HIST 245 The U.S. in World Affairs 1898 to Present • 5 Cr.
Examines U.S. foreign policy since the nation's rise to world power status in 1898. Students investigate both external and internal factors influencing foreign policy. May be used as social science or humanities credit, not both, at BC.
After completing this class, students should be able to:
- Through written essays and verbal class discussion, successful students will analyze relevant causes and effects in addressing such questions as how and why the United States emerged as a great power just before 1900; what the most realistic assumptions for U.S. policy-makers were; why the United States entered World War I; why diplomacy of the 1920’s, while somewhat progressive, was inadequate; why the Great Depression occurred; reasons for U.S. intervention in World War II; why the Cold War began; why some cold War policies were more effective than others; why a line of Presidents were responsible for the Vietnam intervention; why the economy was in trouble in the 1970s and why it recovered; whether Reagan policies were effective in the Cold War; what let to various confrontations and negotiations over the Middle East.
- Successful students will present accurate timelines in written narrative forms (in written and oral analysis), such as exams or extended essays (including oral discussions, tests, and papers). They will be able to compare the timing of such events and developments as the growth of U.S. power and self-assertive policies early in the 1900s; events leading to intervention in World War I and World War II; basic facts of World War II; the line of Presidents and the Cold War policies since the war; and major economic problems faced by policy-makers
- Successful students will understand and describe the impact of domestic political and economic developments on foreign policy, such as Progressive or racist assumptions early in the century; the roots of in the class isolationism; the Depression; the quest to invest and to trade; and the Presidents’ political needs and ambitions that have helped shape foreign policy.
- Successful students will evaluate evidence and construct cogent, logical arguments in response to questions of both interpretation and content on such items as the Panama Canal, the Lusitania disaster, the Red Scare, the Crash, the China Incident of 1937, Munich, Pearl Harbor, the Korean War, the Sputnik scare, Kennedy’s posture of “flexible response,” Vietnam escalation, the Yom Kippur War, détente, Reagan-Gorbachev summits, and the Gulf War, thereby demonstrating the use of evidences in historical study. They will display this ability on written exams, assigned essays, and discussions.
- Successful students will investigate primary source materials such as memoirs, policy statements, and speeches, learning to assess them in historical context and bringing analysis of the sources to bear in such issues as those listed above.
- Successful students will recognize historiographical debates and problems such as the reasons for the rise of the United States world power, reasons for the U.S. entry to World War II and the use of the atomic bomb in that war; and origins of the cold War.