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Level 7

7AAH1202 Britain since 1900: Politics, Society, Economy, culture, International Relations 1900-45

Credit value: 20
Module convenor 2019/20: Dr Conor Morrissey (co-taught with Professor David Edgerton)
Teaching pattern
: 10 x 2 hour weekly seminars
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
 1 x 4,000-word essay

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the main themes of British history 1900-1945.   As well as providing an overview of the political, economic, military, international and cultural history of the United Kingdom, it introduces students to differing traditions of interpretation of that history, bringing to bear the most recent fresh analyses in what is a rapidly changing field.


Provisional teaching plan

  1. Thinking about British History: Historiography and Methods
  2. British Exceptionalism - The United Kingdom in 1900
  3. Edwardian Crises of the State - Suffrage, Labour and Ireland
  4. War and the Reconfiguring of Nation and Empire
  5. British Capitalism from Free Trade to Protection
  6. Welfare, Sexuality and the Family
  7. Identities: Class, Gender, Nation and Empire
  8. Political Ideas and Ideology in Interwar Britain
  9. The United Kingdom and the World in Crisis
  10. The British Empire at War 1939-45

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these texts is not mandatory.

P. Cain and A. Hopkins, British Imperialism 1688-2000, (Harlow, 2002)

Francesca Carnevali and Julie-Marie Strange, 20th century Britain: Economic, Cultural and Social Change, (Routledge, 2007)

Stefan Collini, Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain, (Oxford, 2006)

John Darwin, The Empire Project: The Rise and Fall of the British World-System, 1830–1970, (Cambridge, 2009)

David Edgerton, Warfare State: Britain 1920-1970, (2005)

W.H. Greenleaf, The British Political Tradition, (London, 1988)

Ross McKibbin, Classes and Cultures: England 1918-51, (Oxford, 2000)

Keith Middlemas, Politics in Industrial Society: The Experience of the British system since 1911, (London, 1979)

Charles Mowat, Britain between the Wars, (London, 1968)

Martin Pugh, The Making of Modern British Politics 1867-1945, (Oxford, 2002)

G.R. Searle, A New England? Peace and War 1886-1918, (Oxford, 2005)

A.J.P. Taylor, English History 1914-45, (Oxford, 1965)

Frank Trentmann, Free Trade Nation: Commerce, Consumption and Civil Society in Modern Britain, (Oxford, 2008)


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