What Led to World War II? with Mark Barnard

Ref: C2345525

Unlike the First World War, the Second’s origins are virtually incontestable. Beginning with Poland, this course examines how Germany, Britain and France’s recourse to war was determined by their own agendas and discusses appeasement in the context of Churchill's statement ‘It could have been prevented […] but no one would listen’.

Course aim

Beginning with Poland’s pursuit of independence, this course explores how Germany, Britain and France became involved in the most destructive war in history, outlining the concerns and circumstances that determined their road to war.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Examine the significance of the ‘Polish Corridor’ and why Poland was the first state to stand-up to Hitler.
  • Explain why there was such a widespread sense of German injustice in the wake of the Treaty of Versailles and why was Germany’s invasion of Poland presented as a legitimate action.
  • Discuss whether Britain was allegedly ‘sanely selfish’ and why the country’s patience ran out with Germany.
  • Identify the dilemma of French foreign policy and why the country feared a repeat of history.
  • Understand the alternative interpretations of the policy of appeasement and the different motivations for it in Britain and France.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

- No skills or experience needed - This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

What Led to World War II? with Mark Barnard

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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