How Wars End HIST5179

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

War may be the most destructive of human endeavours, but all wars end eventually. This course will investigate the modern history of how wars have ended. We will consider the final stages of a number of wars in the modern period and examine how peace was restored. The course will also explore would-be peacemakers' failed efforts to end wars, and to analyse why these efforts failed. Taking a cross-disciplinary approach, this course will include an exploration of the war termination literature in International Relations, and this literature's potential relevance for understanding this history.


2-hour seminars per week x 10 weeks

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses





Essay (3,500 words) - 70%

Book Review (1,500 words) - 30%

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Analyse the final stages of a number of historical wars and conflicts in modern history.

■ Explore how and why these conflicts ended and peace was restored, including through political, diplomatic, and military lenses.

■ Examine historical examples of efforts at peace-making, including those that failed.

■ Investigate this subject in a cross-disciplinary way, by exploring the International Relations war termination literature

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ Evaluate and compare a number of historical examples of the end of war and resumption of peace.

■ Assess why some efforts at peace-making succeed, while others do not.

■ Evaluate a range of source materials (primary and secondary) on this subject in essays and seminar discussion.

■ Critically examine the usefulness of potentially relevant approaches from International Relations to the history of 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.