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 1914-1918 institutions.

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

  • Crop of handwritten notes, the words 'Hostilities will cease at 11 a m today' are visible

    How the First World War ended

    Professor David Stevenson explains how the war came to an end, and why Germany accepted the harsh terms of the armistice.

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    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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    Artwork of war graves or cemetery

    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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    Banner for colonial troops article. 4 soldiers feature in a black and white photograph. They are cantering along a road on horses, they are wearing Sudanese style dress and some have rifles on their backs.

    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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  • Lady liberty flying the American flag whilst overlooking idyllic landscape with hints of industrialisation: electricity pylons and airplanes

    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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    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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    Film still of Dr Santanu Das's hand gesturing to the manuscript for Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

    Wilfred Owen, 'Dulce et Decorum Est'

    Dr Santanu Das explores the manuscript for Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est', revealing new insights into the composition of one of World War One's most well-known poems.

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    Banner for Shell shock article taken from The Hydra front cover. Shows an illustration of a soldier being attacked by a mythical beast (the hydra), alludes to psychological damage.


    Recent estimates suggest that up to 325,000 British soldiers may have suffered from ‘shell-shock’ as a result of the First World War. Dr Tracey Loughran reflects on the encounters between Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and W H R Rivers at Craiglockhart War Hospital, and how other doctors attempted to treat ‘shell-shock’.

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  • Crop of manuscript draft

    Literary memories of World War One

    Focusing on works of fiction produced during the 1920s-30s, Professor Emeritus Modris Eksteins explores the role of literature as a means to confront and overcome the devastation of World War One.

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    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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    Photograph of large crowd gathered in a square

    Making and breaking nations

    World War One resulted in radical changes to national boundaries. Professor David Stevenson explains the changes that took place in Europe's political geography.

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    Satirical map of Europe showing countries morphed into militarised figures

    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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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.

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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Banner showing man leaving a building. Large wooden doors stand behind him.

Historical debates

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

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Regiment lining up for inspection, kit bags lay at their feet.

Race, empire and colonial troops

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

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Four men leaving a trench banner

Life as a soldier

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

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A black and white photograph taken in Copenhagen, Denmark. A crowd is pictured surrounding baskets of produce in a main square. Traffic can be seen behind them.


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

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Origins banner crop showing two satirical maps of Europe

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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Illustration of side view of German troops, holding guns, moving forwards into battle

The war machine

How were the 65 million men who fought in World War One recruited, armed and organised?

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Banner for medicine theme, black and white photograph showing stretcher bearers unloading a patient from an ambulance truck

Wounding and medicine

How were soldiers injured in World War One and how did doctors, nurses and scientists treat them?

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Over 500 collection items from the British Library and institutions across Europe

Explore manuscripts, illustrations, maps, letters, newspapers and much more…