Europe on the Brink: The Origins of the First World War
Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.
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After a century of debate the ‘Great War’ still provokes powerful responses among historians, politicians and the general public. Unresolved questions surround the military, industrial and political mobilisation of Europe in the years before 1914. How do we explain this ‘watershed’ in modern European history? Offering a detailed look at the causes of the First World War, this module re-examines the events that led to a conflict that killed millions, bled economies dry and shook empires and societies to their foundations. In so doing, it will introduce new historical perspectives, diplomatic, social and economic, and show the range of evidence available to historians.
1) European Balance of Power, 1900
2) Britain and Splendid Isolation
3) Germany and Weltpolitik
4) Anglo-German Antagonism
5) Entente Cordiale
6) The Dual Alliance
7) Russia and the Balkans Wars
8) War Plans
9) The Slide to War
10) Thinking about the First World War
Who is this course for?
Suitable for those with no previous knowledge of the subject, the module is organised around issues designed to explain Europe’s march to war.
Learning and Teaching
Learning and teaching are undertaken by means of small group work. This is a 10-credit course, so there will be two-hour meetings once a week (20 contact hours in all) which will include group discussion, exercises, source analysis and presentation of material on video and/or DVD. The aim is ensure that the classes are enjoyable and stimulating for all. This will encourage the development of knowledge and understanding of the topics and ideas discussed in the course.
Coursework and Assessment
To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.
The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.
You will not have a formal examination but you will be asked to produce some written work (1500 words). This may include a source analysis and short essay, or a more extended essay.
- Christopher Clark, Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (Penguin Books, 2013)
- James Joll and Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War 3rd edn (Routledge, 2007)
- Margaret MacMillan, The War that Ended Peace: How Europe Abandoned Peace for the First World War (Profile Books, 2013)
- V.R. Berghahn, Germany and the Approach of War in 1914 (Macmillan, 1973)
- F.R. Bridge and Roger Bullen, The Great Powers and the European States System, 1815-1914 (Longman, 1980)
- Gerard J. De Groot, The First World War (Palgrave, 2001)
- Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War, 1914-1918 (Penguin Books 1999)
- Ruth Henig, The Origins of the First World War 3rd edn (Routledge, 2002)
- Holger H. Herwig, The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary, 1914-1918 (Arnold, 1997)
- Mark Hewitson, Germany and the causes of the First World War (Berg, 2004)
- John F.V. Keiger, France and the Origins of the First World War (Macmillan 1983)
- Paul. M. Kennedy, The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism, 1860-1914 (Allen and Unwin, 1980)
- H.W. Koch (ed.), The Origins of the First World War: Great Power Rivalry and German War Aims 2nd edn (Macmillan, 1984) Richard Langhorne, The Collapse of the Concert of Europe: International Politics, 1890-1914 (Macmillan, 1981)
- D.C.B. Lieven, Russia and the Origins of the First World War (Macmillan, 1983)
- Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War 2nd edn (Longman,1996)
- Gordon Martel (ed.), Modern Germany Reconsidered : 1870-1945 (Routledge, 1992)
- Robert K. Massie, Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the coming of the Great War (Vintage, 2007)
- John H. Maurer, Outbreak of the First World War: Strategic Planning, Crisis Decision Making, and Deterrence Failure (Praeger, 1995)
- Alan Sked, The Decline and Fall of the Habsburg Empire, 1815-1918 (Longman, 1989)
- David Stevenson, 1914-1918: The History of the First World War (Penguin Books, 2005)
- David Stevenson, Armaments and the coming of War: Europe, 1904-1914 (Oxford University Press, 1996)
- Hew Strachan, The First World War. Vol. 1, To Arms (Oxford University Press, 2001)
- Samuel Williamson, Austria-Hungary and the Origins of the First World War (Macmillan, 1991)
Library and Computing Facilities
As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website www.cf.ac.uk/learn under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on
(029) 2087 0000.
Accessibility of Courses
Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.