The British Library has launched a new website on the history and culture of World War I and its legacy. The website is rich in visual sources, drawing on the extensive collections of the Library. The site explores eight key themes (such as Life as a soldier, Civilians, Race, empire and colonial troops, Representation and memory) through nearly 500 historical sources and over 50 articles on the history of WWI.
In terms of understanding the international context in the turbulent years of the war and its aftermath, the website addresses a number of important turning points and examines key actors that remain central to internationalism throughout the 20th century. While some articles, like Julie Anderson’s Wounding in World War One have a particular national focus, many pieces aim to provide an international overview. Peter Gatrell’s article titled Europe on the move: refugees and World War One analyses the refugee crisis on the continent triggered by enemy occupation and forceful deportation. Articles on women’s roles, the psychological effects of war on soldiers and children’s experiences give us a glimpse at the issues at stake for social groups who become increasingly visible in both receiving and organizing international interventions. Prisoners of war are the focus of several articles, including Heather Jones’s piece on the treatment of prisoners and Jenny Tobias’s Evolution and expansion: the International Committee of the Red Cross in World War One, discussing the establishment of the International Prisoners of War Agency.
Articles and sources can be found through the key themes, through browsing and through the search tool of the website. The project also includes an extensive section on teaching resources with downloadable packs for class discussion, including reading suggestions, key questions and suggested activities.