Module Catalogue 2022/23

HIS2317 : The Aftermath of War in Europe and Asia, 1945-56

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Joseph Lawson
  • Lecturer: Dr Robert Dale, Professor Daniel Siemens, Dr Samiksha Sehrawat
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module focuses on problems faced by societies in Europe and Asia in the aftermath of the Second World War. It aims to survey a broad range of countries, within about a decade after the end of the War.

Core themes include:
-Justice: How did war crimes trials work? What similarities and differences were there between the trials in Nuremberg and Tokyo? How did different countries deal with people accused of collaborating with an occupation regime?

-Ongoing conflict: How did the Second World War spawn or transform other conflicts that continued in its aftermath?

-Reconstruction and healing: How did societies reconstruct from the damage of the War? What happened to refugees, the wounded, and traumatized? How did soldiers reintegrate into civilian life? In what ways were post-War social welfare initiatives shaped by the legacy of the War?

-The post-war political order. The post-war decade saw a dramatic and rapid transformation of the global political order. In Asia, the European colonies in South and Southeast Asia, and Japanese colonies in East Asia all gained their independence; while in Europe, Cold War divisions emerged alongside plans for integration in Western Europe. The module considers how these transformations were shaped by the legacies of War.

These questions will be pursued comparatively. A core aim of the module is for students to learn how to conduct comparisons, to understand for example; when it is appropriate or inappropriate to use a comparative methodology, and the sorts of conclusions that can be drawn from comparative study.

Outline Of Syllabus

Outline syllabus, intended as a guide only (topics may differ slightly):
-The post-war international order: origins and implementation
-War crimes on trial: allied justice in Nuremberg and Tokyo
-Postwar justice and retribution: dealing with war criminals and collaborators in the USSR
-Dealing with collaborators and war criminals in China, Malaya, and the Philippines
-The Second World War: decolonization and the partition of India
-Ivan's peace: Demobilizing the Soviet Red Army in the wake of war
-Rising from the ruins: rebuilding Soviet cities
-The ruins of the Japanese empire in Southeast Asia, the return of the British empire, and the Malay Emergency
-The Cold War and its consequences in South Asia
-Development: Aid and planning in South Asia
-The Bandung spirit and non-alignment in South Asia
-At the heart of the Cold War: the creation of two German successor states in 1949
-Rebuilding the Soviet family and gender relations in the wage of war
-The Chinese Civil War
-New States in East and South East Asia: The two Chinas and two Vietnams
-Towards the European Community? Economic recovery and political stability in post-war western Europe
-Living democracy in Europe after 1945
-War and memory in East Asia
-Making sense of war: memorialization, monuments and museums in the former USSR
-Reviews and conclusions

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of this module, it is expected that students will be able to:

1. Understand the history of key events and processes after the Second World War in transnational and global perspective, and how these events continue to inform collective memory and popular culture in Europe and Asia until today.

2. Use multiple types of sources to understand why these events are often contested, in international politics as well as in the relevant historiography.

3. Understand that individual experience is often very different from what established national narratives, and that historiography can be part of a political struggle to write these diverse experiences “back in” these narratives.

4. Think critically about a variety of historical methods (social history, political history, gender history, urban history, legal history) and be able to apply them to the exploration of particular problems.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Over the course of this module, it is expected that students will be able to:

1. Develop comparisons between different countries examined in the module. This includes understanding comparative methodology; knowing what makes an appropriate comparison, when is it better not compare, what kinds of conclusions can be drawn from a comparison.

2. Evaluate the significance of primary sources from the contexts covered in the module. Students will develop skills in handling different sorts of primary sources, including political and administrative, as well as popular sources of evidence (including film and literature). No foreign language background or training is assumed, though students will gain an awareness of the importance of language skills for further comparative and transnational research should they wish to pursue this in postgraduate study or in a research-related career.

3. Contribute positively to group discussion and debate on a range of issues.

4. Conduct research on set problems, using library resources and online databases

5. Develop a written, evidence-based argument in the form of two written assignments

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00Two lectures per week
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion691:0069:00Researching, writing, and revising assignments: approx. 6 hours per week
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading661:0066:00Reading assigned for seminars and lectures: approx. 6 hours per week
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00One seminar per week
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study321:0032:00Independent reading and research
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

SEMINARS encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral presentation, interpersonal communication, problem-solving skills, research skills and adaptability.

LECTURES enable students to gain a wider sense of historical argument and debate and how such debates operate, which also allows them to develop comparisons between different historiographical debates.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M40Written assignment (1500 words)
Essay1A60Final essay (2000 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MFormative written exercise (up to 500 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written assignments will require students to examine primary sources, assessing their ability to understand context, the creators' likely intentions and audience, and to show how sources might support or undermine historians' interpretations of the history in question.
The final essay requires students to research an answer to set problems. It assesses their ability to synthesize information, examine secondary and primary sources critically, and present a coherent, evidence-based response to a problem.
Students will submit one piece of formative assessment as preparation for the summative assessment. This will give students a chance to test ideas and receive feedback.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. Where an exam is present, an alternative form of assessment will be set and where coursework is present, an alternative deadline will be set. Details of the alternative assessment will be provided by the module leader.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.