Special Subject: Britain and the Second World War Part 2 (V1346B)

15 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

This module concentrates on the impact of the Second World War on social, cultural, economic and political relations in Britain 1938-45. The extent to which the war had a profound impact on British society is the subject of vigorous debate among historians in secondary literature. A complicated historiography exists for many of the topics included in this module, and the reasons for this changing interpretation of the past will be explored.

The topics covered by this module include:

  • 1930s appeasement
  • civil defence and preparation for war
  • civilian evacuation
  • the Blitz
  • the fall of Chamberlain and the Churchill coalition government
  • Dunkirk evacuation
  • war economy
  • rationing
  • agriculture
  • women in factories and auxiliary services
  • combatants' experience
  • D-Day landings
  • American service personnel in Britain
  • Beveridge report and the post-war welfare state
  • the General Election of 1945.

The emphasis of 'Special Subjects' is to examine a particular period in detail using primary sources and subsequent monographs and articles.

Primary sources include: Parliamentary Papers, government publications, contemporary social investigation and comment, contemporaneous essays and monographs, oral historical accounts, memoirs and diaries, films, paintings, poems, photographs, etc. Subsequent analysis focuses on secondary sources, in the form of books and articles.


100%: Seminar


50%: Coursework (Essay)
50%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: