World War One

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
HIST 3321
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
HIST 3321 seeks to provide students with the opportunity to explore the global experience and significance of World War One. The course examines the central causes and military events of the war from the Balkan Crises through to the post 1918 conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East and the subsequent uneasy peace. Major themes include diplomatic, military and political events in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and Asia; the social and cultural contexts of war; the varied experiences of military participants in the theatres of war; home fronts and the lives of civilians affected by war in North America; the human cost of warfare; nationalism, the breakup of empires, and the war’s role in furthering radical ideologies; important controversies and debates in the war’s scholarly literature, the legacies of the war; and how the war is remembered and commemorated.
Course Content

A sample course outline may include the following topics.

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.

  1. The World on the Eve of War
  2. The Powder Keg: The Crisis of 1914 and the Outbreak of War
  3. War in the Trenches: The Western Front, 1914-1916
  4. War on the Steppe: The Eastern Front, 1914-1917
  5. War in the Balkans, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, 1914-1917
  6. Home Fires: War Economies, Mobilized Populations, and Life during War
  7. The Cost of the War: Casualties, Protest, Desertion, and Instability
  8. The Russian Revolution
  9. Endgames: From Brest-Litovsk to November 11, and the End of the War in Asia
  10. Endgames and Fascist Beginnings: The Italian Front, Fiume, and the Rise of Mussolini
  11. Endgames and New Wars I: The Balkans and the Middle East
  12. Endgames and New Wars II: New Nations and New struggles in Germany, Russia and Eastern Europe
  13. Counting the Cost, Evaluating the Peace, and the Shadow of Conflict
  14. The War Remembered, Commemorated, and Interpreted


Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.
Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.
The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme is as follows:

Participation 15%
Seminar presentations 10%
Primary document analyses 15%
Historiographic essay 10%
Research prospectus and annotated bibliography 10%
Research essay 25%
Final Summative Assignment 15%

Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

  1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history). 
  2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history). 
  3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).
  4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history).


Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Course Readers may be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically.
An instructor’s custom Course Reader may be required. Additional online resources may also be assigned, and links to specific resources may be provided in the course outline.

Grayzel, Susan, ed. The First World War: A Brief History with Documents. New York: Bedford/St Martin’s, 2012.

McKay, Ian, and Jamie Swift. The Vimy Trap, Or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2016.

Storey, William Kelleher. The First World War: A Concise Global History. Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010.

Tardi, Jaques. Goddam This War. Seattle: Fanagraphics, 2017.



One 2000-level History course, or permission of the instructor


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HIST 3321
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR HIST 3XX (3)
Columbia College (COLU) COLU HIST 2nd (3)
Emily Carr University of Art & Design (EC) EC CRCP 300 lev (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU HIST 3XXX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG HIST 3XXX (3)
LaSalle College Vancouver (LCV) LCV ART 2XX (3)
Northern Lights College (NLC) NLC HIST 2XX (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC HIST 2XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU HIST 3XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HIST 3XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HIST 423 (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW HIST 3XX (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HIST 331 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV HIST 418 (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023