Skip to content

“Fighting Side by Side”: Competing Global Visions and the Great War, 1914-1918

A discussion of how we can teach a more global First World War and integrate critiques of the war.

Bram Hubbell
Bram Hubbell
12 min read
“Fighting Side by Side”: Competing Global Visions and the Great War, 1914-1918

In Monday’s post, I introduced the theme of competing global visions as a way to frame the twentieth century. By adopting a deliberately broad theme, we can escape some traditional Eurocentric approaches to teaching the history of the twentieth century. A classic example of a Eurocentric approach is focusing on the Western Front and trench warfare when teaching about the Great War. When I began teaching world history, I remember getting caught up in teaching students the intricacies of trench warfare. I have even seen teachers who celebrate turning trench warfare into a game to be simulated in the classroom.

Instead of treating the First World War as a primarily Western European war, we can reframe the Great War as a truly world war. We can help students see how the war was fought not just by European nations but by competing empires. This framing of the war allows us to integrate the experiences of Africans and Asians into our narrative of the war. We also can resist the tendency to treat wars as having been accepted by people living at the time by highlighting how women questioned and challenged the Great War.

Globalizing the Great War

From Streets-Salters and Getz’s Empires and Colonies in the Modern World: A Global Perspective
From Streets-Salters and Getz’s Empires and Colonies in the Modern World: A Global Perspective

Related Posts

Members Public

“Escape the Prison of Our Narrative”: Teaching Israeli and Palestinian Nonviolence

Discussion of Palestinians and Israelis who have supported nonviolence in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries

“Escape the Prison of Our Narrative”: Teaching Israeli and Palestinian Nonviolence
Members Public

“Singing Two Different Lullabies at the Same Time”: Using Political Cartoons to Teach British Palestine, 1936-1948

Discussion of Palestinian and Jewish political cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s

“Singing Two Different Lullabies at the Same Time”: Using Political Cartoons to Teach British Palestine, 1936-1948
Members Public

“A Kind of Mutual Understanding Prevailed”: Competing Visions of Mandatory Palestine’s Future, 1920-1936

Discussion of teaching Israeli and Palestinian shared history between 1920 and 1936

“A Kind of Mutual Understanding Prevailed”: Competing Visions of Mandatory Palestine’s Future, 1920-1936