In August 1914, tens of millions of men were mobilised as European nations declared war on one another. As most of these nations were imperial powers, their colonies were also drawn into the conflict. How could Senegalese, Australians, Malians and South Africans could find themselves fighting Germans or Ottomans they had previously no contact with? How could European populations consent to total warfare for so long and at huge costs? Millions of the men who marched to the front in 1914 later died as a result of a type of industrial warfare few had foreseen. And for what?
This topic focuses on the global dimension of the First World War. Drawing from up-to-date transnational and comparative historiography, the topic provides an understanding of a war that, in many ways, shaped the 20th century. It provides an opportunity to approach new ways of thinking about the conflict, outside of the national framework.
The topic will provide you with an understanding of the origins of the First World War taking you back to mid-19th century Europe and the rise of nationalisms right through its consequences and its long lasting effects on the 20th century. Taking you through the conflict, a wide array of topics will be explored such as trench combat, violence, shell shock, home-fronts, arts, reconstruction and commemoration.