World War II History & Virtual Global Tour
WHEN: Beginning January 2018, probably Sunday afternoons [UPDATE: class finished in March.]
WHERE: Online teleconference (Zoom or other free equivalent)
In this interactive class, conducted entirely online, Dr. Sean Munger will take you on a virtual world tour (through Google Earth, free software) of major and minor sites of World War II, and give you the history, context, personalities, events, questions and interpretations of what you’ll be seeing and why you’re seeing it.
In six weekly sessions (eight if you choose the bonus classes) of two hours each, held online through simple “virtual meeting” tools freely available on the web, you and your fellow participants will receive in-depth historical analysis of the events of the war, their context and meaning, while seeing with your own eyes the important sites of World War II through your computer screen. The course is comprehensive in its treatment of the war, from the origins of the conflict up to and even beyond the surrender in 1945, to the Cold War and the aftermath. You will experience historical detail that you would have to read dozens of books to get. And you’ll see sites researched and chosen by Dr. Munger for their historical significance. You cannot get this experience from books, TV documentaries or YouTube…it’s like having a guided tour with a history professor, except it’s not boring and you don’t have to leave home.
This is not just a series of static video lectures. It’s an interactive class in real time. Discuss with your fellow participants! Ask questions! Follow up! All sources are provided. No “homework!”
Omaha Beach, Normandy, France. American troops landed here on June 6, 1944, one of the pivotal events of the Second World War. How did this terrain shape the events of the battle? You’ll find out.
This is a totally new concept in online teaching, combining history with geography through an online interface. The understanding you will get from this event is simply not available outside of a university (and in some cases not even there). You can’t get it from Ken Burns, PBS or the History Channel. [NOTE: there is no university or other scholastic credit associated with this course.]
Dr. Munger is deeply experienced in the online teaching of history, and making complex historical events understandable, interesting and real to learners of all ages and backgrounds, from high school to senior citizens.
- Class I: Origins & Background. What was World War II about? Why did it come? What were the stakes? What preceded it?
- Class II: Europe One. Poland campaign, the Blitzkrieg of 1940, Battle of France, Battle of Britain, collateral theaters like North Africa and the Middle East, up until roughly December 1941.
- Class III: Europe Two and Collateral Theaters. Germany’s war with the Soviet Union; collateral theaters, specifically including naval actions, Battle of the Atlantic. Ending roughly mid-1943.
- Class IV: Pacific One and Home Front. Japan’s war against China, Pearl Harbor, Midway, various island battles, again up until about mid-1943; also U.S. home front,.
- Class V: Europe Three. Italy (beginning mid-1943), Allied invasion of Europe in 1944 (D-Day), battles for Northwest Europe, the invasion of Germany, collapse of the Nazi regime, strategic bombing campaign, politics.
- Class VI: Pacific Two. Island battles (Iwo Jima, Okinawa, etc.), air and naval campaign against the Japanese, Manhattan Project, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Japanese surrender.
- Class VII, Bonus Class: The Holocaust. Tracing the Shoah (Holocaust) from the beginnings of Nazi anti-Semitism in the streets of Germany up until the hideous Final Solution.
- Class VIII, Bonus Class: The Aftermath. Origins of the Cold War, United Nations, how and why Germany was divided, Nuremburg and Tokyo war crimes trials, and finally how the war lives on in memory and geography.
This is the site of the Treblinka death camp, where at least 700,000 Jews and other innocents were murdered in Hitler’s ghastly “Final Solution.” Why did the Nazis choose this site? What is the meaning of what happened here? I hope to teach you.
Some Locations Featured:
I am still working out the contents of the course, but some of the places we will visit–and which you will hear about and see through your computer–include:
- Compiegne Forest, where the 1918 Armistice was signed…and where Hitler forced the French to surrender their country in 1940
- Hyde Park, the birthplace and childhood residence of Franklin D. Roosevelt
- Omaha, Utah, Sword and Juno Beaches, Normandy, France, where the Allies invaded Europe on D-Day
- Dunkirk, where hundreds of thousands of British troops were evacuated from the beaches in 1940
- Biggin Hill, the actual control room where RAF commanders fought and won the Battle of Britain
- Trinity Site, New Mexico, where the first nuclear weapon was detonated on July 16, 1945
- Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp where millions of Jews and other victims were exterminated on Hitler’s orders
- Gleiwitz Radio Tower, where the first casualties of the European war occurred on August 31, 1939
- USS Missouri, where Japanese delegates signed the unconditional surrender on September 2, 1945
- And many, many, many more.
Exact dates and times have not yet been worked out, but the course is likely to meet Sunday afternoons at 3:00-5:00 PM, Pacific time. All meetings are virtual and occur on the web. Meetings are recorded and playback is available for those who miss specific sessions. First meeting will likely be around January 14, 2018.
This is the conning tower of a U.S. Balao-class submarine, which helped to break Japanese naval power in the Pacific in 1944 and 1945. How did these weapons work? Why couldn’t the Japanese overcome them? You’ll learn all about them.
I taught a previous course online about the American Revolution. Here are some testimonials from students who took that course:
“As a long-time student of military history in general and the American Revolution in particular, I can say this was the most unique class I have ever taken. Not just because it was an online class, but because of the superb way the class explored the political, economical, and cultural causes of the war…The genius of Dr. Munger in putting this all together into a challenging but thoroughly delightful class gave us a refreshing departure from the mundane lectures of facts and dates usually associated with history courses. I fully enjoyed the class and would recommend anyone interested in history to partake of other course offerings by Dr. Munger.”
“Enjoyed the class very much. Learned things that had never crossed my mind as a discussion point. Definitely will take more classes from Sean, as he is an excellent teacher. Makes things interesting with lots of side notes.”
The cost to participate is $280 for the full flight of 8 classes ($35 per session), or $210 for the basic 6 classes (excluding the bonus classes).
More details will be coming soon!