Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
War & Society in History
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 2 x 2 hour sessions
Lecture 18 x 50 minute sessions
Seminars / Tutorials Individual 10-minute 'feedback tutorial' per written assignment submitted


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  70%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word supplementary (resit) essay  30%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour supplementary (resit) examination  70%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students will have:
knowledge of the history of war and its meaning to and effects upon society across a broad historical period.

knowledge of comparative perspectives of war and society.

an ability to read analyse and reflect critically on secondary and primary texts including a range of contemporary media.

an ability to develop and sustain historical arguments, orally (non-assessed) and in writing

an ability to gather and sift appropriate items of historical evidence

an ability to work both independently and collaboratively and to participate in group discussions (non-assessed)

Brief description

This survey module offers an overview of the development and meaning of warfare during the modern period. You will encounter a broad range of interpretations of war and will examine a spectrum of dynamics, as they change and evolve historically. The module is thematic, within specific periods of history. Major questions raised include the origins and meaning of war and its relationship to politics, culture and economics; changes in the ways wars are fought, both in terms of strategy and tactics and in terms of technology and organisation; the ways war is communicated and remembered; and the relationship between civil and military society and the changing relationship between war and society in general.


The module aims to provide students with a clear understanding of the complexity of war, in terms of its meaning, methods and impact on wider society. The module will confront a broad sweep of history in order to chart changes and continuities in the nature and impact of war and highlight comparative differences both between nations and regions and between different periods of history.


1. The Organisation of War in the Modern World.
2. The US Civil War.
3. Imperial Wars at the turn of the 20th Century
4. War and Empire in the Early 20th Century.
5. The First World War and social change in Britain.
6. War and Revolution.
7. War and Ideology.
8. The Second World War and British women.
9. The Second World War and the early Cold War in the United States.
10. The Second World War and Decolonization.
11. Dislocation and displacement.
12. The Vietnam War as viewed from Washington.
13. The Vietnam War as viewed from South East Asia.
14. Science, Technology, War and Society.
15. War and cultural change.
16. War and the Cinema.
17. Communicating War in the 20th Century.
18. Remembering War.

1. War and the Americas
2. War on film
3. The Asian Cold War
4. War, Empire, Revolution and Ideology

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will be presented with some statistical data during the lectures and the appropriate use of such statistics will form part of the assessment of the essays.
Communication This skill will be developed through the two essays and the seminar discussions. This will be assessed as part of the essay assessment.
Improving own Learning and Performance Essays will be returned in essay tutorials where advice will be given on improving students? research techniques and essay writing skills.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to access information on CD Roms and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be encouraged to word process their work. These skills will not be assessed formally.
Personal Development and Career planning This module will help develop written and oral skills. Other activities, including research, assessment of information and writing in a critical and clear manner, will further develop useful skills of analysis and presentation.
Problem solving Students will be expected to identify and respond to historical problems and carry out appropriate research before the seminars and before writing essays. This will be assessed as part of the assessment of the essays
Research skills These skills will be developed through the research students are expected to carry out before the seminars and for the essays. This will be assessed as part of the assessment of the essays.
Subject Specific Skills Critical historical skills
Team work Students will work together in seminar preparation and discussion

Reading List

Recommended Text
A. K. Goldsworthy (1998) The Roman Army at War 100 BC - AD 200 Primo search B. Campbell (2002) War and Society in Imperial Rome:31 BC to 284 AD Primo search C. McInnes and G. Sheffield (eds) (1988) Warfare in the Twentieth Century Primo search J. A. Lynn (ed.) (1993) Feeding Mars: Logistics in Western Warfare from the Middle Ages to the Present Primo search J. Black (ed.) (2002) European Warfare 1815-2000 Primo search J. Dower (1986) War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War Primo search J. France (1999) Western Warfare in the Age of the Crusades, 1000-1300 Primo search M. Keen (ed.) (2002) Medieval Warfare. A History Primo search M. van Creveld (2000) The Art of War. War and Military Thought Primo search P. Fussell (1989) Wartime: Understanding and Behaviour in the 2nd World War Primo search P. Paret (1986) The Makers of Modern Strategy Primo search W.H. McNeill (1983) The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force and Society Since A.D. 1000 Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6