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History: Europe


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


The course describes and analyses the main trends of political, economic, social and cultural developments in Europe in the 20th century. The focus is on the post-war period, allowing forward reflection and a link to the economics, politics and society of the second year.

1. The Age of Nationalism, 1850-1914
2. The West and the World, 1815-1914
3. World War I
4. The Interwar Years, 1919-1939
5. Soviet Communism and Italian Fascism before 1940
6. The Rise of the Nazis and WW II
7. Cold War Conflict and the rise of the European Union, 1945 – c.1965
8. Decolonization: Adjusting to a Diminished World Role
9. The Soviet Bloc, 1945-1985
10. Challenging the Postwar Order, c. 1960-c. 1975
11. Western Europe since c. 1975
12. The Revolutions of 1989 and After

Course objectives

Students acquire thorough knowledge of twentieth century European history from a ‘transnational’ perspective, understanding the relationship between political, economic and social developments.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; bi-weekly tutorials.

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Assessment method

  • Tutorials 30%

  • Midterm Exam 30%

  • Final Exam 40%


Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

John P. McKay, Bennett D. Hill, John Buckler etc., A History of Western Society, Volume 2: From the Age of Exploration to the Present, Tenth edition (2011). Isbn-13: 9780230121041


Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.