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Benjamin Franklin Seminars

211-216 are advanced seminars, mainly for juniors and seniors in the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program. All other students need permission from the instructor to enroll in these courses.

HIST 212 World War I


Taught as schedule allows (consult the Course Directory)

The First World War marks a watershed in European and world history.  We will examine the preconditions for the war--such as European imperialism, the arms race, and the rise of international law.  We then move to study the outbreak of the war, and the debate over "war guilt."  Our seminar covers the key battles and the course of the war on the various fronts (Western Europe, Italian Front, the Eastern Front, the Middle East), and the war on sea and in the air.  We close with an examination of the war's outcome--fascism, communism, revolution, the mandate system and postwar European and colonial order.  We will read classics and recent works on what many consider to be the foundational moment for the twentieth century.  No prior knowledge is assumed.

Course Syllabus (PDF)