Great War Syllabi

HSP 155h – 201410

 

‘We are Making a New World’:

Trauma and cultural change in the trenches of the Western Front 1914-18.

Instructor: C. Hagerman

Office: Robinson Hall 210

Office hours T 9-12 and R by appointment

feel free to drop in whenever my door is open

chagerman@albion.edu

629-0398

Meeting time: MW 7-9

Location: Observatory

Courseweb enrollment key: Blighty

Description

The Great War did not inaugurate trench warfare, but it brought to such fighting an unheralded degree of industrial intensity. The inevitable corollary of this evolution toward perfection was a four-year spasm of destruction, unprecedented in severity and scale – one that visited unspeakable horrors upon millions of soldiers. None emerged unchanged. Taking as its focus the three great traumas of trench warfare manifest on the Western Front – the destruction of human life, of civilization, and of the environment – this course explores the Great War’s impact on individual soldiers and, through them, culture at large. Our approach will be interdisciplinary, encompassing detailed studies of the physical environment, traditional historical documents such as, diaries, letters, memoirs, and trench maps, photographs, film, poetry, painting, novels, and music.

Learning Goals

Students will learn the broad historical outlines of the Great War.

Students will become familiar with the particulars of trench warfare as practiced on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918.

Students will come to understand the human, civilizational, and environmental impacts of same.

Students will engage critically with a variety of historical and artistic media depicting trench warfare and its outcomes.

Students will consider the broader questions of the Great War’s impact on culture and whether it was a special case or representative of some general connection between war and cultural change.

Skills Goals

Students will improve their critical reading and analysis skills.

Students will improve their written and oral communication skills.

Accommodation Statement

If you have a disability and may require accommodations or modifications in class instruction or course-related activities, please contact the Learning Support Center (LSC) staff who can arrange for reasonable accommodations for students who provide documentation of their disability/condition. If you are presently registered with the LSC and have requested accommodations through the LSC for this semester, please plan to meet with me as early as possible to discuss the best way to implement these accommodations in this class. The LSC is located on the third floor of the Seeley Mudd library or call 517-629-0825.

Conduct of classes

This class will be conducted in a traditional seminar format. Thus ‘instruction’ will be a cooperative effort between students and instructor, with students responsible for the balance of discussion and even for certain evaluations.   Each student will work on a single project throughout the course, keeping classmates apprised of her/his progress through a series of presentations/papers building towards the final research paper, which will also be presented to the class.   It is absolutely vital to your success and the success of the class that you come to class prepared and willing to participate.

Assessment

Participation: What: your contribution to our in-class discussions and activities. When: every meeting. Value: 25%

Assignments/Presentations

(N.b. All written assignments must be submitted by midnight on the due date, via email attachment in .pdf format.)

1) Life in the Trenches Presentations When: Feb. 17, Mar. 24, & Apr. 9. Value: 15%. Description: For the first two find and present (5 minutes) a photograph/poem/painting/piece of music/cartoon that gives insight into the experience of trench warfare on the Western Front as it relates to the unit we are beginning. For the third one choose a site where signs of the conflict have been preserved and provide the class with a brief virtual tour of the site, explaining its significance.

2) Reconstruction the Trenches group project. When: Mar. 19 (first attempt) & Apr. 23 (final version) Value: 10%. Use any available medium to provide an evocative reconstruction of the Western Front battlezone or some aspect thereof.   Be as creative as possible. Mix media in any way you please. Consider using any of the following in any combination: text, video, still photographs (contemporary and historical in both cases) sound, artifacts, music, etc.

3) Case Study. When: Mar. 5 Value: 15% Description: In 5-6 pages assess the impact of an individual ‘artist’s’ experience during the Great War and how it affected his/her work then and/or later in terms of our tripartite trauma paradigm (destruction of life, civilization, and the environment). You don’t have to address all three of these traumas, but be sure to address at least one.

4) War and Culture essay. When: Apr. 30. Value: 30%. Description: An 8-10 page comparative essay addressing whether the relationship between war and culture evident in the case of the Western Front was a special case or simply indicative of a ‘universal’ relationship. Building on your case study, find a point of comparison to argue this question. Anything from the Iliad to J. Heller’s Catch 22, to one of the movies/books/paintings/poems arising from the War on Terror (e.g. Hurt Locker, Yellowbirds, Fobbit) will work, but selections are best made in consultation with the instructor. Some ideas to consider in this comparative context: What is the relationship between war and creativity? is war and engine of cultural change? Is war a destructive force or a creative one? How does war change individual’s perceptions of the world (humanity, civilization, environment etc).

5) Bonus opportunity: Minecraft reconstruction of the Ypres Salient. When: ongoing throughout term. Value up to 5%. Description: those who are interested will be working on reconstructing a section of the Ypres battlefield using original trench maps (which show contours, flora, buildings etc. as well as the trench systems of both sides).

Required Texts:

Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning (bookstore)

These next two you’ll have to get via Amazon

Howard, The First World War: A Very Short Introduction ($6.50 on Kindle)

Winter, Death’s Men: Soldiers of the Great War ($8.00 via Amazon)

Useful and available free via ibooks/Kindle

Geoffrey Malins, How I filmed the War

Siegfried Sassoon, The War Poems of Siegfried Sassoon

Wilfred Owen, War Poems

Schedule of Classes

Unit 1: the World of the Trenches

Jan. 22: Introduction – Film: Behind the Lines

Jan. 27: The Great War

Readings: M. Howard, The First World War: A Very Short Introduction

Jan. 29: Trench resources

Resources: Based on our discussions and readings to date, find 5 pieces of historical data that help us understand the realities of the trenches. Try searching the Great War on Google. Also explore Youtube and the websites of the Imperial War Museum, the Australian National Archives, the Canadian War Museum, le Historiale de la Grand-Guerre at Peronne, and the National World War One Museum. There are some VERY exciting recent developments in terms of materials being made available on-line. I expect you to find them! We will explore these resources together in class – so be prepared to introduce what you’ve found to your classmates.

Feb. 3: Trench realities

Resources: see courseweb Trench Realities Resources

Feb. 5: Tommy’s life I

Readings: D. Winter Death’s Men pp. 1-120.

Feb. 10: Tommy’s life II

Readings: D. Winter Death’s Men pp. 121-275.

Feb. 12: Group project workshop I

Unit 2: Destruction of men

Feb. 17: First Presentations

Feb. 19: Experiencing death and killing

Resources: Becker and Antoin-Rouzeau “Battle, Combat, Violence: a necessary     history” in 14-18 Understanding the Great War (courseweb). Extracts from Poor Bloody Murder etc. (courseweb.)

Feb. 24: Representing death and killing

Resources: Mosse, “Youth and War Experience” in Fallen Soldiers (courseweb) and Representations of death and killing (courseweb)

Feb. 26: Shell Shock

Resources: W.H.R. Rivers “The Repression of War Experience’ Lancet XCVI pp 513-33 (courseweb). D. Hipp “Shell Shock in World War I” in The Poetry of Shell Shock (courseweb). J. Bourke “Epilogue” in An Intimate History of Killing (courseweb). Shell-shock resources (courseweb).

Mar. 3: Wider ripples: the home front

Resources: V. Brittain “Letters from a Lost Generation” and E. Blucher “An English Wife in Berlin” in The World War I Reader (courseweb).

 Mar. 5: Group Project Workshop II

N.b. Case study due

 Mar. 10 & 12: No Classes Spring Break

Mar. 17: Film: TBA

Mar. 19: First run of Group Project

Unit 3: Destruction of Civilization

Mar. 24: Second Presentations

Mar. 26: Physical I

Resources: handout (diaries/journals and poems), R.E.N. Jones extracts from diaries/letters(on courseweb), paintings and photographs (in Dropbox folder), video of The Western Front from above (youtube link on courseweb)

Mar. 31: Spiritual

Resources: Hayward, Myths and Legends of the First World War (extracts:                                     courseweb)

Apr. 2: Moral

Resources: handout (diaries/journals) one of Gullace, Sexual Violence and Family Honour and Grayzel, ‘Souls of Soldiers’: civilians under fire

 Unit 4: Destruction of Nature

Apr. 7 – Third Presentations

Apr. 9 – Realities: landscape, flora, and fauna

Resources: courseweb –video links

Apr. 14 – Human (artistic) reactions: literary

Resources: Reactions: poetic; Reactions: prosaic (courseweb)

Apr. 16 – Human (artistic) reactions: visual

Reactions: painting; Reactions photographic; (courseweb)

Apr. 21 – Long-term consequences

Resources: Soil contamination article (courseweb) A.Y. Jackson and F. H. Varley Group of Seven paintings; (courseweb) Tolkien scavenger hunt – your own resources.

Apr. 23 – Final version of Group Projects

Unit 5 – Remembering the Western Front and its traumas

Apr. 28 – Remembering the traumas of the Great War I

Resources: J. Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning

Apr. 30 – Review and Round-up with Music (Guest speaker: Robin Read)

Resources: none, in class-activities only

N.b. War and Culture Essay due

 

HIS 375

The Great War in Europe, 1914-1918

(201510)

TR: 2:15-4:05

Instructor: C. Hagerman

Office Phone: 629-0398

E-mail: chagerman@albion.edu

Office Hours: by appointment

Courseweb enrollment key: Hooge

Description

Though focused on the four-year period when the Great War raged in Europe (1914-1918), this course will range from the final decades of 19th Century through the conclusion of Peace in Paris and on to the 1920s and 1930s.   Much of our focus will be on Western Europe, but when possible we will also consider the global dimension of the First World War’s origins, scope, range of participants, and consequences.

Course Objectives: (Student Learning Outcomes)

Students will improve their understanding of the military, diplomatic, economic, social, and cultural history of the Great War.

Students will develop an understanding of the historiography of the Great War.

Students will learn to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of various textual and material sources available for the study of the Great War.

Students will improve their ability to analyze and evaluate modern scholarly arguments.

Students will improve their ability to conduct original historical research.

Students will improve their ability to construct and convey a clear, logical, and substantive argument in support of a thesis.

Conduct of classes

This class will be conducted in a traditional seminar format. Thus ‘instruction’ will be a cooperative effort between students and instructor, with students responsible for the balance of discussion and even for certain evaluations.   Each student will work on a single project throughout the course, keeping classmates apprised of her/his progress through a series of presentations/papers building towards the final research paper, which will also be presented to the class. It is absolutely vital to your success and the success of the class that you come to class prepared and willing to participate.

Texts

Required: [Available at the bookstore and online]

Howard, The First World War: A Very Short Introduction

Winter and A. Prost The Great War in History

Evaluation

Participation = 30% of final grade

General contributions to class discussions: 25%

Evaluations of classmates’ presentations: 5%

Written feedback (via e-mail) on two of your classmates’ presentations. Due within 24 hours of the presentation. CC instructor on all such feedback.

Formal Presentations = 30% ( Due dates TBA)

Historiography ‘paper’: 10%

A 10-minute presentation outlining the scholarship in your research area. (February 27 or March 3)

Primary source discussion: 10%

Make one of your primary sources [a SHORT one] available to thclass and lead a 10-minute (maximum) discussion of it. The source inquestion should be no longer than 2 pages of typed text and must be English (original or translation.) Feel free to use excerpts from large works. Your focus should be on ‘work-shopping’ the source: i.e. getting    the group to identify biases, problems, important silences etc.

Research ‘paper’ presentation: 10% (25% peer evaluation)

A 15-minute presentation of your research findings.

Written Work = 40%

Research proposal: 10% Due: February 10th

A 5 page paper outlining your topic and thesis, relevant scholarship and timeline for completion.

Research essay: 30% Due: December 5

A 15-20 page, academic paper advancing an argument supported by original primary source research.

N.B. – See ‘Hagerman’s History How-to Handout (available via the courseweb) for my preferences with regard to written work. Better yet, consult Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (5th Edition). Papers that do not follow the guidelines provided in these documents will be returned, ungraded, for revision and resubmission. Normal late penalties will apply during the period of revision and resubmission.

Accommodation Statement:

If you have a disability and may require accommodations or modifications in class instruction or course-related activities, please contact the Learning Support Center (LSC) staff who can arrange for reasonable accommodations for students who provide documentation of their disability/condition. If you are presently registered with the LSC and have requested accommodations through the LSC for this semester, please plan to meet with me as early as possible to discuss the best way to implement these accommodations in this class. The LSC is located on the third floor of the Seeley Mudd library or call 517-629-0825.

 Schedule

January 20: Introduction. The Black Adder Goes Forth Part I: myths and            misconceptions

Homework: Start reading The First World War: A Very Short Introduction

January 22: Overview of the Great War Part I

Readings: Discussion of The First World War: A Very Short Introduction. Read for an overview of the conflict. Watch out for important or interesting themes – especially those you might like to research.

 January 27: Overview of the Great War Part II

Readings: Continuation of discussion from previous day.

 January 29: Historiography Part 1

Readings: and Winter and Prost “Introduction” and “Three historical configurations” The Great War and History.

February 3: Historiography Part 1I

Readings: Read two additional chapters from Winter and Prost, The Great War in History.

February 5: Great Power rivalry and the coming of the First World War

                Readings: D. Showalter, “The Circus Rider of Europe “(courseweb)

One of the following will also be assigned by the instructor in preparation for a role-playing exercise on the July Crisis of 1914.

Fellner, F., ‘Austria-Hungary’ in Keith Wilson (ed.) Decisions for War, 1914, pp.             9-25.

Keiger, J., ‘France’ in Wilson (ed.) Decisions, pp. 121-49.

Neilson, K., ‘Russia’, in Wilson (ed.) Decisions, pp. 97-120.

Pogge Von Strandmann, H., ‘Germany and the Coming of War’ in R.J.W. Evans and Hartmutt Pogge Von Strandmann (eds) The Coming of the First World War,     pp. 87-123.

Röhl, J.C.G., ‘Germany’, in Wilson (ed.), Decisions, pp. 27-54.

Wilson, K., ‘Britain’ in Wilson (ed.) Decisions, pp. 175-208.

February 10: the Military dimension I: the Stalemate

               Readings:Afflerbach, H., ‘Planning Total War? Falkenhayn and the Battle of          Verdun’ in Chickering and Förster (eds) Great War, Total War, pp. 113-31.

Strachan, H., ‘From Cabinet War to Total War: the Perspective of Military Doctrine, 1861-1918’ in Roger Chickering and Stig Förster (eds) Great War, Total War: Combat and Mobilization on the Western Front, 1914-1918, pp. 19-33.

Travers, T., “The Cult of the Offensive” The Killing Ground, 37-61

Ashworth, “The Live and Let Live System” The First World War Reader, 208-226)

NB – Research Proposal due Today

February 12: The Military Dimension II: Innovations

           Readings: Selections from S. Bull, Trench: A history of trench warfare on the Western Front  & Coetze and Coetze, Empires, Soldiers, and Citizens

AND one of

Showalter, D.E, ‘Mass Warfare and the Impact of Technology’, in Chickering and             Förster (eds) Great War, Total War, pp. 73-93.

                        OR

Travers, “Morale, Fire-power and Technology c. 1900-1918” The Killing Ground 62-82.

February 17: Life in the Trenches: I

               Readings: One of the following:

Adamson, A., Letters of Agar Adamson (instructor’s copy)

Barbusse, H., Under Fire, the story of a squad le feu

Becker, J.H., Silhouettes of the Great War (instructor’s copy)

Blunden, E. Undertones of War (instructor’s copy)

Congreve, W., Armageddon Road (instructor’s copy)

Ellis, N., Remembrances of Hell (instructor’s copy)

Fraser, D., Diary of Private Fraser (instructor’s copy)

Graves, R., Goodbye to all that (instructor’s copy)

Housman, (ed.) War Letters of fallen Englishmen (instructor’s copy)

Jones, D., In Parenthesis (instructor’s copy)

Jünger, E., Storm of Steel (instructor’s copy)

Lewis, C., Sagittarius Rising (instructor’s copy)

Morae, J., A Soldier of the Legion (instructor’s copy)

Omissi, D., Indian Voices of the Great War (library)

Sassoon,S., Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (instructor’s copy)

Smith, L., Drawing Fire (instructor’s copy)

Sulzbach, H., With the German Guns: Four Years on the Western front

Witkop (ed.). German students’ war letters (instructor’s copy)

 February 19: Home Fronts: Crises and opportunity

       Readings:

Brittain, “Letters from a Lost Generation” The First World War Reader

Blücher, “An English Wife in Berlin” The First World War Reader

February 25: historiography paper presentations 1-6

 February 27: historiography paper presentations 7-11

March 3: Global War

Readings: Selections from M. Shevin-Coetzee and F. Coetzee, Empires, Soldiers, and Citizens: a World War I sourcebook

Sykes-Picot agreement (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/sykes.htm)

Mesopotamia (http://www.1914-1918.net/mesopot.htm)

March 5: Art and the Great War I: the ‘war poets’

            Readings: P. Fussell, “A Satire of Circumstance” The Great War and Modern        Memory

Longley, “The Great War, history and the English lyric” The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the First World War

            Great War Poems (courseweb)

March 10 & 12 Spring Break – No Classes          

March 17: Art and the Great War II: war artists

Readings: M. Tippett, “Work which cries to be done” in Art in the Service of War

A PowerPoint presentation with a variety of paintings will be available for your review prior to class. Check the Courseweb.

N.B. You must make your primary document available to your classmates no later than today

March 19: Primary Source Workshop

            Readings: Primary sources from classmates

March 24: Shellshock

            Readings: D.W. Hip, “Shellshock in World War I” The Poetry of Shellshock          (extract)

Winter, “The Strain of Trench Warfare” Death’s Men

 March 26: Forgotten Victory

Readings: G. Sheffield “1918: Victory on the Western Front” in Forgotten Victory

 March 31: Versailles: a ‘Carthaginian Peace’?

            Readings: D. Fromkin, “A Peace to End All Peace” The First World War Reader

Nicholson, “Peacemaking, 1919” The First World War Reader

Wilson, “The Fourteen Points” courseweb

“The Hussein-McMahon Letters” courseweb

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/brest.htm Check          Wikipedia for a map.)

 April 2: The End, or the End of the Beginning?

Readings: Becker and Audoin-Rouzeau “Conclusion”

Sheffield, “The Aftermath and Consequences” Forgotten Victory

Eksteins “Spring without End” Rites of Spring

April 7: Workshop Day. Time to discuss your research project with colleagues in

class. Bring a working draft.

April 9: Remembering and representing the Great War

           Readings: Winter, J., Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning. The Great War in         European Cultural History

April 14: Research Paper presentations 1-4

April 16: Research Paper presentations 4-8

April 21: Research Paper presentations 9-11

April 23: Elkin Isaac Symposium – No Classes

April 28: Revision day. Work on revising your papers!

April 30: Conclusion: Blackadder Goes Forth Part VI

Fun readings: J. Hayward, “Mysterious Visions and Clouds” and “Trench Myths”          Myths and Legends of the First World War

N.B. Research Papers Due today.

Resources for Research

A catalogue ‘subject search for ‘World War: 1914-1918’ returned 856 entries. Though not all of these are cutting edge, the large number reflects an unusually strong collection, for Albion College. By extending your searches to MELCAT and using ILL (and JSTOR) you will be able to access all the current scholarship and a goodly number of primary sources.

I also have an extensive personal collection of primary and secondary sources relating to the Great War.

There are some good on-line resources as well – by this I mean collections of original film, photographs, and documents made available by international research institutions such as the Imperial War Museum, The Canadian War Museum and Canadian National Archives, and the Australian War Memorial. See the courseweb for a list.