History 302

HIST 302
War in the Modern Age

Catalog Entry

HIST 302
War in the Modern Age
Three hours lecture: (3)

Prerequisite: Three hours of History at the 100 level.

General history of Western warfare, surveying the evolution of war, technology, and societies from the Middle Ages in Europe to the conflicts of the present-day.

Detailed Description of Content of Course
1. The Nature of Human Warfare:
    a. Definitions.
    b. “Primitive Warfare”
    c. “Civilized Warfare”
    d. War as a factor in societal advance and decline.
2. Non-western ways of war
    a. Chinese warfare.
    b. Warfare practiced by the Islamic states.
3. The Rise of Feudal Warfare in Europe.
4. The Decline of Feudal Warfare in Europe.
5. The First Military Revolution and the Rise of Nation-States
6. Eighteenth Century Warfare: An Age of Limited Warfare
7. Warfare in the Age of Republican Revolutions: North America / France
8. Developments at Sea
9. Warfare in the Industrial Age.
    a. Land
    b. Sea
10. World War I: Modern, Mass, Industrial War
    a. Pre-war plans and the coming of war.
    b. The trench deadlock and attempts to break the stalemate.
        1. Strategy and tactics.
        2. Technology
    c. Impact
11. Military Innovation Between the World Wars
12 World War II: Modern, Mass, Industrial War II
    a. The European War
    b. The Pacific War
    c. Impact
13. Nuclear Weapons Development and Deterrence Theory.
14. The New Limited Wars: Military, Political, and Social Consequences
    a. Korea.
    b. Vietnam. A Post-modern War?
        1. People’s Revolutionary War
        2. “Post-Industrial Warfare.”
    c. Persian Gulf Wars
15. Terrorism

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Although primarily a lecture course, class discussion is actively sought. Class lectures are supplemented by readings in the textbooks and research projects.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

1.    Students will practice thinking critically and analytically about historical issues, acquire a broader knowledge and deeper understanding of pertinent historical events and processes, and cultivate a familiarity with the concepts of historical argument and interpretation.
2.    Students will develop disciplinary research skills by designing strategies to locate and analyze primary and secondary source evidence, processing and organizing the resultant data, and composing proper citation and bibliographical entries.
3.    Students will apply their critical thinking, research, and compositional skills to the creation and presentation of thesis driven essays that discuss, for example, historical social, economic, political, and/or cultural developments and that address issues such as the causes and consequences of historical change and continuity.
4.    Students will be able to develop knowledge of the basic terms, major events, principal individuals, and main concepts in the history of western warfare.
5.    Students will demonstrate an understanding of the major problems and issues in the field of war studies.

Assessment Measures

Knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this course will be measured using an array of assessment tools that may include, among other things, class attendance and participation, written examinations, formal writing assignments of various types, and informal writing assignments. All exercises are designed to expand the student's ability to evaluate historical events and to develop his or her ability to compose persuasive arguments.

Other Course Information


Review and Approval
Date Action Reviewed By
October 2010 Reviewed and Approved by Sharon Roger Hepburn