World War I (1914–1919)
Study Questions & Essay Topics
Always use specific historical examples to support your arguments.
1. World War I has often been described as an “unnecessary war.” Why? Do you agree?
2. What, if any, are the connections between the causes of the war in 1914 and the reasons that the war was still going on in 1918?
3. Consider the role of diplomacy in World War I. How was it a positive influence? How was it a negative one?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. What is trench warfare, and why was so much of World War I dominated by this method of fighting? Consider such elements as technology, strategy, attitudes of leaders, and any other factors you can think of. How did trench warfare affect the duration of the war?
2. After the war, Germany was punished much more severely than were the remnants of Austria-Hungary. Do you think this was reasonable? In your answer, consider the roles each country shared in starting and escalating the war. Also consider the roles of Serbia and Russia.
3. How did the use of new technologies during World War I influence the war? Which sides benefited the most from which technologies? Did any of them play a role in either lengthening or in shortening the war? Which technologies were the most important?
4. Discuss the U.S. policy on American troops serving in Europe during World War I. Why do you think American commanders were hesitant to allow U.S. soldiers to serve in British and French regiments? What effect did this policy have on America’s relations with the other Allied countries?
5. What was the Schlieffen Plan and why was it unsuccessful during World War I?