Module Identifier IP36220  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Mr James R Vaughan  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Ms Elin Royles, Mr James R Vaughan  
Course delivery Lecture   19 Hours (19 x 1 hour)  
  Seminars / Tutorials   9 Hours (9 x 1 hour)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  70%
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 2,000 words  30%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to explain:

- the shifts in the balance in power and their relationship to the two World Wars
- why the United States and USSR appeared to play a relatively marginal role during the inter-war period
- why a durable peace was not established after 1919
- the impact of ideologies on international relations
- developments in ideas and practices of international economic management
- the chronology and sources of the demise of empire
- the extent to which 1945 was itself a radical turning point

Brief description

The module provides a frame of reference for understanding international relations in the twentieth century by exploring developments in the balance of power, ideas of international order, socio-economic change and tensions within the European empires up to 1945.


The aim of the module is to examine the profound transitions in the international system in the first half of the century. It does so by encouraging students to think thematically about the period as undergoing a set of inter-linked crises between 1895 and 1945.


The module opens with an analysis of the shifts in the balance of power within Europe, as well as the emergence of new extra-European powers. This, in turn, is related to new ideas about the management of the international order, exemplified in the New Diplomacy at the end of World War I. It then explores the crisis of domestic order generated by the economic and social upheavals of industrialisation, culminating in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Finally, the module locates the final phase of the European empires, and the tensions developing within them, in the context of these other developments.

Transferable skills

Students will develop, practice and test a range of transferable skills. Throughout, students will be required to practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills. In lectures students will develop listening and note taking skills, as well as analytical skills. In seminars, students will participate in delivery of group presentations that will develop team working. These also foster listening, explaining and debating skills. Essay writing demands development of skills in independent research, writing and IT, and the examination will test skills of succinct and focussed writing, as well as clear organization of thought, under time constraint conditions.

10 ECTS credits

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
E Hobsbawn Age of Extremes
R Overy The Inter-War Crisis


This module is at CQFW Level 6