What is the course about?
Although he did not elaborate, in June 1940 Churchill argued that only victory in the Battle of Britain would ensure ‘the survival of Christian Civilization’. The course explores what this phrase may have meant at the time together with the role of Christianity in the Second World War. This ranged from the King’s Christmas message in 1939 urging those fearful of the year ahead to ‘put your hand into the Hand of God’ to the crowded church services taking place on VE Day and the continuing link between religion and Remembrance. Similarly Christianity played a varying part in people’s daily lives on the Home Front, in the armed services and in contemporary serious/popular culture. It also helped shape people’s reflections on the (post-war) world to come, perhaps most famously in Christianity and the Social Order a work by William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury. Yet there were also those Christians who opposed the war and/or saw Britain’s conduct of it as contrary to ‘Christian Civilization’ – most significantly Bishop George Bell’s condemnation of saturation civilian bombing of German cities.
What will we cover?
Possible meanings of ‘Christian Civilization’ in 1940.
Christianity’s significance in the war at national, local and individual level; on the Home Front and in the Services.
Christianity and contemporary serious/popular culture.
How Christianity helped shape people’s reflections on the (post-war) world to come.
Christian opposition to Britain being at war and/or to certain aspects of how it was being fought.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
have a greater understanding of:
- what the idea of ‘Christian Civilization’ may have meant in 1940;
- Christianity’s importance in the Second World War at national, local and individual level, on the Home Front and in the Services;
- Christianity and contemporary serious/popular culture.
- how Christianity helped shape people’s reflections on the (post-war) world to come
- opposition to Britain being at war or to certain aspects of how it was being fought.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course. No previous knowledge is required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will be delivered through a mixture of formal input and discussion with student participation encouraged.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs; requisites for optional note taking.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Check our website at www.citylit.ac.uk for more details of upcoming courses in religion and belief.