Summer Schools


Hidden Histories of the Second World War


The Second World War is still seen by many Britons as their ‘Finest Hour’. In this interpretation, the British people pulled together, never surrendered, never wavered in their convictions, behaved in the right way and fought for the right reasons. Today, the war is popularly remembered through the lens of Churchillian rhetoric, slogans oozing with British phlegm (‘keep calm and carry on’) and war films (produced at the time or during the 1950s) emphasising either stoicism in the face of adversity or great courage. It is a positive memory which has passed into the realm of historical myth.

Yet the historiography of the last forty years has uncovered many events and social trends which counter the mythical interpretation. British people during the emergency of 1940 did not all pull together: industrial action during the war remained high, crime rates spiralled upwards during the Blitz and morale under bombardment proved more unstable than the official line stated. Similarly, other aspects of the British war effort, where men served bravely and at the cost of appalling casualties, were dropped from the popular memory of the war. The reality of Britain at war was far more complex and murky, and this messy reality is the focus of this summer school.

This summer school will explore several of these contradictions and omissions from the popular memory of Britain during the Second World War. It will also consider the implications of the popular memory of the war on more recent issues, notably the case of ‘Brexit’. With a heavy focus on primary sources, this course will provide a useful and fascinating stepping stone towards postgraduate study, enhancing your research skills, your abilities in oral and written communication, and encouraging you to consider the creation of popular memory in a more nuanced and in-depth manner.
We have planned field trips to Dover Castle and The Imperial War Museum in London as part of this summer school.

Dates: Sunday 01 - Sunday 15 July 2018

Providing School: School of History

Campus: Canterbury

Credit Transfer Option:  Equivalent to 10 Credits (ECTS 5) for transfer purposes.

Price: £1500 (Earlybird) for two weeks. Includes tuition, accommodation, teaching materials, welcome meal, organised trips and full library access

The Hidden Histories Summer School is part of the University of Kent Summer School programme. It will allow you to make lasting connections with students from around the world, studying a range of subjects but sharing your own enthusiasm. International study will enable you to gain a deeper understanding of another culture, make lifelong friends from a wide variety of backgrounds and benefit from globally-renowned academic excellence.

For additional reasons to join us, visit our Canterbury Summer Schools overview.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this International Summer School course, you should have:

Intended specific learning outcomes

  • developed a good understanding of the subject matter which forms the focus of this intensive introductory course
  • explored a series of key subject-specific themes and media from a range of critical perspectives
  • had the opportunity to put into practice new subject-related skills which you have started to develop during the course
  • gained an awareness of the UK Higher Education system in the subject specific context

Intended generic learning outcomes

  • Gained an introduction to some of the aptitudes, expectations and requirements of more independent and higher level study achieved through a range of seminars, lectures, practice-based activities and one to one tutorials.
  • Experienced individual and group-based learning environments consonant with the expectations and requirements of higher level study
  • Exercised some element of self-directed study and time-management opportunities consistent with research skills and onward professional career opportunities
  • Enhanced your transferable academic skills such as reading and writing in relevant academic contexts, listening to academic lectures and input sessions as well as participating in academic seminars
  • Increased your intercultural awareness through studying in an international environment with students from other backgrounds and nationalities

Topics will include (but are not limited to):

  1. The Blitz - crime, low morale and civilian responses to aerial bombardment
  2. Bomber Command - 1944 to the present
  3. British Responses to the Holocaust and British anti-Semitism
  4. The cultural mobilisation of the myth of Britain in the Second World War in recent years
  5. The German Occupation of the Channel Islands, and the counterfactual of an ‘SS-GB’
  6. The ‘Forgotten Army’: the peripheral memory of the British war in the Far East
  7. The ‘Emergency’ of 1940 - how close was Britain to suing for peace, and how likely was a German victory.

If you are interested in finding out why the Bomber Command memorial in Hyde Park was only erected in 2012, how close Britain came to defeat in 1940 and why, seventy two years after the event, the Second World War is still popularly seen as a ‘glorious’ period of British history, this is the summer school for you.

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching formats will include lectures, seminars, workshops and site visits

Total number of study hours will comprise 100 hours which will include elements of independent and private study.

  • 50 hours contact time during the summer school
  • 20 hours self-study before the summer school
  • 30 study hours during the summer school

    Total: 100 hours


  • A written assessment with a total of 1,500 words
  • A group presentation

To gain entry on to the Canterbury Summer School you will need to be either:

  • studying at a university outside the UK or at a UK university and considering options for further study in the UK
  • a professional exploring options for postgraduate study in the UK. 

You will also need to:

  • be able to demonstrate a keen interest in History or have previous knowledge from your studies/work experience and looking to expand your knowledge in this area. Previous related study is desirable but not essential.
  • have at least IELTS 6.0 or equivalent with a minimum of 5.5 in each skill. If you have an alternative test/proof of your English language ability then you can mention this is your application and upload this instead. Students must feel confident reading, writing and liaising in English to attend this course.

Fees and Scholarship

A reminder that you can apply for one course from each block, and also combine with our Paris and Brussels Summer Schools in most cases, as set out here.

The Scholarship application deadline is 5pm on Fri 30 March 2018. You can still apply after this date for a paying place.


Pay by Monday 16 April 2018 and receive an Early Bird discount of £100 per course.

  Earlybird Price
Standard Price
Without Accomodation £1,250 £1,350
With Accomodation included £1,500 £1,600


Fees Include full tuition for the summer school, accommodation, teaching materials, a welcome meal, full access to the University library facilities and social trips each Wednesday and at the weekend into London.

The final deadline for payment to secure your place on this course is Fri 28 May 2018

Scholarship Opportunities

We have 20 x £500 Internationalisation Scholarships available for the Canterbury Summer Schools available to students not currently studying at the University of Kent. If you wish to apply for a scholarship you will need to select 'School scholarship' at application and apply by Fri 30 Mar 2018. We will use your Reasons to study as part of the application form as the scholarship application. If you are a current student at another institution you may also wish to enquire about any mobility scholarships within your home institution or Government.


You must email to notify us of your withdrawal from a course as soon as you know that you will not be attending the course and before travelling to the UK. We will charge a £250 administration fee, unless there are exceptional extenuating circumstances for the withdrawal.

Accommodation details

The accommodation for this summer school is based in Park Wood flats and is offered on a self-catered basis. Students will be placed in their own double rooms equipped with en suite facilities. Check-in is after 14h00 on the first Sunday and check-out is before 10h00 on the final Sunday. All students will be offered University accommodation (included in fee), although if you wish to make alternative arrangements you can pay tuition fees only, saving £250 per two-week course.

Additional details about our accommodation is available on our Accommodation webpage.

Course information:

Please note that in order for the course to run a minimum of 6 registered students is required. Please do not make arrangements for travel until you have received your welcome and induction pack.

Getting here

You will find useful directions to the Canterbury Campus on our Directions page. Students who wish to arrange a taxi transfer from one of the London airports may wish to visit our Booking a Taxi in the UK page.



For enquiries please use the form below




Every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in publicity materials is fair and accurate at the time of going to press. However, the courses, services and other matter covered by web pages and prospectuses are subject to change from time to time and changes may need to be made following publication and/or after candidates have been admitted to the University. Please see our institution wide Terms and Conditions / Disclaimer page for further information. Please note that modules shown are based on the current curriculum, but are subject to change.

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Last Updated: 01/11/2017