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HI 333 - Europe since 1945


This guide ties in with the class assignment to research an event or development in modern European history, with particular attention to how that event was portrayed in The Times (London) newspaper. Start your research by searching the Times (London) Digital Archive to locate articles that describe and comment upon the historical event as it unfolded. To obtain other perspectives on the event, search the library catalog for relevant books and search the history and full-text databases for journal articles. These secondary sources will help you fill in details that are unavailable in the newspaper articles.


Background & Reference

Before delving into the newspaper articles, you may wish to consult reference sources in order to get the basic facts of the event in question. Reference materials can provide background information on your topic and help you identify keywords for further searching; for example, the names of important leaders, places, or events. Some reference resources include bibliographies at the ends of each entry or volume, which will point you to additional books and journal articles worth exploring.

Encyclopedia of African History
     Ref DT20 .E53 (print version)

Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe
     Ref DJK6 .E53

Encyclopedia of Russian History
     Ref DK14 .E53

Encyclopedia of the Cold War
     Ref D840 .E63

Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism Since 1450
     Ref JV22 .E535

Historical Dictionary of the French Fourth and Fifth Republics, 1946-1991
     Ref DC401 .H57

Modern Germany: An Encyclopedia of History, People, and Culture
     Ref DD14 .M64

Oxford Reference Online
This database enables you to search within many of Oxford's highly-regarded reference works in the field of history, including the Oxford Companion to World War II and Oxford Companion to British History.

Twentieth Century Britain: An Encyclopedia
     Ref DA566 .T835


Newspaper Articles

Newspaper articles offer firsthand perspectives on major developments in world history. Although the primary intention of newspaper article writers is to report and communicate the facts, they also implicitly convey their assumptions and ideologies through how they choose to report the story. By reading multiple articles about a particular person or event, you can often discern the underlying perspectives and biases that color the newspaper's presentation of the facts. Naturally, this presentation may in turn influence the opinions and attitudes of political leaders and the general public, and shape how the historical narrative is written.

Times (London) Digital Archive (1785–1985)
This database provides full-text access to every issue of The Times (London) newspaper from 1785 through 1985, except for Sunday editions. It can be searched by keyword and date range, with options to limit to specific sections of the newspaper.

Here are some tips on how to use this database effectively:

  1. Before you begin searching, use reference sources or a textbook to discover keywords to search and to identify starting and ending dates for the period you want to examine.
  2. Enter these starting and ending dates into the "Limit the current search by date" textbox. For example, enter 1951-1957 to study the Ghana independence movement, or 7/17/1945–8/2/1945 to explore coverage of the Potsdam Conference.
  3. Combine keywords using Boolean operators (AND and OR) to increase the specificity of your search. For example, searching De Gaulle will yield a massive number of hits, so try searches like (De Gaulle AND constitution) or (De Gaulle AND (Cold War OR NATO)) to produce more focused results.
  4. If you do not find enough articles, switch the search to "in entire article content", which may pick up articles that contain brief mentions of your events or people.
  5. To obtain opinion pieces only, use "Limit the current search by section" and checkmark "Editorial and Commentary". However, remember that a newspaper's ideological inclinations can also be detected in news articles.
  6. In the Results list, click on an Article link to view the article. To print, use the Print button in the left-side menu rather than the Internet browser's print option, so that the article will fit nicely on the printed page.

Times (London) in LexisNexis (1985–present)
For historical events and developments since 1985, you will need to search The Times (London) in LexisNexis. Use the link above to search the weekly and Sunday Times.

Here are the steps to follow in order to search LexisNexis successfully:

  1. Enter keywords representing your topic in the Search Terms box, using the Boolean operators AND and OR to combine them together.
  2. Click the Specify Date drop-down box and choose "Date is between" to input the date range of issues that you want to search.
  3. Hit the Search button.
  4. Search results are displayed in from newest to oldest, which can help you trace the chronological development of the newspaper's opinion. But to read the most relevant articles given your search terms, use the Sort drop-down box to change the sort order to Relevance.
  5. In the Article view, use the Printer icon at upper right to use LexisNexis's printing feature, which provides several handy options for formatting your printout.

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Books are typically written well after the historical events they analyze, so they incorporate information that was unavailable to the writers of newspaper articles documenting an event as it unfolded. This may include the knowledge of subsequent events, declassified documents, or newly-discovered primary source materials (such as memos or diaries) that change the way historians view an event. As a result, books may offer a very different perspective than The Times (London) articles do. Additionally, book authors may exhibit different ideological inclinations than writers for the Times.

Geisel Library catalog
To find relevant books, try a combination of Subject and Keyword searching in the Geisel library catalog. Start by conducting Keyword searches on the events, people, and places addressed in your newspaper articles. Examples of keyword searches are: "Dien Bien Phu", "Solidarity AND Poland", or "Gorbachev AND (glasnost or perestroika)". When you find a useful book, click on its subject headings to identify similar works.

If this approach doesn't yield enough useful sources, try performing Subject searches. To start this process, run a Subject search on "XXX History" or "XXX Politics and Government", where XXX is the name of the country of interest. Most books about the country's history or politics during the relevant time period will cover the events or figures that you are researching. Examples of relevant subject headings for this project include the following:

  • Czechoslovakia - History - Intervention 1968
  • Europe - Politics and Government - 1945-
  • European Economic Community
  • European Union
  • France - Politics and Government - 1958-
  • Germany - Politics and Government - 1945-1990
  • Hungary - History - Revolution 1956
  • Poland - Politics and Government - 1980-1989
  • Soviet Union - Politics And Government - 1985-1991
  • World War, 1939-1945 - Peace

By searching WorldCat, you can identify relevant books owned by other colleges and have them delivered to Geisel Library for your use. Try performing Subject searches on the same subject headings you used or discovered in the Geisel Library catalog. You may wish to combine these Subject search terms with keywords corresponding to the names of people or events. You can also try keyword searches on people, events, and countries. Examples would be "Nyerere AND (Tanzania OR Tanganyika)" or "Carnation Revolution and (Portugal OR Portuguese)".

When you identify a relevant book in WorldCat, you can click on the "Request via Interlibrary Loan" link in its WorldCat record. Books requested through WorldCat are usually delivered to Geisel Library in 7-10 days, so be sure to start your research early. You will be emailed when your book arrives, and you can check it out for a specified borrowing period.


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As with the book catalogs, search the journal databases using keywords related to your topic, combining concepts together using the Boolean AND and OR operators. Once you find relevant articles, examine the subject headings that have been assigned to them and conduct Subject searches on the ones that seem most potentially fruitful. Be sure to read the bibliographies of articles to identify additional sources worth tracking down.

If there is no link to the full text of the article, click on the WebBridge icon to determine whether the journal is available in the Geisel Library or in full-text via another electronic database. If the article isn't available, consider clicking on the Interlibrary Loan link to request a PDF copy of the article from another library. Within a week, you should receive an email indicating that the article is available to access.

Historical Abstracts
The best place to start for journal articles about world history. Use the Historical Period From/To limiter (down below the full text limiter checkboxes) to specify your time period of interest.

Academic Search Premier
This multi-disciplinary database is an excellent starting point for finding scholarly journal articles and popular magazine articles on a wide range of topics.

Search here for full-text articles from major journals in the humanities and social sciences, including a number of important history journals. For tips on how to use JSTOR effectively, see our User Guide.

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
Search this database of citations from the political science literature if your topic has a significant political dimension, such as anything involving the European Community.


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Selected Websites

These websites were handpicked for their relevance to your project. You may also want to conduct keyword searching on your topics in a search engine such as Google, but be sure to look for indications that the site's information is authoritative, objective and reliable.

The Cabinet Papers, 1915-1978
Created by the National Archives in the U.K., this website houses digitized versions of memoranda and other documents produced by the British Cabinet. They can be searched by keyword or browsed by theme.

Cold War International History Project
This digital collection maintained by the Woodrow Wilson International Center consists of a Virtual Archive of primary documents, organized thematically into collections such as the Geneva Conference, Hungarian Revolution, and Poland in the Cold War.

EuroDocs: Primary Historical Documents From Western Europe
Links to online collections of digitized primary source documents, organized by Western European country. This website also includes a collection of primary documents relating to Europe's history as a supranational region.

European History Primary Sources
Maintained by the European University Institute, this site serves as a portal to scholarly websites that host primary source documents on the history of Europe. Links are organized by country, language, period, and subject.

European Navigator
This website sponsored by the Virtual Resource Center for Knowledge about Europe provides access to important documents from significant events in the formation and development of the European Community and European Union. The website uses a document viewer which requires that Flash be installed on your computer.

Internet Modern History Sourcebook
This web-based sourcebook of primary source texts includes a number of subsections that are germane to this research assignment, especially Post-War Western Europe and Post-War Eastern Europe. These pages provide links to primary documents hosted by various organizations and universities.


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Citing Sources

See the library's Citing Sources guide for resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


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Book cover image for The European Union: A Very Short Introduction

Hugh Dubrulle

Library Liaison
Jeff Waller

Background & Reference
Newspaper Articles
Selected Websites
Citing Sources

Subject Guide