The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HIST3326 History of Modern Europe

Semester 1 (2021-2022)

Lecture TimeWednesday 10:30am - 12:15pm



Lecturer Noah SHUSTERMAN (

Teaching Assistant HE Ziyang, Naomi (

Course Description

This course will study the History of Europe during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, a period known as “Modern Europe,” (as opposed to “Contemporary Europe,” which covers the late twentieth century up to the present day). Modern Europe differs from other periods in that the people who lived through it were conscious of their own modernity, and frequently commented on it and interrogated what it meant to live in a society where so much was changing so quickly. We will begin the course with the Europe that emerged in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars and the first wave of industrialization, and the rest of what historians call the “long nineteenth century” that lasted until 1914. Topics will include the rise of mass culture and consumer society; the social changes that led to the modern labor movement and the rise of Marxism; the intellectual and artistic reactions to modernity; colonization and its impacts on Europe and on Europeans’ self-understanding. From there, we will go to the “short twentieth century” – the period from 1914 to 1991 – and study the major traumas of the first half of the century, including WWI, the Russian Revolution, the rise of totalitarianism, World War II, and the Holocaust, before finishing with the cold war and the relative prosperity of Western Europe during the following decades. As the final phase of the course will cover a period of history which the students will consider to be distant history like the rest of the course, but which the professor remembers living through, it is at this point that he will be begin to feel very, very old.



Week 1:  Introduction

Week 2: Industrialization, urbanization, and mass culture

Reading: Secondary

Blanning, ed The Oxford History of Modern Europe-  2. The Industrialization of Modern Europe 1750-1914 — Clive Trebilcock

Reading: Primary

Edward Jenner, Vaccination against Smallpox – via Jenner – gale eighteenth century collections online – Cases 1-5
the people’s charter –
factory texts –,

(Note: no class on 22 September)


Week 4: 1848 and the rise of Marxism


Reading: Secondary
The Nineteenth Century : Europe, 1789-1914, edited by T.C. W. Blanning  Ch 5 International politics, peace, and war, 1815–1914: The Vienna system, The system undermined and overthrown, 1848–1861

Reading: Primary
Engels- principles of communism –
Paris, 1848:
Irish Famine: Irish famine –
Rerum Novarum – 1-9, 14-15, 20, 23, 40 –


Week 5: Colonization

Reading: Secondary
The nineteenth century : Europe, 1789-1914, edited by T.C. W. Blanning ch 6 Overseas expansion, imperialism, and Empire, 1815–1914

Reading: Primary
John Staurt Mill, On Colonies and Colonization,


Week 6: World War I

Reading: Secondary
Tim Travers, The War in the Trenches (Pages: 213-227), from Gordon Martel, ed.,  A Companion to Europe 1900–1945, ed.

Reading: Primary
In Flanders Fields –
Dulce et Decorum Est –
All Quiet on the Western Front – Chapters 4 and 11 –
Ellen LaMotte, “The Backwash of War” – “Alone,” “Women and Wives.”


Week 7: Russian Revolution

Reading: Secondary
Companion, ” War and Revolution,” 243-258, and “The Socialist Experiment,” 292-308

Reading: Primary
Police report on Petrograd:
Lenin’s call to power:
Chernov’s speech

Oral History Project on the History of the Ukraine Famine, at Please read the English-language summaries found on pages 1167, 1172, 1177, 1440, 1447, 1452, 1513, 1518, 1622. Note that the bulk of this book is not in English. Note, too, that the on-line version of this text can be quite slow in loading.


Week 8: The Rise of Totalitarianism

Reading: Secondary
Blanning ed/The Great Civil War: European Politics, 1914-1945 — PAUL PRESTON

Reading: Primary
Gentile/Mussolini, “What is Fascism” –
Fred Thomas, To Tilt at Windmills, 5-32


Week 9: The Holocaust and after

Reading: Secondary
Companion, The Holocaust (Pages: 472-486)

Reading: Primary
Ofer and Weitzman, eds., Women in the Holocaust, 109-119; 273-284
Universal Declaration of Human Rights,


Week 10: Cold War Europe

Reading: Secondary
David Reynolds, Europe Divided and Reunited,” Blanning, ed.

Reading: Primary
Churchill, “Iron Curtain,”
Krushchev, UN speech: 94-115, 138-174;


Week 11: Decolonization

Reading: Secondary
Klaus Larres, Editor, A Companion to Europe since 1945: David R. Devereux, The End of Empires: Decolonization and its Repercussions (Pages: 113-132)

Reading: Primary
Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, conclusion  –
Ho Chi Minh, Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, September 2, 1945;



Week 12: 1968

Reading: Secondary
Gildea, et. al, Europe’s 1968: Voices of Revolt, “Revolutions,” “Gender and Sexuality,”

Reading: Primary
Havel, The Power of the Powerless
Eyewitness account of Paris 1968: Rue Gay-Lussac; May 13; The Sorbonne Soviet –
The Brezhnev Doctrine –
Phone conversation transcript, Brezhnev and Dubcek:


Week 13: 1989-1991

Reading: Secondary

Reading: Primary
The Black book of Bosnia, selections (pdf/blackboard)
Ronald Reagan, “Tear Down this Wall” (video) –
Havel speeches:  and


Assessment & Assignments

3 short quizzes @ 5 points, 10 points, 10 points on Weeks 4, 8, 12

At least one will include a map

You will not need to know every post-1991 state in Eastern Europe

Tutorial: 20 points

Primary Source write-ups on Blackboard Forum (3 per student): 15 points

Primary Source collection assignment: 20 points

Take-home final: 20 points


Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at

With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.

  • In the case of group projects, all members of the group should be asked to sign the declaration, each of whom is responsible and liable to disciplinary actions, irrespective of whether he/she has signed the declaration and whether he/she has contributed, directly or indirectly, to the problematic contents.
  • For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally text-based and submitted via VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be issued by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment.

Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.

Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.

The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g. to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained prior to the submission of the piece of work.

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