History | World War I
B300 | 4467 | Stanard

This course examines one of the most fascinating, yet most traumatic
events in modern history:  the First World War.  Over 9 million
soldiers were killed between 1914 and 1918, and millions more were
left disabled -- physically, mentally, or both.  Those civilians who
remained behind the lines endured and suffered through the
experience of the first total war; millions of them died or lost
sons, brothers, fathers.  Paradoxically, World War I concluded
Europe’s long 19th century of progress.  This four yearlong paroxysm
ended decades of peace, shattered the German, Austro-Hungarian,
Russian, and Ottoman empires, launched revolutions, signaled the
rise of the United States as a world power, and forever altered the
map of Europe.
	This course has several objectives.  First, it will explore
the complex causes of the outbreak of World War I in Europe.  How
did the war begin?  Who was most to blame?  Is it possible that the
war could have been avoided?  We will also examine the unfolding of
the war from 1914 to 1918.  Our class will consider why exactly this
conflict was a “world” war, and how it was the first total war.  We
will study why the war did not end quickly as many people had
expected, and also the impact of the war both on the people who
fought it and those left behind on the “home” front.
	In addition, this course will ask key questions about the
end of the war and its aftermath.  How were Germany and Austria-
Hungary able to defeat Russia by 1917 yet suffer complete defeat
just one year later?  The course will also consider the peace
treaties that ended the conflict, as well as the immediate
political, social, and economic consequences of the conflict that
set the stage for the interwar years.  This is not a military
history of World War I, rather a broader historical treatment,
taking into account economics, government, politics, culture, and
	Class will meet daily from 10:30 to 11:20 a.m.  Class
meetings will combine lecture with discussion and audiovisual
presentations.  Students will be required to do substantial readings
every week.  There will be two examinations and one short paper.