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A. The outbreak of the war

Roleplay "Outbreak of the war"



ROLEPLAY : “the Outbreak of WW1”

Fulfil the following table and chronology during the roleplay

  • Country
  • Austro-Hungarian Empire
  • Russian Empire
  • Ottoman Empire
  • United Kingdom
  • German Empire
  • Italy
  • France
  • Belgium

How the war started…

  • June 28, 1914
  • July 28, 1914
  • July 29, 1914
  • August 1, 1914
  • August 2, 1914
  • August 3, 1914
  • August 4, 1914
  • August 10, 1914
  • October 29, 1914
  • April 26, 1915
  • May 24, 1915

The Fronts







August 1914

In Asia, Japan-which is allied with the United Kingdom-declares war on Germany and prepares for an invasion of its colonies in China and the north Pacific Ocean

On the Eastern Front, Russia launches its offensive earlier than Germany expects but fails to gain ground in East Prussia, while further south, Austria-Hungary retreats.

Great Retreat: In the West, The Allied armies cannot hold back the German advance.


The Franco-British armies retreat to Marne where they reorganize; while the French government flees the capital to take refuge in Bordeaux.

But the first German army holding the flank pivots away from Paris to join with the second army and continue surrounding Allied forces.


First Battle of the Marne: The Parisian reserve army attacks further north, stopping in its tracks the German advance. With this breach in the ranks, Allied forces rush in and force a German retreat. This is the failure of the Schlieffen Plan

When the front stabilizes, the two camps attempt to outflank each other and embark upon a race to the sea.

October 1914

For Germany it is also a question of isolating Belgium and seizing ports where British reinforcements and supplies land.

The Belgian army barely succeeds in joining the deadlocked warfront.

Networks of trenches are dug on both sides for about 700 km between the North Sea and the Swiss border.

The Ottoman Empire: on the Eastern Front, Russia is in trouble with Austro-German troops.

The Ottoman Empire seizes the opportunity to go to war alongside the Central Powers.

November 1914

A new front opens in the Caucasus as Britain lands an Indian Army in Mesopotamia with the goal to take the control of oil resources.

December 1914-January 1915

In reaction, the Central Powers launch an offensive towards the Suez Canal to cut supply lines from India, but are stopped in their advance

February 1915

In the Caucasus, after the failure of the Ottoman Offensive, the government accuses the Armenia people of having supported Russia. In retaliation, more than half of the Armenian population would be massacred in what is today recognize as genocide by 32 countries, but not by Turkey.

March-April 1915: Gallipoli Campaign

To support geographically isolated Russia, Allies want to open a sea supply route via the Dardanelles Strait.

Franco-British ships enter the strait to bomb Ottoman forts, but find the waters full of sea mines, forcing a retreat. A month later, on April 1915, Allies organize a military landing, but Ottoman defenses hold steady, creating another deadlocked warfront.

May 1915

During its submarine war, Germany sinks the British ship Lusitania causing 1,200 civilian victims, including 128 US citizens. The USA, officially neutral until that point, registers protest. To prevent the US from going to war, Germany slows its submarine warfare.

Italy, after negotiating with the Triple Entente to annex new territories, declares war on Austria-Hungary and launches an offensive around the Isonzo river.

August-October 1915

On the Eastern Front, Russia completes its retreat and stabilizes the battle front.

Bulgaria, which wishes to recover Balkan territories joins the Central Powers. Together with Austro-German forces, they invade Serbia.

October 1915: : Macedonian front

In reaction, the Allies violate the neutrality of Greece by using Salonica to land reinforcements coming front such as Dardanelles, where Ottoman victory is complete.

November 1915

But it is too late for the overwhelmed Serbian army that flees via Albania.

Troops are landed on the island of Corfu, from where they will be gradually brought back to the Macedonian front.

February 1916: Battle of Verdun

On the western Front, Germany launches a massive offensive in Verdun. The German artillery pounds French trenches which resists as best they can.

March 1916

In the south of the continent, Portugal, allied with the UK, confiscates German ships in its ports.

In response, Germany declares war on Portugal, who then sends troops to France and to its colonies in Africa, where only German East Africa still resists the Allied offensives.

March 1916: Allied counter-Attack

April 1916

In Mesopotamia, the UK after losing its besieged army in Kut, seeks support in the region

May 1916: Sykes-Picot Agreement

The UK secretly negotiates with France the partition of Ottoman territories at the end of the war.

May 1916

The two powers then support an Arab nationalist revolt which starts in Mecca by promising them independence.

May 1916: Battle of Jutland

In the North Sea, German and British fleets face off in one of the largest naval battles in history. Despite, heavy losses on the British side, the Germans-small in number-during the night take refuge in their port.

June 1916: Brusilov Offensive

While the Battle of Verdun is still ongoing and Italy is under pressure from Austria-Hungary, Russia attempts to relieve its allies by launching a massive offensive that succeeds in piercing trough opposition defenses.

July 1916; Battle of the Somme

In the West, another great offensive is launched along the Somme with Britain spearheading the attack. They would use tanks for the first time, but to no avail.

July 1916

War fatigue

September-December 1916

While Romania joins the Entente, the Brusilov offensive in the East, and the battles of the Somme and Verdun all end after having caused tremendous human casualties on both sides. Troops are exhausted and demoralized.

December 1916-January 1917: Turnip Winter

In Germany, the war effort and the Allied trade embargo prevent the country from getting enough food causing widespread famine.

Western powers, on the other hand, can count on a supply of resources via the Atlantic, mainly from the United States, towards whom they are in debt.

In response, Germany relaunches unrestricted submarine warfare, with the objective of sinking all commercial and military ships.

January 1917: Zimmermann Telegram

In addition, Germany sends a telegram to Mexico offering an alliance against the USA. The message is intercepted by the Britain and transmitted to the USA, which the prepares to go to war.

March 1917 : February Revolution (Julian calender)

In Russia, the war effort exhausts the population who revolt and cause the Tsar to abdicate.

A provisional government is put in place, which chooses to continue the war.

April 1917

The USA in turn declares war on Germany, but it would take several months for the first troops to join the frontlines

July 1917

Greece, which is under pressure from the Allies joins the Entente.

In both camps, exhausted soldiers begin mutinies.

August 1917

On the Isonzo front, 11 similar Italian offensives yield little result at the cost of many lives, further affecting troop morale.

October 1917: Battle of Caporetto

Austro-German Troops counterattack and push back the front line.

October 1917

At the gates of Gaza, after a victory, British armies prepare to enter Palestine

November 1917; Balfour Declaration

To gain the support of the Jewish community, British prime minister Arthur Balfour publishes a statement addressing Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Zionist Federation, promising a state for Jewish people in Palestine.

November 1917

October Revolution (Julian Calendar)

In Russia, the Bolsheviks organize a second revolution and seize power. The sign an armistice with Germany.

January 1918

But after the breakdown of negotiations, war resumes.

February-March 1918 Operation Faustschlag

Austro-German forces put the Russian army out of action, forcing the country to accept a peace treaty and recognize the independence of new states.

March 1918: Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

Russia then sees the start of a civil war.

March-June 1918: Spring Offensive

With Russia out of the game, German concentrates on the Western front to win before US troops grow in strength.

A large-scale offensive is launched lasting 4 months, and German troops push their way to Marne again.

July 1918: Second Battle of the Marne

But a powerful Allied counter offensive forces German troops to retreat.

September 1918

In parallel, the Allies launch an offensive on the Madedonian front which quickly forces Bulgaria to sign an armistice.

October 1918

The Ottoman Empire finds itself isolated, while Arab-British forces reach Damascus, as the French land in Beirut.

October 1918

Austria-Hungary retreats to the Balkans and to Italy. The empire is also weakened by minority separatists who proclaim their independence.

October 1918: Armistice of Mudros

The Ottoman Empire, followed by Austria-Hungary, sign an armistice with Entente.

November 1918: Armistice of Villa Giusti

November 1918 Kiel Mutiny

In Germany, sailors refuse to fight the Royal Navy and start a mutiny which turns into a popular revolt.

November 1918

The Kaiser is forced to abdicate, and Germany’s new government requests an armistice which is signed on November 11, 1918.

January-June 1919

Over a period of 6 months, victors of the war meet in Paris to draw up peace treaties without inviting Bolshevik Russia who signed a separate peace treaty with Germany.

The USA proposes a peace plan which includes the creation of the League of Nations.

The United Kingdom and especially France, whose northern territory is devastated, want to weaken Germany and make it pay heavy reparations.

June 28 1919: Treaty of Versailles

June 28, 1919 proves to be a symbolic date because 5 years after the assassination at Sarajevo, a peace treaty is signed between Germany and the Allies at Versailles, in the same room where the German Empire had been proclaimed in 1871.

The measures imposed on Germany are severe. The country loses 20% of its territory and 10% of its population, mainly to the benefit of Poland which is recreated and which obtains access to the sea (Polish Corridor).

Germany is cut in two while the Saar region, rich in coal, is brought under international control for 15 years.

German colonies are carved up among the victors. The country’s army is severely dismantled. Finally, Germany and its allies are considered solely responsible for war damages and must pay all reparations.

The Treaty is considered a humiliation by the German people.


Austria-Hungary is completely dismantled. Czechoslovakia and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes are created.

Italy feels aggrieved as it does not obtain all the territories it was promised. Austria, which is entirely German-speaking, is denied the right to be attached to Germany.

The Ottoman Empire is also dismembered during the Treaty of Sèvres.

The UK struggles to keep its word, having promised land to the French, the Zionist Jews, and independence to the Arabs. The Turks refuse the treaty and take up arms again. They gain some territories, then sign in Lausanne a treaty fixing the new borders of Turkey.


WW1 -or the so-called Great War-was the deadliest ever, with just under 18 million dead, including 8 million civilians. The weakened population was then hit hard by the deadly Spanish flu pandemic.

Economically, European powers find themselves heavily indebted, to the benefit of neutral countries and the USA, which strengthens its status as the leading economic power. Russia becomes the USSR, a country exhausted by war and frustrated by the loss of many European territories.

In Palestine, tensions mount between Arabs and the Zionist Jews who migrate there.

The new European borders disgruntle many. The fact that some German populations are now living in Poland and Czechoslovakia would contribute to the outbreak of the WW2.


Now that the Western front is frozen, both sides use full force to attack the enemy: the war becomes total

-the mighty Royal Navy imposes a naval blockade on Germany, while German submarines are send to British waters to sink all ships and vessels.

-Aviation, which is still a recent invention, is first used for observations. Planes would then gradually be used for bombing and air combat. The Germans use zeppelin ariships to bomb Paris and England around 50 times.

-Both sides use lethal gases to attack the enemy in the trenches

-Behind the frontlines, entire populations participate in the war effort, including women who are involved in arms factories.

-Around the world, European colonies and British dominions are engaged in war. They seize German colonies and supply large reinforcements of soldiers to the frontlines.


A. the recruitment campaigns










White Feather CAMPAIGN


To what extent did women contribute to the war effort?

Use the documents on the next pages to fill in the mind map.
The documents have been mixed up. For each one, find the main piece of information it gives you about the role of women during the war, and write it down in the right box of the mind map.

Source 1: Part of the Oath of the Women’s Active Service League:

“At this hour of England’s grave peril and desperate need, I do hereby pledge myself most solemnly in the name of the King and Country to persuade every man that I know to offer his services to the country, and I also pledge myself never to be seen in public with any man, who being in every way fit and free for service, has refused to respond to his country’s call.”

Source 2: Members of the Women's Land Army feeding pigs and calves during WWI (source: Imperial war museum website)

Source 3: archive film, A Day In The Life Of A Munitions Worker, made in 1917 at the Chilwell Arms Factory in Nottinghamshire. (watch the 8 small videos, there is no sound!) : https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-munitions-worker

Source 4: Poster encouraging women to join the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC), formed in 1917. The QMAAC recruited over 57,000 women during the war for tasks in support of the Army, ranging from catering to office work. Many served in France close to the front line. (Source : imperial War Museum website)

Source 5: Image from “The White Feather : A Sketch of English Recruiting” by Arnold Bennett, in the Collier’s Weekly, 1914.

Source 7: Recruitment poster for the Women’s Land Army, 1917. (source: Imperial War museum website

Source 8: Female workers in a rubber factory in Lancashire, September 1918. Making these products (here, tyres) required technical skill. September 1918 (Source: Imperial War Museum website).

Create a 2-3mn audio recording to answer the question: “To what extent did women contribute to the war effort?” and send it to me by WhatsApp.
Use the documents to illustrate your presentation.

Encourage men to go to the front:
Women’s associations such as the the Women’s Active Service League were created to encourage men to enlist. (Source1) They were almost violent. Women of theses association would refuse to marry or even just go out with fit men who didn’t enlist in the army (source 1).

They would also organize actions such as distributing white feathers to the men to show everyone that they were weak and cowards (Source 5)

Feed the country :
The government created the Women’s Land Army in 1917 to incite women participating to farming work and produce more food. In the organisation, women participating in all kinds of farming work, from ploughing (source 7) to raising cattle (source 2).
It was an organisation of volunteers so the government had to create recruitment campaigns for incite women to join (source 7).

Join in the army:
Since the beginning of the war, some women wanted to join the army, and actively participate in the war but it wasn’t possible.
In 1917, the government created Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) (source 6), later called the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC) (source 4).
In this military corps, 57000 women worked to support the army, either on the home front, or close to the front (but never on the front line) (source 4).

Replace men in industry:
With many men gone to the front industry was lacking skilled workers. Quickly, the government incited women to participate to the war effort by taking their place in the factories. Women became as skilled as men in many cases (source 8).
They worked long hours (source 3, video 1), sometimes in difficult and dangerous conditions and without enough protection (source 3).

B. The British Empire fighting in Picardy

The First Battle of the Marne

  • When? (Month + year)

  • Who? British troops? Colonial troops? ANZAC?

  • Summary (what happened?) + aftermath(= the results and the consequences)

The dotted line on the map shows how far the Germans had advanced into France before the First Battle of the Marne. As a result of the battle the Germans were pushed back to the solid line marked in red.

The First Battle of the Somme

The First Battle of the SOMME

  • When? (Month + year)

  • Who? British troops? Colonial troops? ANZAC?

  • Summary (what happened?) + aftermath(= the results and the consequences)

The First Battle of the SOMME

Somme casualties

The Battle of the Chemin des dames or the Second battle of the Aisne

The Battle of the chemin des dames or the second battle of the aisne

  • When? (Month + year)

  • Who? British troops? Colonial troops? ANZAC?

  • Summary (what happened?) + aftermath(= the results and the consequences)

Firsts of the First World War


III. THE Aftermath of WW1



the Treaty of Versailles

To summarize