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HIS3002 The Twentieth Century

Semester 2, 2022 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities & Communication
Student contribution band : 2021 Grandfather Funding Cl 1
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 30 June 2022


Examiner: Jayne Persian


Pre-requisite: Any two courses of History or International Relations


The twentieth century is central to students who wish to understand history, international relations and the contemporary world. The recent global past is also a notable content area in schools’ Modern History syllabus, and the course is therefore crucial for intending secondary teachers. Beyond content-specific knowledge, the course will provide students with advanced skills in critical thinking, enabling future research and life-long learning.

This subject will focus on the only total war of the twentieth century and will explore questions about the causes of armed conflict, the nature of total war, and some of the consequences (social, economic, cultural and political) of total war for modern European, Asian and global history. Students examine topics such as: the situation of Europe and Japan after World War One; the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany; interwar diplomacy and its failure to preserve peace; the origins of World War Two in Asia and Europe; the barbarism of warfare; the Holocaust; and the legacy of total war, including the development of international human rights legislation and the Cold War.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course students should have:

  1. Identify the principal figures and significant events of World War Two;
  2. Describe the concept of total war and examine its impact on politics, society, economics and culture;
  3. Identify some of the historiographical arguments on topics related to World War Two and the practice of total war;
  4. Analyse primary and secondary sources in constructing historiographical arguments;
  5. Apply research skills using printed and electronic sources in preparation of a critical secondary source analysis;
  6. Apply skills of critical thinking through group discussion of subject readings and preparation of written assessment.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The Nineteenth Century 8.37
2. The First World War 8.33
3. Interwar 8.33
4. Origins of World War Two 8.33
5. War: 1939-1941 8.33
6. Total War: 1942-1945 8.33
7. The Holocaust 8.33
8. The Pacific War: 1942-1945 8.33
9. Atomic Warfare 8.33
10. A New International Order: The Soviet Bloc & the United Nations 8.33
11. Asia: Decolonisation 8.33
12. The Cold War 8.33

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

Evan Mawdsley & John Robert Ferris 2015, The Cambridge History of the Second World War, Vol. 1, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
(Available online via the USQ Library.)
Richard Bosworth & Joseph Maiolo 2015, The Cambridge History of the Second World War, Vol. 2, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
(Available online via the USQ Library.)

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Written Quiz A1 of 2 No 10 1,3
Assignments Written Essay 1 No 20 2,4,5,6
Assignments Written Quiz A2 of 2 No 10 1,3
Assignments Written Essay 2 No 40 2,4,5,6
Assignments Written Online forums No 20 1,2,3,4,5,6
Date printed 30 June 2022