HIS420H1F: Russia’s Great Patriotic Wars

Fall 2001 Tuesdays, 2-4
SS 2101
Associate Professor Alison K. Smith Office: Sidney Smith Hall 2055
alison.smith@utoronto.ca Office Hours: Wednesdays 2-4
website: http://individual.utoronto.ca/aksmith (to make an appointment using a google account, please click here)

Course description:

Russia fought two “great patriotic” wars, one against Napoleon and his Grand Army in 1812, another against Hitler and the Third Reich between 1941-5. Both wars brought devastation of a previously unimagined extent to the country, both wars featured an initial retreat to the heartland of Russia, and both ended with a victorious Russian army pushing its enemy back to the West. Of course, the wars differed significantly in their scale, in the goals of the enemy, and in the status, capabilities, and policies of Russia itself. Despite these differences—and in some ways because of them—both became (and, in many ways, still serve as) rallying points for Russian nationalism, helping to protect the imperial Russian and Soviet regimes from internal disillusionment. In this seminar, we will examine these two wars and their effects on the people of Russia militarily, politically, socially, and economically, using memoirs, histories, music and film.

Required texts (available at the University Bookstore):
Vasily Grossman, A Writer at War
Elena Kozhina, Through the Burning Steppe:  A Memoir of Wartime Russia, 1942-1943
Nina Tumarkin, The Living and the Dead: The Rise and Fall of the Cult of World War II in Russia
Additional materials are available on line or on reserve at Robarts.

Marking Scheme:

  • class participation (15%) (this includes attendance [with books/readings in hand] as well as participation in discussions in class or in office hours)
  • one 4-5 page book review, due September 27 (20 %)
  • weekly reading summaries (1 page each week) (10 %)
  • one research proposal and bibliography, due October 21 (10 %)
  • one term-long research paper (due December 6) (45 %)

Marking of written assignments is based on accuracy and use of historical evidence, statement and development of a strong thesis, style, and grammar. Marking of participation is based first on your attendance in class, with readings in hand, as well as your participation in discussion of those readings.  If you have a really difficult time speaking up in class, please come see me.

Course Policies:
Be warned that plagiarism is a serious offense.  Read the university’s policies on academic dishonesty, located at http://www.governingcouncil.utoronto.ca/policies/behaveac.htm.  In this course, plagiarism (ask if you’re confused about what that means) can lead to failure, not on a single paper, but for the class as a whole.
For more information on avoiding plagiarism, see in particular the University’s information on “how not to plagiarize” at http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/using-sources/how-not-to-plagiarize.
Furthermore, students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to www.turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. The terms that apply to the University’s use of the Turnitin.com service are described on the Turnitin.com website.
Unexcused late papers or missed exams are also not acceptable.  If you find yourself in dire straits, or anticipate a conflict, discuss the matter with me ahead of time.  The night before something is due is not ahead of time.  Do not simply fail to turn in a paper and assume I’ll accept something late. 
The penalty for late work I have been informed about is three percentage points per day.
One final note:  please, when sending me an email, include “HIS420” in the subject line.

Course Outline:

***readings may require login through the University of Toronto libraries; you should be able to access them directly from an on-campus computer, or via the U of T wifi service; from home, you may need to go in through the database list at the library website***

September 13:  Introduction
September 20:

1812: Histories

  • D. C. B. Lieven, “Russia and the Defeat of Napoleon (1812-1814),” Kritika 7, no. 2 (Spring 2006): 283-308 (Project Muse)
  • sources list
September 27:

WWII:  Histories

  • David M. Glantz, “American Perspectives on Eastern Front Operations in the Second World War with Soviet Commentary,” Journal of Soviet Military Studies 1, no. 1 (1988): 108-132 (available here)
  • book review due
October 4:

1812: Sources (1)

  • Denis Davidov, In the Service of the Tsar Against Napoleon: The Memoirs of Denis Davidov, 1806-1814, Chapters 6-7 (Robarts reserve)
October 11:

1812: Sources (2)

  • Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, Book 11
October 18: No general class meeting:  Individual meetings to discuss research this week.
Research Proposal due (via email) Friday, October 21, by 4 pm
October 25:

WWII:  Sources (1)

  • Vasily Grossman, A Writer at War
November 1:

WWII: Sources (2)

  • Elena Kozhina, Through the Burning Steppe:  A Memoir of Wartime Russia, 1942-1943
November 15:

1812: Remembered

  • Alexander M. Martin, “Russia and the legacy of 1812, “ in The Cambridge History of Russia, vol. 2 (2006) (available here)
November 22:

WWII:  Remembered

  • Nina Tumarkin, The Living and the Dead: The Rise and Fall of the Cult of World War II in Russia
November 29:  The Cinema of War
December 6: final papers due