There are huge amounts of available resources on World War I. Thousands of books and print resources have been published since the conflict, and now the World Wide Web also offers hundreds of sites about it. Finding quality resources, much less a starting point, can be very difficult.
This pathfinder was created to help Internet users find reliable information about the First World War for either personal knowledge or formal research. Both print and Internet sources are covered. Please remember that these resources are excellent starting points, but that additional research from the bibliographies of these works is necessary to understand the full complexity of this historical event.
On the Internet:
There are many resources available on the World Wide Web about World War I. Some of the best general sites are:
- BBC – History – World War I
An extensive, media-rich site covering social as well as military aspects of the war. From the U.K.’s original public service broadcaster.
- The Great War from PBS
This is the companion site to PBS’ program on World War I, it features an interactive timeline and maps and locations.
An outstanding resource featuring many photos, primary documents, and articles pertaining to relevant events before, during and after the war. Please read the site editor’s disclaimer before proceeding to the rest of the site.
- The Great War Society
The Great War Society studies all aspects of World War I and its legacy for the twentieth century. It features pages specifically created for students and researchers of the War.
- World War I: Trenches on the Web
World War I: Trenches on the Web is a very comprehensive site on the First World War. It features a rich online library and focuses primarily on the military aspects of the War.
The following sites are collections of links to other World War I resources on the Internet:
- The Canadian Forces College World War I Links Page
The Canadian Forces College maintains a comprehensive set of links organized by subject.
- Yahoo’s Directory of World War One Sites
Finally, here are some links to images, sources, and sounds from the First World War era:
- The World War I Document Archive
The document archive includes documents organized by year, a biographical dictionary, and an image archive.
- The Versailles Treaty
This site features the full text of the Versailles Peace Treaty that ended World War I. It also features maps and charts.
- Lost Poets of the Great War
Six poets who wrote about World War I are featured at this site along with their works.
- American Leaders Speak: Recordings from World War 1 and the 1920 Election
“The Nation’s Forum Collection consists of fifty-nine sound recordings of speeches by American leaders at the turn of the century. The speeches focus on issues and events surrounding the First World War and the subsequent presidential election of 1920.” (from the LOC’s American Memory site)
There is an enormous amount of printed material available concerning World War I. If your library uses the Library of Congress classification system, then you should look under the heading World War, 1914-1918. Books about the War can be found in under many different sections, but many are clustered in the D525 and D619 ranges. If your library uses the Dewey Decimal System, like most public libraries, then books about the War will be classified under 940.3 and 940.4.
One of the best places to begin looking for books about the First World War is to consult a bibliography, a directory of books:
- Higham, Robin with Dennis E. Showalter (Eds.). Researching World War I: A Handbook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003.
- Woodward, David R. America and World War I: A Selected Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Sources. New York: Routledge, 2007.
Another good general resource to find quick facts or brief descriptions of names or events is an historical dictionary such as Ian Hogg’s Historical Dictionary of World War I (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998). This dictionary also includes bibliographic references that you can use to find more detailed sources.
For more detailed information on the names and places of World War I, you could also consult Holger Herwig and Neil Heyman’s Biographical Dictionary of World War I (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1982) or Anthony Livesey’s The Historical Atlas of World War I (New York: H. Holt, 1994). These two sources also include bibliographies for further reading.
Women and minorities played a vital role in World War I, both in combat and on the homefront.
In the Internet Public Library:
- African Americans in the Armed Forces
Elsewhere on the Internet:
- Hispanic Contributions to America�s Defense
- Native Americans and the U.S. Military
- The Women of World War I
- African-Americans: Barbeau, Arthur E., & Florette Henri. The Unknown Soldiers: African-American Troops in World War I.. New York: Da Capo Press, 1996.
- Hispanics: Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Manpower and Personnel Policy. Hispanics in America’s Defense. Washington, DC: United States General Publishing Office, 1990.
- Native Americans: Britten, Thomas A. American Indians in World War I: At Home and At War. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1997.
- Women: Marlow, Joyce (Ed.). Virago Book of Women and the Great War, 1914-18. London: Virago Press, 1998.
Most of the countries involved in World War I spoke languages other than English. Few of the sites below contain any English-language content, but they are rich in photographs and other materials that can be understood by speakers of any language.
On the Internet:
- Austria-Hungary (in German):Weltkrieg, Erster from Österreich Lexikon
An entry on World War I (“Erster Weltkrieg”) from an Austrian online encyclopedia.
- Canada (in English): An Archival Look at World War I
An English-language website, although both French- and English-speaking Canadians fought in World War I. Features many photographs, posters and post cards from the Queen’s University archives in Ontario.
- France (in French): La première Guerre Mondiale 1902-1932
A comprehensive site containing photos, biographies, bibliographies, and many other items.
- Germany (in German): Das Deutsche Reich und der 1. Weltkrieg 1914-1918
A site with fewer photos than some of the other sites, but some useful articles on a variety of subjects. Focus appears to be more on the military aspects of war, but some topics of life on the homefront are discussed.
- Italy (in Italian): Prima Guerra Mondiale
A no-frills site on Italy’s role in the war and Italians’ lives during the war.
A number of world events occurring in the period 1914-1918 were impacted by — or had an impact on — the course of the war.
On the Internet:
- Armenian Massacres: Armenia, Karabagh, and the Armenian Genocide
Fact sheets, bibliographies,essays, links and other resources from the University of Michigan Dearborn’s Armenian Research Center.
- Influenza Pandemic: Influenza 1918 from PBS
The companion site to the program Influenza 1918, aired as part of PBS’ American Experience.
- Russian Revolution: The Russian Revolution, February – October 1917
A concise account of the events from February-October 1917, with links to additional resources on the Russian Revolution.
- Armenian Massacres: Graber, G.S. Caravans to Oblivion: The Armenian Genocide, 1915. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996.
- Influenza Pandemic: Barry, John M. The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the 1918 Pandemic. New York: Viking, 2004.
- Russian Revolution: Pipes, Richard. A Concise History of the Russian Revolution. New York: Vintage Books, 1996.
The following books have been printed in many different editions and translations since they were first published in the years following the First World War. The references below are for newer, unabridged editions.
- Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner Classics, 1997.
- Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1996.
- Brittain, Vera. Testament of Youth: An Autobiographical Study of the Years 1900-1925. New York: Penguin Books, 2005.
- Graves, Robert. Good-bye to All That: An Autobiography. Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1995.
- J�nger, Ernst. Storm of Steel. New York: Penguin Books, 2004.
Dogs, horses, camels, and carrier pigeons were all working animals in the war effort. Cats and other animals served as companions to the troops in camp and in the trenches.
On the Internet:
- Animals in the Great War
- Cooper, Jilly. Animals in War. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2002.
- Gardiner, Juliet. The Animals’ War: Animals in Wartime from the First World War to the Present Day. London: Portrait, 2006.
- Le Chene, Evelyn. Silent Heroes: The Bravery and Devotion of Animals in War. London: Souvenir Press, 1999.
This pathfinder was created by Stephen Bollinger. Updated by Patricia Massard.