Themes

Explore the worldwide implications of the war in Origins, outbreak and conclusions; the logistics of military organisation in The war machine; and the realities of warfare in Life of a soldier and in Race, empire and colonial troops. Consider the roles of non-combatants in Civilians, the power of persuasion in Propaganda, creative responses to the war in Representation and memory; and the changing nature of our perceptions of war in Historical debates.

Drawn by German graphic artist Walter Trier, this map from 1914 depicts the personalities of different European countries.

Origins, outbreak and conclusions

How did World War One begin? Why did it escalate and what was the impact of both war and peace on the countries involved?

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Pictures from the war: a colouring book for young people

The war machine

How were the 65 million men who fought in WWI recruited, armed and organised?

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A photograph from 1914-15 of British troops leaving a shallow trench built up with sandbags, probably during a training exercise.

Life as a soldier

What was life like for the millions of professional, conscripted or recruited soldiers?

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[1/4th] Gurkhas at kit inspection

Race, empire and colonial troops

Over four million non-white men served in WWI. Explore more about their lives and responsibilities.

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This photograph shows a queue for food ration stamps in the square of Rådhuspladsen, Copenhagen, March 1917.

Civilians

What was life like for civilians, women, children and those displaced by the fighting?

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Fate tutti il vostro dovere! [Everyone do your duty!]

Propaganda

How was propaganda used to inspire patriotism, dehumanise the enemy and change opinions?

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Picture by Belgian artist Gisbert Combaz (1869-1941) showing a crowd gathered on National Day on 21 July 1916, shouting ‘Long live Belgium!’.

Representation and memory

In addition to poetry, what were the other creative responses to the War? How have these affected our memory and understanding?

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Georges Clémenceau leaves the Peace Conference

Historical debates

How have the views of historians and our understanding of World War One changed over time?

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