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This is a Clilstore unit. You can link all words to dictionaries.

Course and characteristics of WW1

The course of WW1 could be roughly summarised by the schedule below.

Movement War (1914

Trench Warfare (1915-1917)

·        Major offensives around Verdun, the Somme, Ypres

Turning Point (1917)

·        Russia pulls out of the war

·        USA joins the Allied Powers

Final Battles (1918)

Keyfronts that would decide the outcome of the war were all in Europe, especially the Western Front. However, The First World War was global in reach. (See also “The Great War was a World War”, p. 15.)

In this assignment (see document in Teams Histpry 5 - "Opdrachten"), you will explore some key moments of the Great War, and focus on some of its characteristics.

To answer the questions, look



You may start this assignment by watching a video on YouTube.  Please note that you could turn on English or Dutch subtitles if needed.



Moving war

The war at the Western Front started when the Germans put the Schlieffenplan into action, as they hoped to prevent being caught in a two-front war.  This affected Belgium.

The cartoon below was published in the British satirical magazine Judge, or London Charivari.   Study it carefully and answer the questions on your assignment.



Trench Warfare

As the advances stopped, both sides brought up artillery and machine guns, driving their opponents to seek safety in trenches.

Look for a map of the Western Front / WW1 in Europe, and copy the line of trenches on the Western front on the map on your assignment.  Describe in words where exactly the front line ran.


Most of the time life in the trenches was very boring, with constant hard work repairing and supplying the trenches, or repairing the wire in front, and never time to rest properly.  You got an idea of this from the movie 1917.

However, when there was fighting, casualties were terrible because the only way was to attack across 'No-Man's Land' running the gauntlet of enemy artillery and machine-gun fire. Of all the military engagements of the Great War, the deadly battles of Verdun, the Somme and Passendale touch our imagination the most.

Find some information about each of these battles, and complete the grid below on your assignment: Which country launched the attack? When?   Was there's a victor? If so,who?   


Battle of Verdun

Battle of the Somme

(=3rd Battle of Ypres)






Which armies fought each other?




Who started?





How won?





How many dead (all armies together)?


There is no consensus on the exact number of deaths in each of these battles, but the death toll has always been in the hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions (please delete as appropriate).


1917: Turning Point

Russia Pulled Out of the War

During the Russian Revolution, the Communists seized power (October Revolution). Lenin, the leader of the Revolution, was against this “capitalist war”, and had promised to pull out of the war if he got to power. As a matter of fact, Germany helped to bring about the Revolution. They provided a train for Lenin (living in exile in Switzerland) to travel back to Leningrad, where he started the Revolution.

When Lenin got to power, he signed an armistice with the Central Powers. This situation was very convenient for the Central Powers, but bad news for the Allied Powers. Explain. (Have a look at the map!)

Even if it was convenient for the Central Powers, the conditions laid down in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918) were very harsh on Russia. This treaty stipulated that Russia had to pay major reparations and had to cede territories on its western border.

Name the territories Russia lost after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.


US Joined the War

Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

Why did the USA not take part in the First World War before? Answer with one concept we have studied before. (Notwithstanding their neutrality, the USA did supply the Allied Powers with food and weapons.).  Mark the answer in your assignment.

Two events changed this attitude: the unlimited submarine warfare, and the Zimmermann telegram. Let’s have a look at both of them.

Often, the incident with the Lusitania is mentioned as one of the reasons of America’s active involvement in the war. Look up what exactly happened*, and why the USA was not happy about it.
*Think of the historic parameters (who? what? Where? When? Why?)

However, the incident can’t be the immediate cause of the American involvement. Why not?


Mark the answers to both question on your assignment.


Zimmermann Telegram

Look up information about the Zimmermann Telegram on internet or in your text book.  Answer the questions on your assignment.


End of the War

When and where exactly was the armistice signed between the Allied Powers and Germany?


Characteristics of the Great War

World War

Watch this video till the end of "Internationalisation"

In what respects was the Great War a world war?

Which historical development that we studied before explains why it turned into a World War? Answer in one sentence.


Industrialised War







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