Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

20th Century – Bloodiest Century in Human History

Faculty Course Type Credits Prerequisites Semester
Mr. Vijay Kunjeer Elective 4 None Any

 Brief Overview 

The 20th Century is a remarkable century in the history of mankind. It went down into history as the century in which man delved the deepest into himself (double helical structure of the DNA) and the universe around him (Lunar Landing, space travel). Remedies for several ancient moral diseases were perfected and were affordably available. Yet newer, fatal and incurable diseases like AIDS surfaced. The computer evolved from its initial football field size to that of the human palm. The scope of human liberty, democracy, empowerment and entitlement increased. Persistent and rigorous efforts made by women to assert their humanity seemed to be bringing forth a more egalitarian social order. It was also the century of mass and inexpensive production of goods and services, of their speedier distribution; mass simultaneous and comparable inexpensive consumption. This enabled more human beings to live longer and healthier lives as compared to their ancestors.

Yet mankind was vulnerable to epidemics, natural disasters and to the effects of their actions. One threat that loomed large and seemed to be more real was the insatiable and overpowering urge to annihilate fellow humans for any “real(?)” or imagined cause. Wars for national, ideological, creedal, sub or super national reasons dot the chronology of this century making it like any other before it despite all claims of phenomenal technological and material advancement. 

The present course seeks to comprehend the violent nature of the 20th century by focusing on some important wars, and the evolving relationship between the wars of the 21st century and those of the 20th.

 Course Objectives 

On completion of the course, the students will be able to

  • Place the conflicts of the 20th century in their due political, economic, social and historical contexts.
  • Understand the causes and consequences of the conflict.
  • Critically analyse the memorializing, representation and gendering of the conflict.
  • Understand the influences of the wars on the events of the 21st century

 Teaching Methodology 

The course is conducted mostly through interaction based lecture method, with regular class leads by the students. The students also conduct case studies. 


Students are expected to –

  • Complete all required reading for each scheduled class as per the course outline,
  • Actively participate in class activities and discussions, and
  • Complete all evaluative processes for successful course completion!