Course Lectures


Topic 1 -- Introduction and Background

Introductory Lecture (Notes) (List)

For a brief synopsis of the major works dealing with World War I, see The Literature of Conflict

Reading:  Europe and the World (from:  Theodore von Laue, Why Lenin?  Why Stalin?, Chapter 1)

Essay:  A Brief Introduction to German History by L. J. Andrew Villalon (Background to unification)

 Topic 2 -- German Unification (1862-1871) (Notes) (List)

 Topic 3 -- Austria-Hungary and the Nationality Problem (Notes) (List)

Test 1:  Study Guide

Topic 4 -- The Age of Bismarck (1871-1890) (Notes) (List)

Topic 5 -- The Kaiser takes the Reins (1890-1905) (Notes) (List)

Topic 6  -- A Decade of Crises (1905-1914) (Notes) (List)

Topic 7 -- 1914:  Europe on the Brink (Notes) (List)

 Topic 8 -- The Final Crisis (Summer, 1914):  Shots are Fired and the Lights Go Out (Notes) (List)

Topic 9 -- Who was Responsible? (Notes) (List)

Test 2:  Readings (section of Robert Graves, Goodbye to All That, leading up to World War I)

Test 2:  Study Guide


Topic 10 -- The Campaign of 1914:  From Liege to Tannenberg and the Marne (Notes) (List)

Topic 11 -- Stalemate in the Trenches (1915-1917)  (Notes) (List)

Topic 12 -- Attempting to Break the Stalemate  (Notes) (List)

Topic 13 -- 1917:  Year of Agony, Year of Hope  (Notes) (List)

Topic 14 -- The Russian Revolutions of 1917  (Notes) (List)

Topic 15 -- The Blockade, the Submarine, and America's Entry into the War  (Notes) (List)

Topic 16 -- The Campaign of 1918:  Germany's Final Gamble  (Notes) (List)

Topic 17 -- The Peace Settlement and Seeds for the Future  (Notes) (List)

Final Exam -- Readings

Final Exam:  Study Guide

Course Readings

Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front (Required:  Questions on the Final Exam)

Robert Graves, Goodbye To All That (Required:  Questions on the Final Exam)

Vera Britton, Testament of Youth (Optional)


Paths of Glory  (1957) (Required:  Questions on the Final Exam)

Gallipoli (1981) (Recommended)

Joyeux Noel (2005) (Recommended)

Course Video:

Interspersed throughout the lectures, the class will view episodes of the 1996 BBC documentary series, The Great War and the Shaping of the Twentieth Century.  Although several more recent documentaries on World War I have been made, this is still (at least in the opinion of your professor) the finest.  While there will be no specific questions taken from the documentary, the student is expected to watch it carefully.  It supplies a visual dimension to the events of World War I that the professor cannot hope to match.  In addition to being shown in class, the series is now available on the web at the following URLs:

Episode 1: Explosion

Episode 2: Stalemate

Episode 3: Total War

Episode 4: Slaughter

Episode 5: Mutiny

Episode 6: Collapse

Episode 7:  Hatred and Hunger  (currently unavailable)

Episode 8:  War Without End


Episode 7 (abbreviated combination of 7 and 8):  Legacy


(My special thanks go to a student in the course, Robert Shumaker , who first brought my attention to the multiple web postings and helped find the best one for each episode.)