Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
America and Britain During the Great Depression
Academic Year
Semester 1
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 2000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   (1 x 1.5 hour exam)  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2000 word supplementary (resit) essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours   1 x 1.5 hour supplementary (resit) examination  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Describe and assess developments during the period between the wars in America and Britain.

2. Compare and contrast the different impacts of the Great Depression on the people of America and Britain.

3. Interpret the varied historiography of the Great Depression for the two countries in a critical manner.

4. Interpret primary sources, such as books, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, posters, cartoons, film documentaries, speeches and popular music, in an intelligent manner and utilize insights derived from them in written work.

Brief description

The Great Depression of the interwar period was one of the defining features of the twentieth century and a period of major change throughout the developed world. This module considers the far-reaching consequences through a comparative study of America and Britain and, in particular, the various problems that caused such economic dislocation, the extent and nature of unemployment, and the responses of governments and others to the problems that scarred these 'low, dishonest' decades.

In addition, the module takes a view 'from below' and considers the experience of unemployment and poverty through a study of the voices of the unemployed and the poor. It considers the various social and political responses to the Depression, including fascism, communism, migration and emigration, but also the impact of the Depression on such things as social relations, the labour movement, the arts, and so on. Historians continue to be divided over these various phenomena and we will consider the historiographical divisions and differences that have characterised work on the interwar period in the two countries. In addition, we will utilise a range of primary sources, including books, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, posters, cartoons, documentary films, speeches and popular music, to study this important period in modern history.



1. Introduction.
2. Economic depression and unemployment in Britain.
3. The Wall Street Crash.
4. Unemployment in America.
5. Documentary film on the Dust Bowl: 'The Plow That Broke the Plains'.
6. Government Responses to Unemployment.
7. The Relief of Poverty.
8. The 'New Deal' in America.
9. The 'Second New Deal'.
10. Migration and Emigration.
11. Protest.
12. Left-wing Politics.
13. Fascism.
14. Mainstream Politics in the Depression.
15. The Labour Movement.
16. Gender Relations
17. The Arts during the Depression.
18. War and Recovery.

1: The exoerience of unemployment
2: Official repsonses to unemployment and poverty
3: Critics of the governments
4: Protest or apathy?
5: Social relations during the depression

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework and written examination; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but are not formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be advised on how to improve research and communication skills through the individual tutorial providing feedback on submitted coursework.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths.
Problem solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and essays.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the written examination.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop the ability to analyse relevant sources and critically discuss the secondary material.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 4