Spring 2011

Poland: Heart of Europe's Twentieth Century

Listed in: European Studies, as EUST-71  |  History, as HIST-33


Catherine A. Epstein (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 33 [EU] and EUST 71.) Few places experienced the drama of Europe’s twentieth century as did Poland—a country imagined before World War I, created anew in 1918, and shifted west after World War II.  This course will cover the legacy of Poland’s eighteenth-century partitions; World War I; the Polish-Soviet war of 1919-1921; the interwar Polish state; World War II (including the Katyn massacre, the Holocaust, and the Warsaw Uprising); the imposition of communism after World War II; the growth of Solidarity; and revolution and the transition to post-communist society after 1989.  Themes will include nationalism and state-building; the role of Catholicism in Polish society; Poland’s attempts to assert itself against both Germany and Russia; and ethnic relations between Poles and Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Lithuanians.  Throughout, we will explore historical controversies surrounding these events and themes. Sources will include films, novels, memoirs, eyewitness accounts, government and other documents, and secondary sources.  Two class meetings per week. 

Spring semester.  Professor Epstein.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011