The Breaking of Nations

Ref: C3741270

Once again it seems that all Europe stands at the edge of chaotic collapse for the fourth time within only 250 years. For the continent that shaped the Age of Enlightenment, created modern capitalism, the sovereign nation state and free trade as well as social justice, empirical scientific discovery, the industrial revolution and especially through Britain and France the principles of the modern democratic state under the rule of law; how is it that so many of Europe's nation states consistently get it so wrong when attempting to live together in peace, order and harmony? The course sets out to examine this conundrum, seeking explanations and attempting some solutions.

Course aim

Great Britain is leaving the EU but not Europe: in fact the reality of our historic 1,000 years of conflict and cooperation before we joined the EU. So what's new?

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Students need a level 2 qualification in English to join this course
  • Ideally, all that learners need to bring to the course is an enquiring mind coupled with an interest in history and current affairs.

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

  • Identify two significant factors in European national governance since 1800 that have favourably affected material and long lasting improvements to the long term benefit of Europe at large.
  • When examining the end of Britain's policy of Splendid Isolation in 1907, consider then state if this was a critical factor in the many causes of World War One.
  • Conclude as to whether Germany has at long last, and without military conflict, secured the mastery of continental Europe.
  • Understand why In 1946 Churchill argued for a federated alliance of European Nation States, with the objective of never again allowing another calamitous war to occur. But Churchill excluded Great Britain. Explain why he took this position?

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
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • My teaching method is based upon my PowerPoint images of photographs, artworks, cartoons, maps, charts and diagrams, all of which are available to learners on completion of the course.

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
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • The course is not accredited and my learner and group assessments are very informal, usually regular Q&A sessions. Learners, almost without exception, are retired and join my courses specifically for education, information and entertainment.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • Each learner gets a course information handout that includes course objectives, session plans, event time-lines and key maps/diagrams. Every learner may have a download of my PowerPoint images onto their own flash drive at the end of the course.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • My handout at the beginning of the course includes a proposed reading list of the books/web sites I have used in creating the course, together with any museum and library exhibitions/ events relevant to the course.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • A significant majority of learners seek to join further WEA history courses. This is preference to U3A history events with WEA weekly sessional courses more involving than the U3As' after lunch, 90 minute chats.

Download full Course information sheet

The Breaking of Nations


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
Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing