The Architecture and Art from the Two World Wars with Mike Grundy

Ref: C3746121

The course aims to reveal the physical evidence to this day of the scale of the conflicts and to assess the contemporary views of the war through the memorials, fine art and literature of the time. Students will discover how you can still see throughout the Continent so many instances of the military infrastructure created in the two World Wars. We will study the forts of the French Maginot Line, Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, and the massive Flak Towers still marking the cityscapes of Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna. Near Boulogne, we will explore two James-Bond-style V2 launch complexes and five massive U-Boat pens dotted along the French Atlantic coast. Above Lake Garda in northern Italy, we will find a World War 1 destroyer set half way up an Italian mountain-side! The course also reviews the environs and experiences of British prisoners of war, the architecture of the major memorials and studies how the core theme of the fine art of war had moved from glory to pathos.

Course aim

To give a dramatic insight into the sheer scale and impact of the World Wars in Europe, by studying the architecture of the many remaining military structures, and exploring the memorials, literature and artworks that bear witness to the conflicts.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit:
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: and
  • This course is for a group of around 15 students studying in a live video-learning platform conference and an online digital learning environment platform from the comfort of your own home.
  • This is a live lecture delivered by a subject specialist in an online webinar video learning platform. You will need to be able to access the internet on a device with speakers or earphones. There will be opportunities to take part in discussions and chats. If you’d like to know how to use Zoom please visit:
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Name and describe the largest assembly and launch complex for Hitler's V2 "terror weapons", sited inland of Boulogne.
  • Name two of the French ports on the Atlantic coast where you can still visit the vast U-Boat pens that were built to support the Battle of the Atlantic in WWII.
  • Name and describe the line of defensive fortifications built by the French along their German border during the 1930's.
  • Describe the hill town in Flanders used as an Allied command centre in WWI and by "The Grand Old Duke of York" for exercising his troops.
  • Describe the extraordinary naval monument erected above Lake Garda in recognition of the exploits of an Italian leader and war hero in the Great War.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:
  • 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

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • Your tutor will provide written, text and audio feedback recorded in WEA Canvas, WEA’s digital learning platform.
  • 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?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit:
  • You will also need access to the internet outside of your sessions. You could do this using a smart phone, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer (at home or through a library etc.).
  • You will need a personal email address to join the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas so that you can receive resources, record your progress and achievement and to work with others and share ideas. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:
  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You will have access to course resources and links to wider learning through the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas:
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

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
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • The tutor will outline the ways in which the various war remains can be studied and visited.

Download full course information sheet

The Architecture and Art from the Two World Wars with Mike Grundy


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 2020
  • 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

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