HIST 2165 The Death of Democracy: Europe Between the World Wars (HA-AS, GLC-AS, HST-AS) (HEU)
Tuesday and Thursday: 1:00-2:15
Professor Cristina Florea
What is democracy? What does it need to thrive? When does it die? How do anti-liberal, authoritarian regimes emerge? What makes them tick? In 1921, a British liberal announced that democracy had already been accepted as the normal and natural form of government. World War I had delivered Europe’s old monarchies and autocracies a fatal blow. Three massive continental empires had fallen apart, making way to parliamentary democracies everywhere from Germany to Poland and the Balkans. Yet by the 1930s, few of these democracies were still standing. In the east, a new political experiment had culminated in the rise of a Soviet Empire. In Germany, the democratic elections of 1933 enabled Hitler’s rise to power and the growth of a regime unlike anything anyone had ever seen before. In Italy, Mussolini stamped parliamentary democracy under his foot, proclaiming the victory of totalitarianism. A variety of authoritarian regimes arose in between these extremes. They formed alliances and battled each other: at first in the Spanish Civil War and then in World War II. In this seminar, we will closely examine the rise and fall of democracies and anti-democratic regimes in Europe between the two world wars, in order to understand how democracy and authoritarianism are related and what kinds of challenges democracies have faced - both in the past and at present.
The image of Mein Kampf is a dust jacket. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org