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Aspects of European History (1780-1939)

St. Xavier's College (Autonomous), Kolkata and CEC via Swayam


This course seeks to locate the fundamental transformation of European society and politics during the period under review. We begin with revolutionary Europe when the ancien regime gave way to a society of property owners; politics was divided over a wide spectrum into conservatism, liberalism, radicalism, democracy, socialism, Communism and Fascism.The great events of ‘the long nineteenth century’ - French Revolution, Napoleonic wars and reorganization, the return of conservatism in 1815, the Reform Bill of 1832, the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 - are sought to be integrated and presented with a narrative cohesion. Revolution is a theme that runs through politics for the entire period though their ideological ramifications might have changed.Nationalism emerged as an important force in the 19th century. It was both unifying and divisive. By the end of the First World War European state system had undergone a transformation.The century ended in the conflagration of the First World War. Nationalism, capitalism, imperialism and different kind of revolutionary movements-- all played a role. Hobsbawm’s ‘age of catastrophe’ (1914-1945) experienced an elusive quest for peace and rise of Fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany. This resulted in a more devastating war. The course pans the whole period and, we hope, would convey an understanding of the coming of the contemporary world.


Week 1: LessonModule 01: Crisis of the “Ancient Regime” in FranceModule 02: Coming of the French RevolutionModule 03: The Constitution of 1791Module 04: Rise and Fall of the Jacobin Republic
Module 05: Revolution and Gender, Revolutionary Culture

Week 2: Lesson
Module 06:The Directory and Coup d’etat Of 18th BrumaireModule 07: Napoleon as ruler: Internal ReorganizationModule 08: Napoleon and Europe: ‘Revolution on Horseback’Module 09: Napoleon: The Road to Decline

Week 3: Lesson
Module 10: Europe after Napoleon: Forces of continuity and changeModule 11: Restoration and Revolution in France: 1815 – 1848Module 12: 1848: The Year of RevolutionsModule 13: Revolution of 1848: Germany

Week 4: Lesson
Module 14: The Unification of Italy: The RisorgimentoModule 15: The Unification of Italy: Making of a Unified ItalyModule 16: Establishment of the Second Reich in GermanyModule 17: Germany: Road to Unification

Week 5: Lesson
Module 18: Industrial revolution and emergence of Industrial Societies in EuropeModule 19: Socialism in Europe
Module 20: German Foreign Policy: Bismarckian diplomacy and the system of allianceModule 21: German Foreign Policy: Changes under Wilhelm II
Week 6: Lesson
Module 22: The Eastern Question: The problem and its background
Module 23: Emergence of Balkan Nationalism: 1851-1878 and 1878-1914Module 24: Russian Revolution: Making of the Russian Revolution of 1917Module 25: Theories of imperialism and The Age of Empire

Week 7: Lesson
Module 26: World War I - The Origins
Module 27: Rise of Fascism
Module 28: Fascism in ItalyModule 29: The Rise of Nazism in Germany

Week 8: Lesson
Module 30: World Economic DepressionModule 31: The Slide to War: 1930sModule 32: Hitler, Nazism and The second World WarModule 33: Origins of the Second World War

Taught by

Prof. Subhas Ranjan Chakrobarty

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