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Britain and Germany: The History of a Relationship, 1815-1990


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Professor Jan Rueger
  • Assessment: one essay of 5000-5500 words (100%)

Module description

We will trace 200 years of conflict and collaboration between Britain and Germany. The Anglo-German relationship underwent a series of profound changes in the modern period, not only politically, but also socially, economically and culturally. This course investigates these changes. It will ask how historians have made sense of them and analyse key episodes from the Napoleonic Wars to the Cold War in depth.

In the first half of the twentieth century, Britain and Germany were bitter enemies. In the second half they became important allies. Yet for much of the nineteenth century they were neither joined in alliance, nor locked in conflict. How should we think of this relationship that has defined modern Europe?

Indicative module content

  • Britain and Germany in the early nineteenth century
  • Nation and empire
  • Revolution and reform
  • Bismarck and Salisbury
  • The rise of antagonism
  • The debate about the First World War
  • Hitler and Appeasement
  • Refugees and the Holocaust
  • Anglo-German memory
  • Britain, Germany, Europe

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • display a good knowledge of the major themes in modern historical study
  • compare and contrast the approaches used by different historians and to understand the reasons for difference
  • show an understanding of how and why historians have conceptualised the history of Britain and Germany in the modern period
  • situate the Anglo-German relationship within wider debates about the development of the historical discipline.