Europe of the Dictators (Online)
Why were so many European countries ruled by dictators between the global conflicts of the twentieth century and how did this affect the lives of their peoples? Why did Europe descend into a second hugely destructive world war in 1939, just twenty years after the end of the first world war in 1918? This course aims to answer these vital questions.
Between the two world wars most countries in continental Europe experienced dictatorial rule, either of the left (Communism) or of the right (Fascism). This course analyses why the inter-war years were a period of such political extremism. It will investigate the distinctive features of Soviet Communist ideology and the impact of Lenin and Stalin on the USSR. The course will also analyse the so-called Fascist regimes of Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany and assess how and why their policies led to the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe. Finally, the course will compare and contrast Communist and Fascist rule to evaluate how far continental Europe between the wars can be called an age of totalitarian dictatorship.
For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.
1. Origins of dictatorship: World War One and its impact
2. The Russian revolutions and the rise of Lenin, 1917–24
3. Mussolini and the establishment of fascist dictatorship in Italy, 1918–29
4. Germany and the Weimar Republic, 1918–33
5. Stalin and the foundations of Stalinism, 1924–9
6. Hitler and the establishment of Nazi dictatorship, 1923–34
7. The dictatorships in action: Italy, Germany and the USSR in the 1930s – the politics of persuasion?
8. The dictatorships in action: Italy, Germany and the USSR in the 1930s – the politics of fear?
9. The gathering storm? Foreign policy and international relations in the 1930s
10. Comparing interwar dictatorships
We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.
To participate in this course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following book:
Kitchen, M., Europe Between the Wars 2nd Edition (Pearson Longman, Harlow, 2006) ISBN 0582894143
To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.
For more information on CATS point please click on the link below: http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/studentsupport/faq/cats.php
Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.
Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.
All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting both course assignments and actively participating in the course forums. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.
This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.
Home/EU fee: £255.00
Non-EU fee: £295.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00
Dr Kate Watson
Kate Watson teaches for the Department of Continuing Education, and previously the Open Univeristy. She has lectured and published on modern history and politics
This course aims to analyse why so many countries between the two world wars, but especially Russia, Italy and Germany, were ruled by dictatorial regimes, and to investigate both the nature of those societies and their relationship with the rest of Europe and the world.
Course Objectives: This course will enable participants to:
- assess the reasons for the establishment of dictatorial regimes;
- understand and evaluate how those societies were ruled and their impact on the lives of their peoples;
- analyse the foreign policies of the dictatorships;
- evaluate the common and distinctive features of dictatorial rule in the countries studied;
- develop a range of historical skills by evaluating primary and secondary sources, and the historiography of the period.
By the end of this course students will be expected to understand:
• The reasons that certain countries came under dictatorial rule;
• The common and distinctive features of life under dictatorial rule in the societies studied;
• The causes of the Second World War;
• The conclusions of recent research on European dictatorships.
By the end of this course students will be expected to have gained the following skills:
• To be able to analyse and evaluate a range of explanations for, and interpretations of, dictatorial rule in Europe between the wars;
• To write critical, balanced and informed assessment of key historical issues and communicate their ideas successfully;
• The ability to evaluate and interpret primary sources.
Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.
Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.
Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.
Level and demands
FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course
Sources of funding
Information on financial support