Outline of Psychohistory I

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SUNY Rockland Community College

Course Outline for Psychohistory I
(History 213)


  • Elovitz, Paul, ed. The Best of Clio’s Psyche, 1994-2005. (You must purchase the current edition as it contains new material. We will be using this text in class.)
  • Beisel, David R. The Suicidal Embrace: Hitler, the Allies, and the Origins of the Second World War. (The hardcover edition, selling normally at $30, is being sold to students by the publisher this one time only, at $20, $2 over the paperback edition, presently unavailable.)

Both books, available from the College Bookstore, will be used in class. Reading assignments will be announced in class. Final grades: 85 per cent determined by exams, 15 per cent by class participation. All exams and writing assignments, assigned readings, and attendance are required. Failure to fulfill any of these requirements will result in an automatic F grade for the course.

Topic Areas and Approximate Time Frames:

  • Weeks 1-4 Orientation to History and Psychological History. Some of the ways the mind works. Historical examples.
  • Weeks 4-5 The History of Childhood.
  • Weeks 6-7 Psychobiography. Some American presidents.
  • What makes suicidal terrorists?
  • Week 7 Group psychohistory. Small groups. Theories of large group behavior.
  • Apocalyptic groups.
  • Weeks 8-15 Hitler and Nazism as psychological “laboratories”. Nazism’s ideological roots. How Nazism came to and maintained power. Origins of World War II. The Holocaust. Hitler psychobiographies.

Attendance is mandatory. Should you miss class for some reason, you are responsible for missed material and assignments. Have a good semester.

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