Europe between democracy and dictatorship: the 1920s, hope of a better future?
Time: 19:45 - 21:45
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
This course has now started
Course Code: HEH16
Duration: 12 sessions (over 13 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.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
• The challenges of economic and political reconstruction of Europe
• The Weimar Republic: the advent of democracy
• The new and old countries of Central and Eastern Europe: democracy in a few, authoritarianism in most
• Fascist Italy
• The USSR, from Lenin to Stalin
• A new international system: how to guarantee peace?
• The impact of the Great Depression
• The rise of the Nazis and the death of democracy.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Analyse the challenges of reconstruction across Europe
Analyse the successes and failures of democracy in Germany
Discuss constructively why authoritarian tendencies emerged in most Central and Eastern countries
Analyse how Stalin strengthened his power and the totalitarian nature of the Bolshevik regime
Assess the consequences of the Great Depression on selected countries
Analyse the factors that explained the rise of the Nazis in Germany.
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?
Please bring a pen and paper.
Books will be recommended but students are not required to purchase them if they do not wish.
This is not an exam course.
There are no extra costs.
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.