
By Glenny, Misha (Penguin)
The Question
By Henri Alleg (Boston)
Under a Cruel Star: A Life in Prague, 1941-1968
By Heda Margolius Kovaly (Holmes and Meier)
Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West
By David Rieff (Simon & Schuster)
A Guided Tour through the Museum of Communism
By Slavenka Drakulic (Penguin)
Revolution 1989: the Fall of the Soviet Empire
By Victor Sebestyen (Vintage)
Imperial Reckoning: the Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya
By Caroline Elkins (Owl Books)
Course Objectives

  • Students will acquire knowledge of historical developments within Europe from the origins of World War I through the collapse of the Soviet bloc.
  • Through analytical papers, students will critically assess European historical development in the 20th century using both primary and secondary sources.
  • Students will understand the role that class and ethnic difference played in the shaping of events and movements in 20th-century Europe.
  • Students will learn to analyze and identify the sources of social, cultural and political stability and instability in European societies and between states during the 20th century.

    Measurable Learning
    • Identify and explain the historical causes and legacies of World War I.
    • Describe and compare the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany.
    • Better understand the Nazi genocides directed against the European Jews and other populations.
    • Evaluate and explain the historical factors and legacies of World War II.
    • Identify and discuss the emergence of the Cold War and the evolving political and economic developements associated with it.
    • Describe the trajectory of European economic and political unification efforts in the post-World War Two period.
    • Describe patterns of decolonization among former colonies of the European powers.
    • Explain the youth movements of the 1960's in terms of historical causes and core demands.
    • Describe the postwar women's movement in Europe in terms of historical causes and core demands.
    • Understand the pattern of relations among the western and eastern European states during the latter decades of the Cold War.
    • Define and explain the motivations and impact for the revolutions of 1989.
    • Describe the core reasons and major legacies of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
    • Describe the key reasons for the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and the ensuing civil wars in the Balkans.
    • Describe the contemporary debates in Europe over immigration and multiculturalism.
    Topical Outline:

    Because the course represents an upper-level history elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. It must be distinguished as an advanced course by three structural components: extensive reading, intensive writing, and historiographical thinking.  

  • The end of World War I
  • The Russian Revolution, and the creation of the Soviet Union
  • The Treaty of Versailles
  • The world of Einstein, Freud and other intellectuals
  • Fascist Italy
  • The world wide economic depression
  • Hitler and the history of racism
  • Nazis and Germany
  • World War II
  • The Cold War
  • Decolonization
  • European unification
  • The Sixties and Seventies
  • Revolution of 1989
  • End of the Cold War
  • The collapse of Yugoslavia
  • Additional topics of which the instructor has expertise.

    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the History Assessment Test (HAT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: David Karr Date: August 20, 2014
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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