Final Reflection – Katie Heffernan

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

The hardest part of this module for me was firstly deciding on a specific time period as I am interested in many historical events. When I eventually chose a topic I then found it difficult to decide on a question for my dissertation as my topic is quite broad therefore I felt it was a challenge to narrow it down. I have also struggled at times to find primary sources relating to my topic.

What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles? 

After the first meeting with my supervisor, I had explained that I wasn’t completely sure on a topic as I was going between a few but had picked one. I had then explained that I was struggling a bit thinking of a question, my supervisor gave me great advice and also gave me suggestions of others I could contact for support. For me, the contact between myself and my supervisor helped me overcome these obstacles as the advice given was worthwhile and sources were also recommended to me.

What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation? 

This has taught me to carefully plan out my dissertation as when I chose this topic I didn’t think of the complications I might have faced accessing sources. I underestimated what would have been available to me which has caused some difficulty. I have also learned that a wide range of help is available, not just from my supervisor but from others as well.

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

I found the mini lectures each week really helpful as they included lots of useful information, especially the Sources and Methods lecture in week 3 by Helen Beardsley as this helped to find sources. I also enjoyed the seminars and found it really useful to work in pairs reading over previous assignments as this gave me an idea of what was expected in my writing. 

Annotated Bibliography – Katie Heffernan

I am still not completely certain on what I want to do for my dissertation topic, however it will be related to how events that took place throughout Europe led to the outbreak of the First Word War.

Secondary Sources: 

  1. Williamson, Samuel R. “The Origins of World War I.” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 18, no. 4 (1988): 795-818.

I found this secondary source after doing a search on JSTOR about how the first world war started.  This source would be useful for my dissertation as Williamson explains in great detail different factors which led to the outbreak of war in 1914, he evaluates the relations between different European countries in the pre war period and how the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the formation of the triple entente/triple alliance led to an outbreak in war. 

2. Bid for World Power? New Research on the Outbreak of the First World War, ed. Andreas Gestrich and Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann (Oxford:  Oxford U.P.,  2017; pp. 444.

This secondary source was found using the library catalogue and could be used in my dissertation as this article analyses in great depth new research which was carried out to suggest the cause of the great war was down to European countries wanting to become the leading world power. There is a key focus on the findings of late German historian Fritz Fischer and his theory that the outbreak of war was all down to Germany wanting to become a world power. 

Primary Sources: 

3. Helmuth J. L. von Moltke to Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg (July 29, 1914), in Walther Schücking and Max Montgelas, eds., Die Deutschen Dokumente zum Kriegsausbruch [German Documents on the Outbreak of the War]. 5 vols., Berlin, 1922, vol. 5, p. 349.

I found this primary source after watching the lecture with Helen. This source was found in the German History in documents section and is a source I would most likely use in my dissertation as it explains the conflict which was ongoing between Austria and Serbia and how this then caused tensions to arise between other countries as Serbia was protected by Russia and Austria was regarded as a central power which Germany controlled. This source would be beneficial for me to use as it explains my topic in detail about how events that took place led to the first world war.

4. Entry from the diary of Georg Alexander von Müller (December 8, 1912). Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv, Freiburg [BArch N 159/4 Fol. 169-171].

This primary source was also found after the guidance given by Helen in the lecture. This source was a diary entry outlining the Kasier’s plans and how the events in Europe that were taking place made it inevitable for Germany to declare war on Russia. This source would be useful for my dissertation as it discusses the Kasier’s plans regarding the war and how the tensions between other countries made it impossible for Germany not to become involved.