wwi over there
Click image to enlarge.

Critical thinking questions

  1. What do you think it would have been like to be a soldier in the trenches? What would the experience have been like for those not on the front line, like nurses?
  2. In what ways was World War I fought differently than wars of the 19th century? How did advances in technology change how war was fought?
  3. How is warfare approached today? What current examples of advanced military technology, weapons, or strategy can you identify?

Take a closer look

WWI battlefield painting

Pay close attention to the details included in this painting of soldiers advancing into the barbed wired entangled battlefield also known as “no man’s land.”

Compare this image to the poem below it. What can these two sources tell you about what it was like to be a soldier in World War I? What other evidence from the poster supports your answer?

WWI uniform with gas mask

Both sides used new weapons that could inflict mass casualties from a distance. What war technologies are shown on the poster?

Look closely at this uniform. What parts of the soldier are covered? What might it be designed to defend against?

sculptures used to make prosthetic masks

These plaster faces show the process of making prosthetic masks for soldiers disfigured by war. The top row has casts of the soldiers’ injured faces. In the middle are sculptures of what their faces might have looked like before their disfigurement. On the bottom are masks for the soldiers to wear based on the sculptures.

In 1921 President Harding said war had become “cruel, deliberate, [and] scientific.” Do you agree?

Read more

Explore online

Trenches of WWI: An Immersive Tour (The National WWI Museum and Memorial) – An immersive, narrated tour of The National WWI Museum’s trench exhibit.

Over the Top Interactive Adventure (Canadian War Museum) – An interactive adventure that allows you to experience life in the trenches during World War I from the perspective of Canadian soldiers.

Modern Medicine and the Great War (National Museum of American History) – A short, complementary exhibit from the Smithsonian, gives an overview of wartime medicine.

Medicine in World War I (The United States World War I Centennial Commission) – An extensive exhibit covering World War I era medical care.

The WWI Era (U.S. Army Center of Military History) – A graphics-heavy history of the U.S. Army’s involvement in World War I.

World War I: A War to End All Wars… (Naval History and Heritage Command) – A history of the U.S. Navy’s involvement in World War I.