Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
America At War: a Military History of the United States
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 5 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour)  60%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour)  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay, if essay element failed  40%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Understand the contribution of the American military in achieving independence and analyse the role allotted these forces in the make-up of the US Constitution.
2. Understand the changing utility of force to the American Republic.
3. Discuss the changing character of the American experience of war.
4. Discuss the general interpretive approaches to the military history of the United States.
5. Discuss the nature of the military course of the Second World War and its impact on the international system.
6. Discuss the impact of technology upon the US War Machine.
7. Assess the relationship between war on land and air and sea power in the US strategy.
8. Have an understanding of the impact of war on the US civilian populations.
9. Assess the relationship between American political and military leadership historically.
10. Assess the contribution to military thinking of the United States military and related individuals (e,g. Alfred Thayer Mahan).
11. Assess the reasons for the relative military success of the United States historically.
12. Debate the continued relevance of the military instrument to the United States today.


This module will enable students of military history to make a rigorous examination of the evolution of the US armed forces as an integral part of the American Republic. It will also introduce students on other degree schemes not only to the military history of the USA but also to the evolution of war since the eighteenth century with its attendant impacts on all aspects of global society. The subject material will also provide students with a knowledge base with which to engage with Part Two modules that cover the evolution of international society from a multi-polar `Great Power' arrangement to the Bi-polar Superpower Cold War system.

Brief description

This module will allow students to examine in depth the military history of the current greatest power in the world since its creation in the eighteenth century.


1. Introduction: Europe, War and the Americas until 1750
2. The Anglo-French Struggle for Mastery: Colonial Wars until 1775
3. The War of Independence: thirteen colonies versus an Empire
4. The American Military Machine, 1783-1848
5. The Civil War (I)
6. The Civil War (II)
7. The Indian Wars: destroying a Civilisation to build a Nation
8. Asserting American Power: The Spanish American War, the Boxer Rebellion, Latin America, the growth of the US Navy
9. Over there: the United States and the First World War
10. The Second World War in the Pacific
11. The Korean War
12. The Vietnam War
13. War by proxy: the USA and the Global Cold War
14. Conclusion: The Iraq Wars, the War on Terror and the Future.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number During the module students will be required to undertake some data collection, numerical analysis and interpretation of particular key concepts.
Communication Students will learn how to articulate their ideas verbally and also to convey them in a clear and well-structured way in written form. They will, in addition, learn how to assert themselves to advantage. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and teamwork will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication. Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convener and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay. The need to contribute to seminar discussions and to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and OCLC). They will also be provided with a course website to facilitate the learning process and communication with the course convenor.
Personal Development and Career planning The module includes specific seminars on key study skills as well as sessions on Personal Development Plans. Discussions in seminars, in particular, will help to develop students' verbal skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of an essay will require that the students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare for seminars will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed in seminars by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of an essay will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken and that their understanding of key concepts is of a suitable standard to undertake honours level work.
Subject Specific Skills Students will learn the basics of using historical methodology in a military history context. This will entail chiefly developing the ability to use evidence in a sophisticated way to make an argument. They will also be expected to provide detailed and accurate references to their source. Students will also be required to make themselves familiar with the evolution of the use and application of American Military power as well as the relationship between the civil and military entities that compromise the American body politic.
Team work Teamwork will not be a central component of this module. But students will need to learn how to interact and communicate effectively in a group context during seminars.


This module is at CQFW Level 6