THE DENIAL OF DEMOCRACY
Europe would never be the same after the First World War. The ‘war to end all wars’ and the peace settlements which followed were only the prelude to a period dominated by civil war, dictatorship and ultimately a further devastating conflict in World War Two.
Whilst diverse in appearance, the dictatorships shared much in terms of a common rejection of the liberal and democratic tradition. And, whatever their particular ideological differences, they also shared common elements in practice – the cult of the leader, the use of repression, and a propagandist attempt at mass appeal.
The course will focus on Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin and Stalin, and the circumstances in which they came to power, thrived and developed. It will look at how their regimes affected society, and examine why there was so little effective opposition. But the situation of contemporary democracies will also be examined, particularly that of Britain and France. Finally, the nature of wider international relations will also be looked at, especially the growth of Appeasement, and the role this played in the outbreak of World War II.
Students will be expected to read widely, to examine contemporary sources such as films and speeches, and to complete written assignments at regular intervals. Above all, they will be encouraged to think.
- INTRODUCTION: Europe before the First World War THE 1920s
- Lenin – background to the 1917 revolutions, Civil War and NEP
- Mussolini – rise to power, policies and practices, decline and fall
- Weimar Germany – rise and fall, legacy of Versailles.
- Britain and France – the legacy and impact of War
- ‘Locarno Spirit’ – Peacemaking and the League of Nations THE 1930s
- Hitler – rise to power, policies and practices, propaganda and terror
- Stalin – power struggle, policies and practices, war and propaganda
- Britain and France – the legacy and impact of Depression
- ‘The Guilty Men’ – international relations and the rise of Appeasement
- CONCLUSION: Reflections on the period
- To provide an understanding of the Dictators’ rise to power
- To explain how they held on to that power
- To understand the relationship between contemporary democracies and dictatorships
- To demonstrate, orally and in written form, a knowledge and understanding of the ideologies of the dictators
- To read widely and critically
- To develop, sustain and illustrate an argument
- To complete a weekly assignment
Students complete weekly assignments, in the form of documentary analysis, in line with those set for Advanced Level examination boards. In addition students complete a final end of term presentation, to be agreed with their tutor. These marks as a whole, combined with an assessment of student performance in class, make up the final grade for the course, as shown.
Grade breakdown: –
- 50% Documents Assignments
- 20% Final Presentation
- 20% Class Participation
- 10% Attendance
This class is normally delivered over one term, with 90 teaching contact hours or equivalent in the Michaelmas term, and 60 teaching contact hours for Hilary and Trinity terms. For students requesting credit, we recommend the transfer of three college credits for Michaelmas and two college credits for Hilary and Trinity, on successful completion of the class.
The list below is for guidance and to supply some ideas for preliminary reading. We recommend that you do not purchase the books on this list before arrival and certainly not all of them; most should be available from a good library. Your tutor will recommend the most appropriate books for purchase at the first class of term.
- Stephen J Lee The European Dictatorships 1918-1945
- Martin Kitchen Europe between the Wars
If you are unable to obtain books locally, they may be ordered from