- ARCHIVE as at 1 September 2013 for reference only

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Willingly to War? The Origins of the First World War (PGHC11371)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course provides an introduction to the advanced study of a crucial period of international history. The course will focus on the period of the July Crisis of 1914 and the outbreak of the First World War. The course is structured around historically and historiographically significant themes. Each class session will address a particular theme or interpretative issue that has generated significant controversy in recent scholarship. In addition to analysing the motivations and reasoning of the key decision-makers, the aim of the course will be to focus on such issues as the impact of terrorism on a fragile international system, the role of ┐risk┐ in the calculations of key actors, the relationship between long- and short-term planning, the impact of intelligence, the importance of historical precedent, the significance of inadvertency, error and misunderstanding, and the role played by armaments and military threat analysis. The course will examine the historiographical debates that have raged since the outbreak of the war itself, and employ archival and other documentary material to evaluate them on the basis of their evidential strengths and weaknesses.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Flexible, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  10
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 05/08/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Online Activities 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
After completing the course, students will be able to:
- demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of some of the most important issues and themes connected to the international history of Europe immediately before and during the July Crisis of 1914;
- independently identify and pursue research topics in this period of international history;
- exhibit an understanding for different conceptual approaches for the study of history;
- analyse and contextualise primary source material;
- arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented and properly referenced conclusions in their coursework essay;
- demonstrate their skills in group discussion, collaborative exercises (such as with wikis or group essays) and oral presentations;
- demonstrate their written skills, their analytical and theoretical skills in coursework;
- demonstrate their ability to reflect on the reading & research they have undertaken and provide feedback for their peers.
Assessment Information
One 1,000 word book review (20%) and one 3,000 word essay (80%). The use of two pieces of writing, rather than one, is a change from usual past practice in History, as is the requirement of a book review assignment. It is hoped that the feedback provided from the first assignment will prove useful to the students who will be able to take on board any feedback before undertaking the 3,000 word essay.

Both pieces of work will be submitted via Learn and marked using TurnitIn. Online versions of the postgraduate essay feedback form will be employed on the course.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list The following two works will be provided to the students, paid for from their fees:

James Joll & Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War (London, third edition, 2007)
Annika Mombauer, The Origins of the First World War: Diplomatic and Military Documents (Manchester, 2013)

Numerous ebooks will be available to students through the databases 'Cambridge Histories Online', 'Cambridge Books Online' & 'Oxford Scholarship Online'.

Anthony D'Agostino, 'The Revisionist Tradition in European Diplomatic History', Journal of the Historical Society, 4 (2004)
E.L. Evans & J.O. Baylen, 'History as propaganda: the German Foreign Office and the "Enlightenment" of American historians on the war guilt question', Canadian Journal of History, 10 (1975)
Niall Ferguson, 'Germany and the Origins of the First World War: New Perspectives', Historical Journal, 35 (1992)
Holger H. Herwig, 'Clio deceived: Patriotic Self-Censorship in Germany After the Great War', International Security, 12 (1987)
Talbot C. Imlay, 'The Origins of the First World War', Historical Journal, 49 (2006)
Konrad H. Jarausch, 'World Power or Tragic Fate: The Kriegsschuldfrage as Historical Neurosis', Central European History, 5 (1972)
Jerzy Marczewski, 'German Historiography and the Problem of Germany's Responsibility for World War I', Polish Western Affairs, 12 (1977)
Annika Mombauer, 'The First World War: Inevitable, Avoidable, Improbable or Desirable? Recent Interpretations on War Guilt and the War's Origins', German History, 25 (2007)
Adam R. Seipp, 'Beyond the "Seminal Catastrophe": Re-imagining the First World War', Journal of Contemporary History, 41 (2006)
Dennis Showalter, 'The Great War and Its Historiography', Historian, 68 (2006)
Leonard V. Smith, 'The "Culture De Guerre" and French Historiography of the Great War of 1914-1918', History Compass, 5 (2007)
Samuel R. Williamson, Jr., 'The Origins of World War I', Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 18 (1988)
Samuel R. Williamson, Jr. & Ernest R. May, 'Review Article: An Identity of Opinion: Historians and July 1914', Journal of Modern History, 79 (2007)

Primary source material will be available via House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, FRUS, and, it is hoped, British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898-1914. There are extensive collections of official documents available online.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsWillingly Origins First World War
Course organiserMr David Kaufman
Tel: (0131 6)51 3857
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information
© Copyright 2013 The University of Edinburgh - 10 October 2013 5:06 am