Course overview

The First World War is thought to be the most written-about war in history, and yet to many it can seem utterly beyond comprehension – its geographic scope, its length, the lack of clearly defined war aims, the seemingly endless offensives and the terrible casualty bill all conspire to make this seem an impenetrable and at times futile conflict. And yet real issues were at stake, which mattered to many of those who fought, on both sides.

Course description

In this two-part lecture series, Dr Simon Gregor will explore the causes, course and consequences of the war which became known as The Great War. How and why did it start? Why did it become so long and destructive? Were brave soldiers let down by incompetent generals, the “lions led by donkeys”, or was the situation more nuanced than that? What, if anything, was learned in four years of war? Why did the conflict end when it did, and what was its legacy? Focussing on the western front in France and Belgium, where most British soldiers fought, but venturing into other theatres of war along the way, Simon will explore not only the sweep of history and the grand strategy of the war, but also the very real impact on the lives of the individuals who found themselves caught up in this cataclysmic conflict. Each class will last 90 minutes, and will include time for discussion, questions and debate.

In Part 2, we will examine the second half of the war, exploring: attrition; learning; armistice and aftermath.

What financial support is available?

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All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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