Module 8: Verdun

What did Falkenhayn think that he could accomplish with attrition warfare? What role does Verdun play in French memory of the Great War?


  • Strachan, The First World War, TBD

Watch the following video:

Participate in the Discussion Forum:

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

  2. What did General Falkenhayn hope to achieve with his offensive? How did an opponent (Ludendorff) and a supporter (Prince Wilhelm) respond?

  3. Read this French soldier’s report of the June assault on Ft. Vaux and post an observation. Can you find another French account of the battle online?

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

  5. After you have completed all the activities in this module, post to the “What I still have questions about” link. (You can find my responses to the questions from Module 7 here.)

View my lectures: 

  • The Mathematics of Attrition (pdf)

  • “They shall not pass!” (pdf)

  • Verdun and French memory (pdf)

Write a brief reflective essay on one of the following:

  • How and why did Falkenhayn’s essentially “defensive” offensive change?

  • Would the French army have been better off not to have taken the bait and defended Verdun?

  • How did the Battle of Verdun shape French memory of the Great War?

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