24 episodes

(HIST 202) This course offers a broad survey of modern European history, from the end of the Thirty Years' War to the aftermath of World War II. Along with the consideration of major events and figures such as the French Revolution and Napoleon, attention will be paid to the experience of ordinary people in times of upheaval and transition. The period will thus be viewed neither in terms of historical inevitability nor as a procession of great men, but rather through the lens of the complex interrelations between demographic change, political revolution, and cultural development. Textbook accounts will be accompanied by the study of exemplary works of art, literature, and cinema.

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

European Civilization, 1648-1945 - Video John Merriman

    • History
    • 4.3 • 78 Ratings

(HIST 202) This course offers a broad survey of modern European history, from the end of the Thirty Years' War to the aftermath of World War II. Along with the consideration of major events and figures such as the French Revolution and Napoleon, attention will be paid to the experience of ordinary people in times of upheaval and transition. The period will thus be viewed neither in terms of historical inevitability nor as a procession of great men, but rather through the lens of the complex interrelations between demographic change, political revolution, and cultural development. Textbook accounts will be accompanied by the study of exemplary works of art, literature, and cinema.

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

    • video
    24 - The Collapse of Communism and Global Challenges

    24 - The Collapse of Communism and Global Challenges

    The disintegration of the Soviet Union resulted from a number of different factors. Three important ones are nationalism among Soviet satellite states, democratic opposition movements, and economic crisis. Along with these elements, the role of Mikhail Gorbachev should not be discounted. Although his attempt to reform communism was rejected, his reformist positions as Soviet premier helped open the way for full-fledged political dissidence. One of the major challenges faced by Europe in the wake of the collapse of communism has been that posed by ethnic nationalism, a problem that erupted violently in the Balkans in the 1990s. Immigration and the defense of human rights are two problems that now confront the United States, as well as a United Europe.

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    22 - Fascists

    22 - Fascists

    While Nazi Germany's crimes were unprecedented, Adolf Hitler himself was in many respects a typical figure. An idle youth, of seemingly mediocre talents, his political career and passionate hatreds were formed by the experience of World War I. The rise of fascism in Germany, as elsewhere, must be understood in the context of a postwar climate of resentment and instability. Germany's economic crisis, in particular, led the middle classes to support National Socialism well before any other group. This resentment would find a ready outlet in the form of increasingly persecuted minority populations, above all the Jews. In considering Nazism against the backdrop of a more general wave of extreme rightwing and fascist political sentiment, it is important to note that the policies of the Third Reich were not only known to but also endorsed by the majority of the German population.

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    23 - Collaboration and Resistance in World War II

    23 - Collaboration and Resistance in World War II

    One of the principal myths concerning collaboration during World War II in France, as in other countries, is that the domestic collaborators did so despite themselves, or to prevent even greater atrocities. In fact, many French, Belgians, Hungarians, Poles, Dutch and others voluntarily and enthusiastically abetted the occupying Germans. This collaboration, inspired by anti-Semitism and xenophobia, often resulted in extremely zealous persecution of Jewish nationals, communists, and others. Along with the myth of reluctant collaboration, France has also been obliged to confront the myth of widespread resistance, promulgated in part by a victorious Charles de Gaulle. Many questions concerning collaboration and resistance still remain unresolved in formerly occupied European countries to this day.

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    21 - Stalinism

    21 - Stalinism

    One of the central questions in assessing Stalinism is whether or not the abuses of the latter were already present in the first years of the Russian Revolution. The archival evidence suggests that this is partly the case, and that even in its early stages Soviet Russia actively persecuted not just those who were believed to have profited unfairly, without laboring, but also non-Russian ethnic groups. Stalin, although not an ethnic Russian himself, was committed to the assimilation of national identity, and universal identification with the Soviet State. This commitment, coupled with his paranoia, lead to executions and deportations aimed at solidifying the state through exclusion of "undesirable" or politically suspect elements. Throughout years of economic hardship and violent purges, Soviet rhetoric consistently emphasized a glorious future in order to justify the miseries of the present. Such a future proved, in many ways, to be an illusion.

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    20 - Successor States of Eastern Europe

    20 - Successor States of Eastern Europe

    Contrary to the "Great Illusion" that the end of World War I heralded a new era of peace, the interwar period can be considered to form part of a Thirty Years' War, spanning the period from 1914 to 1945. In the wake of the Treaty of Versailles, Europe was divided both literally and figuratively, with the so-called revisionist powers frustrated over their new borders. One of the most significant and ultimately most pernicious debates at Versailles concerned the identity of states with ethnic majorities. For those nations that resented the new partition of Europe, ethnic minorities, and Jews in particular, furnished convenient scapegoats. The persecution of minority groups in Central and Eastern Europe following the First World War thus set the stage for the atrocities of World War II.

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    19 - The Romanovs and the Russian Revolution

    19 - The Romanovs and the Russian Revolution

    The period between the Russian Revolution of February 1917, which resulted in the overthrow of the autocracy and the establishment of a provisional government, and the Bolshevik Revolution in October of that same year, offers an instructive example of revolutionary processes at work. During this interval, the fate of Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra, was bound up in the struggle for power amongst competing political factions in Russia. Until his death, Nicholas was convinced that the Russian people would rescue him from his captors. Such a belief would prove to be delusional, and the efforts on the part of liberals, socialists, and some Bolsheviks to arrange for a trial would fail to save the czar from the verdict of history.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
78 Ratings

78 Ratings

Joe of Beverly Hills ,

Fabulous

Professor Merriman is a wonderfully engaging teacher. His enthusiasm for European history and his energy are infectious. His occasional anecdotes about his colorful youth are a bonus.

Sequiter1 ,

A frantic lecture on European history

If you like the topic, this is a worthy lecture series tracing the macro-level political, economic, and social themes running through European history in the centuries leading up to the modern era.

Personally, I found the lecturer’s style grating: he frantically chasing tangents of thought as he flutters between large concepts and small, overly-minute details. A typical five minute segment will include a brief, fluttering focus on half a dozen cities or countries intermixed with comments on some disconnected details or tangential comments.

It is as if the professor’s mind is racing three steps ahead of him, and he’s rushing to catch it.

On the one hand, I love the breath of knowledge. I the other, I would really appreciate a more settled, grounded delivery of the content. It’s not just a style preference — I do think the disarrayed delivery detracts from the e comprehensibility of the information.

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