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Course Details

 

Course Details

Course Code: HIST558 Course ID: 3808 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course examines the origins of World War I; the combatants, strategy and tactics, technological innovation vs. conservatism; the war in France; the war at sea; America's role; the peace settlement; and the occupation. While military aspects of the conflict are studied, the primary focus places the Great War in the context of European and World history, and specific areas include political and diplomatic developments, new developments in weapons technology, economic aspects of the war, and the impact of the war on the culture and social order of the nations involved in the struggle.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Start Month Session Weeks
06/28/2022 - 12/02/2022 12/05/2022 - 01/29/2023 December Fall 2022 Session D 8 Week session
08/29/2022 - 02/03/2023 02/06/2023 - 04/02/2023 February Winter 2023 Session I 8 Week session
10/31/2022 - 03/31/2023 04/03/2023 - 05/28/2023 April Spring 2023 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the political and diplomatic developments in Europe during the period from 1900 to 1920.
  2. Analyze the military campaigns of the Great War on all fronts.
  3. Evaluate the various new weapons technologies used in the war, and their impact on it.
  4. Critique the performance of military leaders in participant armies.
  5. Assess the role of the war in creating political instability and revolution.
  6. Evaluate the factors that led to victory for one side and defeat for the other.
  7. Deconstruct some of the common myths about the war.

There will be three types of graded activities in this course – Discussion Forum postings, Reading Opinion Essays, and a Research Proposal and Paper. The breakdown of each activity, in terms of points and percentage of the overall course grade, is given in the table at the end of this section. A brief description of each of these activities follows. For more complete information on the work, see the Assignments section. The Assignments section will have due dates and point values for the assignments, as well as instructions and samples of the assignments for viewing. All of the various assignments are intended to promote and provoke critical and analytical thinking on the part of the students, not simply to regurgitate facts. Assignments may be turned in before the required due date.

The Discussion topics are the most frequent of the graded assignments. There will be a total of eight different topics, one every week, beginning the first week. Note that students are required to post to both the Virtual Introduction and the first Discussion Topic by the end of Week 1. See the Course Outline section of this syllabus, as well as the Calendar and Discussions sections of the class site for the due dates. Participation in the discussion topics will be graded on both the number and the quality of a student’s postings. Students will be expected to post both an Initial Post as a Reply to the instructor’s original subject/questions, as well as at least two Responses / Replies to other student’s posts.

The Initial Post for a given topic will be due by Thursday of that week, while the Responses will be due the Sunday of the same week. The topics will be developed in part to encourage the students to do the assigned reading, but also to provoke further investigation, research and thought about the subjects. All Forum posts are expected to be substantive, and to reference readings, both the assigned texts as well as outside reading. For further information on the discussion groups and the expectations for them, see the Instructions in the Forums section.

The Reading Opinion Essays will be based on the various books assigned as course reading. Note that while these essays will discuss the books assigned, they are NOT traditional “book reviews”. The point of the Reading Opinion Essays is to discuss your personal reaction to the book – what you felt about it, what you liked and didn’t like, and why. These essays are not intended to be an objective analysis of the book, but rather a purely personal reaction to it. The purpose of these assignments is to help students understand and identify the degree to which their own personal reaction to a book influences their analysis of it.

The Reading Opinion Essays are to be a minimum of three full pages of text, exclusive of the required title page and any end matter. Complete instructions for the Essays may be found in the Writing Assignments / Opinion Essays folder in the Resources section of the class site.

The research proposal and paper constitutes the largest single portion of the graded assigned work. The proposal will be due at the end of Week 3, and the paper will be due at the end of the course, the end of Week 8. The paper will be a minimum of 15 pages of text, exclusive of title page, notes, or bibliography, although it may be longer. The paper must be about some aspect of the Great War period. The paper subject could be a biographical study, an examination of a battle or weapon, a look at a social, economic, or political aspect of this period – almost anything that relates to the period from the early 20th century through the Russian Revolution, as long as it ties into the Great War in some fashion.

Instructions for the paper and proposal, and an example of the format for the proposal can be found in the Assignments / Research Paper section of the class site. The annotated bibliography as well as the bibliographies in the course texts can serve as a starting point for the research for these papers. The paper should follow the appropriate guidelines for form and style listed in the Policies section of this syllabus. There is also a PDF file of the US Army’s Center for Military History’s official Writing Manual – an excellent resource for working on the paper.

For students with a more interactive bent, there is an option that can be used in place of the traditional research paper. This involves purchasing and installing a computer simulation, To End All Wars, available from Matrix Games. The student will be required to write two After Action Reports (AAR) based on this simulation, one covering the tutorial and one covering a campaign of the student’s choosing. The tutorial AAR is substituted for the proposal, and the AAR on the larger campaign substitutes for the research paper. The grade for these AARs is based not on the results of the simulation, but on how well the student reports on what has happened and what they learn from the experience. Further details on these optional alternate assignments can be found in the Game folder in the Resources section of the class site. If a student wishes to choose this option, they must inform the instructor before the end of Week 2. For further questions about this option, contact the instructor.

NameGrade %
Discussions 30.00 %
Virtual Introduction 1.20 %
Week 1: The Evolution of Total War 3.60 %
Week 2: Science and the Rise of Industrial War 3.60 %
Week 3: A Slide Into War? 3.60 %
Week 4: Hell on Earth? A View From the Trenches 3.60 %
Week 5: War on the Periphery 3.60 %
Week 6: Exporting Revolution 3.60 %
Week 7: Ally Turned Enemy 3.60 %
Week 8: A Twenty Year Cease Fire - the Treaty of Versailles 3.60 %
Reading Opinion Essays 30.00 %
Week 2 Textbook Opinion Essay # 1 - Herrmann 7.50 %
Week 4 Textbook Opinion Essay # 2 - Hamilton and Herwig 7.50 %
Week 6 Textbook Opinion Essay # 3 - Strachan 7.50 %
Week 8 Textbook Opinion Essay # 4 - Kinvig 7.50 %
Research Paper 40.00 %
Week 3 Paper Proposal 10.00 %
Week 8 Research Paper 30.00 %

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the political and diplomatic developments in Europe during the period from 1900 to 1920.
  2. Analyze the military campaigns of the Great War on all fronts.
  3. Evaluate the various new weapons technologies used in the war, and their impact on it.
  4. Critique the performance of military leaders in participant armies.
  5. Assess the role of the war in creating political instability and revolution.
  6. Evaluate the factors that led to victory for one side and defeat for the other.
  7. Deconstruct some of the common myths about the war.

Book Title:The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War, 2nd ed. - e-book available in the APUS Online Library
ISBN:9780198743125
Publication Info:Oxford University Press Lib
Author:Hew Strachan
Unit Cost:$31.35
 
Book Title:Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy
ISBN:9780465081851
Publication Info:Basic Books
Author:David Stevenson
Unit Cost:$26.35
Electronic ISBN:9780786738854
Electronic Unit Cost:$16.99
 
Book Title:The First World War: The Complete Series - Link provided inside the classroom.
ISBN:B00IS6WPT2
Author:Hew Strachan
Unit Cost:$28.91
 
Book Title:Churchill's Crusade: The British Invasion of Russia, 1918-1920 - e-book available in the APUS Online Library
ISBN:9781847250216
Publication Info:Continuum International Publishing Group Lib
Author:Kinvig, Clifford
Unit Cost:$34.35
 
Book Title:Decisions for War, 1914-1917 (Ebook available through the APUS Online Library)
ISBN:9780521545303
Publication Info:Cambridge University Press Lib
Author:Hamilton, Richard F. / Herwig, Holger H.
Unit Cost:$31.39
 
Book Title:The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War - e-book available in the APUS Online Library
ISBN:9780691015958
Publication Info:Princeton University Press Lib
Author:Herrmann, Dasvidd G.
Unit Cost:$64.08
 

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.