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History Group

Group Leader

David Cheshire (01202 820823)

The Hub


Tuesday 10.00 - 11.30


Please ensure you contact the Group Leader as places are limited.

Topic for September 2021

Modern Paradise: stories of culture, war and revolution in the 20th century

This topic will explore the theme of how people in the 20th century thought and felt about the coming of the modern age. My intention is to take a less familiar angle by linking 20th century history with the great cultural and artistic movements of the time, particularly Modernism, Postmodernism and Critical Theory. Also, because this is “our century”, Group Members’ suggestions will be included as far as possible.
Introduction: Shape of the 20th century, wars and rebirth
Part One: Culture

  • Modernism: Picasso, Schoenberg, Joyce, Eliot, Wright
  • Critical Theory: Gramsci, Odorno, the Frankfurt School
  • Popular culture: cinema, music, television, sport
  • Identity politics: identity groups, nationalism, populism, jihadism

Part Two: War

  • Fascism: founding, Mussolini
  • Appeasement: Locarno, Munich
  • Second World War: moral ambiguities, price of victory, remembrance
  • Cold War: The Great Game

Part Three: Revolution

  • Welfare state: Beveridge, health revolutions
  • Britain’s decline: cultural theories, Thatcher, Blair
  • 1960’s: Legacies and debates
  • Women: suffragettes, feminists

Conclusion: History, memory, remembrance, the 21st century



Notes from previous sessions can be seen in

History Archive click here


I joined Verwood U3A when I moved here in 2009 as a way of meeting people and keeping my brain active. I have been a member of various U3A Groups, including Family History, Current Affairs and the Reading Group and was a Committee member for a time. I used to be a history teacher and I volunteered to re-start the History Group in 2010. The enthusiasm here for history is tremendous. We enjoy learning together  and I have can safely say that I have never enjoyed history more.


The History Group is a friendly group of enthusiasts from all backgrounds. No previous knowledge is required or assumed and we agree different topics each year. We strongly believe that history should be fun. We enjoy discussion and debate, sometimes in small groups, and look at a lot of historical documents to help us get into each topic. All my notes and handouts are posted on the website after each session by our webmaster Tony Bird (also a History Group member). If you like history, or would like to try it as a new interest, we will give you a warm welcome. No previous knowledge is assumed or needed, just your interest and enthusiasm and a wish to learn.