The Development of Warfare in Britain, c.500 to the present day Eduqas GCSE Lesson Resources

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Eduqas GCSE History Component 2: Thematic Studies

Written examinations: 2 hours (comprising two papers of 1-hour duration each)

50% of qualification 100 marks (plus 6 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar and use of specialist terms)

In Component 2: Studies in Breadth, learners study one Period Study and one Thematic Study, from eight options in total. This component focuses study on substantial and coherent medium and long timescales. Studies in Breadth will provide learners with the opportunity to study history over longer timescales and consequently understand the changing nature of developments and issues associated with particular periods and geographical contexts. Studies in Breadth will also allow learners to understand change and continuity and similarity and difference across long sweeps of history, as well as the most significant characteristics of different ages. Studies in Breadth will focus study on different historical eras and different geographical contexts. This component encourages learners to develop an understanding of second-order historical concepts in particular, including continuity, change, cause, consequence, significance and similarity and difference.

Component 2: Studies in Breadth

Sub-section: Thematic Studies

Module: 2G The Development of Warfare in Britain, c.500 to the present day

This option focuses thematically on the main trends in the development of warfare in Britain from c.500 to the present day. Candidates will be required to consider the causes of war, developments in tactics and strategy, training and recruitment, warfare and technology, naval warfare and to the role of women in warfare over time. Candidates will also be required to examine the major political, social, economic and cultural perspectives which have contributed to the development of warfare from c.500 to the present day. In this option, centres should ensure that they focus, where appropriate, on the issues of change, continuity, significance and turning points. As part of this option candidates will investigate a historic site connected with this theme. The required content in italics shows which key features and characteristics of the period must be studied.

Key Questions and Required Content

  • Causes of war - Have wars always had the same causes over time?
    • Causes of war in general with reference to specific wars as exemplification; religion: its role in causing the Crusades of the medieval period; politics: its role in causing the English Civil War; nationalism and expansionism: their role in causing the Second World War; ideology: its role in causing the Cold War. 
  • Changes in tactics and strategy - How have tactics and strategy changed over time?
    • Saxon and Viking battle methods; medieval battle tactics and strategy; the use of linear tactics up to the mid-nineteenth century; the development of entrenched warfare in the First World War; the development of guerilla methods and their impact on British soldiers fighting in wars in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 
  • Training and recruitment - How far did methods of training and recruiting troops change over time? 
    • Feudal duties and chivalrous codes; the creation of Tudor armies; the New Model Army of the 1640s and the beginning of professionalism; press gangs and recruiting parties in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the use of propaganda for recruitment in the First World War; conscription, National Service and career soldiers in the twentieth century. 
  • Changes in technology - How important was technology in changing the nature of warfare over time?
    • Medieval siege warfare; the development of bows and firearms as British weapons up to the seventeenth century; the impact of industrialisation on British weaponry in the nineteenth century; developments in machinery during First and Second World Wars: tanks and aircraft; the British development of nuclear warfare in the 1950s; computerisation and hi-tech weaponry in the modern British armed forces. 
  • Development of naval warfare - What have been the main developments in naval warfare over time?
    • The use of Viking and Norman longboats; the development of the Tudor navy and the defeat of the Armada; the growth of the British navy from the mid-seventeenth century; the role of the Royal Navy in the defeat of Napoleon by 1815; the role of the Royal Navy during the First and Second World Wars; the function of the Royal Navy in the twenty-first century. 
  • The role of women in war - How has the role of women in warfare changed over time?
    • The role of women in medieval battles; women and their role in British armies 1500-1815: nursing, support, prostitution; the role of women as nurses and auxiliaries in the nineteenth century; women and their role on the Home Fronts in the First and Second World Wars; women on the front line in the twentieth century as soldiers and medics: Flora Sandes, Dorothy Lawrence, Sarah Bushbye.

The Historic Environment

  • The historical context of the site
  • The development of the site and reasons for such development
  • The main features of the site
  • Significant events related to the site in war

Resource Examples

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Lesson Presentation:

Student Assessments:

Historic Environment (2020 & 2021):