Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 1 hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 1 x seminar every fortnight


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x essay of 2,500 words  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   70%

Brief description

Module description

The Great Depression of the interwar period was one of the defining
features of the twentieth century and a period of major change throughout
the developed world. This module considers the far-reaching consequences
through a comparative study of America and Britain and, in particular,
the various problems that caused such economic dislocation, the extent
and nature of unemployment, and the responses of governments and others
to the problems that scarred these ‘low, dishonest’ decades.

In addition, the module takes a view ‘from below’ and considers the
experience of unemployment and poverty through a study of the voices of
the unemployed and the poor. It considers the various social and
political responses to the Depression, including fascism, communism,
migration and emigration, but also the impact of the Depression on such
things as social relations, the labour movement, the arts, and so on.
Historians continue to be divided over these various phenomena and we
will consider the historiographical divisions and differences that have
characterised work on the interwar period in the two countries. In
addition, we will utilise a range of primary sources, including books,
newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, posters, cartoons, documentary films,
speeches and popular music, to study this important period in modern

Lecture syllabus

1. Introduction.
2. Economic depression and
unemployment in Britain.
3. The Wall Street Crash.
4. Unemployment in America.
5. Documentary film on the Dust Bowl
‘The Plow That Broke the Plains’.
6. Government Responses to
7. The Relief of Poverty.
8. The ‘New Deal’ in America.
9. The ‘Second New Deal’.
10. Migration and Emigration.
11. Protest.
12. Left-wing Politics.
13. Fascism.
14. Mainstream Politics in the Depression.
15. The Labour Movement.
16. Gender Relations
17. The Arts during the Depression.
18. War and Recovery.

1: The Experience of Unemployment
2: Official Responses to Unemployment and Poverty
3: Critics of the Governments
4: Protest or Apathy?
5: Social Relations during the Depression.


This module is at CQFW Level 4