Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Britain, Germany and the Great War
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 x 1 Hour Lectures
Workshop 1 x 2 Hour Workshop
Seminar 5 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   Written examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000 word supplementary (resit) essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours   supplementary (resit) examination  50%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Identify and explain the key historiographical debates concerning the British and German experiences of the First World War.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the principal political, social, cultural and military developments of the period in both countries, and their wider significance.
3. Critically evaluate a range of primary source types, related to the British and German experiences of war 1914-1918
4. Apply a critical comparative perspective to the experiences of these two countries on opposite sides of the war.


A century on, the impact of the First World War still provokes powerful responses, among historians, politicians, and the general public. This module seeks to address these responses through a detailed comparative study of the British and German experiences of the war, from the corridors of power to the battlefront to the home front. In so doing it will introduce students to a variety of historical perspectives (political, social, economic and cultural), and a range of contemporary historical evidence, from diaries and memoirs to film, literature and memorial sculpture. The module will be particularly important for students interested in the history of modern Britain and Germany and students interested in developing their comparative understanding of the past, as well as students of modern history more generally.

Brief description

This course will introduce students to the social and political history of twentieth-century Britain and Europe through an in-depth comparative study of Britain and Germany during the First World War. It will consider the reasons for war in 1914, and outline the main features of the military conflict. It will then focus on the political and social history of the period: the military, political and industrial mobilisation of both nations towards ‘total war’, and the ways in which the war affected civilian life on both home fronts. Specific topics to be covered include the extent and nature of ‘war enthusiasm’, the ways in which the war challenged the normal functions of the state, the impact of the war on women, and the enduring legacies looking forwards of each nation’s ‘lost generation’.


1. Introduction
2. August 1914 : the outbreak of war
3. European War to World War
4. Politics and the state at war : Britain
5. Politics and the state at war : Germany
6. Mobilising the economy : Britain
7. Mobilising the economy : Germany
8. Mobilising minds : the British propaganda war
9. Mobilising minds : the German propaganda war
10. The soldiers : the British army on the Western Front
11. The soldiers : the German army on the Eastern and Western Fronts
12. The home front : Britain
13. The home front : Germany
14. The political legacy of war : Britain and the 1918 general election
15. The political legacy of war : Germany and the 1918 revolution
16. ‘The Lost Generation’ : commemoration, loss and mourning in post-war Britain
17. ‘The Front Generation’ : commemoration, loss and mourning in post-war Germany
18. Britain, Germany and the Great War in popular memory

1. War enthusiasm
2. War leadership
3. Women at war
4. War, myth and memory

One whole-class workshop on themes arising from the course

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Seminar discussions and essay-report writing will enable students to develop oral and written skills. Only writing and examination will be assessed
Improving own Learning and Performance Through essay-report feedback sessions and discussion of ideas presented during seminars.
Information Technology Through the retrieval of course materials from online resources and AberLearn Blackboard and through the writing, formatting and printing of essays
Personal Development and Career planning By developing source analysis, oral and written skills, the course will prepare students for further postgraduate research and potential careers in academia or history fields.
Problem solving Interactive individual and group activities in seminars.
Research skills Through acquiring the ability to identify and combine appropriate primary evidence to back up arguments in written work
Subject Specific Skills Historical analysis of written and material evidence. Comparative analysis of different countries’ experiences of the same events.
Team work Through seminar activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 4