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Internationalism and International Organisations in twentieth-century Europe


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Professor Jessica Reinisch
  • Assessment: coursework of 1000 words (20%) and a 4000-word essay (80%)

Module description

In this course we explore ideas and forms of 'internationalism', international order and supra-national government, in the broader context of war, revolution, nationalism and ethnic conflict in twentieth-century Europe.

Interwar and post-war Europe saw a series of challenges to state sovereignty and the inauguration of a number of international and non-governmental organisations, but how novel and how important were they really? Drawing upon a range of primary and secondary texts we will examine some of the international organisations that emerged in the aftermath of the First World War and evaluate their successes, limitations and struggles. In the second half of the course we will reflect upon the consequences of the subsequent rise of nationalism, the new waves of ethnic and genocidal conflict and the collapse of the international order, and dissect the solutions for international peace and stability contained in the new post-war settlement of the 1940s.

Finally, we will analyse the extent to which earlier precedents shaped the post-1945 era of international organisations in Europe. Throughout the course we will debate the role and relevance of 'internationalism' in modern European history and the benefits and drawbacks of writing international or transnational, rather than national, history.