The Great War 1914-1918

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor David Stevenson, Sardinia House 3.11


This course is available on the BA in History, BSc in Government and History, BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and History. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

May be taken by 3rd years where regulations permit.

Course content

The international and comparative history of the First World War. The military, diplomatic, political, economic, social, and cultural aspects of the conflict will all receive attention. The origins and outbreak of the war; the military campaigning on the Western, Eastern, Italian, and extra-European Fronts; the war at sea and in the air; the intervention of neutral powers, war aims and attempts to negotiate peace; domestic politics in the belligerents; the war's economic and social effects; the experience of combat; the Russian Revolution and the road to the Armistice; the impact of the war on the international system and on individual and collective consciousness.


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

There will be a reading week in the Michaelmas and the Lent terms and a revision lecture in the Summer Term.

Formative coursework

Students will be required to write one essay in the MT and two essays in the LT. They will also be required to do a timed mock exam essay at the end of LT.

Indicative reading

C. Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (2013); N. Ferguson, The Pity of War (1998); A. Watson, Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I (2014) ); A. Millett & W. Murray (Eds), Military Effectiveness, Volume I. The First World War (1988); H. Strachan (ed), The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War (1998); H. Strachan, The First World War: Vol. I. To Arms (2005); D. Stevenson, 1914-1918: The History of the First World War (2004); A. Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction, Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War (2007); R. Chickering, Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-18 (1998); J. Winter (ed), The Cambridge History of the First World War (3 vols, 2014).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2017/18: 28

Average class size 2017/18: 14

Capped 2017/18: Yes (30)

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills