HIS32990 1942: The World at War

Academic Year 2023/2024

1942 was a crucial year in the history of the modern world. This course examines its history by exploring the course of the Second World War from military, political and cultural perspectives. We begin with the winter of 1941-42. The course then moves geographically and chronologically through the key events and places that occurred during 1942. They include the decision-making and implementation of the Holocaust; the fall of Singapore and the war in the Pacific, the North African Campaigns, the Air War in Europe and the expansion of the aerial bombing of cities, the pathway to and the battle of Stalingrad. The course ends with a focus upon the overall situation in the war during the winter of 1942-43. Cultural topics studied include the making of the film Casablanca. As we pursue these themes we will examine the method of framing historical analysis around a single calendar year.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students

- will be able to analyze and evaluate conflicting historical interpretations of the Second World War and the year 1942

- will have acquired basic knowledge and understanding of some of the key historiographical debates about the Second World War

-will have familiarized themselves with some of the most important concepts and methodological approaches to the history of war

- will have a fuller understanding of the rich secondary literature on the period.

- will have improved their ability to interpret primary sources

- Will have a greater understanding of the method of global history

Indicative Module Content:

1. The war in the winter of 1941-42
2. January 1942 and the Year of the Holocaust
3. The British Empire at War
4. The Japanese Empire at War
5. The United States at War
6. The North African Campaigns
7. The Air War in Europe
8. The War in the summer of 1942
9. Facing the winter of 42-43
10. Cultures at war: the making of Casablanca
11. Review and Essay presentations

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This is a 10 credit module.

It consists of weekly lectures and seminars. The lectures are given in a seminar style. Students will be asked questions and expected to engage with the lecturer as appropriate during the lecture. However, the main purpose of the lecture is for the lecturer to share knowledge with students.

During the weekly seminars, students take the lead. At times during the seminars, the lecturer will direct discussion and share knowledge. Students will complete presentations and lead discussions based upon the set weekly readings. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: 40% of the final grade is for a 3,000 word end of term paper Week 12 n/a Graded No


Assignment: 40% of the final grade is for a combined 10-15 minute presentation and 1,500 word literature analysis Unspecified n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: 20% of the final grade is for participation in class Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

You will receive feedback throughout the semester. This will include feedback on your contributions to in class discussions; you will receive instructions upon how to prepare for and deliver your presentation and literature review; and you will receive instructions and feedback upon how to use your presentation and literature review as a part of the preparation for your final essay.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 11:00 - 11:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 09:00 - 10:50