Unit Objectives:

  • The causes and global consequences of World War I
  • Analyze the relative importance of economic and political rivalries, ethnic and ideological conflicts, militarism, and imperialism as underlying causes of the war.
  • Analyze the degree to which class and other social conflicts in Europe contributed to the outbreak of war.
  • Evaluate ways in which popular faith in science, technology, and material progress affected attitudes toward war among European states.
  • Analyze the precipitating causes of the war and the factors that produced military stalemate.
  • The student understands the global scope, outcome, and human costs of the war.
  • Analyze the role of nationalism and propaganda in mobilizing civilian populations in support of “total war.”
  • Explain how massive industrial production and innovations in military technology affected strategy, tactics, and the scale and duration of the war.
  • Explain how colonial peoples contributed to the war effort of both the Allies and the Central Powers by providing military forces and supplies.
  • Analyze how the Russian Revolution and the entry of the United States affected the course and outcome of the war.
  • Assess the short-term demographic, social, economic, and environmental consequences of the war’s unprecedented violence and destruction.

British propaganda poster illustrating the sinking of the'Lusitania' by the Germans in 1915. National Library of Scotland, WarPosters (1920) R.29.a

Lesson 1

Simulation Reflection

Thinking back to the simulation, reflect on the following questions:

1. Was it easy being a diplomat when first creating alliances?
2. How did your alliances change (either for the better or the worse)?
3. What types of strategies did you use to achieve your goals?
4. Did you ever have to break promises or were you always true to your word?

As the idea of sovereign nation states started to gain hold of the European continent, it became clear that a balance of power needed to be established. There was significant instability in Europe with the differing political ideologies, competition for imperialized land, a race to become more industrialized, and distrust amongst the major powers of the region. Times were changing and even though diplomacy had been around for thousands of years, alliance strategy was of the utmost importance. Europe learned this the hard way with the outbreak of The Crimean War in 1853. Turkey (Ottoman Empire) knew that if it provoked a war with Russia, Great Britain and France would come to Turkey's aid based on the alliance treaties in place, even though Great Britain and France wanted nothing to do with this conflict. In an industrialized age, the potential consequences of war were so dire.

World War One (WWI), or The Great War, would change world history forever. The consequences of the war were so massive it not only impacted Europe but about every corner of the world. It was so devastating that the time after WWI is known to historians as the "Broken World." We will study this in the upcoming weeks. With that being said, let us now focus on what caused WWI. For analytical purposes, it would be great if WWI was caused by a couple of events, but this simply is not the case. The causes of WWI are many and in some cases quite complicated. Today, we will go ahead and start exploring what the world looked like just before WWI and discover the reason why WWI took place.

Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and Memorial to theMissing

Research: Causes of WWI

Task: Please read the articles below and complete The Great War Cause and Effect Worksheet attached below.

A) external image msword.png Causes of WWI.doc This is a Word document that has both articles in it.
B) external image msword.png THE GREAT WAR Cause and Effect Work Sheet.doc

Articles if you don't want to download:


a) You must rank top 5 causes of World War I (WWI) using the reading above. The criteria for ranking can be either based on most interesting or most important.
b) Pick the top three causes that answer the question below.
c) Write a thesis answering the following question:
What three causes were most important in escalating WWI to a war of unimaginable scale?

Lesson 2: Cause of WWI

1. Alliance System (20 minutes)

Group 1: Make an alliance flash card game.
Group 2: Make an alliance map.
Group 3: Make a time-line of the alliances.
Group 4: Make alliance web chart.

2. Think-Pair-Share Causes of WWI (10 minutes)

At the beginning of class today you will be broken up into groups of 2-3. You will compare and contrast your "Cause of WWI Worksheet" with the others in your group. While you are comparing notes, discuss what you have learned. Your goal is to come up with the most "interesting" or most important cause of WWI and justify to your group why you believe so. Remember that when you are discussing your ideas, make sure to develop higher thinking questions for each other. Again, we want you to think as deeply as possible.

3. Reevaluate Thesis Statements and Arguments in Silence (5 minutes)

4. Debate:

Discussing the Outbreak of World War I (30 minutes)

What three causes were most important in escalating WWI to a war of unimaginable scale? When discussing this complex question, I challenge you to defend other causes that were emphasized in the reading and through the slide and share also. Answers must include analysis and evidence for full I look forward to a fruitful discussion.

1. Read packet p. 891 - p. 897 Start at "Outbreak of the War"

Lesson 3: Cavitation Station

I. Watch a quick film on WWI

II. Introduction: Living World War I--A Jigsaw Project (15 minutes)

As always, we need to examine the course of World War I. With any military conflict, there is a conglomeration of strategy, troops, weapons, and mayhem. The following animation will let you see geographically how the war progressed and some of the major battles that took place on the Western Front.

Western Front Animation

Now that you have the geography down, let's take a look at footage from the time period. You will be able to see the mobilization of troops and the impact technology had on this "modern" war. What do you think about the images you see?

"Life in the Trenches"

Let's get a sense of what it must have been like to live this war firsthand using a strategy that I have used successfully with other classes. Starting with our next unit, you will each have the opportunity to captivate the class on the day's learning objectives. Your first opportunity to do this will take place on Thursday (B) and Friday (D). Your group will be given a topic, and you will be challenged to lead the class on some type of experiential activity that will allow them to see firsthand what it was like to experience that aspect of World War I. I challenge you to be as creative as possible when planning these experiences. Here are the ground rules:

1. Everyone in your group must contribute to your captivation station.
2. Your captivation station cannot last longer than 5 minutes.
3. You must incorporate technology meaningfully into your activity. See the assignment sheet for ideas.
4. Students must be actively involved in your captivation station.
5. A handout with goal(s) and key ideas must be included within your work.

If you meet all those requirements and effectively engage the class, you will be likely to succeed. Good luck! I look forward to experiencing your work!

external image msword.png Captivation Station.doc

Potential Topics:

Life in the Trenches (scroll down to "The Trenches")

Total War (Economy) and the Strategy behind World War I

Music of WWI

Technology and Weapons of Warfare
external image msword.png Weapons of War.doc
external image vnd.ms-powerpoint.png A New Weapon.ppt

World War I Art

World War I Poetry

World War I Propaganda

The following references may continue to be useful to you as you work on this project:

Reading Resources:

Photo Resources: (Compiled by hhslibrarymediacenter. Click on link to visit wiki.)

Finish up your captivation station. Due at the beginning of next class.

Lesson 4: Captivation Stations and Global Perspective of WWI

1. Captivation Station Presentations (35 minutes)

"Why wasn't my story told in your textbook?" (Click on me to find out more.)

Visualizing the Global Impact of WWI

1. Read Chapter 8 in your Imperialism textbook to learn about the global impact of World War I.
Key Question: What made this truly a global affair?
Notes: You will receive a world map in which you will take notes on each region and how it was effected by WWI. Be prepared to share your work.

WWI Imperialism Reading Notes Example
WWI Countries Involved in Conflict



3. During the next step, you will create what is known as a RAFT. "What is a RAFT you ask?," well it will be a lot like the "Ant Farm Diaries" that we used during the French Revolution but not quite as complex. The term RAFT is an acronym that stands for:

R= Role of the writer: What is the writer's role? Examples: reporter, observer, victim, eyewitness, etc.
A= Audience: Who will be reading this writing? Examples: yourself, foreign leader, parents, friends, the community, the enemy, etc.
F= Format: What is the best way to present this writing? Examples: diary entry, letter, peom (I know you love that one!), a report, etc.
T= Topic: Who or what is the subject matter of this writing? Hmmm, let's think of something good. How about WWI and non-European countries?

(a) For the first step of this assignment, you must decide on each part of the RAFT. Your character must be from the reading that you have just completed. Write down your ideas for the RAFT (example below), and present it to your teacher. He will either approve it or tell you to go back to the drawing board. Examples would look like:

R= Ottoman Empire Soldier
A= Australian Soldier
F= Letter in a Bottle
T= The Holy Land and what it means to me! at the Battle of Gallipoli

(b) Once your teacher has approved your RAFT get to work. This will be due at the beginning of next class.

Homework: Finish WWI RAFT and post by next class.
WH Spivey B 2009-10
WH Spivey C 2009-10

WH Spivey E 2009-10
WH Spivey F 2009-10

Lesson 5: The Treaty of Versailles

RAFT Peer-Editing

Writing is always a work in progress. Exchange RAFTs in your teams and give feedback to each other using the Discussion tab. I will be giving random feedback during this time. Tonight, I expect you to take your team's feedback into consideration and submit your final draft on the wiki. Finally, I expect you to print out your final draft and submit it for assessment at the beginning of next class. We will create a RAFT Hall of Fame so that we can show off the best ones from all classes.

Treaty of Versailles Simulation

a) Edit RAFT draft for final submission
b) Read MWH p. 370-372, 373-377 & 380-383.

Friday Plan: Eastern Europe

Key Questions:
1. How was the war on the Eastern Front different from the western front?
2. Which nation states were involved in the Eastern Front?
3. What were the major causes of Russia losing the war?
4. How would the war in the Eastern Front change the political climate of Eastern Europe?

Read-- Eastern Front from Spartacus Educational

An overview of the Eastern Front:

Watch Videos: "World War I in Colour-- Mayhem in the Eastern Front"

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Lesson 6: Wrap Up of WWI

Finish Treaty of Versailles and Reflection


Check out the following maps of Europe before and after World War I and find five differences between the maps.
Europe before WWI
Europe after WWI

Behind the Numbers

The following PowerPoint presentation demonstrates the destructive impact on the lives of everyone involved in World War I. Pay special attention to slide 3 and examine the number of casualties each country sustained from the war.


external image vnd.ms-powerpoint.png WWI Aftermath and Statistics.ppt

  1. What results do you see from the war based on these slides?
  2. What impact do you think the war had on European society?
  3. Does this change your perception of war?

Test Review

Fantastic overview the key idea revolving around WWI.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I#Italian_participation (I know wikipedia, who would have thought?)

Nationalism and World War I Study Guide
external image msword.png Nationalism and World War I Study Guide.doc