Seminars meet each weekday morning, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study, or exploring the many places of interest in and around the city.
We will look at the meaning of War, and the creation of Standing Armies as one of the defining characteristics of the modern nation state. Then we will consider the birth of the British army from the nucleus of Cromwell’s New Model Army covering the period 1625-1685, and their subsequent maturity and decline during the Age of Marlborough in the 18th century 1685-1783.
This session covers the tumultuous period of the French Wars 1793-1815, during which Wellington’s Redcoats progressed to become one the finest forces in the world. In part two we will look at Britain’s army in the nation’s 19th-century (controversial) heyday – Sahib and Khaki, the colonial wars and Imperialism 1816-1902.
We will study the Great War, Haig and Tommy 1902-1919 and consider the validity of Alan Clarke’s assertion that lions were led by donkeys. Then in the second part, we will look at the difficult inter-war years and the equally challenging readjustment back to a war footing in order to fight the Second World War (1919-1945) under the capable but controversial Montgomery.
Field trip to the Royal Chelsea Hospital and the National Army Museum.
An examination of the British army in modern wars from the pains of the last of the colonial campaigns, to the emotive and trying role in Northern Ireland and finally, the army’s role in NATO and the Cold War from 1949-1990. In the final session we will look at the nation’s role and the army’s execution in, and the asymmetric nature of, the War on Terror 1990-2016.
Destination: Chelsea Royal Hospital and the National Army Museum
Websites: www.chelsea-pensioners.co.uk and www.nam.ac.uk
Excursion rating: Moderate - up to two hours' walk on even ground or up to an hour's walk on rough and/or steep ground or up lots of stairs and steps.