History of International Politics

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
In order to provide students with several tools to better understand the current state of Euro-American relations, the course will analyze the history of the political, economic and cultural relations between the US and the European countries in the frame of the wider international developments of the 20th century. In particular, the course will explore the cooperation, competition and conflict factors that have shaped the transatlantic relations since 1898 up to present days; particular attention will be therefore devoted both to bilateral relations between the US and the major European countries, and to relations between the US and the European Community as part of the larger Atlantic Community.
Expected learning outcomes
With the aim of providing students with the ability to apply their acquired knowledge to the analysis of the complexity of the present world, the course will privilege a critical examination of the most qualified trends in historiography and a rigorous analysis of the available primary sources, also through the assignment of original research papers.
Course syllabus and organization

Unique edition

Lesson period
Second trimester
The first unit will focus on international relations between Europe and the United States since the end of the 19th century up to the Second World War, with particular attention to the origins and the evolution of the Anglo-American special relationship. The following will be analyzed: American imperialism, its characters and implications on relations between the Old and the New world; the inheritances of the First World War on relations between the US and the UK; British contribution to the League of Nations project; British and American behaviour with regards to authoritarianism and totalitarianism in Europe and in the Pacific; how much personalities mattered in international politics between the 1920s and the 1940s, focusing on the personalities of Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt and their staff.
The second unit will focus on international relations between Europe and the Unites States during the first decades of the Cold War. Thanks to primary sources the following will be analyzed: political, economic and cultural cooperation between NATO members; how much Labour Party in Great Britain and personalities such as that of Ernst Bevin mattered in forging British post-war policy and British-American relationship; the moments of strength and weakness in the special relationship; British and American policies towards others countries and regions such as China, the Middle East and, in more general terms, the newly independent States; the special relationship in the years of Dwight Eisenhower and John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
The third unit will focus on international relations between the United States and Europe in the framework of the "second European integration", from the Great Detente years to the "transatlantic Drift" after 2001. In particular, the unit will analyze the evolution of the special relationship after the end of the Cold War and how the UK and the US acted when facing new conflicts such as the Gulf and the Kosovo wars.
Prerequisites, exams and assessment
A basic knowledge of Contemporary History, of its main actors and events that characterized international history during the 20th Century is required
Teaching methods
Classes will be frontal lectures conducted with the support of telematic instruments, methodological seminars, laboratories, seminars with experts, analysis of historical documentaries and movies
Teaching resources and bibliography
Mariele Merlati, Guerre umanitarie, Realpolitik e Special Relationship. La Gran Bretagna e il conflitto ispano-americano del 1898. EUROSTUDIUM3W, vol. n. 45, p. 100-115, 2017 (http://www.eurostudium.eu/Eurostudium45/merlati.pdf)
Richie Ovendale, Anglo-American Relations in the Twentieth Century, MacMillan 1998
Jussi M. Hanhimaki, Benedikt Schoenborn, Barbara Zanchetta (a cura di), Transatlantic Relations since 1945, Routledge, New York, 2012
John Dumbrell, A Special Relationship. Anglo-American Relations in the Cold War and After, Palgrave Macmillan, 2001
Ennio Di Nolfo, Il mondo atlantico e la globalizzazione. Europa e Stati Uniti: storia, economia e politica, Mondadori Milano 2014
Attending students:
In addition to the book-texts indicated above, attending students are required to be familiar with the content examined during classes (historical literature, primary and secondary sources, diplomatic documents, press, memoirs and so on). All content will be made available to the class on Professor Merlati's Ariel site.
The final exam will be an oral one. Students will be asked to demonstrate not only the knowledge acquired but also an ability in critical and autonomous thinking as well as in using the adequate terminology. Attending students will be asked to work in teams to write a brief paper that will be presented to the class. Groups' works should demonstrate students' methodological and terminological knowledge as well as team-work skills and will make up 30 % of the final evaluation
Unità didattica 1
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Merlati Mariele
Unità didattica 2
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Merlati Mariele
Unità didattica 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Graglia Piero
Educational website(s)
Office hours: Thursdays from 10,30 AM to 1,30 PM
Via Conservatorio 7, 20122 Milano - Room 21, 3rd floor