The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Eric Hobsbawm once noted that in the course of the twentieth century 'more human beings had been killed or allowed to die by human decision that ever before in human history.' Europe was frequently at the forefront of this epoch of violence, during which it was ravaged by two world wars, wracked by the forces of revolution and counter-revolution, and scarred by the worst excesses of ethnic nationalism. This course introduces students to competing explanations for the emergence and radicalisation of political violence in Europe during this period, and draws on a series of geographically diverse case studies to explore themes such as total war, terrorism, genocide and paramilitarism.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2015.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate, through verbal and written assessments, a firm knowledge of the various forms of political violence that emerged in Europe during the twentieth century, and an understanding of the historical concepts used to explain and understand it.

2. Be capable of analysing and discussing appropriate historical themes and concepts with reference to specific case studies.

3. Show the ability to critically evaluate relevant primary and secondary sources, historiographical arguments and debates.


The course will explore a variety of themes and concepts in conjunction with a series of geographically diverse case studies. Topics covered may include total warfare (the two world wars), brutalisation and paramilitarism (Britain), revolution and counter-revolution (Spain), genocide and ethnic cleansing (the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust), terrorism (the Irish Republican Army and the Rote Armee Fraktion) and wars of decolonisation (Netherlands, East Indies).

Assumed knowledge

10 units of History at 1000 level plus 10 additional units in history, anthropology, sociology, gender studies, Aboriginal studies, English or politics

Assessment items

Written Assignment: One to three written assignments

Presentation: Tutorial presentation based on one of the weekly topics