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Britain: Warfare From 1900 To Present Day

In GCSE History students will learn about warfare involving Britain in different eras. One period they will look at is that covering the 20th Century up to the present day.

The 20th Century saw huge changes in warfare, partly accelerated by two bitter world wars, both of which involved Britain. By the middle of the 20th Century nuclear weapons were possessed by several powers, and an uneasy stand off ensued during the Cold War which lasted until 1990. Even more countries have nuclear weapons in the present day, though nuclear warfare has been avoided.

See how much you know about wars involving Britain over the last century and up to the present day by playing this quiz.

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  1. Which general commanded United Nations forces during the 1991 Gulf War?
    The UN assembled a coalition drawn from a wide variety of member states to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait
  2. Which British commander during the Great War was referred to by his critics as "the Butcher of the Somme"?
    Generals found it difficult to devise strategies on the Western Front that would not involve heavy casualties. They had to have an eye to British public opinion, to the feelings of allies like France and Russia and to the failure of alternative tactics like the Dardanelles campaign against Turkey
  3. Which of the following gases was used as a weapon on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918?
    Both sides used gas, especially when the prevailing wind suited them. Many soldiers lost their sight as a result of gas - even if only temporarily
  4. What kind of weapon was the German V2?
    Even after the Allied landings in Italy and France the Germans were able to threaten Britain and its forces, for they still controlled much occupied land and coastline
  5. The USA and its British ally used the Polaris and Trident delivery systems to delivery a nuclear payload in the event of war. What kind of platform did these two systems use?
    The two states were looking for a system that was fast and relatively difficult to identify and destroy
  6. Which method did Britain use to recruit troops at the beginning of the Great War?
    Britain had historically been a great naval power, not a military one. In 1914, therefore, a much larger army was suddenly needed
  7. Which was the only major military campaign in the First World War on the Western Front in which the attacking forces sustained less casualties than the defenders?
    In most Great War battles the attackers suffered greater casualties than the defenders. Trench warfare after all suited defensive weaponry and tactics: barbed wire, snipers, machine guns, etc
  8. Prime Minister Winston Churchill was famous for his oratory. In one 1940 speech he said, "Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few". To which group in the British armed forces was he referring?
    In 1940 Britain was in a precarious position, following the fall of France, Norway and the Low Countries. Moreover Hitler seemed to be preparing to invade across the Channel
  9. Which nuclear-armed state tested its nuclear weapons at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific after the Second World War?
    Nuclear weapons needed testing, preferably a long way away from human habitation
  10. Which kind of nuclear-armed missiles arrived at RAF Greenham Common during the 1980's?
    Several NATO member states asked for US assistance in the 1980's to deter the SS20 rockets that the USSR had just deployed on its western border

Author: Edward Towne

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