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Europe Since 1945

Course Code: HIST 3305
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: History
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course examines the political, social, and cultural history of Europe from the end of the Second World War until the present. Key themes include the legacy of Nazism; the origins and history of the Cold War; decolonization; European integration; major social and cultural developments; the collapse of Soviet Communism; Americanization and anti-Americanism; recurring ethnic rivalries; and the meaning of “Europe” in a globalized world.

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
  2. Europe in Ruins: The Legacy of Nazism and the Holocaust
  3. A Bipolar World: The Origins of the Cold War
  4. Reconstruction and Consumerism: Beginnings of West European Recovery
  5. Real-Existing Socialism: The Soviet Bloc and De-Stalinization
  6. Stepping Down: Decolonization and Post-Colonialism
  7. Politics and the Road from Rome to Brussels: Steps toward European Integration
  8. 1968: Youth Rebellion on Both sides of the Iron Curtain
  9. Helsinki and the Oil Crisis: Promise and Stagnation in the 1970s
  10. Cold War 1980s Redux: Peace Marches and the Dual Track
  11. Die Wende: The Fall of the Berlin War and Dissolution of the USSR
  12. Closer, Deeper, and War-Torn: The “Common European Home” of the 1990s
  13. Europe’s Renaissance? Sidelined in the “Global War on Terror”
  14. Europe’s Uncertain Future

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.

Methods may include:

  • lecture/discussion
  • group work
  • peer review
  • independent research
  • instructor feedback on students’ work
  • individual consultation
  • presentation (individual or group)

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accord with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. 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%

Primary source document analyses


Research proposal and annotated bibliography


Research essay


Comparative book review


Seminar presentations


Class participation


Final examination




Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Examine historical sources critically and analytically. These sources include not only survey texts and scholarly articles, but also short monographs and extended primary sources. Students are required to read in the course subject area beyond the texts assigned by the instructor.
  2. Create and communicate personal interpretations of historical problems. This course is writing intensive. Forms for communication of personal interpretations include research proposals and annotated bibliographies, research essays (from 3000-5000 words), comparative book reviews, shorter interpretive essays, historiography analyses, primary source studies, and final examinations or final summative assignments.
  3. Analyze the ideas of other students and the instructor in both tutorials and seminars both independently and in cooperation with other students.

course prerequisites


Or the permission of the instructor

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.