Final Reflection – Declan Renton

What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?

At the beginning of this semester, I had previously made little thought about my dissertation and had difficulty trying to pick a period of history that I would have liked to cover. Once I had found a topic that interested me, I was able to choose two interwar Paramilitary organisations and investigate how and why the romanticised violence. When I began to investigate this topic, I had found it difficult to find primary source that would work for question I hope to answer.

What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?

I decided to make mind maps of the topics that I was interested in and was able to narrow it down to a couple of potential periods that I was able to take and talk to tutors about and eventually settle on an idea. With help from my Tutor, I was able to find potential primary and multiple Secondary sources that over good comparisons, allowing me to hopefully gain extensive knowledge of the topic. One problem remains as I’m still trying to find reliable translations of paramilitary songs used in interwar Romania and Germany.

What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

This module has taught me how much reading and preparation that I must do over the summer so that I can competently be able to discuss and have a deep understanding of the topic so I can have meaningful discussion come September. It has also taught me the importance of setting deadlines for required research so I’m able to complete what I plan to do for the coming semester.

Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?

I believe because we have been able to pick a topic early has allowed me to prepare for the summer and will hopefully make the process of the dissertation to be easier than I had previously expected. I feel the module has broken down the different aspect of the dissertation well and has showed me exactly what is expected of us. This has allowed me to feel more confident with my topic and I hope to carry my research into the summer. The module has also opened my eyes to the vast ways off being able to access resources as JSTOR, Google Scholar, university libraries and other sites that have proved to be lucrative as they offer a wide range of readings.

Annotated Bibliography – Declan Renton

I have not decided on my exact dissertation question as I’m unsure if I want to do a comparison or focus solely on the study of Weimar paramilitary groups. However, the sources I have began to study are as follows;


  • Siemens, Daniel. Stormtroopers. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017.

I found this book on the DiscoveryEd. This book discusses the history of the SA and how the Nazi Party used them to gain and stay in power. This book will be useful for my dissertation to determine how they were used during the Weimar Republic and what forms of violence this group performed.


  • Rosenshaft, Eve. Beating the Fascists? The German Communists and Political Violence, 1929–1933. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1983. 

This book is made available free online via a pdf. This book discusses the communist and left paramilitaries within the late Weimar Republic. It looks at how they combated the Nazi’s ascent to power and how discusses constant struggle against the SA.  This will be useful as it further examines the violence that was caused by paramilitaries in interwar Germany. It also gives a perception of what were the motivations for violence within the left of German politics.


  • Bielanski, David James. Front Line Weimar: Paramilitary Mobilization and masculine Representation in postwar Germany, 2002.

I found this book on DiscoverEd. This book discusses the fascist, the communist and other paramilitaries groups within Germany. This will allow me to contrast both groups and further improve my knowledge on the violence that occurred within Weimar Germany.



  • Otto Meissner’s Minutes of the Second Meeting between Hitler and Hindenburg (August 13, 1932)

Source of English translation: Jeremy Noakes and Geoffrey Pridham, eds., Nazism 1919-1945, Vol. 1, The Rise to Power 1919-1934. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1998, pp. 104-05.

Source of original German text: Walther Hubatsch, Hindenburg und der Staat. Gottingen: Musterschmidt Verlag, 1966, p. 338.

This source is a conversation between Hindenburg and Hitler in 1932. This conversation details Nazi involvement within the Reichstag and most importantly discusses Hindenburg’s disapproval of the SA and their violent nature, which will be crucial for my dissertation.


Hi I’m Declan and I’m from a small town called Duns in the Scottish Borders. I currently have not decided exactly what I would like to research for my dissertation. At the moment I am considering mainly between the Third Crusade and Augustus. I personally don’t mind online teaching but i do prefer face to face seminars as I feel a lot more productive and engaged.