CSS 240: Sophomore History Tutorial

College of Social Studies

The Emergence of Modern Europe



Professor Richard Elphick
F, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
PAC 104

Office:  PAC 134
Office Hours: TBA
Phone:  (860) 685-2394
E-mail:  relphick@wesleyan.edu

Preceptor:  Jake Eichengreen
E-mail:  jeichengreen@wesleyan.edu


Week 1   Week 2   Week 3   Week 4   Week 5   Week 6   Week 7   Week 8


Active participation is required in every session. Students will come to class prepared to discuss all of the questions printed in the syllabus for that session.  As you are reading, write down your observations on each question: your notes will help you prepare not only for the tutorial session but also, later, for the comprehensive examinations.

Each week, students will bring to class a paper of five to seven pages written on one of the questions. Papers will be evaluated for style, logic, clarity, and accuracy. Answers should integrate materials from several readings and argue a distinct point of view. You may disagree with the assumptions of the question or quarrel with the way it is constructed. But you cannot ignore the subject designated by the question or evade its focus. When in doubt, email me or come to my office hour to run your proposed argument past me.

It is highly desirable, and almost always possible, to refer to primary documents. No paper will be accepted that is longer than seven pages, double-spaced, with a font of twelve. Please paginate your document. Footnotes should accord with the “Chicago” format set out in the manuals of Kate Turabian or in Diana Hacker, A Pocket Manual of Style.


Monday, probably from 1:15 to 2:00 p.m.: I will be available to discuss your preliminary ideas for the week’s essay.

Wednesday evening: Jake Eichengreen, the History Tutorial Preceptor, will discuss the previous weeks’ papers, go over some important concepts and events studied in the current week, and canvas strategies for the next paper. It is crucial that each week’s papers be written on a variety of questions, and Jake will check at this point that a good balance of topics is likely to be addressed on Friday.

Thursday evening: I will hold an office hour, probably from 7:00 to 9:00, a chance for you to run your paper ideas past me.

Friday, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.: the tutorial meets. Before 2:00, you should email your paper to Jake (jeichengreen@wesleyan.edu). You should also bring a hard copy to class. (Jake will mark your papers electronically, and I will mark by hand. We will try to get our comments back to you by the following Wednesday.)

The class will be structured around the questions on the syllabus. You will not read your paper to the tutorial but will be expected to present your most challenging ideas informally.



Each session requires between 450 and 700 pages of reading—a substantial amount, but less than in some previous years. You are expected to do all the readings and will be responsible for them in the spring comprehensive examinations. They vary greatly in genre, style, and level of difficulty. Some should be read carefully, others more cursorily. Please see my pointers in the syllabus below.

Items not marked with an asterisk are available in on-line reserves.

Items with one or two asterisks are books from which we read a substantial number of pages. They can be found at the Olin reserve desk but not in on-line reserves.

Items with one asterisk are not available at the bookstore: two copies of each are found at the reserve desk.

Items with two asterisks (and listed below) are available in one copy at the reserve desk and can also be purchased at the bookstore. They are influential works available at reasonable prices. Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers, A Pocket Manual of Style will also be used in your Economics tutorial: in commenting on your papers, Professor Rayack and I will refer you to specific paragraphs in the manual.

Civilization in the West by Kishlanky et al is an expensive textbook that not everyone will need to buy. Readings in this book are recommended but not compulsory. It was assigned last year, so many CSS juniors might be able to lend you a copy. Still, if you have no background in European history, or if you would like a tool to frame the readings each week and to serve as a handy reference volume, Kishlansky might be a sensible purchase. Under most weeks in the syllabus I have indicated as optional reading the appropriate pages from the seventh edition of this text; other editions will have slightly different pagination. Since the text is not entirely accurate in all its nuances, you should not rely on it for anything except the most general and well-known facts. You should never cite it in your papers. Likewise you should never cite Wikipedia or other websites that are not rigorously vetted by specialists.

Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers, A Pocket Manual of Style, Sixth Edition (2010)

Mark Kishlansky, Patrick Geary, and Patricia O’Brien, Civilization in the West, Volume C (Since 1789)

Georges Lefebvre, The Coming of the French Revolution

Phyllis Deane, The First Industrial Revolution

Peter Singer, Marx: A Very Short Introduction

Norman Rich, The Age of Nationalism, 1850-1890

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

V.I. Lenin, Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism

Michael Howard, The First World War: A Very Short Introduction

Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday

Theodor H. Von Laue, Why Lenin? Why Stalin? Why Gorbachev? The Rise and Fall of the Soviet System

William Sheridan Allen, The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town, 1930-1935

Ian Kershaw, Hitler: Profiles in Power

Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

Mark Mazower, Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century

John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History

Stephen Kotkin, Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1870-2000



Prof. Margaret Anderson’s podcasts, which are listed on the syllabus, provide a useful overview and some perspectives not found in the assigned readings. Use of the podcasts is optional. You may cite them in your papers, using the “Chicago” format indicated in Hacker and Sommers, p. 234. However, since your readers will not have time to track down your reference by listening to the podcast, it is highly advisable for you to quote words from the podcast directly, either in your text or in your notes.


You might find these movies interesting and relevant to your work. You are encouraged to cite them in your papers. All are available at Olin.

Week One
: Danton (1983). A Franco-Polish production about the most radical phase of the French Revolution. It was shot during the struggle between the Solidarity Union and the Soviet-backed government of Poland. Watch out for parallels.

Week Four: Passage to India (1984). Based on E.M. Forster’s classic novel of British imperialism (1924). The film and novel differ is a few respects, particularly at the end. You might benefit from exposure to both.

Week Six: October (1927). A classic of Soviet cinema by Sergei Eisenstein, this film depicts the October Revolution. Some prefer his Battleship Potemkin, which concerns the 1905 revolution; you might want to watch it as well.

Week Seven: Triumph of the Will (1934). Filmed by the notorious German director Leni Riefenstahl, this is a propagandistic documentary of a Nazi party gathering in Nuremberg shortly after Hitler’s rise to power. If you are interested in Riefenstahl’s relationship to Nazism, see the movie retrospective of her life and work, The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993).



(Optional) Kishlansky et al, chapter 20. Even if you plan to use this book regularly, you could skip it this week, since a similar chapter on the French Revolution and Napoleon in Spielvogel, Western Civilization is assigned and available online: I want you to read Spielvogel because it is slightly more helpful for this week’s questions than Kishlansky.

Jackson J. Spielvogel, Western Civilization, Vol. 2, chap. 19. A textbook: read quickly for overall framework, definition of terms, and maps.

*Alexis de Tocqueville, The Old Regime and the French Revolution, pp. 19-41; 203-11. The 1856 classic study by the French liberal aristocrat who also wrote Democracy in America, a highly influential analysis of the United States. Many of the themes of his book are summarized concisely on pages 203-11, so read these pages with particular care.

**Georges Lefebvre, The Coming of the French Revolution (entire). This book, whose original French title was simply “1789,” deals only with the first year of the Revolution, the year in which ancien régime was effectively destroyed. The book was published on the sesquicentennial of the Revolution, in 1939, on the eve of World War II; it was later suppressed by the Vichy regime. Note how Lebebvre, a Marxist, uses class analysis to structure his book and explain the dynamism of revolutionary events.

Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West, Vol. 2, Abbé Joseph Emmanuel Sieyès, “What Is the Third Estate?” pp. 27-32; “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen” pp. 33-35; Edmund Burke, “Reflections on the Revolution in France,” pp. 85-105. Three crucial documents from the beginnings of the Revolution. Read Sieyès alongside Lefebvre, so that you can grasp the initial demands of the revolutionaries, which seem quite moderate in light of subsequent events. Read the Declaration carefully, noting how its emphases resemble, and don’t resemble, well known documents of the American Revolution a few years before. Note that Burke’s 1790 critique uncannily predicts extremes of the Revolution that had not yet occurred. It is the foundational text of a prominent strand of moderate conservatism in the English-speaking world. Note particularly the distinctions Burke draws between the British form of government and the new French constitution, and how his conception of natural rights differs from that of the French revolutionaries.

Philip Dawson, ed., The French Revolution, “Democratic Government and Revolutionary War,” 119-48. Along with the three items just listed, these pages comprise the “primary” documents of this week’s tutorial. As they all focus on the most radical phase of the Revolution in 1793-94, they should give you a taste of those tumultuous years. Give particular heed to the speech by Robespierre, noting his idea of Republican Virtue.

François Furet, “Napoleon Bonaparte: 1799-1814,” The French Revolution, 211-66. This reading concentrates on the second period of the Revolutionary era (along with 1789) that created many institutions that have endured. Note that Furet was an anti-Communist writing during the Cold War. How does his analysis differ from the class-based analysis of Lefebvre?

The final six readings all deal with important issues not covered by the more general readings. Read all of them carefully, except perhaps parts of Keegan (see note below).  

Bonnie G. Smith, “The Age of Revolution,” Changing Lives: Women in European History Since 1700, pp. 93-133.

George Rudé, “The Generation of Revolutionary Activity,” The Crowd in the French Revolution, 210-31.

Lynn Hunt, “The Rhetoric of Revolution,” Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution, pp. 19-51.

Lynn Hunt, “The French Revolution in Global Context,” The Age of Revolutions in Global Context, c. 1760-1840, ed. David Armitage and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, pp. 20-36.

David Geggus, “The Haitian Revolution,” The Modern Caribbean, ed. Franklin W. Knight and Colin A. Palmer, pp. 21-50. Much of the detail is peripheral to our course, which is concerned with European history. However, read for themes, particularly to understand how ideas and figures from Revolutionary France contributed to revolution in the wealthiest colony in the Americas and the creation of its first black-ruled state.

John Keegan, “Waterloo, June 18th, 1815,” The Face of Battle, 117-203. You may perhaps find this an interesting but painful reading. It is not necessary to dwell on the details and you can skim parts of it. But make sure not to miss these important themes: the comparison between Waterloo and Agincourt, a medieval battle between the English and the French; the reasons for French failure and British success in the final engagements; and the relationships between government, mob, and military (the subject of question 5).


“The French Revolution”

  1. “All circumstances taken together, the French Revolution is the most astonishing [event] that has hitherto happened in the world” (Edmund Burke). The list of innovations brought forth by the Revolution is indeed long, and many today would agree that it was among the most decisive turning points in history. Yet Alexis de Tocqueville believed it to be natural extension of long-standing features of the ancien régime and of French culture. Picking two or three moments in the revolutionary era, OR two or three themes of the Revolution, strike what you consider the appropriate balance between change and continuity in the revolutionary years. It will probably be best to make your argument in part by refuting some views that you disagree with.
  1. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: “At one point [the Frenchman] is up in arms against authority and the next we find him serving the powers-that-be with a zeal such as the most servile races never display” (p. 211). In relationship to the events of the French Revolution, how true is this assessment, and, to the degree it is true, why is it true? Are there connections between these two alleged sides of the French character? If it is not true, or is barely true, in what ways is it false?
  1. In its more radical phases the Revolution offered new liberties to women and slaves, yet these liberties largely disappeared in the Napoleonic “consolidation” of the Revolution. How do you explain the advance and retreat of rights for these two groups? Is it appropriate to consider them as part of the same story, or does each require a separate narrative of its own?
  1.  “One of the most fateful consequences of the revolutionary attempt to break with the past,” Lynn Hunt has written, “was the invention of ideology.” She asserts that, unlike the American revolutionaries, who could build on a long history of proclaiming and practicing liberties, the French had to create a whole new view of the world and of history, and a corresponding culture to go with it. What features of France in the 1790s enabled (and inhibited) the accomplishment of such an astounding feat?
  1. John Keegan (pp. 176-77) alludes to the decisive role of crowds and armies in the revolutionary era. How true would it be to assert that the underlying dynamic of the Revolution was the emergence of crowds, their mutation into armies, and the final reversion of armies into crowds?



(Optional) Kishlansky et al., chap. 21.

J.R. McNeill and William H. McNeill, “Breaking Old Chains: Tightening the New Web, 1750-1914,” The Human Web: A Bird’s-Eye View of World History, 213-67

Arnold Pacey, “Technology in the Industrial Revolution” and “Liberty, Utility and Socialism: Social Ideals During the Industrial Revolution,” The Maze of Ingenuity, 204-61. An analysis of the cultural origins, and ideological offspring, of technological innovation.

Eric Hobsbawm, “The Industrial Revolution,” The Age of Revolution, 1789-1848, 27-52. A brief overview by a distinguished British Marxist. Read carefully.

Friedrich Engels, “Single Branches of Industry—Factory Hands” and “The Attitude of the Bourgeoisie Toward the Proletariat,” The Condition of the Working Class in England, chapters 6 and 11 (pp. 144-96, 281-302). A contemporary exposé by the closest associate of Karl Marx. Can be read quickly for the general argument. A good source of quotations for your essays.

**Phyllis Deane, The First Industrial Revolution, chapters 1-6, 15-16 (pp. 1-102, 255-95). A more positive view of the Industrial Revolution by a modern economic historian. The core reading for this session.

Elie Halévy, “The Birth of Methodism in England,” The Birth of Methodism in England, 33-77. A classic argument (1906) by a French historian that Methodism transformed England in the eighteenth-century and saved it from social revolution.

E.P. Thompson, “Preface” and “The Transforming Power of the Cross,” The Making of the English Working Class, chap. 11 (pp. 350-400). A Marxist historian of Methodist heritage blames Methodism for complicity in reaction but sees some redeeming features.

Bonnie G. Smith, “The Rise of the Woman Worker: The Early Years,” Changing Lives: Women in European History Since 1700, chap. 4 (pp. 138-80). In the light of the other readings for this session, to what degree does this work of early feminist historiography alter our understanding of women in the Industrial Revolution?

Alain Corbin, “The Stench of the Poor,” pp. 142-60.

“Two Articles From The Economist; Thomas Gisborne, “Enquiry Into the Duties of the Female Sex”; J.S. Mill and Harriet Taylor, “ Essays on Marriage and Divorce,” University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization, Vol. 8, pp. 92-121. Along with Engels, these are the primary sources for this class.


 “The Industrial Revolution”
“Capitalism and Its Critics”

  1. To what degree was the Industrial Revolution an outgrowth of features unique to Western culture and history? Or to put it in a slightly different way: was the Industrial Revolution really a revolution or simply a continuation of long-standing developments in Western civilization?
  2. To what degree was the emergence of the Industrial Revolution in England a matter of chance, and to what degree a product of English culture, geography, or prior history? Or if you prefer: why did it happen in England and not in France?
  3. Given the suffering chronicled by Engels and subsequent historians, how justified is Deane in concluding her book with a chapter titled “The Achievement” of the Industrial Revolution?
  4. Some historians blame religion for creating a downtrodden work force and a rapacious capitalist class in England; others praise it for saving England from upheavals like the French Revolution. What is your view?
  5. Social historians frequently attribute to the Industrial Revolution contrary effects on women: both the consolidation of the “cult of domesticity” and the emergence of a new feminist militancy. Can both be equally true? If so, how? And if not, why not?
  6. The French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution in England were contemporaneous events that together created much of what we call the modern world. At first glace they had very little in common—one an ideological and political upheaval and the other an economic and social transformation. But did they in fact have some common origins, and did they lead to similar results?


**(Optional) Kishlansky et al., chaps. 22, 23.

*Roger Price, The Revolutions of 1848, all. A brief summary of complex pan-European developments. Concentrate on understanding events in France and Germany.

**Norman Rich, The Age of Nationalism, 1850-1890. A broad survey, but with notable emphases, above all on the advance of bureaucracy and state power. If you can, it would be rewarding to read it all. But if you don’t have the time, skim chapter 1, but read chapter 2 and 3 with care. You can read chapters 4 through 7 selectively, concentrating on events in the four countries of most concern in this course: Britain, France, Germany, and Russia. You can skip chapter 8, whose substance is covered in a later week.

Ernest Gellner,  Nations and Nationalism, 1-52. A Europe-centered account of the roots of nationalism.

**Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, pp.1-112. An alternative view, by a scholar of southeast Asia, who, nonetheless, recognizes the prime role of Europe in the rise of nationalism.

*J. Salwyn Schapiro, Movements of Social Dissent in Modern Europe, 1-81. The purpose of this reading is to show that Marxism was one of many revolutionary and reformist ideologies in the nineteenth century and to stimulate reflection on what made Marxism more influential than the others.

**Peter Singer, Marx, all

Karl Marx (with Friedrich Engels) “The Communist Manifesto,” and (Marx alone), “Preface to A Critique of Political Economy” David McLellan, Karl Marx: Selected Writings, 221-47, 388-92



  1. Roger Price suggests (p. 98) that the revolutionary outbreak of 1848 derived in part from the “transition toward industrialization”; that is, that the advance of industrialization encouraged revolution in 1848 but increasingly discouraged it thereafter. In relationship both to 1848 and to the post-1848 era, how well does this argument hold up?
  2. Ernest Gellner and Benedict Anderson provide distinct but overlapping accounts of the origins of nationalism. Clarify some points of contrast between their views and assess how well they are confirmed or not confirmed by the experience of Europe between 1848 and 1890.
  3. Price (p. 29) writes of the frequent combination of liberalism and nationalism in mid-nineteenth century Europe. Write an essay, mapping out the ways in which these two ideologies can support or subvert one another. Your essay should deal both with theory and practice.
  4. The second half of the nineteenth century, in contrast to the first half, is often depicted as an era of optimism, prosperity, progress, peace, and complacency. How accurate is this depiction? And, to the degree that it is accurate, to what do you attribute these positive developments?
  5. Of the myriad of radical commentators on the social problems of Europe, Marx and Engels were to dominate all others during the first half of the twentieth century. Limiting your analysis to the nineteenth century, explain the intellectual triumph of Marxism in many revolutionary and intellectual circles. What about this particular worldview and ideology was so much more appealing than many other ideologies on offer?



This session consists of two parts: (1) a discussion of the “New Imperialism” of the late-nineteenth century, when almost all of Africa (and parts of Southeast Asia and Oceania) were suddenly partitioned among the Great Powers, and (2) the most important of the colonies, India, which had been ruled by the British long before the New Imperialism. The principal question for Part I is: Why did this massive but unexpected process occur? And for Part II: How did a handful of Britons manage to rule an Indian population that vastly outnumbered them?

(Optional) Kishlansky et al, chap. 25.

Daniel R. Hedrick, “The Breechloader Revolution,” The Tools of Empire: Technology and European Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century, 96-104

Daniel R. Hedrick, “Ships and Shipping” and “The Railways of India,” The Tentacles of Progress: Technology Transfer in the Age of Imperialism, 1850-1940, pp. 18- 96

Benjamin Disraeli, “Conservative and Liberal Principles,” Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West, vol. 2, pp. 1110-1126. The Crystal Palace speech of 1872, in which the leader of the Conservative Party in Britain outlined the relationship between “imperialism and other “Tory” principles that would affect the shape of British foreign policy for half a century.

Harrison Wright, The New Imperialism, pp. 5-44 (Hobson); 114-24 (Mansergh). These are short excerpts illustrating the two theories of imperialism that dominated the early twentieth century, the first focusing on the economy, the second on diplomacy.

**V. I. Lenin, Imperialism:  The Highest Stage of Capitalism, entire. This text was written by Lenin in exile, just before he returned to lead the revolution in Russia. In Marxist circles, it remained throughout the twentieth century the most influential analysis of imperialism.

Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher, “The Partition of Africa,” Imperialism: The Robinson and Gallagher Controversy, ed. William Roger Louis, 73-127. A highly innovative and controversial analysis of the colonization of Africa written by two British authors influenced by decolonization of the continent during the time they wrote (the 1950s and 1960s). Do not let the detail overwhelm you.  Rather, master the argument. Start with understanding how Robinson and Gallagher understood events in Egypt, and then see how they transferred the Egyptian model to other areas, such as Ethiopia-Sudan, South Africa, and the areas of French conquest in West Africa.

Lewis  D. Wurgaft, The Imperial Imagination: Magic and Myth in Kipling’s India, 1-53. An analysis by an American psychoanalyst.

Philip Woodruff, The Men Who Ruled India, Vol. 2, pp. 75-114. The author, whose real name was Philip Mason, held numerous high offices in British India. His two-volume work sought to record the best as well as the worst of the raj as seen through the eyes of Britons on the spot.

Mrinalini Sinha, “Chathams, Pitts, and Gladstones in Petticoats,” Western Women and Imperialism: Complicity and Resistance, ed. Napur Chauduri and Margaret Strobel, 98-116. This and the following reading make a stab at establishing a proper balance between women and men in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the raj.

Nancy L. Paxton, “Complicity and Resistance in the Writings of Flora Annie Steel and Annie Besant,” ibid., 158-76

T.B. Macaulay, “Minute on Education” (1835), The Making of British India, ed. Ramsay Muir, pp. 298-301.This manifesto of British cultural superiority by an eminent historian who had never visited India is representative of one, but only one, strand of British policy toward India.

“Proclamation by the Queen in Council to the Princes, Chiefs, and People of India” (1857), ibid., 381-84. This proclamation was issued by the British government after the bloody suppression of the Indian “Mutiny.” The East India Company’s rule in India was now ended and “Crown Raj” began. Note the promises made by the Queen to her Indian subjects.

Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden,” (poem easily found online). Kipling is widely regarded as the most eloquent spokesman for British rule in India. This poem was published as a plea to the United States to maintain the Philippines, recently conquered from Spain as a by-product of the Spanish-American War (1899). This poem is often seen as triumphalist, but note Kipling’s theme of the unrewarded burden of empire.

Rudyard Kipling, “Recessional” (poem easily found online). Written for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Note the anxious tone.


 “Globalization and Imperialism”

  1. To what degree was European success in holding and conquering non-Western lands in the nineteenth century due to the heritage of the French and Industrial Revolutions?
  2. In Imperialism, Lenin refers appreciatively to Hobson’s theory but rarely cites evidence about statesmen’s motivation of the sort that was used by Hobson or that would be used by the “diplomatic” school of imperial history (Mansergh, for example) writing from the 1920s to the early 1950s. In fact, it can be argued that Lenin was not writing about “imperialism” in Hobson’s or Mansergh’s sense at all, but was only trying to explain the carnage of World War I and to predict and accelerate the self-destruction of capitalism. In other words, in this view Lenin’s work does not belong in the literature of colonial expansion in Africa or anywhere else. How valid is this contention?
  3. Mansergh and the Robinson and Gallagher team concentrate on the thought and machinations of European statesmen; this emphasis sets them off from thinkers like Hobson and Lenin, who focus on broad economic forces. Yet Mansergh is representative of the “diplomatic” school of imperial studies, which flourished in the 1930s and 1940s but which, by the 1960s, was regarded as rather outmoded. Robinson and Gallagher, on the other hand, were hailed in the 1960s as artificers of a brave new paradigm. How do the two analyses of statesmen’s motivations differ?
  4. Since this is a history of Europe not of India, the readings on Indian Empire are overwhelmingly from the British point of view. What resources in their own culture and history did Britons draw on to justify in their own minds their rule over tens of millions of people of a radically different culture and history?
  5. Prior to the 1857 Mutiny, few Englishwomen accompanied British officers to India. Your readings deal with the late-Victorian era when the memsahib had become a prominent feature of Anglo-Indian life. In light of the position of middle- and upper-class women in Victorian society, how do you explain their extraordinary and paradoxical roles as racists and rebels in British India?



(Optional) Kishlanksy et al, chap. 26

*Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War,  all, including documents at the end. Read with care to understand the eruption of a catastrophic war that almost nobody predicted.

James Joll and Gordon Martel, “The Mood of 1914,”The Origins of the First World War, 3d ed., 254-98. A more detailed examination of the popular welcome for the war.

**Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday, Preface and pp. 1-27, 192-255.

**Michael Howard, The First World War: A Very Short Introduction, all, including Wilson’s Fourteen Points in appendix. Read carefully; the mechanics of the war are important for understanding its consequences and aftermath.

Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front, chaps. 6, 7.  I apologize for giving you two chapters in the middle of a novel. But for our purposes the overall plot is of secondary importance to individual episodes. If at all possible, try to read the whole book. Often regarded as the greatest anti-war novel of all time, All Quiet was written by a German who fought and was wounded on the Western Front.  Chapter 6 provides a classic account of an attack in trench warfare from the defenders’ point of view, chapter 7 an account of the pain of going home on leave.

Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory, chaps. 2, 3 (pp. 36-113). Some insights into the British side of the trenches. Read for themes.

“World War I and the Homefront,” Lisa DiCaprio and Merry E. Wiesner, Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women’s History,  pp. 395-432. Primary sources regarding activist women during the war. Read for themes.

J.M. Keynes, “The Economic Consequences of the Peace,” University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization, pp. 175-90. The famous father of “Keynesian economics” first made his name as an opponent of imposing harsh terms on defeated Germany.


 “Why Europe Went to War in 1914”
“The Great War”

  1. In light of the diplomatic evidence regarding the outbreak of war, how plausible is Lenin’s view that the war was an inevitable outgrowth of capitalism?
  2. During the crisis of July 1914 many statesmen believed themselves to be swept into war by forces beyond their control. If such forces existed, what were they and how did they influence events? If such forces were purely imaginary, how did statesmen come to believe in their existence?
  3. Virtually no one anticipated a war of the sort that actually occurred. How could so many knowledgeable people be so blind?
  4. Remarque’s anti-war novel and Fussell’s analysis of British war literature give us insight, among Germans and Britons respectively, into how the war spread disillusionment not only about war itself but about European leaders, beliefs, and values. It also energized various political movements, particularly among women. To what extent were the German and British experiences similar, and to what extent did they reflect their divergent cultures and histories?
  5. To what degree were the issues present at the beginning of the war resolved, exacerbated, or not dealt with at all by the time of the Treaty of Versailles?



Philip Pomper, The Russian Revolutionary Intelligentsia, Introduction and chap. 6, pp. 1-8, 148-96. An introduction to the intellectuals who made the Revolution, written by a retired Wesleyan History professor.

**Theodor H. Von Laue, Why Lenin? Why Stalin? Why Gorbachev? The Rise and Fall of the Soviet System, 3d edition, entire. First written in 1963, at the height of Soviet power, this book by a German-American with pacifist sympathies was slightly revised and extended after the fall of Communism. This work serves two purposes for our course: to provide a crisp framework of events, but also to advance an explanation of the brutality of the Soviet Revolution.

Leon Trotsky, The Lessons of October. Written in 1924 as an introduction to a collection of Trotsky’s 1917 writings, this is an earlier, and much briefer account of the revolution than his The Russian Revolution, written in exile and published in 1930. The 1924 pamphlet is more of a theoretical argument than a narrative and illustrates how theory and practice were often united in Marxist activism. Note how Trotsky defends both Lenin’s leadership and Lenin’s theoretical rejection of “defensism”  and the “fetishism” of the soviets. Master how Trotsky argues that the October Revolution was a product both of the objective correlation of classes (hence not “Blanquist”) and of the leadership of the vanguard party (hence not Menshevik or “economistic”), and how he defends his idea of “permanent revolution.”

Robert V. Daniels, Red October: The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, chap. 8, “The ‘Art’ of Insurrection,” pp. 132-64; and chap. 11,“The Myth and the Reality,” pp. 214-27. By an American historian. Note differences between his approach to history and Trotsky’s.

Anna Litveiko, “In 1917,” in Sheila Fitzpatrick and Yuri Slezkine, In the Shadow of the Revolution: Life Stories of Russian Women from 1917 to the Second World War, 50-65.

V.I. Lenin, “Lenin’s Theory of the Party: What Is to Be Done?” in Robert V. Daniels, A Documentary History of Communism (1962), Vol. 1, pp. 10-19. These brief excerpts give you the gist of Lenin’s theory (1902) of the Vanguard Party, one of the hallmarks of Bolshevism.

V.I. Lenin, “Class Society and the State,” chap. 1, The State and Revolution (any edition). Lenin’s views (1917) on the withering of the state and the dictatorship of the proletariat—another hallmark of Bolshevism.

Arthur Koestler, “The God That Failed,” University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization, Vol. 9, pp. 352-67

Niall Ferguson, “The Plan,” The War of the World: History’s Age of Hatred, chap. 6 (pp. 189-220).  A critique of leftist intellectuals’ love-affair with Soviet Russia.

Alexandra Kollontai, “Women and Family in the Communist State,” Lisa DiCaprio and Merry E. Wiesner, Lives and Voices: Sources of European Women’s History, pp. 440-47. A key primary source.

Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1928-1941, “Introduction” and chap. 8 “Terror and Calamity: Stalin’s October,” pp. 1-9,  172-203

Michael Burleigh, “The Totalitarian Political Religions,” Sacred Causes: The Clash of Religion and Politics From the Great War to the War on Terror, chap. 2, pp. 38-122. For this week read pages 38-54 and 71-94.

Sheila Fitzpatrick, “Ending the Revolution,” The Russian Revolution, 2d edition, chap. 6, pp. 148-72. On the Great Purges of the Communist Party.

1. To what extent was the Russian Revolution a successful imposition of intellectual theory on the messy realities of history?
2. The most influential Marxist explanation of the October Revolution was Trotsky’s. Discuss and critique his analysis in light of other accounts. Keep in mind these possible causes of the uprising’s success: the “objective” alignment of classes in Russia and in the world generally, the leadership of the Bolshevik Party, the influence of one individual (Lenin), and mere chance.
3. Apologists for the Soviet Union have typically argued that Stalinism was an aberration due in part to Stalin’s paranoid and brutal character, in part to the extraordinary conditions he faced, such as international hostility, the depression, and the Second World War. Many, however, charge that Stalinism was a natural outgrowth of Leninism. What is your view?
4. Critically assess Von Laue’s view that the tragedy of modern Russian history is a product of trying to “catch up” to Western society but without the spiritual resources on which Western success is founded.
5. The Russian Revolution attracted immense sympathy among intellectuals, artists, and journalists in Western countries. Many refused to admit the dark side of the Soviet system, clinging to their illusions until the 1950s, or even later. What accounts for this extraordinary sympathy, and for its longevity?
6. How Russian was the Russian Revolution? And how European?



Nazism is a vast subject, the Second World War much vaster still. Given severe restraints on our time, we will concentrate on Germany, looking at other countries only to illuminate two issues: the problems of democratic Britain in understanding and confronting the menace of Nazi Germany, and the clash between the two totalitarian giants, the Soviet Union and Germany. Unfortunately, we must completely ignore the Asian and Pacific War. I am assuming that many of you have some general knowledge of the important events. If not, this might be a good week to read Kishlansky et al.

(Optional) Kishlansky et al., chaps. 27, 28

David Blackbourn and Geoff Ely, The Peculiarities of German History, “Basic Assumptions of German Historiography,” and “Some Provisional Conclusions,” pp. 39-50, 144-55. Discussion of the argument that Germany followed a so-called Sonderweg (special path) to modernity that helps explain its susceptibility to Nazism.

 **Mark  Mazower, Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century, chaps. 4-5 (pp. 104-81).

(Optional) Adolf Hitler, “selections from Mein Kampf,” University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization, vol. 9, pp. 191-218

**William Sheridan Allen, The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town, 1930-1935, chaps. 1-3, 12-13, 18-19. Read for the themes. If you have time, it would be rewarding to read much more of the book.

**Ian Kershaw, Hitler (Published, in 1991, in the Profiles of Power series. Not to be confused with Kershaw’s later two-volume biography with a similar title)

**Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday, 358-440

Michael Burleigh, “The Totalitarian Political Religions,” Sacred Causes: The Clash of Religion and Politics From the Great War to the War on Terror, pp. 94-122. Note that this chapter has been posted under Week Six.

Claudia Koontz, “The Fascist Solution to the Woman Question in Italy and Germany,” Becoming Visible: Women in European History, ed. Renate Bridenthal, Claudia Koontz, and Susan Stuard, pp. 499-533. Read for the argument.

R.J. Overy, The Origins of the Second World War, 2d ed., documents at the end, pp. 101-28. Read selectively for information on (1) Hitler’s philosophy, (2) appeasement, (3) German-Soviet relations.

“The Problem of Appeasement,” University of Chicago Readings in European Civilization, vol. 9, pp. 289-318. A stirring debate in the House of Commons regarding the Munich accord.

Niall Ferguson, “Defending the Indefensible,” and “Through the Looking Glass,” The War of the World: History’s Age of Hatred, chaps. 9 and 12 (pp. 312-44, 416-38)

**Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, Preface and chapters 5-10, 18 (pp. xv-xxii, 38-96, 159-89).

Ian Kershaw, “Hitler’s Role in the ‘Final Solution,” 13 (pp. 89-115)

Martin Malia, “The Fortunes of War, 1939-1953,” The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917-1991, chap. 8, pp. 273-314


 “Interwar: A Broken World”
“World War II”

1. It’s a cliché to ask, “How could the land of Goethe and Bach possibly have given birth to the monstrous Nazi régime?” Yet, cliché or not, it is an important question. What is your answer? Can Nazism be explained wholly by events since 1914, or must one look deeper into German history? Was German history somehow exceptional?
2. The Nazi seizure of power, the prosecution of the war, and the Final Solution would have been impossible without the support of a large part of the German population, women included. How was this support attained, given the divisions in German society when the Nazis took over? If you wish, you may limit your answer to the Final Solution or some other phase of Nazi history.
3. In Britain, appeasement was a popular policy in its time. It was execrated during the War and for decades after, but is now increasingly understood, even appreciated, by some historians. How much of a defense can one make for Neville Chamberlain and his colleagues? What other options did they have?
4. This week we rely heavily on the writings of Sir Ian Kershaw, a distinguished British expert on Hitler. One of Kershaw’s leading ideas is that Hitler’s subordinates constantly “worked toward the führer.” This view neither attributes all the acts of the Nazi regime to Hitler nor relieves him of responsibility for them. How persuasive and useful is this idea?
5. Given the enormous differences between Germany and Russia, how can we explain the similarities between the totalitarian experiments that each undertook between the wars? Or to ask a slightly different question: how correct is Ferguson to call one dictatorship the mirror-image of the other? What set these two countries apart from other European nations at the time?
6. To what degree can one call Nazism a religion? (Your essay should focus on Nazism, but comparative references to Fascism and Stalinism are acceptable.)



In this session we don’t have time to cover all of Europe over a half century. Instead, we focus mostly on Britain, Germany, and Soviet Russia during the 1940s and 1950s (the emergence of Europe from the ashes and the beginning of the Cold War), and again during the 1980s (the collapse of the Communist experiment and the reunification of Europe).

**Mark Mazower, Dark Continent, 182-403.

**John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History, all.  An excellent introduction to the Cold War, but one that advances a clear thesis. Make sure you have mastered the thesis and be prepared to assess it.

Wm. Roger Louis, “The Dissolution of the British Empire,” The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 4, The Twentieth Century, ed. Judith Brown and Wm. Roger Louis, chap. 14, pp. 329-56

Sir William Beveridge, “New Britain,” University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization, Vol. 9, pp. 503-15. A founding document of Britain’s social welfare state.

Jean Monnet, “A Red-letter Day for European Unity,” ibid., 553-59.

**Stephen Kotkin, Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000, 1-112; 169-92.


“Collapse of Communism”
“Eclipse of Violence”

  1. So far this course might seem to be a history of European catastrophes. Yet we end on an unexpectedly positive note in 1989, exactly two centuries after the outbreak of the French Revolution, with economic prosperity, social progress, and increased unity among European nations. Have the impulses set loose by the French Revolution finally triumphed? Or finally subsided? In either case, explain why.
  2. To what degree can the United States take credit for the comparatively happy state of post-war Western Europe?
  3. To what degree was the failure of socialism in the USSR and its comparative success in Western Europe a consequence of theoretical inadequacies in Marxism-Leninism?
  4. To what degree is Gaddis correct that, by the 1980s, much real power in the world had shifted to “intangibles” (p. 196) and that prominent individuals, such as President Reagan, Prime Minister Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II were enabled to redirect the course of history.
  5. Critically compare Gaddis’s and Kotkin’s portrayal of Gorbachev as an instigator and leader of reform.
  6. Comment critically on Mazower’s contention (p. 376) that “communism’s demise formed part of a broader canvas of European decolonization.”