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HISTORY 4YY6A The World Wars (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2018

Term: Multiterm

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Martin Horn


Office: Chester New Hall 629

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 21602

Office Hours: Wednesday 10:30-12:20 and by appointment

Course Objectives:

This course is an examination of aspects of the history of the two world wars of the twentieth century. Its objectives are to help students understand the development of the two world wars and to improve communication skills through writing essays and engaging in seminar discussion.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

None of the books listed below are available at the Campus Store. They are all, however, available on-line for purchase.


Ernest Jünger, Storm of Steel

Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

RobertGerwarth, The Vanquished

Robert Paxton, Vichy France Old Guard and New Order

Omer Bartov, Hitler’s Army

John Dower, War without Mercy

Keith Lowe, Savage Continent

David Reynolds, In Command of History

Method of Assessment:

The class meets on Wednesday from 12:30-2:30 in CNH 614. Classes begin 5 September and end on 5 December in the fall term. The winter term begins 9 January and ends 3 April. The mark breakdown is:

Historiographical essay – 15%

Major research paper draft – 10%

Major research paper final – 30%

Major research paper presentation – 15%

Participation – 30%

Dates to Remember

21 November 2018 – historiographical essay due.

13 February 2019 - Major research paper draft due.

27 March -3 April 2019 – Major research paper presentations.

Students will write a historiographical paper of approximately 2000 words. This paper should explore the secondary literature on the topic that will form the subject of the major research paper. Prior to beginning the historiographic paper studentsmust discuss possible topics with the instructor.

The Major Research Paper draft should be 2000 words long. The draft should contain the standard scholarly apparatus (such as notes and bibliography) found in a finished product. As for the final major research paper, it should be 3500-4000 words of text (not including notes) in length. One week before students give their major research paper presentation to the class (fifteen minutes in length) the papers will be circulated to the seminar via e-mail.

The seminar offers an opportunity to discuss the readings in a collegial forum. Evidently students need to have done the readings prior to attending class. The grade awarded for seminar participation is based upon attendance as well as the quality and quantity of the participation. Attendance alone does not constitute participation. Failure to participate will mean a failing grade.

As for essays, the use of Internet sources is limited. No essay may derive the majority of its citations from web sites. Any essay that does will receive a grade of zero. Web sites such as Wikipedia are unacceptable sources as are encyclopedias and reference works. E-journals accessed through the McMaster University library may be cited freely. Databases such as Historical Abstracts and JSTOR are excellent places to begin.

Students must provide footnotes or endnotes as well as a formal bibliography. Examples of correct notation may be found in either the Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA handbook. Parenthetical notation, that is notes in brackets in the text of the essay, is not permitted.

The grade a paper receives will depend upon its clarity of expression and organization, as well as the cogency of the argument made and the thoroughness of the research. Essays should be well written, argued and researched. Along with historical content, spelling, grammar and punctuation are considered in the final grade. Students are strongly advised to retain a photocopy of any written work submitted as part of the course requirements.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late essays will be penalized 5% a day including weekends (the latter count as one). Students must submit an electronic copy to the instructor via email. The major research paper will be circulated by students to their seminar colleagues one week before the presentation of the paper.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Discussion Schedule

Fall term

5 September– Introduction

12 September – Historiography: Niall Ferguson, ThePity of War, Introduction; Peter Gattrell, “Tsarist Russia at War: The View from Above, 1914-February 1917, Journal of Modern History, vol. 87, #3, September 2015, pp. 668-700; Roger Chickering, “Imperial Germany’s Peculiar War, 1914-1918”, Journal of Modern History, vol. 88, #4, December 2016, pp. 856-894; Susan Grayzel, “Belonging to the Imperial Nation: Rethinking the History of Britain and its Empire”, Journal of Modern History, vol. 90, #2, June 2018,pp. 383-405.

19 September –Britain’s Entry into War in 1914: ThePity of War, Chapters 3 & 6; Special issue on Sir Edward Grey, International History Review, vol. 38, #2, 2016. Read the introduction by Heather Jones and Richard Smith and the articles by Otte, Bridge, Wilson, Keiger, Mombauer and Clark, pp. 243-338.

26 September –War Enthusiasm?The Pity of War, chapter 7; Erik Ringmar, “’The Spirit of 1914: A Redefinition and a Defence”, War in History, vol. 25, #1, 2018, pp. 26-47.

3 October – Austria-Hungary at War. Alan Sked, “Austria-Hungary and the First World War”, Histoire@Politique. Politique, culture, société, #22, janvier-avril 2014 (; John Deak, “The Great War and the Forgotten Realm: The Habsburg Monarchy and the First World War”,Journal of Modern History, 86, #2, (2014), pp. 336-80; John Deak, Jonathan Gumz, “How to Break a State: the Habsburg Monarchy’s Internal War 1914-1918”, American Historical Review, vol. 122, #4, October 2017.

10 October –Fall recess. No class.

17 October –France and the Great War. Leonard V. Smith, “France, the Great War, and the “Return to Experience”, Journal of Modern History, vol. 88, #2, June 2016, pp. 380-415; Martha Hanna and John Horne, “France and the Great War on its Centenary”, French Historical Studies, vol. 39, #2, pp. 233-259; Alex Bostrom, “Supplying the Front”, French Historical Studies, vol. 39, #2, pp. 261-286; Andrew Orr, “Too Numerous to Be Controlled”, French Historical Studies, vol. 39, #2, pp. 287-313; Kirrily Freeman and Katherine Crooks, “’Amusez-vous, Vichyssois’: Wartime Morality and Home Front tensions in First World War Vichy”, French History, vol. 31, #2, June 2017, pp. 194-218.

24 October – Occupations: First World War Studies, 4, #1, (2013), special issue “Military Occupations in First World War Europe”. Read the introduction by Sophie de Schaepdrivjer, pages 1-5, plus the articles by Connolly, Thiel, Westerhoff, Kauffman, Gumz, and Dornik & Lieb.

31 October–1918 – Combatants: Ernest Jünger, Storm of Steel

7 November– Combatants: Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

14 November –Making Peace: the Versailles Treaty. Ferguson, The Pity of War, chapter 14; Sally Marks, “Mistakes and Myths: The Allies, Germany and the Versailles Treaty, 1918-1921”, Journal of Modern History, vol. 85, #3, September 2013, pp. 632-659.

21 November –No class. Historiographical essay due.

28 November –The Aftermath: RobertGerwarth,The Vanquished, Parts I & II.

5 December – The Aftermath: Gerwarth, The Vanquished, Part III & Epilogue.

Winter term

9 January 2019 – Robert Paxton, Vichy France Old Guard and New Order, Parts I & II.

16 January – Robert Paxton, Vichy France Old Guard and New Order, Parts III, IV, V. Moshik Temkin, “Avec un certain malaise: the Paxtonian Trauma in France, 1973-74”, Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 38, #2, 2003, pp. 291-306.

23 January – Omer Bartov, Hitler’s Army, Introduction & Chapters I-III.

30 January – Omer Bartov, Hitler’s Army, Chapter 4 & Conclusion

6 February –John Dower, War without Mercy.

13 February – John Dower, War without Mercy.

20 February – No class. Winter Recess.

27 February – Keith Lowe, Savage Continent, Parts I & II.

6 March – Keith Lowe, Savage Continent, Parts III & IV.

13 March – David Reynolds, In Command of History, Epilogue, Parts I, II, & III.

20 March – David Reynolds, In Command of History, Parts IV, V, VI & Prologue.

27 March- Major Paper presentations

3 April- Major Paper presentations