The Second World War
HIST 352
MW(F) 11:00-11:50 | Wilson 301


Course Description
  This course examines the origins, nature, and impact of the Second World War. Beginning with a survey of The Great War and its aftermath, it traces the onset of World War II through the eyes of its many participants. As an international history of the war, this course covers all military theaters, devoting roughly equal time to operations in Europe and the Pacific. It also examines the war's impact on civilian populations and the manner in which the conflict transformed the economic, social, and political realities of domestic life for the major combatants.

Class meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays will be devoted largely to lectures. Discussion sections will take place on Thursdays and Fridays.


There are no formal prerequisites, but the course does assume a basic familiarity with world events in the twentieth century. Students wondering about their fitness for the course should contact the instructor for recommended background reading.

Required Texts
  Readings will average 75-125 pages per week and will draw on a range of materials including primary documents, scholarly articles, interpretive essays, and narrative texts. The following volumes will be required reading for the course:

  Inga Clendinnen, Reading the Holocaust (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

Ewen Montagu, The Man Who Never Was (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1999).

Williamson Murray and Allen R. Millett, A War to Be Won: Fighting the Second World War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000).

Richard Overy and Andrew Wheatcroft, The Road to War (London, Penguin, 2nd ed., 1999).

Richard Overy, Russia's War: A History of the Soviet War Effort, 1941-1945 (New York: Penguin, 1997).

David Reynolds, From Munich to Pearl Harbor: Roosevelt's America and the Origins of the Second World War (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2001).

Class Listserve
  You may also participate in online discussions of class and related material via the class listserve. The address for the listserve is:

Please note that any message you send to this address will be delivered to everyone in the class. If you wish to contact the instructor directly and exclusively, please use the instructor's individual e-mail address listed on the homepage. To send a message to the listserve, insert the listserve password in the first non-blank line (only) of the message text. Password/access information for both the website and the listserve will be provided in class.

Download Printable Course Syllabus