Other History Topics

What if the Schlieffen Plan had worked?

This documentary examines the counter-factual debate of what would have happened if the Schlieffen Plan had worked.  It opens with a review of the ‘real’ events, and then speaks to various experts to find out their opinion on how things could have been different.

Railways and their use in mobilising the First World War

The British Home Front in WW1

German navy attack Scarborough

The German naval bombardment of Scarborough in WW1

Shortly after 8am on the 16th December 1914, the German Imperial Navy attacked the British seaside towns of Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby. 137 people died, and another 592 were injured as a result of the bombardment – most of whom were civilians.

The smaller German fleet always sought to avoid direct engagement with the British. Instead they focused on targeted attacks and, after an earlier fast raid on the seaside town of Yarmouth, sought to increase the use of such tactics. The hope was that this would draw out parts of the British fleet and German U-Boats could pick them off one by one.

The Germans had determined that an attack on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby would be possible after a U-17 returned from a reconnaissance mission. It was identified that there were few mines in the vicinity, and no coastal defences, which made the towns an easy target since they were within easy striking distance of Germany.

British Intelligence had already decoded messages that indicated the German battle fleet would be mounting the raid. However, British Admiral John Jellicoe opted to allow the raid to happen and then intercept the German ships on their return. This proved catastrophic, as the British underestimated the size of the German attack, which saw over a thousand shells being fired, and then failed to engage the enemy.

The British public was outraged firstly that the Germans had attacked civilians, and secondly that the Royal Navy had failed to stop them. However, ‘Remember Scarborough’ soon became a key message of the British propaganda campaign and vengeance was used as an incentive for recruitment.

WW1 Volunteers

Why did British people volunteer for the Great War? (video clip)

A short video featuring interviews with British people who volunteered to fight in the First World War in 1914-15.

Enlisting for the army in the First World War

A short video extract showing German and British attitudes to the outbreak of war, and how these influenced men to join the army.

The trenches of the First World War

The development of the trench system, and the soldiers’ experience.

First day in the trenches

Overview of new technology in the First World War

An overview of how the new technology used at the start of World War 1 changed the nature of warfare, and how digging trenches led to stalemate.

Teacher Objectivity in WW1

Objectivity in the classroom, 1914. Is this #WW1 clipping still relevant?

This American news clipping was published in November 1914. Quoting from a Department of Education circular, it says:

One of the most vital problems confronting school administrators at this time is the educational problem of how to teach about the current European war and the teacher’s attitude in the discussions in respect to this conflict.

Teachers should not express any personal opinions in regard to the war that will give a reason for resentment from the parents or offend the sensibilities of the children.

Below the fifth grade no time at all should be devoted to this war subject. Beginning with the fifth grade Current Events should be used in the class discussions and as a guide in the map study of the war zone.

Maintaining objectivity in the classroom, 1914 style. Circular from #WW1 arguably still relevant