The Cultural History of the Great War: Britain, France and Germany in Comparison - HIST7620

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


The history of the Great War is a subject of perennial fascination for this war left its imprint on British/European society to an extent almost unparalleled in modern history. No previous war matched it in scale and brutality. The military history and the course of events has been told many times. This course, by contrast, focuses on the social and cultural upheavals of the Great War. The aim is to move beyond narrow military history and examine the war's sociocultural impact on British and European societies. Furthermore, it hopes to overcome historians’ fixation with national histories. The First World War was, by definition, a transnational event and this course will fully explore the comparative method.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 270
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay 3,000 words 27%
Extended Essay 6,000 words 53%
Oral mark 20%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Audoin-Rouzeau, Stéphane and Becker, Annette, 1914-1918. Understanding the Great War (London, 2002).
Beckett, Ian W., The Great War 1914-1918 (Harlow, 2001).
Chickering, Roger, Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918 (Cambridge, 2nd edn 2004).
DeGroot, Gerard J., Blighty. British Society in the Era of the Great War (London and New York, 1996).
Ferguson, Niall, The Pity of War (London, 1998).
Robb, George, British Culture and the First World War (Basingstoke and New York, 2002).
Smith, Leonard V., Audoin-Rouzeau, Stéphane and Becker, Annette, France and the Great War, 1914-1918 (Cambridge, 2003).
Winter, Jay and Baggett, Blaine, The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century (New York, 1996).

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 To introduce students to the main socio-cultural developments in the history of the major European Continental states between c. 1914-1919; and to provide students with the skills needed to understand evaluate, contextualise and communicate effectively their knowledge of history.
2 To illustrate in different contexts and to compare how war impacted on both Britain Continental Europe in the early 20th century.
3 To provide students with an opportunity to develop their intellectual interests in both Modern British and European History and their skills in researching historical subjects and in communicating their knowledge and ideas, both orally and in writing.
4 To expose students to the disciplines of cultural and military history and to the comparative method.

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

1 Students will gain an understanding of how Modern British and Modern European History intersect, which should help to equip them to live and work in Continental Europe.
2 Students will be encouraged to consider critically relevant intellectual concepts as well as differences of opinion and interpretation both in the past and among historians, and they will also be encouraged to develop their ability to identify and solve problems.
3 The course will test problem solving skills and ability to work both independently and within groups. Students will engage in independent work, using library resources, and will practice and improve their skills in time management, historical research, organisation and analysis of material, oral presentations and essay-writing.
4 Students will also engage in group work in seminars, in which they will be encouraged to interact effectively with others and to work co-operatively on group tasks.
5 Students will acquire the skill to communicate complex concepts effectively both orally and through written work. They will acquire the ability to further develop skills they have already gained, which will be of use to them in future study or occupations.
6 To provide students with communication skills and to provide skills in IT.


  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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