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Bachelor 2020/2021

History of the Interwar Period

Category 'Best Course for Broadening Horizons and Diversity of Knowledge and Skills'
Area of studies: International Relations
When: 1 year, 4 module
Mode of studies: distance learning
Instructors: Dmitry Novikov
Language: English
ECTS credits: 3

Course Syllabus


This course covers the modern period of global history, focusing on the rise of decline of the post-WWI international order in different aspect: economic, social, political and geostrategic ones. There are no prerequisites for this course. However, a rigorous work during the course is required. Students who attend all classes, participate in discussions, solve home assignments, and complete the course projects would very likely pass the course with a good grade.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To understand the economic and social development European states in the interwar period (1920-1930);
  • Analyze the reasons and consequences of the Great Depression;
  • Have a deep and comprehensive outlook of the ideological context of the social and political development of European and non-European societies (rise of Fascism and Militarism, spread of Communist ideas);
  • To examine the preconditions and reasons of the WWII and policies of the Great Powers, which led to destruction of the post-WWI international order.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Know the reasons for the appearance of fascism in Europe;
  • Be able to determine the role of Versailles System in stimulating the rise of fascism in Europe;
  • Know strategic and military preconditions of WWII;
  • Know the role of Germany and Italy in the Spanish Civil War;
  • Be able to determine the role of Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan in undermining collective security;
  • Be able to determine characteristic features of dictatorial regimes of Italy, Germany, and Spain;
  • Know the impact of the Great Depression upon the progress that had been made in terms of international collaboration through the League;
  • Know the implications of the Treaty of Versailles for the Weimar Republic;
  • Know the US role in international relations during the interwar period.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Consequences of the WWI
    The objective of this section is to provide contextual information regarding the end of WW1 necessary to understanding the emergence of fascism in Europe. Critical to laying the foundation of political and economic environments during the 1920s and 30s, notably in Germany and Italy. Important: Outline how the Versailles System stimulated the rise of fascism in Europe (Article 231, Reparations, lack of territorial compensation for Italy)
  • The League of Nations and Collective Security
    The objective of this section is to explain the origins of the League as well as examining the American role in international affairs. League successes and failures throughout its history will also be explored. The concept of collective security should be analyzed including the ways in which it was undermined. This section will tie together the first as it expounds upon the Versailles System through the actions of the league and the subsequent reactions of countries such as the US, Germany, Italy and Japan to League initiatives.
  • The Weimar Republic
    This section will need to expound upon the economic and political situation in Germany following the establishment of the Weimar Republic under the Versailles system (follow up from section 1). Note that the Weimar Republic was not necessarily doomed to fail from the start (after the Ruhr invasion a level of stability was somewhat achieved until 1929). Recount that economic recession influenced the popularity of the NSDAP. Underlying cracks in the foundation of the Republic such as Article 48 and circumstantial factors such as Hindenburg’s death led to the fall of the Republic.
  • The Great Depression
    Stress the effect of the Great Depression upon the progress that had been made in terms of international collaboration through the League. Illustrate the scale that the Depression had globally and the increase of support for extreme political views, i.e. isolationism (USA), NSDAP (Germany).
  • Rise of Fascism
    This section will analyze the concept of fascism as well as its development in Europe through the case study of Italy under Mussolini. It is important to accurately define fascism in this context and illustrate its spread to Germany (Spain?) as well as deviating characteristics of each regime. In conclusion, the question as fascism as a purely European phenomenon will be explored with reference to Japanese expansionism.
  • The Manchurian Crisis and The Spanish Civil War
    Following the, “The Rise of Fascism”, this section will provide further detailed analysis of German and Italian involvement in the Spanish Civil War. Japanese expansionism and The Manchurian Crisis will be discussed in the context of defying the League. It should be stressed that while there are clear distinctions between fascism that developed in Europe subsequent to Japan’s invasion of Manchuria, each regime played its part in undermining collective security.
  • Appeasement
    Due to economic circumstances, failure of collective security, and fear the Spanish Civil War spreading to, Britain and France turn to a policy of Appeasement
  • Beginning of WWII
    Strategic and military preconditions of the WWII, beginning of the War, Strange War of 1940; US and USSR enter the War
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Seminars activity
  • non-blocking Quizzes
    Sample question for a quiz: What was the name of a treaty, signed in 1922, which was the first attempt to establish an institutionalized international regime of arms control after the end of WWI?
  • non-blocking Test
  • non-blocking Final Exam
    Your exam will be held online. You should submit a paper via Google-Forms in 3-hours period. All further details will be send to you directly by the professor.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.25 * Final Exam + 0.25 * Quizzes + 0.25 * Seminars activity + 0.25 * Test


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Sylvest, C. (2004). Interwar Internationalism, the British Labour Party, and the Historiography of International Relations. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.29F9DF84
  • Wunderlich, F. (1938). Germany’s Defense Economy and the Decay of Capitalism. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.83726108

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • David S. Jacks, & Dennis Novy. (2019). Trade blocs and trade wars during the interwar period. CESifo Working Paper Series. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.p.ces.ceswps..7665
  • Jacks, D. S., & Novy, D. (2019). Trade Blocs and Trade Wars during the Interwar Period. The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS). Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.p.wrk.warwec.1197