World War I

World War I Recruiting Poster

It is recommended that the documentary Voices of Wartime be shown initially as a lead-in to working with the material in the module. If this module is to be used in conjunction with other thematic modules, then it is appropriate to view the documentary at the beginning of the course of study and refer back to portions of the documentary that support the topics being engaged. For example, Voices in Wartime explores the works of British poets Owen and Sassoon in some detail.   

The module opens with background information on the First World War. In some instances, original documentation has been included to help provide a different perspective than may be offered in more traditional textbooks. While the reasons for the world going into war 1914-1918 are enormously complex, a background synopsis is provided to help the reader/student begin to establish a point of historical reference. Maps have also been included to help support the text.  

Throughout the module, there are suggestions for “Further Research and Investigation,” intended to help the student to view the war in a more holistic way, and which demonstrate the complexity of the topics that are included in the module. Further research and investigation also lend itself to group and team work. Dividing the questions and suggested topics among students will allow for a more complete representation of the theme being explored once it is completed. For example, there are four sections in the module that provide the makings of a full class investigation and a variety of formats to be explored for presenting the group’s findings:  

  • The Assassination—Activities, Research and Further Investigation: The Chronology of the Great War
  • Timeline—Activities: Taking on Different Perspectives
  • The War: Research and Activities
  • British Poets—Further Investigation, Research and Activities on British Poets and Writers
  • Thoughts, Short Excerpts and Quotes—Activities: Reacting to the Words of Others
  • Art of the Great War—Further Research and Investigations: The Art of the Great War

The main portion of this module is dedicated to the writings that originated in or as a result of the First World War. There are representative writings from professional writers and those who are not famous. The work of poets from Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and the United States has been included. In addition to poetry, there are excerpts from diaries, journals and wartime songs. Each of these entries is followed by “Reflective Questions.” There are hundreds of poets from scores of countries that have not been included in this module. Their works are no less significant, but remain as an avenue of research for students. The Internet is a tremendous source for locating these works, especially the writings of Australian, Russian and the Balkan wartime poets.  

Finally, The Great War module offers a series of resources to support further investigation and research. “Literature Originating from The Great War,” is an annotated listing of books which owe their inspiration to the war. The description of works is provided by the publisher, if not otherwise indicated. The list is long, and while extensive is far from being exhaustive. However, there are a significant number of books from which students may choose to further their study or from which an instructor may assign further work.   

“The Annotated Bibliography” is offered in three sections Internet Sources, Publications and DVD and Video Sources. As the introduction to the Internet Sources explains, the Internet is a huge source of information for the study of The Great War. The sources cited in this section are reliable, informative and are managed for accuracy. The Publications section presents books about the political origins and the historical nature of the First World War. It too is annotated and descriptions offered by the publisher. The final listing in this section is DVD and Video Sources. Unlike the previous two sections this one is fairly comprehensive and provides distributor or critic information. Running time for most selections is provided in order to assist instructors in considering how the film can be incorporated into class presentations. All of the films listed are available through various distribution sources. The last listing is “On-line Books Originating from The Great War.” These books are available on-line through a number of different Internet sources. More books are being added each year so the list presented will continue to grow.