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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

George K Behlmer
HSTEU 475
Seattle Campus

England in the Twentieth Century

From the Boer War to the present; conservatism, liberalism, and socialism; England in two world wars; the decline of British imperialism.

Class description

This course examines the process by which the world’s most powerful nation adapted to fundamental social, economic, and political challenges. Particular attention will be devoted to the rise and fall of the “welfare state,” the phenomenon of decolonization, the impact of two world wars on British society, and the festering wound usually known as “the Northern Ireland Problem.” Must a fall from “Super Power” status necessarily entail decline in a people’s quality of life? This question should give pause to any thoughtful American today. To answer it, one can do no better than to analyze the experience of Great Britain during the twentieth century.

Student learning goals

Goal #1: To appreciate that a decline in a nation's military power need not necessarily produce a reduction in the quality of life for its citizens.

Goal #2: To appreciate the much-discussed "special relationship" between Britain and the U.S.

Goal #3: To understand both the advantages and the liabilities of being an "Imperial Power."

Goal #4: To polish student skills in persuasive writing and oral argument.

General method of instruction

Lectures interspersed with numerous class discussions.

Recommended preparation

A college-level survey of Europe since the French Revolution would be helpful to students in this course—helpful, but not essential.

Class assignments and grading

Class Assignments and Grading This is a lecture and discussion course. Course grades will be based on three assignments: a short (4-page) analytical paper; an in-class midterm exam; and an in-class final exam.

Likely (but not yet finalized) Required Reading (i.e., Do NOT yet buy the following titles.);

Kingsley Amis,, Lucky Jim Erskine Childers, The Riddle of the Sands Peter Clarke, Hope and Glory George Orwell, Burmese Days Robert Roberts, The Classic Slum

Short Analytical Paper 20% Midterm Exam 30% Final Exam 50%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by George K Behlmer
Date: 02/04/2008