Hist. 154
SOLDIERS, WARS, AND SOCIETY:  THE BRITISH ARMY

080-062, MWF, 12:40-1:30 P.M., TLC 304                                                       Fall Semester 2005

Professor: Gregory J. W. Urwin, Ph.D.                                                               Office: Gladfelter 931

Office Hours:  10:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M., Monday; 11:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M., 2:00-3:00 P.M., Wednesday

Credit Hours: 3                                                                                                  E-Mail Address: gurwin@temple.edu

Telephone Number: 215-204-3809                                                                   Web Site:  http://astro.temple.edu/~gurwin/
 

Course Description:  This course will trace the history of the British Royal Army from its founding in 1660-61 to the present.  Emphasis will be placed on organization, recruitment, wars, battles, campaigns, prominent commanders, and how changes in the British Army mirrored changes in British society.  Other important themes will be the army’s role in conquering and defending the British Empire and major developments in British military policy and strategy.  The class will examine how Britain’s indirect, balance-of-power, “blue-water” strategy facilitated the acquisition of extensive imperial holdings by a relatively small army and with a relatively low cost in British lives.  Britain’s decision to abandon that strategy in the 20th century and assume the role of a major continental power with huge conscript armies would result in an enormous expenditure of British lives and capital in the two world wars – events that triggered the dissolution of the empire and Britain’s transformation from a capitalistic oligarchy to a social welfare state.  In the post-imperial and Cold War era, the British Army has carved a new niche for itself as the junior partner to the American military in coalition wars in the Middle East.


The 2nd Royal North British Dragoons (Scots Greys), joined by some overzealous countrymen from
the Cameron Highlanders, repel the I Corps from Napoleon's Army of the North at the Battle of
Waterloo, June 18, 1815.


Goals and Objectives: 

Knowledge Based Skills: 1) Strategy, Tactics, and Logistics; 2) Impact of Evolving Military Technology; 3) Impact of Politics on Military Affairs; 4) War’s Impact on Society; 5) Social Pressures and the Military; 6) Recruitment, Training, and Motivation; 7) Military Professionalism.

 Skill-Based Goals: 1) Spatial Awareness; 2) Writing Proficiency; 3) Appreciation for Historical Context; 4) Improved Reading Comprehension; 5) Sequential Logic; 6) Analytical Thinking; 7) Preparation for a Lifetime of Learning; 8) Research Skills; 9) Computer Literacy.

Main Text: David Chandler and Ian Beckett, eds., The Oxford History of the British Army (revised ed., New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).

Collateral Texts: David G. Chandler, Marlborough as Military Commander (Staplehurst, Kent: Spellmount, 2003).

Rory Muir, Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).

Tim Travers, The Killing Ground:  The British Army, the Western Front & the Emergence of Modern War 1900-1918 (Barnsley, South Yorkshire:  Pen & Sword 2003).

David French, Raising Churchill’s Army: The British Army and the War against Germany, 1919-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

Semester Grade: The student’s final grade will rest on the total number of points (600) scored on two exams (200 points, total), three quizzes on the collateral texts (150 points, total), one essay based on the fourth collateral text (100 points), one book report (100 points), an Internet exercise associated with the book report (50 points), and class attendance and participation in discussions sessions.  More than six unexcused absences in the course of the semester will result in a failing grade.  Chronic tardiness may be counted as absences with the accompanying penalty.  Students are responsible for scheduling make-up sessions within one week of missing any exams or quizzes.

Book Report: In addition to the main text and four collateral readings, each student is expected to read a sixth book dealing with a different aspect of the British Army’s development or operations and submit a written report on the same.  The book to be reviewed should be chosen from a reading list of scholarly titles provided by the instructor on his web site (url to be supplied at a later date).
 The report should be typed (in 10- or 12-point font), double-spaced, and five to seven pages long.  Students will follow the style guide provided by the instructor on his web site:   (http://astro.temple.edu/~gurwin/BookReview.htm).  In addition to summarizing the contents of the book, the student will offer an analytical critique of the work, cite pertinent published reviews, and provide background information on the book’s author.  This written assignment must be carefully proofread, as spelling, grammar, and punctuation will have an important effect on the student’s grade.
 The book report should be accompanied by the printout of some article or other data from a historical Internet web site that pertains in some way to the book that you have reviewed.

Finding a Book for Your Book Review: The Paley Library here at Temple has a strong military history collection.  You should be able to find many of the books listed on the reading list there.  If there is a particular title that you want to read, check it out early.  If the Paley Library does not have it, you should be able to order a copy via interlibrary loan  – provided you do not wait until the last minute.  If you find a promising British Army title that is not in the Paley Library and really want to read it, you may bring it to the instructor for his approval.  (Only scholarly histories will be considered – no memoirs, novels, or picture books.)  If you have any trouble picking a suitable title, feel free to consult with Dr. Urwin.

Review Essay:  The other major written assignment concerns a book to be read by everyone in class -- a social and institutional history of the British Army in World War II  -- Raising Churchill’s Army: The British Army and the War against Germany, 1919-1945 by David French.  This essay can be a book report in part.  Feel free to summarize the contents of this book, its literary quality, and the success or failure of the author in researching and interpreting the past.  You should also direct your attention to the following questions:  How did the heavy casualties that the British Army sustained during World War I affect the way it organized itself, trained, and planned to fight World War II?  What were the major flaws in the British Army when it entered World War II?  What crucial lessons did the British Army learn from the Desert War in North Africa, 1940-42?  Finally, is it fair to dismiss Field Marshal Viscount Bernard Law Montgomery as a World War II general who fought his battles in the same deliberate way that the British Army fought in World War I?  How can Montgomery’s generalship be defended?

         Although you are encouraged to be creative, you must observe the same high standards in spelling, grammar, and proper sentence and paragraph structure as expected for the book report.


Remnants of the 24th Regiment of Foot (South Wales Borderers) make a futile last stand against Zulu
warriors in the final moments of the Battle of Islandlwana, January 22, 1879.  Isandlwana was one of
the British Army's greatest disasters during the years of imperial expanion.


Academic Honesty Statement: Students are expected to do their own work on all exams, quizzes, and other exercises.  Anyone caught cheating in class and/or plagiarizing material in the book report will fail the course.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines plagiarism as: “1. To steal and use the ideas and writings of another as one’s own.  2. To appropriate passages or ideas from another and use them as one’s own.”

Americans with Disabilities Act Statement: Temple University adheres to requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  If you need an accommodation under this Act due to a disability, contact Disability Resources and Services at 204-1280 or 11280.  You may also access Disability Resources and Services at this web site: http://www.temple.edu/disability/Handbook/Noframes/noframes.html.
 
Some Basic Regulations

1) No food, liquids, or tobacco products may be consumed in class.
2) It is a sign of poor manners for men to wear hats or caps indoors (except for religious reasons).  All students will remove any headgear with brims or bills for tests and quizzes.
3) Anyone leaving class after an exam or quiz (i.e., cutting the lectures after these exercises) will fail that particular exercise.
4) If you must miss class for some foreseeable reason, please have the courtesy to notify the instructor in advance.
5) Anyone caught cheating will flunk the course.
6) Students who disrupt class will be liable to punitive quizzes that may lower their grades.  Persistent misbehavior can lead to expulsion or other disciplinary action.


Major Francis Peirson of the 95th Regiment of Foot falls mortally wounded while leading the counterattack that
crushed the French invasion of Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, January 6, 1781.


CLASS SCHEDULE

Week 1: 29 August-2 September
         The Birth of the Standing British Army, 1660-97

              Chandler and Beckett, Chs. 1, 2, 3

Week 2:  5-9 September (No Class Labor Day, 5 September)
         Marlborough and the War of Spanish Succession, 1702-12

              Chandler and Beckett , Ch. 4

Week 3:  12-16 September
         From the War of Austrian Succession through the Seven Years War, 1714-63

        Chandler and Beckett, Ch. 5
              Quiz:  Chandler, Marlborough as Military Commander, 16 September

Week 4:  19-23 September
         Imperial Defeat and Imperial Victory: The American War of Independence,
             1775-83, and British Conquests in India, 1763-1818

            Chandler and Beckett, Ch. 6

Week 5:  26-30 September
             Early Campaigns against France and Wellington’s Peninsular War, 1793-1814
 
                  Chandler and Beckett, Ch. 7
 
Week 6: 3-7 October
         Waterloo, Peacetime Retrenchment, and Conquests in South Asia, 1815-54

              Chandler and Beckett , Ch.8, pp. 161-78
              Quiz:  Muir, Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon,
                7 October

Week 7: 10-14 October
         The Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny, 1854-58
 
              Chandler and Beckett, Ch. 8, pp. 178-86
 
Week 8: 17-21 October
        Colonial Wars and Army Reform, 1856-99

                  Chandler and Beckett, Ch. 9
                  Mid-Term Exam, 21 October

Week 9: 24-28 October
         The Boer War and Subsequent Reforms, 1899-1914

Week 10:  31 October-4 November
         The Great War in Europe, 1914-15
 
              Chandler and Beckett, Ch. 10

Week 11: 7-11 November
         The Great War in Europe, 1916-18

              Chandler and Beckett, Ch. 11
              Quiz: Travers, The Killing Ground, 9 November

Week 12: 14-18 November
         The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-18, and the Interwar Years, 1918-39

              Chandler and Beckett, Ch. 12

Week 13: 21-25 November (No Class Thanksgiving Break, 24-25 November)
         World War II: The Years of Retreat, 1939-42

          Chandler and Beckett, Ch. 13
          Review Essay Due:  French, Raising Churchill’s Army, 23 November

Week 14: 28 November-2 December
         World War II: The Years of Victory, 1939-45

              Chandler and Beckett, Chs. 15, 17
 
Week 15: 5-9 December (Study Days, 8-9 December)
         Imperial Retreat, Army Contraction, and Coalition Warfare, 1945-2003

              Chandler and Beckett, Chs. 16, 18, 19
              Book Report and Internet Exercise Due, 7 December

Final Exam Week

          Final Exam:  Friday, 16 December, 11:00 A.M.-1:00 P.M.


Men of the Wiltshire Regiment cheer while heading toward the trenches on the Western Front, 1918.