Section menuClose menu Columbia College


Master Syllabus

Print this Syllabus « Return to Previous Page

Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 348
Course Title: World War II
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Analysis of the causes and consequences of the Second World War from a transnational perspective. This course examines the major events of the armed conflict from 1939 to 1945 while featuring the remembrances of combatants and non-combatants in Europe and Asia. The impact of "total war" on modernity is considered, as is the geopolitical realignment of the post-war world. Prerequisite: HIST 102 or HIST 112.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

HIST 102 or HIST 112.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Occasional offering.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

One of the primary source texts must be assigned and supplemented with at least two secondary source texts.  Additional primary and secondary sources may be assigned as well.

Other appropriate scholarly monographs may be assigned.

The World In Flames: A World War II Sourcebook
By Coetzee, Frans and Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee, eds. (Oxford)
Category/Comments - Primary Source
Major Problems in the History of World War II: Documents and Essays
By Stoler, Mark and Melanie Gustafson (Cengage)
Category/Comments - Primary Source
Annihilation: A Global History of World War II
By Zeiler, Thomas (Oxford)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
By Weinberg, Gerhard (Cambridge)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945
By Hastings, Max. (Vintage)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
A War to be Won: Fighting the Second World War
By Murray, Williamson and Allan Millett (Harvard)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
The Second World War: A Short History
By Parker, R. A.C (Oxford)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
Year Zero: A History of 1945
By Buruma, Ian (Penguin)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the conditions and events in Europe and Asia that led to the Second World War.
  2. Analyze the comparative advantages of the Grand Alliance and the Axis Powers.
  3. Analyze the influence of World War II on decolonization in the 20th Century.
  4. Explain the effects of “total war” on civil society.
  5. Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and trends in the historiography of World War II.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:

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.  It must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (i.e., exams, quizzes, papers). The course reading load should be at least 1000 pages; the course writing assignments should total 5000 words. Finally, it must develop student skills and abilities for researching diverse sources of knowledge.

  • Rearmament in Europe and Asia
  • Global Crisis
  • The Rise of the Axis Powers
  • Battle of the Atlantic
  • Pearl Harbor
  • Allied Conferences
  • North Africa and Italy
  • The Pacific
  • The Red Army Strikes Back
  • Strategic Bombing
  • D-Day and Beyond
  • The Holocaust
  • Atomic Warfare
  • The Collapse of the Axis Powers
  • Decolonization in the Third World
  • United Nations


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. 
During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  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: Brad Lookingbill Date: March 18, 2015
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 learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. 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.

Office of Academic Affairs