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HIST202: History of Europe, 1800 to the Present

Unit 7: Age of Anxiety   The 1919 Treaty of Versailles was intended to repair a war-weary Europe, but it actually became the leading cause of conflict in the postwar era.  Germany was humiliated by the reparations demanded by the Entente powers.  The newly established eastern European states did not accept the boundaries created for them.  The European world was so shaken by the war that many efforts at stabilization or organization were met with skepticism or violence.  In order to make sense of the new postwar landscape, writers, scientists, religious leaders, and philosophers developed new theories and ideas that were radically different from those that had dominated Europe before the war.

In this unit, we will study the literature, social science, and empirical philosophy that emerged out of the skeptical worldview fomented by the Great War.  We will also consider how the problematic Treaty of Versailles and the onset of the Great Depression in 1929 created an era of instability and confusion.

Unit 7 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 7.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 7.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 7.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 7.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 7.4: 2 hours

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Discuss why the Treaty of Versailles is considered a cause of the Second World War and assess the role of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and his Fourteen Points during the interwar period.
  • Identify the new theories and ideas in science and arts during the interwar period, and discuss the permanent tension between politics and aesthetics in these years.
  • Analyze the global political, social, and economic causes and consequences of the Great Depression.

7.1 Uncertainty in Modern Thought   - Reading: Harvard University: Prof. Ernest R. May’s “The Age of Anxiety, 1919-1939;” Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Twentieth Century Europe: “Lecture 8: The Age of Anxiety: Europe in the 1920s” Links: Harvard University: Prof. Ernest R. May’s “The Age of Anxiety, 1919-1939” (HTML); Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Twentieth Century Europe: “Lecture 8: The Age of Anxiety: Europe in the 1920s” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please read each webpage linked above in its entirety.  The first reading by Professor May will introduce you to the 1920s and 1930s, the so-called “Age of Anxiety.”  The second reading (by Dr. Kreis) will give you a sense of the range of intellectual and cultural reactions to World War I. 
 
Please note that these readings cover the topics outlined in subunits 7.1.1-7.1.5.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.1.1 Modernism   - Reading: CUNY, The College of Staten Island: Professor Catherine Lavender’s “Modernism—A Working Definition” Link: CUNY, The College of Staten Island: Professor Catherine Lavender’s “Modernism—A Working Definition” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please read this entry.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.1.2 Revival of Christianity   7.1.3 The New Physics   7.1.4 Freudian Psychology   7.1.5 Literature   - Reading: Poetry Foundation: T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” Link: Poetry Foundation: T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (HTML)
 
Instructions: One of T.S. Eliot’s earliest and most famous poems, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” it details the introspection of a narrator who examines the emptiness and soulless quality of the bleak social world surrounding him.  Eliot’s poem is a clear rejection of optimistic and solipsistic Victorian literature; the poem centers upon an alienated individual trying to make sense of a fragmented society.  Please read this poem in its entirety.
 
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7.2 Modern Art and Music   - Reading: HistoryDoctor.net: Dr. Larry E. Gates, Jr.’s “Modern Art and Music” and Corcoran Gallery of Art’s “Modernism: Designing a New World, 1914-1939” Links: HistoryDoctor.net: Dr. Larry E. Gates, Jr.’s “Modern Art and Music” (HTML) and Corcoran Gallery of Art’s “Modernism: Designing a New World, 1914-1939” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please read the entire HistoryDoctor.net webpage in order to get a good overview of the characteristics of Modern art and music.  Then, please click on the hyperlinks in the table of contents on the left side of the webpage, and read all five sections: “Modernism,” “Utopia,” “The Machine and Mass Production,” “Nature and the Healthy Body,” and “National Modernisms and Identity.”  Please note these readings cover topics in sections 7.2.1-7.2.3.
 
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7.2.1 Architecture and Design   7.2.2 Painting   7.2.3 Music   7.3 The Search for Peace and Stability   - Reading: HistoryDoctor.net: Dr. Larry E. Gates, Jr.’s “The Search for Peace and Stability” Link: HistoryDoctor.net: Dr. Larry E. Gates, Jr.’s “The Search for Peace and Stability” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please read the entire webpage in order to get a sense of the consequences of the Treaty of Versailles, resentment in Germany, the aftermath of the communist revolution in Russia, and a growing global economic crisis.  Please note that this reading addresses the topics outlines in sections 7.3.1-7.3.3.
 
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7.3.1 Consequences of the Versailles Treaty   7.3.2 Germany   7.3.3 Eastern Europe   - Lecture: Yale University: Dr. John Merriman’s “Lecture 20: Successor States of Eastern Europe” Link: Yale University: Dr. John Merriman’s “Lecture 20: Successor States of Eastern Europe” (YouTube)
 
Also available in:
HTML, Adobe Flash, Mp3 or QuickTime
iTunes U

 
Instructions:  Please watch the entire 50-minute lecture linked above.  In it, Dr. Merriman explains how World War I set the stage for division and ethnic violence in Central and Eastern Europe in the 1920s.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.4 The Great Depression   - Reading: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Prof. Cary Nelson’s “About the Great Depression,” “The Depression in the United States – An Overview,” “About The Dust Bowl,” and “A Depression Photo Essay” Links: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Prof. Cary Nelson’s “About the Great Depression,” “The Depression in the United States – An Overview,” “About The Dust Bowl,” and “A Depression Photo Essay” (HTML)
 
Instructions: These readings cover the entirety of subunit 7.4, but will be supplemented by additional readings below as well.  Please read Prof. Nelson’s entire article for a good overview of the Great Depression; pay special attention to the causes and responses to the Great Depression.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.4.1 The Global Economic Crisis   7.4.2 Mass Unemployment   - Reading: Clinch Valley College’s version of an excerpt from George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier Link: Clinch Valley College’s version of an excerpt from George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire entry.  This 1937 non-fiction work details the economically depressed areas of northern England.  Here, Orwell describes misery of the ubiquitous industrial slums.
 
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7.4.3 Responses to the Depression