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Introduction to World History: The
Modern World, 1900-2000
UF/Spring 2014
Dr. George Esenwein
Office Hours: T: 9:30-11:30, R: 10:0011:00, Flint 204
e-mail: [email protected]
COURSE DESCRIPTION:- Most people in the industrialized Western societies greeted
the opening of the twentieth century with a mixture of hope and fear. Scientific advances of
the late 19th century, which had led to the agricultural revolution as well as to the
development of new technologies, fueled expectations that the future promised a better
world; one that was not dominated by poverty, disease, or famine. At the same time,
unprecedented economic growth and political expansion in Europe and North America
gave rise to a firm confidence in the continued domination of the West over the rest of the
globe. This optimism was offset by the widely-held belief that the accelerated progress and
prosperity experienced by Westerners brought on the dissolution of traditional social
structures and growing tensions within the international arena. During the course of the
next few years these fears were borne out by events like the “Scramble for Africa” and the
outbreak of war in Europe in 1914.
Above all, the twentieth century saw the increasing interaction among countries and peoples
on a global scale. By mid-century, the relationship between Western countries and the rest
of the world had been dramatically altered by revolutions, wars, and the globalization of
economic forces. From this point on Cold War rivalries and political and economic
developments in Asia, Africa and other regions formerly dominated by the Western powers
increasingly determined the course of world affairs.
CONTENT AND AIMS OF COURSE:- This survey offers various perspectives on the
origins of today's world of global interdependency. It examines how the ideas, cultures, and
economies of different peoples intersected, and changed, through the conflicts brought on by
the major economic, social, and political movements of the twentieth century. Topics
considered will include imperialism in India, Asia, and Africa, the impact of political
revolutions and world wars in countries like China, Russia, the spread of nationalism, and
the origins and consequences of the Cold War. Students will be encouraged to view these
Esenwein: Introduction to World History
Page 1
events from the internal perspective of the participants and from the standpoint of the
outside world.
The purpose of this course is to provide a foundation for the study of modern world history.
It will present a chronological overview of key events in western history from the last
hundred years, while introducing students to particular themes regarding social, political,
ideological, and cultural dimensions of the modern past.
Required Texts (Paperback editions available at UF bookstore):
J.A.S. Grenville, A History of the World from the 20th to the 21st Century. Third
Edition (preferred), Routledge, 2005.
James Overfield , Sources of Twentieth Century Global History. First
Edition.Wadsworth, 2001.
EXAMS AND GRADING:- There will be three in-class exams, consisting of
identifications and essay questions). Each exam counts for 30% of your final grade. Class
participation (responses to questions and in-class discussions) counts for 10% of you final
3 Exams = 90%
Class participation = 10%
STUDY PROCEDURES AND ASSIGNMENTS:- In order to do well in this course you
must always bear in mind that history is largely a "reading" subject. To sustain your interest
in the course as well as to understand better the classroom lectures, you will have to adopt
good study habits. Above all this means employing a variety of techniques -- taking clear
and concise class notes, for example -- that will increase your reading speed and
comprehension of the main themes developed in the assigned texts. In this connection, you
should remember that all reading assignments must not be postponed.
Given that you will be tested on material covered in lectures, attendance is mandatory.
Course Calendar
Themes for Weeks 1-16.
7-9 January – Introduction to world history: what is history? The Western World, 19001914: Science and material progress to 1900; intellectual currents.
14-16 January --The Western Political Order: Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism,
Nationalism and the Great Power system.
Esenwein: Introduction to World History
Page 2
21-23 January -- (Labor Day/Holiday)-- Imperialism and its impact in Africa and Asia.
The rise of Japan.
28-30 January -- The Great War, 1914-1918 and its aftermath. Liberalism challenged:
The Russian Revolution and Civil War of 1917-1922.
4-6 February -- The rise of fascism in Italy and Germany, 1919-1934.
11-13 February -- International relations in the inter-war period (1919-1939): The League
of Nations. Conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. China and Japanese imperialism.
United States and Latin America in the interwar period. The Great Depression and the
coming of the Second World War.
Reading Assignments: Grenville, A History of the World, (Parts I-IV) Chapters 1-21.
Overfield , Sources of Twentieth Century Global History, Chapters 1, 3-4, 6, 8.
First Exam:
18-20 February-- Global warfare, 1939-1945: (1) The war in Europe, (2) The war in
Asia and the Pacific.
25-27 February -- Post-War Europe: Reconstruction of a divided continent (East vs.
West). The United States and Cold War crises in Europe (Greek Civil War and Berlin
Airlift, 1946-1948).
1-8 March – SPRING BREAK
11-13 March -- Independence movements in Africa , South Asia (India and Pakistan),
and Southeast Asia (Malaysia and Indonesia).
18-20 March
-- Mao’s Revolution in post-war China. National movements and Cold
War conflicts in Korea (1950-1953) and Southeast Asia (1954).
25-27 March -- Colonial issues and Cold War realities in the Middle East (1919-1980).
Second Exam:
Reading Assignments: Grenville, A History of the World, (Parts V.-X.) Chapters 22-45 .
Overfield , Sources of Twentieth Century Global History. Chapters 7-11
1-3 April -- United States vs. USSR: Hungarian Uprising, Berlin Wall, Cuban Missile
Crisis. Wars in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos).
Esenwein: Introduction to World History
Page 3
8-10 April -- The U.S. and Soviet Bloc after 1963: From Brezhnev to Gorbachev.
Europe’s third way: Economic and political integration in the West. Post-war
cultural/political movements: Counter-culture of 1960s, the rise of European terrorism
(Algeria, N. Ireland, Spain).
15-17 April -- Africa after colonialism, Dictatorships, Democracy and Crises in Latin
America.The crumbling of communism in East-Central Europe. Tensions in the Middle
East. Dissolution of “Cold War” Europe (“Velvet Revolutions of 1989”, Balkan crises).
Reflections on post-Cold War cultural confrontations and the rise of religious-based
terrorism. The emergence of a new world order?
Third Exam: 17 April
Reading Assignments: Grenville, A History of the World, (Parts XI. – XVIII.) Chapters 4680. Overfield, Sources of Twentieth Century Global History. Chapters 10-13.
Code of Conduct/Make-up exam policies for EUH4282
UF faculty are now being asked to provide written guidelines relating to (1) student conduct in the classroom
and (2) make-up examinations. Most of these can be deduced by exercising common sense. But to avoid any
misunderstandings, students enrolled in the courses listed above should take note of the following:
Code of Conduct in the Classroom:
Cell phones must be turned off throughout the class period.
Students are asked not to talk, read papers, surf the internet, and otherwise distract the class
from the lectures/class discussion.
Students coming in after the lecture has begun should not interrupt the professor and/or
students by walking in front of classroom, re-arranging desks to gain access to seating, etc.
Latecomers should therefore take a seat at the back or wherever it is possible without
disturbing others.
Anyone who arrives more than ten minutes after class has begun will be counted absent
unless he/she has the prior approval of the instructor.
Intellectual honesty: any student caught plagiarizing the written work of others and/or
cheating on an exam will automatically fail the course.
Esenwein: Introduction to World History
Page 4
Make-up exams/Late Papers:
Apart from documented illness, family emergencies (immediate family only), and
exceptional circumstances (to be determined by the instructor), exams will have to be taken
on the assigned day. The scheduling of permitted make-up exams will be at the discretion of
the instructor.
All written assignments – term papers and the like – are due on the day assigned in the
syllabus and/or as announced by the instructor during class. Papers must be handed into
the instructor on the due date in a hard-copy format. (That is, do not send your paper as an
e-mail attachment etc.) No late papers will be accepted for any reason(s).
Esenwein: Introduction to World History
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