Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Britain at War 1939-45 (Part 1)
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment Document Analysis 1 - 1 x 1,500 words  25%
Semester Assessment Document Analysis 2 - 1 x 1,500 words  25%
Supplementary Assessment (Resit) 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment (Resit) Document analysis 1 - 1 x 1,500 words  25%
Supplementary Assessment (Resit) Document analysis 2 - 1 x 1,500 words  25%

Learning Outcomes

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

Demonstrate an understanding of the social and political history of Britain during the Second World War.

Demonstrate detailed knowledge of a range of specific wartime measures and their impact on the British people.

Critically evaluate the impact of ‘total war’ on Britain and the British people.

Identify and evaluate the different historical debates and analyses evident in related texts.


This module, together with its co-requisite HQ37620, provides an intensive documents-based study of society and politics in Britain during the second world war, to assess the impact of six years of 'total war' on Britain and the British people.

Brief description

This module introduces students to some of the key events of, themes concerning and primary sources for the history of Britain during the second world war, including the British government's mobilisation of a nation into a state of 'total war' and the impact of the conflict on British wartime politics and society. The module begins by considering the government's preparedness for war in September 1939, the public's responses to the outbreak of war, and the first few months of the conflict. It goes on to assess the workings of wartime government and information management, the impact of the Blitz, and the practical and popular success of such policies as evacuation, industrial conscription and rationing. Particular attention will be given to the wartime attitudes, opinions and experiences of the British people themselves. As with all Special Subjects, particular emphasis will be placed on the historiography of the period, and on primary source material, close analysis of which will form a major part of seminars


1. Introduction
2. Planning for war
3. The ‘Phoney War’
4. The ‘Norway debate’ to Dunkirk
5. The Churchill coalition and wartime politics
6. The Blitz
7. The information war
8. The ‘Factory Front’
9. Life on the Home Front
10. The ‘Kitchen Front’

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
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 Develop a knowledge of, and familiarity with, a range of different sources from the modern period, including unpublished and published documents; develop the ability to use appropriate historical research tools effectively.
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 6