The Great War 1914 to 1918

Subject HIST10014 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two 1-hour lectures per week for 12 weeks and eleven 1-hour tutorials scheduled across the semester.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is eight hours per week including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Steven Welch

Subject Overview:

The Great War, the ‘seminal catastrophe of the twentieth century,’ now lies a century behind us, but its aftershocks continue to reverberate down to the present. This subject will provide a global history of the war with special attention devoted to Australia’s role. Issues to be addressed include: Who was responsible for the war? Was WWI the first total war? To what extent did the war transform social and moral norms, gender, race and class relations, and the relationships within the global economy? What were the war aims of the belligerent nations? How did soldiers experience the war? Why did they keep fighting for so long? How did the war affect civilians? Did the war achieve anything or was it just an exercise in futility? Why did the peacemaking at Versailles fail? The subject requires that students read a range of materials, both secondary and primary. The tutorials are designed to enable students to explore key issues in European history and historiography during the period 1900-1920.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • understand the causes and nature of the First World War and its impact on politics, society, economics and culture
  • demonstrate familiarity with the historiography on the origins of World War One
  • reflect critically on the concept of total war
  • demonstrate an ability to analyse primary and secondary material in writing about the past


A 1000 word essay 25% (due in week 4), a 1000 word essay 25% (due in week 8) and a 2-hour final exam 50% (due in the examination period).

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five working days, no late assessment will be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Lawrence Sondhaus, World War One, The Global Revolution,Cambridge 2011.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should

  • develop a foundation for level 2 and level 3 History subjects by gaining an understanding of the politics, power relations, social impact and cultural change resulting from WWI
  • demonstrate research skills through competent use of the library and other information sources.
  • show critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument.
  • demonstrate understanding of social, ethical and cultural context through the contextualisation of judgements, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities and by constructing an argument
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History
History Major

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