The First World War: Part 1 (V1403A)

15 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

The First World War was a pivotal event in 20th-century history. Its recent centenary provoked intense public interest and academic inquiry.

This module offers a fresh and challenging analysis of the conflict. It has a particular emphasis on the human experience of war between 1914 and 1918.

Inspired by the vibrant cultural history in the field of First World War studies, we will take a thematic approach – examining the European experience of the conflict in a comparative and transnational way.

Within the context of the larger political and military framework, we’ll explore the physical and emotional dimension of the war experience of both soldiers and civilians. Themes will include areas such as:

  • the myth and reality of war enthusiasm
  • combat and killing in industrial war
  • fear and trauma in the trenches
  • religious faith and rituals in war
  • mass death and bereavement
  • artistic responses to the conflict
  • motherhood and marriage in war
  • notions of courage and heroism
  • labour and forced labour
  • the dynamics of violence
  • atrocities, rape and genocide
  • the controversial issue of the memory of the war across Europe.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (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.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: