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

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Joseph Lawson
  • Lecturer: Professor Daniel Siemens, Dr Samiksha Sehrawat, Dr Robert Dale
  • Teaching Assistant: Miss Yier Xu
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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 Second World War in Europe and Asia. An Overview
-The post-war international order: Origins and Implementation
-War crimes on trial: Allied Justice in Nuremberg and Tokyo
-Post-war justice from within: Who was a collaborator, and what happened to them?
-Post-war expectations and fears: Mentalities in the immediate post-war years
-Resettling refugees: Postwar societies and migration
-Reconstructing cities: Coventry, Stalingrad, and Shanghai
-Ongoing conflict in the USSR
-Ongoing conflict in Asia: The Chinese Civil War and the First Indochina War.
-Ongoing conflict in Germany: The creation of the two German successor states in 1949
-Decolonization in Asia: case studies from India and Vietnam
-Soldiers return to civilian life: Reintegration and its difficulties
-Wounded and traumatized: the lasting burdens of war
-Post-war social welfare initiatives
-Towards the European Economic Community. A Lesson from War?
-Reviews and conclusions

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion691:0069:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Pre-recorded videos + discussion boards. This forms part of student contact hours
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading661:0066:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00These will either be present-in-person, or online if public health circumstances do not allow.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study321:0032:00N/A
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
Essay1M40Source commentary (1500 words)
Essay1A60Final essay, 2000 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MStudents will have a chance to get feedback on a plan/draft of their final essays (up to 500 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The source commentary requires students to engage in an extended analysis of a single source, assessing their ability to understand its context, the creator's likely intentions and audience, and to show how the source might support or undermine historians' interpretations of the history in question.

The 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 submit drafts of their final essays as formative assessment.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

Reading Lists