13: Europe and the First World War

This topic focuses on the breakdown of diplomacy in Europe that led to July Crisis and the outbreak of the First World War, the reasons for the Allied victory and the impact of this devastating war on the civilians of Europe. For those of you who have chosen the First World War as a case study for the 20th Century Wars topic for Paper 2, there will be plenty of overlap here and you can access the materials for the First World War in the Paper 2 section of the website through this link: Case study: The First World War.

Videos for the First World War can be found here: First World War: videos and questions and quizzes here: 8. First World War: Quizzes 

What does this topic cover?

Specifically you will need to cover the following in the teaching of this unit:

  • Changing alliances in Europe after 1871;  the impact of imperial expansion in African and Asia on European diplomacy; the Congress of Berlin and the European Alliance System
  • The domestic and international factors that influenced the foreign policy of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The reaction of Britain, France, Russian and Austria Hungary to the Kaiser's actions
  • The factors that caused tension in Europe before 1914 and the July crisis
  • The impact of the war on the civilians of two European countries
  • The reasons for the defeat of Germany

1. Changing alliances in Europe 1871 to 1907

The creation of the German Empire in 1871 caused a major shift in the European balance of power. Over the next two decades, Germany's Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, worked hard to consolidate Germany's...

2. Why did war break out in 1914?

Between the years 1905 and 1913 there were several crises, which although they did not lead to war, nevertheless increased tension between the two alliance blocs in Europe and also created greater instability...

3. Impact of war and the reasons for Allied victory

Paper 3 does not require you to study the details of how the First World War was fought. However, you should have an have an understanding of the chronology and key features of the war in order to understand...

4. Europe and the First World War: Essay frames and writing exercises

This page contains ATL to improve essay writing for this topic in Paper 3 as well as specific essay frames for Paper 3 style essays.Task OneATL: Thinking and communication skills

6. First World War: Videos and activities

On this page you will find some suggestions and links to videos that can be used as well as teacher notes with suggestions as to how the videos can be used with students. Questions for some of the videos...

7. First World War: Extra resources

On this page we have included some extra websites, reading, fiction and films that are useful for pursuing this topic further.There are some excellent resources on line for investigating the First World...

8. First World War: Quizzes

In this section you can find quizzes which can be used as a starters to a lesson or as an end of topic quiz.

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