Welcome to Europe Between the Wars! The history of the interwar period in Europe is a familiar story to many of our students. This course, however, offers a new perspective on the years 1919-1939 by taking a thematic approach. Each week we will explore a particular social group, its identity, outlook and its place in state policy across Europe, as well as discuss its experience of the interwar period. This will enable students to gain an understanding of the history of the continent as a whole, as well as to compare and contrast the histories of various European states. Above all the course will move beyond the political and economic, to explore social and cultural developments of the 1920s and 1930s, paying due attention to issues of race and gender.
We will study: the peoples; the worker; the soldier; the engineer; the mother and the new woman; the leader and believer; the unemployed; the artist; the biologist; and the diplomat.
Each week students will attend an hour and a half long lecture and an hour and half long tutorial. We’ve chosen a longer lecture time to allow us to use film clips, novel extracts, works of art, propaganda posters and cartoons, as well as primary documents from the period to illuminate our case studies.
The assessment model is 50% exam, 30% assessed essay, 10% weekly rapid response and 10% tutorial participation.
Students are expected to buy Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent and Overy’s The Inter-War Crisis, 1919-1939, the latter of which contains a large number of primary sources, as well as the novel Darkness at Noon by Koestler. We will also be reading extracts from the novel Cement, as well as viewing clips from such films as Modern Times, Cabaret and The Triumph of the Will.