Hitler's Lightning War: The Battle of France, 1940

Key facts

  • Cost: £100
  • Credits: 5


In the summer of 1940, the Germans conquered the Low Countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg), defeated France and drove the British out of Western Europe. Hitler’s achievements were sudden and shocking. Franco-British leaders believed they were well prepared for a potential war with Germany, so what went wrong? Was it Allied weakness or German strength which proved most decisive? What did this battle mean for the rest of the Second World War? 


This course examines the key events that led to German success during this pivotal year, including fraught Franco-British cooperation, the Air War and the Dunkirk evacuation. It also explores the repercussions of this swift defeat.  

Over a series of talks our expert tutor will explain: 

  • the key figures and events shaping the Battle for France in 1940  
  • examine contemporary materials and compare differing historians’ perspectives to gain a better understanding of this pivotal moment in the Second World War 

You will also have the opportunity to discuss key events and historical debates with your tutor and other students in class.  

Choose this course if you want to learn: 

  • More about the war on the western front during the Second World War 
  • Military and political strategies on both the allied and axis side 

Who is this course for?

Anyone new to studying history and interested in: 

  • Military History 
  • The politics and strategy of the Second World War 
  • European History 


5 credits at SCQF 7 / Level 1  

Can contribute towards the attainment of Certificate or Diploma in Higher Education specialising in History 


Poster (600 words including graphics) (75%) 

Presentation (25%) 

Mode of study

This 5-week course will be delivered via 2-hour seminars led by a tutor.

Course materials will be provided via our online learning platform Moodle 


  • Can begin your study of history at university level  
  • contribute towards a Certificate or Diploma in Higher Education 

Find out more

The University holds open days throughout the year where you can meet with staff to discuss our short course provision. Find out more about University of Glasgow open days