History MA/MA(SocSci)

Invaders, Occupiers and Liberators: Islands at War in the 20th Century (SS) HIST4249

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • 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
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course will examine the history and, where relevant, the archaeology of islands at war during the twentieth century, in the main via a number of case studies - e.g. The US/Moro War in the Philippines (1899-1913) German invasion of Crete (1941), Japanese invasion of Singapore (1942), German Occupation of the Channel Islands (1940-45) The War in the Pacific (1941-45), Cuba - Bay of Pigs (1961) and Missile Crisis (1962), Turkish Invasion of Cyprus (1974), Falklands War (1982), US Invasion of Grenada (1983). Where relevant, processes of invasion, occupation and liberation will be analysed within a wider military and political context, while the history and culture of the islands, which in some cases will have been shaped by colonialism, will be considered, so as to understand the impact on civilian/indigenous populations and present day legacies.


10 sessions of 3 hours duration in each semester as scheduled in MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Two x 120 minute Examinations - 30% each
Two x 2,500 word Essays (one in each semester) - 10% each

Two x 20 minute seminar presentations (one in each semester) - 10% each

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

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

This course will provide the opportunity to:


■ prepare students for independent and original analysis of a complex range of evidence, including archaeological remains and elements of material culture, thereby developing intellectual skills that will be of benefit in a wide range of careers. Students' research capacity will be enriched by their introduction to diverse source materials and their oral and written communication skills enhanced in ways designed to address employers' expectations for highly literate and highly articulate graduates who are able to deploy a range of research tools.

■ show students how a professional historian works. By supporting students in the production of their essay and seminar presentation, students will gain first-hand experience of the scoping and shaping of research projects and the challenges faced by historians in the pursuit of advances in knowledge.

■ familiarise 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 historical evidence (written, visual or other).

■ ensure, through student-led discussion, that the relative validity of alternative historical interpretations is fully recognised. The seminars aim to encourage student-led learning and the facilitation of rigorous and informed debate.

■ encourage students to develop the confidence, imagination, skills and self-discipline required to master a similarly demanding brief in the future, whether in historical research or in any sphere or employment where these qualities are valuable.



Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ discuss, identify and reflect upon the similarities and differences between the military campaigns associated with the islands in question and the impact of occupation on local/indigenous populations;

■ situate these island-centric conflicts within their wider military and political contexts;

■ critically assess the effectiveness of the strategies and tactics related to attack and defence; 

■ interpret primary manuscript and material sources relating to conflict on these islands, including newspaper and newsreel sources;

■ appreciate, compare, contrast and - when possible - reconcile multiple interpretations of key events, important historical debates and the long-term legacy of these conflicts;

■ present ideas and engage in debate in both written and oral assessments in an imaginative and complex manner.

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.