Waging Armageddon: The First World War in British Experience and Memory
Value: One unit
Dr Edward Madigan
Weekly meeting of 2 hours
3-hour exam (50%), best two of three coursework essays (40%), oral presentation (10%)
The First World War was a transformative event in modern British history, which, on the eve of its centenary, continues to provoke intense popular and academic interest. More than 1,000,000 British subjects lost their lives as a result of military service during the conflict, and many more were physically or psychologically traumatised. The destructive force of industrialised warfare led to a very direct civilian encounter with mass death and families and communities across the United Kingdom suffered unprecedented levels of bereavement. While the rupture between the pre- and post-war worlds should not be overstated, the cultural, social, political and economic landscape of the UK was radically altered by the experience of the conflict. To put it mildly, then, the impact of the First World War on British society was profound and long-lasting and the conflict retains considerable cultural resonance in 21st century Britain. This module will explore the British experience of the war and look at the ways in which the conflict has been interpreted and remembered in Britain in the century since it began.