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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

HIST5843M A History of War

30 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Prof Simon Ball

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will analyse the role that war, as a phenomenon of organised violence between states, played in human history from its early beginnings to the present day. It will offer an introduction into the numerous facets of modern military history, following chronology and focusing on some of the central works on the history of war. At the same time, we will analyse texts on specified problems of military history, including the economics of war; the experience of battle; air warfare; the motivation of soldiers; the role of operational history and women and war. The main approach of this module is historiographical.


To engage students in a comparative and multi-dimensional discussion of the various questions of modern military history/the history of war.

Learning outcomes
On completing this module students will:
1. have acquired a chronological overview of the history of war and been introduced to key debates;
2. have developed an understanding of aspects and approaches to military history;
3. have developed methodological skills in conducting multi-disciplinary research;
4. be able to demonstrate an ability to make thematic comparisons across a variety of historical situations;
5. have a firm grasp of the historiographical controversies discussed in class.


1. Introduction: On War. What is 'modern military history'?
2. The Beginnings of War
3. War in Ancient Greece and Rome
4. War in the Middle Ages
5. 'A Military Revolution'? Military innovation in Europe and the Beginnings of European Expansion
6. On Battles and Fighting
7. 'Total War?' Drafted Armies and their wars from the French Revolution until 1945
7.1. Draft and military education
7.2. How to write a history of total war
8.1. War against civilians/Air Warfare
8.2. Operational History
9.1. War and economics
9.2. Women and War
10. Why does the soldier fight? The role of ideology, gender, peer groups and tradition
11. War in our times/conclusion

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students are expected to prepare thoroughly for each seminar. This will include:
- the reading and analysis of set materials
- broader, independent reading
- engagement with the work of other seminar participants

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored formally through presentations in the course of the. A face-to-face feedback session will be held with each student following their presentation.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4,000 words50.00
Literature ReviewLit Review 1, 1500 words15.00
Literature ReviewLit Review 2, 1500 words15.00
PresentationClassroom Presentation of Lit Review 110.00
PresentationClassroom Presentation of Lit Review 210.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 15:57:34


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