History of the First World War

Course InstructorDr. Zsolt Nagy (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an assistant professor of Modern European history at the University of St. Thomas.  His teaching and research areas include early modern and modern European history, Eastern European history, transnational studies, cultural diplomacy and international relations, nationalism and nation building, film and radio studies, and the history of tourism.

Course Information:  Mondays, September 8-October 13, 2014, 10:00 a.m.-Noon, Terrence Murphy Hall, Room 260 (Thornton Auditorium), UST Minneapolis Campus

Course Description:  This course examines one of the most monumental and influential events of the twentieth century:  the First World War (1914-1918).  To quote the wonderful PBS documentary, The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century (1996), "World War I set the violent 20th century in motion...The Great War was without precedent...never had so many nations taken up arms at a single time.  Never had the battefield been so vast...never had the fighting been so gruesome...World War I marked the first use of chemical weapons, the first mass bombardment of civilians from the sky, and the century's first genocide...It colored everything that came before and shadowed everything that followed."

Registration fee for the series:  $80.00 per person

To register on-line with a credit card, click on this linkhttps://webapp.stthomas.edu/eventregistration/UST/register.jsp?eventcrn=A9750

To complete the registration form on-line and then mail in a check payment, click on this linkhttps://webapp.stthomas.edu/eventregistration/UST/register.jsp?eventcrn=A9750

To register by check or cash through the mail or in-person, click on this link for the printable registration formFall 2014 Printable Registration Form

Link to campus mapMinneapolis Campus Map

Detailed Course Syllabus (subject to change):

September 8

Introduction & Fin-de-siècle Europe

Examination of the turn-of-the-century Europe geopolitical, social, and to a lesser degree, cultural climate.  Questions that this lecture is trying to answer:  What major developments were taking place in Europe and the world?  What were the immediate and long-term ramifications of said changes?

September 15

Road to Sarajevo and the July Crisis

Examination of the various players/actors on the eve of the outbreak of the war.  Examination of the sources of conflict and tension.  Questions that this lecture is trying to answer:  Who/what was responsible for the war  Was the war avoidable?  Why did it escalate the way it did?

September 22

War in Europe-East & West

Examination of the concept of "total war" in the trenches and beyond.  Questions that this lecture is trying to answer:  What was total war?  In which ways did technology/strategy and new practices alter the way we fight war?  In which ways was the war different in the East and the West?  Atrocities and genocide?  In which ways were the battlefields connected with the home front?  What role did propaganda play?

September 29 

Global War and the Entry of the United States

Examination of the global nature of the war from the Middle East, through Africa, to China.  Examination of President Wilson's decision behind the US's entry to the war.  Questions that this lecture is trying to answer:  Why is this a world war?  Why and how did the war unfold beyond the battlefields of Europe?  What made President Wilson change his anti-interventionist stance?  What actual role did the US play in Europe? 

October 6 

Revolutions and Peace Treaties

Examination of the Russian Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and its aftermath.  Examination of the ideas and realities of the Paris Peace Treaties of 1919.  Questions that this lecture is trying to answer:  What was the connection between the war and the Bolshevik Revolution?  Leninism vs. Wilsonianism - blueprints for the postwar world?  Paris 1919 - who was there and who was not?  In which way did the treaty alter the physical and geopolitical map of Europe (and beyond)? 

October 13

Legacy and Commemoration

Examination of the legacies of the war.  Examination of ways we remember and commemorate the war.  Questions that this lecture is trying to answer:  Long-term consequences?  Why do I - and many others - think that WWI is the most significant historical event of the 20th century?  How do we remember and commemorate the war?  And finally, an attempt to conclude the lectures. 

Class PowerPoint Presentations

World War I Week 1 PowerPoint Presentation

History of World War I Week 2 PowerPoint Presentation