Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Britain at War 1939-45 (Part 2)
Academic Year
Semester 2

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 Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  50%
Supplementary Assessment (Resit) 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   (Resit) (1 x 2 hour exam)  50%

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 knowledge and understanding of the impact of the war on different elements of the British population and on the British public as a whole.

Critically evaluate a series of key debates about the British experience of the Second World War, specifically the impact of war on British national identity, attitudes to social policy, and political culture.

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

Read, analyse and assess a range of different types of historical evidence, particularly those relating to wartime daily experience and public opinion.


This module, together with its co-requisite HQ37520, 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 picks up from HQ37520 by exploring in greater depth a range of case studies addressing wartime life and experience, with a particular focus on propaganda and popular perception. The module begins by addressing the propaganda, information and entertainment roles of the wartime mass media (press, cinema, broadcasting). It then moves on to address popular attitudes to other participant nations, and to British wartime national identity itself, followed by an exploration of the gendered experience of war. Lastly it addresses the effects of the war on British social and political culture, in particular debates about reconstruction, the so-called ‘leftward shift’ in wartime political culture, and the remarkable outcome of the 1945 general election. As always, particular attention will be given in the seminars to the historiography of the period, and to the wartime attitudes, opinions and experiences of the British people themselves as expressed in contemporary source material.


1. The British press at war
2. The British cinema industry at war
3. The BBC at war
4. Enemies and friends
5. ‘Britishness’
6. Men at war
7. Women at war
8. War and social policy: the ‘reconstruction’ debate
9. ‘Leftward shift’
10. 1945 general election

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