North Island College Winter 2017

Meeting Time: T, TH: 1:00 - 2:20 pm

Meeting Place:  Tyee 201

Instructor: Dan Hinman-Smith

Office: Village G6

Office Hours:  Mon. 11:30 - 12:50 pm; Wed. 1:00 - 2:00 pm

Office Phone:  334-5000, Extension 4024

Home Phone250-336-0238 

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.  Describe the origins of the Industrial Revolution and assess its effects on Europe and the World.

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

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

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

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

7.  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.

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

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

10.  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.

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

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

13.  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.


Graham Robb, Discovery Of France (New York: W.W. Norton, 2008).

Geert Mak, In Europe: Travels Through The Twentieth Century (New York: Vintage, 2008).

Mark Bostridge and Alan Bishop, eds., Letters From A Lost Generation  (New York: Little Brown, 2008).

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann In Jerusalem: A Report On The Banality Of Evil (New York: Penguin Classics, 2006).

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:

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.)

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

Tentative Class Schedule

Part 1:  The Long Nineteenth Century

Week 1

Tuesday, January 3

a)  Introduction

b)  Cartoon Corner

Thursday, January 5

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

Reading Assignment:

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

Listening Assignment:

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

Week 2

Tuesday, January 10

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

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

Reading Assignment:

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

Listening Assignment:

"200 Years After Waterloo, Napoleon Still Divides Europe," Morning Edition, NPR, June 18, 2015 [4 mins.]

Thursday, January 12

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)

Listening Assignment:

Listen to at least one of the following episodes but ideally several.

  "Episode 1: Napoleon -- The Man And The Myths," BBC Radio 4, June 15, 2015.

"Episode 2: Napoleon -- The Man And The Myths," BBC Radio 4, June 16, 2015.

"Episode 3: Napoleon -- The Man And The Myths," BBC Radio 4, June 17, 2015.

"Episode 4: Napoleon -- The Man And The Myths," BBC Radio 4, June 18, 2015.

"Episode 5: Napoleon -- The Man And The Myths," BBC Radio 4, June 19, 2015.

Week 3

Tuesday, January 17

a)  Finish Napoleon Lecture

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

Thursday, January 19

a)  Introduce ISMs Assignment and Course Check-In

b)  Discussion: Discovery Of France

c)  Discussion: Germany -- Memories Of A Nation

Reading Assignment:

Graham Robb, Discovery Of France.  New York: W. W. Norton, 2008.

  Browse extensively in  Germany -- Memories Of A Nation  Discussion Topic.

Week 4

Tuesday, January 24

a)  Discussion: Communist Manifesto

b)  Discussion: Crimean War

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

Reading Assignment:

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

Browse extensively in  Crimean War  Discussion Topic.

Listening Assignment:

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

Optional Listening Assignment:

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

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

Thursday, January 26

a)  Video: "Scramble For Africa" (Queen Victoria's Empire Series)

Listening Assignment:

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

Week 5

Tuesday, January 31

a)  Lecture: Russia -- 1815-1914

Thursday, February 2

a)  Discussion:  The Isms

Week 6

Tuesday, February 7

a)  Lecture: "A Place In The Sun" -- The New Imperialism

Viewing Assignment:

"Should We Be Proud Of The British Empire?," The Big Questions, BBC, May 8, 2016.  [59 mins]

Thursday, February 9

a)  Video: "Suffragettes Forever" (The Story Of Women And Power, 50 mins.)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Suffragettes In The News Discussion Topic.

***First Half Journal Due

***Family Day And Reading Break, February 13-17

Part 2:  Europe At War

Week 7

Tuesday, February 21

a)  Discussion: The Christmas Truce

b)  Video:  "Killing Fields -- The First World War" (People's Century, 1998, 55 mins.)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Christmas Truce Discussion Topic.

Thursday, February 23

a)  Course Check-in

b)  Discussion:  In Europe, Part I

Reading Assignment:

Geert Mak, In Europe: Travels Through The Twentieth Century.  New York: Vintage, 2008. (Read through to the end of Chapter V -- May: 1922-39.  In my edition, this means reading pp. 1-339)

Week 8

Tuesday, February 28

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

Reading Assignment:

Jay Winter, "How The Great War Shaped The World," Atlantic (August 2014).  Also do some reading in this special World War I issue of the Atlantic.

Thursday, March 2

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

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

Reading Assignment:

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

Week 9

Tuesday, March 7

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

Reading Assignment:

Browse in Stalin In The News Discussion Topic.

Viewing Assignment:

"1917: Red Flag," People's Century, PBS, 1995.  [55 mins]

Thursday, March 9

a)  Discussion:  Letters From A Lost Generation

Reading Assignment:

Mark Bostridge and Alan Bishop, eds., Letters From A Lost Generation.  New York: Little Brown, 2008.

Optional Viewing Assignment:

"Episode 1, Remembering And Understanding," The Long Shadow, BBC 2, 2014.  [59 mins]

"Episode 2, Ballots And Bullets," The Long Shadow, BBC 2, 2014.  [59 mins]

  "Episode 3, Us And Them," The Long Shadow, BBC 2, 2014.  [59 mins]

Week 10

Tuesday, March 14

a)  Introduce Nations In The News Mini-Assignment

b)  Discussion:  Bloodlands

c)  Student Mini-Presentations:  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.

d)  Discussion: "Toadstool"

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.

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.  Here are some Questions To Consider.

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Bloodlands Discussion Topic.

Browse carefully in Toadstool.

Thursday, March 16

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

Week 11

Tuesday, March 21

a)  Lecture:  Rise Of The Nazis -- The Dream Of The Thousand Year Reich

Optional Viewing Assignment:

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

Thursday, March 23

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

Part 3:  Dreams Of Peace; Dreams Of Unity

Week 12: 

Tuesday, March 28

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 30

a)  Final Exam Preview

b)  Discussion:  Eichmann In Jerusalem

c)  Discussion: 1989 and Fall Of The Soviet Union

d)  [If Time]  Video Clip from "1989 -- People Power"  (People's Century, 55 mins.)

Reading Assignment:

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann In Jerusalem: A Report On The Banality Of Evil.  New York: Penguin Classics, 2006.

Browse extensively in 1989 Discussion Topic.

Browse extensively in Fall Of The Soviet Union Discussion Topic.

Optional Viewing Assignment:

"1989: People Power," People's Century, PBS, 1995.  [55 mins]


Week 13

Tuesday, April 4

a)  Student Mini-Presentations:  Nations In The News

Optional Viewing Assignment:

"Rise And Fall Of The Russian Oligarchs" (2006, 83 minutes): Part I; Part II

Thursday, April 6

a)  Mini-Lecture:  Dreams Of A United Europe

Listening Assignment:

"The Causes And Consequences Of Brexit: Timothy Garton Ash," Ideas, CBC, January 26, 2017.

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in EU At 60 Discussion Topic.

***Second-Half Journal Due on the day of the Final Exam, Thursday, April 13 (1:00 pm, Tyee 204)


First Half  Journal 35%
Second Half Journal 30%
Final Exam 15%
Class Participation 20%

a)  The Journal (65%)

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 journal will be graded in two installments.  It will be due just before Reading Break.  This installment will count for 30% of the course grade.  The journal will then again be due on the day of the Final Exam.  This installment will count for 35% of the course grade.

In order to give you a basic structure and to clearly communicate my expectations, I will specify certain mandated entries and also provide a suggested format for certain types of entries.  However, while it is required that all work in the journal be your own original writing, you are encouraged to be imaginative in your own investigation and analysis of European History.

The entries will, no doubt, vary in format, length and quality.  Do not hesitate to take risks and to express your own opinions.  It's fine if some entries read more like summary than analysis.  It can be useful to put what you have learned from an article or a video into your own words.  Other entries may make unexpected connections between the European past and issues of particular concern to you.  Try, however, not to succumb to the temptation to write in an easy, stream-of-consciousness style.  There is no inherent tension between analytical rigour and personal insight.

A list of recommended entries is included on the Assignment page of the course web-site.  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.

b)  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.

c)  Class Participation (20%)

The class participation grade will be based upon attendance; pre-class preparation; and the willingness to contribute thoughtfully to full-class and small-group 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.

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.



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