Supported by over 500 historical sources from across Europe, this resource examines key themes in the history of World War One. Explore a wealth of original source material, over 50 newly-commissioned articles written by historians, teachers' notes and more to discover how war affected people on different sides of the conflict.

Collection items featured on this site have been contributed by Europeana 1914-18 institutions.

Over 50 articles about World War One, written by leading experts

  • Cavalry patrol of Moroccan Spahis fighting for the French army near Furnes, Belgium, 1914.

    Experiences of colonial troops

    Dr Santanu Das gives an overview of the numbers and roles of colonial troops in World War One. Where did colonial troops serve and how was 'race' used as a factor in military policy?

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    Europe before 1914

    Considering factors such as globalization and military advancement, Professor David Stevenson examines the political and diplomatic landscape of Europe before the outbreak of World War One.

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    Frederik and Mathilde Bajer (detail)

    Pacifism and Conscientious Objection

    With particular focus on conscription, Professor Martin Ceadal discusses instances of pacifism and conscientious objection during World War One in Britain, the US, Canada and New Zealand.

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    Map of Europe in 1914 (detail)

    Origins and outbreak

    How did World War One break out? Professor David Stevenson closely examines the three stages that led to war being declared between Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Germany, Russia, France, and Britain.

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  • Cupidity

    The debate on the origins of World War One

    Beginning with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Dr Annika Mombauer explores the opposing debates about the origins of World War One. Is it possible for historians to arrive at a consensus?

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    Atrocity propaganda

    Atrocity propaganda focused on the most violent acts committed by the German and Austro-Hungarian armies, emphasising their barbarity and providing justification for the conflict. Professor Jo Fox describes the forms that such propaganda took in the early years of the war.

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    Turning cast-iron shells (detail)

    Contract workers in World War One

    Associate Professor Richard Fogarty considers the role of migrating contract workers, especially in France and Great Britain, whose work away from the battlefields helped the war effort.

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    Series of photographs showing attack by 1/1st Gurkhas

    Photography

    From portraits of soldiers to official government images, Professor Stephen Badsey examines the private and public use of photography in World War One and its value as a historical source.

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  • French refugees in the north

    Aftermath of World War One

    Professor David Stevenson explains how the Treaty of Versailles, the Treaties of Saint-Germain and Trianon and the Treaties of Neuilly and Sèvres re-drew Europe's post-war boundaries.

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    Changing lives: gender expectations and roles during and after World War One

    Considering the roles of both men and women during World War One, Susan R Grayzel asks to what extent the war challenged gender roles and to what degree society accepted them.

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    Photograph, June 1915, showing men from the 26th Battalion and Ammunition Column leaving for overseas service.

    Fighting for the Empire: Canada’s Great War in photographs

    Curator Dr Philip Hatfield draws on photographs taken in Canada during World War One, including scenes of enlistment and arms manufacturing, to consider the range of contributions made by Canadian citizens.

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    British soldier washing in the stagnant water that has collected in a shell crater, 1917.

    Sensuous life in the trenches

    From smell and sound to touch and perception, Dr Santanu Das draws on soldiers' records to consider the sensory experiences within the trenches of World War One.

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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 Historiography.

Propaganda

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

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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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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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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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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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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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[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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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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