Interested in the World War 1?
The period between 1914 and 1918 remains one of the darkest times in our shared world history. The losses to the planet’s population were horrendous: almost ten million people died during military operations, whilst a further twelve million citizens died – an unthinkable total around the twenty-two million mark, with countless other millions injured.
The trigger for the start of the war was the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand – heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary – by a Yugoslav nationalist called Gavrilo Princip. This led to a diplomatic incident between the Austro-Hungarians and Serbia that saw the Austro-Hungarians make preparations to invade. Germany pledged allegiance to Austria-Hungary then used the uncertainly blighting Europe at the time to invade Luxembourg and Belgium, and then march into France. This brought Great Britain into the war as allies of the French, and Russia as allies of the Serbians. Soon, the whole of Europe became embroiled in a deadly series of prolonged battles.
The war turned in early 1917, when Germany invited Mexico to join them in return for helping Mexico recover the territories of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona from the US. This, along with the sinking of seven US merchant ships saw the US declare war on Germany and join the allied forces in the trenches. Boosted by US and Canadian troops, the allies began a counter-offensive in 1918 that decimated the German-led central forces, and on November the 11th, 1918, Germany surrender.
If you wish to learn more about this terrible conflict, here are the top ten sites at which you may do so.
1. Spartacus Educational – www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWW.htm
The Spartacus Educational website provides a massive amount of information on a huge amount of subjects, all for free. This information, which is highly detailed, is organized as one would find in a series of encyclopaedias. The site’s section on the First World War runs to over three thousand pages and includes a chronology of events, as well as sections on all aspects of the war, including art and literature. You can purchase the site’s material for your e-Reader for around $8.
2. History Learning Site – www.historylearningsite.co.uk/ww1.htm
Another free site, although this one has been invaded by those annoying banner ads. The conflict is covered in detail, although some of the links lead to pages that have no content, so maybe this is a work in progress. One article outlines the underlying causes of the First World War, which the sites claims can be traced all the way back to 1882 with an alliance signed between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.
3. First World War.com – www.firstworldwar.com
A colorful and well-presented site that is aimed at students, First World War.com presents its information in an entertaining yet thoughtful way, with the emphasis on all forms of media, rather than just text. The only negative aspect of this site is the large and obtrusive advert in the center of each page.
4. The Long, Long Trail – www.1914-1918.net
The first site in our list with a specific theme rather than a generic one, this site focuses on the British Army during the Great War. This site is lovingly crafted by a freelance military historian named Chris Baker, and consists of a series of excellent articles outlining the war from the perspective of British soldier, or ‘Tommies’ as they were known. The site receives over one million visitors every year.
5. The Great War – www.greatwar.co.uk
The Great War website provides its visitors with an overview of the Western Front’s battlefields, where they are geographically-located and whether a tourist is able to visit them. There are also sections on War Graves, Monuments, Memorials and Museums. Many battlefield sites, particularly in Belgium and north-east France, have been well-preserved and make for a fascinating visit.
6. War Poetry – www.warpoetry.co.uk/FWW_index.html
The First World War saw the drafting of thousands of young men, many aspiring literary artists amongst them, nearly all of whom lost their lives. This site details biographies and the works of twenty-five First World War poets, with the emphasis on the man considered the finest of them all, Wilfred Owen. Owen’s letters and poems give a profound and vivid insight into the hellish conditions troops experienced in the trenches.
7. World War 1.com – www.worldwar1.com
A fascinating treasure-trove of resources and information, this site has been lovingly maintained in respect to Michael Iavarone, the late and original creator of the site. The wealth of information on the site can be overwhelming, so the maintainers of the site have thankfully created a series of theme-based virtual tours with which to get started.
8. World War One Battlefields – www.ww1battlefields.co.uk
This site has been put together by an unnamed web-master who has toured many of the famous battlefields, and has gathered his experiences and information for anyone who wishes to do the same. The site has different sections on Flanders in Belgium, plus The Somme and Verdun in France. As well as many photos, the site contains a handful of videos, all shot and expertly put together by the web-master himself.
9. World War One Color Photos – www.worldwaronecolorphotos.com
We are all used to seeing grainy, black and white images or cine-film from the First World War. This site provides hundreds of original, color photos from the time of the conflict. There are original and authentic color photographs – they have not been artificially colored or computer enhanced. There are all photos of the French Army, and somehow seeing the soldiers in color, in their smart blue uniforms, really inspires you to feel a realistic connection with them.
10. www.blogspot.co.uk – http://wwar1.blogspot.co.uk/
A unique and interesting site, this is a blog made up of transcripts of Private Harry Lamin’s letters home from the trenches during the First World War. Each letter is posted online exactly ninety years after it was written. Harry was born in August, 1887 in Awsworth, in Nottinghamshire, England, and served in Flanders, Belgium and Northern Italy from December 1916 to January 1920. Happily, Harry survived the war, passing away in 1961 at the age of 73.