HIST 20
France under the Nazis 1940-45: Democracy Abandoned, Antisemitism Unleashed Winter 2020

Cross-listed ASTR 20 / HIST 20
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

France was Europe’s cultural avatar in the 17th century, father of the Rights of Man in the 18th century, Art Capital of the World in the 19th Century, and essential in the 20th to victory in World War I. How did it find itself subservient to the dictates of a foreign ruling power in 1940 and helpless to prevent the usurpation of its democracy? How did France fail to protect the very rights of man that it had long-struggled to establish and achieve? In this course we will examine what happened politically and socially during the Vichy regime of 1940 to 1945. And when Germany’s hegemony was upended in 1945 with the victory of the Allies in World War II , how did the French explain to those allies, and to themselves, how France had achieved its salvation? To explain all this, we will examine break-through historical studies from the 1970s, novels written at the time of the occupation and popular today, films of the era and beyond, as well as examples of analyses of French and foreign thinkers following the war and continuing into this century. Classes will meet twice a week for 2-3 hours. Students will be responsible for daily reading of secondary sources in the reading packets. They will view on Glow films from the Vichy era and beyond and be asked to analyze and share their impressions. Each student will be assigned a novel set in Vichy times; they will prepare a concise report for the group and 5-page paper explaining how the novel confirmed or countered their impressions of the era. Adjunct Instructor Bio: Ms. Bowden graduated magna cum laude from Vassar College, studying European history there, and subsequently at Columbia University. She has taught history at independent schools in New York and in the Queen’s College graduate Education division.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 12
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation re readings and film topics, 5-page paper assessing assigned novel, thoughtful synopsis for fellow students
Prerequisites: none, though knowledge of French enriches the experience
Materials/Lab Fee: $36 plus cost of books
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ASTR 20 HIST 20

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