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Germany - The First World War, 1914-18

1. Who Wanted War, and Why?

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In this module, we think about which Germans wanted war, and why, focusing on: (i) the desire to demonstrate Germany’s military prowess and status within Europe; (ii) the wish to deflect attention away from internal divisions and towards an external, shared endeavour; (iii) the position taken by Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD); the enthusiasm shared by many average Germans, to bring about a repeat of the victorious Wars of Unification; and (iv) the extent to which the images circulating in Germany accurately represented the proportion of Germans that actually wanted to go to war.


In this course, Professor Belinda Davis (Rutgers University) looks at Germany during the First World War. In the first module, we consider why Germany went to war, and who wanted war. In the second module, we outline the basic elements of the First World War, including its unprecedented violence, the divisions it caused within German society, and the hardship that it brought upon Germany. In the third module, we turn to consider the concept of “Total War” and how it applied to Germany during the First World War, and in the fourth we look at the German Home Front. In the fifth and final module, we look at the immediate legacies of the First World War.


Professor Belinda Davis is a Professor at Rutgers University. Her research interests lie in modern Germany and Europe, especially food, popular politics, and gender history. Her recent publications include The Internal Life of Politics: Extraparliamentary Opposition in West Germany, 1962-1983 (2019), Changing the World, Changing Oneself: Political Protest and Transnational Identities in 1960s/70s, West Germany and the U.S (2010, editor), and Home Fires Burning: Food, Politics, and Everyday Life in World War I Berlin (2000).

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APA style

Davis, B. (2022, September 01). Germany - The First World War, 1914-18 - Who Wanted War, and Why? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Davis, B. "Germany - The First World War, 1914-18 – Who Wanted War, and Why?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 01 Sep 2022,

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