8 months
3168 GBP/full
3168 GBP/full
Tuition fee
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This Europe 1914-1989 - War, Peace, Modernity module from The Open University UK will give you an overview of Europe's twentieth-century history. It begins with Europe on the eve of the First World War and ends with the reunification of Germany at the end of the Cold War. 

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As well as analysing political and military developments, the Europe 1914-1989 - War, Peace, Modernity  module from The Open University UK  will introduce you to the key themes in Europe’s economic, social, medical and cultural history. A central focus of the module is how historians have studied the period. You'll be introduced to historical debates, and to the vast resources for the study of twentieth-century history that are now being made available online.

What you will study

This module will open up the breathtaking variety of electronic resources on twentieth-century history which have transformed our ability to carry out historical research and scholarship wherever we are. It will teach you the skills of independent study through learning about this period, so you are able to see the big pictures more clearly, and know how to find out more for yourself.

Beginning with the First World War, which marked the end of the old order in Europe, you’ll study the war’s causes and the war itself. It was a period of technological advances, but inevitably this total war left its mark on every state in the continent, and destroyed many of them. It also enabled some existing socialist and nationalist movements to gain state power for the first time.

During the first half of the interwar period, it appeared that the crises arising from the First World War would be resolved largely within a framework of liberal democracy and internationalism. In the second half, under the stress of the world economic crisis, political systems buckled and the era became a consciously 'pre-war' one. Attempts in Italy, Germany and Russia to create fundamentally new societies achieved varying degrees of success at the cost of immense human damage. Despite the economic crises, technical and social changes continued throughout the period. You will gain an impression of these changes, as well as the ability to see their inter-relationships.

You'll learn about the causes of the Second World War, with an eye on the way that the historiography has developed over the century, and is not resolved even today. You will examine the relationship between war, society and technology via several case studies, including one on the development of penicillin. The history of medicine features in the module to illustrate wider points about social and technical history. The effects of the war on the post-war order will also be considered.

The Cold War was a total war of another kind, and the 'waging of peace' becomes a key theme in the second half of the module. Broadcasters and religions were mobilised in the struggle, as were more conventional socio-economic factors. Soviet-style Communism attempted to provide a coherent alternative to the liberal-democratic mainstream. The year 1968 was a watershed on both sides of the Iron Curtain. The momentum of both the Western European 'golden age' and the Eastern experiment with autarchic socialism had slowed down. In the final part of the Cold War, the West's (slowing) growth, and the more compelling social vision that it embodied, brought victory in 1989.

Programme Structure

The three key themes of this module are the:

  • ways that war was waged in Europe and how this changed the continent
  • different forms of peace, which were always more than just an absence of war
  • industrial and technical transformation of the whole of Europe.

Key information


  • Part-time
    • 8 months

Start dates & application deadlines




60 alternative credits



Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

English requirements

We are not aware of any English requirements for this programme.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at OU levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably at the OU. You should already have some of the skills appropriate to studying history at this OU level. 
  • This module is open to all students who are suitably prepared.

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    3168 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 3168 GBP for the full programme during 8 months.
  • National

    3168 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 3168 GBP for the full programme during 8 months.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Europe 1914-1989 - War, Peace, Modernity
The Open University UK


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