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Modern Britain 1930-1997

Modern Britain 1930-1997


A Level


32 tutorials available 32 tutorials total

Welcome to our A level history series for OCR's Modern Britain 1930-1997. Ranging from the biggest international economic depression in modern history, through a world war to dramatic economic and social change, our series will provide you with detailed insight and address the key arguments across the core events and protagonists. Written by Professor Eric Evans, recognised as one of the leading historians of this period, and Mike Wells, a highly experienced writer and examiner, the series will not only provide you with the knowledge required for your course but will deliver a deeper look at key aspects affecting Britain during this period.
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Tutors for this module

Professor Eric Evans

Emeritus Professor History, Lancaster University

Emeritus Professor of History
Lancaster University

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Modern Britain 1930-1997 Course Overview

Course Summary 

In 1930 Britain was trying to come to terms with the effect of the biggest international economic depression in modern history. Economic matters brought down the Labour government and led to Britain being ruled by a coalition until 1945. They also influenced Britain’s reaction to the threat from the rise of Hitler and from aggressive regimes in Italy and Japan. Britain wanted to avoid war when she could not afford to build up her arms, but international events made the policy of appeasement impossible and in 1939 Britain was once again involved in a world war. That war, while less costly than World War I had huge effects on Britain.  Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill was a hero to many but has suffered from revisionist historical analysis about his leadership, his aims and how well he led the country, unthinkable during the war when he was a symbol of national defiance and unity.


It made it impossible to maintain control of the greatest of our imperial possessions, India and it led to the creation of the Welfare State, perhaps the greatest change of the century. The period of austerity and hardship changed in the 1950s into a period of greater affluence; but by the 1960s there were fears that Britain was falling behind. These became acute by the late 1970s and resulted in another seismic shift in British life with the election of Margaret Thatcher as prime minister.  She presided over a major change in British life, with the reduction of government regulation, trade union power and rights and the subsidising of old industries, specially coal mining. Britain changed once again.  However, Thatcherism had severe critics both inside and outside the party. Thatcher’s fall in 1990 led to a new type of conservatism under John Major while Labour developed its appeal through Tony Blair and ‘New Labour’.  Once again in 1997 as in 1945, in 1964 and in 1979 Britain voted for a period of renewal. 

Recommended Reading List

20th Century Britain Reading List

General Texts

An Introduction to British History, 1900-1999. Michael Lynch. 2nd ed Hodder 2000 1-34-078256-0

Britain, 1930-1997. Mike Wells. Hodder Education 2015 1-47-183729-7

Britain 1900-57: Michael Lynch. 2nd ed Hodder, Access to History 2015 1-47-183869-2

Britain 1951-2007: Michael Lynch. 2nd ed Hodder, Access to History 2015 1-47-183909-5

Britain Domestic Politics, 1918-39: Robert Pearce. 2nd ed Hodder, Access to History 2000 1-47-078256-0

Twentieth-Century Britain: a Very Short Introduction. K.O.Morgan, Oxford University Press, 2000 1-19-285392-X

Britain since 1945: A Political History. David Childs, 7th ed Routledge, London, 2012

Britain 1914—2000. Derrick Murphy. Flagship History. Collins Educational, London, 0-00-327131-5

Britain 1929-98. Chris Rowe. Heinemann Advanced History, London, 2004, 0-43-532738-0 

20th-Century Britain: Economic, Cultural and Social Change. (ed.) Francesca Carnivali, 2nd ed Routledge, London, 2007 0-58-277287-8

British Foreign Affairs: Saving Europe at a Cost 1919-60? Alan Farmer, 4th ed Hodder, ‘Access to History’, London, 2009 0-34-098497-X

M.Wells, Churchill, 1920-45. Heinemann Educational, London, 2010 1-43-531258-8

Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-2002. Peter Clark, 2nd ed Penguin, London, 2004 

A History of Modern Britain. Andrew Marr. Pan, London, 2009 0-33-051147-5


More specialist works

The People’s Peace: British History, 1945-1990. K.O.Morgan Oxford, 2nd ed, 2001 0-19-280225-9

Seeking a Role: the United Kingdom 1951-1970. Brian Harrison, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2009 0-19-820476-3

Britain since 1945: T.Gourvish and A.O’Day. Palgrave, Basingstoke, 1991 0-33-349158-0

State & Society: A Social and Political History of Britain 1870-1997. Martin Pugh, 4th ed Bloomsbury Academic, London, 2012, 1-78-093041-0

British Society since 1945. Arthur Marwick. 4th ed., Penguin, London, 2003, 0-14-100527-0

Austerity Britain, 1945-1951, David Kynaston. Bloomsbury Publishing (2nd ed, 2008), 0-74-759923-8 (This is the first of a detailed series of Books covering the second half of the 20th century. The other titles are, successively: Family Britain (1957); Modernity Britain, 1957-62  

The Empire Project: The Rise and Fall of the British World System, 1851-1970. John Darwin, Cambridge University Press, 2011 edition, 0-52-131789-4

British Culture and the End of Empire. (ed) Stuart Ward, Manchester University Press, 2001 0-71-906048-9

Having it So Good: Britain in the Fifties. Peter Hennessy, Penguin, London, 2007 0-14-100409-6

Sixties Britain: Culture, Society and Politics: Mark Donnelly, Routledge, London, 2005 0-40-58110-7

Churchill: A Biography: Roy Jenkins. Pan Reprints, London, 2002 0-33-048805-8

‘Citizen Clem’: A Biography of Attlee. John Bew. Riverrun, London, 2016 1-78-087989-X

The Age of Affluence. V.Bogdanor & R.Skidelsky. Macmillan, London, 1970 0-33-309267-8

Margaret Thatcher: the Authorized Biography, Vol 1 Not for Turning. Charles Moore. Penguin, London, 2014 0-14-027956-3

Margaret Thatcher: the Authorized Biography, Vol 2 Everything. Charles Moore. Penguin, London, 2015, 0-71-399288-3

Thatcher’s Britain: the Politics and Social Upheaval of the 1980s. Richard Vinen. Simon & Schuster, London, 2010, 1-84-739209-1

Thatcher and Thatcherism. Eric J Evans. 3rd ed, Routledge, London, 2013, 0-41-566018-1

Speak for Britain: a new history of the Labour Part. Martin Pugh. Vintage Publishers, London, 2011, 0-09-952078-8  

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