One of the most difficult jobs I have as a history professor is reminding students that the First World War was a world war. I know. It seems obvious from the title. Nevertheless, here we are. The hardest students to convince of this fact are literature majors. You see, they’ve read Brittain, Graves, Hemingway, Owen, Remarque, Sassoon, and the Regeneration Trilogy. They “know” the war. Please, whatever you do, don’t try to tell them that most contemporaries viewed the war as a heroic struggle. World War One was a war about lost innocence and “lions led by donkeys.” And most of all, it was a war about the trenches of the Western Front.
I look forward to correcting student perceptions of this war, but I am also always on the lookout for anything that I can use to make that job easier: a book, a film, or a YouTube video. I never look to video games for help with this problem, but that may change with the recent announcement of Battlefield 1.
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