Anglo-French Relations 1904 - 1945 - HIST6034

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


The diplomatic relationship between Britain and France in the first half of the twentieth century can be seen as a marriage of convenience. Not natural historical allies, the British and French governments were forced increasingly to work together to combat the tensions in Europe that led to the outbreak of the First and Second World Wars.
This module explores the love-hate relationship between the two countries in tracing the origins of the Entente Cordiale, and by addressing some of the major historiographical debates in twentieth century international history. Lectures will provide students with an overview of these debates and the topics listed below, and seminars will encourage students to consider their understanding of these areas and critically engage with them through discussion.
Themes explored will typically include, imperialism, political reform and its impact on foreign policy formation, democratisation, the rise of nationalism, peacemaking at the end of the two world wars; the Ruhr Crisis, the Treaty of Locarno, the League of Nations; the Kellogg Briand Pact; the Briand Plan; the Geneva disarmament conferences of the late 1920s/early 1930s; Eastern Europe and Russia; different strategies to deal with the rise of Hitler; the fall of France, the rise of Vichy; the secret war; the outbreak of the Cold War.


Method of assessment

The module will be assessed by coursework and exam on a 40% coursework and 60% exam ratio.


The coursework component will be assessed as follows:
1) 2 x 3000 word essays, each worth 40% of the coursework mark, relating especially to learning outcomes 11.1-4 and 12.1-2.
2) A 15 minute presentation, worth 10% of the coursework mark relating to learning outcomes 11.3 and 12.1-2
3) A general seminar performance mark, worth 10% of the coursework mark, relating especially to learning outcomes 11.1-4 and 12.1-2


The learning outcomes of the module will be tested in the two–hour exam – which will make up 60% of the final mark for the module.

Indicative reading

• Aldrich, R.: Greater France: a history of French overseas expansion, (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996).
• Andrew, C.: Theophile Delcassé and the making of the Entente Cordiale, (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1968).
• Audoin Rouzeau, S.: Men at war 1914 1918: national sentiment and trench journalism in France during the First World War, (New York: Berg, 1992).
• Ball, S.: Baldwin and the Conservative Party: the crisis of 1924 1931, (New York: Yale University Press, 1988).
• Chamberlain, M.E.: Pax Britannica?: British foreign policy 1789 1914, (London: Longman, 1988.
• Doerr, P.W.: British foreign policy, 1919 1939, (Manchester: Manchester University Press), 1998).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

11. The intended subject specific learning outcomes

By the end of this module, all students will have:

11.1 Gained a sophisticated understanding of the relationship between Britain and France between 1904 and 1945. They will be able to identify, analyse and discuss the nature of this relationship and how it had a bearing on other European countries.
11.2 Gained a detailed knowledge of the operation of European diplomacy in the first half of the twentieth century.
11.3 Gained a working knowledge of some key concepts in diplomatic theory, for example, balance of power diplomacy, crisis diplomacy.
11.4 Challenged received wisdoms about the apparent advantages of being on the winning side at the end of a war.

12. The intended generic learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will have:

12.1 enhanced their ability to express complex ideas and arguments orally and in writing, skills which can be transferred to other areas of study and employment
12.2 enhanced communication, presentational skills and information technology skills


  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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