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School of Social Sciences

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BAEcon Economics
Learn how the social sciences can help you to understand today's world.

BAEcon Economics

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Crisis and Prosperity in Twentieth-Century Europe

Unit code HIST21111
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by History
Available as a free choice unit? No


Throughout the twentieth century, European states sought different solutions to the unprecedented reach and impact on economic forces – at times wishing to control and direct markets, at others unleashing their transformative (and destructive) potential. By exploring the interface between economics and politics, this course will examine how new forms of rule (state socialism, fascism, the modern liberal state) shaped the economic, social, and political development of twentieth century Europe.


HIST 21111 Crisis and Prosperity: available to History Honours, History & Sociology, Modern History with Economics, Politics & Modern History, History & American Studies, History & Languages, Classics & Ancient History Programmes, BA (Econ) programmes


The aims of this course are:   

(a)  To introduce students to a broad range of relevant themes and historiographical debates associated with the economic and social history of twentieth century Europe;

(b)  To introduce students to critical concepts relating to economic history and economic systems;

(c)  To encourage students to adopt a critical perspective to their own understanding of European economic and social history;

(d)  Provide students with a range of background knowledge and tools that can be deployed at levels 3 and 4.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:


1.    The Legacy of the First World War
2.    Crisis and Prosperity in the 1920s
3.    Responses to the Great Depression
4.    The Soviet Experiment: From War Communism to Stalinist Economics
5.    Lies, Damned Lies…? The State, Statistics, and Social Knowledge
6.    Reading week
7.    The Economics of War:
8.    The Cold War and the Making of the Post-War Economic Order
9.    The Origins of European Integration
10.    Post-War Affluence and Welfare
11.    The End of the Boom
12.    The End of the Cold War

Teaching and learning methods

2 x 1 hour lectures, 1 x 1 hour seminar per week and 1 x course unit office hour per week.

All the support materials for the course will be on BB, and the essay will be submitted and returned via this medium.

Further weekly meeting times will be scheduled with the lecturers on the course for drop-in sessions.

Knowledge and understanding

- demonstrate an increased capacity to examine and evaluate the interactions between economic, social and political processes.

Intellectual skills

  • evaluate the ways in which historians choose and use their sources
  • understand ways in which theoretical perspectives influence historical research.
  • analyse the relationship between economics, politics and society in twentieth-century Europe

Practical skills

  • extend and apply oral and group skills by participating in and leading seminars
  • write reflective, considered, and well-structured pieces of assessed work

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Work independently, both within seminars and through individual research.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Analysis and critical reasoning and the range of forms of written assessment
Written communication
develop important transferable skills in communication and presentation; argument and debate; teamwork; research and time management.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Feedback methods

•    Written feedback on source analysis, briefing paper, and exam
•    Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hours or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

Aldcroft, D. H. The European Economy, 1914 – 2000 (London: Routledge, 2001)
Berend, I. An Economic History of Twentieth Century Europe: Economic Regimes from Laissez-Faire to Globalisation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006)
Broadberry, S. & O’Rourke, K.D. (eds.) The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe: Volume 2, 1870 – Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)
Clavin, P. The Great Depression in Europe, 1929 – 1939 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000)
Eichengreen, B. The European Economy Since 1945: Co-ordinated Capitalism and Beyond (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007)
Feinstein, C., Temin, P. & Toniolo, G. The European Economy Between the Wars (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)
Jarausch, K. H., Out of Ashes: a New History of Europe in the Twentieth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015)
Kershaw, I., To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949 (London: Allen Lane, 2015)
Mazower, M. Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century (London: Penguin, 1999)


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Supervised time in studio/wksp 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 156

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alexia Yates Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Source Analysis - 2000 words - 20%

Briefing Paper - 3000 words - 30%

Exam - 2 hours - 50%

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