Putting the World in WWI

History teachers can use images and stories from the presentation, and the longer “director’s cut,” to globalize their coverage of World War One. I  used the materials to create a lesson in which students develop their contextualization skills while examining some of the images.

European belligerents’ control of overseas empires had a reflexive relationship with the war: colonial hierarchies shaped peoples’ experiences and colonial subjects affected the war’s outcomes. Teachers globalizing discussion of WWI can start by illustrating the war with images  and stories of colonial participants.  From there, teachers can add non-European theaters or post-war events.

Workshop participants examine war-time images from around the world and identify WWI themes. Then, they guess the location and origins of the people. World History students can learn from these images, too.  The images are on these slides and these Google docs (for printing).

Workshop Handout

Participants from multiple continents converged on many WWI locations.: The strings of places on the handout below make the global nature of the war clear.  Answers at the bottom of this page.  Session handout quotations from The Wilsonian Moment, showing the global use of Woodrow Wilson’s rhetoric, and song lyrics to “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” (video of Liam Clancy version, an Irish man singing a song written by a Scot about Australian troops experiences fighting in European Turkey).

Links to Presentation Materials:


Smiling man wearing a trench coat
Maori soldier in a trench at Gallipoli, November 1915. Source: Imperial War Museum.

I enjoyed presenting a session on global dimensions of World War One at the 2nd annual Minnesota History Fest, August, 2017; and, I reprised it at the MCSS Conference, March, 2018.

Answers to “Where in the World War One”: 1. Gallipoli 2. Tanzania (German East Africa at the time) 3. Iraq 4. Off the coast of Argentina 5. The Western Front

5 replies on “Putting the World in WWI”

Let me know what you think! Comments are moderated to avoid spam posting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.