The Legacy of the Second World War - HI6094

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
6 60 (30) DR S Goebel







Over seventy years after Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender, we are still living in the shadow of the Second World War. The end of the Cold War has seen an upsurge in commemorative activity ranging from new memorials to court cases. This special subject considers the impact of the Second World War on European societies (including Britain) between 1945 and the present day. This module will examine – and compare – the ways in which contemporaries and later generations have tried to make sense of the upheaval and horrors of the Second World War. The module will explore a host of commemorative practices and media (ranging from architecture and popular histories to film and war memorials) and their socio-cultural contexts. Methodologically, the module explores the cultural history of the legacy of war. Cultural history here means the study of languages, practices, artefacts and gestures through which events are encoded by those who live through them or in their aftermath.


This module appears in:

Method of assessment

40% Coursework, 60% Examination

Indicative reading

Bessel, Richard and Schumann, Dirk (eds.), Life after Death: Approaches to a Cultural and Social History of Europe during the 1940s and 1950s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)

Bird, Stephanie, Fulbrook, Mary, Wagner, Julia and Wienand, Christiane (eds.), Reverberations of Nazi Violence in Germany and Beyond (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016)

Crew, David F., Bodies and Ruins: Imagining the Ruins of Germany, 1945 to the Present (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2017)

Müller, Jan-Werner (ed.), Memory and Power in Post-War Europe: Studies in the Presence of the Past (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Winter, Jay, War Beyond Words: Languages of Remembrance from the Great War to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

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