Course: European Civiliization (1648-1945) with John Merriman Dnatube

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Lec 1- Introduction to European Civilization

Lec 1- Introduction. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) The course will concern European history from 1648 to 1945. The assigned readings include both standard historical texts and works of fiction, as well as films. Although the period in question encompasses many monumental events and "great men," attention will also be paid to the development of themes over the long term and the...
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Lec 2 - Absolutism and the State

Lec 2 - Absolutism and the State. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) The rise of absolutism in Europe must be understood in the context of insecurity attending the religious wars of the first half of the seventeenth century, and the Thirty Years' War in particular. Faced with the unprecedented brutality and devastation of these conflicts, European nobles and landowners were...
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Lec 3 - Dutch and British Exceptionalism

Lec 3 - Dutch and British Exceptionalism. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) Several reasons can be found to explain why Great Britain and the Netherlands did not follow the other major European powers of the seventeenth century in adopting absolutist rule. Chief among these were the presence of a relatively large middle class, with a vested interest in preserving independence from...
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Lec 4 - Peter the Great

Lec 4 - Peter the Great. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) Peter the Great's historical significance stems not only from his military ambitions and the great expansion of the Russian Empire under his supervision, but also from his efforts to introduce secular, Western customs and ideas into Russian culture. Despite his notorious personal brutality, Peter's enthusiasm for science...
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Lec 5 - The Enlightenment and the Public ...

Lec 5 - The Enlightenment and the Public Sphere. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) While the major philosophical projects of the Enlightenment are associated with the names of individual thinkers such as Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire, the cultural transformation in France in the years leading up to the Revolution should also be understood in the context of the public sphere...
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Lec 6 - Maximilien Robespierre and the F ...

Lec 6 - Maximilien Robespierre and the French Revolution. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) Robespierre's ascetic personal life and severe philosophy of political engagement are attributed by some to his difficult childhood. As a revolutionary, one of his most significant insights was that the Revolution was threatened not only by France's military adversaries abroad, but also by...
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Lec 7 - Napoleon

Lec 7 - Napoleon. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) One way of understanding Napoleon's life is through attention to his Corsican origins. Although Napoleon himself would later disavow his earlier identification with the island in favor of French identity, many of his actions and attitudes agree with stereotypical notions of Corsican culture. Did Napoleon inaugurate the era of...
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Lec 8 - Industrial Revolutions

Lec 8 - Industrial Revolutions. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) The Industrial Revolution was for a long time treated as a decisive break in which some countries, specifically England, innovated and progressed rapidly while others were left behind. This type of analysis lead many historians to overlook the more gradual process of industrialization in countries like France, and...
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Lec 9 - Middle Classes

Lec 9 - Middle Classes. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) The nineteenth century in Europe is, in many ways, synonymous with the rise of the bourgeoisie. It is misleading, however, to consider this newly dominant middle class as a homogenous group; rather, the century may be more accurately described in terms of the rise of plural middle classes. While the classes comprising this...
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Lec 10 - Popular Protest

Lec 10 - Popular Protest. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) Collective violence, in the form of popular protest, was one of the principal ways in which people resisted the expansion of capitalism and the state throughout the nineteenth century. The nature of this protest can be charted through three different, but related examples: grain riots across Europe in the first half of the...
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Lec 11 - Why no Revolution in 1848 in Br ...

Lec 11 - Why no Revolution in 1848 in Britain. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) Revolutions occur when a critical mass of people come together to make specific demands upon their government. They invariably involve an increase in popular involvement in the political process. One of the central questions concerning 1848, a year in which almost every major European nation faced a...
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Lec 12 - Why no Revolution in 1848 in Br ...

Lec 12 - Why no Revolution in 1848 in Britain. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) Revolutions occur when a critical mass of people come together to make specific demands upon their government. They invariably involve an increase in popular involvement in the political process. One of the central questions concerning 1848, a year in which almost every major European nation faced a...
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Lec 13 - Nationalism

Lec 13 - Nationalism. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) In light of the many ethnic and national conflicts of the twentieth century, the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 appears less surprising than the fact that it remained intact for so long. National identity is not an essential characteristic of peoples, and in many cases in Europe it is a relatively recent...
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Lec 14 - Radicals

Lec 14 - Radicals. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) Socialism in the nineteenth century can be divided into two different strains of thought, reformist and revolutionary. While reformist socialists believed in changing the State through legal activity, such as voting, revolutionary socialists viewed such measures as ineffective and perhaps even complicit in maintaining the status...
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Lec 15 - Imperialists and Boy Scouts

Lec 15 - Imperialists and Boy Scouts. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) The boom in European colonial expansion in the second half of the nineteenth century, the so-called New Imperialism, can be seen to follow from three principle factors, in ascending order of importance: religious proselytizing, profit, and inter-imperial political strategy. With respect to the latter concern,...
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Lec 16 - The Coming of the Great War

Lec 16 - The Coming of the Great War. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) If the early years of the twentieth century were marked by a general consensus that a major war was impending, no similar consensus existed concerning the likely form that war would take. Not only the carnage of World War I, but also the nature of its alliances would have been difficult to imagine. Indeed, in...
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Lec 17 - War in the Trenches

Lec 17 - War in the Trenches. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) With the failure of Germany's offensive strategy, WWI became a war of defense, in which trenches played a major role. The use of trenches and barbed wire, coupled with the deployment of new, more deadly forms of artillery, created extremely bloody stalemate situations. The hopelessness of this arrangement resulted in a...
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Lec 18 - Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourn ...

Lec 18 - Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning (Guest Lecture by Jay Winters). European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) As a result of World War I, Europe had a different understanding of war in the twentieth century than the United States. One of the most important ways in which the First World War was experienced on the continent and in Britain was through commemoration. By means of both...
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Lec 19 - The Romanovs and the Russian Re ...

Lec 19 - The Romanovs and the Russian Revolution. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) The period between the Russian Revolution of February 1917, which resulted in the overthrow of the autocracy and the establishment of a provisional government, and the Bolshevik Revolution in October of that same year, offers an instructive example of revolutionary processes at work. During this...
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Lec 20 - Successor States of Eastern Europe

Lec 20 - Successor States of Eastern Europe. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) Contrary to the "Great Illusion" that the end of World War I heralded a new era of peace, the interwar period can be considered to form part of a Thirty Years' War, spanning the period from 1914 to 1945. In the wake of the Treaty of Versailles, Europe was divided both literally and figuratively, with the...
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Lec 21 - Stalinism

Lec 21 - Stalinism. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) One of the central questions in assessing Stalinism is whether or not the abuses of the latter were already present in the first years of the Russian Revolution. The archival evidence suggests that this is partly the case, and that even in its early stages Soviet Russia actively persecuted not just those who were believed to...
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Lec 22 - Fascists

Lec 22 - Fascists. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) While Nazi Germany's crimes were unprecedented, Adolf Hitler himself was in many respects a typical figure. An idle youth, of seemingly mediocre talents, his political career and passionate hatreds were formed by the experience of World War I. The rise of fascism in Germany, as elsewhere, must be understood in the context of a...
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Lec 23 - Collaboration and Resistance in ...

Lec 23 - Collaboration and Resistance in World War II. European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) One of the principal myths concerning collaboration during World War II in France, as in other countries, is that the domestic collaborators did so despite themselves, or to prevent even greater atrocities. In fact, many French, Belgians, Hungarians, Poles, Dutch and others voluntarily and...
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Lec 24 - The Collapse of Communism and G ...

European Civilization, 1648-1945 (HIST 202) The disintegration of the Soviet Union resulted from a number of different factors. Three important ones are nationalism among Soviet satellite states, democratic opposition movements, and economic crisis. Along with these elements, the role of Mikhail Gorbachev should not be discounted. Although his attempt to reform communism was rejected, his...

European Civiliization (1648-1945) with John Merriman


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This course offers a broad survey of modern European history, from the end of the Thirty Years' War to the aftermath of World War II. Along with the consideration of major events and figures such as the French Revolution and Napoleon, attention will be paid to the experience of ordinary people in times of upheaval and transition. The period will thus be viewed neither in terms of historical inevitability nor as a procession of great men, but rather through the lens of the complex interrelations
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COURSE NAME: European Civiliization (1648-1945) with John Merriman

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