Exploring and Teaching Twentieth-Century History: A secondary education publication of the Historical Association

David Alexander Brydan (Editor), Jessica Reinisch (Editor), Ben Walsh (Editor)

Research output: Other contribution


For a long time, history curricula on the 20th century prioritised the narrative of a slide from WWI to WWII and fascism. In reality the history of the 20th century is far more complicated and far more interesting. The 20th century was defined by many things including the global consequences of the 1917 revolution; the spread of decolonisation and economic nationalism; the transformation of China; new ideas about human rights; the radical transformation of social attitudes and the mass movement of people. Part and parcel of 20th-century history is an ever-evolving historiography that tries to narrate and explain it. Influential works, such as Eric Hobsbawm’s Age of Extremes (1994), were shaped by the authors’ responses to the ideas and assumptions of the era. But historical interpretations develop as contexts change and new perspectives are brought to bear on familiar material.

The problem with historians constantly re-writing and re-interpreting the century is that syllabi and curricula cannot keep track. Many teachers in practice have to resort to the history they themselves were taught at school and university. How can we integrate new ideas and topics into these familiar narratives while still retaining some of their clarity? We hope that this collection (downloadable at the bottom of the page) can make a small contribution to the task of exploring and teaching 20th-century history. The resource is divided into two main parts: the first on ‘exploring’ twentieth-century history, made up of articles by academic historians; and the second on ‘teaching’ history, made up of articles written primarily by teachers.
Original languageEnglish
TypeA guide to teaching and exploring twentieth-century history aimed at secondary teachers, including contributions from historians and teachers
PublisherHistorical Association
Number of pages106
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2019


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