Wars and Revolutions in Twentieth Century

Home/ Wars and Revolutions in Twentieth Century
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSUS1HS4354

Semester and Year Offered: Winter Semester 2019

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Aadil Zubair

Email of course coordinator: adil[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None


This course shall focus on the emergence of a new world order in the 20th century. Various events influenced this development. The two world wars played a crucial role in shaping the contemporary world. The course shall closely examine the origin, course and consequences of these two wars. The course would try and analyse the scale and complexity of the First World War. This war was unique in multiple ways: its use of technology, the scale of devastation, and loss of human life.

We would further explore the nature of the Russian and Chinese Revolutions. The diplomatic efforts made after the First World War, focused on preventing similar war in future, but as we know these significantly contributed to the Second World War. The role of the rise of Fascism and Nazism is equally important in understanding the origin of Second World War. Aggressive nationalism, coupled with suspicion, competitive capitalism and imperialism led to the Second World War. These components related to the War shall be analysed in all its dimensions.

The course shall end with examining these changes that emerged at the end of the Second World War with a detailed discussion on Cold war, European reconstruction and rise of Non-alignment. Towards the end, we would try and understand the Korean and Vietnamese war and further examine the end of Cold war leading way to the emergence of multipolar world.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate a broader understanding of the major transitions, processes and developments in the history of the twentieth century.
  2. Critically analyse and reflect upon the major ideologies, events and movements of the twentieth century and their historical interpretations.
  3. Connect the historical developments with contemporary global affairs and discuss their impact on society today.
  4. Develop strong writing and analytical skills to produce coherent and fluent arguments in the class discussions and assessments.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. Events Leading to the First World War
  2. First World War: scale, dimensions, issues, and problems.
  3. Treaties after the War
  4. Russian Revolution: nature, events and outcome
  5. Chinese Revolution
  6. Europe in inter-war period: rise of Fascism and Nazism
  7. Events leading to the Second World War
  8. The War and its consequences
  9. New World Order: two super powers and the Cold war.
  10. Korean and Vietnamese wars
  11. Non-alignment Movement
  12. Disintegration of the USSR, end of Cold war and emergence of a unipolar world

Assessment Details with weights:



Assessment Type




Home Assignment/Class Presentation

First week of February



Home Assignment/Class Presentation

Third Week of March



End Semester Exam

As per SUS Schedule



Essential Readings:

  • Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914-1991, Vintage, 1994.
  • C. A. Bayly, The Birth of Modern World, 1780-1914, Blackwell, 2004.
  • Michael Howard, Empires, Nations and Wars, Spell mount, 2007.
  • Chris Cook and John Stevenson, World History Since 1914, Routledge, 2005.
  • Rex Wade, The Russian Revolution 1917, CUP, 2005.
  • Neil Gregor, ed., Nazism, OUP, 2009.
  • Arjun Dev and Indira Arjun Dev, History of the World, Orient Blackswan, 2010
  • Martin Walker, The Cold War: A New History
  • Merriman, J., History of Modern Europe, Volume 2: From the French Revolution to
  • the Present. New York: WW Norton and Company 2004.
  • N. Davies, Europe: A History, New York, Harper Perennial, 1998.
  • Additional references:
  • Richard Sakawa, The Rise and Fall of Soviet Union, Routledge, 1999.
  • Gordon Martel, ed., A Companion to Europe, 1900-1945, Wily- Blackwell, 2011.
  • Evan Mawdsley, World War II: A New History, CUP, 2009
  • Gregory L. Freeze, Russia: A History, OUP, 2009.
  • Martyn Housden, Hitler- Study of a Revolutionary, Routledge, 2000
  • John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History
  • Jack Gray, Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1800s to 2000, OUP, 2002.
  • Stephen Lovell, Destination in Doubt: Russia Since 1989, Zed Book, London, 2009.
  • Patricia Knight. Mussolini and Fascism, Routledge, 2003.
  • Phillip M Bell and M. Gilbert. The World Since 1945: An International History, Bloomsbury Academic, 2017.
  • Films/Documentaries:
  • Epic History Chanel Documentaries (thematic)
  • Documentaries on the Great War (BBC)
  • Schindler’s List (Movie)
  • Life is Beautiful (Movie)
  • Downfall (Movie)
  • Dr. Strangelove (Movie)