You updated your password.

Reset Password

Enter the email address you used to create your account. We will email you instructions on how to reset your password.

Forgot Your Email Address? Contact Us

Reset Your Password


World War I: The "Great War"

Discover how World War I all too quickly expanded far beyond the expectations of those involved to become the first "total war."
World War I: The "Great War" is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 197.
  • y_2023, m_9, d_28, h_4
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.35
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_17, tr_180
  • loc_en_CA, sid_8210, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.1
  • CLOUD, getAggregateRating, 10.27ms
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this course. I don't know much about history. I found the course very informative and the lecturer entertaining. I read a very critical review saying that there was not enough information about the war itselt and too much information about the social, political, and enconomic effects of the war, but that is what I personally prefer.
Date published: 2023-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thorough but very engaging course I thought I knew a reasonable amount about WWI, even though my school days are decades in the past, but I learned so much from this course. It was not only the details of events, but the connective tissue that linked the events of this complex political era. I loved the explanations of how this quick war turned into a stalemate; how technology and weapons changed; details of the different perspectives (and misunderstandings) of the various players, both military and political; about how many different agendas there were even among allies. Professor Liulevicius communicates his interest and passion for this topic and that holds attention.
Date published: 2023-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating and thorough! Professor Liulevicius is highly engaging in presenting this fascinating subject. The course is thorough, both in scope and theme. I hope to visit various battlefields of World War I this spring and took this course in preparation. It has more than fulfilled my expectations. Highly recommend this World War I course, and I have already purchased another course by this excellent professor.
Date published: 2023-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent review of the many issues of the war At first I was a little put off by the professor, but with time I learned to love him. He was well spoken and delivered the appropriate level of detail. I really enjoyed the fact that attention was given to all aspects of the war - e.g., causes, legacy, cultural impact, etc. - and provided the war from several points of view. I highly recommend.
Date published: 2022-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well presented and thourgh I have always had an interest in the First World War due to the fact that it has played a most important part in defining the history of the twentieth century. This course has met my expectations. It covers most aspects of the war including affects on soldiers, the home front, and its influence on World War Two.
Date published: 2022-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epic Took the coarse on Audible so I could listen while walking my dog in the mountains of Scottsdale. Wow! What a great decision. The scope of this series is so broad and the manner in which the prof ties in the often dark nature of mankind is so wise that I cried during some of the lectures. No politics detected, unlike the Civil War class I listened to where the Prof hid the misdeeds of the Democrat Party like he was Stalin’s biographer. Thank you Gabriel - it opened my mind and heart to so much of what had previously remained a mystery about the entire 20th century.
Date published: 2022-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course! I really enjoyed the content of this history and the presenter. The deep and wide influence of WWI upon the 20th century, and still, is convincingly made. I already look forward to a second hearing. The course book is also very useful. I recommend this very highly. The studio filming is dated compared to TGC’s current standards, but such is to be expected given its creation date.
Date published: 2022-07-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from WW1 viewed through the history of WW2 First, I'd like to say that Prof. Liulivicius has a vast professional knowledge on the topic and that his style of presentation and his voice are pleasant to follow. There is a lot to be learned from this course in regards to the "facts" and the various lectures cover all the important topics. That said, unfortunately, most of the good is diminished by his unhidden bias, in my opinion. This bias can be summed up as follows: The Allies, and especially England, stand for honor, sophistication, diplomacy, and successful propaganda. On the other hand the Central Powers, and especially Germany, stand for atrocities, political blunders, brutality, disastrous propaganda and antisemitism. I was to write a more detailed critique, but then I remembered an English philosopher, who has said what I felt, so much more eloquently than I could ever wish to do: John Stewart Mill. “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion... Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them...he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
Date published: 2022-06-03
  • y_2023, m_9, d_28, h_4
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.35
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_17, tr_180
  • loc_en_CA, sid_8210, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.1
  • CLOUD, getReviews, 5.53ms


From August 1914 to November 1918, an unprecedented catastrophe gripped the world that continues to reverberate into our own time. World War I was touched off by a terrorist act in Bosnia and all too quickly expanded far beyond the expectations of those involved to become the first "total war." It was the first conflict in which entire societies mobilized to wage unrestrained war, investing all their wealth, industries, institutions, and the lives of their citizens to win victory at any price.


Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius

To study the deepest impulses in human nature, we see the lure of wealth and conquest, the deep-seated urge for fame and glory, the quest for higher ends, a basic human determination.


University of Tennessee

Dr. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius is Lindsay Young Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He earned his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Liulevicius served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. Professor Liulevicius has won many awards and honors, including the University of Tennessee's Excellence in Teaching Award and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. At the university he teaches courses on modern German history, Western civilization, European diplomatic history, Nazi Germany, World War I, war and culture, 20th-century Europe, nationalism, and utopian thought. Dr. Liulevicius has published numerous articles and two books: War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity, and German Occupation in World War I and The German Myth of the East, 1800 to the Present.

Professor Liulevicius participated in The Great Courses Professor Chat series. Read the chat to learn more about diplomacy and war

By This Professor

Turning Points in Modern History
A History of Eastern Europe
The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin
Communism in Power: From Stalin to Mao
History's Greatest Voyages of Exploration
The Secret World of Espionage
The Century's Initial Catastrophe

01: The Century's Initial Catastrophe

The opening lecture presents the main themes of the course, beginning with the concept of total war. Other themes include the role of ideology, the meanings ascribed to the war by different sides, and the war's legacy.

33 min
Europe in 1914

02: Europe in 1914

This lecture examines the state of Europe and the world before the onset of the war in 1914. The emergence of the German Empire created strains in the international balance of power, as divided among Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia.

32 min
Towards Crisis in Politics and Culture

03: Towards Crisis in Politics and Culture

Even among those who expected war, there were widespread misconceptions about the nature of the conflict to come. In this lecture you explore the prevailing ideas and attitudes in Europe and then turn to the premonitions noted by contemporaries of coming disaster.

34 min
Causes of the War and the July Crisis, 1914

04: Causes of the War and the July Crisis, 1914

This lecture analyzes the immediate events that led to war, from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary at Sarajevo in June 1914 to the diplomatic chain reactions that followed in the July Crisis.

29 min
The August Madness

05: The August Madness

Hysterical celebration known as the August Madness greeted the outbreak of war between the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) and the Allies (France, Great Britain, and Russia). You analyze new research that questions how widespread this emotional outburst really was.

30 min
The Failed Gambles - War Plans Break Down

06: The Failed Gambles - War Plans Break Down

This lecture follows the unfolding of the German Schlieffen Plan, which envisioned quick victory on two fronts, and the French Plan XVII, which aimed to recover lost French territories. Both were thwarted.

31 min
The Western Front Experience

07: The Western Front Experience

The Western Front soon froze into static trench warfare and horrific slaughter from attempts to break this deadlock. Generals on both sides sought a breakthrough that would allow sweeping offensives and glorious cavalry charges. These never came.

29 min
Life and Death in the Trenches

08: Life and Death in the Trenches

This lecture gives a detailed overview of the trench landscape from the perspective of ordinary soldiers: the elaborate fortifications, the omnipresence of death, and the codes of behavior such as the Christmas fraternizations between the trenches in 1914.

31 min
The Great Battles of Attrition

09: The Great Battles of Attrition

Once the new dynamics of industrial war had been recognized, there followed a series of months-long battles of attrition. You examine the battles of Verdun and Somme in 1916, and in 1917 the French Champagne Offensive and the Third Battle of Ypres, also called Passchendaele.

31 min
The Eastern Front Experience

10: The Eastern Front Experience

This lecture illuminates the unfamiliar clash of empires in the East, beginning with the Russian invasion of German East Prussia and the ominous disasters of the Austro-Hungarian war effort. The Germans achieved victory against the Russians at Tannenberg in 1914 and followed up with the "Great Advance" of 1915 into Russian territory.

32 min
The Southern Fronts

11: The Southern Fronts

Turkish entry into the war expanded its scope. Allied landings in Gallipoli in 1915 were repulsed by Turkish defenders. Italy entered the war on the Allied side but met disaster against Austria-Hungary at the battle of Caporetto.

31 min
War Aims and Occupations

12: War Aims and Occupations

What goals did the Allies and the Central Powers pursue from the outset of the war? How did these goals change? After examining these questions, you turn to the experience of military occupation and how it affected civilian populations.

31 min
Soldiers as Victims

13: Soldiers as Victims

Historians estimate that half of the soldiers mobilized in the war were killed or wounded, and some suggest that nearly half of surviving soldiers experienced psychological traumas. This lecture seeks to convey the immense scale of this carnage.

31 min
Storm Troopers and Future Dictators

14: Storm Troopers and Future Dictators

Attempts to break the immobility of trench warfare produced storm troopers, fearless warriors habituated to the trench landscape to a disturbing degree. Two ordinary soldiers seemed to enjoy the war too much: Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

30 min
The Total War of Technology

15: The Total War of Technology

An important element of World War I was the expanding destructive potential of technology. This lecture covers such developments as the machine gun, poison gas, and the submarine, as well as the economic weapon of ersatz materials.

31 min
Air War

16: Air War

While the war in the air was not yet decisive in World War I, it was a frightening portent of what future conflict would hold. This lecture surveys the rapid improvement in early airplanes and the growth of the myth of the fighter ace.

30 min
War at Sea

17: War at Sea

Like the land forces, the opposing navies also reached a stalemate. The Battle of Jutland in May 1916 was the only large-scale British-German naval clash, and it ended indecisively. The naval blockade imposed by the British on Germany was of far greater effect.

31 min
The Global Reach of the War

18: The Global Reach of the War

This lecture surveys fighting in the European colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The diplomatic sparring for the sympathies of neutral states is also examined, along with the economic dimension of the global war.

31 min
The War State

19: The War State

Total war put new demands on the state to mobilize populations and economies for victory. For example, Britain broke with earlier liberal traditions to give the government increased power over the economy and political speech.

31 min
Propaganda War

20: Propaganda War

This lecture examines the increasing sophistication of official propaganda. You also study the phenomenon of spontaneous propaganda produced by citizens, which could take the form of rumors, myths, and stereotypes of the enemy.

32 min
Endurance and Stress on the Home Front

21: Endurance and Stress on the Home Front

The home fronts in all the warring countries met privation, shortages, and surveillance with both endurance and signs of growing stress. The British blockade led to severe hunger in Germany, and the employment of women in war industries disrupted social traditions.

31 min
Dissent and Its Limits

22: Dissent and Its Limits

A range of voices spoke out against the conflict as it deepened, including workers, pacifists, and even a decorated British officer, Siegfried Sassoon. At the same time, radical socialists saw in the war an opening for world revolution.

31 min
Remobilization in 1916 - 1917

23: Remobilization in 1916 - 1917

Increasing war-weariness led all the combatant powers to attempt to reinvigorate the war effort. In France and Britain new civilian governments took the lead in this effort, while in Germany the de facto military dictatorship inaugurated a new propaganda campaign.

29 min
Armenian Massacres - Tipping into Genocide

24: Armenian Massacres - Tipping into Genocide

World War I saw the launching of what is considered the first full-scale modern genocide: the 1915 Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey, in which between 500,000 and one million men, women, and children of the Armenian minority were killed or died from abuse.

33 min
Strains of War - Socialists and Nationalists

25: Strains of War - Socialists and Nationalists

This lecture explores the growing divisions in wartime societies, which produced revolts such as the 1915 Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland, the French army's mutinies in 1917, and the growing alienation of subject nationalities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

31 min
Russian Revolutions

26: Russian Revolutions

The Russian Empire was the first to break under the pressure of war. In March 1917, the tsarist regime abruptly collapsed. Months later the liberal-led provisional government itself collapsed when Lenin's Bolsheviks seized power and inaugurated a new Communist state.

32 min
America’s Entry into the War

27: America’s Entry into the War

In this lecture you follow the path that led the United States to join the Allied cause against Germany in April 1917. America's entry gave the war a larger ideological character, articulated by President Woodrow Wilson in his Fourteen Points.

31 min
America at War - Over There and Over Here

28: America at War - Over There and Over Here

World War I had a profound impact on American society. You explore the sophisticated propaganda campaign launched to rouse the nation to arms, the massive economic mobilization, and the encounter of American doughboys overseas with the "old continent."

30 min
1918 - The German Empire’s Last Gamble

29: 1918 - The German Empire’s Last Gamble

Hoping to win the war before the massed arrival of American troops, the Germans marshaled their reserves for a final offensive in March 1918. They advanced to within artillery range of Paris before being stopped by an Allied counteroffensive.

30 min
The War's End - Emotions of the Armistice

30: The War's End - Emotions of the Armistice

When the guns fell silent on November 11, 1918, many Germans found it difficult to accept that they had lost the war. As a crowning horror, a worldwide pandemic swept the globe: the Spanish Influenza killed an estimated 50 million people.

31 min
Toppled Thrones - The Collapse of Empires

31: Toppled Thrones - The Collapse of Empires

The defeated Central Powers saw their empires and political structures come crashing down. This lecture outlines the startling internal collapse of the Central Powers and the question of what new order would replace the extinct regimes.

30 min
The Versailles Treaty and Paris Settlement

32: The Versailles Treaty and Paris Settlement

The peace settlements ending World War I were beset with contradictions. Should the treaties reconcile enemies or punish the defeated? Were they meant to repair the prewar balance of power or abolish it? This lecture considers the resulting treaties in depth.

32 min
Aftershocks - Reds, Whites, and Nationalists

33: Aftershocks - Reds, Whites, and Nationalists

In the turmoil after the war, intense ideological conflict arose. Partisans of international Communism heralded by Soviet Russia (labeled Reds) battled counterrevolutionary forces (called Whites). New nation-states also collided repeatedly.

32 min
Monuments, Memory, and Myths

34: Monuments, Memory, and Myths

Vigorous debates surrounded the question of memorials to the fallen. This lecture analyzes such monuments as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Also investigated are myths that arose in the wake of the war, including the "Stab in the Back" legend in Germany.

32 min
The Rise of the Mass Dictatorships

35: The Rise of the Mass Dictatorships

World War I showed the power that could be mobilized by states organized for war. This experience provided the model for postwar totalitarian movements, including Fascism in Italy, Nazism in Germany, and Communism in the Soviet Union.

31 min
Legacies of the Great War

36: Legacies of the Great War

This concluding lecture confronts the largest and most difficult question: What were the true meaning, legacy, and significance of World War I? You examine the economic, social, and political impact, as well as the individual human consequences of this disaster.

31 min