'War without Hate': The North African Campaign, 1940-1943 (HIH1018)

StaffDr Neal Dando - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The aim of the module is to introduce students to the broad range of sources available to the modern historian, through study of the main developments relating to the politics, military outcomes and cultures of the armies involved in the North African campaign during the Second World War. Individual seminars (see topic list below) will focus on various sources, such as government records, diaries and memoirs, oral history interviews, speeches, photographs, newspaper articles, films, and poetry about the campaign. Students will also have the opportunity to conduct their own research into these sources, consider their value and limitations, and use them to explore particular topics and themes. This module will help students develop skills in source analysis and research to provide a foundation for future historical work.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand and assess the main developments in the North African campaign, 1940-1943, during the Second World War.
  • 2. Work critically with a range of written and visual sources relating to the topic.
  • 3. Assess the sources in relation to the historical debates, purposes for which different contemporary sources were produced, and analyse and evaluate their reliability and usefulness for the study of the nature of the military forces and politics involved.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Identify the problems of using historical sources, e.g. utility, limitations, etc, and compare the validity of different types of sources.
  • 5. Answer a question briefly and concisely.
  • 6. Present work orally, respond to questions orally, and think quickly of questions to ask other students.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Conduct independent study and group work, including the presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning.
  • 8. Digest, select and organize material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.
  • 9. Work with others in a team and to interact effectively with the tutor and the wider group.
  • 10. Write to a very tight word-length.

Syllabus plan

Weekly seminar topics may vary, but will include: the impact of Churchill’s plans for the Middle East; the views of the Axis leadership; the nature and culture of the British Army and Empire Divisions; the Axis soldiers’ view; the environment and theatre of war; war reporting at home, through newspapers, film and propaganda; the growing politicisation of the war with the entry of U.S. forces; and the role of Vichy and Free French forces in the final stages of the campaign.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22 hour lecture: Introduction to module
Scheduled learning and teaching activities2010 x 2 hour seminars. At a meeting of the whole class generally a different group of 3-4 students will give a presentation to the whole class, followed by class discussion and working through the sources for that week carefully. Additional sources may be issued in the class and the lecturer will also use the time to set up issues for the following week.
Guided independent study128Students prepare for the session through reading and research; writing five source commentaries and an essay and preparing one group presentation in the course of the term.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation (3-4 students)10-15 minutes1-4, 6-7, 9Oral
Lowest mark from portfolio of 5 source commentaries500 words1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
4 highest marks from portfolio of 5 source commentaries602000 words (500 per commentary)1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments.
Essay on Sources401500 words1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
4 highest marks from portfolio of 5 source commentaries4 highest marks of portfolio of 5 source commentaries1-5, 7-8, 10Referral/deferral period.
1500-word essay1500-word essay1-5, 7-8, 10Referral/deferral period.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Atkinson, R, An Army at Dawn. The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 (London: Abacus, 2004).

Barr, N, Pendulum of War. The Three Battles of Alamein (Woodstock: Overlook Press, 2004).

Bennett, R, Ultra and Mediterranean Strategy (New York: William Morrow,1989),

Cooper, A, Cairo In the War 1939-1945 (London: Penguin, 1989).

Crisp, R, Brazen Chariots (London: Frederick Muller, 1959).

D’Arcy Dawson, J, Tunisian Battle (London: Macdonald & Co, 1944).

Douglas, K, Alamein To Zem Zem (London: Bantam Books, 1985).

Fennell, J, Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Ferris, J.R, Intelligence and Strategy (Oxford: Routledge, 2005).

Gladman, B.W, Intelligence and Anglo-American Air Support in World War Two. The

Western Desert and Tunisia, 1940-1943 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

HMSO, The Tiger Kills. The Story of the Indian Divisions in the North African campaign. (London: HMSO, undated)

Joly, R, Take These Men (London: Constable, 1955).

Kippenberger, H, Infantry Brigadier (London: Oxford University Press, 1949)

Knox, M, Mussolini Unleashed 1939-1941. Politics and Strategy in Fascist Italy’s Last War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Lawlor, S, Churchill and the Politics of War, 1940-1941 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

Mellenthin, F.W, Panzer Battles (Stroud: Tempus, 2001).

Moorehead, A, African Trilogy (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1946).

Rolf, D, The Bloody Road to Tunis (London: Greenhill Books, 2001).

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