Charles S. Maier, PhD, Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History, Harvard University
The course World War and Society in the Twentieth Century: World War II is a thematic exploration of the war and its time through feature films, primary sources, and scholarly interpretations.
It seeks to provide a means for analyzing and evaluating what one reads or sees about World War II in terms of historical accuracy and for gaining a broader understanding of different perspectives. Themes include the impact of war on soldiers and civilians, on the home front, women in war, the Japanese and German viewpoints, and postwar issues. Films include Mrs. Miniver, The Pianist, The Winter War, So Proudly We Hail, Taking Sides, The Hiding Place, and The Cranes Are Flying.
The lecture videos
The recorded lectures are from the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences course Historical Study B-54, which was offered as HIST E-1890, an online course at Harvard Extension School.
Watch the lectures as streaming video or audio. Each lecture is 50 minutes.
Course Introduction: How Should We Think about WWII?
Shadow of WWI: Lessons to be Learned
From the Twenties to the Thirties
Hitler’s Agendas: Allied Appeasement
Hitler vs. Churchill
The Battle for France with Professor Higonnet
Japanese Strategy and Conquest
Roosevelt’s Objectives and Strategies
Stalin’s Strategic Choices
The End of the Beginning: Standoffs and Turning Points
The Search for Decision: U-Boats, Ultra, Bombing
Sinews of War: Labor, Production, Finance
Mobilizing Societies: War and Social Change
The Social Impact of War
Occupation, Resistance, Civil War
Occupation, Resistance, Civil War: II
Murdering the Jews of Europe
Strategies for Reconquest; The Deadliest Year
Ending the Japanese War—I
The End of Empires: Japanese and Colonial
The End of Empire; Origins of the Cold War
The End of Empire; Origins of the Cold War (continued)
Final Lecture: War, Memory, and Aftermath
If you enjoyed this free class, the Harvard Extension School offers a wide variety of courses in numerous fields. Search for classes and enroll for credit during the fall and spring registration periods.