100 Years On
37 mins 39 secs
The popular British view of the First World War is now very outdated.
Professor Heather Jones explains how professional historians have developed new interpretations since the conflict's 50th anniversary in the 1960s.
At the centenary, what's emerging is a much more complex and diverse picture of this first global conflict
The Western Front
35 mins 18 secs
The popular British narrative depicts the war on the Western
Front as wasteful and futile.
Professor Gary Sheffield shows how this view is misplaced: this was a war that had to be fought by the Allies, and their armies learned the hard way how to cope in such a highly challenging theatre, ultimately overcoming their mistakes to inflict a decisive defeat on the Germans in 1918.
Through German Eyes
30 mins 03 secs
Trans-national and comparative history has deepened our understanding of the First World War.
Dr Jonathan Boff looks at the Western Front from the German perspective, throwing new light on the major campaigns of this trench-bound struggle and on the final collapse of the German army in 1918.
Crossing The Line
29 mins 02 secs
Despite the existence before 1914 of internationally recognised rules relating to the conduct of warfare, the First World War would see all sides rapidly ignore key red lines as they sought to secure a military advantage.
Diana Preston shows how, over a mere six weeks in 1915, the world changed forever.
28 mins 42 secs
Shell shock was unknown before the First World War but, in the appalling conditions of the Western Front, reached crisis levels at the battle of the Somme in 1916.
The medical establishment was divided as to how to deal with it.
Taylor Downing explains how the British Army saw it as such a threat to its combat effectiveness that it ruthlessly set about suppressing it.
The Indian Experience
31 mins 26 secs
1.5 million Indians volunteered to fight for Britain in the First World War and served in some 50 countries, defining the global scope of the conflict.
And yet, as George Morton Jack reveals, their story has often been ignored and misunderstood.
For Britain, the First World War was also about defending its huge empire. The Indians played a critical role in this broader aspect of the struggle, despite a complex colonial relationship with the British that was informed by growing nationalist pressures in India..
Year Of Victory
25 mins 42 secs
In the popular British narrative of the First World War, 1918 is almost a ‘forgotten year’ on the Western Front, eclipsed by more tragic episodes in the struggle such as the Somme and Passchendaele.
And yet, as Peter Hart explains, this was a critical year in which, after the Germans failed in their gamble to win the war with a series of huge offensives in the spring, the Allied coalition relentlessly pressed home its growing advantage in men and resources to force a German retreat and final collapse.
War Without End
29 mins 36 secs
We think of the First World War as 1914-18 but in fact, as Professor Robert Gerwarth shows, for the defeated nations of central and eastern Europe 1918 did not mark the beginning of peace.
As the borders of new nation states emerged out of the chaos of collapsed empires, violence - in particular against civilians - continued on a huge scale well into the 1920s.
30 mins 46 secs
Most general histories of the First World War are narrative-driven or told from a largely national perspective.
Professor William Philpott analyses the conflict as a coherent phenomenon, showing how the combatant nations had to evolve a strategy of attrition in which all the resources of the state were harnessed to support the armies in the field.
In short, a war for survival where defeat for the losers meant national destruction.
35 mins 35 secs
Memory and remembrance have played a key role in the way later generations have interpreted the First World War.
But memories of the past invariably mirror the preoccupations of the present.
Professor Mark Connelly examines how Britain, Germany and other nations have shaped their view of the Great War in response to their own immediate concerns rather than any quest for the truth.
Ep 1 © Imperial War Museum (Q 2978); Ep 2 © IWM (Q 5818); Ep 3 © IWM (Q23709); Ep 4 © IWM (Q 11586); Ep 5 ©IWM (Q 24047); Ep 6 .© asianlite.com/news/uk-news/britain-honours-overseas-war-heroes; Ep 7 © US Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, LOT 8876;
Ep 8 © IWM (Q 110864); Ep 9 © IWM (Q 30018); Ep 10 © Martin Addison (cc-by-sa/2.0)