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

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Konstantina Maragkou
  • Lecturer: Dr Joseph Lawson, Dr Philip Garrett, Professor Alejandro Quiroga, Dr Robert Dale
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion691:0069:00Researching, writing, and revising assignments: approx. 6 hours per week
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00Two lectures 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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M35Written assignment (1500 words)
Essay2A65Final essay (2500 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. These are key skills that feed-forward to the second written assignment, which is a final essay that 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. The first written assignment and the feedback they receive thus prepares them directly for the second assignment.

Reading Lists