North Island College Winter 2018

Meeting Time: T, TH: 11:30 am - 12:50 pm

Meeting Place:  Discovery 203

Instructor: Dan Hinman-Smith

Office: Village G6

Office Hours:  Wed. 11:30 am - 12:30 pm; Thurs. 1:00 - 2:00 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.


Astolphe De Custine, Letters From Russia (New York: Penguin Classic, 2014).

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

Primo Levi, Drowned And The Saved (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2017).

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 4

a)  Introduction

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

c)  Cartoon Corner

Reading Assignment:

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

Week 2

Tuesday, January 9

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.

Thursday, January 11

a)  Introduce ISMs Assignment

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

Listening Assignment:

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

Week 3

Tuesday, January 16

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.

Optional Viewing Assignment:

  Napoleon, BBC, 2015:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Thursday, January 18

a)  Lecture: Russia -- 1815-1914

Week 4

Tuesday, January 23

a)  Discussion: Communist Manifesto

b)  Finish Lecture: Russia -- 1815-1914

Reading Assignment:

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

Optional Reading Assignment:

Louis Menand, "Karl Marx, Yesterday And Today," New Yorker (October 10, 2016).

Optional Viewing Assignment:

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

"Genius Of The Modern World: Karl Marx," BBC, 2017:

Thursday, January 25

Class Canceled

Week 5

Tuesday, January 30

a)  Discussion: Letters From Russia

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

Reading Assignment:

Astolphe De Custine, Letters From Russia.  New York: Penguin Classic, 2014.

Listening Assignment:

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

Thursday, February 1

a)  Discussion:  The Isms

b)  Discussion: Germany -- Memories Of A Nation

Optional Listening Assignment:

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

Week 6

Tuesday, February 6

a)  Discussion: Crimean War

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

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in  Crimean War  Discussion Topic.

Listening Assignment:

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

Thursday, February 8

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

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.]

***ISMs Assignment Due

***Family Day And Reading Break, February 12-16

Part 2:  Europe At War

Week 7

Tuesday, February 20

a)  Course Check-in

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

Thursday, February 22

a)  Discussion: The Christmas Truce and The Great War At 100

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

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Christmas Truce Discussion Topic.

Browse extensively in Great War At 100 Discussion Topic.

***First Half Journal Due

Week 8

Tuesday, February 27

a)  Discussion:  In Europe, Part I

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

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)

Thursday, March 1

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

b)  Video:  "Great War And The Shaping Of The 20th Century"

Reading Assignment:

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

Week 9

Tuesday, March 6

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.

Joshua Hammer, "Vladimir Lenin's Return Journey To Russia Changed The World Forever," Smithsonian (March 2017).

Thursday, March 8

Class Canceled:  Instructor Illness

Week 10

Tuesday, March 13

a)  Discussion:  The Spanish Civil War

b)  History Workshop:  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.

c)  Discussion: "Toadstool"

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

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Spanish Civil War Discussion Topic.

Browse carefully in Toadstool.

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.

Thursday, March 15

a)  Discussion:  Bloodlands

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

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Bloodlands Discussion Topic.

Optional Viewing Assignment:

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

Week 11

Tuesday, March 20

a)  Discussion:  Drowned And The Saved

b)  [If Time]  Video Clip from "Auschwitz: Inside The Nazi State"

Reading Assignment:

Primo Levi, Drowned And The Saved.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 2017.

Part 3:  Dreams Of Peace; Dreams Of Unity

Thursday, March 22

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


Week 12: 

Tuesday, March 27

a)  Discussion: Frank Zappa And The Cold War

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

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:

  "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 29

a)  Video:   "1989 -- People Power"  (People's Century, PBS, 55 mins.)

Optional Viewing Assignment:

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

Optional Reading Assignment:

Michael Ignatieff, "The Hero Europe Needed," Atlantic (March 2015).

Browse extensively in Fall Of The Soviet Union Discussion Topic.

Week 13

Tuesday, April 3

a)  Lecture:  Dreams Of A United Europe

Listening Assignment:

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

Thursday, April 5

a)  Student Mini-Presentations:  Nations In The News

b)  Final Exam Review

***Exam day and time TBA -- Second-Half Journal Due at the time of the Exam


ISMS Assignment 20%
First Half  Journal 25%
Second Half Journal 25%
Final Exam 15%
Class Participation 15%

a)  The ISMS Assignment (20%)

The ISMs assignment will ask you to engage in intensive research on the history of the ideologies that developed in Europe in the 1789-1914 era.

b)  The Journal (50%)

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 after Reading Break.  This installment will count for 25% of the course grade.  The journal will then again be due on the day of the Final Exam.  This installment will count for 25% 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.

c)  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.

d)  Class Participation (15%)

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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