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

  • Rupert Brooke's The Soldier was one of the most famous poems written during the war.

    Reframing First World War poetry

    Dr Santanu Das considers how the examination of war poetry has changed and looks beyond typical British trench lyric to explore the variety of poetic responses.

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    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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    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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    Mother and child wearing gas masks

    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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  • Serbian officer in an observation point near Kajmakcalan Hill (detail)

    How did soldiers cope with war?

    Curator Dr Matthew Shaw, explores notions of patriotism, social cohesion, routine and propaganda, to ask how soldiers of World War One were able to psychologically cope with the realities of combat.

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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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    Anti-aircraft location (detail)

    Weapons of World War One

    Senior Curator Paul Cornish looks at the developments in weaponry technology and strategy that led to the modern warfare of World War One, which was characterised by deadly new weapons, trench deadlocks, and immense numbers of casualties.

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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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  • An Indian Cavalry horse hospital in a French factory [Estrée Blanche] (detail)

    The Indian sepoy in the First World War

    Dr Santanu Das reveals the role of the Indian sepoy in World War One and explores the fragments of historical sources that shed light on the experiences of the one million Indians who served.

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    Depicting the enemy

    How did fighting nations depict the enemy? Professor David Welch explores the techniques used when creating atrocity propaganda.

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    Allegory of the United States of America

    Neutrality and intervention

    In 1914 five European Great Powers went to war. How did this escalate into a 'world war' involving nearly all European countries and many internationally?

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    Military cemetery at Châlons-sur-Marne, June 1917

    Remembrance and memorials

    Dr Dan Todman considers how remembrance and memorialisation have been used by nations and communities to negotiate the overwhelming losses 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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Shop

Image from the Propaganda exhibition book

Propaganda Power and Persuasion

Takes a close look at the range of propaganda used by different states – and their opponents.

£19.99

Image of The First World in Poetry CD cover

The First World War in Poetry CD

Listen to the work of prestigious poets, including Laurence Binyon, G K Chesterton, Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen

£10.00

Image of front cover of Hidden Stories of the First World War

Hidden Stories of the First World War

True-life stories which tell the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people who were caught up in the Great War.

£17.99