The Second World War - an East Midlands Focus

Ref: C2339053

The course will include the effects of the "phoney war" of the first few months, eg: conscription, air raid precautions, and the ongoing disruption of normal life patterns by measures like rationing and commandeering of resources, and how local industries were mobilised to play a part in the war effort. We will also be looking at the extent of bombing raids on Leicester and the county and effects on the population together with the impact of aspects like evacuees, prisoners of war, "digging for victory" and the arrival of US troops, together with the role played by women in the maintenance of essential services and work in munitions factories.

Course aim

To introduce students to the range of effects of the period of the Second World War on the people of Leicester and Leicestershire.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Just an interest in local history needed.

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

  • Evaluate the contribution of female workers to the war effort both in city and countryside.
  • Explain how local industries and agriculture adapted to the changes required by the nation being at war, including problems encountered.
  • Utilise a range of evidence to show the effects of bombing raids on Leicester and the way in which the civilian population was able to cope with them
  • Provide examples of how everyday life was affected by the lifestyle changes imposed by the war, eg: blackout, rationing.
  • Produce a range of evidence to show the social disruption caused by the war using examples like the arrival of evacuee children, prisoners of war and US armed forces personnel.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Although additional work in your own time is not an expectation, a full set of background notes on the progress of the war will be provided which will help to set local issues in context.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • A weekly learner pack provided - a ring binder to keep these as a personal record will help plus a pen/notebook to note down incidental matters.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full course outline

The Second World War - an East Midlands Focus Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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