World War I

Document and Music Investigation

Looking at WWI through pictures, quotes, and music.

  • Working as a group, look at the WWI sources listed below
  • Come to a consensus and select ONE picture and ONE document from each group that represents that element of World War I
  • Individually, defend in writing your choice of picture and document as the best and most fitting for that topic in the packet

WWI Background Info

Follow the link to and read the brief background paragraph on World War I. If you would like to discover more about this era, follow the links on the page. - World War I

BBC - 10 Big Myths about WWI Debunked

World War I Topics

A. Causes of World War I

B. Technology

C. Total War

D. Home Front/Women

E. Paris Peace Conference

World War I Images

Group C: American Poster

Group C: French Poster

Group D: British Poster

Group E: Parade in Paris

World War I Documents

"In Flander's Field" by John McRae, 1915

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead, Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, through poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Frances Langford & James Cagney - Over There

"Over There," by George M. Cohan

"Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen, 1918

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling,

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.*

*Sweet and fitting is it to die for one's country. (Horace, Rome, 68-65 B.C.E.)

"Testament of Youth" by Vera Brittain, 1933

During the war, women passed rapidly into trades hitherto considered unsuitable for them, such as transport, munitions, motor manufacture and shipbuilding, and were found to be specially well-adapted to organization, supervision, and process work or all kinds.... Because of this increase in numbers, as well as owing to the efficiency shown by women in every typed of occupation, the Women's Employment Committee foresaw an extension of the openings for women... and believed that employers would gladly continue to use them after the war....

With the end of necessity which had provoked war-time agreements, both sides [labor and management] were anxious to return to the old advantageous positions.... The immediate result of demobilizations was to add a sentimental argument to the already familiar economic and social arguments against the work of women.... By the autumn of 1919 three quarters of a million of the women employed at the time of the armistice had been dismissed...

"A Frenchman's Recollections," Francois Carlotti, Paris, 1974

The Cochons were one of those families of small market-garndeners who grew their crops by the banks of the river. Every morning, the wife threaded on her shoulder straps, took up the shafts of the enormous wheelbarrow, and set out through the twon to sell her mountain of fresh vegetables while her husband stayed home working in the garden.

Tall, spare, bony, mother Cochon was always the first to set out and the last to return. She had four men in the house....

The father died while the eldest boy was away doing his training. The other two boys slaved away in the garden, working all the harder the first born did not return home when the youngest son left. And after his three years' service, the youngest son left. And after his three years' service, the youngest son faced mobilization and war.

When the [police] arrived that morning, Mme. Cochon received them standing, with the one word, "Which?" "August," replied one of them and laid the little notice on the table...

And then, as the [police] stood their ground, shifting from one foot to the other, she looked them full in the face, till one of them, gathering all his courage managed to say, "And Desire," putting the official notification on the table as he left...

When the [police] returned, a month later, she turned towards them from her seat in the corner of the fireplace without looking at them and asked: "Is it Marcel?" They bowed their heads unable to speak...

And then suddenly a terrible cry rent the air and carried down to the river. "Marcel, Marcel. Now there are no more Cochons...."

She died at the onset of winter

Excerpt from Austro-Hungarian Red Book No. 7: Ultimatum that Austria-Hungary sent to Serbia on July 23, 1914

.... the Royal Serbian Government has done nothing to repress these movements. It has permitted the criminal machinations of various societies and associations directed against the Monarch, and has tolerated unrestrained language on the part of the press, the glorification of the perpetrators of outrages and participation of officers and functionaries in subversive agitation...

.... [The] Royal Government see themselves compelled to demand from the Royal Serbian Government a formal assurance that they condemn this dangerous propaganda against the Monarchy ...

.... To accept the collaboration in Serbia of representatives of the Austro-Hungarian Government for the suppression of the subversive movement...

Excerpt from May 7, 1919 - Count Brockdorff-Rantzau, leader of the German delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference

It is demanded of us that we shall confess ourselves to be alone guilty of the war. Such a confession from my lips would be a lie. We are far from declining all responsibility for the fact that this great World War took place or that it was fought in the way that it was... But we energetically deny that Germany and its people, who were convinced that they fought a war of defense, were alone guilty. No one would want to assert that the disaster began only at that disastrous moment when the successor of Austria-Hungary fell a victim to murderous hands. In the last fifty years, the imperialism of all European states has chronically poisoned international relations. Policies of retaliation, policies of expansion, and disregard for the right peoples to determine their own destiny, have contributed to the European malady, which came to a crisis in the World War. The mobilization of Russia deprived statesmen of the opportunity of curing the disease, and placed the issue in the hands of the military powers.

Prince Berhnard von Bulow, German Chancellor, speech to the Reichstag December 11, 1899

.... we realize that without power, without a strong army and a strong navy, there can be no welfare for us. The means of fighting the battle for existence in this world without strong armaments on land and water for a nation soon to count sixty millions, living the centre of Europe and at the same time stretching out its economic feelers in all directions, have not yet been found. In the coming century the German nation will be either the hammer or the anvil.

Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, August 1914

I spent the evening (of August 3, 1914) walking round the streets, especially in the neighbourhood of Trafalgar Square, noticing cheering crowds, and making myself sensitive to the emotions of passersby. During this and the following days I discovered to my amazement that average men and women were delighted at the prospect of war.

Captain Alexander Stewart's typed copy from his diary of two years spent of the front lines of World War I (1928). The typed copy was discovered by his great-grandson in 2007

June 2, 1916: "The dugouts in this part of the line were infested with rats. They would frequently walk over one when asleep. I was much troubled by them coming and licking the brilliantine off my hair; for this reason, I had to give up using grease on my head. i never heard them biting anyone."

November 9, 1916: "I am very much annoyed by memos sent round from Headquarters that come in at all hours of the day and night; they stop me getting a full night's rest and some of them are very silly and quite unnecessary. When I am very tired and just getting off to sleep with cold feet, in comes an orderly with a chit asking how many pairs of socks my company had a week ago; I reply 141 and a half. I then go to sleep; back comes a memo: 'please explain at once how you come to be deficient of one sock.' I reply 'man lost his leg.' That's how we make the Huns sit up."

October 29, 1917: "It was madness to attempt the attack. It could only have been instigated by a higher command that had simply looked at a map, put down a finger and said: 'We will attack there'."

Bert Chaney - nineteen-year-old signal officer, seeing British Tanks for the first time - 1916

We heard strange throbbing noises, and lumbering slowly towards us came three huge mechanical monsters such as we had never seen before. My fist impression was that they looked ready to topple on their noses, but their tails and the two little wheels at the back held them down and kept them level. Big metal things they were, with two sets of caterpillar wheels that went right round the body. There was a huge bulge on each side with a door in the bulging part, and machine guns on swivels poked out from either side. The engine, a petrol engine of massive proportions, occupied practically all the inside space. Mounted behind each door was a motor-cycle type of saddle, seat and there was just about enough room left for the belts of ammunition and the drivers.

Music of World War I

It's A Long Way To Tipperary Sung By John McCormack

"It's A Long Way to Tipperary" by John McCormack