Unknown Warriors - Understanding the First World War
Updated: May 11
Why, over 100 years later, do we still believe that the outbreak of the First World War was greeted with universal enthusiasm in the combatant nations? In France, for example, the authorities were worried that many people would ignore the call-up. In Germany it was mainly middle-class students who were gung-ho. On the eve of war, there was a huge demo in Trafalgar Square protesting against it. Photographs are partly to blame for the myth: crowds in 1914 throwing their hats in the air, queues at recruiting offices, etc. Historians now see this in a much more nuanced way, showing that only certain minority groups within these populations really wanted war. Listen to UCL's Professor Heather Jones talking about this and other popular misconceptions about WW1 in unknownwarriorspod.co.uk . An Understanding History podcast.