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1933-1945 Hitler Years and WWII

Britain and France were allies in the First World War. After that ruinous conflict, however, their governments differed on how best to prevent Germany from again disrupting the peace of Europe. We will examine the reasons for their inability to develop a common approach to the threat posed by Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 and assess the contribution of this failure to the outbreak of war in 1939, the subsequent defeat of France and installation of the Vichy government in 1940.

We shall then investigate British relations with Vichy, the role of the Free French in London and British links with the internal resistance in France. Finally we shall examine events leading to the D-Day landings and liberation of France and  assess the contribution of the French resistance and Secret Army. We will conclude by reviewing Anglo-French relations at the conclusion of the war.

Programme details Edit

Term Starts:   2nd October     Edit

Week 1:          Britain and France in 1933: an overview

Week 2:          Reactions to the Rise of Hitler in France and Britain

Week 3:          1936: Spain, Italy and the Rhineland remilitarisation

Week 4:          Events Leading to the Munich Conference

Week 5:          The Outbreak of War in 1939

Week 6:          The 'Phoney War' and the Fall of France

Week 7:          Britain and Vichy France: French exiles in London

Week 8:          Britain and the development of  French Resistance, both internal and external

Week 9:          Events leading to the liberation of France

Week 10:        Anglo-French relations at the end of the Second World War

Background Reading List

Bell P.M.H., France and Britain 1900-1940 : Entente and Estrangement

Bell P.M.H., France and Britain 1940-1994; The Long Separation

Tombs R & Chabal E., Britain and France in Two World Wars: Truth, Myth and Memory

Doumanis N. (ed) The Oxford Handbook of European History 1914-1945

Kersaudy F., Churchill and de Gaulle

If you are planning to purchase books, remember that courses with too few students enrolled will be cancelled. The Department accepts no responsibility for books bought in anticipation of a course.

If you have enrolled on a course starting in the autumn, you can become a borrowing member of the Rewley House library from 1st September and we will try to ensure that as many titles as possible are available in the Library by the start of each term. If you are enrolled on a course starting in other terms, you can become a borrowing member once the previous term has ended.

Recommended reading Edit

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.

Recommended Reading List

Certification Edit

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from between January 1st and July 31st after the current academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Fees Edit

Course Fee: £205.00 Take this course for CATS points: £10.00

Tutor Edit

Alison Appleby Edit

Alison tutored modern European history and culture for the Open University for many years. She currently teaches modern world history at the City Literary Institute. Her doctoral research focused on Anglo-French relations 1920-1945.

Course aims Edit

The course will explore the complexities of the Anglo-French relationship during the period of Nazi ascendancy and world war.

Course Objectives Edit

By the end of the course students will be able to

(1) Identify ways in which British and French governments reacted to key developments in Europe during the period 1933-1939

(2) Describe some of the challenges to the maintenance of good relations between Britain and France in wartime

(3) Outline some of the successes of the the patnership between Britain and the Free French in the later stages of the Second World War

Teaching methods Edit

This course will be taught via tutor presentation,  tutor-guided analysis of documents, article extracts, images, video clips and group discussion. There will plenty of opportunities to ask questions and present your own comments on the materials.

Learning outcomes Edit

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

Identify key developments in Anglo-French relations 1933-39 and understand historical explanations for these developments

Analyse aspects of the Anglo-French wartime alliance and assess the consequences of its breakdown and the defeat of France

Explain the British approach to internal and external resistance in France and assess the contribution of this partnership to eventual victory

Assessment methods Edit

Assessment will consist of a single piece of work. During the second session, there will be a discussion of possible titles for an essay of 1500 words.

Students should submit plans or notes for their chosen topic by week five and receive feedback the following week.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.

Application Edit

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands Edit

No preliminary knowledge is required for this course;  curiosity and an open mind are more important. You will, though, gain more from the course if you undertake some background reading on the interwar period in Europe beforehand.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)

Terms and conditions Edit

Sources of funding Edit