100+ Original History Dissertation Topics

While, some countries use terms “thesis” and “dissertation” interchangeably, dissertations typically refer to effort-intensive research projects included in undergraduate or master’s degree programs. Hence, history dissertation topics we explore below refer mainly to undergraduate dissertations. These are long well-structured essays that follow specific requirements that might somewhat vary from one university history department to another. These requirements refer to appropriate use of sources, terminology, language, writing style, formatting (our service knows them perfectly, so we can offer help writing a dissertation for you). Below, we briefly review how such essays are structured but also provide a selection of history dissertation topics focusing on Western and particularly, on European history.

history dissertation topics

Perfect History Dissertation Structure

Dissertation structure typically comprises such sections:

  • Dissertation abstract – very briefly summarizes all content, including key findings or conclusions. Its key purpose is to help readers decide whether they should read entire paper.
  • Introduction – here, all necessary background and contextual information is presented, terms are defined, thesis statements, hypotheses, research goals, and objectives are formulated, outlines are provided, topic importance is explained.
  • Main body – content is provided here: facts, proofs, judgements, opinions, etc. This content is organized into relevant chapters, subchapters, into well-structured paragraphs that relate to thesis and ensure a smooth content flow. Depending on content, main body might contain a literature review section where most primary, secondary sources are being interpreted in order to explain current state of knowledge, context of this research; methodology section detailing tools or procedures used; results section stating key findings; discussion section, where these findings are analyzed and put into context.
  • Conclusion – key points & ideas are summarized, thesis is restated, suggestions are made for future research. Importantly, no new ideas are allowed here – these should be discussed or mentioned earlier in your dissertation.
  • Bibliography – lists all primary and secondary sources used, typically, in alphabetical order or in order of appearance.

Some Hot History Dissertation Ideas

Below are some history topics grouped into a few popular categories related to Western history.

Historical Events & Personalities

  1. Otto von Bismarck – his role in Germany’s unification.
  2. Charle de Gaulle – his role in French Resistance, in rebuilding post-war France, in founding the Fifth Republic.
  3. Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement – did it offer Hitler a much-needed pause before starting the Eastern front?
  4. How the outbreak of 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish flu) was aggravated by WWI?
  5. Why is term “genocide” justified to designate the Armenian mass murder organized by Ottoman Empire in 1914-1923?
  6. The role of Sir Winston Churchill for society.
  7. Diana, Princess of Wales.
  8. Norman Dynasty and William the Conqueror.
  9. The role of Athelstan (895-939 AD) for history methods.
  10. Boris Johnson – a controversial politician or a reflection of the foreign policies?

The Great Depression

  1. What caused The Great Depression?
  2. How was life of a typical family affected during this crisis?
  3. What were roles of monetary contraction and gold reserve during the Great Depression?
  4. How well were banks worldwide prepared for this worldwide crisis?
  5. What is the legacy of this crisis for our understanding of economy and finance?
  6. What caused the stock market crash of October 1929.
  7. The current Wall Street protests and their relation and roots to the Great Depression.
  8. Banking panics and monetary contraction reflection in the press in the 1930s.
  9. The effect of the Great Depression on Great Britain vs Eastern Europe.
  10. The personality of Herbert Hoover and his role in the 1929 crash.

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First & Second World Wars

  1. What role imperialism played in triggering the First World War.
  2. Why assassination of Franz Ferdinand was only a pretext to start WWI?
  3. What is similar and different in composition of alliances formed by great powers during WWI and WWII – is there a common pattern?
  4. What impact had burdensome war reparations imposed after WWI in triggering WWII? What does it teach us about how post-war agreements should be forged?
  5. Deception & disinformation practices in warfare during the Second World War.
  6. Hitler’s role in destroying democratic institutions as the doctrine has taken place.
  7. The resistance forces and opposition to Nazism in Germany during WWII.
  8. The role of invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and the world’s reaction.
  9. Controversial facts analysis of The Allies and Central Powers negotiations.
  10. The healthcare situation through the lens of living in trenches.

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History Dissertation Topics on Napoleon III

  1. Napoleon III’ role in modernizing French agriculture, commerce, banking sector, infrastructure.
  2. How did Paris, Marseille, and Lyon change under Napoleon III?
  3. France’s role in Italian unification under Napoleon III.
  4. Major advances in workers’ and women’s rights during Napoleon III.
  5. French empire’s expansion under Napoleon III.
  6. The laws of the Third Republic as the legacy of Napoleon III.
  7. Otto von Bismarck’s influence on Napoleon and his military tactics.
  8. The role and influence of the Bourbon monarchy in France for the subsequent elections.
  9. What caused the exile of the Bonaparte dynasty.
  10. Felice Orsini and assassination attempt: a reflection of Napoleon’s regime or authoritarian pressure?

Topics on Italian Unification

  1. How did revolutionary movements in 1820s-1830s inspire the start of Italian unification in 1848?
  2. How Italian unification spurred nationalist sentiments giving birth to irredentist opinion movement.
  3. What impact irredentism had on Italy’s involvement in WWI and WWII?
  4. How sharing a common past within the Roman Empire helped in Italy’s unification.
  5. How Italian unification (Risorgimento) reflected in culture?
  6. The social movement side of Italian Unification.
  7. The Acquisition of Venice in 1866 as the reflection of clever opposition tactics.
  8. The end of the diplomatic relations with Britain and the United States during a post-unification period and establishment of the new rules.
  9. The role of foreign interference in the unsuccessful unification attempts.
  10. The religious aspect of Italian Unification for modern Italy.

Nazi Germany History Dissertation Ideas

  1. Extent of propaganda in the Third Reich: news, art, public life, etc.
  2. To what extent did resources acquired by Nazi Germany during its early expansion help fuel subsequent warfare?
  3. Was a fact that Europe reacted so slowly and passively to Hitler’s actions an exception or rather a behaviour normally expectable even nowadays (say, in other world regions)?
  4. Would it have been realistic for to forge peace with Nazi Germany?
  5. Would have Britain lost to Hitler if it failed to evacuate Allied troops at Dunkirk?
  6. The role of male supremacism in Nazi Germany and the creation of the Great Powers Europe model.
  7. What caused the persecution of Jews by the fascists?
  8. The role of the people with disabilities among Germans vs other nations.
  9. The presence of national socialism in the modern world vs World War 2 era.
  10. Analysis of the German press during WWII.

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Topics About The Crimean War

  1. To what extent did this military conflict stop or slow the Russian Empire from overwhelming the Ottoman Empire?
  2. Crimean War viewed as a conflict of religious confessions.
  3. Did this conflict bring any tangible benefits to Britain or was involvement in such a distant conflict unjustified?
  4. The Crimean War as a trigger for military modernization of Britain and for social reforms in the Russian Empire.
  5. What role did new technologies (like telegraph, railways, explosive naval shells) had in this conflict?
  6. The role of the war correspondence as to the first-time occurrence of postal service.
  7. The role of women in the Crimean War.
  8. Reflection of the Crimean War in Russian literature.
  9. The cultural peculiarities of the Ottoman Empire and its effect on negotiations.
  10. The role of religious tensions as the mental engine of the Crimean War.

Russian History Dissertation Topics

  1. The reasons that lead to opposition to Tsarism.
  2. The woes of Russian Industrialisation practices: unrest and inequality.
  3. The Lena River massacre: the causes.
  4. Pagan practices in the Russian countryside.
  5. The community spirit of commune practices and Revolution school of thought
  6. What qualifies Stalin as one of the cruelest dictators of twentieth century
  7. How Stalin’s poor performance in the Winter War convinced Hitler of the Red Army’s deplorable state encouraging his Barbarossa plan.
  8. How NKVD’s mass shootings and Stalinist repressions destroyed USSR’s elites, crippling country ahead of WWII as well as for decades afterward.
  9. Why was Stalin’s invasion of Poland somewhat overlooked by international public as opposed to Nazi invasion?
  10. How could Stalin be viewed positively by many in today’s Russia despite all his crimes? It is it explained by Stalin’s propaganda that could transcend generations, by certain merits, by war-related trauma, or by a failure to thoroughly denounce his crimes by successors in power?

Looking up history dissertation questions, always refer to more than one source of information as you explore the facts and analyse what you could discover. It will help you to provide your target audience with verified data and more than one opinion. Dealing with Russian history is even more important.

Art History Dissertation Topics

  1. Should Pop-Art be considered an art form?
  2. Can abstract art be used for encryption and coding?
  3. The history of photography and the modern digital colouring practices.
  4. The Soviet-era art.
  5. The main principles of abstraction vs portraiture principles.
  6. Conflict and Adversity subjects in 19th-century art.
  7. English Rennaissance and portraiture.
  8. Thomas Gainsborough vs Joshua Reynolds art.
  9. Francis Bacon – the controversies of the great personality.
  10. Why is Banksy an outstanding personality in the history of art?

Remember that history of art dissertation topics should always include relevant references to avoid copyright issues or disputes of any kind!

Ancient History Dissertation Topics

  1. Administrative structure of the Roman Empire.
  2. The role of rulers in the Mauryan Empire.
  3. The cultural legacy of Vedic India for Great Britain.
  4. Law and justice in Ancient Rome and legislation system.
  5. Gender relationships in ancient Greece.

Since the majority of what we may remember from ancient history has been learned in middle school, it is only natural to forget some facts and details. Therefore, choosing dissertation topics ancient history, it is vital to make an outline with the dates and read more about various historical personalities.

Modern History Dissertation Topics

  1. The role of Margaret Thatcher in the Cold War.
  2. The causes of the Mexican-American War.
  3. How does Royal Family affect society?
  4. The evolution of human rights with the advancement of technology.
  5. What has Brexit changed for the ordinary citizen?

Choosing dissertation ideas for history that are more modern, always use only verified sources and avoid resources like Wikipedia since almost anyone can contribute to it without verified facts.

African History Dissertation Topics

  1. The causes and the rise of the Kush.
  2. The challenges of historical data collection in Africa.
  3. African response to European colonialism and conquest practices.
  4. What has caused the spread of Islamisation in Africa and facts about Islam in Africa that pose major concerns.
  5. The disastrous effect of the Atlantic slave trade.

History Dissertation Topics Cold War

  1. The role of the Cuban Crisis in the Cold War conflict.
  2. The controversy in the press about the race for the moon.
  3. The Olympics 1980: what did the athletes say?
  4. The fall of the Berlin Wall: a liberation or disappointment?
  5. The role of children during the Cold War: Samantha Reed Smith.

Economic History Dissertation Topics

  1. How have the migration flows affected the American economy?
  2. The impact of slavery and the African-American trade practices in the modern world.
  3. The pros and cons of urbanization for the economical development of the countryside in Ireland and Wales.
  4. Covid-19 changes to the transportation sector compared to the fall of the economics during the Great Depression.
  5. Industrial Revolution: an advancement or a giant step back?

Scottish History Dissertation Topics

  1. The Declaration of Arbroath: political, land ownership, and social motives involved.
  2. The religious aspect of the Scottish Reformation: why it is still relevant today.
  3. The Union of The Crowns is the major point in the history of Scotland.
  4. Glencoe Massacre and the ruling clans’ history.
  5. The personality of Simon Fraser of Lovat and the Battle of Culloden (1746).

Victorian History Dissertation Topics

  1. Charles Dickens and literary description of the Victorian Era.
  2. The casualties in the railway boom in Great Britain.
  3. Poor housing and the history of architecture in the Victorian era for the ordinary inhabitants vs noblemen.
  4. The rights of women and ethnic minorities during the Victorian era.
  5. How have technology and industry impacted already existing conflicts of morality and the labour force?

Looking for good history dissertation topics that deal with the Victorian era, it is recommended to look up famous works of Charles Dickens who provided a perfect description of all the cultural and social aspects. By doing so, you will be able to understand this period in history in a much better way!

History Dissertation Introduction Samples

As you approach interesting history dissertation topics, always start with an outline and collection of the key dates and the facts. Regardless if you are writing about some personality or a famous Waterloo Battle, it is essential to start with the most common facts just to refresh your memory and things you have learned at school. It is also recommended to start with a certain time period because it helps to narrow things down a little bit. Take your time to explore various history dissertation samples as it will help you to calculate the best strategies for dissertation methodology.

The European Union as a Successful Peace Project
The EU project started in 1951 with creation of European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) between West Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Luxembourg. Just a few years later, these states formed the European Atomic Energy Community, and European Economic Community. These European integration processes culminated with Maastricht treaty of 1993 which officially established a union of states with a shared currency, with free circulation of goods and people, with an identical foreign and security policy, as well as citizenship rights. Given its contribution to promoting peace and democracy not only within its borders but also beyond, the EU has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.

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The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact – Lessons Learned by Small States
Also known as the Treaty of Nonaggression Between Germany, the USSR, the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement was signed in 1939 and became notorious for its additional secret protocol, through which two powers split spheres of influence in Europe, deciding the fate of Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Romania. Later, these agreed split was largely respected as both Nazi Germany and the USSR annexed corresponding territories. Decades later, this pact could serve as a lesson for small states to assemble in political, economic, and military unions that would help avoid such vulnerability in front of great powers.

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