Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Britain and the First World War
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 2,000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   1.5 hour exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment 2,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours   1.5 hour exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

Identify and explain the key historiographical debates concerning the British experience of the First World War.

Demonstrate an understanding of the principal political, social, cultural and military developments of the period.

Evaluate the impact of the war on key areas of British society and politics.

Evaluate a range of primary sources (including press coverage, diaries and memoirs, newsreels and oral reminiscences) related to the British domestic experience of war 1914-18.

Brief description

This course will introduce students to the social and political history of twentieth -century Britain by an in-depth study of Britain during the Great War. It will consider the reasons behind Britain's involvement in the war and outline the main features of the military conflict. It will then focus primarily on the social and political history of the period : the military, industrial and political mobilisation of the nation towards 'total war', and the ways in which the war affected ordinary civilian life. Specifics topics to be covered will include the rise of Lloyd George to the Premiership, the wartime industrial unrest in Scotland and Wales, the impact of the war on the lives of British women, and the enduring legacy of the 'lost generation'. Comparison will also be made between the British experience of the Great War and that of the other major belligerents, France, Germany, Russia and the USA. Throughout the semester, students will be encouraged to evaluate the 'war and social change' thesis propounded by Marwick and others, and the course will end by assessing the extent to which the Great War marked a 'watershed' in modern British history.


1. Introduction
2. August 1914 (i): the outbreak of war
3. August 1914 (ii): 'war enthusiasm'
4. European war to world war
5. British politics and the war
6. Mobilising the economy
7. Mobilising minds; the propaganda war
8. The soldiers
9. Women at war
10. Film screening: The Battle of the Somme (1916)
11. From music hall to women's football: leisure and entertainment in wartime Britain
12. Heath, welfare and the impact of war
13. Armistice and after
14. The 1918 General Election and post-war politics
15. Versailles and after: Britain and the world after WWI
16. The 'Lost Generation' (i): commemorating the dead in post-war Britain
17. The 'Lost Generation' (ii): the Great War in inter-war literature and popular culture
18. The First World War and popular memory

1. War enthusiasm
2. War leadership: Asquith and Lloyd George
3. Men at war
4. Women at war
5. The Great War, myth and memory


This module is at CQFW Level 4