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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

The First World War, 1914 - 1918

This course will examine this, the first mass industrialized war. It will discuss not only the traditional political, military and diplomatic aspects of ‘the war to end all wars', but it will also assess its cultural and social impact beyond the battlefield.

In the trenches
In the trenches

This course will analyse both the long and short-term causes of the war, with a particular emphasis on how the debate regarding who was responsible for its outbreak influenced similar discussions on the inevitability of the Second World War. Overviews of each of the war years will be interspersed with thematic sessions, ranging from thoughts on the conduct of British military leaders and their reception in popular culture, through an examination of how the First World War affected wider society in the main combatant countries. The course will analyse whether the War affected traditional gender roles, looking particularly at the movement of women into war industries and the challenging of the traditional male role model as a courageous protector when faced with the horrors of modern war.

In addition this course will examine more contemporary approaches to the study of the First World War, notably medical history through an examination of the social attitudes shell-shock, the cultural impact of the Great War as found in poetry and song, before concluding with a study of the commemoration of the war, as families sought to make sense of the death of many loved ones on such a massive scale.

This course will draw on a wide variety of sources, both written and visual, and use them to analyse the attitudes and intentions of many of those caught up in the maelstrom of the First World War.


Date: Wednesday evenings 7-9pm, starting 9 October 2013
Duration: 12 meetings


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