• Academic Credits: 3
  • SAS Core: HST
  • Mode of Instruction: Lecture
  • Syllabus:   pdf Summer 2023 (2.16 MB)

    Syllabus Disclaimer:  The information on this syllabus is subject to change. For up-to-date course information, please refer to the syllabus on your course site (Canvas, etc.) on the first day of class.

  • Course Description

    This course seeks to understand World War II as a whole. Relying on a broad array of sources, which include political manifestos and military doctrines; literary accounts, photo collections and diaries; cartoons and film, the course will explore political, military, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of World War II. How was World War II prefigured by the Great War of 1914-1918, the world’s first total war? How did different political regimes mobilize for the conduct of war, and how did their efforts resonate on the social and individual levels? Did soldiers and civilians in various parts of the world relate to the war in similar terms, or did they fight for different things, and endured in different ways? How did the war transform individual lives and the social and political landscapes? How should historians engage with memories of the war, whether stories of victimization or claims about the “best years of our lives”? Can the war be understood as a moral contest between good and evil, or was it rather a vicious or senseless exercise in universal destruction?