Modern History

Have you ever wondered why Karl Marx came to write his ‘Communist Manifesto’ with his friend Frederick Engels, in a quiet library in Manchester? And what was it about social inequality and extreme poverty in Industrial Britain in the 19th Century that led them to design a new future for man (and woman) kind, ‘Communism’? Are you curious about how theories of a perfect society led to revolution in Russia and China, whereas Britain’s political evolution took a very different form? Would you like to know about the reality of those regimes? What worked and what did not, regarding their political system, economic management, the use of terror and control and how the lives of ordinary people were affected? You may also be curious as to when and how the tension between the Communist World and Western World developed into a ‘Cold War’ by 1949. Perhaps you wonder how the Soviet Union came to collapse in 1991 whilst Communist China, with a capitalist economy, survives? We can help you answer these questions in this course, for which no prior knowledge is needed. In its national and international range and a chronology stretching from 1780 to 1991, we focus on Communist Russia and China in year One before moving onto the causes of the Cold War and then back to the growth of parliamentary democracy in the heart of 19th Century Britain.

Paper One: Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union, 1917-1991-30%

Paper Two: Mao’s China 1949-1976-20%

Paper Three: Protest, Agitation and Reform in Britain 1780-1928-30%

Paper Four (coursework): The causes of the Cold War, 1944-49-20%