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World War Two

Course Code: HIST 3320
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

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

Methods of Instruction

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.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College student 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%

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)

course prerequisites

One 1000-level History course, or 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.