Other History Topics

Syllable Grid

We Didn’t Start the Fire – Syllable Grid

The third stage of the We Didn’t Start the Fire the lesson sequence requires students to write an updated verse for the song.  Some students struggle with the division of syllables and beats, so I devised this simple grid to help them structure their verses to fit the original song pattern. The original lyrics follow a particular song structure and so, by having a visual reference that demonstrates how the lyrics were made to fit the verse, students may find it easier to make their own versions fit with the original.

Download here – We Didn’t Start the Fire – Syllable grid for lyrics (portrait version)

We Didn’t Start the Fire – Backing Track

The third part of the We Didn’t Start the Fire lesson sequence involves students writing their own verse to ‘update’ the song.  As annoying as it is to hear the song over and over again, the students usually like to have the song played on repeat so they can practise their lyrics. The media file below is a karaoke version of the song that you could play.

Causes of the First World War

An explanation of the causes of the First World War…sheer brilliance.

The MAIN causes of the First World War

This video is taken from BBC Bitesize revision, and it gives an excellent overview of the key long-term causes of the war.

The outbreak of the First World War

The failure of the Schlieffen Plan

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.

WW1 railway mobilisation

Railways and their use in mobilising the First World War

Women WW1 home front

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.