History 386 (Hi 74): World War II

Description of the Course: In terms of extent, destruction, loss of life, and consequences, World War II is the greatest war ever waged. This course will look at the people, forces, ideas, and weapons that made this cataclysmic conflict possible. The class will start by looking at the origins of instability in both Europe and Asia. Why were powers who had an interest in maintaining the status quo incapable of doing so? After surveying the social and political characteristics of the main belligerents, the course will study how conflict in Central Europe and Asia eventually developed into a global war. How did decisions made by various actors determine the circumstances under which the war would take place? While covering the war years, the course will pay special attention to the strategies and diplomacy of the nations involved, the role of ideology in decision-making, the influence of new weaponry and tactics, the impact of war on civilians, the experience of combat among soldiers, and the great challenges imposed on states and societies by a total war of unprecedented scale. Why did Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union emerge victorious? This course will conclude by assessing the consequences of the conflict, looking particularly at the emergence of the superpowers, the rise of the Cold War, the eclipse of Europe, and decolonization.

Topics Covered Include: The Versailles settlement, Fascism, Stalinism, appeasement, origins of the war, wartime diplomacy, weaponry, strategy, economic mobilization, the war on land, air war, war at sea, the experience of war, the atomic bomb, the Cold War, and decolonization.

Class Meeting Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00 PM-5:15 PM

This course is taught by: Professor Hugh Dubrulle

Saint Anselm College, a Benedictine, Catholic, Liberal Arts College
100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, New Hampshire 03102

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Copyrighted by the History Department, Saint Anselm College, 2006.