SOCS 639
A History of Europe Since 1945

Nathanael Greene

Texts

Tom Buchanan, Europe's Troubled Peace, 1945-2000
Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945
Martin Malia, The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917-1991
John Hooper, The New Spaniards
Mary Fulbrook, The Divided Nation: A History of Germany, 1918-2008
Charles Williams, The Last Great Frenchman
Paul Ginsborg, A History of Contemporary Italy

Writing Assignments

Three papers will be required, to be submitted at the beginning of class on July 8, 15, and 27. These papers should be no longer than four printed, double-spaced pages.

Course Schedule
June 29

Introduction and Film as evidence 

Film: Masculin, Feminin [Jean-Luc Godard, 1965]

July 1

Cold War Crises, 1948 - 1962  

Reading: Tom Buchanan, Europe's Troubled Peace, 1945-2000, Chapters 1-4 or
Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, Part One
and,
Martin Malia, The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917-1991, chapter 8

Discussion topics July 6: The Origins of the Cold War: Accident or Design?
Identify and summarize, very briefly, interpretations which most cogently explain the origins and development of the Cold War to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.  Which one(s) is(are), in your view, most compelling? As examples, would you suggest that the Cold War resulted largely from  ideological confrontation or from mutual interests? Or as the result of the Second World War, and the demotion of Europe? Or as the result of the internal politics of key states?

July 6 & 8

Charles de Gaulle, "The Events of 1968," and the Fifth French Republic to 1995

Reading: Tom Buchanan, Europe's Troubled Peace, 1945-2000, Chapter 5 for background
Charles Williams, The Last Great Frenchman or
Andre Malraux, Felled Oaks: Conversations with de Gaulle, [Olin stacks] or
Regis Debray, Charles de Gaulle: Futurist of the Nation, [Olin stacks]
and
,
whatever your choice, Andre Malraux, "When France Lived in Darkness" and  documents "From the Speech at Bayeux," "Speech to the National Assembly, June 1, 1958," "Speech Denouncing the Algiers Putsch, April 23, 1961," Excerpt on the Fouchet Plan," and "From an Interview with de Gaulle." Documents will be found on "Blackboard" in your electronic portfolio. 

Writing Assignment, due July 8: Consider (a) these excerpts and (b) the film "Masculine, Feminine" as you explain the "events" which took place in France in the spring of 1968. 

(1) "All of my life I have thought of France in a certain way.  This is inspired by sentiment as much as by reason.  The emotional side of me tends to imagine France, like the princess in the fairy stories or the Madonna in the frescoes, as dedicated to an exalted and exceptional destiny.  Instinctively I have the feeling that Providence has created her either for complete successes or exemplary misfortunes. If, in spite of this, mediocrity shows in her acts and deeds, it strikes me as an absurd anomaly, to be imputed to the faults of Frenchmen, not to the genius of the land.  But the positive side of my mind also assures me that France is not really herself unless in the front rank; that only vast enterprises are capable of counterbalancing the ferments of dispersal which are inherent in her people; that our country, as it is, surrounded by the others, as they are, must aim high and hold itself straight, on pain of mortal danger.  In short, to my mind, France cannot be France without greatness.

As an adolescent, the fate of France, whether as the subject of history or as the stake in public life, interested me above everything else. . . . I was convinced that France would have to go through gigantic trials, that the interest of life consisted in one day rendering her some signal service, and I would have the occasion to do so." --Charles de Gaulle, writing in his war memoirs.

(2) "I have something to say, but I don't know what it is."
 "Science cannot be neutral.  One must choose."
"Down with the infernal machine." --wall posters, Paris, 1968

(3) "De Gaulle =                    ." --Paul in Masculine, Feminine

July 13

The New Germany

Reading: Mary Fulbrook, The Divided Nation: A History of Germany, 1918-2008, Parts Two and Three
Tom Buchanan, Europe's Troubled Peace, 1945-2000, Chapters 7 and 8 , or
Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, Parts Two and Three 

Discussion topic: How "new" is Germany since 1949?

July 15 & 20

Dictatorship to Democracy: Spain and Italy

Reading:  John Hooper, The New Spaniards, especially Parts One, Two, Five, and Six,
"General Franco's Final Testament," to be distributed by e-mail
Paul Ginsborg, A History of Contemporary Italy

Writing Assignment, due July 15: In what ways might it be argued that the regime of General Franco was responsible for Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy? And what strikes you as the major strengths and weaknesses of contemporary Spanish democracy?

July 22 & 27

Eastern Europe and the Collapse of the Soviet Union 

Reading: Martin Malia, The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917-1991, chapters 9 through 13, or
Tom Buchanan, Europe's Troubled Peace, 1945-2000, Chapters 6 and 10

Writing Assignment, due July 27: Pierre Grosser, a French political scientist, suggests that "philosophy, political science, and the social sciences experienced many debates over the nature of the Soviet system.  These debates are not yet resolved since the collapse of the Communist regime gives both support and contradiction to all of the major explanations."

Please offer brief comment on Grosser's observations, then follow with a succinct analysis of the collapse of the Soviet Union. What are the "major explanations?" Consider additionally the following from The New York Times.

TEN years ago - at 7:32 p.m. on Dec. 25,1991, to be precise -- the Soviet Union died a lonely death. There was no violence, no ceremony, no pathos, only the televised resignation of Mikhail S. Gorbachev and the lowering of the red Soviet flag over the Kremlin. A handful of surprised foreigners let out a victorious yelp while an old war veteran issued an angry tirade.

Yet the state that died that day was also one of the most awesome and terrible in history, an experiment born of utopian promise and revolution whose ambitions were as grandiose as its failures. It promised a new man, a new humanity, a new economy, a world of peace; it ended up bankrupt and thoroughly militarized, having crushed initiative and slaughtered millions of its own.

There may come a time when few will believe that the Soviet state actually existed, and even fewer will mourn it.            SERGE SCHMEMANN --THE NEW YORK TIMES, December 30, 2001

July 29

Europe Since 1991 

Reading: Tom Buchanan, Europe's Troubled Peace, 1945-2000, Chapters  9, 11, and 12, or
Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, Part Four

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