North Island College Winter 2019

Meeting Time: T, TH: 1:00  - 2:20 pm

Meeting Place:  Tyee 203

Instructor: Dan Hinman-Smith

Office: Village G6

Office Hours:  Thurs. 11:30 am - 12:30 pm; 2:30 - 3:50 pm (or by appointment)

Office Phone:  334-5000, Extension 4024

Web- Site for Course:  http://www.misterdann.com/contentsmoderneuropeii.htm 

E-Mail: dan.hinmansmith@nic.bc.ca

Course Description

History 216 is offered as an introduction to the most significant trends in European history from the end of the French Revolution to the present.  It is not meant to be a comprehensive survey in which you are taught "all you need to know" but is designed to highlight several important issues loosely organized within a chronological framework.  We will be dealing with broad themes: the development of the concept of nationalism and the emergence of new nation-states; the rise of Europe to a position of global dominance; the connections between ideologies and social forces; revolution; explanations for the "total war" that so influenced the last century and the world we live in today; the relationship between past events and collective memories of those events.  But we will also try to bring history down to the personal level.  How did people create meaning in their own lives?  How did they shape their world, and how, in turn, were they shaped by events, by social structure, and by other people?  We will approach such questions through a mixture of lecture presentation, class discussion, reading, student research, and video.

By the end of this course you should be able to:

1.  Account for the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte and place his empire within the broader context of the French Revolution.

2.  Discuss the intensification of nationalism in the nineteenth century, including the unification of Italy and Germany.

3.  Analyze the origins, impact, and interrelationships of such major philosophies as conservatism, liberalism, positivism, socialism, communism, anarchism, Darwinism, and feminism.

4.  Examine the development and significance of modern European imperialism.

5.  Outline the causes and consequences of World War I.

6.  Assess the importance of the Russian Revolution, using Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin not only as reference points but also as entryways to explore that revolution's core issues.

7.  Discuss Fascism in interwar Europe, including the rise to power of Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany.

8.  Analyze the causes, course, and significance of World War II.

9.  Explain the role of Europe in the Cold War, and link discussion of the process of decolonization to post-World War II bipolar conflict between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

10.  Assess the reasons for and consequences of the break-up of the Soviet Union.

11.  Place the current movement for European unity within broad historical context.

12.  Think more critically both about the complex connections between the past, present, and the future, and about the ways in which history is constructed, written, and reinterpreted.


Svetlana Alexievich, Unwomanly Face Of War: An Oral History Of Women In World War II (New York: Random House, 2018).

Barbara Tuchman, Proud Tower: A Portrait Of The World Before The War (New York: Random House, 1996).

Victor Sebestyen, Revolution 1989: The Fall Of The Soviet Empire (London: Phoenix, 2010).

Optional Textbook:  I have decided not to include a textbook as one of the required HIS 216 readings.  For those students who would like to purchase a used text as an extra reference, I would recommend either of the following:

John Merriman, A History Of Modern Europe From The French Revolution To The Present, 2nd rev. ed.  New York: W.W. Norton, 2004.

Donald Kagan et al.  Western Heritage Since 1300.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. (You should be able to find an inexpensive used volume at AbeBooks.  This text has been published in several different editions and formats.  Make sure you order a volume that includes the 1789-Present time period.)

Tentative Class Schedule

Part 1:  The Long Nineteenth Century

Week 1

Thursday, January 3

a)  Introduction

b)  Cartoon Corner

Week 2

Tuesday, January 8

a)  Discussion:  What Was Revolutionary About The French Revolution?

b)  Lecture:  "From the Sublime to the Ridiculous": The Rise and Fall of Napoleon's Empire (I)

Reading Assignment:

Robert Darnton, "What Was Revolutionary About The French Revolution?," New York Review Of Books (January 19, 1989).

Thursday, January 10

a)  Discussion:  Napoleon And The Napoleonic Wars In The News

b)  Video -- "Eugene Delacroix: Liberty Leading The People"

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Napoleon And The Napoleonic Wars In The News  Discussion Topic.

Listening Assignment:

"Permanent Revolution," Episode 4, Gilbert Reid's France, Ideas, CBC, May 29, 2009.

Week 3

Tuesday, January 15

a)  Discussion:  Napoleon -- The Man And The Myths

b)  Lecture:  "From the Sublime to the Ridiculous": The Rise and Fall of Napoleon's Empire (II)

Viewing Assignment Watch at least one of the following one-hour episodes.

  Napoleon, BBC, 2015:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Thursday, January 17

a)  Discussion: Germany -- Memories Of A Nation

b)  Lecture: "A Springtime Of Nations?": Europe, 1815-1871 (I)

Listening Assignment:

  "Iron Nation," Episode 14, Germany Memories Of A Nation, BBC Radio 4, October 17, 2014 [15 mins.]:  Neil MacGregor highlights the role of iron in the history and mind of 19th-century Prussia.

  "1848: The People's Flag And Karl Marx," Episode 15, Germany Memories Of A Nation, BBC Radio 4, October 18, 2014 [15 mins.}:  Neil MacGregor discusses the role of 1848 in German history and memory.

Optional Listening Assignment:

  "1848: Year Of Revolution," In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, January 19, 2012.  [45 mins.]

"Germany Unified," Part 3, The Invention Of . . . Germany, BBC Radio 4, August 19, 2015.  [28 mins.]

Week 4

Tuesday, January 22

a)  Discussion: Communist Manifesto

b)  Video -- "Engines Of Change," Queen Victoria's Empire, PBS (2001, 55 mins.).

Reading Assignment:

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, "Manifesto of the Communist Party," 1848. [Note that there is an introduction and four separate sections]

Optional Viewing Assignment:

  "Karl Marx," Episode 3, Masters Of Money, BBC, 2012:

Thursday, January 24

a)  Discussion: Crimean War

b)  Lecture: "A Springtime Of Nations?": Europe, 1815-1871 (II)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in  Crimean War  Discussion Topic.

Optional Listening Assignment:

  "Garibaldi And The Risorgimento," In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, December 1, 2016.  [45 mins.]

Week 5

Tuesday, January 29

a)  Discussion: Cecil Rhodes And Historical Memory

b)  Video: "Scramble For Africa," Queen Victoria's Empire, PBS (2001, 55 mins.).

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Cecil Rhodes And Historical Memory Discussion Topic.

Listening Assignment:

"The Crescent And The Cross, Part 4," [The Mahdi And General Gordon], BBC World Service, November 30, 2009.  [24 mins.]

Optional Viewing Assignment:

" A History Of British India," The Great Courses (24 episodes):  A course presented by historian Hayden Bellenoit.  This is an option I only include for true keeners.  And you will need a Vancouver Island Public Library card to gain access to this video course.  But anyone who samples this course substantially will learn much more about the British Empire in India than I can teach in this class.

Thursday, January 31

a)  Discussion:  Unwomanly Face Of War

Reading Assignment:

Svetlana Alexievich, Unwomanly Face Of War: An Oral History Of Women In World War II.  New York: Random House, 2018.

Week 6

Tuesday, February 5

a)  Discussion: Suffragettes In The News

a)  Video: "Suffragettes Forever," (Story Of Women And Power)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in  Suffragettes In The News  Discussion Topic.

Thursday, February 7

a)  Discussion: The New Imperialism

b)  Lecture: Russia, 1812-1914

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in New Imperialism Discussion Topic.

Part 2:  Europe At War

Week 7

Tuesday, February 12

Class Cancelled:  Snow Day

Thursday, February 14

a)  Discussion: The Christmas Truce and Gavrilo Princip And Franz Ferdinand

b)  Lecture:  "The Lights Are Going Out Across Europe" -- The Great War

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Christmas Truce Discussion Topic.

Optional Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Gavrilo Princip And Franz Ferdinand Discussion Topic

***Unwomanly Face Of War Reading Response Due

***Journal Check-In: Hand in Hard Copy of In-Progress Journal for Ungraded Review

***Family Day And Reading Break, February 18-22

Week 8

Tuesday, February 26

a)  Discussion:  Romanov's Bones And Lenin's Body

b)  Video:  "1917: Red Flag" (People's Century, PBS, 1995, 55 mins.)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Romanov's Bones And Lenin's Body Discussion Topic.

Thursday, February 28

a)  Discussion:  The Russian Revolution At 100

b)  Lecture:  A People's Tragedy -- The Russian Revolution

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Russian Revolution At 100 Discussion Topic.

Week 9

Tuesday, March 5

a)  Finish Lecture:  A People's Tragedy -- The Russian Revolution

b)  Discussion:  Proud Tower

c)  Course Check-In

Reading Assignment:

Barbara Tuchman, Proud Tower: A Portrait Of The World Before The War.  New York: Random House, 1996.

Thursday, March 7

Class Cancelled

Week 10

Tuesday, March 12

History Workshop

a)  Discussion: Weimar Germany and Mussolini's Italy In The News

b)  Discussion:  The Spanish Civil War

c)  Discussion: Stalin And Historical Memory

d)  Discussion: "Toadstool"

e)  Nazi Propaganda

Research in the 1933-1945 Section of the German Propaganda Archive.  Find at least one interesting item to present in class and to use as the basis of a journal entry.

Class Preparation:

1)  Come to class with at least one interesting item from the German Propaganda Archive.  Analyze that document and be ready to offer informal in-class commentary about why you selected this material and what you find to be most interesting about it.

2)  Combine your browsing in the Propaganda Archive with a careful reading of Toadstool to begin to dissect the place of anti-Semitism within Nazi ideology.  Toadstool was a Nazi-sponsored book that taught German children how to recognize the characteristics of the "poisonous mushroom" (ie. the Jew).  Click on individual frames for enlarged images.  Note also that many of the captions include links to stories from the book.  Here are some Questions To Consider.

Reading Assignment:

Browse carefully in Toadstool.

Browse in Weimar Germany In The News Discussion Topic.

Browse in Mussolini In The News Discussion Topic.

Browse extensively in Stalin And Historical Memory Discussion Topic.

Browse extensively in Spanish Civil War Discussion Topic.

Thursday, March 14

a)  Video:  "War Of The Century -- When Hitler Fought Stalin"

Week 11

Tuesday, March 19

a)  Discussion:  Bloodlands

a)  Lecture: "Arbeit Macht Frei": Morality After Auschwitz

Listening Assignment:

  "Bloodlands," CBC Ideas, January 31, 2011 (54 mins.).

Optional Viewing Assignment:

"1933: Master Race," People's Century, PBS, 1995.  [55 mins]

Thursday, March 21

a)  Video:  "The Two Winstons" (Story Of Britain, BBC)

***Journal Due

Part 3:  Dreams Of Peace; Dreams Of Unity

Week 12: 

Tuesday, March 26

a)  Lecture:  "An Iron Curtain Has Descended Across The Continent" -- The Cold War

Optional Viewing Assignment:

  "A Socialist Paradise [East Germany]," Part 1, The Lost World Of Communism, BBC, 2009.  [59 mins]

"The Kingdom Of Forgetting [Czechoslovakia]," Part 2, The Lost World Of Communism, BBC, 2009.  [59 mins]

"Socialism In One Family [Romania]," Part 3, The Lost World Of Communism, BBC, 2009.  [59 mins]

Thursday, March 28

a)  Discussion: Frank Zappa And The Cold War

b)  Video:   "1989 -- People Power"  (People's Century, PBS, 55 mins.) or "Sarajevo Roses"  (2017, 98 mins.)

Listening Assignment:

  "In The Former East Germany, Frank Zappa Lives On As A Beacon Of Freedom," World In Words, PRI, August 9, 2017.

Optional Viewing Assignment:

  "Rise And Fall Of The Russian Oligarchs" (2006, 83 minutes).

Week 13

Tuesday, April 2

a)  Final Exam Review

Thursday, April 4

a)  Discussion: Revolution 1989

b)  Student Mini-Presentations: Remembering World War II

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in your Remembering World War II Discussion Topic.  Come to class ready to offer a 5-minute review of your research to a small group of your classmates.

Optional Reading Assignment:

Victor Sebestyen, Revolution 1989: The Fall Of The Soviet Empire.  London: Phoenix, 2010.

Week 14

Tuesday, April 9

a)  Lecture:  Dreams Of A United Europe

***Remembering World War II or Revolution 1989 Reading Response Due

Final Exam:  Thursday, April 18, 9:00 am (KMX 104)


Letter Of Introduction


Unwomanly Face Of War Reading Response




Remembering World War II or Revolution 1989 Reading Response


Final Exam


Class Participation


a)  Letter Of Introduction (1%)

Please e-mail me an informal letter of introduction of at least one long paragraph in the first few days of the semester.  You do not need to answer all the following questions, but they may provide you with helpful cues.  Who are you?  Where are you from?  What are your interests?  How would you begin to introduce yourself and what might it be useful or interesting for me to know as your teacher?  Why are you taking this course?  What are your thoughts as you enter it?  Do you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions as we start the course?  Those students who are in more than one class with me this semester do not need to write a separate letter for each course.

b)  Unwomanly Face Of War Reading Response (15%)

The first assignment will be your written analysis (approximately 3 double-spaced pages) of Nobel Literature Prize Winner Svetlana Alexievich's oral history of women in World War II Russia.

c)  The Journal (44%)

The student Journal is the main assignment in this class.  The purpose of the Journal is to provide you the opportunity for frequent thoughtful, analytical, and personal commentary upon course-related material.  The advantages of the Journal, to my mind, are that it breaks work down into regular and manageable chunks, and that it enables you to seize hold of the curriculum in a way which reflects your own interests and style.  The entries will, no doubt, vary in format, length, and quality. Although it's fine if some entries read more like summary than analysis, a major purpose of the Journal is to engage you with the curriculum as an active interpreter and critical analyst.  In order to give you a basic structure and to clearly communicate my expectations, I will provide certain mandated entries and also provide you with a list of recommended entries.  But I do challenge you to ask yourself throughout the semester how you best can use the Journal requirement as a way of fostering your own learning.  The Journal is premised on the expectation that you will be working on it regularly throughout the semester.  You will have considerable opportunity to decide which topics are of more interest to you.  I recommend that you average at least one Journal entry per week.  I will collect Journals at the mid-point of the semester to make sure that you are making adequate progress.  The Journals will not receive a grade at that time, however, but only after being handed in at the 11-week mark.  This is an assignment that demands not only self-discipline but also a certain self-awareness.  It is not a one size fits all assignment so some solid Journals may look quite different than others.  But I recommend that you think in terms of an approximate length of 20+ double-spaced pages of your original analysis unless you plan to avail yourself of the Notes Appendix option.

d)  Remembering World War II Seminar Note or Revolution 1989 Reading Response (10%)

The final assignment will provide you with the choice of either researching and then writing about a specific topic connected with World War II (2+ double-spaced pages) or analyzing the third course book, Victor Sebestyen's history of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet empire (2+ double-spaced pages).  Purchase and reading of the Revolution 1989 book if optional for those students who opt to analyze a World War II topic.

e)  Final Exam (15%)

There is no mid-term but there will be a final exam in which you will be asked to write mini-essays about some key historical figures and events.  A detailed preparation sheet will be handed out well before the exam date.

f)  Class Participation (15%)

The class participation grade will be based upon attendance; pre-class preparation; and the willingness to contribute thoughtfully to full-class, small-group, and on-line discussion.  Although attendance is not required, I will take roll, and those who are not in class regularly will receive a poor grade for this component of the course.  I would like to encourage a classroom environment in which all are eager to share their ideas and in which lectures are accompanied by thoughtful dialogue.

Assigning class participation grades can be quite arbitrary.  When I assign participation grades at the end of the semester, I place each student in one of three following categories:

1)  Regular class attendance and excellent class participation.

2)  Regular class attendance and  fully satisfactory class participation.

3)  Irregular class attendance and preparation.

Those in Category 1 receive top participation grades.  Those in Category 3 receive poor participation grades.  Those in Category 2 are most likely to receive no specific participation grade but rather have the 85% total for their written work pro-rated to a 100% scale (in some cases the participation component may help a Category 2 student's final grade but in no instance will it lower the final grade).  Thus, shy students are not penalized for class participation so long that they attend faithfully and I need only to distinguish between strong, satisfactory and weak participation rather than attempt to make fine distinctions.  All students are encouraged to participate regularly in the HIS 216 on-line Discussion Forum.  This is the other main way to earn a solid class participation grade.


A Note On Plagiarism

Everything that you hand in should be your original work unless otherwise indicated.  Violations of this policy may result in failing an assignment or the course in its entirety.  Please talk to me if you have any uncertainty  about what is permitted here.

Related Policy

Community Code of Academic, Personal and Professional Conduct (3-06)

Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy (3-34)

Evaluation of Student Performance Policy (3-33)

Student Complaint Resolution Policy (3-31)

Student Appeals Policy (3-30)

Instructional Accommodation and Access Services for Students with Disabilities (3-17)

Course Outline Policy (3-35)

Grading System (4-41)



web stats