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Britain and World War One (DNL)

Introduction - Propaganda posters


During World War One, posters were used to efficiently convey messages to the people of England and the empire. They expressed the violence of the war, its global nature, the need for recruits and funds to sustain the war effort...

Posters and task

Case studies

     The First World War was the first total modern war. It was a conflict that involved the full mobilization of the whole society, blurring the boundaries between two fronts: the fighting front, for the soldiers, and the home front, for the civilians. Total war could be best summed up as the organization of entire societies for war in a social, economic, and even spiritual sense. Britain introduced total war in 1915: the government forcefully reorganized the country to meet the needs of the war. From 1915 to 1918, the entire British society was affected by the war.

     WWI was also total because it was global and Britain played an important part in making this war a world war. The resources of the British Empire were used intensively by the British, starting with men.

How did total war happen? What forms did it take? Did it create controversy?
What were its consequences on the British society and the Empire?

Here are four case studies about different aspects of total war in Britain. Students should create groups of 4-6 and pick one. The goal is to create a role-playing oral presentation. After you have studied your case in details, you should identify characters (real or fictional) and assign one character to each member of your group. When you are ready, you should play the part of your character in front of the class and interact with the other members of the group. If you choose a real character, you need to collect as much accurate information as you can on him/her. If you choose to create a fictional character, you need to invent a name and a life that is consistent with what you learnt about the case you studied.

The sinking of the Lusitania in 1915

On May 7, 1915 the Lusitania crossed paths with a German U-boat off the coasts of Southern Ireland. The U-boat fired a single torpedo, without warning. This caused a large explosion which set off a violent secondary blast coming from the bottom of the ship. The Lusitania tilted to its right side and sank after 18 minutes...

Sources and task

The Battle of the Somme in 1916

The Battle of the Somme is one of the longest and deadliest battles of WWI. It lasted from July 1 to November 13, 1916, near the Somme River in Picardy, northern France.

Sources and task

Women on the Home Front in World War One

Did World War One actually improve women's lives in Britain? At the time, many people believed that the war had helped advance women politically and economically. Did World War One actually improve women's lives in Britain? At the time, many people believed that the war had helped advance women politically and economically...

Sources and task

A world war

When Britain entered the war, India was automatically at war too. Britain could therefore count from the start on a well-trained and well-staffed standing army. In August 1914, the Indian Army comprised 138 infantry battalions and 39 horsed cavalry regiments. There were 200,000 enlisted men...

Sources and task
Mise à jour le 11 novembre 2013
Créé le 5 juillet 2013
ISSN 2107-7029
DGESCO Clé des Langues