War at Sea: From the Armada to Overlord

Department of History, School of History and Cultures

College of Arts and Law


Code 23957

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester 1&2

Module description

This module provides an opportunity to study the history of warfare at sea from the Armada to the end of the Second World War. It will explore three major themes. First, and most obviously, it will trace the influence of sea power upon history. How did naval warfare shape both European and world history? Secondly, throughout this period, preparing for and waging war at sea was the most complex and expensive challenge faced by modern states. How and why they built, maintained and used navies, and their ability to adapt to rapid technological change while keeping sight of enduring strategic truths, tells us much about the societies and cultures which did so. Thirdly, it will study the influence of history upon sea power, analysing the long tradition of the use (and abuse) of naval history to address latter-day concerns. Students will explore these themes using both primary source accounts and a rich literature of secondary works.