World History, 1900-1945

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
HIST 1103
World History, 1900-1945
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hrs. per week / semester Seminar: 2 hrs. per week / semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

Class sections will be divided between lectures and seminar discussions. The seminar discussion sessions will serve as a forum for the analysis and discussion of scholarly literature and as a testing ground for student hypotheses. The instructor will encourage students to elaborate, refine and revise ideas. Discussion sessions will also include tutorials in conducting historical research, the exploration of primary source documents, and practice in oral presentations. Participation in both lectures and seminar discussions is required for the successful completion of the course.

Course Description
This course examines some of the main currents of world history in the first half of the twentieth century. The course emphasizes affairs in Europe, as well as developments in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. Examples of major topics include: The First World War, Imperialism, the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression, Nazi Germany and the Second World War.
Course Content

A sample course outline would include the following topics.

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.


  1. Introduction to Historical Method
  2. Imperialism: Europe and the World before 1914
  3. Origins of World War I
  4. Total War: The War in Europe and Asia
  5. Illusion of Peace
  6. Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution
  7. Stalin’s Russia
  8. Responses to Imperialism
  9. Responses to the Great Depression
  10. Weimar Germany and the Rise of National Socialism
  11. The Nazi State
  12. Appeasement and the Origins of World War II
  13. World War II and its Consequences in Europe and the Pacific
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:


  1. Examine historical sources critically and analytically (reading history). These sources include not only survey texts and scholarly articles, but also short monographs and extended primary sources.
  2. Create and communicate personal interpretations of historical problems (writing history). Forms for communication of personal interpretations include medium-length essays (from 1500-3000 words), comparative book reviews, short interpretive essays, primary source studies, and final examinations.
  3. Independently analyze the ideas of other students and the instructor in class in both tutorials and seminars (discussing history).
Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accord with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Specific components of evaluation will include some of the following: mid-term and final exams consisting of short answer questions and essay questions; in-class written work, quizzes, research paper; seminar presentations; short debate/position papers; participation in class discussions.

Specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester and will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.


An example of one evaluation scheme:


Any combination of the following totalling 100%

Essays (one to four)

20% - 60%

Tests (at least two)

20% - 60%

Instructor’s General Evaluation (Participation, quizzes, etc.)

10% - 20%


No single essay or test will constitute less than 10% or more than 35% of the grade

Total value of all essays will not be less than 20% or more than 60%

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:


Texts will be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically:

An instructor’s Course Reader may be required.


Brower, D.R. The World in the Twentieth Century: From Empires to Nations. 5th ed. Englewood Cliffs,         N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1992.

Derfler, L. and P. Kollander. An Age of Conflict: Readings in Twentieth-Century European History. 3rd ed. Toronto: Harcourt College Publishers, 2001.

Findley, C.V. and J.A. Rothney. Twentieth-Century World. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006.

Keylor, William R. The Twentieth-Century World: An International History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Kinney, Tracey J. Conflict and Cooperation: Documents in Modern Global History. Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Overfield, J. Sources of Twentieth-Century Global History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.


In addition monographs, memoirs, or novels with historical applications may also be assigned. Examples include:


Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books, 1994.

Bessel, R., ed. Life in the Third Reich. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Fredrickson, George M. Racism. A Short History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002.

Orwell, George. Homage to Catalonia. Toronto: Penguin, 2003.