Undergraduate Course: British Politics in the Shadow of War, 1939 to 1945 (HIST10351)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||This course offers a detailed immersion in British politics and government during the Second World War. It covers a range of issues - diplomacy, war, party politics, the Churchill coalition, leadership, economic organisation and the boundaries of the British state.
This course is a detailed examination of politics and government in Britain during the Second World War. This period arguably witnessed the birth of modern Britain, as the state was remodelled and the social contract rewritten under the pressures of total war and coalition politics. It has also given us many of our enduring myths: the alleged cowardice of appeasement, the heroic leadership of Winston Churchill, and a 'swing to the left' in public opinion. Students taking the course will be challenged to question these myths. A significant number of the leading figures of modern British political history (besides Churchill, men like Neville Chamberlain, Lord Halifax, Clement Attlee, Ernest Bevin, Herbert Morrison, Anthony Eden, and Stafford Cripps) were prominent in government during this period. They shared the public stage with non-political experts, such as John Maynard Keynes, William Beveridge, and Harold Laski. And the interwar ascendancy of the Conservative party was eroded, culminating in a landslide win for the Labour party in the July 1945 general election. Taken together, this represented a watershed in the history of the British state, party politics, and the relationship between government and citizen. The course asks students to consider the duties of government under conditions of national emergency; the nature of cross-party coalitions; the role of leadership in politics; and unpack the ideological changes of this period.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate, by way of coursework, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
- demonstrate, by way of coursework, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
- demonstrate, by way of coursework, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
- demonstrate, by way of coursework, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
- demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
|Paul Addison, The Road to 1945: British Politics and the Second World War|
John Charmley, Chamberlain and the Lost Peace (1989).
John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1992).
Robert Crowcroft, Attlee's War (2011),
Stephen Brooke, Labour's War (1992).
Kevin Jefferys, The Churchill coalition and wartime politics (1991).
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Independent gathering of evidence; critical consideration of learning materials; sustained oral argument and debate; management of timetable and workload; and the production of work to deadlines.
|Course organiser||Dr Robert Crowcroft
Tel: (0131 6)50 3764
|Course secretary||Miss Lorna Berridge