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Week 5: Total War, 1914-1918

“Help us to Triumph: Buy War Bonds!”, Fritz Erler (1916)

Seminar Questions:

  • Why did Germany go to war in 1914?
  • How did 'ordinary Germans' experience of ‘Total War’? What were the main political, economic and social consequences?
  • How transformative was the First World War?
  • Why did Germany lose?

Reading List:

Required Reading:

Primary Sources:

Further Reading:

Origins and Outbreak:


  • Volker Berghahn, Modern Germany, pp. 44-57.

  • Roger Chickering, Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918 (Cambridge UP, 1998).

  • Holger Herwig, The First World War : Germany and Austria-Hungary, 1914-1918 (2nd Edition) (Bloomsbury, 2015)
  • Georg Alexander von Muller, The Kaiser and his court : the diaries, note books, and letters of Admiral Georg Alexander von Müller, chief of the naval cabinet, 1914-1918 (MacDonald, 1961)
  • Matthew Stibbe, Germany 1914–1933: Politics, Society and Culture (Longman, 2010), chapters 1 and 2
  • Alexander Watson, Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918 (Allen Lane, 2014)

Military Histories and The Experience of War:

The Home Front: