Approaches to War & Society in the Twentieth Century (HISM426)

30 credits

This module focuses on key themes in the study of conflict in the twentieth-century world by looking at its origins, forms, impact and aftermath not only on nations and states but on societies and communities divided by civil war or racial conflict. A particular focus will be on total war and mobilization, with its unique levels of national commitment and the widespread involvement of civilians. There will also be an opportunity to study civil wars as examples of ‘total war’ between distinct social forces within a particular state or society. The main emphasis is on how historians and political scientists have approached the question of modern warfare, whether through study of formal military conflict, the social history of combat, cultures of war or economic and social mobilization. The course in 2013/14 will be based on four approaches out of the many that are possible:

  1. Total War and the Civilianization of Warfare
  2. Civil Wars
  3. Economics and War in the Twentieth Century
  4. Morale, Discipline and Combat Motivation

There will also be opportunity at the start and end of the course to reflect more generally on recent developments in the way historians now discuss war as a cultural, social and existential reality.