Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: A History Of World War II

In this far-ranging course, you’ll have a rare opportunity to study World War II, the pivotal event of the 20th Century, from a European perspective. You’ll experience the war where history was made, with lectures by distinguished British historians, including professors from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Areas of concentration include the fall of France, the Battle of Britain, the Russian Front, women at war, the Holocaust, and Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

You’ll journey across the English Channel to the beaches of Normandy and then onto Paris, for a four-day study of the D-Day battle sector and the liberation of Paris, tracing the footsteps of American soldiers inland to ultimate victory. In London, your “classrooms” will include the Cabinet War Rooms where Winston Churchill directed the British war efforts, and the Imperial War Museum. You’ll also take a day-long trip out of the city to walk through the British history of warfare, starting with a climb to the Celtic hillfort at Cisbury Ring, then moving on to the Roman fort at Portchester, and finally touring the Victory, Admiral Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar.

This course gives you the chance to meet World War II through the eyes of those who lived it, as you conduct your own primary research in the Public Record Office or the Imperial War Museum. There you will design your own research plan, perhaps using Churchill’s letters to study how battlefield strategies evolved, or using the letters of everyday Londoners to understand the terrible era of the Blitz.

Course details

  • HIS 499 or 599/799 (6 semester hours)
  • LondonAWAY! experience: Normandy for 4 nights
  • Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor

Course syllabus

2014 History Syllabus.pdf

Meet the Instructor














Dr. Andrew Wiest
The University of Southern Mississippi

Dr. Andrew Wiest is Distinguished Professor of History and the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Southern Mississippi.  Dr. Wiest went on British Studies as a student back in the olden days – an experience that changed his life.  After receiving his PhD from the University of Illinois, Chicago, Wiest returned to Southern Miss and has taught on the British Studies Program since 1992.  Dr. Wiest has published widely, including 16 books, mainly on Vietnam, World War I, and World War II, and he has appeared on several historical documentaries for the History Channel, National Geographic, and Lucasfilms.  He presently lives in Hattiesburg, his good old hometown, with his wife, Jill, and their three amazing children.