World War Two

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
HIST 3320
World War Two
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours

Lecture: 2 hours per week

Seminar: 2 hours per week

Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Course Description
History 3320 introduces students to the central causes, unfolding events and overall impact of the Second World War as a global phenomenon, from the Paris Peace Conference at the end of World War I to legacy of war in the post-1945 world. Major themes include diplomatic, military and political events in Europe, Asia and the Americas; the social and cultural contexts of war; the varied experiences of military participants in the theatres of war; home fronts and the lives of civilians affected by war; the intersection of national and ethnocultural identity, religion, gender and sexuality in wartime experiences; the human cost of warfare; and important controversies and debates in the scholarship about the war.
Course Content

1. Setting the Scene: From Fiume and Danzig to Manchuko
2. Aggressor States I:  Imperial Japan
3. Aggressor States II:  Nazi Germany
4. Constructing Japan’s Co-prosperity Sphere
5. Constructing German Lebensraum
6. From Blitzkrieg to Phony War
7. The Fall of France and the Battle of Britain
8. Contesting Colonial Space: From the Atlantic Charter to Quit India
9. War of Ideology: Operation Barbarossa
10. Waking the Giants: The U.S.S.R. and U.S.A. in War
11. Turning Points from Stalingrad to Midway
12. End Game: Consequences of Unconditional Surrender
13. Atrocities in Full View:  Nanking to Auschwitz
14. Postwar Worlds: The United Nations, Reordered Economies and the Possibility of World Peace

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).
2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).
3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).
4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history).

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

Participation 15%
Seminar presentations 10%
Primary document analyses 15%
Historiographic essay 10%
Research proposal and annotated bibliography 10%
Research essay 25%
Final exam 15%

Total 100%

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Course Readers will be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically.

An instructor’s custom Course Reader may be required. Additional online resources may also be assigned, and links to specific resources may be provided in the course outline.

Bergen, Doris. War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust. 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.

Coetzee, Frans, and Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee, eds. The World in Flames: A World War II Sourcebook. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Kennedy, Sean. The Shock of War: Civilian Experiences, 1937-1945. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011.

Lyons, Michael J. World War Two: A Short History. 5th ed. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Mawdsley, Evan. World War Two: A New History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Overy, Richard. The Origins of the Second World War. 4th ed. New York: Routledge, 2016.

Story, Ronald. A Concise Historical Atlas of World War Two. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.


One 2000-level History course, or permission of the instructor

Which Prerequisite