World War and Society in the Twentieth Century: World War II Open Learning Course

The free video lectures of this course are made available as part of Harvard Extension School's Opening Learning Initiative.

About the Course

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. MiniverThe PianistThe Winter WarSo Proudly We HailTaking SidesThe Hiding Place, and The Cranes Are Flying.

Harvard Faculty

Charles S. Maier, Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History, Harvard University. Maier has published several books, including Among Empires. He has served as director of the Center for European Studies and as chair of the undergraduate social studies program. He teaches undergraduate courses on world history in the modern era and a course on international history with Niall Ferguson.

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.

Lecture 1

Course Intro: How Should We Think About the WWII?, Lecture republished from 2008.

Lecture 2

Shadow of WWI: 'Lessons' to be Learned, Republished from 2008

Lecture 3

From the Twenties to the Thirties, Republished from 2008

Lecture 4

Hitler's Agendas: Allied Appeasement, Republished from 2008

Lecture 5

Hitler vs Churchill, Republished from 2008

Lecture 6

The Battle for France with Professor Higonnet, Republished from 2008

Lecture 7

Japanese Strategy and Conquest, Republished from 2008

Lecture 8

Roosevelt's Objectives and Strategies, Republished from 2008

Lecture 9

Stalin's Strategic Choices, Republished from 2008

Lecture 10

The End of the Beginning: Standoffs and Turning Points, Republished from 2008

Lecture 11

The Search for Decision: U-Boats, Ultra, Bombing, Republished from 2008

Lecture 12

"Sinews of War:" Labor, Production, Finance, Republished from 2008

Lecture 13

Mobilizing Societies: War and Social Change, Republished from 2008

Lecture 14

The Social Impact of War, Republished from 2008

Lecture 15

America's War, Republished from 2008

Lecture 16

Occupation, Resistance, Civil War, Republished from 2008

Lecture 17

Occupation, Resistance, Civil Wars: II, Republished from 2008

Lecture 18

Murdering the Jews of Europe, Republished from 2008

Lecture 19

Strategies for Reconquest; The Deadiest Year, Republished from 2008

Lecture 20

Ending the Japanese War - I, Republished from 2008

Lecture 21

The End of Empires: Japanese and Colonial, Republished from 2008

Lecture 22

The End of Empire; Orgins of the Cold War, Republished from 2008

Lecture 23

The End of Empire; Origins of the Cold War (cont'd), Republished from 2008

Lecture 24

Final Lecture: War, Memory and Aftermath, Republished from 2008

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