The Spanish Civil War: Context (HIH3181)

StaffDr Timothy Rees - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesAt least 90 credits of History at level 1 and/or level 2
Co-requisitesHIH3180 (Sources)
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module focuses on the Spanish Civil War, one of the most divisive and bitter conflicts of the twentieth century, that created passionate interest around the world. It will look in depth at the war and its social and political background, concentrating on the period 1913-39. Not only political and military affairs will be investigated, but also the important international, cultural and socio-economic aspects of this struggle. Key issues to be considered will be the establishment and failure of democracy in Spain, the nature of the war, the development of the two opposing sides, the reasons for Republican failure and Nationalist success, the impact of foreign powers and the internationalism of the conflict, and the rise of the Franco regime as the war's outcome.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Ability to evaluate the different complex themes in the Spanish Civil War
  • 2. Ability to make close specialist evaluation of the key developments within Spain in the period, developed through independent study and seminar work.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Ability to analyse the key developments within a particular historical environment
  • 4. Ability to focus on and comprehend complex issues
  • 5. Ability to understand and deploy historical and political terminology in a comprehensible manner
  • 6. Ability to follow the complex reasoning inherent in political discourse.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Independent and autonomous study and group work, including presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning.
  • 8. Ability to digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment
  • 9. Ability to present complex arguments orally.

Syllabus plan

The first term will provide students with an in-depth understanding of the war and its origins. It will consider the nature of Spanish society in the 1930s, the development of the democratic Republic of 1931-36, and the political and social polarisation that took place before 1936. The focus will then turn to looking at the war in detail from the initial military uprising to the defeat of the Republic by General Franco's Nationalist forces in 1939.

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 activities44seminars (22 x 2hr)
Guided independent study256Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar discussionOngoing through course1-7, 9Verbal from tutor and fellow students
Worse of two essay marks3000 words1-6, 8-9Verbal and written

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
Better of two essay marks 333000 words1-9Verbal and written
Unseen exam672 questions in 2 hours1-9Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Better of two essaysBetter of two essays1-9Referral/deferral period
Unseen examUnseen exam1-9Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

J. Casanova, A Short History of the Spanish Civil War (I. B. Tauris, 2012)
S. Payne, The Spanish Civil War (CUP, 2012)
S. Payne, Spain’s First Democracy (Wisconsin U.P., 1993)
P. Preston, The Spanish Civil War (Harper Perennial, 2006)

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