Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course


Download this course

Share this free course

Teaching the First World War
Teaching the First World War

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

4 Summary

In this first session of the course ‘Teaching the First World War’, we have examined the debate on the origins of the First World War, including some recent interpretations, and reflected on the fact that historical interpretations are shaped by contemporary political concerns.

We explored document analysis techniques and provided a template for future document study for classroom use. And you have been able to hear first-hand from leading historians in this field who disagree on how to interpret key documents.

You can use the resources provided to equip your students with the skills needed to analyse the debate and the primary sources on which the arguments are based. We have seen that historical interpretations reflect contemporary concerns and political conditions. In 1919, the topic was of contemporary political importance as much as it was during the Cold War or in 2014, when a newly confident Germany wanted to wipe the slate clean of some of its uncomfortable history.

We’ve also briefly alluded to the importance of war-time propaganda in shaping popular attitudes towards why the war broke out. In the next session, we will explore propaganda during the First World War in more detail.