ML1EU-The Making of Modern Europe: 1789 to the Present

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Athena Leoussi


Type of module:

Summary module description:

Explore the key events, movements and ideas that have shaped modern Europe from the French Revolution to the present day. Through the study of historical documents and small group discussions and debates, this module examines first how relations between European nations have been influenced by revolution, competition, war and ideology. The Spring Term then focuses on the divisions within Europe post-1945 (East/West but also North/South) but also on the factors that have motivated European integration and the related tensions.

This module offers a panorama of the history of modern Europe from the French Revolution to the present. It is divided into two parts. Part 1 explores the period from the French Revolution to the Second World War. Part 2 explores the period after the Second World War and brings us to the present day. The specific aim of Part 1 is to introduce students to the development of a Europe of modern industrial nation-states between 1789 and 1945, focusing on state structures, national identities, aspirations and resistance to democratic rule, and conflict within Europe's international system. The specific aim of Part 2 is to introduce students to the divisions within Europe in the post-1945 period - East-West, but also between Western states - e.g. North-South; to the factors behind early steps towards European integration; and to the reasons for the acceleration of integration since the late 1980s.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be expected to:

- demonstrate knowledge of the processes by which the nation-state became the dominant form of European political organisation over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
- identify the sources of stability and instability within democratic and authoritarian state structures
- evaluate the respective roles of geopolitical competition and ideological division in interstate conflicts during the period
- demonstrate knowledge of Europe's role as the central forum of the Cold War
- identify the causes, and the consequences for Europe, of the end of the Cold War
- evaluate, at a basic level, competing views of the sources of unity and division within contemporary Europe
- organise and articulate a coherent written argument in a coursework essay and under examination conditions

Additional outcomes:
This module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and pair/group presentation skills, as well as core skills of library research and referencing of sources.

Outline content:

In the first part of the module, students will be introduced to the development of the national idea as it grew out of the French Revolution, and the challenge it represented to Europe's ruling dynasties, exemplified by the 'revolutions' of 1848. The course will compare and contrast the processes of state formation in Germany and Italy in the third quarter of the nineteenth century, before analysing the sources of international instability that preceded World War 1. The course will conclude with the role of twentieth-century ideologies, particularly communism and fascism, in transforming the political landscape of Europe between 1920 and 1945.

In the second half of the module students will reflect on the major themes of post-1945 European history; the division of the Cold War and its end in the revolutions of 1989; the social and economic transformations wrought by the post-war boom and the tensions resulting from the more difficult economic environment since the mid-1970s; the effects of decolonisation on Europe's economic structures and sense of political and social identity; Europe's relationship with the United States; and the foundations of European integration. A key underlying question, that of the extent to which a common European identity has prevailed over national and regional divisions, runs through the module. Students interested in a deeper understanding of the forces that unite and divide Europe, and especially nationalism, regionalism and the EU project of 'ever closer union', may take the Part 2 module, 'Unity, Nationalism, and Regionalism in Europe'. 

Global context:
The module explores major landmarks in the history of modern Europe and its links to the wider world. It invites students to reflect on their own experiences as citizens and their role in the wider world.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Major themes will be introduced through lectures. Lectures will be complemented by group discussions of historical documents, and student presentations. In the Summer term there will be two sessions of revision.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 10
Seminars 10 10 2
Guided independent study 79 79
Total hours by term 99.00 99.00 2.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 30
Set exercise 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:
Two hours

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
The coursework mark will be made up of one Blackboard based test (multiple choice), (20%), and one commentary, exploring the historical significance and context of a document chosen from the Handbook (30%). The commentary should be 1,500 words in length, excluding the bibliography. Students will also take a two-hour examination at the end of the course (50%).

Formative assessment methods:
The weekly seminar format comprises plenty of interactive group discussion, student presentations and class participation, so that students can practise and improve the analytical skills that will then be assessed via commentaries, online tests and examination. Advice and feedback will be given on these.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re- examination in August in the event of failure in this module and in Part 1. Coursework bearing a confirmed mark of 40% or more can be carried forward; all other coursework to be resubmitted by 12 NOON on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed, by 12 NOON on the first working day thereafter.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


    Things to do now