Module 1: Debating the Great War

What plans did the Great Powers make for war? To what extent did these plans cause each Power to lose its room for maneuver and compromise?


  • Hew Strachan, The First World War, TBD

  • Christopher Clark, Sleepwalkers, Introduction (pdf)

Watch all or parts of the following YouTube videos:

  • Watch Hastings, The Necessary War and Ferguson, The Pity of War

  • Watch the historians debate posted here on my Great War blog

  • Watch 37 Days, part 1

Participate in the Discussion Forum:

  1. List three salient facts that you learned from your reading and viewing of the material above.

  2. After watching the Hastings and Ferguson programs, make separate posts on the strong and weak points of each program. Then post on which you found most compelling and why. (A total of three posts.)

  3. Chose a set of the documents in your Mombauer reading for this week and post a comment on what they say and how they fit together.

  4. On my Great War blog, do a category search for the term “Origins” and read the posts that come up. Comment on something from one of the posts that strikes you as interesting.

View my lectures:

  • The Origins Debate (pdf)

  • The Great War and National Identity (pdf)

Write a brief reflective essay on one of the following:

  • What are the major schools of thought on the origins of the Great War?

  • State who you would apportion culpability for starting the Great War and support it with evidence.

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