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Online course

World War 1: A History in 100 Stories

Change the way you see World War 1 as you explore stories of hope, suffering and loss from newly released historical archives.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

World War 1: A History in 100 Stories

25 April 2015 marked the Centenary of the Gallipoli Landings.

The Gallipoli Campaign was Australia and New Zealand’s first major military engagement of World War 1. The Anzacs went on to fight in Palestine, Egypt and the Western Front and suffered one of the highest casualty rates of any allied army.

Often confronting, always challenging, this course involves a critical examination of a conflict that changed the world.

This free online course is part of the 100 Stories Project at Monash University, commemorating the Anzac centenary and exploring the cost of war. The course will coincide with ANZAC Day on 25th April, and suggests new and more inclusive ways of remembering.

Go on a journey across the battlefields of Gallipoli and the Western Front on which the war was fought and into the homes of the ordinary people who suffered it.

The 100 stories distil the experience of the Great War. Amongst the cast of the 100 stories are not just soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses, but parents who lost their sons, wives who struggled with shell-shocked husbands, children who never knew their fathers. The themes these stories explore - grief and suffering, hope, anguish and loss - are universal. They are told in a language everyone can understand and are based on archives only just opened to historians.

Hear from leading historians in the field, and together debate the meanings of the stories.

Each week we’ll examine a different topic, including the physical and psychological wounds of war - shell shock, disability and trauma; women’s mobilisation both at home and in the field; and what we’ve called ‘the other Anzac’: indigenous soldiers too often ignored in our history. We’ll examine grief and mourning; protest and repatriation, the politics of war and its intensely personal dimensions.

Learn how to research your own stories.

We’ll introduce you to the new digital archives that are changing the way we remember the War, and explain how to use them.

By the end of this course, you’ll have a better understanding of one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th Century, and the skills to embark on independent research of your own.

This course is part of a series designed to commemorate the War.

World War 1: Paris 1919 - A New World Order? (University of Glasgow)

World War 1: Aviation Comes of Age (University of Birmingham)

World War 1: Changing Faces of Heroism (University of Leeds)

World War 1: Trauma and Memory (The Open University)

You can find out more about this course in Bruce Scates’s post for the FutureLearn blog: “The battles don’t end when the guns stop firing: three forgotten stories to mark Anzac Day.”

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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 secondsSPEAKER 1: The Great War may have begun over 100 years ago, but truly it shaped the way that we are today. It ended empires. It toppled kings and queens. It redrew the maps of Africa, of Asia, of Europe. For the generation who fought it, the cost of this war was simply devastating. Over 10 million deaths. Over 30 million casualties. The world was caught up in a great tide of mourning. And right across the world, we built memorials. We built memorials like this one, the Shrine of Remembrance here in Melbourne. This great granite structure was intended to outlast the ages. And in the 1920s, the symbolism of that was simply compelling. Bodies rotting in the mud of Flanders.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 secondBleached to the bone by desert winds. Blasted to pieces by high explosives. They've been reborn, refigured. The perfect classical lines of the shrine have rendered them whole again.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 secondsSPEAKER 2: In truth, though, the memory of the Great War isn't set in stone. In fact, there's probably no subject that's been more fiercely debated by historians. We've argued over its causes, its consequences, even when the war actually ended. But if you thought there was nothing new to say about the history of the Great War, you'd be wrong.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 secondsSPEAKER 3: The 100 Stories will change the way you see this landmark event. They're based around narratives never heard before. They draw on new sources, discovered by a new generation of historians. And they're presented in new, creative ways, animating the archives through the use of digital technologies.

Skip to 1 minute and 52 secondsSPEAKER 1: We're inside the Shrine now, right in the very heart of its galleries. And here beside me is the Gallipoli Boat. It's one of the boats that carried Anzac forces ashore at the Dardanelles in 1915. It's carefully wrapped up in plastic sheeting for conservation purposes. Because this boat is old. It's fragile. It's a kind of relic. It embodies the memory of a war that shaped our nation, and that altered the whole world.

Skip to 2 minutes and 24 secondsLet's use this boat as a kind of metaphor. The 100 Stories invite you to join us in a journey. We'll walk across the killing fields of Gallipoli, Belgium, and France. We'll take you to the places the Great War was fought, to a landscape that claimed an entire generation. And we'll explore the archives, the libraries, the museums, the monuments, the prose, and the poetry that's come to capture the Great War's memory. And as we undertake that journey, we'll peel back layers of meaning. We're reveal aspects of this conflict that you might not yet have considered. The memory of the Great War has too often privileged the story of men, the voice of men. This course also retrieves the voice of women.

Skip to 3 minutes and 12 secondsSPEAKER 2: Amongst the cast of the 100 Stories are not just soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses, but mothers who lost their sons, wives who struggled with shell shocked husbands, and children who never knew their fathers. Because the cost of the Great War is not just confined to those who fought in it.

Skip to 3 minutes and 30 secondsSPEAKER 3: Many of our stories have an Australian or a New Zealand focus, but this is a universal story, too. Grief, suffering, hope, loss and anguish know no nationality.

Skip to 3 minutes and 41 secondsSPEAKER 2: And finally, these stories are told in a language that everybody can understand. They're the personal testimonies of ordinary people, told in extraordinary times.

Skip to 3 minutes and 53 secondsSPEAKER 1: The 100 Stories have a tremendous span. We'll cover topics as diverse as the physical and the psychological wounds of war. Shell shock, disability, trauma. We'll look at women's mobilisation, both at home and in the field. And what we've called the other Anzac, indigenous soldiers who too often have been ignored in Australia's history. We'll examine grief and mourning, protest and repatriation, the politics of war and its intensely personal dimensions.

Skip to 4 minutes and 26 secondsSPEAKER 2: Each week of this course, you'll meet leading historians in the field. Together we'll debate the meanings of the stories, and direct you to a treasure house of rich, accessible, and engaging readings.

Skip to 4 minutes and 37 secondsSPEAKER 3: And we'll show you how to research the stories themselves, introducing the new digital archives that are changing the way that we remember the Great War, while explaining how to use them. You might even use these stories as a way to explore your own family or local community's wartime history.

Skip to 4 minutes and 55 secondsSPEAKER 2: But by the end of this course, you'll not just have a better understanding of one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century, you'll be equipped with key research and analytical skills needed by every historian.

Skip to 5 minutes and 7 secondsSPEAKER 1: It's 100 years since the beginning of the Great War and since this boat first came ashore. Join us now for a fresh take on history.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Develop skills to embark on independent research of your own.
  • Explore the universal themes of grief and suffering, hope, anguish and loss.
  • Discuss and examine a conflict that changed the world.
  • Engage with new and inclusive ways of remembering one of the of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th Century.
  • Contribute your views on weekly topics and the meaning of grief and mourning, protest and repatriation, the politics of war and its intensely personal dimensions.
  • Explain the role and impact of the physical and psychological wounds of war - shell shock, disability and trauma, women’s mobilisation both at home and in the field, and indigenous soldiers.

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone with an interest in history. No prior knowledge beyond a general knowledge of the events of World War 1 is required or expected.

Who will you learn with?

Bruce Scates

Bruce Scates is a prize-winning teacher, novelist and historian and Director of the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University. He is the author of many books about the Great War.

Who developed the course?

Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities, ranked in the world’s top 1% by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was established in Melbourne in 1958.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

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