Explore the traumatic effects of WW1 on soldiers and civilians. Discover how we remember and debate the history of this war.
Why join the course?
More than a hundred years after it ended, the First World War has lost none of its fascinations. It was a war of unprecedented scale and brutality, with countless casualties. It also left a poisonous legacy for the twentieth century and beyond. Many of the issues that were left unresolved in 1918 would lead to another world war in 1939.
In this free online course, you will study the social, cultural, medical and diplomatic history of the First World War. Topics range from physical and mental trauma suffered by combatants to the traumatic experiences of civilians in wartime.
We will investigate the difficulties historians face in establishing accurate figures for war losses. We will explore expressions of grief and trauma through art and literature. We will ask why some nations remember the dead with poppies and why there are certain sites of remembrance that we still turn to today. And we will explore the contested origins of the First World War.
While studying this course, you will learn to conduct your own research into First World War casualty statistics and explore different sources to help you evaluate their usefulness and accuracy. And you will be able to discuss your thoughts with other learners on an online platform (if you choose to do so).
Welcome to our course.
What topics will you cover?
- The effects of the war on combatants and civilians.
- New types of injuries and how victims and medical professionals dealt with them.
- Casualty figures and how to interrogate them.
- Artistic responses to the trauma of war.
- How the war has been commemorated.
- The debate among historians about the origins of WW1.
When would you like to start?
Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts.
- Available now
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to:
- Investigate casualty statistics and conduct your own research into war losses.
- Evaluate visual and poetic historical sources to understand how the First World War affected art and culture.
- Discuss your thoughts with other learners on our online platform.
- Explore various types of physical and mental trauma suffered by those who experienced the war.
- Assess the difficulties historians face in establishing accurate figures about war losses.
- Interpret historical propaganda and eyewitness accounts to understand the civilian experience of war.
- Reflect on the causes of the First World War.
Who is the course for?
This course is suitable for anyone with an interest in finding out about the effects of the First World War (1914–1918) on societies. It is not necessary to have prior knowledge of the subject. Teachers might particularly benefit from studying this course.
Who will you learn with?
Lead Educator: World War One: Trauma, Memory, Controversy.
Professor in History at the Open University, UK.
Who developed the course?
The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.
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