HI5017 - Into the Dark Valley: Europe, 1919-1939

What will I learn on this module?

This module familiarises you with a turbulent era in European history. Between the First and Second World War, European societies faced a variety of challenges, from depression and dictatorship to civil war and international conflict. After fighting had ended in November 1918, countries had to cope with a shattered economy, traumatised soldiers and a volatile political situation. Over the subsequent two decades, they experienced a clash between competing political forces: liberal democracy, communism and fascism. Yet, this module also considers arguments that contradict notions of a permanent crisis. For instance, rather than viewing the Weimar Republic as being doomed to fail, you will also learn about its rich cultural life. In France, the Popular Front defended democracy at a time when fascist or authoritarian movements had grasped power elsewhere. At the international level, the foundation of the League of Nations was an ambitious attempt to create a global order.

This module pursues two major lines of enquiry. You will first study some countries in greater depth (Weimar Germany, early Soviet Russia, the French Third Republic, Republican Spain, the new states in Central Europe). You will then tackle broader international developments (European empires, the League of Nations, campaigns waged by political activists, the international impact of communism) and different aspects of European dictatorships (e.g. leisure). As a whole, the module highlights the connections between events in different countries and presents you with fresh research on Europe’s ‘twenty-year crisis’.

How will I learn on this module?

The module is divided into two parts. In the first half, each session is dedicated to a specific country. In the second half, we will look beyond individual nations – namely by means of comparison or by shifting attention to the international level.

Emphasis is placed on student-centred learning. The module uses both interactive lectures (which include sections for student reflection and group discussions) and seminars. You will be expected to prepare for the weekly seminars by undertaking the set reading (available via the electronic reading list), and will build on your independent reading by presenting your ideas and arguments in seminar discussions with your peers. Each week's class will involve both small group work and large group discussion, built around focused questions on themes and topics. Carefully selected primary sources will feed into these discussions. You will receive feedback throughout the learning process and have the opportunity to meet for individual tutorials. Summative assessment will match your learning against the learning outcomes for the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your academic development will be supported through the module tutor, engagement with your peers and through your programme leader. Your module tutor will offer tutorials, both for the preparation of your assignments and for feedback. In addition, you will also be able to see the module tutor (for instance in the publicised feedback and consultation hours) and to raise questions via email. Your peers will provide you with a collaborative learning environment, and your programme leader will guide you through the requirements and expectations of your course. You will also be supported through individual engagement with the academic literature, lectures and resources available on the eLearning Portal. Feedback will be ongoing throughout seminar activities and through assessment tasks.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Demonstrate knowledge of key European developments in the period between the two world wars.

2. Display an understanding of events in more than one European country.

3. Demonstrate the ability to analyse events in individual nations but to engage with comparative or international perspectives.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
4. Display a variety of transferable skills (including the ability to summarise other people’s research, to analyse and interpret historical evidence, to communicate your ideas).

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate an awareness of historical and contemporary relationships and how these relations shape our perceptions.

How will I be assessed?

You will write two essays of 2,500 words each (MLO 1, 2, 4, 5). Each assignment will make up half of your overall grade. The first essay will normally be dedicated to one specific country, while the second essay will deal with comparative or international questions (see MLO 3).

You will have the opportunity to present your work in the seminars and will receive formative feedback from your lecturer in classroom discussions, debates, and tutorial sessions. Formative assessment through your lecturer will be written and verbal, and you will also receive feedback through engagement with your peers who will enable you to test your explanations about the nature of the European history. Feedback on your first summative assessment will allow you to improve on later ones.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code LV21

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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