The conflict that raged between the Plantagenet and the Valois kings from 1337 to 1453, and spread over the whole of Occidental Europe, turned out to be the longest military struggle in history. In this module, you will explore how the Hundred Years War shaped the fate of two kingdoms, two nations and two peoples at the threshold of modernity. A wide variety of primary sources in translation (ex. treaties, treatises, manifestos, contracts, chronicles, legal suits, ordinances, royal remissions, official and private correspondences) will give you the opportunity to discuss key historical themes and debates, such as the rise of modern state, military revolutions, the cost of war, 'bastard feudalism' and the waning of the middle ages.
Part 2 focuses on the fifteenth century phase of the war, from 1396 to 1453, which distinguishes itself from its earlier phase by a political and military shift from raids to conquest, occupation and the union of the two crowns under Henry V and Henry VI. You will explore this fundamental change in the nature of the conflict and its wider social, economic and cultural implications. Was the union of the two crowns doomed to failure? Why did the English eventually lose the war? You will assess different factors contributing to the English defeat, such as French military reforms, the rise of gunpowder, and the English growing disaffection for war. But for this assessment to be truly effective, you will also deconstruct a pervasive and deceiving French discourse which celebrates the inevitable reunion of the French subjects with their natural sovereign.