The Second World War in History and Legacy, 1939-1945 HIST4273

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The Second World War has had a decisive impact on European and global geographies, politics and international relations. Memories of this conflict, conceptualised through monuments and ceremonies, as well as television, film and novels, continue to play an important role in European national cultures. This course will explore the Second World War from both a historic and contemporary perspective. Central themes of the conflict and the legacies of the conflict.


"15x1hr lectures; 5x1hr seminars over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in History and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus".

Requirements of Entry

"Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation."

Excluded Courses





Two Essay (2000 words each) - 90%

Seminar Presentation (8 minutes, focussing on primary source analysis, 800 words) - 10%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

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

The course aims to:

■ Introduce students to core themes and debates in the history and legacies of the Second World War.

■ Enhance research and critical analysis skills through the in-depth assessment of primary and secondary texts, via both independent study and group debate. 

■ Provide opportunities for interdisciplinary research through the assessment of contemporary cultural and political sources.

■ Apply enhanced levels of knowledge and creativity to both written and verbal course components.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Explain the significance of central historiographical debates in the context of the history of the Second World War, 1939-1945.

■ Describe key events that took place in the context of the Second World War and analyse their wider significance within the framework of victories and defeats.

■ Recognise the contemporary social and political impact of the Second World War by applying interdisciplinary approaches from myth and memory studies.

■ Produce critical arguments in both verbal and written from that combine a variety of primary and secondary documents relating to the history and legacies of the Second World War.

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.