OCR GCSE History: War and British Society c.790 to c.2010

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A2:3 War and British Society c.790 to c.2010

This British thematic study focuses on the relationship between war and society over a long period of British history, c790 to c.2010. This includes a broad sweep of time which covers the impact of different types of warfare (including defence from invasion, conquest and civil war).


  • Viking raids on Anglo-Saxon England 790–1066: impact of the raids; responses to the raids.
  • The Norman Conquest: English resistance; the establishment of Norman control under William I; the establishment of the Feudal system; the extent of the impact of the changes introduced by the Normans on different levels of society.
  • Feudal society c.1100–1215: feudal relationship between monarchs and barons; breakdowns in the relationship under Stephen 1135–1154 and John 1214–1216.
  • Significance of war in medieval society c.1290–c.1450: changing nature of war and its effects; development and adaptation of feudal service; financial cost of war; impact on populations where armies fought or were stationed.


  • Elizabeth I’s wars with Spain in Europe and in the new world, their impact on the prestige and power of the monarch and relations with Parliament; the actions of English privateers, including their impact on the security, economy and the people of England.
  • Warfare on the English-Scottish borders and its impact on border society c.1500–c.1600.
  • The Civil Wars of 1642–1651 in England, Scotland and Ireland: the nature of these wars; their impact on the people of England, Scotland and Ireland.
  • The Jacobite Wars 1715 and 1745: the impact on Scotland of the repression of the Jacobites.


  • Imperial wars in the 18th and early 19th centuries: gains made in Seven Years War (1756–1763) and their effects on Britain.
  • Wars against Revolutionary / Napoleonic France and subsequent effects on British society and politics.
  • Imperial conflicts in the second half of the 19th century: effects of the Crimean War; Boer Wars 1880–1881 and 1899–1902.
  • The First and Second World Wars: the beginnings of ‘total war’, including the impact on people’s lives, increased state power and the changing relationship between the state and the people.
  • Post-1945 conflicts – impacts and popular responses: Cold War and Britain in the 1950s and 1960s; IRA campaigns 1969–1994; the Iraq War 2003; terrorist threats and countermeasures post-2003.

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