Europe in the Second World War

King's College London

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Europe in the Second World War

  • Host University

    King's College London

  • Location

    London, England

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, History

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • UK Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Module description: The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

    The Second World War plays a central but paradoxical role in visions of modern European history. Europe is often imagined as the birthplace and homeland of modern civilization, a continent that spearheaded two centuries of unprecedented human progress. And yet this narrative was disrupted not only by a military conflict of unprecedented destructive force (the First World War already provided this) but by a fundamental ?break in civilization?, in which the political, social and cultural life of the continent came to be subordinated to an agenda of mass murder. How do we make sense of such a rupture? Did the Second World War arise from atavistic residues in European societies, forces that had not yet been mastered by the civilizing process? Or was the war a product of the ?dark side? of that civilizing process?

    This module will provide an overview of the military conflicts that began with the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939 and ended with Germany?s unconditional surrender in May 1945. But it will not be a military history course in the narrow sense. It will instead focus on the European population?s experience of the war and its legacies for post-war European societies. We will look closely at the Nazi policies that played a decisive role in shaping both the unfolding of the military conflict and the fate of civilian populations that came under extended periods of German rule, as well as the visions of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union that jointly shaped the post-war order. The module will be concentrating heavily on the eastern half of the continent since this is where the vast majority of the fighting, killing and dying took place.

    Credit level: 5

    Credit value: 15

    Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour seminar (weekly)

    Assessment: coursework

    2 x 2,500 word essay

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

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Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

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