Spring 2023 - HIST 338 OL01

World War II (4)

Class Number: 7640

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Location: TBA

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history. Recommended: HIST 225.



An introduction to the history of the origins and course of the second world war.


The Second World War was a conflagration that touched all continents, devastated entire countries, and left millions dead and displaced, sometimes permanently. Its destruction was so pervasive that it renewed the international community’s commitment to a United Nations and ushered in the era of relative peace that continues today – no general European or world war has broken out since 1945. This commitment was underscored by the human experience of total war, which was effectively, and lethally, implemented by various belligerent countries between 1937 and 1945. This course examines the concept of total war, how different countries attempted to achieve a total-war economy leading up to and during the military confrontation, how the war affected both combatants and non-combatants in diverse theatres, the ways that total war lent itself to the perpetration of atrocities in both Europe and Asia, and how this war is remembered and commemorated in different places around the globe.


  • Short Paper 10%
  • Quizzes – (three quizzes total, each worth 10%) 30%
  • Discussion Board Portfolio (in two installments, each worth 15%) 30%
  • Final Research Project 30%


Please note: with the exception of my weekly office hours on Zoom and the quizzes, this course will be delivered entirely asynchronously. There will be no live meeting sessions. Lectures are pre-recorded and available via Canvas. Quizzes will be scheduled for specific dates and students will have to complete them on those dates (there will be some flexibility with the start time).



Cambridge History of the Second World War, in three volumes (2015) (available free online via SFU library)

Plus various additional readings made available via Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html