British Foreign Policy 1904-1973 - HIST7006

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2023 to 2024.


The module will chart the evolution of contemporary British foreign policy. It begins firmly in the era of pre-First World War diplomacy, and examines the legacy of Britain's role in nineteenth century international relations, including the role of empire. The module will explore the nature of the old and new diplomacy as well as issues relating to foreign policy formation. It will include an evaluation of the role of diplomats and the work and operation of the Foreign Office. It will also include a discussion of the main themes and issues of Britain’s relations with all of the major European powers from 1904-1973, including the origins of the two world wars, the connection between foreign policy and political ideology. The module will also examine Britain’s relations with the United States during this period and with the Far East, especially with Japan. This module does not significantly overlap with HI 6034/5 Anglo-French Relations because only one session of the module will be devoted to Anglo-French relations in this period. Likewise, there will be no significant overlap with HI6045 Origins of the Second World War because that module examines the origins of that conflict from a global perspective. It makes some reference to the Anglo-French dimension, but it is not central to the module.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours = 30
Total Private Study = 270
Total Study Hours = 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

One Seminar Presentation (20 mins) – 10%
Exam Preparation Commentary (1,000 words) – 10%
Essay 1 (2,500 words) – 20%
Essay 2 (2,500 words) – 20%
Examination (2-hours) – 40%

Reassessment methods:
100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Barr, J., A Line in the Sand. Britain, France and the Struggle that Shaped the Middle East (London: Simon and Schuster, 2011).
Bell, P.M.H., France and Britain, 1900-1940: Entente and Estrangement (London: Pearson, 1996).
Chickering, R. and S. Forster (eds), The Shadows of Total War: Europe, East Asia and the United States, 1919-1939 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2003).
Colas, A., International Civil Society: Social Movements in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).
Florini, A.M., The Coming Democracy: New Rules for Running a New World (London: Island Press, 2003).
Grünewald, G. and P. van den Dungen (eds), Twentieth Century Peace Movements: Successes and Failures (Lewiston: Edward Mellen Press, 1994).

Learning outcomes

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

1 Demonstrate a sophisticated and advanced understanding of British foreign policy 1904-1973, including the process of policy formulation.
2 Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of advanced concepts in the extensive historiography relating to how to understand Britain's changing role in international diplomacy, 1904-1973 and at what motivated these changes.
3 Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the nature and reasons for the development of British foreign policy, 1904-1973.

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

1 Work independently to research and develop their understanding of questions and issues.
2 Demonstrate an advanced ability to provide persuasive written presentations, including the use of a range of primary source materials and historiographical content.
3 Research and integrate primary sources into written assessments in a sophisticated manner.
4 More fully demonstrate and apply their knowledge and skills to the production of a range of different outputs.


  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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