Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds JOHN CONNOR: The Germans tried five separate strategies to win the first War and each of them failed.
Skip to 0 minutes and 17 seconds ELIZABETH GREENHALGH: THE Germans had better artillery. They were simply better trained. They threw the French back into France.
Skip to 0 minutes and 28 seconds COLIN GARNETT: Trench raids were the kind of underbelly, where they experimented with new weapons, new tactics, throughout the War in order to overcome the German defences.
Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds KEITH JEFFREY: And in a way, that commitment and those losses and that sacrifice feeds into a commitment to the union– the mystical union, the political union– between Britain and Ireland and Ulster.
Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds JENNY MACLEOD: France’s memory of Gallipoli is interesting, in that it’s almost nonexistent.
Skip to 1 minute and 4 seconds CHRISTINA SPITTEL: It is written by someone to whom the idea that the First World War should be the War to end all Wars is profoundly ironic. He knows that is not true. So he’s writing from this long hindsight. But he’s also writing as a fellow soldier.
Skip to 1 minute and 22 seconds JOHN CONNOR: My name is Dr. John Connor and I’m a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of New South Wales, Canberra campus. In this introduction to the First World War, we’ll discover how the War was fought and how the War has been remembered. The First World War was a conflict fought across the globe on an unprecedented scale. 65 million men served as soldiers or sailors and fought everywhere from the wheat fields of Russia and the deserts of Palestine, to the savanna of East Africa and the jungles of New Guinea. Almost 7 million civilians and almost 10 million combatants died in the course of the War. We’ll concentrate on the Western Front in Belgium and France.
Skip to 1 minute and 59 seconds This is the most important and bloody theatre of War. Here, Germany had invaded Belgium and northern France in the summer of 1914, with the aim of inflicting a quick victory in the West over France, before shifting its army to fight the Russians in the East. The German strategy failed. Mobile warfare in the west ended, and was replaced by static warfare, in which German, French, and British armies dug trenches as protection.
Skip to 2 minutes and 27 seconds The popular memory of the War remains the mud of the trenches and the bloody waste of life from the bloody battles of Verdun, the Somme, and Passchendaele. For many, the dominant memory of the Great War is of a futile pointless conflict. A memory conveyed by war poets like Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and Sebastian Faulks’ novel, Birdsong.
Skip to 2 minutes and 48 seconds During this course, we’ll explore another view of the War that better fits the historical evidence– that the War was bloody and costly but that it was not futile and pointless.
Skip to 2 minutes and 58 seconds The Allied armies learned how to end the stalemate of trench warfare, a process we now call the learning curve. Armies developed new forms of training, new technology, and new tactics to end the stalemate. They enabled soldiers to advance, protected by their own fire power and the War ended in November 1918, with the Allies victorious over German aggression. Please join me for this course as we examine the reality of war on the Western Front, and how myth has often shaped the memory of the War.