Special Issue: The First World War


Available via the History Today App, our First World War special issue is out now.

The issue brings together 18 articles on the First World War from our archives. It embraces military, diplomatic, social, cultural and economic history, and showcases some of the finest scholars over the last 60 years, from past masters like John Terraine and C.E. Hampshere to those at today's cutting edge, such as Annika Mombauer and Joanna Bourke.

The collection covers the events that led to the war, what life was like in the trenches, offers personal insights from those who fought, takes in theatres of war from Europe to East Africa and beyond and explores how the conflict was eventually brought to an uneasy peace. See the bottom of this page for a full list of contents.

The issue is available on iPad, Kindle Fire and Android tablets only, through the History Today app. Download it from either the App Store, Google Play or Kindle Fire Store. It is also available for Mac / PC via Pocketmags.



The July Crisis (first published July 2014)
Annika Mombauer guides us through the European labyrinth of diplomatic deceit and deception that reached its culmination in the outbreak of the First World War.

The Genesis of the Western Front (first published July 1960)
How did the Allied Powers become committed to fighting the First World War on the Western Front, so that Germany, until near the end, always held the initative? John Terraine investigates

German Atrocities: Facts, Fantasy or Fabrication (first published April 2002)
John Horne looks at what lay behind allegations of brutality on both sides in the opening months of the Great War.

The Texture of the Somme (first published September 1976)
Disastrous battle raged on the Somme from July until November, 1916; 
John Terraine describes how it marked the ‘ruddy grave’ of the German army.

The Learning Curve (first published November 2004)
Andrew Syk investigates whether one British army division truly comprised ‘lions led by donkeys’, or whether its officers learned the lessons of their early mistakes.

British Life and Leisure during the War (first published June 1965)
During the war years the English way of life underwent a far-reaching transformation, writes Arthur Marwick

Crucifying Tommy (first published November 2012)
Humiliating, painful and reminiscent of crucifixion, the British army’s Field Punishment No 1 fuelled public outrage, as Clive Emsley explains.

Lawrence and the Arab Revolt (first published May 1985)
Brian Holden Reid examines the legend behind 'Lawrence of Arabia'.

Masculinity, Men's Bodies and the Great War (first published February 1986)
Joanna Bourke on how new ways of looking at masculinity are
revising our view of men’s experience in the First World War.

Flora Sandes: Military Maid (first published March 1989)
'Sweet' Polly Oliver went to war to be with her lover, but there were many women for whom military life was an end in itself. Julie Wheelwright uncovers the career of one woman whose ambition was amply fulfilled.

The Campaign in German East Africa (first published April 1965)
C.E. Hamshere shows how the elusive German Commander in East Africa surrendered at Abercorn in what is now Zambia.

The Tank and Visions of Future War (first published December 1987)
The tank battle of Cambrai ushered in the transformation of the mythology, imagery and practice of conventional land warfare, writes Brian Holden Reid.

Photographs of London during the war, by Christina Broom.

Between the Lines (first published November 2009)
The messages sent by British soldiers to their loved ones have long been valued for what they tell us about daily life in the trenches. Anthony Fletcher considers what these documents reveal about the men’s inner lives.

Literature and the First World War (first published November 1993)
A.D. Harvey reflects on why the Great War captured the literary imagination.

The Economic Effects (first published December 1994)
Patrick O’Brien assesses the devastating impact of the war on an international economic order that had seemed, pre-1914, relatively sturdy.

The Man Who Predicted the Great War (first published May 2013)
Paul Reynolds admires the foresight of the little known Polish-born
banker who, in 1901, lectured the British military establishment on the
likely carnage that would be the outcome of a European war.

Armistice: November 11th 1918 (first published November 1958)
The manner in which the Great War was fought after 1916, writes
John Terraine, decided the nature of the rest of the 20th century.

A Taste of Ashes (first published November 1998)
Jay Winter describes the mixed emotions of at the moment the war ended.



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