World War I: The "Great War"

Course No. 8210
Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee
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Course No. 8210
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Course Overview

From August 1914 to November 1918, an unprecedented catastrophe gripped the world that continues to reverberate into our own time. World War I was touched off by a terrorist act in Bosnia and all too quickly expanded far beyond the expectations of those who were involved to become the first "total war"—the first conflict involving entire societies mobilized to wage unrestrained war, devoting all their wealth, industries, institutions, and the lives of their citizens to win victory at any price.

The cost was ghastly: Altogether, at least nine million soldiers died. Twenty million were wounded, seven million of them permanently disabled. Some estimates put the civilian deaths at almost six million. And countless survivors suffered from psychological trauma for decades after.

The world itself would never be the same. Governments had been given broad new powers to marshal resources for the battle to the death, and these powers have persisted ever since, even in peacetime. Another legacy can be seen almost daily in today's headlines, as border disputes, ethnic conflicts, and ideological arguments smolder on, almost a century after they were first ignited in the Great War.

Riveting, Tragic, Cautionary

World War I: The "Great War" tells the riveting, tragic, and cautionary tale of this watershed historical event and its aftermath in 36 half-hour lectures delivered by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius of the University of Tennessee. Professor Liulevicius has a gift for cutting through the tangle of historical data to uncover the patterns that make sense of complex events. And few events are as complex as World War I, which pitted the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Ottoman Turkey, later joined by Bulgaria, against the Allies, principally France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan, and, after 1917, the United States.

Most narratives of the war focus on the Western Front in France and Flanders, with its mazelike trenches, gas attacks, constant shelling, assaults "over the top" into withering machine gun fire, and duels of dog-fighting aviators in the sky. Professor Liulevicius devotes great attention to this theater, which has become emblematic of World War I in the popular imagination. But the war had other important arenas of engagement that you will also explore in depth, including:

  • Eastern Front: In his writings Winston Churchill called this theater the "Unknown War," and its battles throughout Eastern Europe were much more fluid than those in the West—but certainly equally bloody.
  • Southern Fronts: In a disastrous attempt to break the stalemate in the West, the Allies landed troops at Gallipoli in the Turkish Dardanelles in 1915. Major action also raged in the southern Alps, Serbia, and northern Greece.
  • War at Sea: The war introduced submarines as a potentially decisive strategic weapon, particularly as deployed by Germany against Allied shipping. On the Allied side, Great Britain used its naval supremacy to blockade German ports.
  • Arab Revolt: Aided by archaeologist turned intelligence officer T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), the British encouraged Arab attacks against Turkish forces in the Middle East, feeding the cause of Arab nationalism.
  • Communist Revolution: A battle-exhausted Russia succumbed to the Bolshevik seizure of power in the fall of 1917, introducing a new factor into world politics: the ideologically guided utopian state, which would cast a dark shadow over subsequent history.
  • Armenian Massacre: The war formed the backdrop for the first full-scale modern genocide: the 1915 Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey, in which as many as one million men, women, and children of the Armenian minority were killed or died from abuse.
  • Spanish Influenza: As a crowning horror in the concluding stages of the conflict, a worldwide pandemic swept the globe. The Spanish Influenza killed an estimated 50 million people, exceeding the war itself in lethality.

What You Will Learn

Professor Liulevicius combines chronological and thematic approaches for a sweeping survey of World War I's many dimensions. In Lectures 1–6 he depicts the state of Europe and the world in 1914 as the war approached. In Lectures 7–9 he examines the Western Front and the horrors of trench warfare. Then in Lectures 10 and 11 he covers the Eastern and Southern Fronts.

Lectures 12–15 are devoted to various war themes: the military and political objectives of the combatant nations; the experience of those living under foreign occupation; the wounds, psychological suffering, and medical treatment of ordinary soldiers; the fate of prisoners of war; the phenomenon of storm troopers and other enthusiasts for battle; and the technological advances that produced ever greater bloodshed through innovations such as the machine gun, poison gas, and recoilless artillery.

Lectures 16–18 explore the battleground in the air, at sea, and around the globe. Lectures 19–23 investigate issues on the home front: how different nations reacted to the war; the effects of propaganda, privation, and stress on the civilian populations; popular dissent; and the efforts of war leaders to remobilize domestic support in the last years of the struggle.

Lectures 24–28 examine some of the dramatic departures in world history brought about by the conflict: the Armenian massacres; the Communist revolution; and the entry of the United States into the fighting and how this affected life in America and the war's outcome. Lectures 29–33 cover the path to peace and the aftershocks worldwide.

Finally, in Lectures 34–36 Professor Liulevicius looks at the deeper and lasting impact of the war, which some scholars have called a civil war, or even a suicide attempt, of Western civilization.

You will also explore these themes:

  • The surprising eagerness of all parties to plunge into mutual slaughter
  • The unexpected endurance of societies undergoing total war
  • The radically different hopes and hatreds that the war evoked, with remarkable contrasts between Western and Eastern Europe
  • The meanings that the different sides ascribed to the war, both during the conflict and after
  • The way the war normalized previously unparalleled levels of violence, including against civilians
  • The role of various ideologies in the war's course and conduct.

World War I Is Still Part of Us

World War I has left its mark in many ways, both small and large. Mundane objects such as trench coats and wristwatches were popularized to meet the practical demands of the front lines. Expressions such as "in the trenches" and "No Man's Land" also trace to this experience. The war gave us Daylight Savings Time and the staple Western civilization courses in American colleges, introduced to inculcate young minds with the values that Americans were fighting to preserve.

The British royal family is now called the House of Windsor because during the war hostility to all things German led them to change their name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The same trend in the United States led to a temporary substitution of the word "liberty" in expressions that had quite innocent German associations. Hamburgers became liberty sandwiches. Sauerkraut became liberty cabbage. And German measles became liberty measles.

On the most significant level, the war led to changes in the status of the state, society, and the individual. Ironically, the widespread disillusionment engendered by the war produced an ideological style of politics with extremist views brooking no neutrality that culminated in the even worse disaster of World War II. Important figures in that conflict were molded by their experiences in the Great War, including Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, and Harry Truman.

World War I is still part of us. Paradoxically, the totality of the war is difficult for us to grasp precisely because our own identities, our own understandings of ourselves in the world, have been shaped by the experience of that total war and the totality it revealed.

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36 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    The Century's Initial Catastrophe
    The opening lecture presents the main themes of the course, beginning with the concept of total war. Other themes include the role of ideology, the meanings ascribed to the war by different sides, and the war's legacy. x
  • 2
    Europe in 1914
    This lecture examines the state of Europe and the world before the onset of the war in 1914. The emergence of the German Empire created strains in the international balance of power, as divided among Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. x
  • 3
    Towards Crisis in Politics and Culture
    Even among those who expected war, there were widespread misconceptions about the nature of the conflict to come. In this lecture you explore the prevailing ideas and attitudes in Europe and then turn to the premonitions noted by contemporaries of coming disaster. x
  • 4
    Causes of the War and the July Crisis, 1914
    This lecture analyzes the immediate events that led to war, from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary at Sarajevo in June 1914 to the diplomatic chain reactions that followed in the July Crisis. x
  • 5
    The August Madness
    Hysterical celebration known as the August Madness greeted the outbreak of war between the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) and the Allies (France, Great Britain, and Russia). You analyze new research that questions how widespread this emotional outburst really was. x
  • 6
    The Failed Gambles—War Plans Break Down
    This lecture follows the unfolding of the German Schlieffen Plan, which envisioned quick victory on two fronts, and the French Plan XVII, which aimed to recover lost French territories. Both were thwarted. x
  • 7
    The Western Front Experience
    The Western Front soon froze into static trench warfare and horrific slaughter from attempts to break this deadlock. Generals on both sides sought a breakthrough that would allow sweeping offensives and glorious cavalry charges. These never came. x
  • 8
    Life and Death in the Trenches
    This lecture gives a detailed overview of the trench landscape from the perspective of ordinary soldiers: the elaborate fortifications, the omnipresence of death, and the codes of behavior such as the Christmas fraternizations between the trenches in 1914. x
  • 9
    The Great Battles of Attrition
    Once the new dynamics of industrial war had been recognized, there followed a series of months-long battles of attrition. You examine the battles of Verdun and Somme in 1916, and in 1917 the French Champagne Offensive and the Third Battle of Ypres, also called Passchendaele. x
  • 10
    The Eastern Front Experience
    This lecture illuminates the unfamiliar clash of empires in the East, beginning with the Russian invasion of German East Prussia and the ominous disasters of the Austro-Hungarian war effort. The Germans achieved victory against the Russians at Tannenberg in 1914 and followed up with the "Great Advance" of 1915 into Russian territory. x
  • 11
    The Southern Fronts
    Turkish entry into the war expanded its scope. Allied landings in Gallipoli in 1915 were repulsed by Turkish defenders. Italy entered the war on the Allied side but met disaster against Austria-Hungary at the battle of Caporetto. x
  • 12
    War Aims and Occupations
    What goals did the Allies and the Central Powers pursue from the outset of the war? How did these goals change? After examining these questions, you turn to the experience of military occupation and how it affected civilian populations. x
  • 13
    Soldiers as Victims
    Historians estimate that half of the soldiers mobilized in the war were killed or wounded, and some suggest that nearly half of surviving soldiers experienced psychological traumas. This lecture seeks to convey the immense scale of this carnage. x
  • 14
    Storm Troopers and Future Dictators
    Attempts to break the immobility of trench warfare produced storm troopers, fearless warriors habituated to the trench landscape to a disturbing degree. Two ordinary soldiers seemed to enjoy the war too much: Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. x
  • 15
    The Total War of Technology
    An important element of World War I was the expanding destructive potential of technology. This lecture covers such developments as the machine gun, poison gas, and the submarine, as well as the economic weapon of ersatz materials. x
  • 16
    Air War
    While the war in the air was not yet decisive in World War I, it was a frightening portent of what future conflict would hold. This lecture surveys the rapid improvement in early airplanes and the growth of the myth of the fighter ace. x
  • 17
    War at Sea
    Like the land forces, the opposing navies also reached a stalemate. The Battle of Jutland in May 1916 was the only large-scale British-German naval clash, and it ended indecisively. The naval blockade imposed by the British on Germany was of far greater effect. x
  • 18
    The Global Reach of the War
    This lecture surveys fighting in the European colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The diplomatic sparring for the sympathies of neutral states is also examined, along with the economic dimension of the global war. x
  • 19
    The War State
    Total war put new demands on the state to mobilize populations and economies for victory. For example, Britain broke with earlier liberal traditions to give the government increased power over the economy and political speech. x
  • 20
    Propaganda War
    This lecture examines the increasing sophistication of official propaganda. You also study the phenomenon of spontaneous propaganda produced by citizens, which could take the form of rumors, myths, and stereotypes of the enemy. x
  • 21
    Endurance and Stress on the Home Front
    The home fronts in all the warring countries met privation, shortages, and surveillance with both endurance and signs of growing stress. The British blockade led to severe hunger in Germany, and the employment of women in war industries disrupted social traditions. x
  • 22
    Dissent and Its Limits
    A range of voices spoke out against the conflict as it deepened, including workers, pacifists, and even a decorated British officer, Siegfried Sassoon. At the same time, radical socialists saw in the war an opening for world revolution. x
  • 23
    Remobilization in 1916–1917
    Increasing war-weariness led all the combatant powers to attempt to reinvigorate the war effort. In France and Britain new civilian governments took the lead in this effort, while in Germany the de facto military dictatorship inaugurated a new propaganda campaign. x
  • 24
    Armenian Massacres—Tipping into Genocide
    World War I saw the launching of what is considered the first full-scale modern genocide: the 1915 Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey, in which between 500,000 and one million men, women, and children of the Armenian minority were killed or died from abuse. x
  • 25
    Strains of War—Socialists and Nationalists
    This lecture explores the growing divisions in wartime societies, which produced revolts such as the 1915 Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland, the French army's mutinies in 1917, and the growing alienation of subject nationalities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. x
  • 26
    Russian Revolutions
    The Russian Empire was the first to break under the pressure of war. In March 1917, the tsarist regime abruptly collapsed. Months later the liberal-led provisional government itself collapsed when Lenin's Bolsheviks seized power and inaugurated a new Communist state. x
  • 27
    America’s Entry into the War
    In this lecture you follow the path that led the United States to join the Allied cause against Germany in April 1917. America's entry gave the war a larger ideological character, articulated by President Woodrow Wilson in his Fourteen Points. x
  • 28
    America at War—Over There and Over Here
    World War I had a profound impact on American society. You explore the sophisticated propaganda campaign launched to rouse the nation to arms, the massive economic mobilization, and the encounter of American doughboys overseas with the "old continent." x
  • 29
    1918—The German Empire’s Last Gamble
    Hoping to win the war before the massed arrival of American troops, the Germans marshaled their reserves for a final offensive in March 1918. They advanced to within artillery range of Paris before being stopped by an Allied counteroffensive. x
  • 30
    The War’s End—Emotions of the Armistice
    When the guns fell silent on November 11, 1918, many Germans found it difficult to accept that they had lost the war. As a crowning horror, a worldwide pandemic swept the globe: the Spanish Influenza killed an estimated 50 million people. x
  • 31
    Toppled Thrones—The Collapse of Empires
    The defeated Central Powers saw their empires and political structures come crashing down. This lecture outlines the startling internal collapse of the Central Powers and the question of what new order would replace the extinct regimes. x
  • 32
    The Versailles Treaty and Paris Settlement
    The peace settlements ending World War I were beset with contradictions. Should the treaties reconcile enemies or punish the defeated? Were they meant to repair the prewar balance of power or abolish it? This lecture considers the resulting treaties in depth. x
  • 33
    Aftershocks—Reds, Whites, and Nationalists
    In the turmoil after the war, intense ideological conflict arose. Partisans of international Communism heralded by Soviet Russia (labeled Reds) battled counterrevolutionary forces (called Whites). New nation-states also collided repeatedly. x
  • 34
    Monuments, Memory, and Myths
    Vigorous debates surrounded the question of memorials to the fallen. This lecture analyzes such monuments as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Also investigated are myths that arose in the wake of the war, including the "Stab in the Back" legend in Germany. x
  • 35
    The Rise of the Mass Dictatorships
    World War I showed the power that could be mobilized by states organized for war. This experience provided the model for postwar totalitarian movements, including Fascism in Italy, Nazism in Germany, and Communism in the Soviet Union. x
  • 36
    Legacies of the Great War
    This concluding lecture confronts the largest and most difficult question: What were the true meaning, legacy, and significance of World War I? You examine the economic, social, and political impact, as well as the individual human consequences of this disaster. x

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Your professor

Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius

About Your Professor

Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee
Dr. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius is Lindsay Young Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He earned his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Liulevicius served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford...
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World War I: The "Great War" is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 168.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Social History Sterling, Military History Lacking I was left with mixed feelings on this course. The professor is at his best when describing how the war affected societies back home (economic and social effects) as well as events post fighting (diplomacy, treaties, and the aftershocks of armed conflict in Europe post 1918) but his discussion on the military history of the war is lacking (tactics on the battlefield, details on specific battles, overall military strategy, etc.). A 36 lecture course should have more than enough time to cover this aspect of the war but instead there seemed to be countless lectures on propaganda at home and economic-political-social effects. Certainly interesting topics to survey but by my unofficial count only 5 lectures of the course provided narrative of the actual battles themselves. And even those left much to be desired. The Battle of the Marne had little time devoted to it. The actual battle itself was barely discussed in any kind of detail and only about 2 minutes were spent on how we got to the point of battle and its ramifications. I expected much more for what is considered one of the most crucial battles of the war since it stopped the German advance and resulted in the deadlock/dragged out war that followed. I also expected more from just about every other battle (the few exceptions included the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme which had adequate coverage). They were mentioned but just as a line or two when I was hoping for more detail on battle aims and of how the battle itself played out. At the end of the professor’s examination of Germany's last hurrah I was still left wondering what exactly led to Germany’s surrender: he mentioned how their final offensive petered out, their morale was crushed, and the Germans had lost the industrial/material side of the war but the Allied counter-offensive got only a few lines spoken (the battle of Amiens or any kind of tipping point was barely mentioned). Another shortcoming was the lack of background information on the additional nations joining the Allied side (Portugal, China, Greece, Japan, etc.). In some cases their entry was barely mentioned without much information on rationale or their role in the effort. I understand they were minor combatants but for a course 36 lectures long I was hoping, for completeness sake, we’d have some of the stories of these other countries. One of the lectures on propaganda couldn't have been replaced with one lecture focusing on minor combatants? One last point of contention (albeit minor): Some of Professor Liulevicius' lines were repeated over and over again in multiple lectures (for example we were told at least three different times that Germany felt “shackled to a corpse” while having to carry a weakened Austria-Hungary and we were told how Romania picked the wrong time to join the war at least 3 times). Looking at the whole package, this was still a worthwhile course. Lectures 31-33 were superb. His discussion of the diplomacy discussions leading to the Treaty of Versailles were a high point. I expected nothing less having listened to his excellent course "War, Peace, and Power: Diplomatic History of Europe, 1500-2000". He also had me mesmerized while he recounted a history of armed conflict after the end of the war in central and eastern Europe. This is where I learned the most and really got a sense of how much the war and its aftermath reconfigured the map of Europe. Riveting stuff and missing from a lot of World War I discussions. Loved that he included this in the course and had a whole lecture on it. If your interests lie less with military history and movements on the battlefields and more with understanding the total effect of the war on society and the time period itself then this is your kind of course. I would still recommend this course regardless but warning to those expecting more actual war history: this course would be more aptly titled: "A social History of World War I".
Date published: 2019-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learned so much !!! I started "World War I: The Great War" expecting a more or less military history, with accounts of the great battles, seasoned with brief interludes concerning the diplomatic, political, social, and economic background against which the was was fought. Such a course would have been of great interest to me. Fortunately, what I got was pretty much the reverse. While the great battles were treated in the broadest terms, events behind the lines were described in an extended and fascinating way. The account given of the formation of competing alliances, fear of German economic success, tyranny of war plans and inflexible railroad schedules, the diplomatic blank check so caressly given by Germany to Austria-Hungary, etc., showed how the assassination of one man and his wife lead to the continent wide catastrophe of the first World War. Similarly the accounts of trench life and warfare from the point of view of individual soldiers were extremely vivid and moving, and made me wonder why there weren't more mutinies among the troops. The events leading to the end of the war were clearly laid out. Even more fascinating were the descriptions of the reactions of the warring peoples and their leaders to the war's end. The rise of the "stab in the back theory" while German troups still stood outside German Borders, the chaos arising in the defeated countries, and the coming of tyrannical dictatorships in the losing countries confirmed for many the probability of the eventual coming of a second war. Professor Liulevicius has done an excellent job of laying out the structure of the course and then presenting in a clear and logical manner. I enjoyed listening to him. If i were a student at the University of Tennessee, and especially if I were a history major, I would eagerly seek to take every course taught by this professor. He is outstanding.
Date published: 2019-08-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A little slow, but good I just had a hard time getting into this course. I learned plenty, and overall I suppose I'm glad I bought it, but unlike other courses I've purchased I haven't yet felt like going through it again. It never really felt like it got started, and I feel like there was enough subject-hopping that made it difficult at times to keep the order of events straight. I toyed with the idea of returning it, but I'd feel bad doing that after listening to the entire course.
Date published: 2019-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding! A very absorbing class, because the professor comes at the issues from so many angles. I will look for more of his courses.
Date published: 2019-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Valuable course This is a great course on a very important war that I knew (and suspect others as well) too little about. The course is very comprehensive and ties the war to its impact on world history.
Date published: 2019-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A superb course, well presented I bought this course because I felt woefully uneducated about WWI. I was very impressed with the content of the lectures, and the presentation by the professor. The material was well organized and balanced in its perspective. You could tell that the Professor Liuievicius was very knowledgeable and enjoyed teaching the subject matter. There were very interesting historical asides that he included - one about Bayer Aspirin and another about BMW's logo - that I found enjoyable. I liked this course so much that I ordered another one by the same teacher.
Date published: 2019-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprisingly engaging The firs two episodes ere a trifle dry. But the story picks up with the discussion of the countdown to war and the analysis of the conduct of the war itself. There is a nice balance between the "big picture" and details. I learned a great deal, even though I already have read much about the war.
Date published: 2019-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well conceived, absorbing, and relevant A terrific course, far more absorbing and relevant than I had anticipated. Dr. Liulevicius is one of the Teaching Company’s superstars, and for good reason: he’s articulate, interesting to listen to and watch, authoritative, and clearly motivated by his material. The course is well organized and takes one through an exceedingly complex story in a remarkably coherent, clear way. I learned a lot and enjoyed the course a great deal; it spurred me to move on to the one on World War II by Thomas Childers, which I hadn’t originally planned to buy.
Date published: 2019-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thorough and in Depth I was impressed with the sweep and scope of the lectures, bringing in material that I had never thought of before. The history was contextual and dealt with social, economic, and psychological aspects of The Great War. For the first time I feel like I understand the real cataclysm and tragedy of World War I.
Date published: 2019-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great War, Great Overview Excellent overview of the totality of the Great War. It really emphasizes how and why it was much more than trench warfare along the French/Belgium/German borderlands. If you're looking for detail on specific battles, this is not for you. This is a high level overview of the cultural, economic, and strategic aspects of how the war started, progressed, and ended.
Date published: 2018-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great presentation on this event in history Great presentation of this topic by the professor. He presents the subject in an easy to listen to style and pleasant manner. I enjoy the way in which he explains the sometimes complex history behind some of the events. I would buy another of his courses.
Date published: 2018-08-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from VERY INFORMATIVE I'm just half way into this 36 lecture series. The lecturer has a great command of the English language, so it's easy to understand everything he's saying. At this point of my listening (in the car on my way to the golf course), I enjoyed learning about how WWI got started and the horrors of trench warfare. However, I think the lectures should be shorten to 24. I thought their was way too much detail about some of the battles fought. Having said that, check with me in a few weeks after I finish all 36.
Date published: 2018-08-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Great War Engaging lectures that bring up many themes I have not heard before
Date published: 2018-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Learning Experience Outstanding instructor. World class content. The very best way to learn! Highly recommend. Customer for life...
Date published: 2018-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well worth watching This is a very comprehensive review of WWI covering military, social, economic, and political aspects of the conflict. Highly recommended with one picky negative comment. As with many academics, the presenter can become verbose and pedantic. His descriptions of common sense observations are often garnished with unnecessary descriptors that detract from his message.
Date published: 2018-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Necessary for understanding the 20th Century It's amazing how many of the big names of WWII and the Cold War participated in this war.
Date published: 2018-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very broad coverage of WWI I was very impressed with the many lectures covering all the events that led up to the War to End All Wars which did not work out that way quite to the contrary. I especially liked the technology aspects of weapons, the first aircraft in warfare, battleships, all a prelude to WWII including future leaders.
Date published: 2018-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting! Covers a lot I didn’t know. Keeps it interesting at a fast pace.
Date published: 2018-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another great course from Prof. Liulevicius I learned a lot about WWI in this course, and greatly enjoyed it, just as idid with Prof. Liulevicius's course on spies. Having now taken two of his courses, I would heartily recommend any course he may offer. Prof. Liulevicius used a similar approach in his lectures in this course similar to the one he used in the spies course. He begins with an introductory anecdote or a joke from the period or some other incident from the period to set the stage for the lecture. He comes back to that during the course of the lecture, often at the end as a way of summarizing the lecture. In this course, he went beyond the simple facts of battle and into details about the causes of the war, its results, the impact on the home front, the political situations of the various combatant countries, propaganda efforts, spies, and many other topics that provided a broad understanding of WWI. As just noted, he went into the results of WWI, including how we continue to be affected by it today, especially in the Middle East. His knowledge of and interest in the topic is readily apparent. His lectures are clear and easy to follow. My two criteria for a course are 1) did I learn a lot, and 2) did it pique my interest in learning more. I did learn at lot, and it piqued my curiosity about Eastern Europe and the Ottoman Empire. I went on to listen to his course on Eastern Europe and am now listening to the course on the Ottoman Empire. So, I give the course A's on both criteria. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in European history in the 20th century and how it continues to affect us today.
Date published: 2018-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great information I have always loved World War II and have never given enough thought to WWI. I am so grateful for this course as it addresses the many facets of the Great War, both in the trenches and in the homefront, addressing both the subject of artillery and propaganda. I am reading All Quiet on the Western Front because the discussion regarding that work was so compelling. Great lecture!
Date published: 2018-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good overview history Excellent course. Provides good overview of why and how the war started. All you need to know about the subject within 12 hours.
Date published: 2018-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good overview Good overview of the first world war. Professor is easy to listen to (I bought the audio version).
Date published: 2018-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Audio Book. Covers WW 1 from many fronts and perspectives of participants. Great speaker with wonderful detail.
Date published: 2017-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional History Course! This course is not just a review of the battles, tactics, and strategies of The Great War. It also provides detailed explanations and analyses of the involved nations' politics, economics, the "home front," trade, and much more. It's a long course, but very rewarding.
Date published: 2017-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Professor WWI was one of the more confusing periods of history for me, having been overshadowed by WWII. Professor Liulevicius clarified the times and the events leading up to the war.
Date published: 2017-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from M. Poppins said SUPERCALIULEVICIOUS I have watched a number of documentaries about WW-I, some of which were really high quality, not least those produced on the occasion of the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War in 2014 as well as those which had circulated fifty years earlier in 1964. Many people are probably like me so the first world war should be well-trodden ground. And yet, Professor Liulevicius has come up with this “holistic” course covering everything pertaining to the Great War from every angle and at a great depth.There’s much more here, conveyed in a much more organized and explicit (therefore understandable) fashion than in all documentaries taken together. For example, before watching Liulevicius I had never realized that the celebrated Armistice was originally pronounced as a temporary measure (as indeed the word armistice suggests), intended to last just for one month or so. If, from the comfort of your armchair, you are after a description of the horrors of the War, I can assure you that Liulevicius provides more gory details than any documentary. In addition, there is a lot of insight and analysis in this Great Course, which generally lack from the documentaries. As I listened to the Professor sketching in broad strokes the elements of continuity between the First and the Second World War I shivered far more than what can be produced by any documentary as I was made to wonder whether we are doomed never to escape the hellish Sisyphean pattern. Even the pics which Liulevicius includes in his Great Course have managed to attract my attention (the vast majority of which I had not seen ever before) despite the fact that I have watched so many hours of footage filmed in 1914-1918. Liulevicius seems to be a formidable young academic lecturing very comprehensibly at an easy pace but at a very high level whereby every single one of his phrases is pregnant with meaning and info.
Date published: 2017-09-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Conveys the Horror I bought this one as a gift, but the recipient, a history teacher - retired- liked it very much. He said that it added significantly to his knowledge of the period.
Date published: 2017-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Comprehensive and clear An excellent overview of the causes, course, and consequences of the "Great War."
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Vastly improved my understanding of WW1. I just finished this course. WW1 was a topic just barely glossed over when I was in high school, they mostly just said it happened (this was in the early 1970's). I'm a big fan of war movies, but even there you could probably barely extent the fingers on both hand when looking for WW1 movies. So I was largely in the dark in WW1 knowledge before I watched this course. The professor's presentation style was good. Sure, he's not bubbling over with enthusiasm like Professor Harl, but I still enjoyed his approach to teaching this course. I found the photos, maps, and other visual aides included in the video version to be very useful to my understanding and appreciation, so I would recommend that anyone considering this course chooses the video version. And I learned sooo much! Know I can actually have an intelligent and informed conversation about WW1, if only I could find anyone who cared enough about it to join in a conversation. Oh well, at least I feel personally enriched by the experience of taking this course.
Date published: 2017-08-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Overview of WWI The "Great War" videos are a good overview of the war, concentrating on many issues that are often ignored by other accounts of the war. Instead of focusing on the battles and strategies, other important issues, such as ideology, propaganda, genocide, home-front/battle front experiences, and technology, for example, are examined at length. I find this very interesting; if one does want a history of the military campaigns I suggest looking elsewhere...there are plenty of books covering that part of the war. (Note, the lecturer does not ignore this area, just doesn't dwell on it throughout.) I did find a couple of small issues. First, apparently because of copy-right problems, this course cannot be streamed. Well, I bought the DVD version so that is not much of an issue. Second, the lecturer's delivery was not the smoothest --- not bad, mind --- but he does repeat and seems to struggle a bit to say what he means. Nevertheless, this is a minor issue and I found his perspective illuminating, which is the more important issue to my mind. On the whole, a pretty good course.
Date published: 2017-06-28
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