History project:

Question 3 – How is World War 1 relevant to our lives today?


Source A:


We have chosen this source because it shows how WWI changed women’s lives and how it impacted the way women are seen today. This newspaper article was produced on December 1st, 1919 in London and talks about Lady Nancy Astor. Lady Astor was the first women to become a member of parliament in the British House of Commons and therefore we regard this as an extremely important source. The author of this article is unknown, however, we have taken this article from: Patience Coster, Headlines of World War I, Evans Brothers Limited, 2005.

Source B:


This WWI poster was produced during the year 1917 in England. We have chosen this source because it demonstrates total war and proves just how serious the people were about helping the soldiers to win the war. It shows that all hands are on deck. The artist is unknown and the captions is “DON’T WASTE BREAD!” we have taken this source from: http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Don-t-Waste-Bread-WWI-Poster-1917-Posters_i9856943_.htm Total war was the first time that all the people worked together as one to ensure a good future for their country.

Source C:


This source is based on the song “Over There” by George M. Cohan. Mr Cohan wrote this famous song on the morning of the 6th of April, 1917. It was the morning when the US declared war on Germany. We have chosen this source because it is a very famous WWI song. Also, it was intended to inspire the nation, and was very successful in doing so. This source was uploaded to YouTube on the 22nd of November, 2009 by Stahlhelms.

The lyrics to the chorus are as follows:

“Over there, over there

Send the word, send the word over there

That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming

The drums are rum-tumming everywhere”

You can find this source at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6hRDS3LvQQ

Source D:


This picture was taken by Joey Devilla in Canada on the 11th of November 2009. We have chosen this source because it proves that the people of today still make the effort to honour the soldiers that died in WWI. It shows a poppy on a man’s suit, indicating remembrance of the war.

Source E:


This picture was taken on the 26th July, 2005. Chris Hartford uploaded this image onto: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_War_I_memorials_and_cemeteries_in_the_Somme#mediaviewer/File:Thiepval_Memorial_to_the_missing.jpg . This memorial was dedicated to the 72, 195 British and South African soldiers killed at the Somme, whose bodies were never found or identified. Therefore this memorial is for “the dead of the Battles of the Somme of World War I with no known grave”. The memorial is called ‘The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.’ We have chosen this source because it shows another way that people have acknowledged and remembered the soldiers who died. Even though the soldiers were never found, an effort was still made in order to give them a grave.

Source F:


This source is a picture of Sir Bertram MacKennal’s figure which was taken on the 4th November, 2006. This statue was dedicated to the people who died in WWI. This statue is situated in Cliveden, UK. This picture was uploaded to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Astor,_Viscountess_Astor#mediaviewer/File:Clivedenladyastor.jpg by Wyrdlight. We have chosen this source because it, yet again, shows how important the soldiers were, as their names were engraved onto stones beneath this figure.

Source G:


Source G is a painting of a fighter aeroplane. The artist of this painting is unclear and the date in unknown. However, we found this source at the website: http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/models/aircraft/Airco-DH2.html we have chosen this source because they show us some of the new technology available in WWI. This technology has shaped the future as we still use these advances today. It also proves what a vital role weapons and aircrafts played. The name of the aircraft in this painting is: De havilland Airco DH-2 WWI Scout.

Source H:


This poem is called “We Shall Keep the Faith” and was written by Moina Michael, sometime in November 1918. The poem was produced in the US. We chose this poem because it indicates that people were trying to stay positive and hope for the best. Also, this poem was used to engrave in our memory what happened during the First World War. Her reason for writing was not only because she was inspired, but she felt the need to reply to John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields”.

Source I:


This photograph was posted by Jonathan Jones on the 12th of November, 2009 on: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2009/nov/11/two-minutes-silence-modern-art  (a day after this picture was taken by Fiona Hanson). This source was providing an image to the public of Trafalgar Square in London (where this source was produced) of how the community, even though decades have passed, still pay tribute to the soldiers who died for their country. We have chosen this source because it clearly shows how the two minute silence is still a very important roles in the lives of the loved ones left behind after the First World War. People of today still remember/mourn the soldiers who fought for their country and this is just another example of how WWI is remembered today.

“There cannot be many people whose ancestors were not touched by World War One in some way.” (Taken from: www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z8tgq6f) Despite the time gap of 100 years, many people of today are still familiar with the events of WWI.

WWI has gone down in history as one of the deadliest battles, because over 7 million soldiers were killed. At one stage, the war was referred to as “The War to end All Wars” because so many casualties were inflicted and deaths were caused. This war has caused many political changes to take place, for example; revolutions, and has therefore affected our lives today. Political changes are not the only changes that have taken place. Other types of changes that have taken place due to the war are social and economic changes. The way people lived changed greatly and the differences between the various social classes began to fade away. People tried their best to forget about the war years. They just wanted to dance, listen to jazz, drive new cars and wear daring fashions. Due to these new interests, between the 1920s and 1930s, and the loss of money due to the war, a great economic depression was caused. This depression extended right around the world and caused many people to lose their money and jobs. As so much money was spent on the war, prices were dramatically increased… And hunger was once again a major challenge.

Before the war, women were not considered important and did not have much say in the world. WWI changed this dramatically. Women gained the vote in many countries and right to be elected as members of the Parliament. Men were no longer considered superior, as women became equally powerful. Source A is an example of this.

Improved technology, as well as tactics, increased the scale of conflict during WWI. These improvements also increased the number of deaths and injuries caused. However, technology improvements were not only negative, because major changes were made that brought about peacetime benefits. Two of the most recognisable examples are aircraft designs and medicine. (Source G)

Improvements in technology required all the country’s resources as well as all the country’s citizens. This was known as “total war” and meant that everyone was involved in helping the country. (Source B)

Deaths related to WWI did not end in 1918. As a result of the war, revolutions and civil wars became more popular, killing more people, in more countries. New kinds of diseases spread during the war and are still around today. E.g. Influenza. Influenza started in America but was soon introduced to Europe, Asia and Africa by soldiers. Influenza is estimated to have killed between 20 and 40 million people around the world.

Even though some countries were not involved in WWI, the whole world was, in some way or another, changed/affected. An example of a change, is the world map. New countries emerged, old boundaries were changed, and empires were formed.

There were also cultural changes due to WWI, as it inspired literature, music and film. There are many books and novels that were written, such as “Death of a Hero”, that are still popular today. Diaries, propaganda posters, and leaflets became a popular part of culture. Famous films, based on WWI, were made in the 1920s and 1930s. Perhaps the most famous film, from that time, is “All Quiet on the Western Front”. Songs, typically patriotic, were also an important aspect during the war. One of the most famous songs is called “Over There”. (Source C)

Memorials, poppies, and statues have been created in order to honour the brave people who participated in this life-changing tragedy.  There are many rows of graves which now stretch over the fields where the war had been fought. The few men that survived the war, were often left disabled, blind or confused. However, they still managed to make a living. They did this by doing simple tasks with their hands, such as making baskets. The war was very costly and continues to trouble the world to this day.

On the 11th of November, each year, remembrance services are still held. This is because the fighting ended on the 11th of November, 1918, at 11am. In Britain, the symbol of remembrance is a poppy. Poppies have been chosen to symbolize remembrance because they were once upon a time grown on the Western Front’s fields. (Source D)

Memorials, statues and sculptures are used to commemorate the events and casualties that took place during WWI. These memorials include “civic memorials, larger national monuments, war cemeteries, private memorials and a range of utilitarian designs such as halls and parks, dedicated to remembering those involved in the conflict.” (Taken from the website: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I_memorials#/search). An example of a memorial is seen in Source E and an example of a famous statue is the Sir Bertram MacKennal’s Figure, which has many stones with soldiers’ names engraved in them, beneath it. This figure can be seen in Source F.

Men who went to war were highly respected. This is shown in Source E, because even the men whose bodies weren’t found but who were proved to be soldiers that fought in the war, were assigned a grave and were given a funeral. Many soldiers were referred to as brave or war heroes. Even South African soldiers who died at the Battles of the Somme were given graves. (Some were unknown graves)

There are various days in which events will take place to commemorate WWI. Events are being planned for the 4th of August 2014 (This is the centenary of the day that WWI started), 1st of July 2016 (This is exactly 100 years after the Battle of the Somme) and 11th of November 2018 (This is the centenary of the day that WWI finished). Money is raised to conserve and keep WWI memorials, which occur in every village and town, safe. Many counties do projects to commemorate WWI as well as all the casualties that took place. Also, BBC is making documentaries and dramas based on WWI. Also, many poems, novels etc. are and have been produced to commemorate and remember WWI. This is seen in Source H as we have a famous poem based on WWI. It shows that people still commemorate the war/ soldiers even in their writing. Many projects, festivals, conferences etc. are being planned to mark the centenary of WWI.  The IWM is organizing a huge project incorporating more than 300 partner organisations. The IWM’s aim is to insure that later generations will understand the meaning and impact of WWI.

Communities around England have been planting poppies to commemorate WWI and to mark the 100th anniversary of WWI, the 2014 Real Poppy Campaign invited everyone to purchase packs of poppy seeds “and sow them wherever they can to carpet the country in a sea of red.” (Taken from: http://www.rochester.anglican.org/Documents/Comms/Ideas%20to%20commemorate%20the%20centenary%20of%20world%20war%201%20WEB.pdf ). Events are happening all around England to commemorate the year that WWI started. Churches, cathedrals etc. have been organizing services and exhibitions to honour the people who fought for their country. Many people gather at memorials and light candles to remember the brave soldiers who died for their country’s future.

Also, BBC is making documentaries and dramas based on WWI. Many projects, festivals, conferences etc. are being planned to mark the centenary of WWI

It is important for us to commemorate WWI in South Africa because some South African soldiers joined in the war and fought on the side of the allies. Many South African troops were transported far from home and some even died during this battle. Therefore, it is important for us to remember the events of WWI because many of our troops participated and even lost their lives. This can again be seen in Source E.

“At 11am on each Remembrance Sunday a two minute silence is observed at war memorials and other public spaces across the UK.” We can see an example of this tribute in Source I.

Let us pay tribute, to the brave soldiers who died fighting for their country in World War One, by experiencing a two-minute period silence.

















Philip Steele, Men, Women and Children in The First World War, Wayland, 2010

Stewart Ross, The Technology of World War I, White-Thomson Publishing Ltd, 2002

Patience Coster, Headlines Of World War I, Evans Brothers Limited, 2005

Ian Westwell, The Illustrated History Of World War One, Southwater, 2010