Introduction to Military History (Part 1) - HIST4430

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module opens with a study of the historiography of military history in order to determine the factors which have shaped the modern nature of military history as an academic discipline. From this point, the module goes on to look at the macro/strategic factors that have shaped the military experience and the waging of war including the impact of technology and the economic demands of war. The final part of the module is a series of case studies looking at the relationship between armed forces, politicians and their parent societies in order to determine the extent to which armed forces are reflections of their parent nations. The module is a vital pathway to Introduction to Military 2. Although the two are designed to be taken together, it is possible to study one alone.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay 1 1,500 words 40%
Essay 2 1,500 words 40%
Presentation 15 Minutes 20%

Reassessment methods:
100% coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Jeremy Black (2004) Rethinking Military History, Abingdon, Routledge.
Azar Gat (2001) A History of Military Thought, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Michael Howard (2009) Warfare in European History, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Peter Paret (ed) (1986) The Makers of Modern Strategy, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Hew Strachan (1983) European Armies and the conduct of war, Abingdon, Routledge.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Students will be able to gain the knowledge and conceptual tools to understand and interpret key aspects of military history. Students will obtain a knowledge of the historiographical debates surrounding these issues covered in the module.
2 Students will be able to develop the ability to discuss issues that are raised in the module, and to present their work in written and oral form. Through exposure to the distinctive nature of nineteenth century culture, students will gain an enhanced understanding of the diversity of human societies.
3 Students will be able to learn to use and evaluate relevant primary sources relating to political, military, economic, social and cultural history. Through a diversity of sources, students will be exposed to a variety of outlooks and learn about the importance of using diversity of sources in their research into the past.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Students will be able to develop a range of intellectual and transferable skills, and acquire certain kinds of understanding. They will come to understand the problems that are inherent in the historical record and the limits within which interpretation is possible.
2 Students will be able to develop critical thought and independence of mind, the capacity to deploy arguments, and the ability to challenge received opinions and conclusions.
3 Students will be able toimprove their essay and oral presentation skills. They will also learn how to make good use of the relevant library resources and, where necessary, IT skills.
4 Students will be able to gain transferable skills in the following four areas: communication, group working, problem solving, improved learning and plans for improved learned.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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