Total War: World War Two

Subject HIST20060 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture per week and a 1-hour tutorial for 11 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

8.5 hours per week: Total time commitment 102 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Steven Welch


Steven Welch

Subject Overview:

This subject will focus on the second total war of the twentieth century and will explore questions about the causes of armed conflict, the nature of total war, and some of the consequences (social, economic, cultural and political) of total war for modern European and global history. Among the topics which we will examine this semester are the following: the situation of Europe and Japan after World War I, the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany, interwar diplomacy and its failure to preserve peace, the origins of WWII in Asia and Europe, the barbarisation of warfare, the home front experiences in the conditions of total war, the Holocaust, and the legacy of total war.


Students who successfully complete this subject should...

  • understand the causes and nature of modern, total war and its impact on politics, society, economics and culture
  • have an understanding of some of the historiographical arguments on central themes in modern European history
  • develop the skills needed for basic historical analysis (e.g. practice in analyzing primary source documents)

An essay of 2000 words 50% (due mid-semester) and a two-hour final exam 50% (during exam period).

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five working days, no late assessment will be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A War to be Won. Fighting the Second World War (Williamson Murray and Allan Millett) Belknap, 2000

Subject readings will be available online

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should

  • Demonstrate research skills through competent use of the library and other information sources.
  • Show critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument.
  • Demonstrate understanding of social, ethical and cultural context through the contextualization of judgements, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities and by constructing an argument.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: European Studies
Hebrew Major
Hebrew and Jewish Studies
History Major
Jewish Studies
Jewish Studies
Related Breadth Track(s): Europe

Download PDF version.