Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

The Second World War: A Clash of Ideologies, Cultures, Economies and Armies (SS) HIST4219

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course will examine the Second World War as a global phenomenon. It will range widely over the subject, covering issues of culture and ideology as well as strategic history.


The course will meet three hours a week.

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Junior Honours in history.

Excluded Courses




Coursework - two essays (2,500 words) (10% each); two seminar papers ( 800 words) (6% each); seminar participation (4% each)

Examination - two exams each of 120 minutes duration (30% each)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

Special Subjects are the most advanced and intensive undergraduate courses offered in the History. They aim:


1) to prepare students for independent and original analysis of a complex range of evidence, including source materials, thereby developing skills which will be of benefit in a wide range of careers;


2) to show students how a professional historian works;


3) to familiarize students, through source-criticism, with a wide range of problems of interpretation arising from different usages of language, underlying meanings and intentions, differing standards of objectivity, and the variety of purpose and intent associated with certain types of historical material (written, visual and other);


4) to ensure, through student led discussion, that the relative validity of alternative historical interpretations is fully recognized;

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1) to show a good understanding of many aspects of the Second World War, including strategic and foreign relations, and political, cultural and social history.


2) to demonstrate a critical engagement with the validity of any one school of thought and the limitations of historical evidence;


3) to demonstrate the ability to grasp, and make sophisticated comment upon, complex and unresolved historiographical debates about different aspects of the Second World War;


4) to demonstrate your mastery of the subject as a whole by answering a range of questions requiring you to place both primary and secondary sources in their historical context;


5) to answer such questions in unambiguous, concise and effective prose, incorporating a range of substantiating evidence;


6) to have demonstrated the confidence, imagination and self discipline required to participate in and lead seminars

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.