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World War 1: A History in 100 Stories

Monash University via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.


25 April 2015 marked the Centenary of the Gallipoli Landings.

The Gallipoli Campaign was Australia and New Zealand’s first major military engagement of World War 1. The Anzacs went on to fight in Palestine, Egypt and the Western Front and suffered one of the highest casualty rates of any allied army.

Often confronting, always challenging, this course involves a critical examination of a conflict that changed the world.

This free online course is part of the 100 Stories Project at Monash University, commemorating the Anzac centenary and exploring the cost of war. The course will coincide with ANZAC Day on 25th April, and suggests new and more inclusive ways of remembering.

Go on a journey across the battlefields of Gallipoli and the Western Front on which the war was fought and into the homes of the ordinary people who suffered it.

The 100 stories distil the experience of the Great War. Amongst the cast of the 100 stories are not just soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses, but parents who lost their sons, wives who struggled with shell-shocked husbands, children who never knew their fathers. The themes these stories explore - grief and suffering, hope, anguish and loss - are universal. They are told in a language everyone can understand and are based on archives only just opened to historians.

Hear from leading historians in the field, and together debate the meanings of the stories.

Each week we’ll examine a different topic, including the physical and psychological wounds of war - shell shock, disability and trauma; women’s mobilisation both at home and in the field; and what we’ve called ‘the other Anzac’: indigenous soldiers too often ignored in our history. We’ll examine grief and mourning; protest and repatriation, the politics of war and its intensely personal dimensions.

Learn how to research your own stories.

We’ll introduce you to the new digital archives that are changing the way we remember the War, and explain how to use them.

By the end of this course, you’ll have a better understanding of one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th Century, and the skills to embark on independent research of your own.

This course is part of a series designed to commemorate the War.

• World War 1: Paris 1919 - A New World Order? (University of Glasgow)

• World War 1: Aviation Comes of Age (University of Birmingham)

• World War 1: Changing Faces of Heroism (University of Leeds)

• World War 1: Trauma and Memory (The Open University)

You can find out more about this course in Bruce Scates’s post for the FutureLearn blog: “The battles don’t end when the guns stop firing: three forgotten stories to mark Anzac Day.”

This course is for anyone with an interest in history. No prior knowledge beyond a general knowledge of the events of World War 1 is required or expected.

Taught by

Bruce Scates


4.2 rating, based on 13 Class Central reviews

Start your review of World War 1: A History in 100 Stories

  • The course is based on the "100 Stories" project by Monash University, which seems intended to counter the heroic ANZAC "myth" as it is known in Australia, though not necessarily in the rest of the world. As a result, stories appear to have been cho…
  • This is the first class in FutureLearn's sequence of classes marking the centenary of the outbreak of WWI that I've taken. As the title suggests, it's anecdotal in nature. I didn't fully realize at the outset that the stories all centered on Australia; I had expected something a little more geographically diverse. However, this had the beneficial effect of largely shifting the emphasis away from the Western front and more towards the fighting at Gallipoli and in the Middle East.
    Some of the stories were sad, tragic even, and some were infuriating (with substantial overlap between the two categories). They made it very clear how very unprepared combatant nations in WWI were to deal with the consequences of war.
  • Toby A. Smith
    This is an excellent introduction to World War I. The 100 stories are artfully and sensitively portrayed and the supporting materials very helpful. My one criticism is that a significant amount of time is dedicated to researching stories by exploring Australian archives, which was not relevant to a US student.
  • Anonymous
    Hard going sometimes, some stories are very horrific. Very few are positive, but it covers, soldiers, soldier settlers, nurses and women during the war. It is important to understand the effects and damage of war and the work of those trying to bring peace.
  • Absolutely full of wonderful and heartbreaking personal stories from those who served, those left at home and it gave me a better understanding of what my ancestors went through.
  • Anonymous
    Easily an eight-week MOOC crammed into five overly-long modules. "Four-hour a week" time commitment is nonsense (and I've NO idea how earlier reviewers claimed they finished weekly modules in two!) All stories are very grim. I did get the feeling this was intended to be a thinly-veiled anti-war polemic. Additionally, FutureLearn now mandates one fork over money for a Certificate of Completion to complete any of their offerings. Without doing so, one has to settle for 93 to 98% completion.
  • Profile image for Gstannard
    I thought this course was excellent. It's a great shame it has now been retired. It was very moving, fascinating and quite profound in places. The black and white videos of the silent stories were very absorbing and all of the course was pitched with the right balance. Bruce and Laura and Rebecca drew you in and the interviews with the various experts were all extremely interesting each giving a different perspective. I would recommend this course to anyone if only it was still running.
  • Anonymous
    It was my first Mooc Course and it was better than expected. The course is very well done, with a wide range of topics as well as with experts that display their knowledge in a clearly and constructive way. I'm almost finishing it and I already feel sadness because it ends.

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