UF at Cambridge University

UF in Cambridge
HIS 4956 “Europe in the First and Second World Wars”
1st July-3rd August 2012
at St. Edmund’s College,
Program Director: Professor Geoffrey J Giles
Updated 13 March 2012
This program seeks to examine the First and Second World Wars, not from the rather
Americocentric viewpoint of most textbooks in the US, but rather from the European
standpoint. Each country writes its own history of wars, emphasizing its own contribution,
and we are going to seek a more balanced view. The course will also have the enormous
advantage of being able to visit some of the important, relevant museums and sites related
to the wars. In addition, the Holocaust is inextricably entwined with World War II, and
that connection will be explored in detail as well.
The course will comprise PowerPoint lectures, audio-visual materials such as original film
footage from the 1916 Battle of the Somme, seminar discussions, and student presentations
of their research projects, not to mention frequent field trips. Students will be required to
write two 2,000-word papers, and create an oral (preferably PowerPoint) presentation on a
research project, chosen in collaboration with the course director.
Classes will generally take place in the mornings from 9.45 a.m. – 12.45 p.m., usually
broken into three segments, with a coffee break. There will be group activities on some
afternoons, but they will mostly be free for individual study, research, writing and leisure.
Students will also be encouraged to explore, with the help of Professor Giles, the rich
history of the University of Cambridge, its colleges and museums and architecture.
Required texts
The following books should be purchased, if possible read in advance of the program with
copious notes taken (in order to leave more time to enjoy Cambridge itself), and brought
with you to St. Ed’s:
Frans Coetzee & Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee, World War I: A History in Documents (New
York: Oxford University Press, 2010) 2nd edition ISBN: 0199731519
Hew Strachan, The First World War (New York: Penguin, 2005) ISBN: 0143035185
Poems of the Great War, 1914-1918 (London: Penguin, 1998) ISBN: 9780141181035
[This pocket-size book appears to be currently available only in Britain, for less than £5.
Wait till you arrive to buy it]
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James Madison, World War II: A History in Documents (New York: Oxford University
Press, 2010) ISBN 9780195338126
Doris L. Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust 2nd edition
(Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009) ISBN 0742557154
Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing History. 7th edition (Bedford, 2012)
ISBN: 0312535031 [Essential if you are not used to research and writing in history]
Students should take care to read the books in their entirety, as individual students will be
asked each day at random to explain to the class the most important arguments of the
chapters assigned for that day.
In addition, there will be two 2,000-word papers required on an assigned topic. These will
receive individual mentoring in the time-honored Cambridge University tradition of
‘supervisions’, in which students meet individually with the professor to receive a critique of
the paper and advice on improving their writing.
The distribution of grades for this 6-credit course will be as follows:
First paper—30%
Second paper—30%
Research project and presentation—20%
Active participation in class and the course in general—20%
Students are strongly advised to bring a laptop (and flash drive) with them, as access to
computer facilities at St. Ed’s will be quite limited. We will always have to give way to the
needs of the regular graduate students of the college, who are conducting research there
throughout the summer. This also means that a last-minute start on writing a paper will
generally end in disaster! Please plan well ahead.
As always in history courses, you need to pay particular attention to the question of
plagiarism when writing papers. Be certain to give proper credit whenever you use words,
phrases, ideas, arguments, and conclusions drawn from someone else’s work. Failure to
give credit by quoting and/or footnoting is PLAGIARISM and is unacceptable. Please
review the University’s honesty policy at http://www.dso.ufl.edu/sccr/honorcode.php.
Here is the course schedule, with the readings for each day given (with the initial of the
author of the textbook) in square brackets.
Su 1 Arrival (any time from early morning) and assignment of rooms
p.m. College walk-through (Huddleston Room, Junior Combination Room,
Norfolk Library computing facilities, laundry facilities,)
Introduction, outline, rules & regulations
1916 original film footage “The Battle of the Somme”
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2 p.m. Collect bikes
Visit St. Peter’s Church (built soon after 1068)
Discussion of “Battle of the Somme”
The Third Balkan War and the Ideas of 1914 [St 1-2]
2.30 p.m. Registration/distribution of photo ID card for Cambridge University
Library [Bring photo ID with you], followed by brief introduction to library
6.30 p.m. Welcome Gala Dinner, Huddlestone Room
Origins of First World War, enlistment [C 1-2]
1 p.m. Visit to Wren Library, Trinity College
7.15 p.m. Film “My Boy Jack” about Rudyard Kipling [93 minutes]
Th 5 Field trip to Dorset: Bovington Tank Museum, Clouds Hill (Lawrence
of Arabia’s cottage), & the 1,000-year-old Corfe Castle
Dep. 6.50 a.m., return ca. 9.30 p.m.
The Fischer controversy over the outbreak of WW1
Battle conditions, atrocities [C 3-4]
7.15 p.m. Stanley Kubrick’s film “Paths of Glory” (88 minutes)
Sat 7 Free weekend [St. Edmund’s Brunch at 11 a.m.]
Su 8 10.30 a.m. Field trip to Rupert Brooke Museum, Grantchester and
lunch at the Orchard Tea Gardens
War propaganda, the domestic front, end of WWI [C 5-7]
The propaganda war through postcards
T 10 Global War and Jihad [St 3-4]
The war by mail
W 11 Last Voices of World War I (The Call to Arms, Somme, Horror in the Mud)
Morale-boosting popular songs of WWI
Th 12 Individual chapter reviews:
The Western & Eastern fronts, Verdun, the Somme [St 5-6]
Blockade, U-Boats, Revolution [St 7-8]
Morale-boosting popular songs of WWI
F 13 8.30 a.m. Field trip to the Cabinet War Rooms, and the Imperial War
Museum, London
Sa 14 Free weekend
Su 15
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M 16 First World War Poets [Penguin book]
A Nurse in the Great War
The First World War remembered [eyewitness testimony]
Germany’s 1918 offensive, and defeat [St 9-10]
The “Stab in the Back”
W 18 Appeasement, war and war crimes [M 1-3]
1.40 p.m. Private visit to Churchill Archives
4-6 p.m. Supervisions
Evening film “Oh! What a Lovely War!”
Th 19 Field trip to Imperial War Museum Air Branch, Duxford
F 20 Total war, the Home Fronts, [M 4]
Public information films of the British Home Front
2 p.m. Field trip to American Military Cemetery, Madingley
Sa 21 Free weekend
Su 22
M 23 Propaganda, Allied initiatives, peace and memory [M 5-8]
T 24 9.15 a.m. Field trip to Bletchley Park (WWII Code-breaking Center)
W 25 Anti-Semitism, the early Nazi Party, the Third Reich [B 1-3]
IWM interviews about the Home Front
Th 26 Preparation for War, Poland, euthanasia, terror [B 4-6]
WWII Rationing in Britain, & morale-boosting “Songs that Won the War”
The Home Guard (Ministry of Information films)
F 27 Field trip to H.M.S. Belfast, London
[Opening day of the Olympic Games]
Sa 28 Free weekend
Su 29
M 30 Social outsiders in Nazi Germany
Gung-Ho reporting about The Blitz (MoI films)
Original BBC radio reports on D-Day from June 1944 (CD)
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Holocaust, collapse of Germany [B 7-conc.]
Women at War (Ministry of Information films)
p.m. Supervisions
Fill out evaluation forms
p.m. Supervisions
3 p.m. Return bikes
Farewell dinner
Depart—latest check-out time from rooms 10 a.m.
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