Belgium, France, & Germany
Between 1914 and 1945, a mere 31 years, the world witnessed a period of unprecedented conflict, violence, and inhumanity. Driven by several historical forces – nationalism, imperialism, militarism – combined with remarkable technological development in the 19th century, the violence unleashed in this period against institutions, human beings, and the environment forever altered Europe and the world. While these conflicts were global in scope, they owed their origins to developments in Europe, and significantly, a surprising amount of the conflict and violence occurred over a relatively small geographic region, the so-called Low Lands of Europe: Belgium, the Netherlands, eastern France, and western Germany.
This course will explore these events – and their implications for strategy and leadership – through experiential learning, by actually visiting several of the battlefields and their associated museums, monuments, cemeteries of the First and Second World Wars. The course’s timing in 2018 coincides with the centenary anniversary of the end of WWI – 1918. The itinerary includes visits to Ieper, the Somme, and Verdun, to Normandy and the Ardennes, and to Weimar, Buchenwald, and Berlin.
While the course will address the obvious aspects of strategy and well-known leaders such as Adolf Hitler and Woodrow Wilson, it will also draw out lessons learned from everyday people – soldiers, business leaders, laborers, artists, and more – with particular attention to how we might use the lessons learned to enhance our lives as individuals and members of organizations and communities. This course will include stops to both historical and cultural locations. Participants will also have time to engage individually with the cultures being visited
This course is being offered in conjunction with St. Norbert College and will have a combined group with St. Norbert, let by Prof. Lucy Arendt (SNC faculty).
Program Dates: May 14th- June 5th, 2018
Intellectual and Emotional Demands of the Course
Please be advised: This is not a vacation! This is an intensive educational experience. We will visit sites of intense hatred and violence, view artifacts from those sites, and confront remarkable cruelty, inhumanity, and atrocity. Participants should be prepared to deal with such subjects in a manner more immediate and intensive than they would expect from a regular history course or book. Participants are expected to exhibit maturity throughout the course and will be asked to sign a waiver explaining that they understand the nature and content of the course.
Physical Demands of the Course
In order to visit the sites of these events, we will have to do a lot of travelling. Much of this travel will be by foot, and participants can expect to walk an average of 4-5 miles per day. All students are welcome, and reasonable arrangements will be made whenever possible, but participants should be aware that not all sites are easily accessible, which may slow their progress or limit their participation.
The group will stay in abbeys, hotels, or hostels for the duration of the program. Student will share rooms.