COURSE TITLE: The Second World War
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course examines the history of the Second World War, adopting a thematic and a comparative approach in order to explore some of the contested issues in our understanding of this key moment in twentieth century history, and of subsequent ways in which this war has been interpreted and represented by historians, commentators and politicians. This course examines a range of different source material as it explores some of these questions - visual, textual, official - and seeks to understand the forces which continue to shape our world today. Throughout the course we will debate and reflect upon what it means to study the past as Christians, and seek to develop a Christian perspective on key issues and developments.

Prerequisites: HIST 204
REQUIRED TEXTS: Gerhard Weinberg: A World At Arms (CUP 2005)
Essay 1 (2500 words) 25%
Essay 2 (2500 words)25%
Online Moodle assignment (2000 words)20%
Final exam30%
COURSE OBJECTIVES:By the end of this course students will:
  • Understand the key developments, themes and personalities in the history of the Second World War
  • Assess the impact of the war on the politics, society, culture and economy of the different nations under consideration.
  • Evaluate the validity and merit of contrasting forms of historical judgement.
  • Demonstrate the ability to utilise effectively primary sources in the context of WW2 history in the construction of an argument
  • develop their skills of critical analysis, interpretation, evaluation, communication and debate
  • further refine their Christian perspective and outlook through an extended engagement with the past
In the first bloc of the course we will be examining the origins of the conflict, thinking about the nature of war, and whether the Second World War was a “just war”. We will then spend 3 weeks or so looking at the military aspects of the war, covering the entire globe as we examine the war in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, in the air and at sea. We will make use of the excellent series World at War (on DVD) at this time also.

In this bloc of the course, we will be examining questions of social and cultural significance, looking at topics such as evacuation, morality, crime, living in the bombed cities, entertainment, internment and prisoners of war. We will examine the concept of “lived experience” and also think about whether there was such a thing as the “Blitz spirit”. We will also be looking at the relationship between state and society, in particular looking at how “total war” provided a huge test of the resilience of a nation, and the durability of the state. We will examine the methods used to mobilise the population, control the population, deal with deviance, carry out espionage, and finally the reactions of the local populations to German occupation: collaboration, resistance or apathy?

This bloc will draw the course to a close, by examining the end of the war (D-Day and Hiroshima) and also the massive population displacements and the Nuremberg trial. We will explore the issue of historical guilt, and think about how WW2 has been remembered in different nations.

Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

The King's University
Maintained By Glenn J Keeler