From Waterloo to the Rhine: The British Army 1815-1945
Explore the British Army’s part in the making of the modern world
With a legacy stretching back centuries, the British Army is proud of its hard-won reputation as one of the most formidable fighting forces in the world.
On this course, you’ll see for yourself how the British Army evolved as an institution between 1815 and 1945. You’ll reflect on its social composition, place in society, and military proficiency, analysing a range of primary sources and incorporating your findings into historical debate.
Ultimately, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the British Army - its successes, failures and role in shaping the modern world.
Week 1 – The British Army at Waterloo
- The composition and organization of the army at the turn of the 19th century
- The image of the Army in British society
- Battlefield performance in a ‘limited war’ as part of an international coalition
- The influence of the Duke of Wellington’s generalship
Week 2 – ‘The British Army and Empire’
- Campaigning in Africa and India
- The Indian Mutiny (1857)
- The Anglo-Zulu War (1879)
- The Second Boer War (1899-1902)
Week 3 – ‘The British Army and the First World War’
- The expansion of the Army
- Gallipoli, the Somme and the 100 days
- The experience of the British soldier throughout the war
- Commemorating the war
Week 4 – ‘The British Army and the Second World War’
- The defeats of 1940 in France and 1942 in the Far East
- Crucial engagements at El Alamein (1942), D-Day (1944) and Operation Market Garden (1944)
- The impact of ‘total’ war and how this influenced the conduct of British military operations
- The extent to which the British Army changed socially, culturally, and militarily between 1815 and 1945
Learning on this course
On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...
- Explore how the British Army evolved as an institution between 1815 and 1945, reflecting on its social composition, place in society, and military proficiency
- Debate the importance of command and leadership and how this developed alongside the changing nature of warfare
- Compare the concepts of ‘limited’ and ‘total' war
- Reflect upon the British Army’s changing role in its Empire, Europe and the world
- Assess a range of primary source materials and incorporate their findings into historical debate
Who is the course for?
No prior experience or qualifications are needed for this course. It would suit anyone with an interest in the British military, or social history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It would also appeal to prospective students of history, or military history.
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