2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue
HIST3999 Doomed to Failure? European Great Power Politics from Bismarck to the Outbreak of World War I
20 creditsClass Size: 28
Module manager: Professor Holger Afflerbach
Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable
Year running 2019/20
Module replacesHIST3810 and HIST3820
This module is approved as a discovery module
Module summaryGeorge F. Kennan called World War I the 'seminal catastrophe' of the 20th century. And actual historiography agrees that he was right: World War I was indeed the starting point for most evils of the 20th century: National Socialism, Fascism, Communism, and, naturally, World War II., wouldn't have been possible without the 'Great War'. - But how was this catastrophe linked with the developments of the 19th century? - Was this war the logical outcome of a highly militarized, imperialistic and nationalistic epoch, so that the Sarajevo Crime was only the proverbial spark in the powder barrel of European politics?In this class we will try to analyze and to understand the mechanisms of European Great Power politics between 1871 and 1914. We will examine some general tendencies and political problems of the times. And we will deal with the peace keeping mechanisms of the European Concert of Powers as well as with the major events of international policy from 1871 to 1914, from the foundations of the German and Italian National States to the July crisis of 1914 and the outbreak of World War I.
ObjectivesOn completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. understand the driving forces and central problems of European Great Power Politics from Bismarck to the Outbreak of World War I
2. explain the causes and links between this period and the outbreak of the war
3. evaluate the importance of imperialistic and colonialist tendencies in European politics before 1914
4. understand the attitude towards war and peace in European politics before 1914
5. have an overview on some major historiographical debates on key aspects of the topic.
On completion of this module, students will acquire the ability to:
1. analyse and interpret the foundations and structural elements of Great Power politics before 1914
2. analyse and critique relevant historiographical argument
3. apply relevant written, visual, and electronic resources
4. present, in writing and orally, well-supported historical arguments.
The following topics are to be covered in seminars:
1. Structural elements of European Great Power Politics
2. Bismarck's Alliance Politics
3. European Imperialism and the
4. Public Opinion and Great Power Politics
5. Decisions for war in 1914.
|Delivery type||Number||Length hours||Student hours|
|Private study hours||178.00|
|Total Contact hours||22.00|
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)||200.00|
Private studyPrivate study consists primarily in directed reading as set out in the module handbook. Students undertake this reading in order to:
1. prepare for each seminar
2. research their essay
3. equip themselves for answering the exam questions.
Private study also includes the writing of VLE Blackboard pieces in advance of five classes, the planning and writing of the assessed essay, and revision for the exam.
Opportunities for Formative FeedbackContributions to class discussions, essay feedback, short assessments during the semester.
Methods of assessment
|Assessment type||Notes||% of formal assessment|
|Presentation||Class presentation, to include a 1000 word VLE paper as directed by tutor||40.00|
|Essay||1x 3,500-word essay due by 12 noon Monday teaching week 11||60.00|
|Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)||100.00|
Reading listThe reading list is available from the Library website
Last updated: 20/09/2019
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