Europe between democracy and dictatorship: the 1920s, hope of a better future?
Time: 15:00 - 17:00
Location: Keeley Street
Throughout the 1920s, Europe struggled with political and economic (re)construction and stabilisation. If some progress was made in part of the continent, wartime promises of a better and democratic Europe were shattered by the Great Depression.
Course Code: HEH43
Duration: 12 sessions (over 12 weeks)
What is the course about?
This course is about the failed hopes of a brighter and peaceful future for Europe in the 1920s. The end of the war and the peace settlements created many challenges for Europe: new actors and ideologies saw opportunities as old regimes collapsed, countries had to be reconstructed, some even had to be created. Yet it was also a time of hope for a future where democracy would prevail and war would be outlawed. If that turned out to be the case in western Europe and Czechoslovakia, elsewhere, a lack of democratic practice and internal tensions led to the rise of authoritarianism. When the Great Depression, with its devastating effects on societies, hit the continent, those dreams of a better future evaporated.
What will we cover?
Topics covered will include:
• The political, social, and economic impact of the war
• The Western democracies in the 1920s: the challenges of peacetime
• The Soviet Union in the 1920s: a “golden age”?
• The Weimar Republic: too strong to fail, too weak to survive? (2 weeks)
• Italy: the collapse of democracy and the rise of Fascism
• Old and new countries of Central and Eastern Europe: the challenges of (re)construction and the authorisation temptation
• Spain: the Primo de Rivera dictatorship, a new type of coup and regime?
• A new international system: hopes of a long-lasting peace (2 weeks)
• Fading hopes: the first effects of the Great Depression.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Analyse the challenges of reconstruction across Europe
Analyse how Stalin strengthened his power and the totalitarian nature of the Bolshevik regime
Analyse the successes and failures of democracy in Germany
Analyse the factors that explained the rise of the Nazis in Germany
Discuss constructively why authoritarian tendencies emerged in most Central and Eastern countries
Assess the consequences of the Great Depression on selected countries.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Some background knowledge about European history would be useful but is not essential.
A good standard of English is required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will be a combination of lectures, backed by PowerPoint presentations, and discussions in large and small groups. Handouts will be given in each class. Material to prepare the discussions will be available on the course website.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No just writing materials for any notes you wish to make.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
HEH74 Europe in the 1930s.
After under- and post-graduate studies in Politics and History in both France and the UK, Sébastien settled in London. He has been teaching at the City Lit since 2001. Over the years, he has covered many different subjects, including politics, history, economy and culture of Latin America, French modern history, European history, global issues and current affairs. In his classes, Sébastien hopes to give learners the skills, tools and information that can help them not only to make sense of the world we live in but also to understand the origins of the key issues we face.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.