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Out of Ashes: Europe, 1945 to the 1960s


Module description

Since the end of the Cold War, the period after the Second World War has come back into view as a time of flux, when European countries, which emerged physically and morally devastated, began to rebuild themselves. How could this reconstruction proceed so dramatically and, by some measures, successfully?

Seminars will focus on the enormous challenges facing European states in the years after 1945. The course will draw on the histories of western and eastern, and also northern and southern, Europe - often still told in isolation. At the same time, we will consider how Europe’s composition, borders and identity were themselves sources of conflict and debate. Seminars will also trace some of the many processes that connected Europeans with the rest of the world, including via migration and population upheavals, economic reconstruction programmes and decolonisation.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Periodising the post-war
  • Reconstruction as an international problem
  • Fascism and its aftermath
  • Communism and anti-Communism
  • Populations in flux
  • Welfare states, and families
  • European peripheries
  • Economic miracles
  • Europeans and the Third World
  • Regionalism: ‘Europe’, then and now