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HST 202: World War I

Course Prefix

Course Number

Course Title


Credit Hours



World War I



Course Description

History regards World War I as the first modern war, the first major contest of arms fought by large, centrally organized nation-states since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The War marks a watershed dividing the security and stability of the prewar world from the terrible potential of a century of total world war. This course will examine the war itself as well as the causes, impact, outcomes and legacy of the Great War. Emphasis will also be placed on current and past interpretations of this conflict. The course will highlight the experiences of the people, societies, and countries that participated in this first total war. Final considerations will be placed on how this conflict changed the 20th Century.

Topical Outline

  1. Imperialism, 1815-1870
  2. Europe, 1870-1900
  3. French Primacy, 1871-1875
  4. War Scare, 1875
  5. Balkan Crisis, 1875-1878
  6. Triple Alliance, 1879-1882
  7. Bulgarian Crisis, 1885-1888
  8. France-Russian Alliance, 1888-1894
  9. Britain ends Isolation
  10. Russo-Japanese War, 1905
  11. Bosnian Crisis, 1908-1909
  12. Moroccan Crisis, 1911
  13. Balkan Wars, 1912-1913
  14. Alliance System
  15. Origins of the War
  16. Great Questions of War/Strategies
  17. Causes of the War/ How Wars are Won
  18. Sarajevo, June 28, 1914
  19. German Culpability
  20. British Expeditionary Force
  21. Russian Expeditionary Force
  22. Mons 1914
  23. 1st Ypres, 1914
  24. Marne, 1914
  25. Trench Warfare
  26. War Technologies
  27. Gallipoli, 1915
  28. Jutland, 1916
  29. Verdun, 1916
  30. Somme, 1916
  31. Passchendaele-Third Ypres, 1917
  32. Russian Revolution, 1917
  33. War at Sea
  34. Air War
  35. U.S. enters the War 
  36. Home Front
  37. John J. Pershing
  38. American Strategy and the American Expeditionary Force
  39. Spring Offensive-Ludendorff 
  40. Marne, 1918
  41. Chateau-Thierry, Cantigny, Hill 142, Belleau Wood
  42. Meuse Argonne, 1918
  43. November 11, 1918
  44. Paris Peace Conference
  45. Outcomes of the War
  46. Peacemaking, 1919
  47. The Legacy of the Great War

Method of Presentation

  1. Lecture/Discussion
  2. Cooperative Learning
  3. Group Work 
  4. Research Reports and Oral Reports
  5. Viewing Original Film Clips of the War – Battle of the Somme
  6. Document Analysis

Student Outcomes (The student should…)

  1. analyze the possible causes of World War I
  2. analyze the social, economic and political effects of World War I on Europe, the U.S., Russia, the Middle East, Asia and Africa
  3. analyze how World War I differed from previous wars
  4. evaluate the causes and effect of the Russian Revolution
  5. develop an understanding of life in Europe and the U.S. during the years 1914-1918
  6. identify the origins of the War
  7. evaluate the outcomes and impact of World War I
  8. evaluate the role of civilians at the home front
  9. appreciate the experience of battle and the motivation of the common soldier

Method of Evaluation

  1. Essay Examinations
  2. Document Summaries
  3. Document Case Study
  4. Annotated Bibliography


Marshall, S.L.A., World War I, Houghton Mifflin, 2001.

Joll, James and Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War, 3rd ed. Pearson-Longman, 2007.

Goldstein, Erik, The First World War Peace Settlement, 1919-1925, Pearson-Longman, 2002.

Prepared by: Michael J. Harkins, Spring, 2008