History of Europe in the 20th Century

Spring 22




In this course we will explore the social, cultural, economic and political history of Europe in twentieth century. We will begin by analyzing the origins of the First World War and its traumatic impact. From there, we will examine the interwar years and the predominant ideologies that plunged the European continent into another global conflict in 1939-1945. Some of the central topics that will be examined in this section include the rise of totalitarian regimes and the role of anti-Semitism in interwar Europe, the Russian Revolution and the flourishing of avant-garde artistic movements in one of the most turbulent periods of contemporary history.
The second part of the course will survey the postwar reconstruction and the division of the continent into two opposing blocs. We will discuss the evolution of European integration process as well as the establishment of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, the popular uprising that took place on both sides of the Iron Curtain in the 1960s and the deep transformation experienced by European societies in those years. We will also look at the changing role of Europe in a global scenario radically transformed by the decolonization process.
The final section of the course will focus on the epochal changes set in motion by the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989: from the collapse of Communist bloc in Eastern Europe to the enlargement and consolidation of the European Union, up to the dramatic crisis of the Balkan Wars of 1992-1995. This section will also provide the opportunity to discuss major challenges recently emerged in a continent radically transformed by new migratory flows and an apparently unstoppable demographic decline. Frontal lectures will be integrated by film screenings. Taught in English.
Tommaso Pepe

Tommaso Pepe

Tommaso Pepe is a literary scholar working on the intersections that cross literature, memory, trauma and intercultural dialogue.