FC.127A World War I slide show: The Western Front to 1916

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This is the first part of a timed PowerPoint on World War I, covering the first years of war on the Western Front (1914-16). The flowchart analyzes the historical factors that trapped the generals into the tragic cycle of the war's offensive.



Then, taking the battle of the Somme as an example, it analyzes the dynamics of the typical World War I offensive and why it failed miserably. Along with many photos, the Powerpoint also contains art done by soldiers in the trenches to get across the psychological impact of trench warfare.

As with a lot of the more tragic/epic events in history, such as wars, I like to present this as a timed slide show that tells the story through pictures and text. Making this especially effective is accompanying it with somewhat somber music to set the proper mood. The excellent documentaries that Ken Burns has done for PBS are the primary inspiration for this. The major difference is I have had to condense these lessons so teachers can present them in one class period.

When I first tried this approach, I was surprised at how much my students liked it. Therefore, I've applied it to my lessons on the Byzantine Empire, the Crusades, the disastrous colonization of Africa, and virtually all my lessons on art and major wars. It can be run as a timed presentation on its own, presented slide by slide for discussion, or integrated into your other lectures. For a suggested song list, feel free to email me at cbutler@flowofhistory.com

In the PowerPoint, the color flowchart develops slide by slide. However, as a timed presentation the emphasis in this presentation is extensive photos with captions mixed in to illustrate the lesson and capture students’ interest. This packet also contains a student reading, flowchart, and the author’s own research notes with lots of details and interesting trivia.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

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Teaching Duration
30 Minutes

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FC.127A World War I slide show: The Western Front to 1916