Origins of the Second World War - HI6045

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
6 60 (30) PROF GL Johnson

Pre-requisites

None

Restrictions

None

2017-18

Overview

Aims and Outcomes

1. Analyse in depth the diplomacy and politics of Britain, the major European powers, the United States and Japan in the period 1919-1939 and explain how they contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War.
2. Analyse and deconstruct the various historiographical debates among historians relating to the origins of the Second World War through seminar discussion, course work and unseen examination.
3. Analyse and discuss a variety of primary sources relating to the origins of the Second World War through seminar discussion and through course work.

Subjects and themes

This module will provide you with an opportunity to discuss the international diplomacy and politics of the period, 1919-1939; that is, between the two world wars. This was an era of unprecedented historical complexity.

Themes and issues covered include the fulfilment of the peace-making objectives of the victorious powers at the end of the First World War; the tensions between the European and imperial agendas of Britain and France; the idea of the 1920s as a large-scale experiment in democratisation; the impact of the extreme ideologies of the right and left on international affairs; the impact of cultural nationalism on international diplomacy; the work and role of the League of Nations; the disarmament/rearmament debate; the quest to ban war; the individual diplomatic strategies of Britain, the major continental European powers, the United States and Japan between 1919-1939 and how they changed; the major treaties of the period, including the Treaty of Versailles and the other peace treaties signed in Paris in 1919; the Treaty of Locarno (1925); the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928); the Four Power Pact (1933)l the Anglo-German Naval Agreement (1935); the Rhineland Crisis (1936); the diplomatic tensions caused by the fascist dictators, including an in-depth analysis of the Spanish Civil War; the statecraft of international diplomacy in the interwar period and the quest for appeasement.

Method of assessment

The module will be assessed by 40% coursework and 60% examination:

The coursework component will be made up of:
1. Two 3,000 word essays (each worth 30% of coursework component).
2. Two 1,500 word source analysis exercises (each worth 15% of the coursework component).
3. A mark for seminar performance (worth 10% of the coursework component), based on participation in seminars and evidence of preparation in independent study hours.

The examination component will be made up of two 2-hour examinations.

Preliminary reading

• Bell, P.M.H., The Origins of the Second World War in Europe (London: Longman, 1996).
• Carr, E. H., The TwentyYears’ Crisis 1919-1939 (London: Victor Gollancz, 1939).
• Costigliolia, F., Awkward Dominion (New York: Cornell University Press,1984).
• Craig, G., and F. Gilbert (eds.) The Diplomats: 1919-1939 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994).
• Iriye, A., The Globalizing of America, 1913-1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)
• Louis, W., British Strategy in the Far East, 1919-1939 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971)
• Martel, G. (ed.), AJP Taylor and the Origins of the Second World War: Reconsidered after Twenty-Five Years (London: Longman, 1986).
• Reynolds, D., The Creation of the Anglo-American Alliance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981).
• Reynolds, D., The Long Shadow (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
• Steiner, Z., The Lights that Failed (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).
• Steiner, Z., The Triumph of the Dark (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

11. The intended subject specific learning outcomes
On completion of this module, successful students will have:
11.1 Analysed in depth the diplomacy and politics of Britain, the major European powers, the United States and Japan in the period 1919-1939 and explained how they contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War.
11.2 Analysed and deconstructed the various historiographical debates among historians relating to the origins of the Second World War through seminar discussion, course work and unseen examination.
11.3 Analysed and discussed a variety of primary sources relating to the origins of the Second World War through seminar discussion and through course work.
11.4 Demonstrated a detailed knowledge of the changing diplomatic strategies and political agendas of Britain, the major European powers, the United States and Japan in the period 1919-1939.
11.5 Demonstrated a sophisticated grasp of the attitudes and policies of the key statesmen of the period 1919-1939 and how their actions contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939

12. The intended generic learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students will be able to:

12.1 Develop critical capacities to assess both historical and contemporaneous evidence, compelling the presentation of written arguments in a coherent and structured way through essay writing and examination answers.
12.2 Participate in seminars which will increase their confidence in making oral arguments and short presentations before an audience.

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