Imperialism and War

Imperialism and War examines major historical events and developments during the nineteenth century, and during the twentieth century prior to World War Two.
What’s it about?

During the nineteenth century, imperialism radically changed the shape of the world. European powers built vast empires, justifying their subjugation of indigenous peoples through racist ideologies. Within Europe, power politics and military and economic competition contributed to the outbreak of World War One, a war of unprecedented scale. The aftermath of the war left the world vulnerable to both the Great Depression, and the rise of totalitarianism. In this course you can examine these and other key developments in the nineteenth and the early part of the twentieth centuries from a comparative, global perspective.

What will I learn?

In this micro course you will:

  • Learn about the vast empires created during the nineteenth century
  • Discover what motivated the Scramble for Africa
  • Explore the impact of imperialism and efforts at resistance
  • Learn about the causes of World War One
  • Examine the events that led to the deaths of so many during the war
  • Reflect on the global impact of 'the war to end all wars'
  • Discover the new ideologies that developed in Europe in the interwar period
  • Learn about the Great Depression
  • Examine the rise of totalitarianism and militarism in the 1920s and 1930s 
What’s involved?

There are nine learning pathways each containing multiple resources, such as videos, readings, and primary source material. Each learning pathway begins with an overview and concludes with a review quiz. The learning pathways are:

  • Imperialism in the Long Nineteenth Century
  • The Impact of Imperialism
  • Imperialism, Modernization and Resistance
  • The Causes of World War One
  • World War One: Global War
  • The Impact of Global War
  • The Interwar Years
  • The Rise of Totalitarian States: Russia and Italy
  • Totalitarianism and Militarism: Germany and Japan

The micro-course can be completed in approximately 40 hours, including preparation for assessment. 


To be determined

Imperialism and war is one of three micro-courses required for formal credit towards World History from 1600-present, a 1st year-level Bachelors course at Thomas Edison State University. Each micro-course can be studied independently in any sequence. 

WHME101 World history in the early modern era
WHME102 Imperialism and war
WHME103 World War II to the present


Image credit: Canon 1877, sources from the Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

Course Code: WHME102
Estimated Start: 2019Q2`
Duration: 4 weeks, 10 hours per week
Type: Micro course

Credentialing: Official course credit
Course Credit: World History in the Early Modern and Modern Eras
Credential: Certificate of General Studies
Level: 1st year Bachelor’s

Who are the developers:
Dr. Deborah Mayersen, Deborah Mayersen is an historian based at the University of Wollongong. Her research expertise is in comparative genocide studies, including the Armenian Read More

The course materials for this micro-course (WHME101) were proudly remixed for OERu from the Saylor Academy course on World History in the Early Modern and Modern Eras  published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported  license.