Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Intelligence in an Age of Extremes, 1900-1945
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 6 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Discuss how various concepts and theories have been used by scholars to explain key developments in intelligence.
2. Identify and discuss the key themes in the evolution of intelligence agencies during the first half of the twentieth century.
3. Discuss the interplay between intelligence and international politics over time, and the importance of domestic (police and state) and international (military and diplomatic) intelligence.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the different levels of intelligence, and how these were influenced by the context of international politics in the ‘Age of Extremes’.

Brief description

This module will provide an in-depth study of the development of intelligence agencies during the first half of the twentieth century. It aims to equip students with core conceptual and empirical knowledge on how intelligence services moved from ad hoc responses to crises, to formalised organizations in the leading powers during the period 1900-45. The course will put the growth of intelligence agencies in the context of the international politics of the period, assessing how intelligence was consistent across, or diverged between, democracies, fascist regimes and communist states.


The module is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. It is divided into three parts:

Part 1: Intelligence during the 19th century: We consider what intelligence looked like in the 19th Century, the theories behind military and police intelligence, and what intelligence looked like in the leading states in international affairs at the start of the twentieth century.

Part 2: Intelligence during the Great War & Interwar Period: We will look at why the Great War changed understandings of intelligence and contributed to the emergence of formalised organisations. We will consider the rise of authoritarian states, comparing and contrasting intelligence agencies within fascist and communist states, and consider how democracies approached intelligence in an era of ideological competition.

Part 3: The Second World War: We will look at the second major transformation of intelligence agencies, considering how intelligence ‘failed’ at the outbreak of the conflict for many major states and what measures were taken to solve these problems. We will finish the course by considering how intelligence contributed to Allied victory, and the legacies of the Second World War experience.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas verbally and in writing, and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will develop skills in using the many sources of information available to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their written assessments 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 in which support and assistance is available from the module convenor and other students. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding how to answer assessed essay questions.
Information Technology Students will enhance their proficiency using Blackboard, where materials to support learning will be made available. Students will also develop skills in searching for, and assessing the validity of, online information sources as part of preparation for lectures, seminars and assessed tasks. Assessed work will be presented in electronic format, according to standard expectations.
Personal Development and Career planning Personal development and career planning: The module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statements of others. Moreover, the written work requires students to write clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the preparation of two assessed pieces of written work will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and formulate an answer to the problem; reason logically; construct theoretical arguments; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research in order to complete the assessed work. This will involve utilizing a range of information sources, including core academic texts, journal articlesand online sources.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module • Evaluate competing perspectives • Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical problems.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work


This module is at CQFW Level 5