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Special Issue: The First World War


Exclusive to the new History Today App, our First World War special issue is out now. Download the app and purchase it for just £1.49 / $1.99 (or equivalent local currency), or get it as part of a subscription for £2.99 / $3.99 per month.

First published in 2014 and now updated for our new app, the issue brings together 20 articles on the First World War from the unrivalled, six-decade archive of History Today. 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 David Motadel.

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 via the new History Today  App. Get it now for iPad / iPhone, Kindle Fire or Android.




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 Shadows Lengthen (first published August 2014)
Why did the diplomatic deceits and deceptions that took place in Europe in the summer of 1914 lead to the First World War?

Sarajevo's Elusive Assassin (first published  July 2014)
Numerous untruths have persisted about Gavrilo Princip, the man who killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

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.

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

Ireland: Easter Rising or Great War? (first published April 2015)
The events that led to the creation of the Irish Free State and reshaped the United Kingdom were part of two linked histories.

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 muddy grave of the German army.

Women Engineers in the First World War (first published October 2014)
Henrietta Heald explains how women responded to the challenges of wartime work.

The Fog of War (first published January 2014)
Richard Bosworth looks at how Venice dealt with the years of peril.

Jihad 1914
In the early years of the war a plan was hatched in Berlin to spread revolt among the Muslim populations of the Entente empires.

The Battle of Neuve Chapelle
The contribution of Indian troops on the Western Front has been all but forgotten by historians.

Why Crucify 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.

Letters from the Trenches (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.

A 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.

War Among The Ruins
James G. Clark investigates the desturction of western Europe's medieval heritage during the First World War.

Victory on Lake Nyasa
The opening naval battle of the war took place not in the North Sea but in Central Africa.

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.

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