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Master Syllabus

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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:

The required text must be assigned and supplemented with a minimum of two recommended texts. Additional primary and secondary sources may be assigned as well.

A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
By Weinberg, Gerhard (Cambridge Univ. Press)
A War to be Won: Fighting the Second World War
By Murray, Williamson & Allan Millett (Harvard University Press)
Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945
By Hastings, Max (Vintage)
World War II: A Short History
By Lyons, Michael (Pearson)
Annihilation: A Global History of World War II
By Zeiler, Thomas (Oxford)
Course Objectives
  • To explore the causes of the Second World War in relation to the political, diplomatic and military objectives of the belligerents.
  • To review the conduct of "total war" in the theaters of operations.
  • To assess the lasting impact of the global contest on international relations.
  • To compare and contract various historiographical perspectives on World War II.
Measurable Learning
  •  Describe the conditions and events in Europe and Asia that led to war.
  •  Differentiate the strategic objectives of the belligerents.
  • Examine the experience of combatin the theaters of operations.
  • Analyze the comparative advantages of the Grand Alliance and the Axis Powers.
  • Study the effects of "total war" on civil society.
  •  Evaluate the influence of technology and innovation on the logistics of warfare.
  • Remember the significance of the Holocaust.
  • Describe the wartime relationship between the U.S., China, and the Soviet Union.
  • Analyze the influence of World War II on the rest of the 20th Century.
  • Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses and trends in the historiography of World War II.
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. It must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (i.e., midterms, finals, team reports, quizzes, research papers). It must demand a minimum of 1000 pages of required text reading, 5000 words of typewritten work, and a consideration of the range and variance of historical scholarship. Finally, it must develop student skills and abilities for researching diverse sources of knowledge and organizing findings through synthesis.
  • Rearmament in Europe and Asia
  • The global crisis
  • The broadening of conflict
  • Pearl Harbor
  • Allied conferences
  • North Africa
  • The Pacific
  • March of the Red Army
  • 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: October 18, 2012
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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