Learn more about World War One with the British Library

To complement the re-launch of the Europeana 1914-1918 website, which now gives you access to personal stories from the First World War, as well as national library and cinematic collections, the British Library has launched a site to inspire teachers, students and everyone interested in learning more about World War One.

British Library - World War One

Supported by over 500 historical sources from across Europe, this resource examines key themes in the history of World War One. Explore a wealth of original source material, over 50 newly-commissioned articles written by historians, teachers’ notes and more to discover how war affected people on different sides of the conflict.


'London Opinion 05/09/1914, front page, ', British Library, unknown copyright status

‘London Opinion 05/09/1914, front page’, British Library, unknown copyright status 


Taking a pan-European and international approach, the website includes 500 digitised collection items from the archives of 11 European libraries. Expert commentary and interviews, sharing contemporary research, and original documents and images, provide information in engaging and compelling ways. Key themes explored on the site  include: Origins and Outbreak, Recruitment of Conscripts and Volunteers, Daily Life on the Battlefield, The War Machine, Race, Empire and Colonial Troops, Gender Expectations and Roles, Propaganda on a Global Scale and Aftermath – Redrawing Europe’s Map.

'The four worst cases in the Brighton hospital. Photographer: H. D. Girdwood.', British Library, Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland

Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland

So, what do educators themselves think of the site? Here’s what Professor David Stevenson from the London School of Economics and Political Science has to say about it: ‘This brand new website will be an invaluable resource for teachers in secondary and higher education but also for anyone with an interest in the First World War during the centenary of that conflict. Using the latest interactive technology, the website is unique in its international and comparative approach, drawing on a wealth of previously inaccessible source and study material supplied by a consortium of 11 leading European libraries. The texts and pictures in the collection are supplemented by commentaries from an international panel of experts that have been specially commissioned in order to take full account of the most recent developments in historical research.’

'Austrian poster advertising the '8th war bonds', Österreichisher Nationalbibliothek, free from known copyright restrictions

‘Austrian poster advertising the ‘8th war bonds’, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, free from known copyright restrictions

The website is part of a wider pan-European commemoration of WW1, Europeana 1914-1918, (www.europeana1914-1918.eu), which received funding from the European Union’s ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme.

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