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Suffolk at War 1914-1993

Third Year Module

Module Leader: Dr John Greenacre

This module is designed to teach students the value and constraints of studying historical themes at a local level within a national and global context by exploring the influence, effect and legacy of the three major global conflicts of the short twentieth century on the county of Suffolk.By thematically examining aspects of the First World War, Second World War and Cold War students will be encouraged to draw comparisons and parallels between the local and the national experiences of global conflict. Can the industrial, cultural and socio-economic changes that took place in Suffolk, induced by the effects of twentieth century warfare, be extrapolated to match national trends? Did the local regional reaction to the threat of attack or invasion reflect the wider national experience? How did the geography and location of the county influence the growth and spread of the local military-industrial complex? Is the local legacy of warfare typical of a national movement in terms of commemoration, remembrance and heritage? With the opportunity to examine Suffolks social and military experience over an extended historical period, students will gain a depth of understanding of the local effect of national and global events.

The module approaches the popular subject of twentieth-century warfare from the micro perspective while ensuring that it remains firmly set within the macro context. First, it examines geographic, demographic and socio-economic factors that have influenced Suffolks contribution and experience of the First World War, Second World War and Cold War. The period will then be explored thematically to gain an understanding of how global conflict has stimulated changes and trends in society, industry, the economy and military posture at the local level. Students will also be encouraged to analyse how the local experience has influenced the local perspective of aspects of the major wars of the previous century. This part of the course will use students pre-existing knowledge of twentieth-century events and require them to employ local, oral and micro-historical approaches to develop a depth of understanding of local effects and perceptions within the county. The historiography of twentieth-century warfare at a local level will be examined in order to challenge students to consider the value and limitations of the historical approaches that have been applied to the subject. Finally the landscape and archaeology of warfare and its effects within the county will be examined to determine if there is a discernible local character to aspects of memory, commemoration and heritage across the period. The course concludes by asking students to discuss the value of studying global and national events at a local level.

Learning and Teaching Strategies:

This module will be taught through lectures and inter-active seminars, complemented by individual discussions and feedback in designated office hours, as well as students own private study, preparation and reflection.A detailed module handbook will be made available. Supporting resources will be made available online.





Weighting %


Submission Date

Suffolk at War


Document commentary


2,500 words

Week 7



3,000 words

End of semester


Recommended introductory reading:

M.Evans and K.Lunn (eds.), War and Memory in the Twentieth Century, (Oxford, 1997).

A.Marwick, Total War and Historical Change, (Maidenhead, 2001).

S.Greenwood, Britain and the Cold War, 1945-91, (Basingstoke, 1999).


Further Reading

N.B. A full reading list is included in a module handbook which will be provided in the first week of teaching

S.Adams, J. Whitehouse and J. Whitehead, Royal Air Force Stradishall, 1938-1970, (Worcester, 1996).

M.J.F.Bowyer, Air Raid! The Enemy Air Offensive against East Anglia 1939-45, (Yeovil, 1986).

M.W.Bowyer, 2nd Air Division, 8th Air Force USAAF 1942-45; Liberator Squadrons in Norfolk and Suffolk,(Barnsley, 2007).

M.W.Bowyer, 3rd Air Division, 8th Air Force USAAF 1942-45; Flying Fortress & Liberator Squadrons in Norfolk and Suffolk,(Barnsley, 2009).

R.D.Brown, East Anglia 1939-1945, (7 volumes), (Lavenham, 1980-1994).

A.Calder, The People's War: Britain 1939-1945, (London, 1996).

W.D.Cocroft and Magnus Alexander, Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Orford Ness, Suffolk: Cold War research & development site,(Portsmouth, 2009).

B.Collis and S. Baker, The Air War over Lowestoft 1939-45,(Lowestoft, 2011).

K. Delve, The Military Airfields of Britain: East Anglia: Norfolk and Suffolk, (Marlborough, 2005).

D.dEnno, Fisherman Against the Kaiser: Shockwaves of War 1914-1915,(Barnsley, 2010).

J.Gardiner, Over Here: GIs in Wartime Britain, (London, 1992).

J.R.Goffin (ed), The Carlton Colville Chronicles of Canon Reginald Augustus Bignold, (Carlton Colville, 1982).

G.Goodman, Only the Best British Brides: Regulating the Relationship between US Servicemen and British Women in the Early Cold War, Contemporary European History, 17, 2008, pp.483-503.

P.Heazell, Most Secret: The Hidden History of Orford Ness, (Stroud, 2010).

V.Herbert & S.Smith, No glorious dead: the impact of war on Sudbury a Suffolk market town, (Sudbury, 2009).

R.Jarvis, Fortress Lowestoft: Lowestoft at War 1939-1945, (Lowestoft, 2002).

F.Jenkins, Port war: Lowestoft, 1939-45,(Lowestoft, 1984).

U.E.Jenkins, West Row girl in wartime: the impact of the Second World War on a small Suffolk village, (Woodbridge, 2011).

D.Jones, Ipswich in the Second World War, (Chichester, 2004).

M.Jones, Great Britain, the United States, and consultation over use of the atomic bomb, 1950-1954, Historical Journal, 54, 2011, pp.797-828.

D.Kindred, Ipswich: the war years, (Ipswich, 2005).

R.Liddiard and D.Sims, A Piece of Coastal Crust: The Origins of a Second World War Defence Landscape at Walberswick, Suffolk, History, 97, 2012, pp.402-430.

R.Malcolmson & P.Searby (ed), Wartime in West Suffolk: The Diary of Winifred Challis 1942-1943, (Woodbridge, 2012).

A.Marwick (ed.), Total War and Social Change, (Basingstoke, 1988).

M.Mower, Zeppelin over Suffolk: The Final Raid of the L48, (Barnsley, 2008).

C.C.R.Murphy, The history of the Suffolk Regiment, 1914-1927, (London, 1928).

W.N.Nicholson, The Suffolk Regiment, 1928-46, (London, 1948).

M.Osborne, Twentieth Century Defences in Britain: Suffolk,(Market Deeping, 2008).

S.O.Rose, Which People's War? National Identity and Citizenship in Wartime Britain, 1939-1945, (Oxford, 2004).

R.L.Rimell, The last flight of the L48: The True Story of Thebertons Zeppelin, (Berkhamsted, 2006).

A.Sharman & P.Wythe, Further Suffolk memories: more stories of Walberswick and Blythburgh people during World War II, (Sudbury, 2001).

G.Smith, Suffolk Airfields in the Second World War, (Newbury, 1995).

G.Smith, Heroes of Bomber Command: Suffolk, (Newbury, 2008).

J.Smith, N. Wylie, R. Malster and D. Kindred, Ipswich at War: A Military History, (Felixstowe, 2002).

S.Snelling, Over here: The Americans in Norfolk during World War II, (Derby, 1996).

K.Young, US Atomic Capability and the British Forward Bases in the Early Cold War, Journal of Contemporary History, 42, 2007, pp.117-136.

K.Young, 'No blank cheque: Anglo-American (mis) understandings and the use of the English airbases', Journal of Military History, 71, 2007, pp.133-67.