History of 20th Century Europe

Instructor: Martin Klimke

Rutgers History Department, Spring 2006
History 510:327:01, Tuesday/Thursday, 2:50-4:10
Campbell A5, College Avenue, New Brunswick


This course investigates the political, economic, and cultural developments of twentieth-century Europe. The First World War, the peace order of the inter-war period, the rise of fascism, the Second World War, the Cold War divisions of the continent, the dissolution of the bloc confrontation, and the further expansion European Union and identity will form the periodical demarcations of this class. However, at the same time we will transcend these boundaries by examining long term historical developments with regard to the European idea, concepts of citizenship, class structures, gender roles, generational and national identities or transnational allegiances. Particular attention will be paid to the shaping of contemporary Europe, its problems and challenges after the Cold War as well as its future. Readings are composed of a variety of primary and secondary sources, and will allow multi-faceted insights into the path of Europe in the 20th century. Lectures will outline the state of current research and discuss how historians have conceptualized the processes and events under discussion.

Course Requirements:
This course is designed as survey of twentieth-century European history. Students should be somewhat familiar with European history but need not necessarily fulfill any other requirements. The requirements for this course are that you participate regularly in class and discussions, write a take-home midterm, and produce a final paper of 15-17 pages (including an ungraded prospectus). The class will consist of an active lecture format, meaning that I plan to intersperse the lectures with discussions and debates. Generally a 30-40 minutes lecture will be succeeded by a discussion of the reading and/or additional primary sources. It is therefore essential that you complete the assigned readings on time. Furthermore, you should feel free to raise questions or comments during any lecture.

Required Reading:

  • Gilbert, Felix with D. C. Large. The End of the European Era. NY: Norton, 2002
  • Remarque, Erich-Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front. NY: Penguin, 2002
  • Fitzpatrick, Sheila. The Russian Revolution. Oxford: OUP, 2001
  • Bessel, Richard, ed. Life in the Third Reich. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001
  • Kovaly, Heda. Under a Cruel Star. A Life in Prague, 1941-68. NY: Holmes & Meyer, 1997
  • Drakulic, Slavenka. Café Europa: Life After Communism. NY: Norton, 1996
  • Pamuk, Orhan. Snow. Vintage, 2005