Module Identifier IP33720  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr Peter Jackson  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Lecture   10 Hours 10 x 1 hour  
  Seminar   10 Hours 10 x 1 hour  
Assessment Essay   1 x 2,000 word essay   30%  
  Exam   2 Hours   70%  

Brief description

The international system was forever transformed by the First World War. This module will look at the origins of this war. It will examine the impact on European politics of the unification of Germany, the emergence of international socialism, the ‘new imperialism’ (and its attendant ‘globalising’ effects), as well as the rise of Imperial Russia and the United States. It will also consider the strategic, imperial and foreign policies of the Great Powers and place these policies within the wider context of the shifts in the global balance of power after 1870.


The aim of this module is to examine the relationship between the transformation of the international system after 1870 and the coming of the First World War in 1914.


Learning outcomes

At the end of the module students will be able to:

- identify and discuss the key historical debates concerning the origins of the First World War.
- discuss the key features of the European states system and how they evolved during the period in question with particular reference to the ‘German problem’ and the ‘Russian problem’
- discuss the politics of disarmament and armament and their role in relations between states before 1914
- analyse the impact of colonialism on the international system
- evaluate the role of international socialism in international relations during the period in question

10 ECTS Credits

Transferable skills

Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of transferable skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas. Throughout the module, students should practice and develop their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, as well as self-management. In lectures students develop listening and note taking skills, as well as analytical skills. In seminars students enhance their analytical skills and practice listening, explaining and debating skills. Students are expected to providean analysis of one reading over the course of the module. This exercise provides students with an opportunity to refine presentational skills and gain confidence in speaking in front of their peers. Essay writing encourages students to practice independent research, writing and IT skills, and the examination tests these under time constraint conditions.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
James Joll. (1997) The Origins of the First World War. 2nd. Houghton Mifflen, New York
H Herwig. (1992) The Outbreak of World War I. 2nd. Longman, London