Tag Archives: war

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

Second Battle of Ypres

First large-scale gas attack at the Second Battle of Ypres, 1915

A description of the first large-scale use of poison gas in WW1 that marked the start of the Second Battle of Ypres.

Why Italy joined WW1 on the side of the Triple Entente

On the 23rd May 1915, Italy entered the First World War on the side of the Triple Entente and declared war on Austria-Hungary.

Italy was actually Austria-Hungary’s ally under the terms of the Triple Alliance, but the Italian government had initially opted for neutrality before being persuaded to join with its theoretical opposition.  Under the terms of the Triple Alliance, Italy was well within its rights not to provide military assistance to Germany and Austria-Hungary since the treaty was entirely defensive.  Since Austria-Hungary had instigated hostilities against Serbia, Italy argued that the alliance was void.

Italy therefore remained neutral for the first nine months of the war.  However, behind the scenes Prime Minister Antonio Salandra and his minister of Foreign Affairs, Sidney Sonnino, were investigating which side would be the best to join.  In a secret agreement signed on 26th April in London, Italy agreed to leave the Triple Alliance, join the Triple Entente, and declare war on Austria-Hungary and Germany.  Assuming they won, Italy would in return receive large areas of territory from the Central Powers such as Italian-populated areas of Austria-Hungary and in the region of the Adriatic Sea.

Italy duly entered the war against Austria-Hungary on 23rd May 1915.  Despite superior numbers, the Italians struggled against Austria-Hungarians.  However, they did emerge victorious and so Premier Vittorio Emanuele Orlando went as the Italian representative to the Paris Peace Conference.  However, the offers of land were not as much as Italy had hoped for and so he left the Conference in a boycott.

First aid and hygiene in the trenches of the First World War

The soldiers’ experience of World War 1

An excellent documentary aimed at students aged 11-16 looking at key events of WW1 including the shift to ‘world war’, the development and experience of trench warfare, and the role of Douglas Haig.

PART 1

PART 2

Conditions for generals in WW1

Sarcastic account of conditions for generals in WW1 by a dispatch rider

This newspaper cutting from The Times on 20th November 1914 can be useful source for revealing attitudes of some regular soldiers towards their commanding officers. While not directly critical, the writer’s final sentence contains some evident sarcasm!

A Cambridge undergraduate, who is acting as a motorcycle dispatch-rider, sends home the following account of his experiences after being wounded:-

I was pushing off the next field, when four big shrapnel shells burst near by, searching for a battery, but all they found was my left foot, which got in the way of a piece. I was very annoyed about it for the moment, but by the time I had hobbled a mile and a half, and found the destination of the message I carried, I was resigned to my fate. A pal of mine cut my boot off and put a field dressing round my foot, and the kind-hearted old general let his car carry me off to a field ambulance. It’s rotten for generals out there, you know; they get worried stiff – poor old chaps, and get loads and loads of responsibility and anxiety and have to sit about all day in cold, damp ditches and splinter-proof shelters, and fume and scheme, and feed on bread and chicken and ham paste and sardines.

Download a copy of the original cutting here.

The Christmas Truce including an interview with a survivor

Christmas Football match

The Christmas Truce and Britain vs. Germany football match

The Horrible Histories account of the Christmas Truce and a fictional account of a football match in No Man’s Land.  For ideas on how to teach the Christmas Truce and the idea of WW1 football, please see this comprehension lesson outline and set of resource.

Winter in the trenches and trench food

The Battle of the Somme