Black and white retro image Battle of Britain WW2 airplanesBlack and white retro image of Lancaster bombers from Battle of Britain in World War Two

The Second World War spanned the globe and cost millions of lives. Its effects were profound. This module aims to students a sense of some of the critical turning points and debates relating to that war. The module has a particular focus on the European Theatre of operations, although we also range out into the Atlantic, to Scandinavia and southwards to the Mediterranean and North Africa. We are primarily interested in people and the strategy and tactics that they devise. These range from the Admiral conducting convoy operations to the family trying to survive in the midst of the Blitz. Weapons and the technical aspects of warfare are important, but they are a means to an end: the execution of strategy and tactics by people.

Topics covered by this module include:

  • The collapse of France and British retreat to Dunkirk in 1940 
  • Battle of Britain and the threat of invasion 1940 
  • Reaching out to the Americans 
  • The Atlantic campaign and Britain’s survival 1940-44 
  • Strategic bombing 
  • Russian Front 
  • The role of intelligence: Bletchley Park, Double Agents, Resistance and Special Operations 
  • Bolero and the Build-up in Britain 
  • D-Day - Harry Bennett 
  • The breakout out from Normandy and the Race to the Rhine

In 1943 the US Army invaded Devon.

A friendly invasion with a deadly purpose, D-Day.

Watch this video to discover more.

Dr Harry Bennett

Dr Harry Bennett , Associate Professor of History, talks about his research into second world war coastal convoys.