Jul 24 2012
World Wars & Revolutions
2012 – 2013
World History: World Wars and Revolutions is a course designed to closely examine the turbulent period of world history from 1910 – 1950. The course begins with a look at the rivalries fostered as a result of expanding imperialism and advancing weapons technology. The entangling system of alliances created a system of diplomatic trip wires that plunged the “Great Powers” into a cataclysmic war that became the basis for the global developments in the twentieth century. Even in the midst of a Great War revolutions, sparked by economic, socialist and nationalist pressures, erupted across the globe to topple monarchies and dynastic regimes. The “war to end all wars” proved only to be an issue left unresolved amid a myriad of economic and social disparities between its belligerents. The failed peace of Versailles and period of excess followed by depression ushered the rise of dictators and the brutal Second World War – often described as the conclusion of the Great War. The aftermath of this turbulent time altered the roles of nations and posed new problems for the world in which we live.
In addition to the textbook, reading and research of materials beyond the text will be required in some instances. This course incorporates video material from a multiple of sources to provide a synthesis of key issues being discussed in the textbook and in class. All video material shown in class is testable material. Note taking is strongly advised during the showing of videos as well as asking any follow-up questions during the post-film discussions.
One critical book review (3-5 typed pages) is required for the first nine weeks over a book selected by the teacher. The work may be fiction or non-fiction. Details on this review will be handed out in class. During the second nine weeks students will research a particular topic that is pertinent to the course and complete a paper (nominally 5-10 typed pages in length) describing their findings and presenting their conclusions. As with the critical book review an assignment sheet will be handed out in class. Each of these projects accounts for 20% of the nine weeks grade (50% of the assignment grade). Writing is a skill that will be stressed during the course and all home work assignments and projects will be typed.
Quizzes will occur frequently over reading assignments and tests will be given at regular intervals, usually at the completion of one or more chapters in the textbook. A comprehensive exam for each nine weeks will be given over all material presented during that nine weeks. Tests and exams will be closed book with no notes. Some tests will contain a short answer or essay question in addition to objective (multiple choices and matching) questions.
Grades are calculated as described by the student handbook. All grades received are percent averages (I do not use points). Each nine weeks grade is computed from:
30% – quiz and test scores
40% – assignments (20% short term assignments/in-class activities/group work, and 20% from each of the 9-weeks projects)
10% – class attendance/participation
20% – comprehensive nine weeks exam
An average of both nine weeks comprises the semester grade.
The amount of time dedicated to each topic may vary as the course is taught depending upon the level of interest and discussion of each unit. A general outline of what the student can expect to study during the semester follows:
First Nine Weeks:
The Great War begins the course. The causes, the conduct of the war and its aftermath will be the principle focus of the first half of the term. Social, cultural, economic changes occurred rapidly compelling a new look at existing governments. Within the scope of the war two major revolutions within Russia first ended the monarchy and then birthed the first communist state. Other revolutions also occurred in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, India and China. These dramatic changes in the existing order showed the force behind popular support for reforms and revealed a dangerous power in the use of nationalistic ideals. The nine weeks will end as totalitarianism rises – a result of unachieved dreams from the failed peace of 1919 and its aftermath (Chapters 26 – 27).
Second Nine Weeks:
The second half of the semester is devoted to the causes for nations across the globe to willingly submit to the dictatorial ambitions of a few vain and greedy men. In the midst of depression they fostered enemies and targets (real and imagined) for their people to hate and blame for their conditions. The rise of fascism inevitably led to a horror of butchery and the sequel to the Great War. Weapons of mass destruction, introduced during the first global war, were improved and revisited on soldiers and civilians with more devastation than has ever been unleashed in human history. The holocaust became the most remembered genocide of the twentieth century, although not the only one and not the largest committed. Adolf Hitler proclaimed his crushing of the Jews as the crowning achievement of his life, modeled on his experiences learned during the Great War. The rise and fall of the Axis empires concludes with an examination of the Second World War’s immediate aftermath and drawing some conclusions as to how the forty formative years of this course affects us still (Chapters 28 – 29).
It is a primary goal of this course to convey a sense of interest and learning rather than to rush through a textbook in order to “cover” all of the material presented. There will be much that is not contained in the text that I will add.
If you have questions concerning any of this material please feel free to contact me. I use an answering machine to screen calls at home so please leave a message. During the school day the best time to contact me is between 12:30 and 13:15 (1:15) during my prep-time.
David R. Potthast, MA
LCDR, USN – Retired
School: (309) 793-8020
Home: (309) 582-0969
E-mail: (work) firstname.lastname@example.org