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COURSE TITLE: The First World War
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course examines the history of the First World War, adopting a thematic and a comparative approach in order to explore some of the contested issues in our understanding of this key moment in twentieth century history, and of subsequent ways in which this war has been interpreted and represented by historians commentators and politicians. In this course we will examine a range of different source material as we explore some of these questions - visual, textual, official - and seek to understand the forces which continue to shape our world today. Throughout the course we will debate and reflect upon what it means to study the past as Christians, and seek to develop a Christian perspective on key issues and developments.

Prerequisites: HIST 202 or 204
REQUIRED TEXTS: Huw Strachan, The First World War (Simon and Schuster Re-Issue 2014)
Essay 1 (2500 words) 25%
Essay 2 (2500 words) 25%
Source analysis (2000 words) 20%
Final exam 30%
COURSE OBJECTIVES: By the end of this course students will:
  • Understand the key developments, themes and personalities in the history of the First World War
  • Assess the impact of the war on the politics, society, culture and economy of the different nations under consideration
  • Evaluate the validity and merit of contrasting forms of historical judgement
  • Demonstrate the ability to utilise effectively primary sources in the context of WWI history in the construction of an argument
  • Develop their skills of critical analysis, interpretation, evaluation, communication and debate
  • Further refine their Christian perspective and outlook through an extended engagement with the past
In this opening part of the course, we will be examining the lead up to the war. This will include an analysis of the origins and causes of the war, what the world was like in 1913, and some assessment of the different explanations that historians have put forward. We will also examine whether or not it was an avoidable conflict
In this section we will examine the many and varied military dimensions of the conflict. This includes different theatres - Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia - but also the naval and air wars too.  We will also take time to think about other aspects of the war: technology, the trenches, changing tactics and also failed attempts to end the war (diplomacy and military).
In this section we will highlight the home front in a number of different countries, and think about the social history or lived experience of the war. We will look at literature and poetry. We will also look at the different experiences of the states and seek to find out which countries adapted best - politically, economically, culturally - to the exigences of "Total War"
In the final part of the course we will be examining the end of the war, including the ceasefire, the Paris Peace Conference and the legacy of the war for subsequent world history.

Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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