Featured module: World War I at Sea

Vintage photograph of HMS Centurion taken in 1923, in Malta harbour. She took part in the Battle of Jutland in the first world war and also took part in world war two.

In this module students explore the naval history of World War I. Today we think of World War I as a land conflict with the trenches on the Western Front and slaughter of battles like the Somme in 1916. The war was much more complex that this module takes a global approach to argue that in terms of grand strategy it is really a maritime war.

Students will have the opportunity to explore well known naval events such as the naval arms race between Britain and Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Battle of Jutland in 1916, the U-Boat war and the sinking of the Lusitania. The module will also explore lesser known naval aspects of the war such as the war in the Pacific and Africa (best remembered today from the Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn movie the African Queen). The module will also look at the social history of the war at sea and the lives of the sailors and officers who served in the navies

Some of the topics the module will cover includes

  • Anglo-German naval arms race and Dreadnoughts 
  • Ships and men 
  • Naval Battles of WWI: Jutland (1916), Falklands Islands (1914), Coronel (1918) 
  • Naval raiding: Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby (1914); Zebrugge raid (1918) 
  • Royal Naval Air Service 
  • U-boat warfare and sinking of the Lusitania 
  • War at sea in the Pacific and Africa 
  • Scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow in 1919 
  • Navies in the interwar period 
  • Remembering the war at sea: memorials and movies