Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The European Powers in the Age of World Wars
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1  Two assessed essays of 3,000 words, each of 50% weighting.  2,500/3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment Essay 2  New essays on topics different from those originally undertaken in any failed module, as required by university regulations governing resits for modules with marks under 50%.  2,500/3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 1  2,500/3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 2  2,500/3,000 word essay  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate a critical understanding of relevant themes and approaches in the history of the foreign policy and interactions of the European Great Powers in the period c. 1890-1945.

Evaluate differing ways of analysing developments during this period.

Marshal and understand the use of appropriate evidence in formulating historical arguments regarding Great Power relationships in the period c. 1890-1945.

Demonstrate through written work an ability to integrate methodological themes into their own research.

Brief description

Academic rationale of the proposal:
The module will address the foreign policies of the European Great Powers in the period c. 1890-1945. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the historical problems of the origins of the First World War, the post-war peace settlement, the interwar period and the cause and conduct of the Second World War from the perspective of examining the foreign policies of the European powers, the individuals involved in their formulation and implementation and the formation of public opinion regarding policy. It will form an additional choice for students studying for the MAs Modern Europe and Modern Britain.

Brief Description:
This module addresses the foreign policies of the European Great Powers in the period c.1890-1945, and their relationships with one another. Dealing with the alliance systems that lead to the First World War, the Versailles settlement, attempts to maintain peace during the 1920s, the responses to the rise of Hitler, appeasement, and finally the failure to prevent the outbreak of the Second World War and the conduct of diplomacy during the conflict, students will address the complex interplay of European foreign policies, gaining an understanding of the conduct and content of European diplomacy in the period.

1. The European Alliance System, 1890-1914
2. The First World War and the Great Powers
3. The Versailles Peace Treaty
4. Dealing with the Pariah States in the 1920s: Germany and the Soviet Union
5. Dealing with Fascism in the 1930s
6. Appeasement and its alternatives
7. The European Powers and the outbreak of the Second World War
8. Second World War Diplomacy: the Grand Alliance and the Axis

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Through discussion of applicability of statistical data to understanding aspects of the history of Europe in this period.
Communication Through seminar discussion and essay writing. Latter only is formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance By guided reflection during seminars and feedback sessions following submission of written work.
Information Technology Through data retrieval exercises for research purposes and word-processing for essay writing purposes.
Personal Development and Career planning Through furthering understanding of single and inter-disciplinary approaches to the political and diplomatic history of Europe in this period, and the opportunity this offers for research and history related careers.
Problem solving By understanding how historians of twentieth-century European international politics and employ a variety of different methodological approaches towards understanding problems within their field.
Research skills By learning how to identify appropriate primary and secondary sources and utilising that material in their work.
Subject Specific Skills By enhancing methodological understanding of twentieth-century European political and diplomatic history and an awareness of key texts and approaches.
Team work Through seminar work.


This module is at CQFW Level 7