European Empires and Global Conflict, 1935-1948
(Graduate Seminar)

The course examines the history of the European empires in the Second World War. It covers the history of the war fought in the imperial world and its impact on the lives of millions of colonial civilians; the political, military, and social history of colonial soldiers who fought in Europe’s multi-ethnic and multi-religious armies; the history of anti-colonial movements during the war, from Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh to Gandhi’s Quit India movement; and the history of the war’s impact on decolonization and the twentieth century world order. Overall, the course explores the non-European experience of the Second World War, examining the ways in which the conflict shaped societies and political orders in Africa, Asia, and beyond. Drawing on key secondary texts, primary sources, and visual material, it provides a broad introduction to the most destructive and cataclysmic conflict in modern global history.

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Nazi Germany’s War: Violence and Occupation in Europe,
1939-1945 (Undergraduate Seminar)

The Second World War was the most destructive conflict in modern European history. At the height of the war, German soldiers occupied lands from the Channel Islands to the Caucasian mountains, from Scandinavia to the Attica peninsula. Across the continent, societies were torn apart by war, occupation, and civil war. Drawing on key secondary texts and primary sources, this course examines Nazi Germany’s war in Europe from a comparative perspective. It looks at the origins of the conflict; the course of the war, from the partition of Poland to the fall of Berlin; war crimes; Nazi occupation regimes; local collaboration and the recruitment of hundreds of thousands of non-Germans into Hitler’s armies; resistance and partisan insurgency; ethnic cleansing and genocide; and the aftermath of the war. The focus is not only on political leaders, party functionaries, and generals, but also on ordinary people, such as soldiers, peasants, slave workers, and concentration camp inmates. Particular attention is given to the views and experiences of contemporary intellectuals, such as George Orwell, Raphael Lemkin, Marc Bloch, and Hannah Arendt. The course considers the Second World War as an amalgam of different forms of conflict, including wars between states, civil wars, and partisan wars, and it also addresses more general questions about conflict and violence in the modern age.

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International History since 1890 (Undergraduate Lecture Series) (Contributor)

The course emphasizes the changing character of international politics over the course of the long twentieth century, and aims to equip students with a comprehensive knowledge of international politics since 1890, to provide the factual grounding and conceptual apparatus necessary to understand the contemporary world, and to gain a sense of how some of the main historiographical debates have developed over the last few decades.

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From Empire to Independence: The Extra-European World in the Twentieth Century (Undergraduate Lecture Series) (Contributor)

The lecture series provides an introductory survey of events outside Europe in the twentieth century, with a particular emphasis on the collapse of the Western colonial empires, the development of relations between the West and the new states within Asia and Africa, revolutionary developments in Latin America, and the rise of non-Western models of political development.

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David Motadel is a co-convenor of the Imperial and World History Research Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.